Wednesday, October 27, 2010
MUDDY WATERS by Maggie Toussaint
Muddy Waters is out now!
What happens when you mix together a crazy family or two, a hidden fortune, and a small town where everybody knows everybody else’s business? For me, the mix turned out to be MUDDY WATERS, my latest romantic suspense release from The Wild Rose Press.
My heroine, Roxie Whitaker, is a natural-born helper. She bakes pies for bake sales, helps out with fundraisers, buys her late grandmother’s friend breakfast at the diner, she even mows an absentee neighbor’s yard for free. Helping people gives Roxie a way to fit in after a childhood of traveling with her missionary parents. She’s seen the world, and she prefers Mossy Bog in coastal Georgia.
My hero, Sloan Harding, had a rough start. Things were fine while his granddad was alive, but once he died, Sloan had to live with his father, the town drunk. A kindly neighbor took an interest in him, fed him, and encouraged him to finish school and join the Army. Now, years later, he’s returned to thank her, only she’s passed on and her granddaughter has her same generous spirit.
Roxie is intrigued by the contrasts in Sloan. He’s the kind of boy she never knew, the tough kid who hung out on the street, but there’s a hunger in him, a vulnerability that touches her soul.
Sloan’s turned his life around. He works for himself and has a great dog. Women come and go, but he senses that Roxie is just what he’s been searching for. Except she lives in the town he hates, the one place on earth he swore he’d never return to.
Mossy Bog is full of backwater eddies, bright sunshine, and dark shady places, courtesy of all those two hundred year old live oaks draped with Spanish moss. Folks here know about the internet and satellite radio, but there’s a sense of time standing still. Grudges endure for generations. Minds seem smaller, less accepting of change. In short, these muddy waters are Sloan’s worst nightmare.
Can he live down his past? Can he face the people who think he’s still a lowlife?
Here’s an excerpt from the end of Chapter 1:
But her jailbird brother wouldn’t be in Mossy Bog tonight. Which left her without an escort this evening.
Truthfully, going with Timmy wasn’t much better than going stag. Everyone in town knew how many dates she’d had in the last year.
She glanced at Sloan Harding. He wasn’t wearing a wedding ring. Unless she’d gotten her wires crossed, he’d been looking at her with interest, at least until Timmy had called.
She blurted the question before she talked herself out of it. “You doing anything for dinner tonight?”
“Dinner?” he asked, clearly startled.
A trickle of perspiration dampened her spine. His grimace kicked her in the gut. What had she done? Asking a perfect stranger to dinner was forward by anyone’s standards.
She swallowed hard, wishing he’d turn her down and leave. It was bad enough she’d pressured him to check on her jailbird brother. The silence stretched out like a sea of ocean waves between them.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have put you on the spot like that. I apologize.”
He narrowed his gaze. “What’s going on?”
“Never mind.” Her stomach clenched. She dug her keys out of her purse. Time to get going. Time to put Sloan Harding in her rearview mirror. “I shouldn’t have mentioned it.”
He stepped between her and the door. “I’m available for dinner tonight.”
She shook her head. “I apologize. I don’t know what came over me. I’m not in the habit of inviting strangers to dinner. It’s just…I’m just…well, the truth is, Timmy was supposed to be my date for a wedding.”
His brow furrowed. “You need me to stand in for your brother?”
“You don’t even know Megan or Dave. I shouldn’t have said anything.”
Roxie gripped her keys in both hands. “Really. It’s no big deal. I feel awful for mentioning it.”
“No problem. Tell me where we’re going for dinner.”
She gnawed on her bottom lip. “Are you sure?”
“Yes, but I don’t like to go into any situation blind. What did I agree to?”
She squeezed her eyes shut, digging deep for courage. She drew in a deep breath for good measure. “My best friend, Megan Fowler, is getting married tonight. You’re welcome to attend the ceremony, but coming to the dinner afterwards will be enough.”
“Fine. I’ll pick you up. Where are we going?”
“St. John’s Episcopal Church, on Main Street. It’s half a mile south of your house. The wedding is at six, and the dinner buffet is at seven-thirty. No need to pick me up because I have to be there at five. Could you meet me in the parish hall between seven and seven-thirty?”
“I’ll be there.”
“Thanks. I owe you big time for this.”
“I owed you for the yard work anyway. Let’s call it even.”
Roxie’s gratitude fizzled. One dinner date versus thirteen years of yard work? No way was that even.
Surprising her, he shot her a “gotcha” look, then chuckled in a way that ruffled what was left of her composure. “Don’t worry. I promise to be a full-service date.”
MUDDY WATERS is available now! Buy links for Muddy Waters:
e-book: digital format at Wild Rose Press
trade paperback: Amazon or Wild Rose Press
Author of romance and mystery