Shannon here: Suzanne J. Bratcher shares a romantic excerpt from her latest Contemporary Mystery, plus a chance to win an e-book copy of The Silver Lode. Comment or answer the question on any post dated Oct 15 – 18 to enter. Deadline: Oct 26th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Suzanne:
Antiques expert Marty Greenlaw and historian Paul Russell met and fell in love in The Copper Box, the first book in my Jerome, Arizona, Mystery series. Another mystery draws them together in The Silver Lode (book two) and their relationship deepens. Marty loves Paul but feels she can’t marry him: besides the ten-year age difference, he’s a widower with a teenaged son she doesn’t feel able to mother. You’ll have to read the books for the details, but here’s an excerpt of Paul’s solution to the problem.
Excerpt from The Silver Lode by Suzanne J. Bratcher:
Marty watched out the window of the Jeep and let the jumble of memories come. Walking up the road in the dark, dragging her suitcase behind her. Her first glimpse of the white Victorian house with the lavender gingerbread trim. Running smack into Paul…
The memories stopped abruptly as Paul pulled into the driveway. A foundation swept clean marked where the house had stood. A wave of sorrow rushed down the mountain toward her, pushed back by the tiny blue and delicate white flowers that covered the hillside where Granny’s yard used to be.
Marty clapped her hands. “Grape hyacinths! And snowdrops . . .” When the Jeep stopped, she unbuckled her seatbelt and jumped out. As she ran toward the promise of spring, she spotted the distinctive yellow of daffodils. Dropping to her knees, she began to brush brown pine needles away from the brightly colored blooms.
“Bless you, Granny,” she whispered.
A breath of wind touched her face, gone as quickly as it came, almost as if Granny had blown her a kiss.
“Front porch or living room?”
Marty looked up. Paul stood in the middle of the foundation holding two lawn chairs. “Would you rather sit on the porch or in the living room?”
Mystified, Marty got to her feet. “Living room.”
“I didn’t have time to rebuild the steps, so let me help you up onto the porch. I believe you’ll be able to get in the house. I left the door unlocked.”
Marty laughed. What was he up to, this serious history professor she was in love with? When she was in reach, he put his hands on her waist, and for an instant she thought he was going to kiss her, which would have been just fine. Instead he lifted her as if she didn’t weigh anywhere close to her hundred pounds and set her up on the foundation.
He vaulted up to stand beside her. As he looked down at her, his brown eyes were dark with emotion. This time she was sure he was going to kiss her. But he didn’t.
Marty started to reach up and pull his head down and kiss him herself, but his hesitation made her nervous. Please, Lord, she breathed. Please don’t let me have run out of chances with this man.
Paul opened one of the chairs and said gently, “I have something I want to say to you, but it will work better if you’re sitting.”
Marty’s heart stopped. Her breathing too. He’d brought her here to where they’d met to tell her she was right. They should be good friends, nothing more.
Before she realized what he was doing, he was in front of her on one knee, holding out a small dark blue box. She took it, just managing to keep from snatching it before it disappeared. But when it was in her hand, she just held it and stared at it.
“Open it, sweetheart.”
She studied him, almost at eye-level. “This is for me?” It was a stupid question, but it was out before she knew she was going to ask it.
Instead of laughing at her, he put a hand on each cheek and kissed her gently. “Just for you, Marty, my love.”
Ignoring the two ridiculous tears that started down her face, she opened the little box. A platinum band with a round brilliant-cut diamond twinkled up at her. When she drew it out, she realized the ring had four diamonds inset at equal distances around the shining band. “Art-deco, maybe 1930. Where on earth did you find it, and when?”
“At a one-of-a-kind jeweler in Sedona. Yesterday morning. Will you marry me, Marty?”
Two more tears slid down the tracks the first two had left, followed by several more. “Yes..”
Before she could finish, he put a gentle finger on her lips. “Wait, sweet girl. It isn’t a yes/no question. It’s a discussion question.”
About Suzanne: A mystery fan since her first encounter with Nancy Drew, Suzanne Bratcher, PhD, lives in central Arkansas in a village with more trees than houses. A retired English professor from Northern Arizona University, she writes mysteries and romantic suspense set in the Southwest. The Silver Lode is the second book in her Jerome, Arizona Mysteries, stand-alone stories following the same characters. Learn more and connect:
About the book – The Silver Lode:
Billion-dollar copper camp alive with rags-to-riches stories
Beneath the ghost town that clings to Cleopatra Hill, a maze of abandoned mine tunnels conceals a vein of silver ore mixed with pure gold. Seventy years ago the discovery of that silver lode caused a murder. Are more coming?
Historian Paul Russell is about to lose his job and the woman he loves, so he doesn’t have time to search for the legendary silver lode. But when a student drops a seventy-year-old cold case on his desk, a murder connected to the silver lode, the mystery offers Paul the perfect opportunity to work with Marty Greenlaw and win her back.
As Paul and Marty search for the silver lode, suspicious deaths begin to happen. When Paul’s son disappears, the stakes become personal. Will Paul and Marty solve the mystery of the silver lode in time to rescue Scott? Will they survive to grow into a future different from what any of them dreamed?
Can’t wait for the drawing or worried you won’t win? Get your copy now!
Question for Readers: What topics do you think a couple should discuss before they decide to get married?
Come back Oct 22nd for Marji Laine!