About your Book:
#1 in Pilgrim’s Progress, romantic suspense:
When Katrina Hunter is forced to shoot her sister’s stalker, she takes the required leave of absence from the SF police department as her one chance for a long over-due sailing vacation. But discovering a floater close to her first port-of-call in Baja, Mexico will change everything she knows about dealing with crooks, liars, cheaters and murder.
Adding to her troubles is handsome Italian-Mexican inspector, Raul Vignaroli, who ferrets out the one secret that could get her fired from her beloved job with the SF Police department. Now that the inspector has the tool he needs to tie her to a murder investigation involving Americans in his port, what will he do with his growing attraction to this pretty young woman?
In spite of the inspector’s blackmailing techniques, Katy feels a mutual attraction to the lonely inspector, but will she learn to trust her heart, and the inspector’s own dangerous secrets?
Targeted Age Group: adult
Genre: romantic suspense
The Book Excerpt:
He snapped the folder shut and stared at her as if suspecting her of having bunny feet.
“You alerted the Mexican Navy at seven a.m. this morning, is that correct?”
“Correct,” she answered, and straightening her spine on the chair, looked him in the eyes, hoping she sounded like the conservative, upstanding citizen her mother always wanted her to be. “If I’d been in the States, I’d have alerted the Coast Guard. But I understand that mariners here are to call your Navy. So, do I need a lawyer, Chief Inspector?”
“That won’t be necessary, Miss Hunter.” Then, as if he couldn’t help himself, he gave her a quick dazzling smile, causing long dimples to bracket the wide mouth. Wrap it all together and the man was not just incredibly masculine, he was downright attractive. “We’re not such a third-world country that we arrest tourists who report finding a dead body. At least,” he added dryly, “not without cause.”
“Of course. And, as an American police officer,” she said, pointing out once again what he already knew, “I’m glad I was able to help. So, are we done here?”
A twitch, or was it a smirk, tugged at the corner of his wide mouth. But instead of answering, he went back to studying the pages in the thick folder while the clock on the wall slugged out another five minutes.
She clenched her hands together and stared at the clock, then rubbed her tongue over her teeth, trying for some moisture.
“Have you been offered anything cold to drink?”
She jumped at the sound of his voice. Was he trying to make her look guilty?
Ignoring the crumpled paper cups littering the table, he snapped fingers at his sergeant and said, “A couple of cold sodas, por favor?”
Turning back to Katy, he added, “Regular Coke okay with you? We don’t have diet.”
Katy sighed. Standard police tactics. “What do you want from me, Inspector? I’ve told your sergeant everything I know. But now that I’ve been here for six—oops, make that six hours and fifteen minutes, I’m sure by now you know more than I do. So, did she fall off some party boat or what?”
He gave her a noncommittal stare. His eyes, she noticed, were the color of burnt sugar and there was some kind of golden ring around the edge. Wolfish eyes combined with that low, threatening voice and she would’ve considered him a very sexy package—except for the wedding band on his left hand. She did like her bad boys, just not married bad boys.
“Sure, a cold Coke would be nice, thank you.”
Peering at her over imaginary reading glasses he said, “You have a husband, a friend, anyone who can account for your whereabouts?”
She knuckled her tired eyes. “Inspector, if that fat file says anything about me, you already know that I’m on sabbatical from the San Francisco PD, I’m single, I live in a studio apartment in Columbus Street. There are ten, maybe twelve people who know where I was this morning at seven a.m. because I checked in with them after I called your Navy.” Then she added with a tilt of a smile, “But, whatever you do, please don’t call my mother.”
He answered her smile with one of his own, and this time it appeared genuine. “As a dutiful son with a constantly worried mother, I can assure you we will not call your mother.”
Sergeant Moreno backed into the room with two cold cans in his hand. He set the cans down on the table, and giving her a timid glance, bent to whisper in his boss’s ear.
The chief inspector blinked. Then suddenly purposeful, he scraped back his chair and stood. “Señorita Hunter, we will detain you no longer. In the course of your brief stay here in Ensenada, I hope you will not hold this unfortunate incidence against us. Please enjoy the rest of your vacation and thank you for your cooperation.” He nodded once to his sergeant and turned to leave. When he saw that Katy wasn’t standing, the black brows went up a notch.
“So, nothing to share, Inspector? Like, was she murdered?” Katy asked in a voice that quavered from the pent-up emotion of the last six and a half hours.
He looked down his long Roman nose at her as if he’d just encountered something smelly. And she probably was, too. Her last shower being now almost twenty hours ago.
“I can only give you the standard reply; I am not at liberty to divulge anything at this time. And, as they say in Mexico, Que le vaya bien. It means—”
“I know what it means, Chief Inspector. As for having a good trip, I think that boat already sailed.”
She waved a floppy hand to indicate she had no intention of explaining American slang to him and stood up. And, with as much dignity as she could muster, marched past him out the door and down the hall, trailing the sergeant behind her. At the lobby, she turned to the sergeant. “Will you call me a cab, please?”
“Oh, that is not necessary, señorita. I will personally drive you to the marina.”
Baja Naval was expecting her. It was a good working marina and she was looking forward to the respite. Scrub the boat, get the teak work done and leave Mexico and its troublesome problems behind. She nodded thankfully to the sergeant. She could almost taste the late afternoon sun, the fragrance of tacos frying in local stalls. Oh, and there was the fish market. Maybe she could persuade the sergeant to stop long enough for her to pick up some fresh fish, or better yet, some fish tacos. Her stomach rumbled at the thought.
She was still thinking about those wonderful fried fish tacos as the double doors of the police station slammed open with such force that the ceiling fan stuttered in its lazy rotation. Two policemen marched in, dragging a listless prisoner between them.
A thick, sun-bleached blond head of hair flopped over half-closed eyes, the buttonholes missing their mark on a faded Hawaiian shirt.
Katy judged him another drunk American giving Mexicans cause to believe everything they’ve heard about privileged Yanks with their big wallets and bad manners.
He was a good foot taller than the two Mexican officers, but with his hands manacled behind his back, it was obvious that he wasn’t going to give them any trouble. But before Katy could dodge around him for the exit, he raised his head and a startling pair of aquamarine eyes met hers.
He straightened his back, wincing at the angle of his cuffed wrists. “What the… Whisper?”
Suddenly, the sound of the ceiling fan was terribly loud. Blood pounded in her ears, her mouth went dry, her palms were damp and her feet were nailed to the floor. In a knee-jerk reaction, she hissed, “Don’t call me that!”