A little background music, please. Growing up in the good/bad old days in Chicago, race meant running fast and winning. The delivery man at the corner drug store was a good pal. Dad wanted Perfecto Garcia cigars, a cherry chocolate milkshake for his skinny daughter. Call the store and Charlie delivered riding a three wheeler with a large basket. Over the years, Charlie’s hair turned gray and I grew up. When I left for Purdue, we hugged and cried. I never saw him again. Someone reported that Charlie hugged the banker’s daughter and he was fired. You see, he was a Negroe and I’m white. I think of him to this day.
When I wrote Reconstructing Charlie, two of the characters demanded more attention after I typed The End. A writer writes so the saying goes. Jimmy Costigan, Charlie’s younger brother fell in love watching her roommate, the beautiful Shelley Jackson, play basketball. I pictured Shelley as tall, proud, talented and Charlie’s best friend, with skin the color of dark chocolate. Ah the world of fiction where so much of the author’s life is written into the story. Never thinking interracial yet writing it so naturally.
I ask readers of my Survive & Thrive books to open your hearts and minds and enjoy this romance filled with love and suspense.
Seems easy enough. Jimmy Costigan will deliver supplies to sister Charlie’s project Haven, a respite for the needy, and leave. Simple.
Instead, Shelley Jackson answers the door, says she needs him and soft-hearted Jimmy stays to protect the family seeking refuge from a sociopath. He didn’t count on falling in love.
A twist of fate intervenes when Shelley keeps a secret that threatens to break apart the Costigans and her future. A mysterious client, Deanna Rose, enters Haven, victim of a savage beating under strange circumstances. Using Internet resources, Shelley digs in to find Ms. Rose has an unsavory past.
With the reputation and safety of Haven at stake, Shelley is at risk to lose everything … and everyone she cares about.
The past has a way of catching up and like his sister Charlie, Jimmy had carried a secret for a long time. He stormed down the hall, anger rising with each boot step. Too bad. He’d hoped he and Shelley might at least have some laughs together. Hat crushed between both hands, he headed toward the door.
“You’re not leaving,” Shelley said.
“I’m uh…I need some air.”
Grabbing a fistful of his shirt, Shelley said, “Jimmy, it’s ten o’clock. I need you to stay all night. Please. Go in the morning. I’ll call for help. Maybe Charlie can. . .”
“I’ll be right outside for a few minutes,” he said facing the door. “My guitar’s in the jeep and a travel bag.” Opening the door, a warm night breeze blew in. “Full moon tonight.”
Shelley stepped out next to him. High heels off, she reached Jimmy’s shoulder. He glanced down at her upturned face as she gazed at the moon. Her chocolate skin sparkled with moonlight. He forced himself to look away from this magnificent woman, far too special for a guy like him.
“The rocking chairs are moving back and forth in the gazebo,” she said, her voice soft and mellow. “That’s a good omen about the Haven.”
“Oh yeah?” Don’t even know how to make small talk. “I was thinkin’, kids need pets and I’m gonna build a dog run on the side and maybe get a couple of horses. Build a small stable and riding ring and make a trail. What do you think?”
She smiled up at him. “Great idea. We’ll find out if anyone has allergies first so wait ‘til tomorrow, okay? Get your gear and let’s have a drink before calling it a night. There’s a bottle of red, a bottle of white.”
He sang, “It all depends upon your appetite.”
“Early Billy Joel.” Shelley loved his music.
“Oh yeah. Do you have Dr. Pepper?”
“Is this a deal breaker?”
“Nope. I don’t drink. Just Dr. Pepper.”
“I’ll take a look.” She sashayed toward the pantry. After a quick look, she said, “No Dr. Pepper. Juice, water, soda, chocolate syrup, soups, Jell-O. We’ll get some tomorrow.”
He displayed a pouty lower lip.
With a stern look, she said, “Get over it, Jim. You’re not leaving here.”
“I said before, I need you. Just get your gear and we’ll lock up, turn on the security system.”
His loose limbed body swaggered to the jeep to haul out his gear.
Alone for a moment, Shelley wondered when he got to be a hunk, so unlike intense Detective Patrick Donnelly, her off again-on again lover.
Locking the door Jimmy set his gear down. She gave him the security code and Haven was safe.
He settled his tall frame next to her on the couch and stretched out long legs.
Monday June 11, Sin of Omission will be available in print, Amazon and B&N. The ebook copies are available right now.