Debbie: So, Ethan, while you are over there slaving at the hot stove (yes, one of my fantasies––to have a man cook for me. I’ve been so sheltered.) How about answering some questions for us?
Ethan: Depends, what did you have in mind?
Laura: Oh, don’t worry, nothing that will give the end away.
Ethan: I don’t think that’s what I was worried about with you two. But go ahead, fire away.
Debbie: Great! First question. You’re what thirty-five? Why are you living alone, working twenty-four seven with no love life?
Ethan: Damn. You don’t pull any punches do you? I believe we went over this in the book, but being a cop, it kind of exposes you to the darker side of life. It’s not all sunshine and flowers out there. And, it’s not like I had a bad experience or anything, but until meeting Abby, there was really no one that made me want to commit to anything more serious that casual dates.
Laura: So with Abby, was it love at first sight?
Ethan: Um…I wouldn’t exactly say that. She hated me from the get go. Thought I was being too much of a cop and not enough of a human being. Granted, our first meeting was an interrogation, and she’d just lost someone close to her, but I had a job to do.
Debbie: Well in Abby’s defense, you pulled the nice guy, caring card and then treated her like a suspect.
Ethan: I was concerned for her, damn it! And EVERYONE is a suspect until they’re ruled out. How was I supposed to do that without questioning her? I tried to explain that to her. Her brother tried to explain that to her, but she just wanted to hate me no matter what.
Debbie: Well, she did get over it.
Laura: Yeah, I’d say she melted your tough cop exterior. Did working for the Red River Police Department, dealing with all that death, make you that way?
Ethan: (snorts) Actually, it was a pretty quiet town till you two showed up.
Laura: Well, um…. (glances at Debbie then back to Ethan) What is it you like about Red River?
Ethan: Red River is a great town, small enough that everyone knows each other, yet big enough that you get the privacy you need. The local businesses are mom and pop owned, and usually the crime rate is low. We are just far enough from the big cities of Boston and NYC that if you want to make the four-hour drive for some city life fun, it’s doable.
Debbie: I can tell you what I don’t like about Red River. Elliot Swanson! That guy is just weird.
Ethan: Yeah, he’s a piece of work all right and gets under my last nerve. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a law against being an egotistical ass yet and can’t run him out of town.
Debbie: So, the death count is pretty high in this book. What kind of toll does that take on you as a detective?
Ethan: A huge one. Any normal human being, Elliot excluded, would be enraged and appalled with what was going on. Add in that you and your partner are the main people trying to stop the psychopath before he kills again, and you dump a shit ton of guilt and impotence every time he kills again. And you pray every time that this is the time he or she makes a mistake, and you can catch him.
Laura: So, you held some of your own secrets in this story. Why on earth did you think you could get away with that?
Ethan: Yeah. That didn’t turn out to well, did it? I tried to find the right time to tell Abby about my baggage, but when the hell is it ever the right time to turn someone’s world upside down? Granted, it happened anyway and bit me in the ass big time, but I can tell you right now I’ll never keep anther secret from her again. That woman is my life!
Ethan: (chuckles) That’s Abby and my sister, Ever, ganging up on me. The placemats are Ever’s idea. Though she may be away at school, she always makes sure her presence is felt. The flowers? (grins) That’s all Abby.
Laura: Sounds like you’ve got some great women in your life.
Ethan: Yep. (sets bowls on the table) Lunch is ready.
Debbie: Mmm. Smells great!
Laura: It does! Thanks so much for having us over for lunch, Ethan.
Debbie: Yeah. Care to share the recipe?
Ethan: For you two? Sure. It’s an old family recipe.
Ethan’s New England Clam Chowder
- 1 slice hickory-smoked bacon, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon butter
- 1 cup onion, minced
- 1 medium garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon oregano, dill weed,
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 can clams (6-1/2 ounces)
- 2 cup bottled clam juice
- 1-1/2 cups Half and Half
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 2 medium potatoes, boiled, peeled and diced
In a heavy-bottomed, 4-pint soup kettle, sauté bacon, butter, onion, garlic over low heat adding spices last. Drain clams and set aside, reserving the juice. Slowly stir the flour and clam juices in the sauté mixture. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Add Half and Half and simmer 20 minutes. Add pepper, potatoes and clams. Heat to serving temperature. Do not allow to boil as this toughens the clams. Serve at once with crackers.
….Seven years ago, Abby Montgomery survived a brutal attack. Now she is ready to put her pain in the past and move on with her life. The problem is, one by one the men in her life are being viciously murdered.
….The detective assigned to the case, Ethan Parker, has demons of his own to hide. As the danger gets closer to Abby, so does Ethan. But can they get past his secrets before the killer gets to them? Sometimes the sins of the mind are more depraved than the sins of the heart.
….“Moment?” He raised his eyebrows, tried for a surprised expression. “We were having a moment? Where was I?”
….A husky laugh escaped Abby’s lips. She gave him a playful shove, but he caught her hand, his fingers encircling her delicate wrist. With great care, he bowed his head and pressed his lips to the center of her palm. Her sharp intake of air told him she liked it.
….“Is this the moment you were referring to?” He kissed her wrist. “Or this?” His mouth grazed along her skin, up the side of her neck to the tender point below her ear.
….“Mmm.” She tilted her head, offering him better access.
….He inhaled, reveled in her unique scent. A mixture of spicy vanilla and exotic flowers invaded his senses and sent the room slowly spinning. Primal lust roared through him, demanded he possess her in a rush of carnal passion.
….But Ethan resisted.
….Intent on enticing Abby into a wild, heated frenzy, he trailed the tip of his tongue along her throat. Her pulse hammered beneath his ardent attention, and he reveled in her response. His fingers slid over her supple skin. One hand sought the silky tresses adorning her head while the other coaxed her legs across his lap then slipped around her waist.
….He pulled back, stared into her lovely face. Eyelids fluttering, she sighed in his arms. When she looked at him, desire burned bright in her eyes. His heart stuttered at the sight, and hot need rushed to his groin.
….“Abby.” Her name rolled from his tongue in a mix of desperation and lust. A voracious hunger to taste every inch of her body washed over him. The urge to kiss the small of her back, to run his tongue along her skin, delving and dipping into her secret, sensitive places, all but overwhelmed him. “Tell me to stop. If you’re not ready, honey, tell me to stop right now and by all that’s holy, I will. But you need to know how much I want you right now.”