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About the author:
#2 of the series, Roses for the Sparrow was published on Oct. 3, 2014
What inspired you to write your book?
The primary character, Jani, of Roses for the Sparrow’ was introduced in ‘Pigeon In a Snare’. In Pigeon, Jani is Lisa Cromwell-Hunt’s assistant and dear friend. After Lisa is kidnapped Jani is instrumental in helping to capture Lisa from Humsler. By the end of Pigeon, however, Lisa was a bit perturbed with Jani’s enthusiasm to just push forward full steam ahead. Jani doesn’t understand Lisa’s need to recooperate. So, after I ended Pigeon, I kept wondering ‘What about Jani?” And so, in Roses for the Sparrow we get to know Jani as intimately as we came to know Lisa in Pigeon in a Snare.
Here is a short sample from the book:
“Why don’t you ride home with me?” Rick suggested as he helped Jani slip her jacket on. “We’ll come back to get your car tomorrow. It’ll be safe on the lot here.”
“I can’t,” Jani replied. “I’ve got to be on the road by eight a.m. if I’m going to get to Mom’s before noon. Are you sure you don’t want to come with me?”
“I want to spend time with you, babe, but I don’t think I’m ready to meet your family just yet,” Rick replied.
“Chicken,” she accused as they stepped outside beneath the canopy.
He frowned. She grinned. They both heard Jeff exclaim, “Bet’cha I can too get her!” behind them. Apparently Jeff was addressing Billy or the bartender; although, who he talked about was of no interest to either Jani or Rick. When he stepped through the door he seemed surprised to see them standing beneath the entry canopy.
“Damned nasty night ain’t it?” he asked while he lit a cigarette.
“Yep,” Rick agreed.
Abruptly Jeff loped off toward his car parked along the street curb. “See ya all, Monday,” he hollered over his shoulder.
“He is so weird,” Jani commented.
“Naa,” Rick disagreed, “He’s harmless…lazy as hell and maybe lonesome. He didn’t have a date tonight.”
“So? Half the single guys here didn’t have dates.”
“Rain’s lettin’ up. Ready to make a dash for it? I’ll follow you home.”
Jani searched her pockets for her keys as she dashed across the lot only to find them dangling from the ignition. Apparently, she had not locked the car door either.
She could have sworn she used the remote lock after she got out of her Geo Tracker and then slipped the key into the pocket of her jacket. Or, did she believe she did that because she was so used to doing it all the time?
The aging little car did not want to run properly from the moment she turned the ignition. She let the motor warm a bit then she pushed the shift mentally willing the car into gear so it would chug-a-lug up the streets away from the waterfront. She traveled across the flat surface of 5th Street at the top of the hill and was heading downhill south on Cedar Street when the overheated motor began to spew steam from beneath the hood. When she tried to steer to the side of the road she found she could barely force the steering wheel to turn. She pumped her brakes and tried to shift down. The car refused to slow its speed no matter what she did.
Luckily, the street was lined on either side by raised sidewalks or she might have spun through someone’s front yard before crashing against someone’s house.
The Geo was traveling too fast to just bump gently into the curb. It literally bounced onto the surface of the walk and sat there dangling while Jani tried really hard not to scream.
Rick was less than a block behind. Before she could calm down he parked his pickup behind the Geo and came racing to her rescue.
“What happened, babe?” he cried as he opened the door.
Jani just threw herself into the safety of his arms.
“Hey!” Rick crooned. “It’s all right!. What happened?”
“I don’t know!” Jani sobbed clutching him as if he was her lifeline. “All of a sudden I couldn’t steer. I didn’t have any brakes. I couldn’t even get the car into a lower gear to slow it down that way. Steam was coming out from under the hood like it’d turned into a tea kettle.”
“Still is,” Rick surmised, eyeing the steam hissing all around the front end of the little Geo Tracker. He grasped Jani’s upper arms, gently pushing her aside even though she protested. “Jani…turn off the engine.”
She started, just realizing she had left it running.
“Duck inside and turn off the engine. Pull the latch that opens the hood. Do you have a flash light?”
Jani did those things methodically as though she was in some kind of trance.
When she handed Rick the small flashlight she carried beneath the front seat he snorted with amusement. His reaction finally sparked her back to life and she declared indignantly, “It fits into my hand just right”.
He snorted again, indicating he could hold the flashlight as if it were a ball point pen. “Don’t hardly give enough light for a pissant,” he grunted as he walked around to the front of the hood, lifted it and stooped so he could peer more closely beneath. Then he cursed.
“What is it?” Jani inquired, alarmed by the tone of his voice.
Rick glanced her way then forced himself to calm not wanting to frighten her more. He bent beneath the hood a second time pointing the flashlight in several directions before he stood again and slammed the hood shut.
“Rick?” Jani questioned uncertainly.
Again, he mentally calmed himself before he stepped back around the side of the car. “Let’s go sit in my truck,” he said. “I’ll see if I can get hold of Al to come haul this trap away.”
“Babe, you can’t drive it like it is. C’mon. We don’t need to stand out here getting soaked. I have Al’s number programmed into my cell phone.”
“You must call him a lot,” Jani dared to quip as she climbed inside Rick’s pick-up.
Rick closed the passenger door, walked around the front of the truck and climbed in on the driver’s side before he explained.
“Al does most of the work on our construction vehicles. He has a wrecker service and a salvage lot but he only works on heavy equipment. He’ll take your car over to Mike’s Service and Gas. Mike’ll treat you fair.”
Jani was subdued while Rick phoned Al. “He’s on a service call,” Rick explained as he closed his cell phone and laid it on the dash. “His wife said she’ll get in touch with him and call us back in a little bit.” He adjusted the heater and windshield wipers then revved the motor some.
“What’s wrong with my car, Rick?” Jani wanted to know. She was so cold she shivered visibly. Rick’s attitude sent deeper chills up her spine.
Rick raised the console between them and drew her close to his side. “Your radiator hose is busted. I guess that was the initial problem…had a crack or something in it that caused it to overheat this afternoon.”
“But that wouldn’t affect the brakes.”
“No.” He said no more.
Jani drew away eyeing him suspiciously. “What don’t you want to tell me?”
“I don’t want to say anything now because I can’t see exactly what’s going on without a real flashlight.”
Rick heaved a tolerant sigh before he answered. “It looks to me like several hoses have been slit. There’s oil and transmission fluid everywhere under the hood. All of those hoses wouldn’t accidentally break at one time.”
Jani gasped speechlessly, unwilling to comprehend. “W…w…why?”
“Someone didn’t want you to make it up that hill from River Street.”