Begin Reading Another Day Another Dali…

It’s official…Another Day Another Dali, the second book in my Serena Jones Mysteries is now available. 

Here is an excerpt from the opening chapter to whet your appetite: 

 

I tore my gaze from the porch that wrapped around the drug dealer’s house and cringed at the number on my phone’s call display.

Mom said there’d be days like this.

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Tanner, still decked out in his SWAT gear, peered over my shoulder as the phone vibrated insistently in my hand. “Good thing you’re a field-hardened FBI agent, so you don’t let little old ladies scare the pants off you.”

I sent him a silencing glare. Ignoring his grin, I turned away from the rest of the team traipsing in and out of the building, and clicked Connect. “Hi, Nana,” I said, injecting fake cheerfulness into my voice. “What’s up?”

“I need you to come see me.”

“You nee—are you okay?” My heart stuttered. If anything happened to Nana . . .

“Of course I’m okay. Stop stammering, girl.”

Tanner, still hovering close enough to hear her strident tones, snickered.

I placed a muffling hand over the phone.

“Excuse me, sir,” I said sweetly. “Don’t you have a forgery to bubble-wrap?” 292908_anotherdayanotherdaliorchard_romtimes_160x600wb

“Forgery?” His stunned look was so comical I forgave myself for rushing to a verdict before my usual careful perusal. Not that I was in any serious doubt about this particular painting.

“Really?” he said, broad shoulders slumping. When I arrived on scene, he boasted they’d turned up art so hot it was still smoking.

“Yup. Fake.” I, too, felt a pang of genuine regret that the “Renoir” hanging in the drug dealer’s den wasn’t the one on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list.

But I’d left Nana hanging.

Straightening my shoulders, I put the phone back to my ear. “Sorry, Nana. Um, I have to be at the youth drop-in center by seven to teach the art class, so . . .” I glanced at my watch and cast about for a workable solution, but there just wasn’t enough time. “I’m afraid—”

“Never mind,” she interrupted. “Obviously, you’re at work.” Where you shouldn’t be taking personal calls, her tone implied. “Call me when you get home.”

“Okay,” I said to dead air.

Annoyed at myself for the guilty feeling I couldn’t stop from churning my stomach, I turned to study the front of the house once more. Something was niggling at my brain.

“Um . . . Tanner,” I said, hesitating.

“Yeah?”

“There’s something . . .” I squinted against the dropping September sun, mentally reviewing the interior.

He grinned. “Stop stammering, girl. Spit it out.”

“Ha, ha.” Wait . . . “Oh, that’s got to be it!” I stuffed my phone in my pocket and headed back inside.

Tanner followed me. “What’s it?”

I stopped at the door to the den and glanced at the window three feet from the side wall.

“Serena? What’s going on?” Tanner pressed, trailing me to the next doorway, this one into a bedroom.

“The window is three feet from the wall, just like in the other room.”

“So?”

“Where’s the attic hatch?”

“Mason checked the attic.”

“Humor me.”

“Don’t I always?” Tanner said. “I’m a funny guy.”

“Uh-huh.” He actually had the quickest wit of any guy I knew, even if he did run to cheesy puns sometimes.

Not that I’d admit that to him.

“Over here.” He steered me toward a stepladder set up near the back door. “But there’s nothing up there but insulation and mice.”

“Mice, huh? Are you trying to scare me out of looking?” I started climbing, and Tanner moved in to hold the ladder steady.

I pushed open the hatch and stuck my head into the attic.

“See?” Tanner said.

“Yes, I do.” I stepped down a couple of ladder rungs and flashed him a grin. “A false wall six to eight feet in from the back of the house.”

Tanner squeezed past me and beamed his flashlight around the vacant space. “Unbelievable. Mason should’ve caught that.”

“The wall’s covered in cobwebs and dust. It wouldn’t have registered unless you were looking for it.”

Tanner muttered something I couldn’t make out, but having been on the receiving end of his displeasure during my FBI training—granted, always earned—I didn’t envy poor Mason.

Tanner hoisted himself into the attic, then balance-beamed his way across a joist to the wall and examined every inch of it. “I don’t see any way to access what’s behind it.” He shone the light over the attic’s insulation-covered floor and then the shoe impressions he’d left in the dust on the joist. “It doesn’t look like anyone else has been up here recently. There must be another ceiling access panel.” He climbed back down, eyeing me with interest. “How’d you know to look for a secret room?”

I shrugged evasively.

Tanner followed me back to the room where the fake Renoir had been found and swept his flashlight beam over every inch of the ceiling. “There’s no other way up there that I can see.”

I maneuvered around the agent photographing evidence. The wall between this room and the next was decorated in wood panels and elaborate moldings that looked uncomfortably familiar. I ran my fingers along the moldings.

Tanner studied me. “What are you doing?”

“Looking for a secret panel.”

“Uh-huh. And you seem to know exactly what you’re doing here, Nancy Drew, because . . . ?”

I expelled a breath. “There was one at my grandfather’s house, okay?”

“Your grandfather? The one who was murdered?”

“Yes.” I blew away a strand of long, blond hair that had escaped my ponytail. “Maybe you could be helpful instead of giving me the third degree?”

“Sorry.” Tanner beamed his flashlight over the section of paneling I was running my hands over.

My fingertips made contact with the pressure sensor I’d been seeking and my breath caught. “Tanner, I’ve found—”

“Wait!”

Primed to open it, I tossed a frown over my shoulder. “Are you really going to pull the SWAT-clears-every-room-first rule on this one?”

“No, I thought I’d rock-paper-scissors you for the privilege.” He motioned me to get out of his way.

My finger still on the sensor, I sidestepped two feet so he’d have a clear view as I pulled back the panel. “You ready? I’ll slide it open and you can call the all-clear.” I slid it three-quarters of an inch and froze. “Uh-oh.”

Tanner cursed. “Please tell me you’re messing with me.”

I gulped. “You don’t hear that ticking?”

He crouched down and shone his flashlight through the gap I’d opened. “Blast, Serena, don’t move a muscle.”

Yeah, got that.

“Blast!”

“Tanner, could you stop using that word?”

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Hooked?  🙂

Ask for it at your local bookstore or click here for more buying options: http://sandraorchard.com/books/another-day-another-dali/afoolandhismonet

If you missed the first book, A Fool and His Monet, I recommend reading it first, but each novel is truly a standalone, so not reading it won’t inhibit you from following book 2 in any way.

Tomorrow, October 19th, I am being interviewed at Emilie Hendryx’s blog and will be offering a paperback copy of Another Day Another Dali to one lucky commenter. Hope you’ll stop by and tell a friend.

 

In other News:

All my Love Inspired Suspense titles are on sale for only $1.99 for kindle at Amazon until October 25th

Find them here: http://amzn.to/2dj8gpA

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Fun Friday – The Plot Thickens

Okay, before I start, let me just say, I’m cheating…
That is, I’m sharing a post I wrote for the Craftie Ladies blog a couple of weeks ago. But if you didn’t see it, it is fun. This is the beginning of a long weekend for us, so that’s my excuse. ~grin~
Once friends find out I write for “Harlequin”, they like to tease my hubby with questions such as: So what’s it like to be married to a romance writer? ~Elbow. Elbow. Wink. Wink.~
Well, let me tell you. It’s not all fun and games. Sure hubby’s happy to help inspire me when I need to experiment with a kiss to get all the details right.
But I’m an inspirational writer so it never gets any further than that, much to my hubby’s disappointment I’m sure.
Besides, I’m not really a romance writer. I’m a romantic suspense writer.
So more often than not, I’m contemplating means of killing people, and more importantly, how to get away with it.
This can be quite uncomfortable for my family. Especially if they happen to notice my book of poisons sitting on the counter as they sit down to dinner.
Did you know that too much…?
Hmm, never mind, I’d better not reveal that. I’m planning to use the tidbit in my next book.
My family has learned to take my quirky ways in stride. My hubby is quick to assure people that it’s not him I’m planning to do away with when after I ask, “How could someone in your profession get away with murder?”
Most of the time, people warm right up to the subject. After all, be honest, how many of you have never contemplated how you might kill someone?
I’ve had a lot of fun with this line of questioning.
One time on the way to the airport following a writer’s conference, I shared a cab with a forensic pathologist. I was working on a mystery in which I killed someone by… hmm, won’t give that one away either.
Let’s just say by an ingenious means.
So I asked him, “If I killed someone by such and such a means, would you be able to detect that?”
The cabbie’s gaze shot to the rearview mirror. After the pathologist said, “No,” and I rubbed my hands in glee, I think the cabbie spent more time eyeing the rearview mirror than the road.
We made it to the airport in record time.
Then in the plane, I sat beside an aviation inspector. This was a divine meeting since I’d written a plane crash story that I wanted to tweak, and I had a two-hour flight to pick this guy’s brain about the myriad of reasons a plane might go down, and how.
Let me tell you, if you knew this stuff, you’d think twice before you got on a plane. I’m pretty sure the woman in front of us clutching her armrests was.
I could go and on with examples of ideas that have blossomed from the most innocuous situations.
Of course, there are drawbacks to having such an active imagination. It makes relaxing difficult.
This past summer while kayaking with the family, I couldn’t help but notice how easy it would be to sneak up on someone’s house from the water. My daughter who is also a writer locked right onto the idea and before you knew it we were spinning a tale of mystery and mayhem, and eyeing suspiciously every person who paddled by.
Of course, while I have a lot of fun writing my heroes and heroines into the worst situations imaginable, in the end, with the love of God and a good woman, the good guys triumph.