Guest Blogger, Karen Fenech
Hi Everyone! I've got a guest in the house today, so I hope you all come out of the woodwork and make her welcome! She wrote a terrific book (that I gave her a quote for) and she's a sweetie, too! So go buy GONE and meanwhile, say hi to Karen!
Thank you Maureen for having me here today. In addition to hosting me at her blog, Maureen very kindly read my latest novel GONE and provided a quote for the book. I have long enjoyed and admired Maureen's work and I was thrilled to receive a quote from her.
Five years ago, when I made the decision to write full time, my choice of writing--romantic suspense fiction, where the plot involves a crime-- understandably raised a few eyebrows among family and friends and brought forth questions of how I was going to write characters who solved crimes and/or committed them when I was neither in law enforcement nor operating outside the law.
In GONE, my latest novel, my protagonists are FBI agents and that life of danger and intrigue is about as far as you can get from my everyday life with my husband and daughter, living in our house in the 'burbs.
GONE is the story of FBI Special Agent Clare Marshall who is searching for the sister she was separated from in childhood, when their mother tried to kill them. After twenty-four years, Clare tracks her sister to a small town in South Carolina. But when she goes there, she learns her sister is missing and someone from the town is responsible for her disappearance. Enter fellow FBI Special Agent Jake Sutton, the estranged love of Clare's life. Jake offers to help with the search, but he has an agenda of his own.
When I started thinking about writing GONE, the only thing I appeared to have in common with Clare was that we were both female. Again, I'm not in law enforcement. And my mom is alive and well and has never tried to kill me.
But the truth is, apart from Clare's work, which I was able to research, she and I are not altogether unalike. At the core, there's something of me inside Clare.
Like Clare, I have a Never Give Up mentality. How else would I have chosen to make writing my career? =) And, like Clare, I'm an all or nothing person. There's no dissembling, or settling for half measures. Not settling has often led me to paths of most resistance, also like Clare.
Here's an excerpt from GONE
Clare left the nursing facility and stepped into bright sunlight. She shielded her eyes with the back of one hand and with the other, reached into the purse dangling from her shoulder, digging for sunglasses. A man was walking across the parking lot toward her. A trick of the light, he looked like...
She hadn't realized she'd spoken his name aloud until she'd heard it.
He was close enough to have heard as well, though he didn't speak. His eyes, narrowed against the sun, fixed on her with an intensity she remembered all too well.
Too late to pretend she hadn't seen him. It wasn't too late to walk away, though. She wanted to walk away, really wanted to and because she did, she forced herself to stay put and meet his gaze.
Jake now stood in front of her, blocking the sunlight. Clare lowered her hand. His chin was at her eye level. He hadn't shaved. Black beard shadowed his jaws, made his tanned skin look darker.
The last time she'd seen him, from the other side of her bed, he'd looked a little pale. Tired from working too hard. Tired from going ten rounds with her. That was three years ago. He didn't look to be suffering from sleepless nights anymore. He looked rested and fit. The blue T-shirt he wore over jeans showed his hard, tough body. Was he still with the bureau? If so, by his casual attire, he wasn't working today.
"I could say the obvious, 'small world'," Jake said.
It had been big enough for her a moment ago. But in response, she said only, "Must be."
In the awkward silence, a group of women in hospital uniforms dashed by, causing a slight breeze that smelled strongly of spicy perfume.
Jake cleared his throat. "Don't tell me the Bureau's sent you to make sure I'm not lazing my days away fishing?" He said it with a smile, an obvious attempt at lightness.
Clare didn't return the smile. "You're assigned to the Columbia office?" she asked.
"Resident office in Farley, actually."
That surprised her. After they'd stopped seeing each other, Jake had put in for a transfer out of the New York office. They'd been members of the same squad for a time and had been paired off. Working together after things ended had strained them both. Jake was very good at what he did and had earned the commendations to prove it. He could have aimed a lot higher than Farley. She couldn't understand why he hadn't.
She didn't know where he'd gone. Didn't want to know. But she would never have imagined him choosing Farley. He was a city boy. He must have been desperate to put distance between them to accept this post.
"Just me, one other agent and an admin assistant," Jake went on. "How about you? What brings you to our fair town?"
When she'd known him, she'd never mentioned Katie. On the nights he'd stayed at her apartment, she'd stored her cork board and files on her sister in a closet. She had no reason to not tell him about Katie at this time. Her being in Farley and the reason for it was likely climbing the town grapevine at lightning speed. But why tell him about Katie now, when she hadn't before?
"Vacation," she said simply.
He heard the lie. The humor in Jake's gaze vanished and in an instant, his eyes went razor sharp. "I recall you had a preference for sand and surf," he said.
No doubt he was referring to the one brief getaway they'd taken together--a spur of the moment jaunt following a particularly grueling assignment. They'd both been wound tight. He'd asked her where she'd like to go.
White sand beach. A pounding surf. No one else around for miles.
Her words returned to her. The next morning she'd awakened and found he'd packed her suitcase and had found the perfect place for them to go. She didn't care for the reminder of how perfect it had been between them once.
"Not this time," she said. "Goodbye, Jake."
Before he could say anything further, Clare walked away from him.
Do you find that you take the path of least resistance or most resistance? I'd love you to share your stories. As a token of my gratitude at being here with all of you, I'll be drawing a name from one of the commenters to win a $20 gift card to Amazon.
Wishing you lots of great books to read,