I had my first #romanticidea when I was four, and it’s still a good one. I was lying in bed on a hot afternoon pretending to nap. A summer shower pattered softly against the roof. I heard children’s voice and tip-toed to the window so my mother wouldn’t hear my footsteps. Dressed in swimsuits and boots, the neighbor kids were running in the rain, screaming like wild things and jumping through puddles. I’d have given anything to be with them.
So … here’s my romantic idea. When a gentle summer shower drifts over your neighborhood, you and your loved one(s) must put on your swimsuits and rain boots and be wild things. If you are too dignified for this, dig out an umbrella big enough for two and go for a romantic walk in the rain with your honey.
Should your summer shower be accompanied by lightning, turn off the lights, turn on Billie Holiday and daydream about the rain scene in The Notebook.
When Officer Kirby Swallow’s half-sister is threatened, Kirby assumes her sister’s identity and journeys to the remote Texas ranch her sister calls home to catch a killer. Kirby confronts a growing list of suspects and a rising body count, not to mention the ranch manager, Seth Maguire, who sees past the charade to the warm, generous girl beneath. But can Kirby trust a man who rejects the one thing she holds dear: family? Her love dares all, but as the killer closes in, will it also be blind?
Self-reliant Seth Maguire is manager of the struggling Shaw Valley Ranch. His future appears empty until the ranch’s wild, unpredictable heiress suddenly morphs into a very hot lady cop. What starts out as just another seduction turns into something deep and, for him, frightening. Then the killer is revealed and Seth is faced with an impossible choice. Will his fragile, uncertain love be enough to save Kirby?
Buy link to preorder Stranger in My House is here: http://amzn.to/1WOnFmx. If you want to prepare yourself for the June 13 debut, pick up the first book in the stand-alone series, Stranger at My Door. All the major electronic sites are here: http://www.entangledpublishing.com/stranger-in-my-house/.
An excerpt from Stranger in My House
Seth guided Darcy into the wide path of grass and clover between the lavender fields. Frankie fell into step beside him, and a deeply irrational sense of well-being washed over him. Miss Bea had skinned him alive twice in one morning. A new record. A new low.
So why the hell was he feeling so mellow?
The scent of lavender floated in the warm air. The grayish-purple wands dipped and rolled like waves. Frankie took a deep, noisy sniff. “Hmm. Smells good.”
“Must have been hard for you when my cousin sold the cattle and took up farming.”
He glanced at her, expecting to see mocking, catlike eyes, but instead he was met with curiosity. Or was it interest? “I guess. Not exactly what I expected when I came here.”
“What did you expect?”
He shrugged. What did she think he’d expected? “A working ranch. A herd of steers from here to the horizon. Beefsteak for dinner. Whiskey for dessert.”
She burst out laughing, and he almost laughed, too. A comfortable silence settled over them, and he slipped back a pace so he could study the new Frankie. Her cat eyes didn’t seem so damned spooky this morning. His gaze lingered on strong cheekbones, golden skin, the gentle puff of pink lips. A breeze lifted. Long, black hair unfurled, gleaming like jet.
This girl couldn’t be Frankie. It wasn’t just the horse business. It was the way she acted, asking questions all the time and looking startled when Miss Bea went off on her. Sure, she knew a lot about the house and him and the workings of the ranch. And sometimes she’d tilt her head just like Frankie and do Frankie’s Beyoncé strut, but not all the time.
So if she looked like Frankie and talked like Frankie and knew about Frankie’s life, but wasn’t Frankie, who the hell was she? Besides Frankie’s doppelgänger. He should be alarmed, wary even. But instead he felt as if he’d finally turned a corner.
Let’s start with the fun stuff. I love small towns, mysteries, quiet men, laughter, old-fashioned spaghetti dinners. I love boots and shopping and jokes and Hershey’s dark chocolate and white wine. I love lots of things. But my first love is reading.
I love to read. Just about anything, but it has to be well-written. I go through periods where I am into historical novels or romance or mystery or history or biography. I never know when my desires will suddenly change.
Now for the writer-ish, official stuff: Mari Manning is the author of several contemporary romances and three romantic suspense novels set in the Texas Hill Country. Stranger at My Door is the first in her A Murder in Teas series. The second, Stranger in My House will be released by Entangled on June 13. The third book in the series is Stranger in My Bed. Currently Mari is working on a series of cozy mysteries.
She and her husband live in Chicago.