March 25, 2016
Hello good people. This is Wade Kelly here with a special guest post. I’ve had a busy week. On Monday, March 21, I had an audiobook release. Names Can Never Hurt Me is now out for your listening pleasure! I am so very excited as I believe Jack Amber captures the voice of Nick Jones so very well!
Then, today, March 25, my new novel Bankers’ Hours has come out!
When thinking of what to write about for my blog tour, I asked my fan group The Wade Brigade what kinds questions they would like me to answer. One person, Eric, asked this:
Eric asked: Unlike a lot of authors, you do tend to write CLEAR across the scale. Do you have to balance out writing a tough novel with something lighter? Does it wring you out when you write the tough ones, or does it help you work through your own demons? (If you have any?)
I found this a good one to answer here. Eric is right, I DO write clear across the scale. So much so, I came up with an “Angst” scale of my own for people to refer to when choosing one of my novels. I believe you need to be prepared for what you read. I do not want a fan of lighthearted romance to pick up When Love Is Not Enough and have their heart ripped out with out them realizing it until it’s too late. I want happy fans. If you want your heart ripped out, then by all means read my angsty stuff! But I know that I have fans who only want the light stuff. I give it to them straight on what NOT to read.
That said, Bankers’ Hours is on the lighter end of the scale. (Refer to my angst scale image) BH (as I often refer to it,) is #3. If any of you have read my stuff, so far My Roommate’s A Jock? Well, Crap! is rated #2 on the one end, with When Love Is Not Enough on the other end at #10. When I was writing Bankers’ Hours, I was having fun. I was in a relatively good place emotionally for most of the writing of BH and I hope when people read it, they will have fun. Of course it wouldn’t be a Wade Kelly novel without a little angst. I hope some of the struggles are realistic and the emotions my characters go through come across genuine.
Several other novels are not so light and fun. To answer Eric’s question—yes, I work through my own demons when I write. When Love Is Not Enough ( WLINE) was born out of pain. In 2010 when I wrote it I had lost all my friends because I had the audacity to write a book with gay characters. (That book is out of print right now.) I was shunned for portraying homosexuality as acceptable. I was supposed to condemn it, and I had not. This cost me my church family, my friends, and nearly my marriage. Also during that year, I was going through an adoption. This was the toughest year of my life and it poured out through my writing. The main character Jimmy Miller, commits suicide. (this is known at the beginning of the novel.) I had to focus my pain somewhere, and Jimmy, Darian, and Matt came out of that pain. Since then, I have been messaged by many readers who that me for that book. I can see it was needed, and part of me is thankful for the pain I went through because it made my characters very genuine. The sequel, The Cost Of Loving (TCOL) features the persecution I went through involving the church.
My Roommate’s A Jock? Well, Crap! was written right after WLINE. YES, Eric, I had to balance out the tough novels with something light. JOCK was fun. I needed fun after writing Jimmy and Darian. They felt such pain and I had to think of something lighthearted. Cole is my sarcastic self and was written when I was feeling really good about myself.
Names Can Never Hurt Me, is the book in the middle of my scale. I wanted to get back to some angst, but I wanted to come at it from a different side. Instead of writing the character angst happens TO, I wrote from the POV of the love interest of the guy with a hard back story. Nick Jones is sort of slow on the uptake and kind of stupid at times, he’s sort of a slut, but he’s got a heart of gold. RC is my opposites attract love interest for Nick. RC has the really though backstory. This gives some angst, but it isn’t first hand knowledge, which gives it a lighter feel. I actually do the same thing with No! Jocks Don’t Date Guys ( JOCK 2) as I use a harsh backstory in Alonzo’s life, but the main character, Chris, finds out about it after the fact. When the rough stuff is not experienced first hand, it is not as intense.
I wrote NAMES, and a book called Misplaced Affection back to back and both are much heavier than JOCK. So, to balance out the pain, I wrote JOCK 2 and BH back to back. I need the fun!
I just finished writing JOCK 3 and poured my feelings into my characters. Right now I’m writing JOCK 4. Both of these are being written when I have some major emotional upheaval in my life so that will probably translate into tougher emotions. IDK. It’s the JOCK Series so it is supposed to be light. I’m trying! But the JOCK books will end up across the scale, but no higher than a #4.
I think that writing what you feel does help purge the demons. I can also put a happy ending on something that doesn’t feel so happy to me at the time as a way of searching for hope in myself. My goal when I write is to touch on real life situations and connect with what readers feel, and then to give them hope.
So if you are looking for an escape that is somewhat light, then maybe you’d like Bankers’ Hours. It’s quirky and meant to make you laugh, and maybe cry a little. Or, if you like audiobooks, Nick Jones is the character I think shows the most growth of all my books in Names Can Never Hurt Me.
I hope you all have a great weekend! I will leave you with an excerpt from Names Can Never Hurt Me, but after you read that, look for my other excerpts and blog posts for my blog tour for Bankers’ Hours.
The links to all the posts are on MY BLOG, to be updated daily. There are prizes to win and contest rules on those blogs. I hope to see you there!
This is the official tour list of stops:
February 24 – Prism Book Alliance
March 18 – MM Good Book Reviews
March 22 – Long and Short Reviews
March 23 – My Fiction Nook
March 24 – Oh My Shelves
March 25 – Divine Magazine
March 25 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
March 28 – Love Bytes
March 29 – Gay Book Reviews
March 30 – The Novel Approach
For LINKS to all the stops, hop over to MY BLOG.
The BUY LINK for Bankers’ Hours is HERE.
The Names Can Never Hurt Me audiobook HERE.
Here ya go….
“Are you going to hide up here all night, or are you going to introduce me to your friend?” My mom smiled pleasantly, but I knew she was irked that I hadn’t already introduced him while we were all down in the kitchen. Not officially anyway. She stood in the middle of my room with her hands clasped behind her back. Waiting. If I didn’t do as asked, she’d probably stand there all night. I could comment about her being intrusive, but really, did I need to? I wasn’t bothered.
“Sorry, Mom, this is RC. RC, this is my mom, Cathy Jones.”
RC held out his hand and shook hers. “RC? Is that a nickname or your initials?” Leave it to Mom to broach the very question I had been dying to ask for a while but hadn’t.
He cleared his throat. “Um, they’re my initials, but also a nickname. My full name’s Raffael Charles Coppola, ma’am.” He looked unsettled as he told her.
“Raffael Coppola,” she repeated. “What a great Italian-sounding name.”
“Yes, ma’am. My father was Italian. My mother’s Greek.”
My mom smiled at RC and looked over at me. “I’m going to lie down and read before bed. Try not to be too loud in here.” She turned and walked out.
I knew her comment contained a double meaning of some sort. We weren’t loud before. She left the door open, and I was fine with it. We weren’t doing anything. I turned my attention to the TV and shot someone else. After a couple of minutes, I asked that burning question, “So, why do you go by RC? Raffy’s a pretty cool nickname.”
“That’s not what they called me in school,” he replied very quietly.
I noticed RC had stopped shooting when his character stood motionless and got killed by the advancing enemy soldier, so I looked over at him to see what was wrong. He was staring at the floor, controller limply held in his grasp. “RC?”
“I was a fat kid in school,” he whispered, however it was very quiet in the room after I paused the game so I could hear him well. He wasn’t looking at me. He was looking down, but I highly doubted he was counting carpet fibers. He continued slowly, “Kids weren’t very nice.”
RC sat very still and he didn’t look up. Am I supposed to say something? I didn’t know what was appropriate to say. “Um, yeah, I know. Kids can be mean. I’ve done some really shitty things.”
“Everyone called me Raffael until second grade. My mom liked my full name, and that’s how I got introduced. Then I remember eating a ham sandwich at lunch one day and some kid had just learned that capicola was a type of ham. He started laughing and slapping the table as if he’d heard some funny joke. When another boy asked what he was laughing about, he said my named rhymed with a type of ham. The whole table started laughing, and by the end of the day everyone was calling me Capicola instead of Coppola.”
“That’s not so bad. I like ham.” I tried sounding positive, but it didn’t help.
Without reaction to my comment RC said, “They all laughed and started making pig sounds. I was already fat and ridiculed by some kids, but when those other kids started oinking whenever I walked by, it only amped up the harassment because then almost all of my class was making fun of me. It went on all year. When I returned in third grade, I hoped it would change, but it didn’t. There were less random oinks in class, but I after threw up on the bus one morning the nickname changed from Capicola to Ralph.”
“That’s not bad. We have a neighbor named Ralph. I don’t see how that’s so awful when you could easily derive Ralph from Raffael.”
He looked at me then, and the pain in his eyes was dreadful. “It is when ‘Ralph’ is accompanied with retching sounds. It never stopped. The noises and euphemisms for vomit continued through high school. Kids didn’t oink as much, but they pretended to throw up when they passed me in the halls. I was called Vomit, Yackhead, Pukeface, and Upchuck. Kids asked questions like ‘Did you lose your lunch?’ or ‘Can I toss your cookies?’ I made the mistake of crying in front of someone in fifth grade, and that’s when it solidified into shameful taunting for the rest of my life. No one ever called me Raffy. It was always something derogatory.”
RC looked away. I guess looking at me as I sat there with a stupid dumbfounded expression glued to my face was not helping alleviate his embarrassment of the personal pain he had endured in school. He’d just revealed the truth behind his nickname RC, and I gave no reaction at all. I should have, but I didn’t know what to say at first. I’d been one of those guys. I was the jerk in school who pointed out the flaws in others and laughed when they puked on the bus. I was never as malicious as RC had experienced, but I also knew I was not very different from that now. How often had I judged others in my head, yet without verbal aspersions?
The main reason I hadn’t called RC fat when I first saw him was because Marcy said it. Hearing her cut somebody down made me feel bad. If I’d have done it first, I don’t think I would’ve apologized. I compared people, but I didn’t look at someone and automatically think fat, ugly, poor, Asian, bad hair, needs a bath…. Okay, I did think that with RC. He’d looked scruffy and unkempt and I postulated he needed lessons in proper hygiene. It was only because I didn’t know him. Once I’d found out about the job and the skin issues, it all made total sense. And now, he looked way better.
However, after hearing someone from his past would make him feel so worthless, I was angry. Raffael was his name, not Ralph or Capicola or—for fuck’s sake—Vomit! And Raffy was my friend. I’d never had a friend who had been bullied like that. I had always been the one joining in the torment of others. I never instigated, but I think it was because I feared getting caught. But if someone else started the teasing, I’d had no qualms assisting… back then. I was different now.
It happened in high school. Somewhere between eighth and tenth grade, our little “gang” gelled, and it wasn’t an issue excluding others. We didn’t need to make fun of them or bully them for being ugly or fat. We tended to stick to our own. We were the “pretty people,” as M-L had put it. Others stayed away by default. We became a gang without the hate crimes. We didn’t beat others up or stuff them into lockers. We hung out and partied and drank and had loads of sex and talked about careers and college and the future. Our gang became a stagnant bubble of “senior year” even though most of us had graduated college and found the careers we’d talked about in high school.
So when RC described his past, I couldn’t help but consider it could have easily been me tormenting him. It wasn’t, and it wouldn’t be now, but it could have been. I felt terrible thinking I had it in me to hurt him like that.
I finally worked up my nerve to whisper, “I’m sorry.”
RC straightened and took a deep breath. He stood up and shrugged it off. “If that was the worst thing to ever happen to me, I think I’d be grateful. But the rest is a story for another day.”
“You didn’t need to say all that to me. Not if it’s painful.”
“Yeah, I did.”
“Because it’s like you said three weeks ago… I feel comfortable around you. I know lots of things about you, but we hadn’t gotten around to me yet. I didn’t want to dump it all on you at once, but I felt like I should start with something. After your mom asked my name, it seemed like the right time.”
My heart warmed. “You feel comfortable around me?”
“Yes. It feels like you’re the first friend I ever had. And if you give me shit over it, I’ll pound you.”
Wade Kelly lives and writes in conservative, small-town America on the east coast where it’s not easy to live free and open in one’s beliefs. Wade writes passionately about controversial issues and strives to make a difference by making people think. Wade does not have a background in writing or philosophy, but still draws from personal experience to ponder contentious subjects on paper. There is a lot of pain in the world and people need hope. When not writing, she is thinking about writing, and more than likely scribbling ideas on sticky notes in the car while playing “taxi driver” for her children. She likes snakes, can’t spell, and has a tendency to make people cry.
My social media:
Facebook Fan group, The Wade Brigade : https://www.facebook.com/groups/247976895406172/
December 28, 2015
Hey everyone! This is Caitlin Ricci here taking over to talk about my new novel Blood Slave. This is a very different story for me in a lot of ways and it came about because my husband, Scott, said hey, I have this idea for a book and you should write it. He’s given me lots of ideas over the years that we’ve been together and they’re all filed away in my docs under Scott’s Ideas. They’ll be written, I promise him. Someday I’ll get to them. But this one was even more out there than some of his others.
What he gave me was a post apocalyptic world where people can no longer produce enough of their own red blood cells and have to then start drinking the blood of humans and animals to survive or else get very weak and eventually die. Some people are unaffected, and those lucky few are the humans. The ones who feed on other people became a version of vampires and those who feed on animals are werewolves. He wanted big battles and bloody wars and one big anti-hero to pull it all together.
I write a lot of shifters and contemporaries. I don’t write post apocalyptic or vampires. I just don’t. I figured someday I would, but for the most part a story like this wasn’t even on my radar. But there he was with this idea that he was so excited about and I’d been promising him that I’d write one of his ideas soon. So I decided to give this one a try. Only I made it a gay romance and people fall in love and there wasn’t nearly enough death and things getting blown up for him.
But this novel became a great experiment for me. I got to play with characters I never would have been able to try out in any other world. Jai, the merciless vampire prince, led the story and I fell so hard for Ash, the blood slave. I wanted their love to be gentle in a world that is anything but. While people are dying around them and every day they have to kill just to survive I had these two men who were just trying to figure themselves, and each other, out. It’s a very different book for me and I’m extremely proud of it and how it all came together in the end. It’s about redemption and falling in love when that word really doesn’t exist anymore. And it’s also about revenge and deciding that the world isn’t working how you want it to so it’s better to start a war and remake the entire continent as you want it to be. There is death and gore but in the end it’s a love story about a merciless vampire prince and the blood slave he helps.
Thank you for taking time out of your day to spend it with me. And now I’d like to know, what’s the strangest thing someone has ever convinced you to do?
Happy Holidays everyone. See you in the new year!
July 3, 2015
Hello everyone, Ravon Silvius here!
I’ve been a writer of M/M for a while (you can find me at my website, Ravonsilvius.blogspot.com), and I’m here today to take over the blog and discuss my new release with Dreamspinner Press, Freshman Blues!
When Chris is invited to prestigious Creekville University, he discovers he is part of an experiment by the mysterious Professor Faran. There’s no other way a C student like him would have been accepted into a college where academic mastery results in unique powers like levitation or empathy. But if Faran is right, even below-average students can get special abilities and a good job after graduation. Chris just has to work hard.
Chris isn’t the only one, either. Frederick has worked for Faran for years, and Chris is intrigued by the aloof and sexy older student. But Frederick is too terrified of life after graduation to pursue romance. As they work together, Chris tries to help Frederick out of his depression, all while juggling friendship, classwork, dating, and trying to carve out a place he can belong.
But funding for the experiment is running out, and Chris has to acquire an ability—any ability—soon, or he’ll lose his opportunity at Creekville, and any chance with Frederick, for good.
It’s available today at the DSP store! I’ll be around a lot this morning and evening to discuss my book and chat with everyone.
First, a bit about the book. Freshman Blues is a new adult contemporary fantasy, and takes place in a college setting where people can get superpowers based on the major they pick. Everyone comes into college with a goal in mind, a subject they’re passionate about or something they want to learn more about.
Of course, a few characters run into an issue–you want to be able to support yourself after college. And sometimes, the thing you’re passionate about isn’t going to make you money. It’s something a lot of younger people struggle with.
Passion is a tricky thing by itself, too. Its easy to be interesting in something, only to realize that doing it professionally is a whole other kettle of fish. It’s also easy to get discouraged when you try and try at something you love, but don’t compare to your own inner standards.
Of course, when you’re truly passionate about something, things just come together—work doesn’t seem like work, and time flies by as you do what you’re passionate about.
So what are you passionate about, DSP readers? (Aside from reading, of course!) What is the major thing in life you enjoy, the hobby you love, or the thing you’d love to be doing all the time?
May 12, 2015
Join host Damon Suede along with Laura Kaye, Amy Lane, Kate McMurray, and Tere Michaels as they kick off at the Romantic Times Convention watching The Legend of Hercules and snark-tweeting the whole through! Follow along with us as Poppy Dennison tweets from the Dreamspinner Press Twitter account (@dreamspinners)! Can’t attend the event in person? No worries, watch the movie from the comfort of your home and join in on the live-tweeting! Be sure to use #RTCC to see all the best tweets!
January 26, 2015
Dreamspinner Press is proud to be international publishers of quality gay romantic fiction. Currently in addition to English, Dreamspinner Press publishes books in German, Italian, French, and Spanish. Dreamspinner Press books can be purchased around the globe.
Some of our international readers have recently commented on higher tax rates on ebooks purchased at the Dreamspinner Press store. The reason is as of January 1, 2015, the European Union (EU) changed the tax law regarding the sale of digital goods, including ebooks. All retailers, including Dreamspinner Press, are required to track the location of buyers and apply the appropriate VAT tax based on that country’s specific VAT rate. The collected VAT tax is sent quarterly to each of the 28 EU countries with a VAT return. Companies selling digital goods, like Dreamspinner Press, are required to maintain records for audit for ten years. Click here for more information on VAT taxes.
We truly value our international readers as part of the Dreamspinner Press family. We want to continue offering quality gay romantic fiction to our international readers and must therefore comply with local tax laws.
As always, Dreamspinner Press will continue to offer frequent discounts and coupon codes to help stretch all readers’ book budgets. The Dreamspinner Press weekly newsletter often has coupon codes so subscribe here to receive yours.
If you have further questions please email contact@
January 9, 2015
So a funny thing happened on the way to a tweet, Greg Tremblay, the fantastic narrator of my Dirty series, texted me and said… hey, you should giveaway a custom ringtone. Or something to that effect. There was some discussion. A few emails and then well, long story short—there may have been some pixilated shots of whiskey and banter but a plan was formed. A plan so cunning I could have stuck a tail on it and called it a weasel.
Mostly, it involved Greg. And your phone. But it was still a plan!
After a furious, intense process of queries, eliminations, debating on who said what, we came up with a set of phrases from Cole, Bobby, Jae, Claudia, Scarlet and one from Maddy then Greg went to work. And returned to me with a brilliant sound bites forged by a narrative master—in the style of the characters’ voices.
So dear reader, as a thank you for everything you’ve done for Greg and me, I’d like to present the entire set of ringtones—twenty one in total—FREE, as a gift to you.
Available in Android (MP3) and iPhone (formats for Android and Apple phones, Greg has also graciously included the WAV files if that’s your thing. Download links to the zipped files are provided below.*
A great humongous thank you to all of the blogs who helped me with this guerilla gifting. This swirled up on Tuesday and Greg just MADE it happen. He is the voice of the series and I am forever grateful for his talent.
If you’ve not tried out Greg Tremblay’s narrations, please do so. He makes audiobooks fun and damn, he brings Cole and the others to life.
Greg Tremblay’s body of work can be found here—and yes, the Dirty series is there but so are many other lovely audio books. I highly recommend one of Greg’s audiobooks, a comfy chair, a pair of headphones and a nice hot cup of coffee… or tea… with or without whisky.
* These are copyrighted and available free for individual use. The files included in the zip cannot be sold by third parties nor can they be altered in anyway as to destroy the integrity of the original work. Animals were test subjects for these sound files and while the cat could not have given less of a shit, the dog seemed mighty interested. Please note, neither own nor use a phone or a computer so results may vary.
Love you all, and really, Thank You.
November 11, 2014
Beau, Tollison and I want to thank you for following along today and for taking the time to look up and answer all our questions. The questions and answers are below:
“What’s another name for the French Quarter?”
The Vieux Carre’ is the other name for the French Quarter.
“What streets and landmarks define and border the French Quarter?”
“All other states in the country are divided by counties. What divides Louisiana?”
Louisiana is made up of “Parishes.”
“There are four other nicknames for the city of New Orleans in addition to The Big Easy. Give us any one of them.”
NOLA, The Crescent City, The Birthplace of Jazz, Mardi Gras City and The Big Easy are just some of the other names for New Orleans.
“There are nine historic plantations in Louisiana. Name any one of them.”
Destrehan Plantation, Evergreen Plantation, Houmas House Plantation, Laura: A Creole Plantation, Oak Alley Plantation, Ormond Plantation, Poche Plantation, San Francisco Plantation, and St. Joseph Plantation are the nine major plantations in Louisiana.
So without further delay, here are the winners:
1. Jen CW
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your DSP bookshelf and I’ll have the books downloaded ASAP. Thank you so much for playing along and I look forward to our next time together.
November 11, 2014
Scotty Cade here with Tollison Cruz and Beau Bissonet from my latest novel “The Royal Street Heist.” I hope you enjoyed meeting these two genius crackpots in the earlier posts. Crackpots yes, but as you will learn, they are brilliant at solving their first case together, not to mention a few other things but they can be a little hard to manage sometime. Beau’s ADD and Tollison’s OCD make them a great team, but man, keeping them focused is like herding cats.
Those of you who know me and follow my work probably remember that I grew up in New Orleans. The Big Easy was my home until I was twenty-eight when my career took me to Atlanta. I lived in Georgia until I was forty-five when Kell and I bought the Inn & Restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard. So I’ve spent over half of my life in New Orleans and she will always be my home.
Because of the many years here, I am intimately familiar with the city and like most who live here are forever touched by the charm of the French Quarter, the beauty of the Garden District, or the quaintness of the Irish Channel, just to name a few. She never fails to amaze me and I revel in being here each and every time I visit. As a matter of fact, I’m here as we speak for the release of “Heist” enjoying the mild fall weather and spending a little time with my two new stars working on their next adventure. I thought I’d do a little Q&A just to help you get to know my guys.
Scotty: So Beau. Tell everyone how you go about solving cases in you line of work.
Beau: For starters I look at the facts. I put them all up on what I call my “Fact Board” and see if I can find any links or connections to any of the potential suspects or “persons of interest” as we call them in the biz. Secondly, my motto is if it barks like a dog and fights like a dog, then its probably a dog. And in most cases I’m spot on.
Tollison: Pretty much the same. But I add the element of logic. Without giving away too much of the book, believe me when I tell you I’ve seen some highly intelligent and brilliant criminals whose styles don’t always make sense, but sometimes they get away with it. But in Beau’s defense, his line of work is a little different then mine.
Tollison: Sure man. Anyway, I don’t usually deal with murders, only recovering valuable property that was stolen or at least pretending to be stolen. It’s my job to decide which and then follow every lead until I hunt down the stolen property, wherever it may be.
Scotty: What makes you guys work so well together?
Tollison: (Raises hand) Me. Me. Me. Oh please let me answer this one.
Beau: Fine! But I get the next one.
Tollison: Okay. Okay. Baby. So I think Beau’s and my magic lies in our passion for our jobs. We are both extremely passionate about our work. And as you said, my OCD and Beau’s ADD make us an especially good team. He goes off on tangents and is hard to stay focused but that trait lets his mind go in places my mine would never attempt. For me this is very valuable, but very painful at the same time. When he embarks on something in outerspace its my job to bring him back and start working every detail of his digression. We may kill each other one day, but in the end the job gets done and with each case we solve independently or together, we’re better at what we do.
Beau: (Hangs head with wounded eyes) Oh come on Tol? Am I that bad?
Tollison: (Reaches over and squeezes Beau’s knee and winks) Hell yeah! But I wouldn’t change a thing.
Beau: (Heartwarming smile with those adorable pouty lips) Thanks Man. Me either.
Scotty: Okay Beau. Here’s one for you. (beau sits up straight and listens intently) What did you think of Tollison when he barged in on your investigation and tried to take over?
Beau: (Throws head back in laughter) Take over? I think not! No way was that going to happen. I work my cases. But man I’ve got to tell you, he was and still is some kind of easy on the eyes. He had me forgetting all about the case for a split second. I mean one minute I was eyeing that tight ass and imagining what I’d do to it if I got the chance and the next I was saying, “Who the fuck does this guy think he is? He’s trying to take over my case.” Then when the Chief made us work together, that was the kicker. But in the end (winks at Tollison) it all worked out. We make a great team and now I don’t have to imagine what to do with that tight little Latin American ass. (Tollison lets Beau have it in the arm) – Fuck Tollison, that hurt.
Tollison: Serves you right. Don’t forget I’ve worked that ass of yours over a few times.
Beau: You don’t have to remind me of that. (Winks)
Scotty: Okay you two. Let’s keep this clean and save a little for the book.
Beau & Tollison in unison: Sorry.
Scotty: Okay boys? What do you think we should do to give these nice people some free books?
Beau: How about we ask them questions about the excerpt?
Scotty: Nice, but its been done a million times before. Let’s try something new.
Tollison: How about so some simple questions about New Orleans so people can easily Google the answers.
Beau: Yeah, that sounds good. That’s a little different.
Scotty: Okay go for it. Let’s come up with five questions.
Beau: How about “What’s another name for the French Quarter?”
Scotty: That’s a great one.
Tollison: Let’s do “What streets and landmarks define and border the French Quarter?”
Scotty: Another great one.
Beau: (Raises hand) Oh I have one. “All the other states in the country are divided by counties. What divides Louisiana?”
Scotty: Perfect. Good job guys. Now lets do a couple about the excerpt of the book. How about this one? “What are the names of the civil war paintings stolen from the Royal Renaissance Gallery?”
Scotty: Now each of you give me one more and we’ll be done.
Tollison: Okay. Here’s mine and I just learned this from Beau. (Winks at Beau) “There are four other nicknames for the city of New Orleans in addition to The Big Easy. Give us any one of them.”
Scotty: Great. Beau?
Beau: So you were listening Tol!
Tollison: I hang on your every word. You know that Beau. (Rolls eyes)
Beau: Don’t rush me. I’m thinking… I’m thinking… Oh okay. Here’s one. “There are nine historic plantations in Louisiana. Name any one of them.”
Scotty: Good one. Okay boys. Think we’re good on questions. Great job by the way.
Beau & Tollison: Thanks.
So there you have it folks. I’ve numbered the questions below so you can just place your answer by the corresponding number and all the correct answers will go into a drawing for three copies of “The Royal Street Heist.”
- “What’s another name for the French Quarter?”
- “What streets and landmarks define and border the French Quarter?”
- “All other states in the country are divided by counties. What divides Louisiana?”
- “There are four other nicknames for the city of New Orleans in addition to The Big Easy. Give us any one of them.”
- “There are nine historic plantations in Louisiana. Name any one of them.”
I’ll be back with the winners at 6:00pm EST. But in the meantime here’s my bio for you newbies and a buy link to the book.
Scotty Cade left Corporate America and twenty-five years of Marketing and Public Relations behind to buy an Inn & Restaurant on the island of Martha’s Vineyard with his partner of seventeen years. He started writing stories as soon as he could read, but just five years ago for publication. When not at the Inn, you can find him on the bow of his boat writing gay romance novels with his Shetland sheepdog Mavis at his side. Being from the south and a lover of commitment and fidelity, most of his characters find their way to long healthy relationships, however long it takes them to get there. He believes that in the end, the boy should always get the boy.
November 11, 2014
Beau and Tollison here again, stars of the latest Scotty Cade novel called “The Royal Street Heist.”
Its killing Beau, but I’m the man in charge for this post. I’m Tollison Eduardo Braga Cruz, by the way. And yes, I know Beau said it’s a mouthful, but hey, he’s one to talk right? Montgomery Beaumont Bissonet. Please…That name doesn’t just roll off the lips with great ease.
“Ouch Beau! Stop it Beau. I swear I need hazard pay working with this guy.”
Since Mr. Pouty lips went on and on about himself in the first post, I won’t bore you with as much detail about myself but I will give you a little history. “Damn it Beau. Punch me in the arm one more time and I’m gonna flatten you right here.” (Eyes glaring.)
So where were we? Oh yeah me. Okay so I’m the old guy in this partnership at thirty-seven years old. I stand about 6’1” and weigh in at one hundred and ninety pounds. Unlike Beau, I work out on a regular basis trying to stay ahead of gravity, since well you know, I’m knocking on forty’s door. As you can probably tell by my name, I’m of Latin American decent, Portuguese to be exact and came to the United States when I was just a baby. I have black hair and brown eyes and what I like to call mocha colored skin. It’s like having a permanent suntan. Man do I look good in yellow. But I digress.
Anyway, I’m and insurance investigator for Lloyds of London and reside in Atlanta Georgia. But…I spend more time on the road trying to recover stolen property then I do at home. I too am an openly gay man with one or two relationships under my belt, which much like Beau’s didn’t end well. Some might say I have a bit of a sketchy past, but hey, we all have our past’s right? But also like Beau, I’ll let you read about my past in the book and you can make up your own mind.
“Shut up Beau.” He’s laughing at me right now and really starting to piss me off.
Anyway, so we promised you an excerpt and here it is. In the next posts Scotty will make an appearance to tell you a little about how he embarked on this book and what’s coming up next. Enjoy!
“What do we have?” Lead Detective Montgomery Beaumont Bissonet asked, walking up to the bathroom door with his partner, Detective August Hebert, right behind him. Bissonet looked at his partner and frowned when he saw the investigating detective already at work on the crime scene.
Detective Bruce Jenkins offered him a weak smile. “Meet Anthony Le Moyne, Esquire,” Jenkins said. “A two-bit attorney. No. More like an ambulance chaser than an attorney.”
“Looks like he lost one too many cases,” Detective Hebert said.
“Any idea why this happened?” Bissonet asked.
“My guess is he walked in on another crime being committed here tonight.”
Bissonet gave Jenkins a questioning glance.
“Follow me,” Jenkins said as he led the two detectives down the stairs and into the main parlor. He walked up and stood in front of the empty wall where the two paintings had previously hung.
“A couple of hours ago, two original paintings from the Civil War era hung in this very spot. They were called General Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Chancellorsville and The Little Solider.”
“Anyone checked Ulysses S. Grant’s house?” Hebert teased.
“How much were they worth?” Bissonet asked.
“Combined, a little under two million,” Jenkins replied.
Hebert raised an eyebrow.
“Yep,” Jenkins said. “The kid was worth about eight fifty and Lee about a million,” Jenkins explained. “The gallery owner acquired them about six months ago from the estate of Le Moyne’s late mother. He apparently got them for a steal, and Le Moyne wasn’t happy about that. He showed up intoxicated at the gallery a few days ago during the opening, caused a scene, and even threatened the gallery owner.”
Bissonet looked around. “It appears this place has motion detectors. Did the alarm sound?”
“Yes,” Jenkins said. “But only motion detectors. No exterior sensors were disturbed.”
“How did the thief get in?” Hebert asked.
“There was a gala fundraiser event here earlier this evening. The thief could have been a guest who snuck upstairs and hid until the event was over.”
“And how did he get out with the paintings?” Bissonet asked.
“We think through a rooftop deck and the fire escape of the adjoining building.”
“And the alarm didn’t sound?” Bissonet asked.
“Apparently the first floor is the only area secured by the alarm system,” Jenkins explained.
“That’s odd,” Hebert said.
“Not according to the owners,” Jenkins explained. “The owner said there is only one way to the second and third floors, and that’s the route up the main stairs you used earlier.”
Detective Bissonet looked back over his shoulder in the direction of the stairwell. “Apparently they were wrong.”
“Apparently,” Hebert agreed.
“I’d like to talk to the owner,” Bissonet said.
“He’s upstairs in his office with his wife, daughter, and son-in-law. They all seem to be in shock, so you might want to take it easy on them.”
Bissonet looked Jenkins directly in the eye. “Don’t tell me how to do my job, Bruce.”
“Come on, Beau,” Jenkins said. “Have things deteriorated so badly between us we can’t even work together?”
“Oh, I don’t know, Bruce,” Bissonet said wryly. “Why don’t you ask the teenager you cheated on me with?”
Jenkins cringed and Bissonet smiled.
“He wasn’t a teenager and you know it, Beau,” Bruce said. “And maybe if you would have spent a little more time at home, I wouldn’t have turned to someone else.”
“Fuck it, Bruce. We’ve been over this a million times,” Bissonet said. “I’m tired of beating a dead horse. Now tell me where the owner is again?”
“Upstairs in his office with his family,” Bruce said in a defeated tone.
Bissonet turned and headed for the stairs with Hebert by his side. “Sorry you had to witness that, Auggie,” Beau said. “I still can’t stand to look at the guy.”
“I get it, man,” Hebert said. “If my wife cheated on me, I’d be in prison for murder.”
“Yeah, but I’ve gotta get over it. I still have to work with him.”
Auggie raised a hand to Beau’s shoulder. “Just give it a little more time, man.”
Bissonet approached the door to Crymes’s office. In shock seems to be an understatement, he thought, glancing at Hebert. The two women were crying openly, and the older woman was also trembling and white as a sheet. The men were doing their best to console the women, but they didn’t appear to be succeeding.
Bissonet knocked lightly. “Excuse me,” he said. “I’m sorry to intrude, but I have some questions.”
“Can this wait?” one of the men said.
Bissonet shook his head. “I’m sorry, it really can’t. Which one of you is Mr. Villerie?”
“I’m Crymes Villerie,” the older gentleman said.
“I’m Lead Detective Bissonet, and this is my partner, Detective Hebert.”
Mr. Villerie nodded. “This is my wife, Charmaine Villerie, my daughter, Harper Villerie Hayes, and her husband, Jamison Hayes.” He paused and then asked, “Detectives? What in the hell happened in there?”
“For starters,” Bissonet said, “we think the victim interrupted a robbery in progress.”
Crymes put his hands on his hips. “So let me get this straight. You think Le Moyne was attempting to steal my paintings, but someone beat him to it and then killed him?”
“That’s what the evidence is showing so far,” Hebert said.
“But who?” Harper asked. “After the way Le Moyne acted when he was here, I would have bet my life if anyone attempted to steal the paintings, it would have been him.”
Bissonet made a few notes and then looked up. “You would have probably been right if he’d been a couple of hours earlier.”
“I understand he came into your gallery and threatened you?” Hebert asked.
“That’s right,” Harper said. “He threatened my father on opening night.”
Bissonet looked at his partner. “Mr. Villerie. Can you tell me the circumstances surrounding your interactions with Mr. Le Moyne?”
The detectives listened as Crymes explained how he’d received the anonymous call, how he’d come to purchase the paintings, and Mr. Le Moyne’s actions and threats when he came to the gallery. “I purchased those paintings fair and square from an estate manager,” he said. “I made the man an offer and he accepted. At the time I had not confirmed the origin of the paintings, nor had I determined if they were even originals or just very good reproductions.”
“Of course, we’ll need the name of that estate manager,” Bissonet said.
“And I assume by the price they were indeed both originals?” Hebert asked.
“Do any of you have an idea who might have stolen the paintings? Enemies? Competitors? Etcetera?”
They all seemed to be contemplating the question. “I’m afraid not,” Crymes said. “But they were worth a lot of money. It could have been anyone.”
Bissonet looked at Harper. “No. Not that I can think of,” she replied.
Charmaine and Jamie both shook their heads.
“What about a gun? Do you have a gun on-site?”
Crymes opened his desk drawer and froze. “It’s gone,” he said. “I always keep my .45 right here in case of an emergency. This is the French Quarter, after all.”
Beau nodded and looked at Hebert. “Get CSI in here to check for prints.”
“One last question,” Bissonet said. “Detective Jenkins tells me there was no security system on the second and third floors. Is that correct?”
“Yes,” Harper said. “All of the artwork is kept in our vault or downstairs on display. Our offices are up here, as well as a guest suite we use for customers who come into town to preview artwork.”
“It appears the thief exited through a rooftop deck with the paintings in hand,” Hebert informed them. “And… escaped by hopping onto the adjoining building and down the fire escape. I don’t think your building is as secure as you thought.”
“Evidently,” Crymes said.
“Before you leave,” Bissonet said. “I’ll need all of you to give statements to Detective Jenkins about the night Mr. Le Moyne came to the gallery.”
“And… we’ll need a list of everyone who attended the gala this evening,” Hebert added.
“I’ll send Detective Jenkins right up. And thank you for your time. I’ll be in touch.”
Bissonet and Hebert turned to leave, but Bissonet stopped. “Oh, and I almost forgot. Are the paintings insured?”
“Yes,” Harper said. “By Lloyd’s of London.”
“And for how much?”
“Two point two million,” Harper replied.
“I see,” Bissonet said. “Has the insurer been notified?”
“As a matter of fact, they have,” Harper said. “As soon as I arrived, I reported the stolen paintings.”
“Good,” Bissonet said. “Is it common to insure artwork for more than the retail value?”
“Detective,” Harper explained, “with paintings as rare as these are, the value can increase on a daily basis, and also because of the value, they may not sell overnight. We just want to make sure we’re protected. And besides….”
Beau listened as Mrs. Hayes explained the very small rate difference between the actual value and the policy amount and her rationale for overinsuring.
“Thank you very much for your time. Detective Jenkins will be up shortly.”
Beau and Auggie walked down the stairs and into the parlor. Auggie found Jenkins and told him the owners were ready to give their statements, and Bissonet paced back and forth in the gallery in front of the blank wall.
“What gives, Beau?” Auggie asked.
“I don’t know, but I’ve got a stinking suspicion something is not adding up here.”
“Let’s go over it,” Auggie said. “The owner gets a mysterious call and buys two paintings from an estate for a couple of hundred grand, and the paintings turn out to be originals worth a couple million dollars. The owner has them restored or conserved, whatever they call it, hangs them in his gallery, and attempts to sell them at the appraised value.”
Bissonet took over. “And somehow the heir to the estate finds out they were originals, is majorly pissed off, and shows up drunk, threatens the owners, and promises revenge.”
“Meanwhile,” Hebert added, “the owners overinsure the paintings by a couple hundred grand, and three days later they are stolen and someone is dead.”
“Stolen just after a gala where someone sneaks upstairs,” Bissonet said, “hides until the gallery is closed, and then steals both paintings. Gets surprised by the heir to the estate, also intending to steal the paintings, but instead, the original thief kills the heir and escapes through a rooftop deck and down a fire escape with the paintings.”
“But…,” Hebert said. “There wasn’t enough time after the alarm sounded for the thief to kill Le Moyne, drag him into the bathroom, and still get the paintings out before we show up.”
“Which means,” Bissonet explained, “the thief must have killed Le Moyne before he came downstairs and set off the motion detectors.”
“Exactly,” Hebert said.
“None of that is likely! This was an invitation-only gala, and all guests were business associates or personal friends of the board of directors for the charity,” a strange voice said.
Bissonet turned to see an extremely handsome, tall, dark-haired man snapping a rubber glove onto his right hand. Damn, he’s hot was Beau’s first thought. Wait! Who in the fuck does this guy think he is?
“Excuse me?” Beau said.
“Odds are the thief came in through the french doors leading to the rooftop deck.”
“I’m sorry?” Bissonet asked. “Who in the hell are you?”
“I’m Tollison Cruz. I’m the insurance investigator for Lloyd’s of London, the gallery’s insurance company.”
Beau frowned. “So just for shits and giggles, if he got in through the rooftop, how did he get out?”
“Either through the courtyard or the same way he came in,” Cruz said.
“But none of the exterior sensors were disturbed,” Hebert objected.
“As I understand it,” Cruz explained, examining the display wall and running his fingers along the wall’s edge, “the security alarm was set off by the motion detectors, and that’s what the security system reported. The courtyard door could have been disabled after the alarm was already sounding, at which point the security company would have already done their job by calling the account contact and/or the police.”
“That’s all well and good, but what about proof?” Bissonet asked.
Cruz stopped and pulled off his rubber glove. “I don’t need proof to know I’m right. It’s my job. And if you like, I can help you with yours.”
“How so?” Bissonet asked.
“I get a twenty percent finder’s fee for recovering stolen objects in addition to my already exorbitant salary. I want that money, and you want your murderer. We have common goals. I could consult on your case and share my insight and years of experience.”
“Sounds like a great idea,” Hebert said. “We can always use—”
“No,” Bissonet said. “That won’t be necessary.”
“Can’t blame a guy for trying,” Cruz said, looking Bissonet up and down and smiling. “Good to meet you, detectives,” Cruz said over his shoulder, walking up the stairs.
Bissonet wiped the drool at the corner of his mouth as he watched Cruz take the stairs two at a time, the muscles in his ass flexing with every step and his round cheeks filling every millimeter of his black wool slacks. He shook his head. It’s been way too long. I need to get laid.
“What gives?” Auggie asked. “We could have used him.”
Beau waved his hand through the air. “He’d just get in the way.”
“Really?” Auggie asked. “And what if he’s onto something?”
Beau rolled his eyes when he saw Bruce coming down the stairs.
“Jenkins!” he yelled.
“Check the courtyard door and see if the security sensor has been tampered with, and also see if there’s an escape route from the courtyard to the alley and beyond,” Bissonet instructed. “I know this guy wasn’t brazen enough to carry two stolen paintings down Chartres Street at three thirty in the morning.”
Auggie smiled at him. “Now, was that so hard?”
Bissonet smirked and looked at Auggie. “Are you coming with me, or are you gonna stay here and investigate with Mr. Cruz?”
Back at the precinct, Auggie was on the phone getting more details from Jenkins while Beau talked through the case again out loud.
“So,” Beau said, “Le Moyne breaks into the gallery and attempts to steal the paintings he feels were stolen from him. But… he interrupts someone who beat him to it, either on the way down to steal the paintings or on the way up with the paintings in his hand. More than likely, from the location of Le Moyne’s body, on the way down. Then he brings the paintings back up two flights of stairs and then carries them down the fire escape of the adjoining building.”
“Except, as it turns out, that’s not how it happened,” Hebert said, hanging up the phone. “It appears the courtyard door sensor was tampered with, just like Cruz said.” Auggie smiled.
“A very lucky guess,” Beau mumbled, looking shocked.
“It appears the two screws securing the top sensor to the doorjamb were unscrewed, and the sensor was simply placed on top of the sensor on the door. That way when the door opened and closed, the connection wasn’t broken, and the security company didn’t see any exterior entrances breached. And… that’s how the thief exited the building.”
“And what about his escape?” Beau asked.
“There is a straight shot through the courtyard, down the alley, and onto Chartres Street, where Jenkins found tire marks, quite possibly when the getaway car burned rubber when they left.”
“Damn,” Beau hissed. “I want all the neighbors interviewed to see if they saw or heard anything, and see if you get your hands on any surveillance camera footage.”
“Jenkins is already on it,” Auggie said.
“Bissonet?” Captain Trenchard yelled. “In my office. Now.”
“Yes, sir,” Beau said, jumping to his feet and rolling his eyes at Auggie.
Beau crossed the precinct, stepped into the captain’s office, and almost spit when he saw Tollison Cruz sipping on a cup of coffee.
“Detective. I believe you’ve already met Tollison Cruz,” the captain said.
“Hiya,” Cruz said with a nod and a coy smile, his leg casually crossed at the knee.
“What the f—” Beau mumbled. “What are you doing here?”
Captain Trenchard interjected. “I received a call from the mayor earlier, and apparently this has turned into a very high-profile case. Mr. Villerie is a personal friend of the mayor’s, and he wants this crime solved as soon as possible. And… by using every available asset,” the captain explained. “To that end, Mr. Cruz has presented me with a very compelling proposal.”
“Yeah,” Beau said. “I’ve already heard one proposal, so I can’t wait to hear this one.”
“Well, I like what I heard,” the captain said.
“Captain Trenchard, Please tell me you’re not putting him on this—”
The captain cut Beau off. “He has expertise that can help us solve this case. I’m putting him on as a consultant.”
“Sir,” Beau said. “With all due respect, I prefer working with my team.”
“I believe Mr. Cruz will be an asset to this case.”
The captain held up a finger. “This is no longer up for discussion.”
Beau cursed under his breath, but smiled and nodded.
“I look forward to working with you,” Cruz said wryly, offering his hand.
Beau hesitated, then accepted. The big, tanned hand was warm, and Cruz’s grip was extremely strong. Beau cursed himself for where his thoughts went from there.
He turned and walked out of the captain’s office with Cruz on his heels.
“I’ll give you this,” Beau said when they were out of earshot of the captain. “You’ve got some gigantic balls.”
“Thank you,” Cruz said with a raised eyebrow. “I didn’t think you’d noticed. But let’s save the bedroom talk for later. Over a drink, maybe?”
Beau ignored the comment and poured himself a cup of coffee, not offering Cruz one.
“My theories about the thief?” Cruz asked. “Was I right?”
Beau took a sip of his coffee and smirked without answering.
“I do my job very well, Detective Bissonet,” Cruz said. “This is the quickest way for both of us to get what we want. Think of it as a merger of sorts.”
“More like a hostile takeover,” Beau grumbled. “I’ll have Detective Hebert bring you up to speed.”
“And that’s about where we are,” Detective Hebert told Cruz while Beau looked on with a scowl covering his face.
“So what’s our next move?” Cruz asked.
Bissonet stepped up. “The Major Case squad sent in a list of collectors who might be interested in Civil War history, and so we are looking into that now to see if anyone has tried to contact them regarding the paintings.”
“These paintings are too hot to handle now that’s there’s a dead body on them,” Cruz said. “The thief knows that and won’t do business with anyone on your list for fear of being discovered.”
“Okaaay?” Beau asked. “Do you have a better idea?”
“From my standpoint,” Cruz said. “I’m only interested in recovering the missing paintings, so my plan is to start with the gallery owner and his family.”
“Insurance fraud?” Hebert asked.
Cruz nodded. “Accounts for about fifty percent of my investigations.”
“What about the estate manager?” Hebert asked. “Something doesn’t seem right to me there. And Villerie’s wife? She seemed overly upset over the death of someone she’d only seen once and who, while in an intoxicated state, embarrassed her husband.”
“I didn’t see the wife, but I agree with your summation of the estate manager,” Cruz said. “If this guy even suspected he had originals, he wouldn’t have let them go for such a small amount of money. And normally these estate companies do their homework.”
Beau sipped his coffee and listened. Now Auggie was conversing with Cruz like he was one of the team, and Beau was getting more and more pissed by the minute.
Before he could put a stop to it, Jenkins walked up with a folder. “Yo! Guys. I think I found something.”
Beau watched as Bruce stopped and did a double take when he saw the tall, dark, and handsome stranger sitting on the corner of Beau’s desk.
“Bruce, meet Tollison Cruz,” Auggie said. “He’s working with us on this case.”
Bruce nodded and smiled.
Beau gave Auggie a nasty look and then looked up at Jenkins. “Let’s hear it.”
“It appears our Mr. Crymes Villerie is in debt up to his eyeballs. The bank has already started foreclosure proceedings on his home, gallery, and vacation property in Charleston, South Carolina, and he’s sinking fast.”
“Bingo,” Cruz said. “If I’m lucky, I might be able to wrap up my end of this case by dinnertime.”
“You mean if I’m lucky,” Beau said under his breath.
Cruz looked down at Beau and smiled. “Am I that hard on the eyes?”
Cocky fucker! Beau stood, ignoring the question. “Let’s go and pay Mr. Villerie a visit.”
“Wait,” Bruce said. “That’s not all.”
Bruce shuffled folders and opened a second one. “It also appears that Jamison Hayes, Mr. Villerie’s son-in-law, has quite a gambling problem. Horses, to be exact, and he’s in deep to a couple of very ruthless bookies.”
“Well, well,” Beau said. “In a matter of a few minutes, we now have a person of interest and two suspects.”
“And I’m still working on their phone records,” Jenkins added. “Should have those by late this afternoon.”
Crymes was seated at his desk in the gallery, still in a daze. He and Charmaine hadn’t slept a wink when they’d finally made it back home, and she’d been an absolute wreck, hysterical almost. He’d done his best to try and comfort her, but Harper finally managed to slip a Xanax in her tea, and that had settled her down a good bit before he and Harper left the house.
His phone buzzed, startling him out of his thoughts. “Yes, Harper,” he said into the receiver.
“Detectives Bissonet and Hebert are here to see you.”
“I’ll be right down,” Crymes said.
Crymes walked down the stairs and saw Harper talking to a stranger while Bissonet and Hebert were standing off to the side.
“Detective Bissonet,” Crymes said as he stepped off the landing. “Please tell me you’ve found my paintings.”
“I wish I could,” Bissonet said. “But we do have a few questions. May we speak in private?”
Before Crymes could respond, Harper walked up. “Crymes, this is Tollison Cruz. He’s the insurance investigator Lloyd’s of London sent over.”
“Nice to meet you, Mr. Cruz,” Crymes said, shaking the man’s hand.
“I’ll be working with Detectives Bissonet and Hebert to try and recover your paintings,” Cruz explained. “Is there some place private we can talk?”
Bissonet rolled his eyes. “I’ve already asked that question, Mr. Cruz.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Cruz replied.
“Yes,” Crymes said. “Let’s go up to my office.”
Crymes led the way with Hebert, Cruz, and Bissonet pulling up the rear.
The three men took seats on the couch in Crymes’s office while he sat on the corner of his desk.
“I’ll get right to the point, Mr. Villerie,” Bissonet said. “It has come to our attention that you are in quite a bit of debt and the bank is foreclosing on this very property, as well as your home and vacation home. Is that correct?”
Crymes felt his knees weaken. He gripped the ends of his desk for support, sighed, and dropped his head. “I’m afraid so.”
“Mr. Villerie,” Cruz said. “I’m sure you can imagine how this looks to me and my insurance company. It reeks of insurance fraud.”
Crymes thought about what Cruz was saying. It had never occurred to him before now he might be a suspect. He stood. “You aren’t actually insinuating I may have been the one to steal my own paintings?”
“It’s a definite possibility,” Cruz said. “You would be the one who stands to profit the most from the insurance settlement, as well as the sale of the paintings.”
Crymes straightened his shoulders and tried to stand as tall as possible. “Well, gentlemen, I can assure you your suspicions couldn’t be further from the truth,” he said adamantly. “I was here at the gallery until the fundraiser was over. I then took my wife home and went to bed. You can check my phone records and anything else you want. I assure you I did not arrange for those paintings to be stolen.”
“What about your daughter?” Detective Hebert asked.
Crymes felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand at attention. “I can also assure you Harper had nothing to do with this crime either.”
“How can you be so sure?” Bissonet asked. “The way I see it, if you lose the gallery, she loses her job and her legacy.”
“First of all,” Crymes pointed out, “she has no idea we are about to lose the gallery, and secondly, I know my daughter, and she would never get involved in anything illegal. Foreclosure or no foreclosure.”
“Desperate times call for desperate measures,” Cruz said.
“Mr. Villerie?” Bissonet asked. “What about your son-in-law?”
“Jamison?” Crymes asked. “Out of the question. He’s a fine young man from an upstanding New Orleans family, and he’s about to make partner in his father’s law firm. He wouldn’t chance being disbarred and embarrassing his family for something so ridiculous.”
“He stands to lose as much as your daughter does,” Cruz pointed out.
“Yes, gentlemen,” Crymes argued. “That might all make sense if I thought either of them knew about the foreclosures. But they had no way of knowing. I… I was just notified myself a few days ago. I picked up the foreclosure papers from the bank personally to avoid being served here at the gallery so I could tell them when I found the right time.”
“Are you aware your son-in-law likes the ponies?” Hebert asked.
“I’m aware he goes to the track occasionally,” Crymes said. “Hell! I’ve even gone with him a few times.”
“And what about his bookies?” Hebert asked. “Our sources tell us he’s in pretty deep.”
Bookies? “What bookies?” Crymes asked, unable to hide the shock in his voice.
“Mr. Hayes is very heavily indebted to two well-known and fairly ruthless bookies.”
Crymes felt like all the oxygen had been sucked out of the room, and he could no longer breathe. His throat was closing up, and his vision was fading in and out. He felt his way around the edge of his desk and collapsed in his chair, unable to support his own weight. He rubbed at his eyes and covered his face with his hands. “I had no idea,” he forced out when he could finally speak. “I had no idea.”
“Just so you’ll know,” Bissonet said. “We’ll be looking closely at your daughter and son-in-law, as well as your wife, as we proceed with our investigation.”
“Charmaine?” Crymes asked, feeling weaker by the minute. “But she knows nothing about the foreclosures either.”
“That may very well be,” Hebert said. “But we’re not as convinced about all this as you are.”
“Thank you for your time, Mr. Villerie,” Bissonet said. “We’ll be in touch.”
Crymes nodded and leaned forward in an attempt to stand.
Hebert held his hand up. “Please don’t get up. We’ll show ourselves out.”
Mentally and physically exhausted, Crymes leaned back and closed his eyes. Harper, Jamie, and now Charmaine. What is going on around here?
Bissonet gestured for Hebert and Cruz to go ahead of him, and he watched Cruz’s broad, muscular shoulders and tight little ass as the man walked down the stairs in front of him. The guy was a pain, all right, but he was a good-looking pain just the same! If Beau had to guess a nationality, he would go with Latin American. Cruz’s mocha-colored skin, rich brown eyes, and jet black hair were dead giveaways. Combine that with the slightest bit of an accent, and he figured Cruz was from Brazil or maybe Portugal.
When they got to the bottom of the stairs, Cruz looked over his shoulder, smiled, and winked at Beau, which pissed him off immensely. “Fucker!” he said under his breath as he passed him by.
“Now, now, Beau,” Cruz said wryly. “No need for obscenities.”
Beau smirked and stepped out onto Royal Street, letting the door shut behind him. The heat and humidity hit him like a ton of bricks, and he crossed the street to get out of the direct sunlight. Cruz and Hebert caught up to him just as his cell phone rang. Beau looked at his phone and frowned when a picture of Jenkins’s smiling face filled his screen.
Beau flashed back to the day he’d taken that picture—on the balcony at the Bourbon Pub during Mardi Gras a little over four years ago. It had been his and Bruce’s second anniversary, and his heart hurt a little, seeing the twinkle in Bruce’s eyes and remembering how happy they were then.
They’d broken up a year and a half ago, and he was still so angry at Bruce for cheating on him and fucking it all up that he had a hard time dealing with him. He’d had to maintain a certain amount of professionalism because they still had to work together, but he’d be damned if he was going to forgive and forget and make the whole thing easy on Bruce.
Both of them had been uniformed officers when they’d met, and after their shifts they’d had lots of time to spend together, in and out of bed. But everything had changed when Beau was offered a detective position. Their time together started to lessen, and after a year, when Beau had been promoted to lead detective, everything started to fall apart.
His caseload had been extremely heavy, and Beau had been working eighteen-hour days. In Beau’s mind, though, he’d been trying to prove himself and secure his job to ultimately make a better life for the both of them, but Bruce hadn’t exactly seen it that way.
In an attempt to save his relationship, Beau had called in a favor, unbeknownst to Bruce, and Bruce had been offered a detective position. Not that Bruce needed his help. He was a damned good detective and would have been promoted eventually, but their relationship wouldn’t have made it until then. Things started to get better, and Beau thought they were going to make it until he found out about the affair.
Once Bruce fessed up, there was no way Beau could go back. He couldn’t be with a man he couldn’t trust, and everything had ended right then and there. Beau knew he shared some of the blame by neglecting Bruce, but it was his job, and if the shoe had been on the other foot, he would have never cheated. Auggie and his wife, Jenny, had been his saving graces; they had been his shoulders to lean on and had literally coaxed him back to the land of the living.
So here they were. A year and a half later, they were still working together because of a promotion Beau had arranged, and both of them were miserable doing it.
The phone rang again, startling Beau out of his thoughts, and he accepted the call. “Bissonet.”
“Beau, it’s Bruce.”
“I’m listening,” Beau said with no emotion in his voice.
Beau heard Bruce sigh and momentarily felt sorry for the guy, but it didn’t take him long to recover. “Talk?” he said.
“I got the phone records back for Harper Hayes, Jamison Hayes, Crymes Villerie, and Charmaine Villerie,” Bruce explained.
“Besides the bookies,” Bruce said, “Jamison’s phone records are clean, and so are Mr. Villerie’s and Harper Hayes’s.”
“And Charmaine Villerie?” Beau asked.
Bruce cleared his throat. “That’s a very different story.”
“I’m still listening.”
“Her phone records show that the day after the paintings were first displayed at the opening, and in the days leading up to the robbery, Mrs. Villerie placed a half-dozen or so calls to a number we traced back through our database to a convicted felon named Emanuel Della Penna, who served time for that heist at the New Orleans Museum of Art ten years ago. He got five years, did his time, and up until now, he hasn’t resurfaced.”
Beau smiled and wiped his forehead with his coat sleeve. “I think it’s time we pay Mrs. Villerie a visit. And bring Della Penna in for questioning. We’ll be there as soon as we can. Is that it?” Bissonet asked.
“For now,” Bruce said, disconnecting the call.
Beau looked at his phone just as Bruce’s smiling face disappeared and the call was ended. “Cheater.”
“Are you always that rude to your coworkers?” Cruz asked.
“Stay out of it,” Bissonet said.
Hebert gave Cruz a sympathetic look. “Long story.”
Beau glared at Auggie as he shared the information about the phone records with him and Cruz. They got in Beau’s car and headed to Esplanade Avenue.
Bissonet parked on the street and walked up to the house. He leaned on the intercom at the gate until an unsteady voice finally answered. “Yes?”
“This is Detective Bissonet with the NOPD,” Beau said. “I’d like a few words with Mrs. Villerie, please.”
“This is not a good time,” the voice said.
Bissonet sighed. “I apologize for the intrusion, ma’am, but I must insist.”
There was silence for a few seconds. “Fine, then,” the voice said rather curtly. They all grabbed their ears when a screeching sound escaped the intercom speaker and the gate started to open. “I’ll meet you at the front door.”
When they walked up the steps to the porch, the door opened, and an exhausted-looking Charmaine Villerie appeared in the doorway.
“How may I help you, Detective?”
“I have a few questions for you Mrs. Villerie,” Beau said. “May we come in?”
Charmaine stepped back and opened the door farther, inviting them in.
“This is Detective Hebert and Tollison Cruz,” Beau said, gesturing between the two men. “Mr. Cruz is the insurance investigator sent over by Lloyd’s of London.”
Charmaine nodded. “Can we get this over with, gentlemen? I’m a bit under the weather today.”
“I can only imagine,” Bissonet said. “I’m sure it is quite a shock to have your husband’s paintings stolen and someone murdered in your gallery all in the same night.”
“Indeed,” Mrs. Villerie agreed.
“I’ll get right down to it, Mrs. Villerie,” Hebert said. “What was your relationship with Mr. Emanuel Della Penna?”
Beau watched the blood drain out of Mrs. Villerie’s face, and she became ghostly white. Her head rolled to the side, she stumbled back, and Cruz caught her right before she hit the ground.
November 11, 2014
My name is Montgomery Beaumont Bissonet. Yeah I know it’s a mouthful but blame my grandfather on my mother’s side, I inherited it from him. Well at least the “Montgomery Beaumont” part. But have no fear, you can call me Beau, everyone does.
And since we just met, I must tell you I’m one of the main characters in the latest Scotty Cade novel called “The Royal Street Heist” which is published my Dreamspinner Press and just happens to release today. I’m here with my costar Tollison Cruz and Scotty asked us if we wouldn’t mind spending a little time with you today and hosting the Dreamspinner Press Release Party Blog. And…since we’re intimately close to this novel, we jumped at the chance. But we’re gonna ask you to please be patient with us though as were both a bit nervous. You see I’m a Lead Detective with the New Orleans Police Department and Tollison is an insurance investigator for Lloyds of London and hosting blogs are just not in our job description.
But with that said, We’d like to thank Scotty and Dreamspinner for having faith in us and allowing us to visit with you today in celebration of the very first novel of which I am the star. What Tollison? Oh yeah, costar. Anyway I say the “very first” because Scotty has promised us this is going to be an ongoing series and to tell you the truth, we’re excited as hell about that part because man, do we have lots of wonderful weird cases tucked away in our memories to share with you in the coming months.
Now Tollison is already rolling his eyes so I guess I need to tell you about him too. You’ll formally meet him in the next post, but his full name is Tollison Eduardo Barga Cruz, talk about a mouthful, and as I mentioned he’s an insurance investigator. Anyway, he get’s his nose all up in my case and we get off to a really rough start, but I finally get a clue (yes that’s a cop joke) and realize he’s one of the good guys. Unlike me though, I’m sure you’ll enjoy meeting him from the get go. So enough rambling, let’s talk about me and my roll in the book.
For starters, I’m thirty-four years old and stand about six feet tall. I weigh about two hundred and ten pounds, on a good day, have sandy blonde hair (like my mother) and sometimes blue, sometimes gray eyes (like my father). I don’t work out, but I think I’m in pretty good shape for a man my age. My partner Auggie and fellow detectives give me a lot of shit for what they call my “pouty” lips, which still to this day I can’t seem to shake, but hell, I’ll give them that. Hey! There mug isn’t on the cover of a novel. Right? And I always say, as long as they’re picking on me, they’re leaving some other poor soul alone. But the most important thing about me is that for as far back as I can remember all I’ve ever wanted to be was a cop. I worked my way up from patrolling a beat to detective to lead detective and I pride myself in my strong work ethic and integrity. Yeah I’m cocky, but I’ve earned that title. Also like most cops, I can be guilty of thinking I’m always right, but hell, most of the time I am, so you’ll have to get used to that.
Okay so I grew up in the Garden District of New Orleans near St. Charles Avenue where I still live today and yes; I’m an out and proud gay man. Not very common in my line of work, but who the hell cares. It’s my chosen career, I love it and I’m damn good at it. And yes…for a lot of years I was usually the butt of some pretty raunchy gay jokes and I took a lot of ribbing, but now things have settled down and are a little different. Most of the guys respect me and treat me no differently because I screw guys, well one guy in particular. It was my one and only relationship, which ended badly, but I’ll let you read about that in the book.
So now that you know a little bit about me, I’d like to give you some information about the book. Of course it takes place in my hometown of New Orleans and surrounds a case of art theft that we solved over a year ago. So without further delay, here is the blurb:
When a valuable piece of Civil War art is stolen from a popular New Orleans gallery, NOPD Lead Detective Montgomery “Beau” Bissonet and his partner set out to solve the crime. When the gallery’s insurance company sends Tollison Cruz to the Big Easy to conduct their own independent investigation, personalities clash and battle lines are definitely drawn.
The heist quickly becomes a politically driven high profile case, and Detective Bissonet is furious when he’s ordered to work along side Investigator Cruz to assure a timely arrest. The heat index soars to new levels when the two investigators discover they have a lot more in common then originally thought.
With the tension between them temporarily sated, Bissonet and Cruz finally start to work together, on more then just a professional level. But everything comes to a screeching halt when Beau discovers his cohort in crime has been withholding information regarding the investigation and has been concealing a very questionable past. What happens next rivals the scorching summer heat.
So there you have it.
Tollison and I will be back in a couple of hours when Tollison will be at the helm and he’ll tell you a little about him, give you an excerpt from the book and tell you about how you can win you’re very own copy.
See you soon!
Beau and Tollison