I'm happy to be showcasing someone I've known for many years and only recently found out she was a writer. Please welcome Dixie Brown!
It’s such a pleasure to be here on Mystery Monday. Thanks for inviting me, Paty.
I must admit I love a good contemporary romance or a tear-jerking feel-good story, but add a generous helping of suspense and I can’t put it down. That’s why romantic suspense is my genre of choice.
On the one hand, our heroine is in peril—so much peril no able-bodied female could get out of it on her own, but she won’t have any trouble awakening the rescue response from our hero.
He’s brave, confident, charming when he wants to be and…yes…a little cocky. Is there anything sexier than a man who’s comfortable in his own skin—who knows what he wants and how to make it happen? Of course, equally important—he must know how to save her from the aforementioned peril.
Suspense, according to the dictionary, is apprehension about what is going to happen. The key to writing suspense is the mystery. Creating an atmosphere of dread and uncertainty keeps readers, me included, turning the pages. Give away the mystery too soon and the readers will likely take a hike.
Why is the woman on the run? Who’s after her? Will the hero figure out a way to save the day? Will the two of them get together in the end? Answers to these questions and more should only be given to the reader as the characters learn the answers.
For a romance novel, some of the answers are preordained—the whole happy ending scenario. That means it’s even more important to crank up the suspense and keep the readers on the edges of their seats. I hope I’ve done that in my debut novel, ALL OR NOTHING, the first book in the Trust No One series.
ALL OR NOTHING will be released in e-book format March 12th, but is available for pre-order now.
Divorcing one of the west coast's most notorious crime bosses is probably not the best idea Cara ever had. If not for her half brother, Brian, convincing her abusive ex-husband to leave her alone, she'd have been dead six months ago.
Now Joe, a man she meets right before two gunmen try to kill them both, tells her it's not her ex-husband who's out to get her. Joe just saved her life and she wants to trust him, but who else could possibly want her dead? And why does she get the feeling Joe didn't appear in her life just by chance?
Joe's undercover investigation into Cara's family business reveals Sinclair Arms Distributing is selling illegal automatic weapons. The investigation goes bad and one of Joe's operatives dies, but not before telling Joe that Cara's life is in danger.
Joe promises to keep her safe, but he also intends to use her to find the evidence he needs against her brother. All he has to do is convince her to trust him.
Falling in love with her isn't part of the plan.
Cara’s gaze flitted around the room nervously. “Where are we?”
“My motel room.”
“How did I get here? Did you drug me?” Her eyes challenged him.
“That was Murphy’s idea. He’s a little paranoid. The drug should be out of your system soon. You feel okay, don’t you?”
“I feel like a fool for trusting you. Other than that, I’m just great.”
Joe couldn’t really blame her for that, but didn’t she realize how close she came to dying tonight? He pursed his lips and considered telling her. “You’re pretty good with a gun.”
She seemed to lose some of her confidence as she looked away. Her pulse pounded at the base of her throat.
“I need to call my brother. Let him know I’m okay.” She patted her pockets and then glanced at the bedside stand. “Did my cell phone make it here with me?”
“You can have it when I’m sure it’s safe.”
She glared at him. “This is unbelievable. I didn’t ask for your help, or your attention. There was a time I could have used a knight in shining armor, but I learned the hard way there’s no such thing. So I take care of myself now.”
A barely imperceptible movement of her eye warned him a fraction of a second before she bolted. She whirled and ran through the outer room to the door. Forcing the chain from its slot, she threw the dead bolt and yanked the door open about four inches before Joe caught it and slammed it shut. As she swung around to face him, fear swept across her face.
Damn it. He hadn’t meant to scare her, although a little healthy respect for the trouble she was in wouldn’t hurt. He grabbed her elbow roughly and, after relocking the dead bolt, dragged her to a chair in the far corner of the room. When he released her, she rubbed her arm and glowered at him.
“Are you going to tell me what the hell is going on? Who are you and why were those men trying to kill you?”
He pulled another chair around, straddled it, and sat facing her. “Name’s Joe Reynolds. Those men weren’t trying to kill me, at least not in the beginning.”
“Really?” Her voice dripped with skepticism. “What were they doing?”
He held her gaze, his expression unchanging, letting her come to her own conclusions. An instant later she gasped and looked at her hands. In that one fleeting glance before she dropped her gaze, he recognized stark terror. It was his turn to be confused. Just how much did this woman know?
A moment later, she met his eyes, her fear evidently under control again. “You think they were after me?”
“Someone wants you dead. Any ideas?” Either she already knew about her brother, or there was someone else she was scared of. Possibly the man who left his mark on her throat.
“Yes. I’ve got a few ideas.”
“Care to share?”
“I’ll tell you all my secrets when you tell me yours.”
He looked down and she laughed scornfully.
“I didn’t think so. I’d like to leave now.”
“When it’s safe…”
“Yes. I heard you the first three times.” Cara smiled humorlessly. “So, you’re going to keep me here against my will…for my own protection?”
Joe nodded again.
“I hope you weren’t planning on sleeping.”
A smile tugged as his gaze ran the length of her. “I’m perfectly capable of keeping you occupied so you aren’t tempted to leave.”
Dixie started writing romantic suspense nearly twenty years ago. Then life took a few unexpected turns, and the writing career was put on hold in favor of starting a new life and a new job.
One’s passion is not easily forgotten, however. Two years ago, Dixie started writing again—a YA novel—but, before she could finish, another idea pushed to the forefront and wouldn’t go away until a full-fledged novel was completed.
That idea became ALL OR NOTHING, first book in the Trust No One series. All or Nothing placed third in the 2011 TARA Contest (Tampa Area Romance Authors) in the romantic suspense category.
Dixie now lives in sunny Central Oregon with two small dogs and a cat for company while she writes the third book of the Trust No One series. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, movies and trips to the beach.
website is: www.dixieleebrown.com