Friday, April 29, 2011


The first book I wrote was THE MITCHELL MONEY, which was released from The Wild Rose Press TODAY. I wrote the first draft of the book several years ago, after visiting the rolling hills of Northern Arizona. I’d been sketching a house plan – a long time hobby – and wondered what kind of people would live there. What was their story? I found rancher and former cop Gary Martinson’s name first, but struggled to find the right name for the other main character. When Rachel Woods finally revealed herself, I could picture her living in the house, and the story unfolded.

Gary and Rachel are in their forties, and they’ve both been married before. Gary loved his wife deeply, but she died from cancer many years ago. He wouldn’t mind getting married again, if he could find the right woman, but he’s grown cynical and grumpy in his loneliness. Mavis Bidwell, town gossip and all around pest, has been after him for years, but he can’t stand to be around her.

Rachel had a miserable marriage to a secretive man. He hid most of their money before he died and left her with a half-built house and no way to make the payments. If she doesn’t find the money soon, she could lose everything. But grumpy Gary, the man who ran into her car and then blamed her, is the only person in Maystown who can help her find it. He strikes a deal – her cooking at his ranch in exchange for his investigative skills. But Gary finds a great deal more than Rachel expected. The money wasn’t the only thing her husband had hidden.

The following excerpt begins after Gary runs into Rachel’s car in downtown Maystown. He offers to take her home, but when she slides into his pickup and sees his cell phone, she realizes why he ran into her.


The woman stared at his cell phone and her eyes narrowed. Her lips pressed tightly together, and she looked like she’d erupt any second.

“What’s wrong now?” he said in frustration.

“Were you talking on that thing when you ran into me?”

Oh, no! She wasn’t blaming this on him. She’d backed out right in front of him. “Lady, if you’re implying I can’t do two things at once, you’re wrong.”

She lifted her chin. “If you’d been watching where you were going, you would have seen me and stopped in time.”

He snapped back a response. “If you’d bothered to look first, you wouldn’t have backed out in front of me.”

After a withering glare, she said, “I’ll wait for my car.” She opened the door, slid off the seat and walked to the bench nearest Joe’s office, muttering something to herself. He couldn’t hear her words, but it was probably just as well. She was obviously irritated, but so was he. The woman backed right into him.

Bert arrived and, ignoring the scowling woman on the bench, Gary pointed to her car. “See if you can pop the fender out so she can drive it.”

Bert reached under the fender with a rubber hammer and, in three quick whacks, popped the dent out. A crease remained, but the metal no longer touched the tire.

“You want this fender replaced?” Bert asked the woman.

She peered at the fender. “Can I drive it like that?”

“I don’t see why not.”

“Then that’ll have to do. How much do I owe you?”

“I’ll take care of it,” said Gary.

She scanned the front of his old truck. “Are you sure your truck is all right?”

“It’s fine.” Best truck he’d ever had.

Her eyebrows knit as she peered closer at his pickup. “You mean it always looks like this?”

Gary looked to see what she was talking about. It was scratched and dented and the bumper hung a little askew. The hot Arizona sun had faded the light blue paint until it looked white in spots, but he didn’t see anything wrong. “Like what?”

“Like . . . like this isn’t the first time you’ve hit something.”

A burst of laughter erupted from Bert’s mouth. “She’s got you pegged, Gary.”

“Mind your own business, Bert.” Gary turned to the woman. “Are you making fun of my truck?”

“I didn’t mean to insult you or your . . . uh . . . lovely truck. Thanks for taking care of this. I’ll try to stay out of your way from now on.”

He tried to explain his rude behavior. “Look, I’m not having a very good day today, and—”

“Well, neither am I,” she snapped. Without another word, she got in her car, slammed the door, and drove away, leaving him standing in the street beside his truck, feeling like an idiot. Frustrating woman. She’d be nice looking if she’d get rid of that angry scowl on her face. With any luck, he’d never see her again.


  1. Cute excerpt. Congratulations on your new release. I am sure it will be very successful.

  2. Congrats and good luck with your release, Sue! :)

  3. Thanks, Mona and Misty. I love the characters in this book. Although the characters are older and have been married before, this is truly a love story.

  4. Can't wait to read it!!!