This review for That Taste of Orange appeared on December 17, 2009 on Dark Diva Reviews. I’ve been waiting for a review by this site ever since my first release, Her Last, came out in July ’09. Her Last–not being a romance–did not qualify for a review from this popular review site. But I got my wish when my Christmas-themed romance was released.
So…here it is!
Kathy’s Review: This Christmas tale goes a long way to dispelling the myth that Christmas is always a time of joyful celebration. What happens when a couple, married a number of years, has let other concerns take over their lives?
This is the basis behind Sabrina and Chas’s story. Valerie J. Patterson has, in That Taste of Orange, given us a timely reminder that we need to consciously appreciate what we have and the people in our lives. And that a marriage, regardless of the love between the couple, needs a lot of TLC, especially when stress levels are high. This is a lesson that both Bri and Chas have to learn and we are treated to a wonderful story about the magic of love, family and Christmas.
I’ve received fan mail from several readers expressing a strong desire to read more about the United Universe and Spade. So I am very happy to report that I’ve discussed book two with my publisher, Asylett Press. As soon as I have run a cursory edit, the sequel will be sent to the publisher for release in 2010.
As I’ve said before, I am quite pleased with the reader reaction to GeeWhiz. And I’m thrilled with reviewer reaction!
I’m also working on the final edit of book two in the Myerson Mystery series so that I can submit that to BookStrand for a release in 2010.
I’m writing a new book set in St. Ignace, too. My husband and I visited St. Ignace a couple years ago and I fell in love with the area. The community just seemed so close-knit. I loved the live shows at the public marina. It’s simply stunning, too. I hope to have it written in 2010 and submitted for release the following year.
Of course, I’m always working on short fiction.
A lot coming up. A lot to look forward to!
My apologies. I promised a new Cover Corner for Tuesday, but I was feeling severely under the weather Monday and Tuesday and never got the opportunity to post the spotlight. Check back next Tuesday. I promise it’ll be here!
However, as I promised for today, here’s the blurb for Honor Thy Neighbor:
When mystery writer Ashlynn Myerson’s suspicions about her neighbors begin to mount, her homicide captain husband, Sean, warns her to just steer clear of them. He knows his wife has keen observation skills and a strong interest in becoming a police officer, but Sean’s knee deep in an investigation that thrusts him into an undercover assignment when one of his detectives is shot and left for dead. It’s not until Ashlynn steps on the wrong toes and is abducted that Sean sees the clue she left for him. He realizes her suspicions of their neighbors and his case are intricately woven together.
The effects of the investigation are far reaching, and the losses could be greater than either Sean or Ashlynn ever thought possible. But Sean will do anything within his power to get his wife back unharmed.
And here’s a brief excerpt:
Sean walked into the restaurant, looked at the faces of the wait staff preparing the restaurant for opening, searching for one face in particular. He grinned, heading toward an older man sitting at a booth, its table littered with papers.
“Can I help you?” the man asked without looking up.
“I’m looking for Mr. Ciarra.”
“You’ve found him. Have a seat.”
Sean sat down opposite Leo and his pile of bills. “I’m Sean Taylor, the new bartender.”
Leo sat silent a moment. “The last business decision Frank made turned out to be his deciding to hire a new bartender.” He offered his hand. “Welcome aboard.”
Sean released his hand. “Thanks for the job.”
Leo nodded. “Your shift is from ten until seven each day. We’re closed Sundays and Mondays—those are your days off. Otherwise, we open at eleven o’clock daily. Be certain the bar is stocked and ready to go. You’ll be responsible for the bar’s inventory. If you need supplies, I must have a list on Tuesdays before we open. Your tips are your own. What you report is your business.” He spied Sean’s wedding ring. “Good, you’re married. You won’t be hitting on the customers, but that is not to say you can’t charm a few of them. Any questions?”
Sean lowered his voice. “Is there a safe place behind the bar for my weapon?”
Leo showed his first sign of uneasiness. “There’s an old cash drawer beneath the bar. We stopped using it when we got the computerized registers. No one even remembers it’s there. Will that do?”
“As long as it’s accessible.” Sean glanced around. “Anyone besides you know what I’m really doing here?”
The older man paused, searching Sean’s eyes. “No one suspects a thing. Frank put out the word he wanted to hire a new bartender. Everyone knew.”
“What happened to the last bartender?”
“Someone murdered him,” Leo replied, fear in his voice. “Frank was the bartender. He said the place needed a fresher, younger face back there so he set about finding a replacement. I don’t think death figured into his plans for himself, if you know what I mean.”
Sean sat quiet a moment, not wanting to intrude on Leo’s thoughts. Finally, he excused himself. “I’d better get behind the bar and familiarize myself with the place.”
Leo stopped him. “Who’d you catch prowling around my place last night?”
“Some reporter claiming to be looking for her lost kitten.”
Leo shook his head in disgust. “She lives one street over. She doesn’t even own a cat.” He met Sean’s eyes. “You better get to work.”
* * * *
For some reason, the amount of alcohol consumed by the lunch crowd surprised Sean. He had no idea people drank so early in the day—or so excessively. While wiping down the bar after the last rush of people, he looked up to see Angelica Behrens seated alone at the other end of the bar. He recognized her from the photograph Cain sent to Nancy’s cell phone the night before.
“What can I get for you?” he asked, pulling her searching eyes to him.
Her hazel eyes made a lengthy appraisal of his six-foot-four-inch, muscled frame, and her red, glossy lips curled into an appreciative smile. “Let’s start with your phone number,” she replied in her practiced, ribbon-smooth voice. “Then we’ll move on down to the measurements of your chest and biceps, and any other measurements you think might interest me.” Again, her eyes moved over him before finally meeting up with his. “I’m Angelica Behrens, reporter.” She smiled. “Always after a good story as well as a good time. Your bed or mine?”
Sean brought his left hand up to rest on the black matte finish of the bar in front of her then extended his right hand. “I’m Sean. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Behrens.”
She pulled her eyes from his wedding band as his fingers locked around hers. “Is that for real or for show?”
He released her hand. “Real. As in really happily married. Newlywed in fact.”
She frowned. “Too bad. It could’ve been fun—for both of us. I’ll have a scotch, neat.”
Sean poured her scotch then watched while she downed it quickly.
She released her breath slowly, meeting his eyes—hers watering slightly. “One of the many traits I inherited from my father,” Angelica stated sharply.
“Your dad a newspaper man?”
She nodded. “A connoisseur of good scotch and fine writing. I’m the son he never had. He taught me how to write—and how to hold my liquor.” Angelica slid her glass across the bar top. “I’ll have another.”
Sean poured the scotch. “You must be off duty.”
“A reporter is never off duty.” Again, the scotch disappeared. “Care to join me? After a few of these, you’ll forget all about the little woman you have at home. I could teach you a few things you never knew you needed to know. It could work out to the wife’s favor. What do you say?”
He grinned, needing to let her down without insult or injury to her brazen ego. “I’m on duty as well.”
Angelica shrugged, her infatuation with Sean fleeting as her reporter persona took over. “You around when the cop caught the bullet meant for Leo?”
Shrugging, Sean replied, “This is my first day here.”
Her hazel eyes penetrated his. “Leo’s hiring new people in the middle of this mess?”
“Actually, Frank hired me.”
“You’re kidding, right?”
“Not at all. He hired me before he died.”
“And Leo kept Frank’s word for him. I wonder if Leo has his partner’s guts as well.”
“Meaning how long before Leo closes the doors because he’s too scared he’ll join Frank? Leo is the brains of this business. Frank, the brawn—the willful bouncer. You could say Frank had all the courage Leo needed.” She paused, a smile on her glossy lips. “Frank was quite the man with the ladies as well. I know that first hand.” Again, her eyes met Sean’s. “Don’t suppose I could talk you into taking over where Frank left off?”
Sean grinned. He liked her tenacity. “My wife would not approve.”
Angelica shook her head. “A bit of a prude, is she?”
“Let’s just say she expects me to keep our wedding vows. Can I get you anything else?”
Her hazel eyes darted over the empty booths. “Where is Leo today?”
“Is he expecting you?”
She graced him with a wry smile. “He should be. I’m here every day for refueling. I missed out that afternoon the cop bought it. Traffic jam over on Euclid tied me up for over twenty minutes. Didn’t get to see anything but the cop on the floor by the time I arrived.” She motioned with her head toward the end of the bar where she found Sean when she arrived. “Down there. In a crimson pool of his own blood. Never saw Leo quite so pale. He looked as if it was his blood on the floor. Trying to convince himself that the gunman hadn’t been looking for him. I’m surprised he’s allowed to be open this soon. I’m just as surprised he had the guts to open up this morning.”
Sean listened to her cold version of Matt’s shooting wondering how a person detaches so icily from such events. His cop’s intuition told him he could get information from her if he went about it in the right way. “How did you get in here?”
“The day of the shooting. How did you get past the police line?”
Angelica smiled, obviously pleased with his curiosity. “I rode the coattails of some woman cop. A detective with the homicide department. No one ever saw me go inside.”
“Did you write about what you saw?”
The reporter watched him closely, suspicion in her hazel eyes. “Are you from another planet? Don’t you read the newspapers? Of course, I wrote about it.” She paused long enough to give him an obvious once-over. “You a cop? Someone they planted to cover Leo?”
Sean kept his cool, deciding to be amused with the leap she’d just taken. “Now, I have to ask what planet you’re from. You must have a very strong imagination to make that stretch,” he replied, giving her a grin that he hoped would chase her mind in another direction. “I’ve only been in town two days. My wife and I moved here from Canada. The only newspapers I’ve seen are the pages used to pack glassware.”
Angelica frowned. “Sounds too mundane for me,” she said, bored with him. She set a ten on the bar. “Keep the change. Buy yourself a copy of the Chronicle.” With that, she considered him no further, walking away from the bar.
Okay…I never really know how much of an excerpt to post, but hopefully this is enough to spark an interest in the book! I’ll perhaps post another excerpt later when the release date is close. If you’d like to pre-order Honor Thy Neighbor you can do so by clicking the link: PreOrder Here!
If you liked the cover and would like to see more of Jinger’s work, please visit the following link: Jinger Heaston
Jinger is such a talented individual, I’m sure you’ll see plenty of excellent covers, and maybe you’ll check out a book or two, too!
Until next time…take care and happy reading!