Anniversary Post: A cross-country scavenger hunt

This is the 1st anniversary of the print (and digital) release of my 18th book, which features a book store owner, an ex-cop, and a cross-country scavenger hunt with romance novels as the clues!


Setup: Odetta and Jack are on a cross-country trip together, trying to solve a mystery left to Jack by his ex-wife, Sandy.

“I lost track of her. She was, well,...Sandy was sort of, um...”

I leaned on the big book bag serving as a dividing line between us on the front seat. “She was sort of what?” I propped my chin on my hand and stared at him.

Jack cleared his throat and his blush rose again. He looked at me out of the corner of his eye and I shot him another bright, innocent look. “She was getting into kinky things when we broke up,” he said, his words tripping over each other in his haste.

“Ooh,” I breathed. “Kinky things. What a woman. Like what?” I almost laughed at the sight of his blushing face. “You can tell me. S&M? Bondage? Domination? Whips? Silk scarves? Mutual masturbation? Leather? Sex toys? Farm animals? Sex in public? Multiple simultaneous partners?”

“Holy shit, Odetta! How do you know so much about it?” He glanced at me, his face flaming with color.

“I read a lot.” I smiled blithely. “And, in my youth, I was...experimental.”

He almost choked. “Gees, I don’t believe I’m talking to you about this! I just met you. I shouldn’t be talking about this stuff with you!”

“Heavens, Jack, it’s just sex,” I said in a no-nonsense voice. “Everybody does it. Or, rather, everybody who’s lucky does it. So what was it? Maybe it has something to do with what she said in the note.” I smiled guilelessly and fluttered my lashes at him.

He blew out an exasperated sigh. “Man, I don’t believe this.” His fingers opened and closed on the wheel. “Bondage. She liked to be tied up. And she liked some...pain.” He shook his head. “I didn’t understand it. I thought she was kidding, but she really did like it that way. When I found her and Sam, she was tied up and he was—”

“Okay, okay,” I interrupted. “Let’s just say she didn’t communicate clearly to you what you could do to please her.”


“She didn’t train you, as it were. If a woman wants special things, she has to train a man how to do them for her. And vice versa, of course. I mean, we’re not mind readers, are we? If a man wants something special, he’s got to either speak up or show me, right?”

Jack hinged his jaw back up and stared at the pavement in front of us. “Uh-hunh.”

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