Genre Psycho Meets Miss Congeniality—Dark Romantic Suspense with a Humorous Twist
Author Marilyn Baron
Book heat level: PG13
Professional crisis manager Philippa Tannenbaum is spokesperson for the law enforcement task force charged with solving a high-profile case. She never dreams her position as Homecoming Pageant Director and her second-place finish in the previous year's competition has placed her on a serial killer's hit list. Always a runner-up in life, she wants to finally come in first at finding the killer targeting the current crop of beauties.
Her friend Luke Slaughter, a Graysville city cop, shows up at Philippa's office, assigned to partner with her in solving the case and to protect her 24/7 for the duration. Unfortunately, he's also the man she hooked up with for a one-night stand when she broke up with her fiancé. Working with her is going to be less than easy, for a number of reasons...
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Publisher The Wild Rose Press
Amazon http://amzn.com/B00I27AS2I. After the exclusive Kindle release, the worldwide release date will be May 9, 2014.
Interview with Marilyn Baron
Why did you write this book?
Some years ago, my daughter was a contestant in the Homecoming Pageant at the
. At the end of
the pageant, a seemingly innocent man—he was more of a big hulk of a boy—approached
each girl to get her autograph on his pageant booklet. That sparked my imagination
and was the inspiration for this story. I wondered what would have happened if he
were a serial killer? I went to college at the University
of Florida University
of Florida in Gainesville and I named my fictional town Graysville,
so I was very familiar with the setting.
What is your favorite genre to read?
Romance and thriller/espionage novels.
What is your favorite character from fiction (not including your own characters)?
In romance, Roarke from J.D. Robb's In Death series or Jamie Fraser in the Outlander series. In spy novels, Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon.
Do you enjoy films and/or TV shows? Which are your favorites?
In addition to reading (I'm in two book clubs) I go to a lot of movies and watch a lot of TV for relaxation. My all-time favorite movie is
Casablanca. The TV shows I
watch include Downton Abbey, The Good Wife, NCIS, Blue Bloods,The Big Bang Theory,
Two Broke Girls and I'm looking forward to watching the next season of The Americans.
What are you working on at the moment, and what are we likely to see from you in the coming months?
I'm working on Book Three of The Psychic Crystal Mystery series called Murder on the Repositioning Cruise. I've just signed another contract with The Wild Rose Press for a new women's fiction called Stones, which finaled in the GRW Unpublished Maggie Awards for Excellence in 2005 in the Single Title category, formerly titled The Colonoscopy Club.
Please tell us about your latest series.
Homecoming Homicides is Book Two in the Psychic Crystal Mystery series. Book One, Sixth Sense, won the Maggie Award for Excellence in the Paranormal/Romance category.
Here's the blurb for Sixth Sense:
Reluctant psychic Katherine Crystal, dubbed "Crystal Ball Kate," is thrust into the national spotlight when she accurately predicts the death of a movie actor's young son in a private plane crash. Besieged by requests to use her powers to help others, she realizes why her parents had warned her never to let anyone know of her visions.
police detective Jack Hale harbors a deep-seated distrust of psychics and ignores
Katherine's warnings when she calls to report her premonition. Jack is forced to
partner with Kate, who uses her eerie sensitivity to evil to help him catch a serial
killer in , but that's only the beginning
of the story. Jack and Kate are drawn into the investigation of a mystery surrounding
Kate's birth and find murder and romance among a secret society of psychics in the
quaint seaside spiritualist community of Sydney, Australia . Casa
Murder on the Repositioning Cruise – Coming Soon
police detective Jack Hale and "Crystal Ball Kate" from Sixth Sense, are
back, this time with Kate's mother, Psychic Juliette and the cocky sheriff in Homecoming
Homicides, for a suspenseful romp on the high seas.
Juliette Spencer and Sheriff Will Bradley are posing as husband and wife on a two-week transatlantic cruise to catch an art thief, investigate a murder and calm the fears of a superstitious crew. Juliette will be fine if Sheriff Bradley's amorous advances in close quarters don't cause her to jump ship or throw him overboard.
Two Excerpts from Homecoming Homicides: The Dark and the Light
Rodney Willis inhaled the aroma of fresh blood. In his opinion, nothing else even came close to the scent of suffering. The blood was slick and sticky and velvety, and he was practically swimming in it. He'd nearly slipped on the floor this morning while he was in full clean-up mode, getting ready for the new contestant. He needed to buy some combat boots.
The candidate on the table had been a real trooper. He had to give her credit. She'd performed superbly, even exceeded his expectations, although she was rather noisy. He'd had to muffle her screams. The bitch had bitten him, had probably given him rabies, if that was possible. He'd have to research that on the Internet. Not exactly a candidate for Miss Congeniality. He was finally forced to drug the little vixen, and after that it wasn't nearly as much fun.
"Flippy, I mean Philippa, uh, Miss Tannenbaum, there's an Officer Luke Slaughter from the Graysville Police Department here to see you."
Despite her practiced calm, carefully cultivated from her beauty queen days, Flippy's stomach shuddered as a tremor rumbled through her body. The seismic shift seized her fragile heart. She had never expected to see Luke Slaughter again, much less this soon, fully clothed, and certainly not under these circumstances.
"Send him in, Misty."
Had she managed to keep the vibrating waves of tension from her voice? Just barely. She squeezed her eyes shut, remembering the last time she'd seen Luke Slaughter, bare and naked, sleeping beside her in her dump of an apartment. Actually, he'd had her in an unconscious octopus hold, hands everywhere, possessively clutching her body like so many tentacles, cutting off her circulation so she could barely breathe. At least it felt like she was suffocating. Had it only been a week ago? Could she face him here after what they'd done (what hadn't they done?), and after how shabbily she'd treated him when the night was over? Despite the nauseated feeling in her stomach, the answer was "yes," but it wouldn't be fun.
Her big opportunity was about to walk through the door, and she didn't intend to blow it. No matter how much it cost her personally. She'd just have to suck it up and remember who she was now—a professional, with her own office and her own receptionist.
She'd hired Misty Waters away from DaVinci's, the local pizza hangout next door to the nondescript, but affordable, campus police department annex. Hired her for her personality and her multitasking ability. She'd seen the girl juggle six tables of rowdy college kids without breaking a sweat or dropping a plate. She certainly hadn't hired her for her fashion sense, which seemed to be based on the concept that "less is more."
Flippy's next order of business would be to persuade the ex-pizza tosser to upgrade her wardrobe and perhaps put on something more respectable and less receptive. True, Misty might be a little rough around the edges, but Flippy could spot potential, and the girl had it with a capital "P."
Misty would be okay as long as she focused on answering the phone and not giving
visitors "The Works"—a bird's-eye view of her considerable toppings. Either way, she sincerely hoped hiring Misty Waters turned out to be a smart decision, because this case of murder and mayhem seemed to be spiraling out of control, and Flippy's phone wouldn't stop ringing.
As she looked up, Luke Slaughter backed into her office, magnificent butt first—his muscles straining under the weight of a large cardboard box. He turned to face her, while craning his neck back shamelessly in Misty's direction. There was something vaguely familiar about the shape of the man's butt. Or maybe it was that Dirty Harry-sized piece bulging out of his hip holster. Flippy tried to block out all thoughts about the night she'd just spent with Luke Slaughter. It wasn't difficult to do, since she had been so hammered and intent on revenge against her serial cheating ex-fiancé, Jack Armstrong.
No doubt about it, the man looked good in a uniform. And out of it. And he was a warm body. Sufficient qualifications at the time for a revenge fuck. Flippy suppressed rogue thoughts of that night. A night that refused to stop flashing before her eyes. The only thing clear about that night was that it had been a big mistake. A mistake she'd never make again.
Marilyn is a public relations consultant in
She's a member of Marketing for Romance Writers, Romance Writers of America, and
Georgia Romance Writers (GRW) and the recipient of the GRW 2009 Chapter Service
Award. She writes humorous women's fiction, romantic thrillers/suspense, historicals
and paranormal. She has won writing awards in Single Title, Suspense Romance and
Paranormal/Fantasy Romance. Marilyn blogs at Petit Fours and Hot Tamales http://www.petitfoursandhottamales.com/. She and her sister, Sharon
Goldman, just released a play about Alzheimer's called Memory Lane. You can find out more about Marilyn's
books and short stories and listen to a medley of the music from Memory Lane on her Web
site at www.marilynbaron.com or view it on YouTube at http://youtu.be/Hgi_mIdt5MA.
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