Friday, December 16, 2011

A Done Deal

by Jenna Bennett

Doesn't look like anyone else is posting today, so I'll just share that I published the fifth and last - at least so far - Cutthroat Business mystery this week. A Done Deal is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords, for any eReader you might have.

Here's the blurb:

Silver bells, silver bells...
It's Christmas time in Nashville, and all Savannah wants to unwrap on Christmas morning is Rafe. Unfortunately, things don't look so good. He's back in town, but not alone: on his arm is a stunning brunette, just the kind of woman Savannah always suspected was his type.

When Alexandra Puckett asks her help in figuring out a way to stop Maybelle Driscoll from marrying Alex's father Steven, Savannah jumps on the chance. It'll give her something to think about other than Rafe and the mysterious Carmen, and anyway, she doesn't like Maybelle much herself.

Between investigating Maybelle's past, helping her clients Aislynn and Kylie buy a house, and stalking Carmen and Rafe, she soon has her hands full. And that's before someone starts gunning for her. Suddenly it's not a question of unwrapping anything on Christmas morning anymore; it's a question of whether she'll even survive to see another Christmas.

And here's a taste of Chapter 1, a few pages in:

Todd looked coy.“What would you like Santa to bring you, Savannah?”

Rafe, I though, and immediately chastised myself. He was gone, he wasn’t coming back, he didn’t want me. I smiled. “Nothing. I have everything I need.”

“Diamonds?” Todd suggested.

“God, no.” That brought to mind engagement rings, and I couldn’t imagine anything worse than having to turn down another proposal in front of my entire family on Christmas Eve.

“A puppy?”

From his expression, it was almost as if he thought a puppy would make up for the baby I’d lost. My baby had been barely bigger than a blueberry when I miscarried, but after all the agonizing I’d done over whether or not to keep it, it had become very real to me. And as much as I like puppies, it wasn’t the same.

“I live in an apartment,”I said. “With a no-pets policy.”

“I guess a kitten is out of the question too, then.”

“You could get me a goldfish. I’m allowed to have those.”

Todd’s expression lightened. “Do you want a goldfish?”

“Not really,” I said apologetically. “I was joking. I don’t really need a Christmas present.”There was nothing anyone could give me that I wanted. Especially Todd.

I wondered if I ought to ask him what he wanted for Christmas, but I was afraid of what the answer would be. And I’d bought him a sweater in any case.

I speared a mushroom with my fork and lifted it to my mouth.

“Isn’t that Collier?” Todd said, looking over my shoulder.

For a second, my heart skipped a beat and I almost choked. Then I realized two things: 1) he’d probably only said it to get a reaction from me—Todd was suspicious of my feelings for Rafe long before there were any feelings to speak of—and 2) there was no way he could be right.

I swallowed the mushroom and made sure my voice was steady. “I doubt it. If he were back in town, I’m sure someone would have told me.”

And it probably wouldn’t have been Rafe himself. If he hadn’t stuck around when I lost the baby, and he didn’t get in touch after I was shot, he wouldn’t bother to call to tell me he was back in Nashville, either.

I had, however, become friendly with Tamara Grimaldi, homicide detective with the Nashville PD, and she knew Rafe too, and kept tabs on him through her contact in the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations. I trusted her to let me know if anything important happened. Like, if he died. Or if he’d been shot or hospitalized.

Or if he’d come back to Nashville.

Todd nodded, reassured by my lack of interest, and forked up another piece of veal.

I continued my internal monologue while I chased mushrooms around my plate. Even if Rafe was back in town and nobody had bothered to tell me, he wouldn’t be here at Fidelio’s. He despises the place. I’ve had dinner with him here twice, and both times he treated the fancy cuisine and snobbish waiters with irreverent amusement. He wouldn’t choose to come here unless it was with me. And since we were over and done, he had no business being here. It was probably just someone with a passing resemblance to Rafe. Todd was a little bit paranoid on the subject; he was probably just seeing things.

“Are you sure he’s not back in Nashville?”Todd said. “Because that really looks like him. Just the kind of woman I’d expect him to be with, too.”

Woman?

I twisted on my chair. “Where? I really don’t think...”

And then my breath went when I saw that yes, it was indeed Rafael Collier on the other side of the restaurant, just sitting down at a romantic table for two. A table I had once shared with him, as it happened. Behind a pygmy date palm. And the woman he was with was exactly the kind of woman I would expect him to be with, too.

A woman very much not like me, I might add.

Like Rafe, she looked like she might be of mixed race. Long, dark hair fell straight like a waterfall down her back, and she had exotic almond-shaped eyes in a stunning face with flawless caramel skin and red lacquered lips. She was shorter than me, and even in four inch heels she barely came up to his shoulder. Granted, he’s tall—six three, give or take—but she was still on the petite side. And she was poured into a short, tight, Christmas-red dress that clung to every curve she had, and his hand was right there, on the exposed skin of her back. That, more than anything else, hurt. He was touching her. In a sort of intimate way. Skin to skin. The same way he’d touched me.

I own a red dress too. I’d bought it to coax a proposal from Todd, back when I thought being engaged to Todd would make me less likely to indulge in my feelings for Rafe. Instead, it had been Rafe who peeled it off me at the end of the night.

My dress isn’t as short or as tight—hers looked like lycra; mine’s satin—but it’s also backless, and I could remember disconcertingly well the feeling of his hands on my back, warm and hard and a little rough. I could remember what happened afterwards too, and the thought that they’d be leaving Fidelio’s and going home to make love in his bed—the bed where he’d made love to me—was enough to turn the Chicken Marsala to sawdust in my mouth.

# # #
 
 
Merry Christmas, all!

5 comments:

C.L. Phillips said...

Exactly where do I go to buy this? I couldn't put it down. Or at least that's how I feel.

And where can I find a list so I can read these in order? I'm thinking I really want to get to know these people.

WhooHOO!

Joyce said...

Cindy, you can get them on Smashwords.

Looks like another good one, Jenna!

Patg said...

My post went up late. No idea why scheduled gets changed to draft. Unfortunately, being on the west coast I don't see the error until way after most of you.
Patg

C.L. Phillips said...

Patg,

That happens to me all the time. When you go back and re-edit a post that you have scheduled, it knocks the post back to draft and cancels the scheduled post time.

I always do a final typo check after I schedule the post, and didn't realize I was setting the post back to draft. Even if you see the post scheduled day and time. You have to check it using the list of posts to be sure.

Hope this helps.

p.s. West Coast? Meloves the west coast....

Jenna said...

Cindy, they're on Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords. Ebooks only. If you email me, I'll get you codes for freebie review copies.

Pat, I'm sorry if I poached on your day. When there wasn't anything up by ten o'clock, I went ahead and published. :(