8 Apr 2015
Dropping the Dime by Ellie Ashe
Gemma Halliday Publishing
70,000-word romantic mystery
Beneath the neatly plotted rows of new homes lurk dark secrets, bitter feuds and a whole lot of greed. Nothing is what it appears, even Miranda’s timid client, who is hiding secrets of her own. Despite her growing distrust of her client, Miranda must protect Kathryn from becoming the target of the FBI’s investigation and protect herself from the real thief—all while protecting her heart from the sexy FBI agent she can’t seem to resist.
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One of my favorite parts of writing the Miranda Vaughn Mysteries is exploring the chemistry between Miranda and Jake Barnes, the hot FBI agent who saved her life, then broke her heart. In Dropping the Dime, Miranda and Jake are thrown together on an investigation. Miranda’s trying to protect her client, Kathryn, a whistle-blower who is working with the FBI to expose her crooked real estate developer boss. But Kathryn’s keeping her own secrets and before long, Miranda is fighting to keep the FBI from turning its investigation to the timid accountant.
Here’s a peek of how Miranda and Jake navigate those conflicts in Dropping the Dime:
“So, you’re not investigating Kathryn?” I asked.
The question hung in the air between us in the quiet kitchen. Jake reached up and put the plates away in the open cupboards, then turned and leaned against the counter.
“No,” I said. “You shouldn’t. She’s a nice person who just tried to do the right thing.”
He raised an eyebrow. “You don’t even know her.”
“I know her better than you do. She’s not a criminal.”
“She’s lying. She’s lying to you. And she’s lying to the FBI, which is a federal crime,” he said, his expression hardened.
“Kathryn is not lying!” I had nothing to back that up. “She’s smarter than that.”
“She’s just going to get herself in trouble if she doesn’t come clean with us,” he said. “Look, Finn is happy to finally nail Simon Leonidis, but I’m not looking at this as a personal vendetta. If we’re going to prosecute him, we need evidence. Not just his CFO’s suspicions.”
I knew that, but for some reason, I had a feeling there was more to it than that.
“You just don’t believe her, do you?”
He crossed his arms and I was momentarily distracted by the way his biceps flexed. I looked away quickly.
“Maybe we shouldn’t talk about work,” he said.
“That’s a good idea,” I said, then paused. What else would we talk about? All of my interaction with Jake had been work related, in one way or another, starting with our first encounter when he arrested me. Was my attraction purely lust? Based on nothing of substance?
“So, how was your day?” he asked, a slight smile on his lips.
I discovered that I’d been defending a liar and uncovered a Greek tragedy. “Uh, it was fine. How was yours?”
Oh God. Was this what happened when you fell for someone based solely on looks? And a lot of adrenaline. And chemistry.
He smiled and my heart did an extra little flutter. “Well, I got to take a romantic drive in the country with a beautiful woman, then take her to dinner.”
The heat rose up my face. “You certainly spun that in a positive light.”
Jake’s smile widened. “How would you have spun it?”
“I don’t know. Maybe that I completed a successful undercover mission,” I said. “I guess I’m not as mushy as you.”
He laughed and raised an eyebrow. “Mushy?”
“Yeah, you know. Romantic. Soft.”
He was in front of me in an instant, his arms on either side, leaning in, a wall of chest covered in a snug black t-shirt backing me against the counter. I had to tilt my head back to look at him and when I did, my breath caught at the nearness. My gaze lingered on his lips, so close. So very close.
“Not soft,” he whispered and leaned in.
It had been more than half a year since I’d felt the touch of those lips, but the effect was the same. Dizzying. Electric. A tug of passion that reached from my soul. Nothing, no one, had ever made me feel like that.
“We shouldn’t do this,” I whispered.
“I know.” Jake’s voice was low and gravelly and thrilled me to the pit of my stomach.
“I told Rob there wasn’t anything between us,” I said as his lips grazed my neck, sending a shiver through me.
“The case will be over soon.”
It wasn’t his voice that caused the tremors this time, it was the words. It didn’t matter that we had nothing to talk about except for work, which we were not allowed to discuss. It didn’t matter that we were at odds. This connection wasn’t something to give up on, just because of our jobs. I’d work at the bakery for the rest of my life to keep this.
Ellie Ashe has always been drawn to jobs where she can tell stories—journalist, lawyer, and now writer. Writing quirky romantic mysteries is how she gets the "happily ever after" that so often is lacking in her day job.
When not writing, you can find her with her nose in a good book, watching far too much TV, or trying out new recipes on unsuspecting friends and family. She lives in Northern California with her husband and three cats, all of whom worry when she starts browsing the puppy listings on petfinder.com.
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