I am happy to have Diane Benefiel, a fellow Decadent Publishing author, here today. She is sharing an interview with her characters and information about her newest romantic suspense release, SHOT THROUGH THE HEART.
Hi Readers! Here is an interview with the main characters of Shot Through the Heart.
John Garretson is a detective with Seattle PD. He’s on a task force to bring down a notorious drug organization and had been assigned to go undercover as Rane Smith’s tenant. Rane is an emergency room nurse and is trying desperately to stay safe from her ex-boyfriend, a drug dealer who’s soon to be released from prison. In this interview conducted shortly after Rane found out John’s a cop, you get a taste of their early relationship.
The interviewer glanced at the list in front of him. “Okay, let’s get started with an easy one. Can you each tell the readers a little about yourselves?”
John leaned back in his chair, stretching long legs in front of him. “Okay, I’ll go first. I’m an easy-going guy. I like to keep my life simple. Most days I’m on the job, but I find time to work out, maybe watch a ball game.”
Rane let out a short laugh. “That’s funny. John’s not easy-going. He’s the most intense guy I know.” She held up a hand when John opened his mouth to interrupt. “Still my turn, big guy.” She smiled at the interviewer. “When he wants something he goes after it with this single-minded focus that’s a bit scary. Makes you think you’ll get flattened if you get in his way.”
“I’m not scary. Besides, I think you’re supposed to answer the question about yourself.” Expression bland, he nodded at Rane. “So, Rane, tell the readers about yourself.”
She wondered how he knew talking about herself made her uncomfortable. “There’s not much to tell. I’m a nurse and work in the ER at St. Augustine’s. My best friend Lily is a nurse there, too. We hang out sometimes.” Rane paused until she was sure her voice would remain steady. “My dad is my only family. He is in a facility for Alzheimer’s patients, and I visit him as often as I can.”
“I didn’t know that.” John’s eyes held unexpected compassion.
She didn’t want to think about her dad. Or John being more sensitive than she had given him credit for. She turned to the interviewer. “Next question?”
“What are a couple of random facts about yourself that will surprise readers?”
“I’m learning Arabic.”
John raised his brows. “Arabic? Why Arabic?”
“Why not? I’ve got a computer program, and one evening a week I take a class at the university extension. We get a lot of patients that don’t speak English. Some of them speak Arabic.”
The look he gave her made her think he could see past all her defenses. “That’s cool, really cool. Maybe I’ll give it a try, too. We could practice together.”
“What about you, John?” The interviewer appeared fascinated, eyes tracking from John to Rane like he was watching a ping pong match.
“Hmm. I want to buy a house with enough land to have a fruit orchard.”
The interviewer opened his mouth to speak, but Rane beat him to it. “Really? What would you do with all the fruit?”
“Make hard cider. I’d like to start off with apple. If that turns out, I’d try pear.”
“I love pear cider! There’s a little town north of the city that does a festival every year featuring hard ciders. Actually, it’s next month.”
“I’ve heard of it but never gone. Want to go with me?”
Two pairs of eyes returned to the interviewer. Rane had almost forgotten he was in the room. “Sorry. Next question?”
“Yes, what makes you blush?”
John sat up, chuckling. “I can tell you what makes Rane blush.” He flashed the grin that for some reason always resulted in warmth building low in her belly.
“He doesn’t want to hear about that.”
“Rane, darlin’, the look on your face was priceless.”
“Tell me, this sounds good. Just a sec.” The interviewer fiddled with the record function on his phone and set it down. “Okay, go ahead.”
With a laughing look at Rane, John told the story. “You know I’m renting Rane’s apartment. It’s on the second floor of her house and has an outside entrance. I only moved in a couple of weeks ago, so I haven’t unpacked all the boxes yet. Well, a couple of days ago, I’m getting ready for work. I’d just stepped out of the shower and only had a towel wrapped around my waist. I was looking for clothes in a box by the door. There’s a window right there. So I find my shorts, and drop the towel to pull them on. And when I look up, there’s Rane, standing outside the door. She’s looking through the window at me, and talk about red. I thought she might have a stroke.”
Rane drew in a calming breath as she remembered with great clarity exactly what she had seen. “I certainly wasn’t expecting to see a naked man when I went upstairs to ask my tenant a question. And there you were in all your glory. You surprised me, that’s all.” No way would she mention how the belly heat had flashed from simmer to a roiling boil, how she’d watched the mouthwatering play of muscles across his body as he’d moved, how dark hair arrowed straight from his chest down to….
John’s expression turned wicked. “See anything you liked?”
“Shut up.” Rane turned back to the interviewer, feeling her cheeks warm once again. “Any other questions?”
“I have more, but I’ve taken up enough of your time. Thank you.”
They all rose to leave, but John paused, a hand on Rane’s elbow. “Well?”
“Will you go with me?”
“To the Cider Festival? John, that’s weeks away.”
“So? Will you go with me?”
Rane found herself nodding and then smiling at John’s sudden grin.
Thanks for sharing this interesting character interview with our readers today.
Genre: Contemporary romance, adventure, romantic suspense, thriller
Rane Smith’s nerves are nearly shot. With her ex-boyfriend, a member of a drug cartel, about to get out of prison, every instinct urges her to run as far away as she can get. But her elderly father’s failing health makes that impossible. And if the ex-boyfriend discovers her part in his conviction, he’ll have even more reason to come after her.
Undercover Seattle police detective John Garretson’s job is to find a way to get close to Rane. As her new tenant, he can sit back and wait until her ex shows up. He and his narcotics task force are on the edge of breaking their biggest case wide open and his new landlady is the key. But she’s also sexy as hell and the simmering attraction between them is distracting. Odd, she doesn’t seem the type who’d be involved in the illicit world of drug dealing….
Rane’s secrets are eating away at her and she has no interest in another relationship sure to end in heartbreak. Why won’t John mind his own business? And why, even when he sparks her temper, does she find him so appealing? When her ex’s brother, a sinister drug lord, forces Rane into a treacherous game of cat and mouse both of their lives are on the line and John’s cover may be blown. Can he save them both and put the criminals behind bars?
“Rane, you can try to kick me out, but you’re wasting your time. You’ll be safer if I stay.”
She stifled a groan of frustration.
“Tell me what’s going on.”
She stood straight and looked him in the eye to make the lies more credible. “Like I said, he’s just an ex-boyfriend. He can get a little jealous. It would be better all-around if you moved out. I’m really sorry for all the trouble.”
“So, if I’ve got this straight, you have an ex who could be a threat to you. He was sitting in a car outside your house tonight. He quite possibly tried to break in a few days ago. And you want me to leave because I might be in danger? Not going to happen.” He turned to open the refrigerator.
“What are you doing?”
“Seeing what’s for dinner.” He pulled out a container, holding it up to inspect the contents. “What’s this?”
She stalked up to him and jerked the glass bowl out of his hand. “Chicken.” She shoved it back into the refrigerator and slammed the door shut. “Let’s go. We’ll go up to your apartment, and I’ll help you get anything you’ve unpacked back in boxes. I’m not feeding you dinner.”
When she would have opened the kitchen door, he shifted in front of her and grasped her arms. She wondered if the army had trained him to move so fluidly.
“Rane, think about it. We make dinner, and, from your dining table, we keep watch on the street. I want to see if he drives by again.”
“Why are you doing this? You’re crazy.”
“Not crazy. There’s just no way I can walk away with you in danger.”
She rolled her eyes. “Oh, please. You’re the one who’s in danger.”
“I can protect myself. And you should call the cops or his parole officer. If he’s in violation of his parole, he could be sent back to prison, and you’d rest easy again.” He let go of her before turning back to open the refrigerator, retrieving the chicken, and setting it on the counter. He fished around in the vegetable drawer. Tomato, lettuce, and an onion joined the chicken. “Do you have any tortillas?”
“You really are insane. This isn’t your fight. You aren’t in Afghanistan anymore.”
He turned, expression hard. “Lady, if I was in Afghanistan, that guy would be face first in the dirt with an M16 pointed at his head.” He waited a beat. “Tortillas?”
Diane Benefiel is an avid reader turned writer. Born and raised in Southern California, she squeaks out whatever time she can find from family and her teaching job to write emotional, heart-gripping romantic suspense novels. With both kids in college, in addition to writing more, she’s hoping for greater opportunities to travel and hang out with her husband of nearly thirty years.
Diane’s debut novel, A Need to Protect, was released in 2014, followed by her current release, Shot Through the Heart. Both are by Decadent Publishing and are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the Decadent website.