I was both thrilled and nervous when my publisher, Blushing Books, invited me to be a part of this awesome compilation of 25 short stories by 25 amazing authors. The best part thus far has been meeting some of these wonderful authors, including my new friend, Piper Stone. I love the excerpt she's sharing today and can't wait to read the whole story. If you haven't pre-ordered your copy yet, you'll definitely want to after checking out A TASTE FOR RED! Hurry-release date June 27th!
A Taste for Red by Piper Stone
Tempers flare when Private Investigator Shanna Jacobs and cowboy detective Cody Walker are forced to work on a wine fraud case, but their hot attraction is undeniable. The case moves into dangerous territory when the key players aren’t what they seem, but if Cody and Shanna can solve the case, will they put their pride aside and let their passion take hold?
Exhaling, Cody had no idea what say. He waited until the captain walked away before looking down at the picture again. There was no way this was the same woman. None. A professional and very conservative attorney held her head high for the photograph. Why would an attorney and almost partner for an upscale law firm quit, choosing the paltry life of a private investigator? There was only one way to find out. Work with her? He’d eat her for breakfast.
After closing the file on his desk, he stormed into the investigation room, closing the door with a hard thud and tossing her picture down on the table. “Playing dress up, Ms. Jacobs? Which is the real you? I’m not certain. Are you a conservative attorney with an impeccable reputation or a Harley riding vigilante?”
“No more than you’re pretending to be a cop,” Shanna retorted after only glancing at the photograph.
“Detective Walker, I don’t see what my client’s previous career has to do with this case,” Christine stated.
“Perhaps nothing. Perhaps everything,” Cody said as he leaned against the door. Shanna hadn’t flinched nor did she seem bothered by the fact he knew about her past. Still, he had the distinct feeling she was hiding behind a mask. “Wanna tell me about it?”
“Nothing to tell, Detective. My previous career is just that. Now, I’m more of a cop than you’ll ever hope to be. At least I was close to getting real evidence on Mr. Wilder. Were you?” Shanna purred then winked as she pushed the photograph back in his direction.
“Should I have you arrested for assaulting a police officer?” Cody leaned forward, the words spewing from his mouth. The woman was frustrating as hell.
“Enough!” Christine exclaimed and jerked down the edges of her suit jacket. “We’re not doing this. If you two are going to work together, you have to figure out a way of getting along.”
“Work together?” Shanna slowly turned her head in Christine’s direction. “I don’t think I heard you correctly.”
Christine looked over at the detective then cleared her throat. “Our firm was asked by the captain for your help specifically. People have lost their lives because of this monster. You and the detective are both working on the same case, so to speak, and given certain circumstances, it’s best you work together.”
Shanna remained unblinking for a full ten seconds. Bursting into laughter, she took a giant step backwards. “What a crock of shit. I do hope you’re kidding or I’m outta here.”
“You’re not going anywhere,” Christine said quietly.
“And why not?” Shanna demanded.
“Because the firm needs your help. Besides, your client isn’t going to pay you without photographs. Stoker knew he was being followed. You have an opportunity to finish a job as well as help solve two murders. Do you understand?” Christine took two steps closer.
Cody caught the odd look shared between the two women. The moment of tension was palpable. He was curious as to the spitfire’s answer.
Shanna sucked in her breath. She turned in Cody’s direction before exhaling. Her face was flushed with raw emotions. “Jesus Christ. What are we talking about?”
“We go undercover as husband and wife to Napa Valley. I don’t know all the details yet, but we’ll go over them when we leave in just about two hours,” Cody stated. He could already tell by Shanna’s reaction he was going to have a tiger by the tail. “Trust me. I don’t like this anymore than you do.”
“Over my dead ass body.” Shanna headed straight for the door. She glared at him and pointed her finger. “Move.”
“Detective. Will you leave us alone for just a minute?” Christine asked.
“Oh, what the hell. I have nothing better to do,” Cody said under his breath as he reached behind him, grabbing the door handle. From where he stood, he gathered a whiff of her perfume. The exotic scent was intoxicating. This was going to be an interesting case.
“Don’t forget my Glock, Detective.” Shanna kept her voice even. “I will get it back.”