HOPE AND HONOR
by Marilee Brothers
Life is becoming more complicated for soul reader Honor Melanie “Mel” Sullivan. Her boss needs help with his rebellious teen daughter who believes rules are made to be broken and Mel’s current boyfriend, Homeland Security agent Mick Petrov, is becoming an absentee lover, dropping hints about a major decision he faces. To make it worse, Mel’s ex, 3 Peaks detective “Billy the Kid” McCarty wants her back. And those aren’t the only challenges. When a paramilitary group called New Dawn wants her soul-reading skills, Mel meets five-year-old twins who steal her heart. Unwilling to abandon the motherless children, she strikes a deal with the compound’s charismatic leader. Drawn deeper and deeper into New Dawn’s twisted agenda, Mel must figure out a way to save the twins and herself before it’s too late.
When last I saw Mick, he had spikey black hair and facial piercings. He was lean, almost skinny, hoping to pass himself off as a druggie. Apparently it worked. He got his man. He usually does.
I saunter into the Corral and head to his table. He lifts the brim of his hat and I look into eyes as clear and blue as a Norwegian fjord. His soul looks much the same, although it’s picked up some etches and markings common to those involved in law enforcement.
I strike a pose, one hand on my hip, and flutter my eyelashes. Not a natural flirt, this seems silly to me. I lick my lips. “Why, hello there, handsome. You’re drinking Grey Goose vodka and you look like someone I knew a very long time ago, but slightly different. Is it possible we’ve met before?”
His hand snakes out and grabs my wrist. He kisses the back of my hand. I hold back a snicker.
“My maylsh,” he says in a sexy growl. “I didn’t fool you after all?”
Mick is Russian born. In the past, we’ve gone through a number of Slavic endearments. Most of them reference pussycat or kitten. After my strong objection, we settled on maylsh, the Russian term for baby. It’s not all that great, but it’s better than pussycat. In my humble opinion, it’s not worth fighting over.
He scoots his chair back and pulls me onto his lap. I lift his cap to check out his hair. It’s pale blond and growing out from the spikey do.
He says, “Is it true blonds have more fun?”
“You get to decide.”
He leans and whispers, “Believe me, I will.”
Heat spirals through my body, settling deep into my belly. I want to grab him by the hand and drag him out to my car. Have my way with him. Until I see Mick, I don’t realize how much I’ve missed him. But, this is not the time or place. I push away and stand.
“Are you going to introduce me to your friends?”
I suspect they are fellow officers. Not that he’ll tell me.
Instead, he says, “This is Mel.”
He points at the men and identifies each one by first name only. Now I know for sure they’re his work buddies.
I say, “See you around, guys. Enjoy your evening.”
Mick looks a little panicked. “Hey, wait. I’ll see you later. In Number Ten. Right?”
Now, it’s my turn for payback and I love it.
“Wrong.” I walk away.
“At least leave bread crumbs.”
I hear a hint of desperation in his voice and return to the table. “You’re Homeland Security. Remember, you have no rules. I’m sure you’ll figure it out, big guy. Bye, bye.”
His buddies burst into laughter as I sashay away.
AN INTERVIEW WITH MARILEE
-What inspired you to become a writer?
My parents were avid readers and instilled a love of books in both my sister and me. You might say we were bookaholics. If we were about to finish one book, we had to have another on tap or we would get withdrawal symptoms. I didn’t start writing until years later when our three boys were grown and gone. I wish I’d started earlier, but I have managed to write ten books in ten years.
-If you could visit your book’s world for a day, what one thing would you do?
The setting for the Soul Seeker series is the city of Bend, Oregon, a beautiful city set in the mountains of central Oregon. In my books, I call the city 3 Peaks since it’s bordered by the Three Sisters mountain range. Fortunately, I’ve been there many times. It would be fun to drop in on Mel and see how she’s doing.
-It’s two in the morning. What does your protagonist reveal in confidence? (Don’t worry, we won’t tell.)
Since Mel can read souls, I think she would tell me something really juicy she’s seen in the soul of someone we both dislike. (Meow)
-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?
Definitely Uncle Paco. Mel’s gangbanger uncle has many secrets and definitely knows how to have fun.
-You’re in a tavern, and a dwarf challenges you to a duel. What do you do?
I’d buy him a stiff drink and hope he mellows out. If not, I’d sit on him until he begs for mercy.
-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?
A couple of them. I can’t take erotica seriously. It makes me want to snicker. Also, even though I write mysteries, I would have difficulty writing graphic torture scenes or describe in detail, a serial killer’s sadistic actions. Cruelty to animals is definitely out.
Marilee Brothers is a former teacher, coach, counselor and the author of ten books. Marilee and her husband are the parents of three grown sons and live in central Washington State. After writing six young adult books, Marilee is once again writing romantic suspense for the adult market. She loves hearing from people who have read her books. Feel free to contact her at marileebrothers.com and sign up for her newsletter The Obsessive Page Turner.
Marilee’s blog is Book Blather, where she features aspiring and published authors as well as some tidbits of her own.
Marilee Brothers will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway