Good morning! Welcome to Midweek Tease, the blog hop where authors share bits from published works. Now that we’ve passed the halfway point in the month it’s less than six weeks from Christmas, the stores and my neighborhood are filling up with yuletide decorations. I’m still in the desert finishing up my newest novel.Books make for great gifts whether it’s through an online gift certificate or a paperback . Sometimes, people need to escape the reality of their lives if only for a little while.
This morning, I give you another tease from Desert Deception, available in time for Christmas giving!
Seeing is believing, or is it?
When high-powered Santa Fe attorney Casey Stevens reluctantly returns to Fortune for Gold Rush Days, she is drawn to Cole Walker Junior, but he is no longer the shy, quiet boy she recalls. Then again, Cole isn’t the only one who has changed. The town may be celebrating its past, but someone is trying to destroy its future. A hit and run accident leaves Fortune’s only lawyer in a coma, forcing Casey to choose between helping innocent people and running away once more. Can she face the demons of her past or will they destroy her this time?
Cole Warner has a secret identity, one he’s determined to protect at all costs. The police officer, volunteer firefighter, and part-time store owner, is also popular western novelist, CJ Coleson, who uses Fortune and its people as the inspiration for his books. Having Casey walk into his life turns it upside down. When someone starts using the murders in Cole’s books to stage a killing spree of their own, keeping his secret may be too costly, but admitting the truth could ruin any chance they have for a happily ever after.
As the bodies pile up and the buildings burn down, Casey and Cole have to work together to stop a madman with gold fever before more people die. The answer lies on Superstition Mountain or is it all a desert deception?
“How often do you see Cole Walker?” she asked, deciding Randy might know something about Cole and his friend CJ. As much as she’d tried to put the enigmatic store proprietor out of her mind, she couldn’t quite do it. Those golden brown eyes of his kept coming back to her, and he’d had a starring role in her dreams the last two nights, much the way he had in her girlish fantasies fifteen years ago. Part of it had to be being around Jaxon and her biological clock, but she needed to turn that damn thing off before it got her into hot water.
“Every day when he and Noella are in town. They come in for coffee each morning.”
“Not Cole Senior, Cole Junior,” Casey said, a touch too sharply.
Randy frowned. “Cole Junior? I didn’t realize you two were friends.”
“We aren’t … exactly, but I was talking to him on Friday when I stopped by the emporium to see his father. I picked up the new CJ Coleson book, and he told me he knows him. Apparently they went to school together.”
“I don’t pay attention to gossip, but I haven’t heard that before. Cole really keeps to himself, so I don’t think he’d want that little tidbit getting around.”
Casey chuckled. “If he’s half as reclusive as CJ is, I can imagine letting me know that was a mistake. He also fessed up to the fact that CJ’s visited here once or twice. I wondered if you’d ever seen him hanging around with a stranger.”
“It sounds like you two had quite the tête à tête. As I said, Cole keeps to himself, so if he’s had company, I wouldn’t know about it. He came back a couple of years before I did. If he’s got any kind of social life, it’s a mystery to all of us. There hasn’t been anyone visiting him in the last year, not since Cookies and Cream opened its doors. I think he bought a cabin on Apache Lake, but I’m not sure. That could’ve been his father.”
Casey nodded, disappointed that her quest to know more about her mysterious author had hit another dead end, and annoyed with herself for hanging on every word Randy had uttered about Cole.
“He travels—goes back to El Paso or Dallas, where he worked before joining the Fortune Police Department—but that’s all I know,” Randy continued. “He doesn’t date, and believe me, it’s not because no one’s interested. A lawman and fireman combined in one? That’s yummy in any woman’s book. He’s been hit on more times than a punching bag. There are all kinds of theories about his celibacy, too—everything from an ex-wife who broke his heart to a dead lover he can’t forget. I heard his mother complaining to Mom that she doubts he’ll ever settle down.”
“Well, marriage isn’t for everyone, I guess,” she answered. Cole’s mother wasn’t the only one bemoaning the fact that her child hadn’t tied the knot. It had been one of the questions Mom had asked at supper last night, right before the “please pass the potatoes.”
“Not for me, either,” Randy agreed sadly, “I did it once, but … What do you plan to do with yourself Tuesday?”
“I don’t have any plans, why?”
“Selma Gomez, my employee, has a dentist appointment in Phoenix. Her daughter needs orthodontic work that can’t be done locally. I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind pitching in for the day. It’s okay if you can’t, but it would save my neck. There’s really too much work for one person.”
“Sure, but if you’re that busy, you should consider getting more staff—maybe a part-timer.”
Casey smiled to mask the terror filling her. Working in the coffee shop would expose her to any of Fortune’s denizens who deemed to drop in—possibly some, if not all—of the ones she hoped to avoid.
“I’ve got a teenager starting next week. She’ll work after school and Saturdays. I appreciate you helping me out. Coming in? That new Sandra Bullock movie is on.”
“In a minute. I want to check out the stars. I don’t see them often in Santa Fe.”
“Okay. I’ll make the popcorn. It’ll be like old times.”
Casey smiled, the pleasant childhood memory easing her worries. “And we can eat it lying on blankets on the floor.”
“You’ve got it. By the way, Cole usually drops in for coffee and a muffin around one.” She winked and entered the house.
Great, now she thinks I’m interested in Cole.
But her sister couldn’t be more wrong. Cole was a means to an end, and that end was CJ Coleson.
Now please check out the rest of this week’s hot and delicious teases.