I’m excited to bring you a special look at Marianne Harden’s romantic mystery Malicious Mischief. And as a special treat, we get an inside look at some of the characters from Marianne herself. (And don’t forget to check out the giveaway for a Nook HD!)
‘WARNING, I BRAKE FOR ALL ANIMALS.’
Who hasn’t had an animal they identified with, or described someone else by the traits of one? So I thought it would be fun to show four characters from MALICIOUS MISCHIEF as the animals I believe they would most identify with. I hope you’ll agree. ~Marianne Harden
RYLIE KEYES: The heroine of MALICIOUS MISCHIEF, 1st in the Rylie Keyes romantic mystery series, is a budding PI. Rylie is also rather unlucky in love and somewhat flaky in the job department. But heart, she has lots. She laughs. She shares hilarious adventures with her sidekick Solo, and she’s playful. So much cuteness in one redheaded package, you’ll see. So I perceive Rylie as a kitten. No one controls a kitten. By their sweetness, they push their love on us. We take it, gladly. We can’t help it. They’re just that cute.
SOLOSOLO NAMULAU’ULU: Awed and anxious over a troubled world, Solo is a Samoan circus-bike riding wannabe. Sadly, the downpour of not living up to his mother’s career expectations swamps him, but you won’t know it. He’s so funny. He’s so kind. Of course, his great size amazes people. They can’t fathom why he rejected the NFL. “It’s professional football, man! What’s wrong with you?” Nevertheless, their irritation doesn’t faze Solo. He still feels the sharp claws of guilt after hurting a quarterback during a high school game. No, this gentle giant never wants to harm again. So to my mind, Solo is a placid humpback whale.
DETECTIVE THAD TALON: You won’t be able to doubt the depth of his feelings for Rylie, but you’ll know he’s hiding something. Everyone has secrets and his are big ones. He walks a road of mystery because he must. But he’ll take steps, anyway, to win your trust, and even use the quiet melody of his charming Scottish accent to rope you in. It is, of course, important for some people to lie wait and watch—and hunt. So I see Talon as an eagle, even his name supports this belief.
OFFICER ZACH O’NEIL: I wish I could tell you how much Zach grieves killing a man in the line of duty. And now, a hush of his own life has fallen upon him. Still his eyes of friendship never leave Rylie’s face, yet there is something besides buddy-love in that gaze. Rylie knows it. Rylie shares it; the safety of someone trustworthy demands no less. Thus, these two will face Zach’s troubles together, just as they tackled together the complexities of their childhoods. And somewhere along the way, they’ll confront their true feelings for each other—one way or other. So for the big brother he was to Rylie in their youth, and for the tortured guardian his is to her now, Zach is a German shepherd.
Malicious Mischief by Marianne Harden
Is it strange to have the unemployment office on speed dial? Not for twenty-four-year-old college dropout Rylie Keyes. However, her current job at a small retirement home is worlds more important than all her past gigs. Fact is, if she loses this job, she’ll fail to stop the forced sale of her grandfather’s home, a modest lakeside bungalow that has been in the family for ages. But to keep her job she needs to figure out the truth behind the death of a senior citizen found murdered in her care.
The victim was thought to be a penniless man with a silly grudge against Rylie. However, his enemies will do whatever it takes to keep their part in his murder secret.
Forced to dust off the PI training she must keep hidden from her ex-detective grandfather, Rylie has to juggle the attentions of two very sexy, very different cops who both arouse and fluster her at the same time. And as she trudges through the case, she has no idea that along the way she just might win, or lose, a little piece of her heart.
I love making people laugh. True, I should probably spend time on an analyst’s couch, but I’d rather spill loads of fun into my books. I’m rarely at a loss for words, which is wicked cool for a writer. And it would be poppycock to say I didn’t laze away my wonder years dreaming of far-off places.
Over the years, I’ve traversed the insanely fun back roads of Australia and New Zealand, trekked the wildly exotic landscapes of Asia and Africa, soaked up the blistering Caribbean sun, survived bitter Arctic cold to witness the Northern Lights, and lost a wee bit of my heart to the awesomeness of Europe.
My goals in life are simple: do more good than harm and someday master the do-not-mess-with-me look. I roost in Washington State with my husband and our two children.
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The author is giving away a Nook HD to one winner tour-wide.
I managed to look down. Froze. Zach’s jacket had somehow twisted to the front, leaving my butt out in the open. I started to tug it back into place, spied a huge pool of blood nearby, and keeled over. Splat.
“Isn’t that somethin’, you’re wearing a pink thong.” Cokey Bill’s voice sounded distant. “Doris won’t wear one, on account of her incontinence.”
Dizzily, I struggled to my knees, staggered a little, then righted with a hand to one of the orange boxes for support. “Mr. Oley—we need to get—help. Doris needs—help.”
“Ah, that’s the sweetest thing, you moving over like that. I got a nice view now.”
I lapsed into a moment of stillness, hand to my heart. I had a strong feeling nothing could be done for Doris, so I wanted to give Cokey Bill a moment with his wife.
“Rare and beautiful thing, a nice ass,” he said.
Omigod! “Are you kidding me? You pervert. You’re looking at my butt!”
“I’m a simple man,” he said.
“You should be ashamed—” I broke off when his eyes went glassy. “Mr. Oley, are you all right?”
He sunk lower in his seat, grinned, and sagged against the steering wheel, making the horn blare with his pointy nose.
I couldn’t move, couldn’t blink. This wasn’t happening.
Solo popped his head inside the open passenger door. “Holy crap!”
“Where have you been?” I managed.
“Watching some bunnies in the bushes.” He looked from Cokey Bill to Doris and back to me. “What did you do, whisper them to death?”
“No!” I said, gulping air. “Check his pulse.” Then I closed my eyes to the blood and straddled Doris to do my best with CPR. It didn’t matter that I thought it was useless, I couldn’t give up on her or Cokey Bill. A minute later, I eyed Solo. “How’s he doing?”
He shook his head, shoulders slumped. “Dead.”
The blood left my face, I felt it go, drip by bloody drip. “You sure?”
He nodded. “Pretty darn.”
I dragged my eyes off Cokey Bill and went back to work on Doris. The shock and effort made me woozier. My panting and the footsteps outside sounded as one. When the truck’s rear doors flew open, my heart skipped a beat.
“Holy Mother Mary!” Zach said.
Fish and guts streamed out in a silver wave. Zach leaped back. I grabbed for something, anything, but my hands were slimy. The truck’s sharp angle made it worse. I missed a hand strap, but fisted some of Doris’s shirt. She wasn’t moving, probably caught on something. I heard a ripping noise. Ack! She was on the loose.
A jaunty slippery-slide over the rear bumper whipped me higher than a bucking horse. We bounced onto the pavement, bounced again. It turned out Doris was kind of springy. Even so, we went splat, a bouncy splat that whipped me onto my back, my knees heavenward, and my arms above my head. I opened one eye, peered up at Zach; his eyes were steely.
“I can explain.”
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