Today I'm celebrating the birth of TO LOVE AND PROTECT, the second book in my Manning Family Reunion series.
Obviously, the idea came from the first book, IN MY DREAMS, about the return home of a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, determined to find the sisters from whom he was separated when their mother went to jail when they were children. The siblings were sent to live with their fathers (each child had a different father) so led very different lives. Circumstances kept them estranged from each other so, Jack Palmer, hero of book one, decides reuniting his family is the best way to pull himself together and build his life again after his war experiences.
Jack was eight when their mother went to jail, and Elizabeth Corazon Ochoa (Corie), heroine of this second book, was four. Carrie, their little sister, was two. Each child's life experience is completely different because of their divergent paths. Corie's father died when she was 12, she hated her step-mother and ran away. In foster care she found peace, but the street skills she learned early on stay with her and she's more likely to find an unconventional and sometimes illegal solution to her problems. She's small and slight with a straight sheet of long black hair.
Jack was adopted by Gary and Helen Palmer, the parents of Ben Palmer, Jack's best friend in third grade. When Jack finds Corie in a little town in Texas, Ben isn't happy. He's a police officer, and he learns about her questionable response to trouble. In fact, the day he and Jack arrive in Texas to find her, she's robbing an elegant home. So the cop and the crook confront each other.
The cover caption would say in Ben's voice. " Relax. I've got you."
My favorite scene is in the second half of the book when Corie tries to right a wrong by breaking into city hall in the middle of the night. Ben follows her, knowing she's up to something, and has no choice but to go along with her once he realizes what she's looking for will save Jack from going to jail. But he's beside himself with exasperation and the urge to throttle her.
I love both Ben and Corie, so choosing a favorite is like picking a favorite child. I love Corie's courage and go-to-hell approach to things, but I love Ben's heart and his stalwart support of her, no matter what.
I'm really dating myself, here (like I could hide my age, anyway, with this hair) but I'd love a young Tom Selleck playing Ben, and (I'd Google the name of the woman to play Corie, but I don't know how to get out of this program and get back safely.) the pretty, dark-haired women who played Mary Jo in the old Designing Women series for Corie. Know who I mean? She showed up recently on CSI New Orleans - older, but still pretty - and very petite.
Research taught me that they use completely different types of trees for Christmas in Texas than we do in the Northwest. And one of them, the Leyland Cypress, is hypoallergenic. Has no sap and no scent. (Sounds awful to me, but probably a blessing for people with allergies.)
Country music would be good for the Texas setting, but when I think of Corie, I think her theme would be that song I think Chevy uses, and also the new SuperGirl, "This is my fight song, take back my life song . . ."
This is book #92 (I think I told you that when I did this for the previous book because I was working on this one and got confused.) It means I'm still here, but I can't deny that it's harder than it used to be when my brain actually worked.
I'm now working on Cassie's story, and for pleasure I'm working my way through that great box of Georgette Heyer books I inherited from Mary Rose.
Have a wonderful weekend, all of you. 'Chatting' with you daily brightens my life.