Skip to main content

Lady Wynwood #7 early release Kickstarter

I worked on my first Kickstarter and it got approved! It’s for the Special Edition Hardcover of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer and the release of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 7: Spinster. I contacted my graphic designer about the Special Edition Hardcover of vol. 1: Archer—it’s going to be SO beautiful! The Kickstarter focuses on the Special Edition Hardcover, but it’ll also include vol. 7: Spinster so that it’ll sort of be like a launch day for vol. 7, too. A third special thing that’ll be in the Kickstarter is Special Edition Paperbacks of all the books in the series. They won’t be available in stores, just in the Kickstarter (and later, from my website, and also in my Patreon book box tiers if I decide to do them). The Kickstarter is not live yet, but you can follow it to be alerted when it has launched. (You may need to create a free Kickstarter account.) Follow Camy’s Kickstarter

Excerpt - THAT'S (NOT EXACTLY) AMORE by Tracey Bateman

Today's Wild Card author is:


and his/her book:


That's Not Exactly Amore

FaithWords (August 14, 2008)


When Laini Sullivan lands a job designing Nick Pantalone's coffee shop, there are two problems: one, Nick's nephew Joe hates all of her ideas and two, Laini has to admit he's right--she's a disaster at design. Still, she can't risk losing the job. To compromise, Joe brings in help on the project, while Laini continues to bake the goodies that keep his customers lining up.

Their relationship is moving along, so when new guy Officer Mark Hall implies that Joe's family is tied to the mob, Laini doesn't want to believe it. But things spin out of control when she meets the family, including "the uncles," who seem to confirm Mark's suspicions. To make things worse, Nana Pantalone makes it clear Laini isn't the kind of girl she has in mind for her grandson. Laini's not sure if she should give Joe the benefit of the doubt or just set her sites on Mark and fuhgetaboutit.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Tracey Bateman published her first novel in 2000 and has been busy ever since. She became a member of American Christian Fiction Writers in the early months of its inception in 2000 and served as president for the past year. She lives with her husband and four children in Lebanon, Missouri.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: FaithWords (August 14, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446698954

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Chapter One

If this is the chance I’ve been waiting for, then why does it feel like I’m in over my head? I mean, like I’m five feet tall in seven feet of water and haven’t the foggiest idea how to swim. In short, I’m sinking fast.

“So, do we got a deal?”

I stare at Nick Pantalone’s beefy hand but hesitate before taking it. At this point, anyone with a smidge of conscience would just admit to being out of her league and walk away before she could do any actual damage to the place. But as I look around Nick Pantalone’s newly expanded coffee shop, I know this is my last chance to get anything close to a passing grade in my interior design course.

My final semester is about putting what I’ve supposedly learned into practice. It’s a joint project for my partner, Jazz, and me. Sort of like that show The Apprentice? Only there’s just Jazz and me. As project manager (and don’t ask me why I have to be the head cheese—Jazz gets better grades), it’s my job to find our project, assign tasks, and oversee every detail to its completion.

Renovating the coffee shop seems like the perfect idea, really. Nick desperately needs to expand after a newspaper article last summer proclaimed his shop “the best-kept secret in Manhattan.” Now the little place is bursting at the seams as hordes of customers breeze right by the Starbucks across the street in favor of Nick’s—the new trend. You know how we New Yorkers love to find the “latest thing.” Who knows how long the upward swing will last for Nick? But I doubt he’ll ever return to the obscurity he enjoyed once upon a time.

I mean, it’s been six months and he’s had to hire four new employees. Not to mention hiring Joe, his good-looking Italian nephew, to manage the place. And when I say “good-looking,” I’m not talking about one step up from passable. I’m talking over the fence, out of the park, to the moon good-looking.

But this isn’t about Joe.

I consider ours—Nick’s and mine—to be a symbiotic relationship. Nick needs to expand and redecorate, and I need a passing grade. I truly have no lofty goals about any of this. Give me any letter grade higher than a D and I’ll be fine. My mother doesn’t have to see my grade to know I’ve passed. I won’t lie about it, most likely, but I’m not exactly going to volunteer the information either.

“Well?” Nick growls, casting a pointed glance at his proffered hand, waiting for me to cinch the deal.

My breath is uneven as I slide my clammy hand into his. He nods and the wrinkly folds of his face push together with a grin. “That’s better. Now what’ll you have, kid? Anything you want is on the house.”

“I shouldn’t.” The truth is, since I started the two-year design program (that I’m finishing in eighteen months by taking summer classes), I’ve put on about twenty pounds. Call it my frustration with my probable failure—my first ever. I cook and eat. It’s cathartic. But I haven’t had lunch and, let’s face it, nobody makes meatball subs like Nick. I grin. “But I will.”

The bell above the door dings and I turn. My insides go hot and cold all at once. Joe Pantalone. He’s the man of my dreams—but he’s way out of my league. Even if I weren’t a redheaded Irish girl from Long Island, he’d be too much for me.

“Good to see you, Laini.” He flashes that million-dollar smile, making me feel like the only woman on earth who could possibly win his heart. Guys like that don’t play fair. They make you think you have a chance when, really, well . . . you just don’t.

Joe’s a hugger, so I try not to make anything of it every time he pulls my five-foot frame into arms that I swear could wrap around me twice. Well, maybe once and a half—since the weight gain.

I wish I could convince my heart not to get my hopes up when he greets me with his cozy hug, but who am I trying to kid? If he’d ask, I’d be his. But he won’t. A guy like that doesn’t have to settle for a thirty-year-old, freckle-faced redhead with way too many extra pounds on her petite frame. He can have anyone he wants.

Still, without a fight, I melt into his embrace, thoroughly enjoying the manly scent of soap and maybe just a hint of some sort of cologne that I’m not hip enough to identify. (Tabby and Dancy would have nailed it at first whiff.)

He lets me go and I stand weakly at the counter as Nick jerks his head toward me. “’Ey, Joey. You’re lookin’ at the new in-ter-ior designer for Nick’s. What do you think?”

Wow, I’m not sure what I expected from Joe, but certainly not a frown. Maybe the first one I’ve ever seen on his face as he looks from Nick to me. “You graduated?”

My cheeks go hot, and I know from experience that I have blotches of embarrassment all over my face and neck. Some people blush prettily (gorgeous, dark-skinned Italian women, for instance). I don’t. I get all splotchy. So I know I look hideous. “Not yet. I’m doing this for my final grade.”

Joe turns to Nick. “Remodeling and redecorating are pretty big projects, Uncle Nick. No offense to Laini, but don’t you think we should hire someone with some real experience?”

Please, floor. I beg you. Open up and swallow me whole. Seriously. Right this second would be good for me.

“Uh—Nick. Maybe Joe’s right. I wouldn’t want to mess anything up, and you know my grades aren’t very good. As a matter of fact”—I hold up my thumb and forefinger and measure an inch—“I’m this close to flunking out. I probably don’t have a clue what I’m doing.” I don’t even give him a chance to speak. “Actually, I withdraw myself from the project. I changed my mind.”

With the agility of a man half his age and size, Nick whips through the swinging gate that reminds me of something from an Old West saloon and heads me off before I can sprint for the door. “’Ey, now. What is this baloney? Didn’t we just shake on it?”

“Well, yes. But that was before the voice of reason walked in the door. I won’t hold you to it, Nick.”

His head swings from side to side in a vehement shake. “Where I come from, a handshake’s as good as a signed contract.” His voice is filled with so much indignation, I’m afraid he might have a stroke. “You goin’ back on your word, little girl?”

“Come on, Uncle Nick,” Joe groans. “Don’t talk to Laini like that.”

“You stay out of this, Joey. You’re the one who started it anyway.” He turns back to me, his stern frown making me feel shorter than I already am. “Well?”

“Okay, Nick,” I say, carefully avoiding Joe’s gaze. “I’ll bring Jazz in tomorrow for a look at the place and we’ll have some ideas to present by the end of next week.” I glance around the room like I really know what I’m looking at. “The project is going to take some time, so we should get started on hiring an architect and a contractor. Then we’ll need to figure out what permits we’ll need.”

Nick shakes his head, cutting me off. “Don’t tell it to me. I won’t be here.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m headed to L.A. tomorrow.”

“You just got home!” I mean, less than two weeks ago.

He gives me a shrug like it’s none of my business. “I never meant to come back after Christmas, only I had to take care of some financial paperwork and finish turning things over to Joey, here. I’m sick of being away from my Nelda.”

Nelda is Nick’s wife and his true lady love. She’s been in California for months taking care of their daughter, who has cancer. The outlook is better than originally hoped for, but Nelda won’t leave the grandkids and Nick is lovesick without her. So off he goes. I knew it was coming, but somehow I didn’t expect it so soon.

“So, I’ll be working for Joe on this?” I can’t hold back the dread in my voice, even though I know it’s impolite. If Joe isn’t in favor of my working on the project at all, how on earth am I going to come in every day and do what needs to be done while he stands over me disapproving of every suggestion?


“This place is amazing, Dancy!” I stare at my friend’s newly redecorated condo, loving the Victorian decor. This is the first time I’ve been here since the redo was finished, and I have to say, I’m impressed. And maybe a little jealous. “I’m so glad you didn’t try to modernize the place.”

“Mother is fit to be tied. She can’t believe I had the audacity to go back in time.”

I laugh. “Well, I heartily approve.”

You can’t help but envy Dancy a little. Her parents not only gave her their ridiculously expensive condo, but footed the bill for redecorating. I didn’t expect to be consulted, but still . . .

Even Dancy’s life in general seems perfect. A swoony new boyfriend with a British accent who just happens to be her favorite author writing under the pseudonym Cate Able. I truly expect her and Jack to be engaged any day now.

Dancy is throwing her first dinner for the girls tonight. And I’m here just a little early to do the cooking even though Dancy offered to have the meal catered. As if! Cooking makes me happy. It’s what I do. Tabby and Dancy buy things for us from their ample cash flow. I, on the other hand, contribute to the friendship by supplying us all with ample calories—much to the chagrin of our mothers and Freddie, Tabby’s trainer. But they love it. So I’m happy.

I sort of wish my two friends had come back to the apartment we all shared until Tabby got married last month and Dancy moved into the condo, but I understand Dancy’s desire to entertain around her own table. I think we might have to do a rotation or something, though. I miss seeing my chums in the apartment.

“So where’s Brandon?” I ask as I step into the gorgeous, dream kitchen.

“Off skiing with some friends.”

Brandon is Dancy’s little brother. A musical genius, sixteen years old, in high school and accepted for the weekend program at Juilliard. He’s lived with Dancy ever since his mom took off and his dad and Dancy’s mother retired to Florida recently.

This kitchen takes my breath away. Truly. I’ve been dying to get my hands on the stainless-steel, digital, do-everything-for-you appliances. The floor and three of the countertops are ceramic tile. The others are a fabulous gray granite. My goodness, if I had a kitchen like this one, I’d just pull in a cot and live here. (Is that odd?)

“So, Chef Laini,” Dancy says with a grin, revealing gorgeous white teeth. She’s an Italian beauty—someone Joe would be attracted to, most likely, except she’s taken. “What’s on tonight’s menu?”

I lift my shopping bag, which contains the fixings for our favorite meal together. “Shrimp Alfredo with linguini. Salad with petite shrimp and blue cheese crumbles, and lovely grilled asparagus spears.”

“Mmm.” She cocks a silky eyebrow. “And for dessert?”

“Raspberry swirl cheesecake with a dollop of whipped cream.”

Her eyes roll back and she lets out a breathy sigh. “Sounds divine.”

“Don’t assign divinity to me,” I say with a laugh. “I bought the cheesecake at Nick’s.”

“Well, you can’t beat Nick’s anyway. Anything I can do to help?”

I shake my head. “Just keep me company while I work. I miss you guys like crazy.”

She gives me a look akin to pity and I wish I hadn’t mentioned it. “Your time will come, Laini.”

I hate it when people say that to me! Dancy should know better, considering a mere two months ago she was in the same boat. I look at her as evenly as I can, determined not to play into the pity. I find it’s always easier to pretend it’s not an issue.

“Hey, I’m not complaining. My rent is paid up for another month. I have the money I make baking goodies for Nick’s to tide me over, and I have all the peace and quiet I could ever want.” Much, much more than I want. But I’d die before admitting that to my dear friend.

I finish unloading the groceries while Dancy chatters on about the man in her life, as though he hung the moon and stars. Jack Quinn this and Jack Quinn that. “He’s actually sewn up a deal for me at Lane Publishing. My book comes out in about a year. Isn’t that great?”

I stop what I’m doing right then and there and grab her in a hug. “That’s fantastic, Dancy! I can’t wait to read it.”

“That’s not all,” she says with a wide grin.

I gasp. “Did he propose?”

A frown puckers the skin above her nose. “Not yet.”

“Oh.” Oops. “What’s the great news, then?”

“Jack landed a book deal with his real name.”

“You mean he’s truly hanging up the Cate Able hat?”

“Completely.” She gives a proud smile. “He’s good enough to write under Jack Quinn. And they’ll be promoting his new book with the full disclosure that Cate Able was nothing more than a pen name for Jack Quinn. He’s also going to keep writing thrillers.”

“But not the same series?”

“Well, no. I’m still mad at him for killing off my favorite character of all time. But I see why he needed to start over completely with his own name.”

Dancy grabs a slice of cucumber from my cutting board and plops down on the barstool as she nibbles, elbows resting on the counter. “So. Your turn. Tell me how it went at Nick’s today.”

Weird how I’m both happy and hesitant at the same time. Happy for the opportunity, hesitant because I’m experiencing a sense of impending doom about the whole thing. Plus, Joe isn’t thrilled.

I share all of this with my friend. Normally, we’d wait for Tabby before diving into heart-to-heart stuff, but our soap-actress friend just got married, so she’s probably having trouble tearing herself away from her husband, David, and her step-twins, Jenn and Jeffy.

“Well, you’ll just have to prove Joe wrong.”

“I guess.” I hear the doubt in my own voice and it doesn’t sound pretty.

“Who’s in charge of the colors?” Dancy’s gaze is averted to the gray countertop.

“Jazz.”

She seems relieved, which sets off my warning bells.

“Why?”

“Well, you know. I just wondered.”

Tabby and Dancy know I have some slight trouble with colors. But it’s not that bad. I mean, I can do bright colors okay. Besides, I heard an eye doctor say once that women can’t actually be color blind—or it’s only a percent of a percent chance or something like that. So, while I might have issues distinguishing certain close colors, I’m certainly not afflicted.

“Hey, I could do the colors if I had to!” I say, grabbing a Roma tomato and starting to slice. “For instance, don’t you think this shade of gray would be terrific for a base color on the back wall at Nick’s?”

“Um, sure.” Dancy’s hesitation doesn’t thrill me at all. I look up from the cutting board.

“What?”

“Well, it’s nothing, really.” She swallows hard, like she does when she’s trying not to hurt somebody’s feelings.

“Come on, Dancy. Spit it out. What?”

“The countertop is green.”

I stare down at the granite, which is clearly gray. I jerk my chin and stick out my tongue. “Maybe you’re the one who’s color blind.”

Her chin dimples as she tries to keep from laughing. Hopping from the stool, she comes around and gives my shoulders a squeeze.

“Don’t worry about it. You have great decorating ideas. Just leave the colors to someone else and you’ll get a passing grade.”

I know she’s trying to be encouraging. But my goodness. I’m not going to have Jazz, the color-coordinated genius, stand over my shoulder after graduation—provided I do, in fact, graduate.

No one is going to hire a color-blind interior designer. And that’s all there is to it.

I turn back to my preparations for dinner. “At least I can cook,” I say flatly.

Dancy grins. “Better than anyone I know!”

Great. So I won’t starve. Are tomatoes orange? Please tell me I haven’t had that wrong all my life? Apples are red, bananas are yellow. Yes?

And Joe Pantalone’s eyes are the color of a mocha latte—without whipped cream.


This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.


© 2008 by Tracey Bateman

This article is used with the permission of Hachette Book Group and Tracey bateman. All rights reserved.




It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Comments

Popular Posts

No Cold Bums toilet seat cover

Captain's Log, Stardate 08.22.2008 I actually wrote out my pattern! I was getting a lot of hits on my infamous toilet seat cover , and I wanted to make a new one with “improvements,” so I paid attention and wrote things down as I made the new one. This was originally based off the Potty Mouth toilet cover , but I altered it to fit over the seat instead of the lid. Yarn: any worsted weight yarn, about 120 yards (this is a really tight number, I used exactly 118 yards. My suggestion is to make sure you have about 130 yards.) I suggest using acrylic yarn because you’re going to be washing this often. Needle: I used US 8, but you can use whatever needle size is recommended by the yarn you’re using. Gauge: Not that important. Mine was 4 sts/1 inch in garter stitch. 6 buttons (I used some leftover shell buttons I had in my stash) tapestry needle Crochet hook (optional) Cover: Using a provisional cast on, cast on 12 stitches. Work in garter st until liner measures

Interview with Fantasy author Willamette Sutta

Adamant in Dust by Willamette Sutta Stones of power and one princess to save them all. The Far Stone Endurant is broken, and a prophecy foretells doom… She should have been the chosen princess to deliver them. But Pergi can’t love Prince Teyrnon, and that's a deal-breaker. Pergi has prepared all her life to become the ruler that her father wants. Without sons, he knows she could only retain the throne if she marries the neighboring prince, combining their kingdoms. Yet the same prophecy that calls for the reunification also warns that they must join by love. Supplanted by her younger sister in this sentiment, Pergi waits with ill grace for Sadira to marry Teyrnon and steal her birthright. No one expects that Sadira would do a runner on her wedding day. What starts as an impromptu rescue of the wayward bride leads to a desperate struggle against a deadly foe. The dark lord Malchor ensnares Sadira in his opening bid to gain all the Far Stones of power. With them, he wi

Join Camy's brand-new Patreon!

My Patreon is now live! Thank you so much to those of you who have followed and subscribed to my Patreon! I hope you're enjoying Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 7: Spinster so far. For those who missed the announcement, I now have a subscription on Patreon where you can read chapters of my next book ahead of the ebook publication. You can subscribe to the tiers and receive more benefits in each higher tier. I put together a very PINK comparison chart so you can see the benefits available. Patreon is also a bit like a Facebook group in that you can comment on my chapters and my posts. Feel free to post reactions or ask questions, although I reserve the right to decline to answer if it would be a spoiler. :) To celebrate the launch, I’m offering something special. All patrons will receive “Bidding on Treason,” an exclusive, limited-availability short story starring Lena, whom you met in The Gentleman Thief , and who appears in Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 7: Spinster . However,

Tabi socks, part deux

Captain's Log, Stardate 07.25.2008 (If you're on Ravelry, friend me! I'm camytang.) I made tabi socks again! (At the bottom of the pattern is the calculation for the toe split if you're not using the same weight yarn that I did for this pattern (fingering). I also give an example from when I used worsted weight yarn with this pattern.) I used Opal yarn, Petticoat colorway. It’s a finer yarn than my last pair of tabi socks, so I altered the pattern a bit. Okay, so here’s my first foray into giving a knitting pattern. Camy’s top-down Tabi Socks I’m assuming you already know the basics of knitting socks. If you’re a beginner, here are some great tutorials: Socks 101 How to Knit Socks The Sock Knitter’s Companion A video of turning the heel Sock Knitting Tips Yarn: I have used both fingering weight and worsted weight yarn with this pattern. You just change the number of cast on stitches according to your gauge and the circumference of your ankle. Th

Toilet seat cover

Captain’s Log, Supplemental Update August 2008: I wrote up the pattern for this with "improvements"! Here's the link to my No Cold Bums toilet seat cover ! Okay, remember a few days ago I was complaining about the cold toilet seat in my bathroom? Well, I decided to knit a seat cover. Not a lid cover, but a seat cover. I went online and couldn’t find anything for the seat, just one pattern for the lid by Feminitz.com . However, I took her pattern for the inside edge of the lid cover and modified it to make a seat cover. Here it is! It’s really ugly stitch-wise because originally I made it too small and had to extend it a couple inches on each side. I figured I’d be the one staring at it, so who cared if the extension wasn’t perfectly invisible? I used acrylic yarn since, well, that’s what I had, and also because it’s easy to wash. I’ll probably have to wash this cover every week or so, but it’s easy to take off—I made ties which you can see near the back of the seat. And

Mansfield Park on Masterpiece

Captain's Log, Supplemental Okay, I was going to hold this for next week but I can’t hold the frustration in any longer. I finally saw Mansfield Park on Masterpiece Classic and it’s horrid (to channel Jane Austen). The story moves WAY too fast. The different issues dealt with in the book speed by so fast, I wonder than anyone who hasn’t read Mansfield Park can even understand what’s going on. The characters themselves are completely changed. Fanny is lively and girlish instead of timid and demure. And I agree with Kaye and Ruth , what’s with the hair down on her shoulders? How could the hair and makeup department let her get away with looking like a hoyden? I also agree with Kaye about Fanny’s heaving bosoms throughout the movie—so out of character for a “poor relation” to have such low-cut gowns. I do have to say one thing—I really enjoyed the moment Edmund tells Fanny that Mary Crawford is the only woman he could want for a wife—Billie Piper’s look is so exactly what I’d expec

8 random things

Captain’s Log, Supplemental Missy Tippens , Nancy Brandt , AND Susan Meissner tagged me this week! Update: I also got tagged by Trish Perry and Rachelle Gardner ! That's FIVE! Heather and I are seeing who can get the most tags! LOL Update: Deborah Vogts just tagged me! That’s SIX! Update: Eileen tagged me! That’s SEVEN! Update: P.S. McManus and LaShaunda tagged me! That’s NINE! Update: Robin Lee Hatcher tagged me! That's TEN! Here are the rules: 1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves. 2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. 3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. 4. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog. 8 random facts/habits about me ... 1) I knit to write. My mom had taught me knitting when I was younger, but I picked it up again completely randomly one day. The

Frogs

I know I blogged about this on my Writing Diary Blog , but I don’t think I blogged about this here. I read a few writing and productivity books, and I’ve been trying to form better daily habits. The problem is that my self-discipline is very bad. As in, embarrassingly bad. One of my goals has been to form a better writing habit. Since I’m a full-time writer, I already write every day, but I think there are things I can do to tweak my schedule so that I can be able to focus better when I write. I tend to get distracted by the thought of things I need to do that day which I haven’t done yet. I don’t know why my brain is like this, but I haven’t been able to break this tendency. So for example, while I’m writing, I’ll suddenly think about the fact that today’s the day when I need to change the bathroom towels, or mop the kitchen floor, or change the bedsheets. It’ll distract me for a few moments before I tell myself I’ll do it later and I need to focus on writing now. Then a few

Lady Wynwood #7 early release Kickstarter

I worked on my first Kickstarter and it got approved! It’s for the Special Edition Hardcover of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer and the release of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 7: Spinster. I contacted my graphic designer about the Special Edition Hardcover of vol. 1: Archer—it’s going to be SO beautiful! The Kickstarter focuses on the Special Edition Hardcover, but it’ll also include vol. 7: Spinster so that it’ll sort of be like a launch day for vol. 7, too. A third special thing that’ll be in the Kickstarter is Special Edition Paperbacks of all the books in the series. They won’t be available in stores, just in the Kickstarter (and later, from my website, and also in my Patreon book box tiers if I decide to do them). The Kickstarter is not live yet, but you can follow it to be alerted when it has launched. (You may need to create a free Kickstarter account.) Follow Camy’s Kickstarter

「戌年」連載小説 第10章

キャミー・タング著「戌年」連載小説 プロのドッグトレーナーであるマリ・ムトウは、厄年を迎えている。 犬小屋と訓練所の改築をしながら、いつも不服そうにしている家族と同居することになった。母と姉に言わせれば、犬の毛とよだれかけにまみれる仕事は、家族にとって恥ずべきものだという。彼女は元カレを説得し、数ヶ月間犬を預かってもらうことにした。しかし、彼の兄は、数週間前に彼女が誤って車に追突した、怒り狂ったセキュリティ専門家であることが判明する。 アシュウィン・ケイトウは十分な問題を抱えている。叔母が玄関先に現れ、同居を希望している。彼は彼女にすべてを借りているので、断ることができません。母親が家を出て行った後、ネルおばさんはアシュウィンと弟を引き取り、愛のあるキリスト教の家庭で育てた。しかも、弟のダスティもアパートを追い出され、居場所を求めている。しかし、彼は犬を飼っている。そして、その犬の飼い主は誰だと思いますか? しかし、旧友でオアフ島のノースショアでデイスパを経営する私立探偵のエディサ・ゲレロから依頼を受ける。マリの施設で奇妙な破壊行為があり、3年前に失踪したエディサの妹の財布を発見する。エディサはマリが危険な目に遭っているのではと心配する。警備の専門家であるアシュウィンがすでにマリを知っていることを知ったエディサは、忙しい若い女性を密かに監視することを彼に依頼する。 アシュウィンは、活発でのんびりとしたドッグトレーナーに不本意ながら惹かれていく。彼女は、幸せそうな母親を思い出させる。その母親の裏切りによって、彼は人と距離を置くようになったのだ。マリは、アシュウィンの冷たい外見を見抜き、彼が家族に忠実な男であることを認める。彼は、彼女のキャリア選択を批判するだけの母親や姉とは違う。 マリのバラバラな家庭とアシュウィンのバラバラな家庭の中で、過去を隠そうとする人たちから、彼らの周りに危険が迫ってくるようになる。彼らは、影で動く秘密に光を当てることができるのか? 過去に発表されたパートへのリンクはこちら。 *** 第10章 - 赤いブーゲンビリアの低木 「マリ、ごめんなさい。」 マリは、答え機でラナの後悔に満ちた声を聞いて、犬の餌の袋を落としそうになった。 「あなたのこの犬の施設の計画に、私が最も支援的ではなかったことを知っ