SHIELD OF VALOR
Desert Breeze Publishing
BEHIND THE SHIELD
"Put your hands up and keep 'em there. Both of you."
Keller County Detective Mitch Ransom whipped around. He knew that voice. It belonged to Sky Stringer, a low-life skunk he'd served with in Iraq. The ex-military man hunkered close by, brandishing a Taser and ogling Tiffany Golden, whom Mitch had just run into. Literally. The coffee on both their coats attested to that.
Mitch slapped his belt. Damn it. He wasn't wearing his duty weapon, and his cell phone was in the Jeep.
Tiffany stared at Stringer in wide-eyed panic.
Mitch took note of the empty, dark street corner before stepping forward. Stringer held the Taser loosely in his left hand, telling the detective that if he challenged Sky, he'd pay for it. So he simply glared at his former comrade.
"Put that bug zapper away, Sky. Right now."
"Forget it, Detective." The lanky man in the tattered camouflage jacket spat the title like it tasted bad and swung the weapon toward the leggy blonde. Tiffany Golden was a police dispatcher and a former beauty queen, more of an acquaintance than a friend. Sky eyed her with want. "Get your hands up, too, Tiffany. You're going with us."
"Have you lost your freaking marbles, Sky?" Tiffany's eyes rounded. "You and I went out a couple of times, sure. But that doesn't mean you can order me around."
"Tiffany?" Mitch lifted a brow. She was too loud and bouncy for his tastes, but he never would've placed her with a skunk like Sky even if he'd known the jerk was out of jail. What the hell was going on?
Tiffany kept her well-manicured hands in the air. "I was bored, okay? He's ex-military."
"Yeah, with a dishonorable discharge." Mitch curled his lip. "Not to mention that he's an ex-con."
"You went to prison?" She gaped at Sky.
"Shut up, Mitch." The ex-con's cheeks darkened, and he glared at Tiffany. "I wouldn't have been caught if it wasn't for him."
"I didn't buy liquor at the PX and sell it to the Iraqis like you and your pals did," Mitch said. "Barker might've been the ring leader, but you were right behind him."
"You turned us in, you cheese-eating rat. Might as well have stabbed me in the back."
"Sky, go away without hurting us and maybe Mitch won't arrest you." Tiffany bumped Mitch's arm as if to convince him to acquiesce. "I'm on my way out of town, and I can't--"
"Knock it off, blondie," Sky interrupted. "I ain't lettin' either one of you go. I gotta take him, and you're a witness. My boss will kill me if I let you run your mouth."
"I won't say a word. I promise." She shook her head. "Just let me get to my car, and I--"
"Shut the hell up and be still!" He scowled and waved the Taser.
"Do what he says, Tiffany." Mitch stepped in front of her. Sky must have been hit in the head or something, especially if he wanted to involve the blonde dispatcher. She was flighty just like Mitch's mother had been, more trouble that she was worth. Not to mention unreliable and stuck on herself. He'd sooner be trapped with the sixty year-old librarian from the new branch on Hopkins Street.
Tiffany shoved him aside. "Look, Sky--"
"I said for you to shut your pie hole." The former infantryman jerked his free hand to the left. "That's my car. The red compact. Now, I'm gonna open the trunk and you're both gonna climb inside, real quiet like. We're going for a ride."
Melanie Atkins is a multi-published author of romantic suspense, a fan of crime dramas, and an avid reader. Writing is more than an escape for her -- it's a way of life. She grew up in the Deep South listening to tall tales and penning stories about her cats. Now she writes gripping stories of love, suspense, and mystery with the help of her furry little feline muses.
ANGI: How often to you get lost in a story?
MELANIE: Every time I read, write, or watch TV or movies. I love stories, and I love to escape. Reading takes me away to another place, another time. I love that feeling.
ANGI: What’s the first book you remember reading?
MELANIE: The Ant that Can't … of course, he really could. I looked for it to read to my kids when they were young, but never could find it.
ANGI: What’s your favorite “love” word?
ANGI: Can you tell us about a real-life hero you’ve met?
MELANIE: I don't want to zero in on anyone in particular, but I do admire all the brave men and women in blue who protect and serve. We don't do enough to thank them.
ANGI: What’s your favorite fairy tale?
MELANIE: I was never into fairy tales, really. I'm more a Dr. Suess girl. Nonsensical rhymes get me every time.
ANGI: What’s your favorite cartoon character?
MELANIE: Sylvester the Cat. Can't help it; I'm a cat person.
ANGI: What turns you off like nothing else?
MELANIE: A lack of common sense. People have brains. They should use them. Don't you agree?
ANGI: Is there a playlist you’d recommend for reading your latest release?
MELANIE: Something fast and driving, like Muse… especially for the scene when the strike team bursts into the warehouse. I can just picture it. Men in body armor holding big guns… sigh.
ANGI: Where do you read and how often?
MELANIE: I read on the elliptical, the treadmill, and the bike at the gym, and whenever I take my mom to the doctor. Wish I had more time, but then I'd never get anything written.
ANGI: What sound or noise do you love?
MELANIE: My granddaughter's laughter. She's just a year old and finds joy in the simplest things. That always makes me smile.
ANGI: Fairy Tale or Action Adventure?
MELANIE: Action Adventure, hands down. I love romance, but fairy tales push my buttons.
ANGI: What was the first story you remember writing?
MELANIE: A story about my cats. I don't remember what they were doing, exactly, but I do know I wrote it in church. ; )
ANGI: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
MELANIE: Silence of the Lambs. Serial killers trump fairy tales, too.
ANGI: Who’s your favorite villain?
MELANIE: Hannibal Lector, of course. He makes my skin crawl… and that's a must for a villain, IMHO. The creepier, the better.
ANGI: Be honest, when reading...do you put yourself in the heroine’s role?
MELANIE: Sometimes, if she's kickass enough. Depends on her role. I don't like wimpy heroines.
ANGI: Is writing or story-telling easier for you?
MELANIE: Writing, definitely. Plotting is a chore for me.
ANGI: What’s something you’d like to tell your fans?
MELANIE: Stay tuned for more Keller County Cop books and several single titles, too -- including my favorite book ever, out of all I've written: BLOOD RITE comes out in January in both ebook and print at Whiskey Creek Press. Hope you'll check it out!
ANGI’S GOTTA ASK: WOW Melanie, how in the world did you get over 4800 Facebook friends? That’s not really my question. LOL I’m always fascinated with the deleted scenes on a DVD. Are there any deleted scenes from SHIELD OF VALOR or any of your other titles that you would have loved to include, but they just didn’t work in the final version?
MELANIE’S GOTTA ANSWER: Yes. I deleted a really hot sex scene from CHERIESHED WITNESS, the first book in my New Orleans Detective series (also available at Desert Breeze). It pushed the envelope a bit much for it to fit in with the rest of them. Had to tone it down. I think it's a better book now, though. More emotional and intense. Just sayin'.
MELANIE will be giving away a copy her backlist ebooks. (YAY international entries!)
Note: Offer void where prohibited. Open internationally. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants. Winners of drawings are responsible for checking this site in a timely manner. If prizes are not claimed in a timely manner, the author may not have a prize available. Get Lost In A Story cannot be responsible for an author's failure to mail the listed prize. GLIAS does not automatically pass email addresses to guest authors unless the commenter publicly posts their email address. Those leaving comments through Sunday at noon CST following this post will be eligible for the drawing.
Do you like FBI books? I'm thinking taking my next series (after Keller County Cops) in a different direction. Let me know what you think.
CONTACT MELANIE at email@example.com
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JOIN US TOMORROW when I host Adrienne Giordano. I’m back again Thursday with Theresa Ragan and Friday Donnell will be here with Anne Marie Becker. Remember to check back daily to GET LOST in your favorite stories! ~Angi
USA Today Bestseller Angi Morgan is an 11th generation Texan who plots ways to engage her readers with complex story lines, in actual Texas locations. She shares her research and photos on her daily blog: A Picture A Day.
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