Yesterday I stopped in my local library for the used book sale. Every other month they assemble a huge collection of donated books, CDs, and DVDs at greatly reduced prices. This is a great way to discover new authors or find some old treasures, such as Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger”. My original copy disappeared years ago, so stumbling upon this one brightened my morning considerably.
In the first room of paperbacks I kept bumping into an older lady as we worked our way up and down the rows. It’s my practice to run a finger across the spine of books, pausing at familiar names or eye-catching titles for a closer look. She was at my elbow when I paused at a copy of “Map of Bones” by James Rollins.
“Is he any good?” she asked.
“Excellent storyteller. Rollins weaves history, science, religion and espionage into every novel. He’s got some remarkable characters. It’s a great book.”
She snagged it off the shelf and dropped it in her bag. “Thanks.”
I continued down the aisle and discovered a copy of “Invisible Prey” by John Sandford. A glance at the back cover and the first paragraph confirmed it was one I’d read years ago. Before I could put it back, the lady was at my side again.
“You like him too?”
“Can’t go wrong with Lucas Davenport or Virgil Flowers.”
I was about to put it on the shelf. Instead I handed it to her. This one disappeared in her bag as well. She nodded and looked at me expectantly. I pointed out a number of other favorite books, from James W. Hall, Elmore Leonard, Greg Iles and Robert Crais. She didn’t scoop up all of them, but quite a few. At length she headed toward biographies while I went to check out.
As I stood in line it occurred to me that my recommendations are just like book reviews. In a sentence or two, I shared some details about the stories, about the writer’s skill in drawing you in, or how the characters interacted. What I found remarkable about this particular exchange was how eager she was to hear what I had to say.
Through Sunday, April 16, you’ll still be able to pick up your copy of “Devious” for just 99 cents. This is the first book in the Jamie Richmond mystery series. Here’s an excerpt. In this scene, Jamie returns home after being away for several days on business and rushes out to meet the new guy in her life, Malone, for dinner.
I kicked off the heels and squirmed out of the stockings. I opted for a pair of very lacy panties with a matching black bra, and rummaged in the closet for a corduroy skirt and a cotton blouse. I called this my flirt skirt. It was knee length but had functional snaps that ran down the front of it. Depending on how flirtatious I was feeling determined how many snaps were left undone. I grabbed my bag and hurried off to meet him.
O'Leary's wasn't crowded when I arrived. Malone was in uniform, sitting at a booth near the back of the restaurant. Malone greeted me with a tender hug and a chaste kiss on the lips then pulled me in beside him on the bench.
"Saving it up for later?" I asked.
"Bank on it.
Malone opened his menu and scanned the page quickly. A waitress approached, wearing a green leotard and skirt with a black apron. He glanced at me and raised his eyebrows. "Want me to order for you?"
"Sure, I'm starving."
Malone turned to the girl. "We’ll have the roast lamb stew, tossed salads with raspberry vinaigrette, and coffee." He looked at me and I nodded.
"You eat here often?" I asked as she wiggled away. I'd swear she put a little extra swing in her hips for Malone's benefit. I didn't know whether to be angry or jealous. Idly, I undid a couple more snaps on the skirt. It fell open to mid-thigh.
"Couple times a week. The food's good and the prices are reasonable. A lot of the guys stop in. The service is pretty good too.” He winked at me. It was obvious he’d noticed the extra wiggle.
"You're a good guy, Malone."
He leaned over to kiss me. His left hand landed softly on my knee. I watched the expression hit his eyes as he realized this was a smooth bare leg he was feeling. Malone gently slid his hand a little higher. A shiver of excitement ran through me. It took several moments for me to withdraw from that kiss.
“Want to skip dinner?” I asked. I was glad this part of the restaurant was dark, since I was blushing beet red.
“I think we’re going to need that nourishment for later.” Malone reluctantly removed his hand from my leg.
After dinner he walked me out to the parking lot. He stopped beside my car and leaned against the door.
"Did I tell you how much I missed you, Malone?" I put my arms around his neck. His hands went to my waist.
"Would it be improper for a girl to kiss a cop while he's on duty?"
Malone's eyes went to his left wrist. "I've got two minutes before I check in."
He tipped his head down to meet my lips and kissed me warmly. If anyone was watching, I didn't see them. I didn't care. His left hand remained on my hip. The right had somehow drifted between my legs and undid two more snaps. The skirt was only fastened to the top of my hips now. A shudder ran through my whole body as his fingertips stroked me through the lace panties.
“Welcome home, Jamie.” Gently he pulled away and straightened up.
“Thanks for the flowers.”
“My pleasure. Glad to have you back.”
"How glad are you, Malone?”
"See you later?" he asked.
"Oh yeah. It may take me a while to be able to drive. And I seem to be having this problem with my door. It just won't stay locked at night." I pushed his hands away and stepped back before I attacked him in the parking lot.
"I'll have to see what I can do to remedy that. And Jamie…don’t change your clothes.”