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Archive for November 27th, 2007

Bahia Vista homicide detective Theo Petrakos shoved his hands in the pockets of his jeans and rocked back on his heels as he studied the small, cluttered office. Bookshelves crammed with books of all sizes, colors and titles. Two caught his eye: The Science of Star Wars (a shiny silver spine) and right next to it, The Joy of Writing Sex.

 

Hmm.

 

Lining the shelves were clusters of knickknacks—an overabundance of cat statues, for sure—and then some very spacey sci fi kind of prints on the wall. Lots of tough looking babes with guns. Not bad.

 

Below the prints, an overstuffed beige and black chair was flanked by a definitely retro floor lamp with a green silk shade and little crystals dangling around the edge. Two stuffed toy cats perched on the arms.

 

He glanced to his left. More sci fi prints and a collection of Hess tanker trucks with a notable exception—a tiny Zamboni. Another shelf held Sherlock Holmes titles, a mixture of recent looking paperbacks and a few books that looked, old, dusty and possibly expensively original.

 

On top of that was a shelf containing a large bright red book titled The Guide To Background Investigations.

 

Theo knew his detective experience could probably have a field day with the dichotomy represented here. Except there was nothing to figure out. He knew. This was the office of the author who told his story. Well, his and Jorie’s, to be exact.

 

So he knew a fair amount already about the woman called Linnea Sinclair.

 

Frighteningly, she knew far more about him.

 

And for a cop with fifteen years under his belt, that wasn’t a comfortable notion.

 

“Theo! Sorry to keep you waiting. I had to feed the ducks.”

 

His author had arrived wearing faded jeans, a pink t-shirt that proclaimed MY NAME’S NO, NO BAD CAPTAIN, WHAT’S YOURS? and a pair of lime-green crocs. Just behind her loped the largest black and white cat he’d ever seen.  He wondered if she’d fed the ducks to the cat. The thing looked as if he could easily inhale a few.

 

“So.” His author sat in the high-backed office chair and swiveled around. She motioned to an identical chair. “Sit and tell me what’s on your mind.”

 

Like you don’t know? he thought but didn’t say that. He’d been a cop for too long. Volunteer nothing. Wait, watch, learn. He shrugged. “Just wondering when the book will be out.” It was an innocuous comment. And he didn’t sit.

 

“Today. November 27th.” Green eyes narrowed behind rimless glasses. “You know that. Why are you really here? Not that I mind,” she added quickly. “I just wasn’t expecting you to show up.”

 

During this short conversation, the long-furred cat had climbed onto the ottoman, then the beige and black chair, then the desk top and now sat behind his author, large yellow eyes slowly closing to slits.

 

“I’m not sure your cat likes me,” Theo said, suddenly aware of more noise behind him. Heavy footsteps, a woman’s soft laugh. He jerked around, one hand instinctively coming to rest on the grip of the gun at his waist.

 

The guy standing in the doorway behind him was big—Theo’s size at least—and dark-haired with strangely light eyes. The woman was much smaller, a short-haired blonde and had an eerie resemblance to one of those sci fi prints…

 

The man spoke first. “The furzel—”

 

“Cat,” Theo’s author interjected.

 

“—is simply annoyed at not being the center of attention.”

 

“Great shirt,” the short woman quipped, pointing to the author.

 

“Out, out, both of you! I’m supposed to be talking to Theo about his role in The Down Home Zombie Blues.”

 

“Tank needed a translator,” the man said.

 

“His name’s Daq,” the author replied. “Now, shoo. You were all over my blog at Alien Romances the past couple of months. It’s Theo’s turn.”

 

A shimmer of the air and the couple disappeared. Had Theo not been through the very same thing himself with Jorie, he’d have been a lot more perturbed.

 

“Where’d they beam back to?” he asked.

 

“It’s not beaming. It’s called—”

 

“Peemat transfers. P-m-a-t,” he said, spelling out the acronym. “I know all about that. You made sure I knew all about that. Do you have any idea what a horrible experience that is?” The first time Jorie beamed him up to her ship he wasn’t sure if he was going to puke, faint, piss in his pants, explode, implode or all of the above.

 

“It’s not a PMaT where the admiral is from, but that’s not important.” She waved one hand. “What did you want to see me about? And will you please sit?”

 

He sat, then leaned back, elbow on the arm of the chair. He’d done dozens of interrogations. Body language, Petrakos, he reminded himself. You’re in charge here.

 

“I just want to make sure everything goes okay for the launch of The Down Home Zombie Blues. I mean, it’s not like you’ve written a science fiction-police procedural-romance novel before. You usually just do that sci fi stuff. And pretty well, I’ve heard,” he added hastily, with a small motion of his hand.

 

“Sci fi romance,” his author explained.  “I write to an HEA. That’s a writer’s term for a Happily Ever After. It means the hero and heroine have a happy ending.”

 

“There were times I really doubted that’s what you wanted, you know.”

 

She laughed. “Yeah, I did put you and Jorie though a bit of trouble.”

 

“A bit?” The comment slipped out before he could stop it, and a lot more forcefully that he wanted it to be, too. “Getting flattened by those butt-ugly towering things, driving like a lunatic all over St. Pete—”

 

“Bahia Vista,” she corrected.

 

He shot her a narrow-eyed glance. She shot him one back.

 

“Whatever. Then you stick me with Rordan.” Commander Kip Rordan,  to be exact. Now that guy was what Theo thought a romance novel hero should look like. Tall, hair in a pony tail, small silver earring and a pirate’s swagger. “He wanted Jorie, you know.”

 

“Of course I knew.” His author made an unladylike snort. “I wrote your book. And I couldn’t make it easy for you, Theo. You had to earn Jorie’s respect and love.”

 

Theo clasped both hands to his chest. “I’m a very lovable guy,” he protested. “Jorie and I would have done just fine…in fact we were doing really well without Rordan. But no. You dump him on us right when things were starting to heat up.”

 

            And damn, did they heat up. Jorie was, Jorie is incredible. Damn. It wasn’t that she was beautiful. Honestly, he’d met more beautiful women than Commander Jorie Mikkalah. Her eyes were a golden yellow, like a cat’s. Her skin had a honeyed café-au-lait hue. Her hair had to be ten different shades of gold, orange, and brown—punk-streaked, he thought, but not as garish. It was just short of shoulder length, more chin length in front, with bangs that looked like she’d hacked at them with a knife. She wasn’t that beautiful.

 

     Oh, yeah, she was. And tough and capable. She’d faced down that towering monster without flinching. He wasn’t used to being protected; he was the one usually doing that job. So when someone else did it, and did it well, he recognized that. Appreciated it, as a cop. As much as he appreciated her face and form, as a man.

 

Theo realized his attention had wandered. He cleared his throat and sat up a little straighter.

 

“You really love her, don’t you, Theo?” His author’s voice was soft and she had that misty-eyed look women get sometimes.

 

He ducked his head, nodding. “Yeah. She’s my whole life. I don’t care that she’s from another planet. I can’t image living without her.  So, see, that’s why I’m really here. I just need to make sure if there’s a second book, a sequel or something, that you won’t split us apart. “

 

“Never.” She placed her hand over her heart. “Promise. I told you. My books have science fiction, they have action and adventure. And with you, they even have a hunky cop—oh, don’t look so embarrassed. Learn to accept praise, will you?”

 

His Aunt Tootie harped on that all the time.

 

“But I write to an HEA,” she continued. “A happy ending. Aren’t you and Jorie happy?”

 

He couldn’t keep the grin off his face. “You have no idea.”

 

Linnea Sinclair leaned  back in her office chair and tickled the enormous cat under the chin. “Trust me, I think I do, Theo. I think I do.”

 

 

The Down Home Zombie Blues, coming Nov. 2007 from RITA award winning author Linnea Sinclair:

 

http://www.linneasinclair.com/DHZBCOVER.htm

 

It’s Men In Black meets CSI:Miami in this steamy, suspenseful new novel from RITA award-winning author Linnea Sinclair.  He’s a Florida cop. She’s an intergalactic zombie hunter. Saving Earth is the least of their problems.

 

4-1/2 Stars—Top Pick! From Romantic Times BOOKreviews: “Quirky, offbeat and packed with gritty action, this blistering novel explodes out of the gate and never looks back. Counting on Sinclair to provide top-notch science fiction elaborately spiced with romance and adventure is a given, but she really aces this one! A must-read, by an author who never disappoints.”

 

Make sure to leave a comment…one random reader will win this mug for Linnea. 🙂

 

ls_mug.jpg

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