Thanks so much for having me at Sexy Between the Covers, Melissa. My new release from the Wild Rose Press, Artful Dodging: the Torpedo Factory Murders, is a mystery romance (some might call it “cozy”) set in Old Town Alexandria.
Murders, mistrust, misfits, and miscreants—needlepoint artist Milo Everhart has her hands full. Can Tristram Brodie prove to her that love conquers all?
It’s just before Christmas, and Milo Everhart has two needlepoint stockings, a cross-stitch purse, and three canvases to finish for her clients. Waiting out the rain in a pub, she is captivated by the handsome man next to her, but blocking the road to romance are two mysterious corpses who turn up in the tower of her Torpedo Factory Art Center. As if that weren’t enough, a second crisis erupts—a proposal to gut her beloved Art Center.
Tristram Brodie, hard-driving corporate lawyer and former Marine, is focused on his plan to convert the Torpedo Factory into a box store. He is drawn to the beautiful woman sitting next to him, but their mutual attraction will be frustrated by both the murders and his intentions. As they edge closer to love, they must find a way to overcome both their differences and the still-fresh memory of her late husband.
Artful Dodging: the Torpedo Factory Murders
Wild Rose Press, 7/20/2016; Imprint Crimson Rose
Theme(s): Mystery/Cozy Mystery
Contemporary romantic Suspense, M/F, 2 flames
Ebook, 66,830 words; Print 268 p.
The Torpedo Factory Art Center in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, is a hulking former munitions factory right on the waterfront. Since the 1970s it has been host to art studios, a museum, and an art school. It’s never been renovated and is still a vast open central space surrounded by meandering corridors and rooms tucked away here and there. It is topped by a tower reached by hidden stairs. So you can imagine how our heroine, Milo Everhart, felt when she had to traverse the narrow stairs, open fire doors, and walk through a huge dark hall, to let the police in.
Excerpt (G): The Body
“Hello! Hello? 911?”
“Please state the nature of your emergency.”
“A body. There’s a b…b…body.” The word came out as a gurgle.
“Yes, ma’am. Now tell me where you are.”
Milo looked wildly around the darkened corridor. “Second floor. No lights.”
“Ma’am? Second floor of what?”
“Oh, er, the Torpedo Factory. I ran downstairs. I…”
“The Torpedo Factory? You mean the building at 105 North Union Street?”
Milo almost snapped, “How many torpedo factories do you know?” but thought better of it.
“All right, ma’am. Now, you say you’ve found a body? Is it dead?”
“Don’t be ridiculous. Of course it’s dead. Dead. A dead body. In the office.”
“The tower. Look, can you send the police? I’m all alone in the building. Except for the body, of course. I mean, it’s pitch black in here. Please?” She knew she sounded less than rational, but weren’t 911 operators trained to weed out the gibberish and cut to the chase?
“I’ve already sent out a call. The police should be arriving any minute. Now, will they be able to enter the building?”
“Oh! Er. I don’t know. Archie’s already locked up.”
“The super. He’s long gone, though.”
“Can you get to a door to let them in?”
Milo’s shoes must have found bubble gum on the floor all by themselves, since they appeared to be stuck. “I…uh…I can’t get to the doors.” Nothing but silence on the other end. She must think I’m lazy. Or a coward. I’ll bet she knows how to wait people out, to force them to do her bidding. “I’m not lazy, miss. I’m just…I’m wondering. What if the murderer is hiding somewhere, still in the building?”
“Murderer? You think the victim was murdered?”
Every CSI show she’d ever watched, plus a couple of X Files, fast-forwarded through her brain. Somewhere in the reruns she found the answer. “I don’t know. That’s for the experts to decide.” Thank you, Gil Grissom.
“Okay, ma’am. Listen to me carefully. If the building is locked, the police will have to break the door down, but first they’ll have to go to a judge and get a search warrant. So you see, the quickest way they can help you is if you let them in. Now, do you think you can go down the stairs to the door?”
Milo drew in a long, ragged breath, holding it until her head began to spin. As she let it out, she managed, “Yes. I’m on the landing. Can you stay on the line with me in case I’m attacked?”
“I sure will.”
Milo felt her way with one hand toward the middle stairwell. “I’m on the stairs now. Now I’m walking down the stairs.”
The central staircase of the factory only had a single metal railing and thus was exposed to the entire main hall. If anyone still lurked in the building he could easily see (and hear) her. She stopped halfway down and looked across the main lobby to the front entrance, a set of doublewide, glass-paned sliding doors. “There are flashing lights and sirens coming from Union Street.”
“Yes, ma’am. That would be the police.”
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/artful-dodging-ms-spencer/1113648470?ean=2940158248047
About the Author:
Although M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five of the seven continents, the last thirty years were spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director, and parent. After too many years in academia, she worked for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Department of the Interior, in several library systems, both public and academic, and at the Torpedo Factory Art Center.
Ms. Spencer has published ten romantic suspense novels, and has three more in utero. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.
Other Books by M. S. Spencer:
A Widow’s Walk: Catherine’s Dilemma
Dear Philomena: Love, Lust & Murder on Chincoteague Island
Exquisite Christmas: 21 Romance Authors Share Holiday Stories & Recipes
Mai Tais and Mayhem
The Penhallow Train Incident
The Mason’s Mark: Love and Death in the Tower
Lapses of Memory
Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MSSpencerauthor
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Romance Books 4 Us: http://romancebooks4us.com/Romance%20Author%20M.%20S.%20Spencer.html OR
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7/23/2016 09:51:22 am
Thanks for having Milo and me today, Melissa. I hope your readers enjoy the excerpt. There's more where that came from!
7/23/2016 10:19:33 am
Thank you for stopping by! My dog is named after Gill... I used to visit all the CSI vacation spots! :)
7/23/2016 11:04:41 am
That is TOO funny. So--Las Vegas, Miami, NY...? I stopped watching after Grissom left--none of his replacements came close.
7/25/2016 09:58:55 am
7/26/2016 02:58:44 pm
Great excerpt! I love this story!
7/26/2016 03:00:40 pm
Thanks Ilona--if you read the whole story there's a good twist to the plot RIGHT after this excerpt :)
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