We are so excited to bring you not only a guest post from Lauren Carr, author of the Mac Faraday and Thorny Rose mysteries, but also an excerpt of Lauren's latest novel, Kill and Run. The first book in the Thorny Rose Detective series, Kill and Run is due out September 4th!
The Thorny Rose Detectives— Imperfect Perfect Couple
By Lauren Carr
Have you ever met the perfect couple? You know the type. The man is eye candy to the ladies. The woman has a perfect figure and a fabulous wardrobe.
Not only that, but they actually sync with each other. They are able to communicate without words. They each know what the other is thinking and are in complete agreement.
In other words, they never argue.
They complement each other. Where he is weak, she is strong.
I’m talking about the type of couples that make you look at your own spouse and think, “Cupid had to have been SUI (Shooting Under the Influence) when he shot those arrows to bring us together.”
The reality is this—there’s no such thing as a perfect couple. That’s okay.
Imperfect couples have more fun—especially when they are in the early phases of learning about each other. Some of my husband’s and my funnest times have been when we were learning amazing and scary things about each other. After twenty-six years of marriage, our fondest memories are of those less-than-perfect moments where we would discover something new, exciting, and Oh-My-Gosh-Are-You-Kidding-Me? about each other.
One fight that I still love to tell people about today occurred on our first anniversary.
My mother had rented a beach house on the Outer Banks for us to vacation at for a week. In October, the weather was still warm enough to lay out on the beach. Yet, it was off season, so we pretty much had the place to ourselves.
This was when I discovered that my husband does not like laying out on the beach doing nothing! Before we left to go on our vacation to relax, my husband had made a list of everything we were going to do during our week long getaway. By day four, we had completed everything on his list. Yet, we still had three days left to our seven day rental—which was all paid for by my mother!
“Okay, so we completed everything on our list. Now we can lay on the beach and relax,” I replied when my hubby said he was ready to go home.
Showing me his list, he said, “We did that on Saturday. Time to go home.”
Yep, sure enough, he had checked off “Lay on the Beach.”
“Then let’s do it again,” I said.
“You mean lay on the beach all day, every day, for the rest of our vacation … doing nothing?”
You would have thought I had suggested robbing a bank—naked!
That was when I discovered, one year after we were married, that my husband will never make a good beach bum. If I want to do nothing on my vacation, I need to do it alone or take one of my less energetic friends along.
This is the case for Lieutenant Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday, my newlywed detectives of the Thorny Rose Mysteries. They are not in perfect sync with each other. A graduate of the Naval Academy, Murphy is an officer who prides himself of being in perfect control—especially when it comes to his diet. He is a pescatarian. He eats fish, but no other meat. He believes in clean eating, staying away from dairy, refined sugar, and other goodies. Meanwhile, Jessica enjoys chocolate Pop-Tarts for breakfast.
Married only four months, they are still in the discovery phase of their relationship, which leads to some lively, even sexy banters in Kill and Run, which you can enjoy in this excerpt below:
On Pennsylvania Avenue, Jessica Faraday restrained herself from checking the time on her cell resting next to her clutch bag on the table top. It was way after seven o’clock and she was alone at the table for two at the Four Seasons. She had reserved a table next to the windows that provided an excellent night view of Washington, D.C., in all its dazzling glory.
She was alone—just her and her purple martini.
Murphy was late.
Suck it up, Buttercup. You married a hunk who is passionate about doing whatever it takes to make things right. The gold of her wedding band caught in the glow of the lit candle on the table. She wrapped her fingers—tipped with elegantly painted fingernails sporting hand-painted violets—around the stem of her martini glass and took a sip. If it means being late for your celebratory dinner, so be it. This is only the first of probably a long line of missed dates.
Her violet eyes lit up at the sight of the handsome man in his white uniform rounding the corner with the host. When he flashed his charming grin, complete with dimples in both cheeks, her heart skipped a beat. Catching her breath, she wet her lips and smoothed her raven hair. Geez, Jessie, this isn’t your first date.
As they neared the table, Jessica noticed that Murphy was not alone. While he had his hat tucked under one arm, his right hand clasped that of a slender girl with a head full of ash blonde curls and the saddest red eyes one could imagine. Her tiny frame and face made her light brown eyes appear that much bigger.
As they grew closer, the maître d’, a short, jolly man by the name of Francesco, was telling Murphy in a thick Italian accent that they would move them to a bigger table.
“Thank you very much.” Murphy slipped some money to the host. He flashed an apologetic grin in Jessica’s direction. “I’m sorry we’re so much trouble.”
“No trouble at all, sir.” Francesco flashed a smile at the sad young girl. He then directed them to a table for four in the middle of the restaurant, away from the windows that Jessica had requested. “Suitable for you, Mr. Murphy?”
Placing his hand on Jessica’s shoulder, Murphy kissed her quickly on the ear before whispering, “I’ll explain.”
Seeing the girl’s tear stained face, Jessica cut him off. “No need.” Grabbing her purse, cell phone and martini, she told the host, “That table is excellent. Thank you so much, Francesco.” She saw Murphy sigh with relief.
“Anything for you, Miss Jessica.” With a grin, Francesco dropped the linen napkin into Jessica’s lap.
“This is Izzy Crenshaw,” Murphy introduced the girl while holding her chair for her. “Izzy, this is my wife, Jessica.”
Wordlessly, Izzy looked Jessica up and down. In her colorful soft dress, long bare legs, and high-heeled shoes, Jessica was a complete contrast from the girl clad in jeans and a faded Hard Rock Café t-shirt.
“Izzy is in my protective custody.” Murphy took a seat between them.
“You’re protecting her from what?” Jessica asked while Francesco offered her the wine menu. The maître d’ had learned from their many dinners at the restaurant that Jessica would order the wine for herself, while Murphy drank only water with lemon.
“Right now, the system,” Murphy said. “You should have seen the place they put her. She has no family—”
“You have no family?” Jessica asked the girl.
“That is so very sad,” Making a “task-tsk” noise with his tongue, Francesco shook his head.
Signaled by the snap of Francesco’s fingers, the server hurried over with three menus for them.
“Mom used to have a sister,” Izzy said to Murphy. “She died before I was born. Mom told me that I was just as head-strong as she was.” Her voice trailed off.
Jessica and Murphy exchanged heartfelt glances.
“I’ll have water and a plate of lemon wedges,” Murphy requested from the server before asking Izzy in an upbeat tone, “What would you like, Izzy? You can get anything you want.”
Seeing the girl’s sad expression, the server said, “Even if it’s not on the menu. Our chef is world famous. He can cook you anything. You name it.”
Izzy stared at the menu without opening it. “I’m not hungry.”
“Have you had dinner yet?” Spotting a dessert cart being wheeled passed the table, Jessica asked the server, “Do you have your delicious chocolate lava cake and a scoop of ice cream?” The server rushed to the kitchen to check on the item.
“It’s okay, honey,” Murphy told Izzy, “I wasn’t hungry for the longest time when my mother passed away. When you’re ready to eat, then you’ll eat.”
“She has to keep her strength up,” Jessica said. “We can’t take her home and put her to bed without dinner.”
“She’s in mourning,” Murphy reminded her.
“Which is why we need to feed her,” Jessica said. “Chocolate makes everything better. It won’t solve the problem or take away the hurt, but it does soften the sting of the pain.”
“Bull,” he replied. “That’s nothing more than an old wive’s rationalization for endorsing gluttony. Grief is no excuse to pack yourself full of processed dairy products and refined sugar.”
“One little lava cake for one dinner isn’t going to kill her,” Jessica said.
They both observed Izzy staring at her plate seemingly without seeing it. She didn’t appear to have any interest in the outcome of their discussion.
“What happens when she crashes?” Murphy asked Jessica. “She downs a tube of chocolate chip cookie dough and begins the cycle over again. Before she’ll know it, she’ll be a depressed obese diabetic with heart disease.”
“It’s cake,” Jessica said, “not heroin.”
The server arrived to announce that the chef would be glad to prepare the lava cake with a scoop of ice cream. “Would you like me to put in the order for the young lady?”
In unison, Jessica said “yes” while Murphy said a resolute “no.” A glare from Jessica prompted Murphy to back down. With a roll of his eyes and a shrug of his shoulders, he gave in and the server hurried off to put in the order for the lava cake.
For the first time since Murphy had met her, a hint of a smile crossed Izzy’s face. With the tilt of his head, he caught Jessica’s attention to point out the small breakthrough in the young girl.
At the sight of the young girl’s sadness easing slightly, Murphy was reminded of the surprise that Jessica had promised. Reaching across the table to caress her fingers with his, his eyes met hers. A soft, reassuring smile came to her lips.
Unable to wait any longer to learn her surprise, Murphy excused them both for a moment, took Jessica by the hand, and led her to the lounge. Making sure he kept Izzy, his responsibility, in his line of sight, he pulled Jessica close and kissed her long and hard on the mouth.
When she came up for air, Jessica breathed, “What was that for?”
“For being understanding about Izzy.” He gazed into her face. “You reminded me of what made me fall in love with you so fast.”
“I thought it was my body that made you fall hard for me.” She winked up at him.
Mystery—The Next Generation
Five women with seemingly nothing in common are found brutally murdered in a townhome outside Washington, DC. Among the many questions surrounding the massacre is what had brought these apparent strangers together only to be killed.
Taking on his first official murder case, Lieutenant Murphy Thornton, USN, believes that if he can uncover the thread connecting the victims, then he can find their murderer.
The case takes an unexpected turn when Murphy discovers that one of the victims has a connection to his stepmother, Homicide Detective Cameron Gates. One wintry night, over a dozen years before, her first husband, a Pennsylvania State trooper, had been run down while working a night shift on the turnpike.
In Kill and Run, best-selling mystery author Lauren Carr delights her fans by merging the son and daughter of the detectives from her two popular series for a new series—the Thorny Rose Mysteries. Fans were introduced to Murphy Thornton, the son of Joshua Thornton from Lovers in Crime Mysteries, and Jessica Faraday, the daughter of Mac Faraday from the Mac Faraday Mysteries, in the widely-acclaimed and best-selling Three Days to Forever, which was released in January 2015.
The match-up surprised even the author. “I thought long and hard about bringing Murphy and Jessica together,” Lauren confesses. “I had developed each of the characters separately. Murphy appeared in my very first book, A Small Case of Murder. At that time, he was only sixteen and his mother had recently passed away. Jessica appeared briefly in Old Loves Die Hard and I had no thought while writing that book of pairing her up with Murphy. I was as surprised as anyone when their characters ended up being a perfect match in Three Days to Forever.”
A perfect match they are! Lauren Carr’s newest series is hot and sexy, like her newest detectives. Lauren warns, “Some readers may be surprised to see that I push the envelope just a little bit more in The Thorny Rose Mysteries than I do in my other series. Due to the combination of my detectives’ youth and the environment (the Nation’s Capital), it was virtually impossible to keep things completely pure.” Some readers may notice a few more curse words (no F-bombs allowed!) and sexual references, which Lauren will confine only to the Thorny Rose Mysteries. “What can I say?” Lauren says with a sigh. “Washington, DC, is not Spencer or Chester.”
In this first installment of the Thorny Rose Mysteries, the Lovers in Crime join newlyweds Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday to sift through a web of lies and cover-ups. Together, can the detectives of the Thorny Rose uncover the truth without falling victim to a cunning killer?
About the Author
An Amazon All-Star author, Lauren Carr is the creator of three popular mystery series: the Mac Faraday Mysteries, The Lovers in Crime Mysteries, and now the Thorny Rose Mysteries. Kill and Run is the first installment of The Thorny Rose Mysteries. Each of Lauren Carr’s mysteries have made Amazon’s best-seller ranking internationally.
In addition to her series set on Deep Creek Lake, Lauren Carr has also written the Lovers in Crime Mysteries, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates, who were introduced in Shades of Murder, the third book in the Mac Faraday Mysteries. They also make an appearance in The Lady Who Cried Murder.
The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This year, several books, over a variety of genre, written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services, which is currently accepting submissions. Visit Acorn Book Services website for more information.
Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.
She lives with her husband, son, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.
Visit Lauren Carr’s website at www.mysterylady.net to learn more about Lauren and her upcoming mysteries.