February 16, 2015
To celebrate the release of the Random Acts of Kindness anthology today, some of the authors will be sharing with you a little glimpse behind each of their stories.
Hi everyone! Thank you for stopping by. My name is Indra Vaughn and I’m here to talk to you about the Random Act of Kindness Anthology, specifically the story Two For Joy.
The tale takes place in the city of Lincoln, UK. I actually lived there for three years before I moved to Cambridge, and absolutely loved the small city so I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to use the setting. The view of the cathedral when you drive into town is breathtakingly stunning.
When Matt, the main character in the story, arrives in Lincoln he’s a bit too overwhelmed to notice how beautiful the place is, though. He just got in from Belgium, only to find out the university doesn’t have the promised dorm room for him, so he’s homeless! He tries to find another place to live but has no luck until a gorgeous, tall British guy kindly offers to help him out. Matt quickly finds himself embraced by a slightly odd English family, and loves it.
Now, Matt was born with a congenital amputation: one leg ends just above the knee. When I grew up I had a friend who was born with one arm amputated below the elbow, and while we lost touch when she moved, I never forgot her. The completely fearless way she went at life had me admire her even at a very young age. How she faced stares from strangers and how she got around doing all the daily things I could barely do with two hands was amazing. (Like putting her hair in a ponytail. As a little kid this completely fascinated me, like only kids can be unselfconsciously fascinated by these things.)
So in a way Matt is my little tribute to her. His prosthetic leg is there, and it’s completely normal as far as he’s concerned, and if people want to stare at it that’s their problem.
Apart from Gran. Gran doesn’t mince her words and he loves her for it.
I hope you like this little story and I’d love to hear any and all feedback from you.
With me here is Lane Swift, whose story also takes place in England, but I’ll let her tell you all about it. We’re actually good friends, and I am absolutely thrilled that she’s in this anthology too. You will love her story guys, it’s absolutely amazing, and I hope it will serve as an introduction to other amazing things to come from Lane!
Have a wonderful day!
Hi! I’m Lane. Yes, Indra and I became friends when I lived in the USA, and have stayed friends even though I’m back in the UK now. Europeans have ways of finding each other, no matter what part of the world they’re in! I’ve read her story, and I know you’ll love it.
I thought I’d use this opportunity to elaborate on the setting for my anthology story, The Blue Umbrella. After that, I’ll be interviewing one of my characters, Vik. (The story is told from Andy’s point of view, and Vik wanted to get the chance to have his say.)
Land’s End is a rugged headland in Cornwall, England, characterised by high granite cliffs and crashing waves. It’s the most westerly place in mainland England. According to the font of all knowledge that is Wikipedia: Land’s End has a particular resonance because it is often used to suggest distance. Land’s End to John o’ Groats in Scotland is a distance of 838 miles by road and this … distance is often used to define charitable events such as end-to-end walks and races in the UK.
In The Blue Umbrella, Andy Haynes, dying of cancer, completes what he believes is the final leg of his journey from John o’Groats to Land’s End. However, when he meets Vik, while sitting on a bench on the headland, he discovers his journeying isn’t quite over.
Me: What did you think when you first saw Andy, sitting alone on a bench looking out to sea?
Vik: I couldn’t see his face at first, but from the way he sat, he seemed sad. I wasn’t sure whether to approach him. I thought maybe he wanted to be alone. Something inside urged me to go ahead though, and I’m glad I did. When I spoke to him he looked at me and, although I could see he was unwell, he was still striking. Some people have that, don’t they? The ability to capture your imagination with just a look or a smile. That was definitely Andy.
Me: So you offered Andy your umbrella because you fancied him?
(Vik laughs and looks down into his lap. I think his cheeks are burning.)
Vik: No, I would have done the same for anyone. But maybe I wouldn’t have sat quite so close if it had been someone I wasn’t attracted to. (Vik smiles again.)
Me: What would you say to anyone who doesn’t believe a story with a dying man can have a happy ending?
Vik: Believe! Cornwall is a place of wonder and magic. Anything is possible.
I hope you enjoy the story!
Indra Vaughn Author Page Here.
Lane Swift Author Page Here.
Check out Random Acts of Kindness here!
February 3, 2015
DSP: Give us some inside information about the leads in your new book, A New Man.
PD: Our MCs are a couple of students at the University of Colorado, sharing an apartment. Warren’s a grad student in an organic chemistry lab, who has a silent crush on his roommate. He’s not about to make a pass at Chad, who seems straight, but he can wish. Chad’s friendzoned every girl he’s dated, and there is that inevitable question… What if?
Chad’s also a scientific type, so—get some data. With Warren. Oh yeah, there are some curled toes, but some problems to go with it, which the poor guys will spend the rest of the book resolving.
I had some fun with intelligent, athletic, and sweet Chad. Cue Halestorm’s “Mz. Hyde.” Or Mr. Hyde, in this case. Muwhhaahaaah…. Oh, sorry. I got carried away there.
Chad traded skin-tight Speedos and competitive swimming for padded suits and a (insert phallic euphemism here). Oh, get your minds out of the gutter. He’s on the fencing team! Warren has a five year plan, and a ten year plan, and give him a calculator and a half-hour and he’ll solve your biggest problem. Just don’t get in his way or attempt to push around folks he cares about. Need help with homework? He’s your best friend. Hurt his loved one? Moving to another state might be a good idea.
Did I mention the rats? Oh, yes, there are rats! And not just the ones in the Terry Prachett book that Chad adores. Warren’s best buddy Gabrielle has a whole lab full, so cute with white fur and pink toes. Wait! Where’d Warren go? Warren, come back here. You dropped your chemistry journal! I promise you don’t have to hold a rat. Much.
DSP: What is the most challenging thing about writing gay romance for you?
PD: When I think of two characters who’d be perfect for each other, it seems like they’re looking at me saying, “Hey, lady! Just get out of our way and let us be in love!” I want them to be happy, so my first inclination is to go directly to the HEA.
Everyone’s pleased, right? No!
They’re humping like bunnies and we have no story. I have this here plot they’re supposed to star in.
So I have to remind myself they aren’t perfect for each other yet, and then I torture them make them work twice as hard for their happiness.
DSP: What are some of your writing inspirations?
One of my local libraries has a rotating display, where they set out a number of books on a theme. It could be fiction or non-fiction. My challenge to myself is to check out the book in the lower left corner, no matter what it is, just to keep my horizons stretched. I’ve found some great reads, some mehs, some DNFs, and a couple of plot bunnies. The Rare Event was spawned from one challenge book. Another provided medical insight for the character that became Chad in A New Man.
There are also bit and pieces of my own adventures mixed into the stew. Allan’s fall on the ski slopes (Fall Down the Mountain) was, alas, my own tumble. The prototypes for Kurt, Jake, and their tanker (Fire on the Mountain, etc) found my Cub Scouts while on a camping trip, and yes, we danced in the spray from the fire truck’s hose—only not with shirtless rangers. Warren would have fit right into the chemistry lab where I worked as an undergrad (although I probably had more explosions).
DSP: Do you have characters from your writing that haunt you?
Once I’ve told their stories completely, my characters tend to leave me alone. If someone is unquiet in my head, they have further adventures that I will have to write, sooner or later. Davis from The Rare Event is one such, though I don’t know what his story will be yet. Jake and Kurt make themselves known periodically, which fits with the partial stories on the hard drive.
DSP: Your profile says you measure your cats by the pound. Why? How many cats in thirty pounds?
Two, if they’re behemoths like mine. I used to have thirty-five pounds of cats, but Old Man Cat is getting skinnier with age. He’s almost eighteen. I’ve measured them by weight ever since both of them sat on my lap at the same time and squished me with love.
P.D. Singer lives in Colorado with her slightly bemused husband, two rowdy teenage boys, and thirty pounds of cats, all of whom approach carefully when she’s in a writing frenzy. She’s a big believer in research, first-hand if possible, so the reader can be quite certain P.D. has skied down a mountain face-first, been stepped on by rodeo horses, acquired a potato burn or two, and will never, ever, write a novel that includes sky-diving.
When not writing, playing her fiddle, or skiing, she can be found with a book in hand. Her husband blesses the advent of ebooks — they’re staving off the day the house collapses from the weight of the printed page.
January 6, 2015
Do any of your characters haunt you and if so, why?
I really don’t think any of my characters haunt me. Sean’s predicament in Learning to Love: Final Exam, now, that’s another matter. I cried writing those scenes. Even now when I read the scene before he goes in for surgery, I tear up. What comes across is how scared he is – and how much he loves his husband Michael.
Please give us the inside scoop on your upcoming release, A Bond of Three.
This was one of my first ideas for a book, back in 2012, only it wouldn’t leave me alone. Having said that, the novel changed direction when I got to the chapter introducing Prince Sorran. He was….different. And when I got my head around that, I suddenly had a very different plan for the story.
I met with author Chris Quinton in the summer of 2012, when she came to visit the Isle of Wight where I live. I outlined the story for her. She listened intently, and when I’d finished, she looked me in the eye and said, “you have to write that book.” Whoa.
I admit to being a little nervous. So far I’ve written either contemporary or BDSM. This was A, an MMM story, B, a fantasy and C with an added dash of paranormal for good measure – yeah, nothing liked anything I’d written to date. When I first started sending chapters to my betas, I was getting the same response….
“I don’t like fantasy.”
“I don’t like ménage.”
“Hell, woman, give me MORE!!!!”
I sent an advance copy to a friend who doesn’t normally ‘do’ ménage – three guesses what her response was? LOL
So yes, I am awaiting the response from my readers with mixed feelings.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
HA! My close friends would say, “But she’s always writing!!!!” Er, I read, I love watching movies, I knit, I used to paint, but writing is far more satisfying. But there’s always my notebook not far away – I’ve learnt by now to keep it close. Ideas come ALL the time! But yes, it’s true that if I were writing more, I’d be a happy bunny.
What’s one of your guilty pleasure?
OOOH….Snuggling up with a good book, usually one that I know really well – the Deviations series by Chris Owen, ANY of the Jarhead series by Sean Michael, the Jock Dorm series by Bobby Michaels, (One of the first MM series I ever read and I still love them)
Then there’s my other guilty pleasure… and nope, you’re hearing NOTHING about that one!
Born and raised in the north-west of England, K.C. Wells always loved writing. Words were important. Full stop. However, when childhood gave way to adulthood, the writing ceased, as life got in the way.
K.C. discovered erotic fiction in 2009, where the purchase of a ménage storyline led to the startling discovery that reading about men in love was damn hot. In 2012, arriving at a really low point in life led to the desperate need to do something creative. An even bigger discovery waited in the wings—writing about men in love was even hotter….
K.C. now writes full time and is loving every minute of her new career. The laptop still has no idea of what hit it… it only knows that it wants a rest, please. And it now has to get used to the idea that where K.C goes, it goes.
December 2, 2014
How did you come up with the title for The Guy series?
That’s a funny story. I had a title for the series all planned out. Book one was to be titled Better than Candy, and the series titled the “Better Than” series. Well, right after I submitted book one, my fellow DSP author Lane Hayes came out with a book called Better Than Good. Yikes! I had to find something else and fast. Since book one was set in the fictitious town of Glamour, I decided to call it The Guy from Glamour. The Guy series was born from that decision. I think it all worked out for the best!
Do you have a favorite couple that you’ve written?
No, but I do get obsessed with whatever couple I’m focused on most recently. My new series, for example, has the first book releasing in February, and I fell hard for this couple. I never intended to write Cole and Ian’s story at all. It came rushing out like a locomotive. Their story involves sudden tragedy. It gave me all kinds of strong feels to write, and I hope readers will embrace it. It’s called Here for You and will be out in February. What I love about the story is that it’s also a story of friendship. It revolves around five roommates in South Florida and the strong bond they all have for each other. Today it is my favorite, but tomorrow I’ll have a totally different answer.
The truth is I fall in love with different aspects of each MC.
My two December releases have four guys to love. Evan, from The Holiday Hoax, is self-deprecating and sweet— a combination I love—while JD is lonely and shy. Henry from The Last Guy Breathing has gone through the awful dating scene and needs some love. Locke is flawed yet deeply protective, which is another combination I fall for in a character.
What are some of your favorite books, music and movies?
My kids are watching School of Rock this week, and I adore this movie. I love many of Robin Williams’s films, especially The World According to Garp. And let’s see… Since it is the holiday season, I would pick A Christmas Story and It’s a Wonderful Life as two favorite holiday flicks.
As for music, I like classic and current rock. Some of my favorites would be The Killers, Aerosmith, and Train. I enjoy putting on a fun dance band too like the B52s or The Black Eyed Peas. I love dancing, but I do most of my dancing in my living room these days.
Books would be impossible to name only a few favorites. Sorry! I seriously fall in love with a new book every other month.
Can you briefly share what your writing process is?
Get butt into chair and write, lol. I write as much as possible, but I don’t write daily. My kids, my messy house, and my other responsibilities often steal the time away. I’d love to be one of those Type A writers who charts their progress and counts their daily words, but it never seems to happen for me. As long as I see the novel developing, though, I’m satisfied to follow my own haphazard process. Once the first draft is complete, I’ll go through several more versions with tough self-edits and beta readers before submitting it. I’m tough on myself and it is hard to let the WIP go.
Cake or pie? Coffee or tea? Chocolate or peanut butter?
Pie ( I love all kinds)
Coffee (I can never drink enough)
Both (Why pick between chocolate and peanut butter? Reese’s is fine with me)
Skylar M. Cates loves a good romance. She is quite happy to drink some coffee, curl up with a good book, and not move all day. Most days, however, Skylar is chasing after her husband, her kids, and her giant dog, Wasabi. Skylar dreams about spending her days writing her novels, walking along the beach, and making more time for her good friends. On a shoestring budget, Skylar has traveled all over in her early years. Although, lately, the laundry room is the farthest place she has visited, Skylar still loves to chat with people from all around the globe. Visit Skylar on her website.
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 email@example.com 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
November 5, 2014
Dreamspinner: So, Dex? Where did you get the inspiration for this 80′s-music-singing, high-octane cop with the mouth of a sailor who can’t hold his liquor?
Ah, Dex. Dex popped into my head in all his Cheesy-doodle-crunching, power-ballad-singing glory. It’s kind of scary how many traits Dex and I share. The 80s quirk was easy for me because like Dex, I’m a child of the 80s. I love the music, the movies, the cartoons, and toys. The clothes maybe not so much, but I definitely enjoy looking back at the fashion horrors. The coffee obsession is something we also share. Brain function is difficult without my cup of java in the morning. All that frothy goodness. Mmm….
I’m also big fan of John McClane from the Die Hard movies. This every day cop with amazing wit who always found himself embroiled in some kind of trouble that ends up with him beat up or almost getting blown up. That whole kind of “every man” trait that John McClane has is something I wanted for Dex. He’s not this invincible action hero who knows three kinds of martial arts and can walk away from an explosion without a scratch on him. I wanted Dex to be fun but complex. He’s the kind of guy you’d love to have as a friend. He’s a genuinely nice guy, loyal, always wants to do the right thing, loves his family, and knows when to be serious. Trouble has a way of finding him. He might be on an elite team, but he’s just a regular guy. Just weirder.
Dreamspinner: Are we only going to get three books in the THIRDS series?
There are quite a few books planned for the THIRDS series. At the moment, I have 8 books planned. It’s a continuous timeline, though book 5 will be from Ash & Cael’s point of views, and Book 6 from Calvin & Hobbs’s point of views, Book 7 & 8 will return to Dex and Sloane. I also have a book planned in the THIRDS world with agent Sebastian Hobbs and Chief Medical Examiner Hudson Colbourn. After that, we’ll have to see. You never know which characters will demand to have their stories told. I have a few couples that might get their own novellas.
Dreamspinner: What scene in any of the THIRDS books do you still laugh about?
I admit that I still laugh at a good deal of Dex’s antics. It’s hard to pick just one. The training scene in Blood & Thunder is a top favorite. Sloane is in his jaguar form and he takes off after another agent who screams “like a pre-teen at a Bieber concert”. That scene still makes me chuckle. Also the scene with his ex at Bar Dekatria with the goats and Waking Dead secrets coming to light.
Dreamspinner: Who was the most difficult character to write in the THIRDS series?
All the characters in the THIRDS are challenging in some way, but I think Dex is still my most complex character because there’s the image he portrays of this happy go-lucky guy who’s always smiling and joking, but inside he’s very sharp and perceptive. He feels things deeply. Plus there’s his humor. Humor is incredibly difficult to write because it either happens or it doesn’t. You can’t force humor. Dex’s one-liners and snappy comebacks have to come during that moment. There are just so many layers to him, so many instances where he’s doing one thing but thinking or feeling something completely different.
Dreamspinner: Coffee or tea? Ebook or print? Vanilla or chocolate? Rap or country music?
Coffee. Sentences and words don’t happen without coffee. I love both eBook and print. For research, I prefer print books. Chocolate for sure. I do enjoy vanilla, but chocolate is right up there just below coffee. I’m not big on rap or country. I’m more into 80s music.____________________________________________
Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From historical to fantasy, contemporary to science fiction, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too! Currently residing in South Florida, Charlie looks forward to migrating to a land where the weather includes seasons other than hot, hotter, and, boy, it’s hot! When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.
September 28, 2014
DSP: So… mermen?
That was exactly my thought when I read my first merman story a few years ago. That was a time when I still wrote fan fiction, and any story that held fantasy or fairy-tale elements drew my attention. So, I read that story and was intrigued. To be honest, I’ve wanted to write a story about merfolk since I was a child. While I liked the classic mermaids with their long, flowing hair and graceful appearances, the discovery of mermen was the icing on the cake.
When I wrote Tidal Change, my newest release with Dreamspinner Press, I had a blast. I love to swim, and we usually spend our summer vacation at the sea, so that was the perfect time for me to write Marty and Rick’s story. It must’ve been one of the fastest stories I’ve ever written because I got it done in about two weeks. What can I say? The weather was great, I could sit at the beach and watch the waves and the occasional seal, and Marty and Rick demanded their story be told.
DSP: What was your inspiration for your history teacher lead?
I’m a teacher myself. I’m a Special Ed teacher, but I studied history as a subject, so I felt comfortable with Rick being a history teacher. He’s not based on me, just his profession, because for once I wanted to write about a profession I know firsthand. There might be more teachers in my next books…
Often history teachers are portrayed as old, boring, and dry people. While Rick is older than Marty, he’s not boring, and his lessons at school aren’t sleep-inducing either. Rick is laid-back, ready to settle down, and he wants Marty to become his partner, even though Marty plays hot and cold for a long time. Marty has his reasons, though, what with him being a merman.
DSP: What are some of your favorite books?
That’s a tough question. I read in pretty much every genre, but of course I have my favorite authors and books. I’m a big fan of Josh Lanyon’s and Megan Derr’s books. One of my favorite authors, who publishes with Dreamspinner Press, is Lynn Gala and I adore her books Gathering Storm and Mountain Prey. Another DSP author I discovered recently is Liv Olteano. I first read her recent release A Tooth for a Fang, then got her other two books and LOVED them. Oh, and Charlie Cochet’s THIRDS series has become one of my favorite series. I could go on and on but that would probably go beyond the scope of this interview.
DSP: What made you decide to start writing gay romance?
I started out as a fan fiction writer. For a while, I was very content to read anything I could find, until I got stuck in one fandom and desperately searched for a certain kind of story. After searching all available archives and not finding what I sought, I decided to try my hand at writing. I’ve never looked back since then. I can’t exactly pinpoint why I enjoy writing gay romance so much, I just know that it’s my favorite genre. Several people—including my husband—pushed me into the direction of writing original fiction, and the same supportive people pestered me until I submitted my first story to Dreamspinner Press. As the saying goes, the rest is history.
DSP: Where can your reader-fans interact with you and why do you like that social media outlet?
The easiest way for readers to interact with me is probably on Twitter and Facebook. I also have a blog, and I post free fiction there every Wednesday, so that’s a good place to meet me as well.
I like Twitter and Facebook, though I’d say it’s easier for me to interact on Twitter. On Facebook, I always fear I’m missing out on stuff, and sometimes I’m just overwhelmed with all the posts there, so that I just click like instead of leaving a comment. On Twitter, I like to respond and simply have nice conversations with like-minded people. It’s like an instant messenger for me, and since I tend to get chatty, that’s a great tool for me, especially since most people live in the States and therefore are in a different time zone. Twitter simply allows me to have quick conversations, ask questions, see how someone is doing, without having to write a long e-mail (which I like, but don’t always have the time for).
Chris T. Kat lives in the middle of Europe, where she shares a house with her husband of many years and their two children. She stumbled upon the M/M genre by luck and was swiftly drawn into it. She divides her time between work, her family—which includes chasing after escaping horses and lugging around huge instruments such as a harp—and writing. She enjoys a variety of genres, such as mystery/suspense, paranormal, and romance. If there’s any spare time, she happily reads for hours, listens to audiobooks, or does cross stitch.