Bad Boy Blog Hop!
Welcome to the Bad Boy Blog Hop!
Now, I have to admit. I’m a sucker for the Bad Boy. And I write a lot of them!
And coming next week to e-book retailers near you – my re-release of Innocent ’til Proven Guilty!
**Prize alert – Comment below to win a $5 Amazon gift card! I’ll pick a winner Saturday morning.**
Now to meet my 1940’s Bad Boy, Frankie!
Is Frankie O’Carney guilty of stealing Livvy Randall’s heart – or is he guilty of murder?
Livvy Randall won’t let anything stop her chance at a journalism career in Chicago. That is until the passenger train she is riding in breaks down in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a town not much bigger than her home in Lincoln, Nebraska. She acquires a room at the Hotel Montrose where she meets the devilishly handsome Frankie O’Carney, an Irish bad boy working in maintenance at the hotel.
When Frankie is accused of murdering the wealthy H.M. Goodrich, Livvy does everything she can to clear his name. With danger at every turn, Livvy searches for answers to the questions plaguing her. Is Frankie with the quiet, brooding Poppy? Why, when the Irishman is near, does her heart beat out of control? Will she get out of Cedar Rapids and back on the train to Chicago with her heart intact? And – is Frankie really innocent…or is he guilty?
Now for an excerpt!
One lone lamp lit my hotel room. It had easily been the longest day of my life. I let go a long, sad sigh. I had been stranded in a strange town, spent more money than I had desired to stay for the night, and had been assaulted by some wild woman’s hips.
Oh. And I think I fell in love.
Tears burned my eyes again. I was trying to forget about that.
I pulled back the comforter encasing the bed and crawled beneath the sheets. I closed my eyelids tight. I wished to the depths of my soul that sleep would claim me. Because all I could think of was Frankie and his thick, black hair and his beautiful, blue eyes. I wondered what it would feel like to be wrapped in his arms.
In school, I had never been to a petting party. Truthfully, I had ridiculed the girls in my dormitory who had gone. I had told them that nothing would come from them locked tight to a young man’s lips.
Had Frankie invited me to a petting party, I would have been there in a heartbeat. I shook my head violently to dispel the thought. Frankie had a girl. It was time to get rid of him. Still, I felt another piece of my heart break.
A loud bang echoed through my room. The hopeless romantic in me was quickly replaced by the investigative reporter. I could trust her more, anyhow. I hopped out of bed, wrapped my robe over my flannel nightgown, and ventured out into the hallway.
It seemed that the noise had attracted nearly everyone. The burliest of the men congregated around the doorway not far from mine. The women and children huddled near their rooms. I squared my shoulders and stomped down the hall, weaving my way through the men.
My stomach turned at the sight. I wish I had stayed in my room.
H.M. Goodrich, the gentleman I had met earlier, lay motionless on the floor, three crimson stains blossoming rapidly against his starch white shirt. He wasn’t breathing. He was certainly dead.
Standing over him in only a pair of trousers was my Frankie. A gun dangled precariously from his right hand. He shook like a leaf in a tornado. My instincts demanded I go to comfort him. But he had just murdered—
“There he is, officer!” Vivian shrieked over the murmurs of the crowd. “That’s the man who murdered my husband!”
I watched in horror as the constable latched the heavy cuffs onto Frankie’s wrists. As I met Frankie’s terrified gaze with my own, I frowned. Something didn’t add up. I thought about my lunch in the Iowa Room. I worked past the couple to the meal Frankie ate.
My heart raced as I ran back to my room. I quickly tossed off my nightwear and redressed in the clothes I had worn earlier that day. I couldn’t waste time.
The constable had arrested the wrong man. I just needed to prove it.
A thick blanket of humidity smothered me as I ran beneath the dim light of the electric street lamps. My shoes clicked relentlessly against the pavement with each of my strides. The Cedar River rumbled beneath my feet as I crossed the bridge to the jail.
I took a moment to catch my breath before I stormed into the prison. I was stopped before I stepped two feet inside the door. I was face-to-face with the sheriff himself.
“How can I help you tonight, miss?” the burly official growled.
I squared my shoulders back and narrowed my eyes. There was no use for frivolous emotions like love right now. There was too much at stake. “I’m here to post bail for Frankie O’Carney.”
The sheriff’s laughter echoed off the walls. His deputies joined in the guffaw. It must have been the best joke they’d heard all week. I fought the snarl from my face. “Miss, Frankie O’Carney committed murder.”
“Frankie is innocent. I can prove it to you,” I insisted.
Well, that statement was far more humorous than the last. Some of the officials were even dabbing tears from their eyes at his point. “I’m sorry, Miss…”
“Olivia. Olivia Randall.” I wasn’t about to allow these buffoons the opportunity to use my preferred name.
“Miss Randall, Frankie O’Carney is as guilty as the day is long.”
I stepped up, stretching my small frame until I was nearly nose-to-nose with the sheriff. “Innocent ‘til proven guilty. Isn’t that how it goes? Or is the court system run differently here in Iowa than the rest of the U. S. of A?”
It was the sheriff’s turn to snarl. And snarl he did. “O’Carney is set to appear before the judge in the morning. Bail, if there is any, will be set then.”
“Well, I suppose I’ll see you gents in the morning.” I turned around and strode away.
My bravado deflated outside the door. The thought that Frankie had to spend the night in this dismal place broke my heart. I shuffled quietly back to the hotel.
As I stepped inside Hotel Montrose, I collided with another large body. I nearly lost my balance. I frowned as I looked up. The train conductor with whom I’d had my first disagreement with earlier that morning hovered over me.
“Well, look who we have here,” he sneered. “Good news, miss. The part we needed was in Des Moines. The engine is fixed. We leave in the morning. I expect to see your shining face in your seat at eight o’clock.”
I muttered my thanks as tears burned my eyes. Could I really give up my dreams, everything I had worked so hard to achieve, for a hellion with a girlfriend?
I already knew the answer to that question. A sob escaped my throat. How would I learn to live with my decision?