Lieutenant Dalton Gray first made his appearance in my book, The Cameo Clue. Attracted to my heroine, Katherine, he lost out to a brawny Michigan militiaman, Garth MacKay. That was bad for Dalton but good for his creator. I could use him in another book set in the fictitious town of Maple Creek where again he lost the girl to a small town newspaperman.
Here is what Katherine sees as she visits Maple Creekâ€™s annual apple fair:
As I scanned the crowd, looking for a friendly face, I noticed the tall, lean policeman who stood under a traffic light directing vehicles onto a side street. With his grim expression, he appeared to be anything but friendly. In his dark uniform, he was unusually handsome, though, and well worth a second lookâ€”or even a third.
He raised his muscular arm and turned his head slightly to wave a red Taurus to the left. His face was as lean as his body, chiseled in sharp attractive angles, and his smooth dark brown hair gleamed in the afternoon sunlight. One strand fell forward on his forehead from a center part, brushing the top of his eyebrow.
Sometimelater, Iwrote Love Deadly Love,whose title comes from a haunting, old Cajun folk song. Again my setting is Maple Creek, Michigan. Lieutenant Dalton Gray was still on the force, and this time he had better luck. The heroine, Linnet, returns his affections.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â I like to recycle romantic heroes, like to let them live to love another day.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â My today blog is about Love Deadly Love, newly available as a March selection for the Harlequin Worldwide Mystery Bookclub, and Iâ€™ll start with covers. The Hilliard and Harris had a lovely cover, worthy of a fictitious house called Valentine Villa. The background was pink. Taking center stage was the faÃ§ade of a white Victorian house with a red heart window.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Enter the Harlequin edition. A heart-shaped cherry tart with dead black flies lying near it, one of them right above my name. At first I was appalled, but everyone seems to like that cover, and Love Deadly Love is one of my favorite books. I hope more readers will discover my book in its new edition and overlook the flies.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Besides Lieutenant Gray finally getting the girl, the story is about love that comes when we least suspect it and sometimes turns deadly. (Hence the cherry tart, which is incidentally laced with arsenic.) Since this is also a novel of romantic suspense, itâ€™s also about secrets and murder and the disturbing tale of a rowdy high school class that totters on the brink of deadly.
Lovers of romance will be happy to know that the bookâ€™s secondary hero, Ned Glint, already has a place in my next Maple Creek book. Ned was inspired by a teacher I once knew. Thereâ€™s nothing like recycling old boyfriends.