Title: A STEEL TOWN
Series: A Gateway to Love, #3
Author: Chloe T. Barlow
Genre: New Adult, Romantic Suspense, Mystery, Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: January 11, 2016
How do you protect the woman you love, when you fear you are the very person who could destroy her?
Claudia McCoy has been told what she can’t do enough for one lifetime. After a near-fatal childhood battle with juvenile diabetes and having to accept that her dreams of serving in the military would never come true, she’s thrilled to begin a life on her own terms. Yet, when she finally starts her career in the FBI, Claudia is furious that her condition and overbearing big brother, Wyatt, have both once again interfered with her ability to have the life she truly wants. Now derailed from her high-profile aspirations of a position in the FBI’s D.C. headquarters, she is instead planted far away from the real action, and practically right in her brother’s Pittsburgh backyard.
Trey Adler is known for fixing things, but he’s broken just as many — leaving him with regrets that never go away. He’d be the first to agree he should stay away from a nice girl like Claudia, but he can’t deny his friend Jenna Sutherland’s request when she asks him to use his position as a temporary FBI consultant to keep Claudia safe — especially as it’s clear this little firecracker needs protecting. Far away from all the action she so craves, Claudia is more determined than ever to prove herself in her first major investigation at whatever cost — and those costs are proving to be dangerously high.
Their battle of wills turns quickly into a powerful need for one other, making them both rethink everything they ever wanted.
Will Trey be able to keep her alive long enough to give them an opportunity at something real together — a future that can survive the danger in their present, as well as the darkness of his past?
Cover Details and Model Interview
For this book, not only did they do a photo shoot for this cover, but also the gorgeous models Cassandra and Nick – who match my vision of Trey and Claudia really well – are a real life married couple! We did an interview so you can learn more about the romance behind the image.
Chloe: When you were getting ready for this shoot, what were inspirations for understanding Claudia and Trey?
Cassandra Martinez: The photographer showed us the previous covers and we were able to read the blurb. The background of the characters we were provided really helped us understand what we were going for and the mood and tone we needed to hit.
Chloe: While you were shooting, were there any behind the scenes thoughts?
Cassandra Martinez: It was much more awkward than we thought it would be and we were trying really hard not to laugh. This was our first shoot together as a couple and trying to get that right feeling was more difficult than expected.
Chloe: What it was like to do a shoot with your significant other?
Cassandra Martinez: The shoot itself was fun and surprisingly easy once we got out the laughs. Much easier than I thought it would be.
Chloe: How long have you two been together? And how did you meet?
Cassandra Martinez: We’ve been together for five years and married for one. We met when we were both working at a restaurant– I was a server/cocktail waitress and he was the bartender.
Chloe: Have you seen the cover?
Cassandra Martinez: We have seen it and think it looks awesome! Definitely something I would pick up off the shelf.
A word from Chloe on Trey and Claudia
This is the story of Trey Adler, a sexy, tattooed computer genius who spends as much time on the wrong side of the law as the right, and his strong and beautiful Latina heroine, FBI Special Agent Claudia McCoy.
Ever since I began writing Three Rivers, the first book in my Gateway to Love series, I have been fascinated with Griffen’s best friend Trey. Every part of this hot, brilliant guy with a secret dark past that he revealed to me as I wrote Three Rivers intrigued me. When he showed me his hidden sweet side in City of Champions, I knew his book had to come next.
What was even more fun for me was the way readers loved him, too. By far the question I received the most from readers was: “Who will Trey end up with?” Many guessed the wild and mysterious Aubrey, but I never saw them together myself. No, Aubrey has her own surprise hero, the identity of whom you will discovery at the end of A Steel Town.
So who is woman enough to tame Trey? Well, when I met Wyatt McCoy’s feisty, stunning, and determined little sister Claudia McCoy, all bets were off – she had to be Trey’s one and only. Her combination of strength, vulnerability, and humor made it clear to me she would completely floor Trey. Plus she’s also a genius computer hacker in her own right, making her a match for his wits, as well as his heart.
Yet, there are so many obstacles to these two’s happy ending. Trey is happy to bend, or break, every rule Claudia is sworn to protect. Claudia’s older brother, Wyatt, loathes Trey. Claudia is desperate for independence and freedom, yet Trey can’t help himself from fiercely trying to protect his “little one” at all costs, especially because her insulin dependent diabetes makes him terrified for her health. And to top it all off, they are chasing after a dangerous shadow team of murderous hackers-for-hire.
Claudia’s diabetes was a powerful feature of this story for me personally. As a woman with a chronic condition herself – lupus, it was important for me to portray authentically the unique experience a woman faces when she wants to build a future for herself, when constantly battling the fact her own body can be her worst enemy. This changes the way you do everything, including how you interact with those you love, and who they behave with you. I plumbed the depths of my own experience with lupus, as well as the effect growing up with a parent who had insulin dependent diabetes myself. Nothing can describe the emotional gut-check you feel on a daily basis when someone you love lives hour-to-hour because of an external, synthetic compound. I wanted to portray with honesty the struggle to be powerful and free, when biology has tried to take all the power from you. A Steel Town is a gift to anyone who has faced this feeling, or loved someone who does.
As always, thank you for sharing this world with me!
All titles in the Gateway to Love series are on sale during the A Steel Town release week!
Three Rivers (Gateway to Love, #1) – 99¢
How do you start over when you gave everything to one life, one plan, and lost it all?
Althea refuses to allow herself to love again. Imprisoned in grief at twenty-four after her husband’s sudden death, she’s convinced her heart died along with him. She spends her days honoring his memory by clinging to the legal career he helped her to build and to the remaining pieces linking them together.
Griffen’s been running from his past. Despite success as an author and investigative journalist, he’s been traveling through life on autopilot. For a decade, he’s chosen perilous adventures and meaningless sex over the danger of any attachments. When he finally returns home to Pittsburgh, he’s slammed by the awakened memories and regret he’s spent years trying to escape.
A chance encounter brings them together. Their instant desire for each other – and the bond they discover between them – shocks them both. Despite her best efforts, Althea can’t resist Griffen’s charm or his intriguing proposition – if she agrees to a no-strings affair with him for the two weeks he’s in town, he swears he’ll walk away when their time is up. Assured she can test the waters of a new life while keeping her vow never to betray her husband’s memory by opening her heart to another, Althea throws herself into the escape Griffen provides her.
Their perfect plans go awry when the intensity of their connection overwhelms them. Will they risk it all on the chance of something great together…or will the power of their secrets and guilt tear them apart?
City of Champions (Gateway to Love, #2) – 99¢
How do you find the will to try, when you’ve spent all of your life playing on a field strewn with shattered lives and broken rules?
Tragedy and betrayal taught Jenna Sutherland early on that her safest bet was to fiercely avoid any risk, whether it is in work, life, or love. Now a respected orthopedic surgical resident on the cusp of finally breaking through in her career, she’s more guarded than ever.
When injured NFL quarterback Wyatt McCoy bulldozes into her life there’s no denying he’s cocky, selfish, and downright dangerous — everything Jenna’s sworn she doesn’t want.
Suddenly the levelheaded doctor finds herself facing down her greatest fear, and she’s tempted to gamble all she’s fought so hard to build. The two embark on an intense holiday love affair that quickly teeters on obsession, and tempts them both to think they could go all-in on a real future together. Yet Wyatt’s desperation to stay on the field — and out of the operating room — lures him to take dangerous risks with Jenna’s trust.
Will they win at love or lose everything —including their fragile chance at happiness?
Shanghai Wind (A Gateway to Love, #2.5) – Free!
How far would you be willing to go for your first love?
Colin has broken every promise he’s ever made, but what hurts him the most is the harsh memory of the way in which he abandoned the only girl for which he’d ever truly cared. After a summer romance in Shanghai with his host family’s daughter, Feng Huang, he begged her to join him in America, only to fail her when she finally sacrificed everything for their future together.
Shanghai-born Feng Huang has spent the last six years trying to get over Colin. Now beloved by the world as a famous pop star, she’s moved on with a wealthy Chinese-American entrepreneur. When Colin appears in front of her at her boyfriend’s gala celebrating her return to Shanghai, she is overcome by both the pain and love, which still linger inside her at the mere sight of him.
Yet, nothing is as it seems, and when the sinister elements which have thrust them back into each other’s orbit reveal themselves and threaten more than just their precious second opportunity at love.
Will their stolen night together bring them the future of which they had always dreamed, or will Colin betray her love yet again?
Chloe is a contemporary romance novelist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband and their sweet puppy. Chloe has always loved writing and cherishes the opportunity to craft her fictional novels and share them with the world.
When Chloe isn’t writing, she spends her time exploring Pittsburgh with her husband and friends. She also enjoys yoga, jogging, and all Pittsburgh sports. She is an avid reader and wrote her debut novel Three Rivers in her spare time. She loves to research every last detail relating to her books. For example, in an effort to bring authenticity to Three River’s treatment of grief and loss, she consulted with a psychologist and grief counselor during its preparation.
Connect with Chloe