Shannon here: Mary Ellis shares a romantic excerpt from her latest Mystery, Sweet Taste of Revenge. Comment or answer the question at the end of the post to enter the drawing for an autographed hardback copy, US only. Deadline: April 6th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Mary:
Re-meeting scene of Hero/Heroine in Sweet Taste of Revenge by Mary Ellis:
…An hour later, Eric was hefting his last load of cooking utensils from his vehicle along with three bags of groceries when a female voice screeched his name.
“Eric Manfredi, what on earth are you doing here?”
Shifting his armload of boxes, he saw two women with bare legs and knotted bathrobes blocking his path. “Kate! Beth! Are you two staying here? Of all the places I could have picked in town.” His smile was even more magnanimous than the one offered to the desk clerk.
Kate’s face scrunched into a scowl. “Bah-lon-nee! How naïve do you think I am? No way could this be a coincidence.” She turned on her heel to glare at Beth, who was frantically searching for something in her purse.
Eric moved closer. “Since you’re from Pensacola, I assumed you would stay with relatives, like an aunt or uncle or maybe a Godmother.”
“I don’t have a Godmother.” Kate crossed her arms. “I told you I had little family. So I’ll ask you once more…why are you here? Did you forget that we broke up?”
Eric didn’t have to feign a hurt expression. His feelings were as raw as they had been in Charleston. But before he could open his mouth, Beth turned on Kate like a feral raccoon.
“Look, missy. If you’re gonna be mean to one of your few friends, I’m heading to the pool.” Beth stomped past Eric to the elevator. “Maybe you should come too and soak that rock-head of yours,” she called over her shoulder.
Kate modified her tone. “She’s right. I’m sorry, Eric. What’s goin’ on with you?”
He shifted the load of boxes. “Would you like to step into my suite? These are heavy.”
“No, thank you. I’m comfortable right here.” Despite a softened tone, she remained rigid and guarded.
Eric lowered his burdens to the carpeted hallway. “When you left, I felt…conflicted. I was sad, of course, that you and I couldn’t work things out. But it was more than that.” He leaned one shoulder against the wall. “I was also a little envious.”
Kate’s chin snapped up. “Have you lost your mind? You were jealous because a bomb-making madman was stalking me?”
“Of course not. But the moment you realized the situation was getting worse, you packed up your car and left town. Just like that, with very little baggage literally or figuratively.”
“I didn’t have much choice.”
“I understand that, Kate, but it got me thinking. I’m not even thirty, yet it seems I have a life sentence at Bella Trattoria. I can’t even remember the last time I went on vacation.”
“But you love to cook. It’s more than your job; it’s your passion.”
He smiled at that. “The passion of my life is garlic, olive oil, and veal cutlets? I’m even more pathetic than I thought.”
“You know what I mean.”
“I do, but I’m too young to settle down like my parents and owning a restaurant traps a person. I might enjoy cooking, but I’m not sure I want to stay in Charleston forever. So I asked my parents if they ever considered a second location for Bella Trattoria, maybe somewhere in Florida. I expected them to laugh me out of the kitchen, but they were open to the idea. Mom said she’d been thinking about a place to go for vacations, maybe two or three months at a time. She had always loved the ocean. Dad said if Mom wanted to stay away that long he’d need another restaurant to dabble in.”
Kate put her hands on hips. “You’re saying it was your parents who suggested Pensacola?” Skepticism dripped from her words like candle wax.
“Not exactly.” Eric looked her in the eye. “They were thinking about Amelia Island outside of Jacksonville. But when I told them you were moving here, they asked if the area could support another high-end restaurant. My dad really liked you, Kate, and you sort of grew on Irena.” He held up his hands. “Now before you blow your stack, they know we’ve broken up. But having friends in the area is like money in the bank.”
She considered this. “If you opened a restaurant here, who would run Bella in Charleston? Your father’s talking at least semi-retirement.”
“My sister can run that place with her eyes closed. And she would have my aunt and grandmother’s help.”
“So you’re not here to replace Beth as my bodyguard?” Her crooked smile almost broke his heart.
“Nope. I’m here to give Bernadette a trial run to see how she does without me. And to look at commercial real estate close to the water. I’d love to find an out-of-business restaurant.”
“Wouldn’t the fact they’re out of business tell you something?”
“Not necessarily, unless the place served northern Italian cuisine.”
She shrugged. “It would be nice to have a friend in town when Beth leaves.”
“If you need my help, call me. Otherwise, I’ll stay out of your way.” Eric picked up the boxes and unlocked into his suite. “Right now, I need to put these groceries put away, so go enjoy your swim.” He walked in and shut the door on her, something he thought would have been hard to do.
But after his half-truths and white lies, it proved very easy. Despite all the groceries he’d bought, he wouldn’t invite Kate and Beth over for dinner. Maybe someday they could give their relationship another chance. He needed to play by Kate’s rules. And he’d doing anything short of first-degree murder to keep that woman safe.
About Mary: Mary Ellis has written twenty-five novels including Amish fiction, historical romance, and suspense. Her debut book, A Widow’s Hope, was nominated for a 2010 Carol Award. Living in Harmony, won the 2012 Lime Award for Excellence in Amish Fiction while Love Comes to Paradise won the 2013 Lime Award. Her current mystery is Sweet Taste of Revenge from Marked for Retribution Mysteries. She lives in Ohio with her husband and dog. Learn more and connect: Mary’s Website Mary’s Facebook
Blurb of Sweet Taste of Revenge: When a wealthy socialite, owner of the largest yacht manufacturer on the Gulf Coast, is found dead, PI Kate Weller is sent on assignment to investigate. Plenty of people would benefit from this socialite’s demise, including her daughter, Lainey. But Agnes Westin created plenty of enemies on her climb to the top, both socially and in business, many with a taste for revenge. When Kate arrives in the only town she could ever call home, Pensacola, she must face why she’s been on the run for years. As a child she witnessed the crime which sent her brother, Liam, to jail. Now someone wants to make sure her suppressed memories stay buried. Can she find Agnes Westin’s killer and clear her brother’s name before their hometown enemy silences them forever?
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Question for Readers: What is the one place you visited as a child that evokes the fondest memories?
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