The Casteloria Series
Kristy K. James
Number of pages: 191
Word Count: 56,661
Cover Artist: Vila Design
He's hiding out because someone wants him dead...
Cameron Rafferty is keeping secrets. Dangerous secrets that could endanger the lives of everyone around him. His plan was simple...keep a low profile until the would-be-killer was found. And it was working - until an accident changed everything. Before he knows it, he finds himself becoming more involved with the family next door, and wishing for things he shouldn't. Things that will put their lives in jeopardy, too.
Her summer plans didn't include secrets and danger...
Spending summers on Bois Blanc Island was a tradition for author Laura Keane and her young son. Filled with special memories of the husband she'd lost to war, she looked forward to days of reminiscing, playing, and working on her newest novel. She didn't expect this year to be any different - but that was before their sexy neighbor came to her rescue like a knight in shining armor. Will that armor be tarnished when she finds out what he is and why he's living next door?
“Sometimes I wish I could just wiggle my nose or nod my head,” Laura Keane sighed, pulling into the parking spot that would be home to her seven-year-old Jeep Cherokee for most of the summer. “The traffic was brutal – and it’s not even a holiday.”
“Well, I know you know how to nod your head, but I don’t know how that, or wiggling your nose, could have helped,” twelve-year-old Sam said vaguely.
A quick glance his way, and Laura couldn’t hold back a grin. Even before the words left his mouth, he was throwing the passenger door open and scanning the marina for the boat, her references to Jeannie and Samantha already a memory.
Since heading out from Lansing at six that morning, Sam had been anxious for the long drive to be over. Not many boys on the brink of becoming a teenager would look forward to a summer of relative solitude on Bois Blanc Island. But every year he couldn’t wait to arrive, and then he dragged his heels when it was time to head back home for the school year.
Of course, some of his best and happiest moments with Jake had taken place on that little stretch of beach, so that probably explained his enthusiasm. Even though she’d had several videos of their family burned to a DVD, sometimes she was afraid that he would forget the father who had loved him so very much. Maybe Sam was afraid he would, too.
“There it is!” he exclaimed, yanking the back door open. “Mr. Benton has it ready for us.”
Rather than pointing out the fact that she paid Mr. Benton well to not only store the boat, but to have it ready for them when they needed it, Laura opened her door, taking a moment to savor the familiar sights, sounds and smells before she got out.
Gulls soared overhead, screeching as they circled above the beach, on the lookout for the tourists who kept them supplied with pieces of sandwiches and other treats. Waves lapping up on shore, the brisk breeze blowing in across Lake Huron. She couldn’t imagine a more beautiful place on earth to spend a long, relaxing vacation.
“Hey, Mom! C’mon. Help out a little here, huh?” Sam asked impatiently.
Laura quickly exited the jeep and pulled a couple of suitcases from the back, while her son loaded himself down with plastic grocery bags.
“We don’t have to get it all in one trip,” she reminded him.
“No, but the quicker we load the boat, the quicker we can get home,” he said logically.
“Just don’t hurt yourself.”
They hurried down to the dock, depositing the first batch of supplies in the boat before heading back up for the rest of their gear.
“Good morning, Ms. Keane,” Henry Benton called from his lounge chair on the beach.
“Good morning, Mr. Benton. How are you today?”
“Couldn’t be better,” he assured her with a grin. “Need some help there?”
“Thanks but we’ve got it. It feels good to be moving around after that drive.” Henry Benton must be nearing seventy and, though he appeared to be in excellent health, Laura worried about him hauling anything heavier than his fishing pole.
“Couldn’t have picked a better day for it though. Clear as a bell since I got up this morning. Not a cloud in the sky.”
“Can’t argue with you there,” she said with a laugh, adding three of the seven bags of groceries to the boat. “Wish I could say the same thing about the freeway.”
“See a lot of clouds on the road, did you now?” Henry teased.
“Ha-ha.” She heard Sam snicker behind her. “I wish it had been clear, but there were about ten million cars, trucks, SUV’s, semis, and motorhomes. You name it, and they were on the road.”
“That’s true,” Sam laughed. “And they were all out there just to aggravate my mom.”
“That what she thinks?”
“Yup.” Both Henry and Sam had a good laugh over that, as the last of the groceries were removed from the Jeep. Laura locked it up, and they wandered back down to the dock.
“Do you know if anyone is occupying the other chalets yet?” she asked, stopping for a moment to chat with Henry.
“As a matter of fact, Ben Pommeroy was telling me just the other day that he rented all three of them for the whole summer. Looks like you and the boy will have neighbors.”
“I sure hope they’re quieter than that bunch from last year,” Laura muttered, shuddering at the thought of another invasion of college boys with a penchant for loud music and late night partying. It had been a solid month of hell on earth, and one she didn’t want to repeat.
“No worries there. Ben said they’re all adults and they seemed like good, respectful people.”
“Well that’s a relief.”
“He also said they’d liked to have rented your place, too. Said he was going to offer you ten thousand more than he did last year.” Laura shook her head when Sam’s gaze met hers.
“I’m afraid poor Ben is going to be disappointed again. The chalet is not, and never will be, for sale. It was nice seeing you, Henry.” She nodded toward the boat where Sam was drumming his fingers impatiently on the steering wheel. Henry grinned.
“Nice seeing you, too, Ms Keane. Safe trip. You get your satellite turned on?” Laura nodded. “You’ll be wanting to keep an eye on the weather station. They’re calling for a doozy of a storm system to move in around Thursday. You might want to get over here before it hits to stock up on some supplies.”
“If it gets bad, we’ll just make do with whatever we have on hand. If it lasts too long, Harpers will do in a pinch.”
1. What is your author like?
Kristy? She’s all right. A little quirky – and very demanding. She will ignore us for hours, even days sometimes, and then she expects us to snap to attention and be ready to play. Other than that, this is the best gig I’ve had. She has excellent taste in women.
2. Tell me about the place where you live.
Casteloria is about four-hundred miles directly south of the southern tip of Greenland, and kind of centered between Newfoundland and Ireland. It consists of three small islands, though they are not tropical in the least. Our winters are long, cold, and snowy, but it’s a popular tourist destination for the rich and famous. Fortunately, the residents are all decent, hardworking individuals and it’s a great place to live.
3. Who is your best friend in the world and what is he/she like?
That would be a tossup between Finley Hughes and Nolan Campbell.
Finley, or Fin – as we often call him – tends to a little uptight. He has an important position and it’s one he takes very seriously. Seriously, as in he is never off duty … even when he’s off duty. Also, for a middle-aged man, he’s extremely good at most physical activity. Kristy plans to show him that there’s more to life than work when she writes the third book in the Casteloria series.
Now Nolan’s book, A Cool Summer in Paradise, was just released last month. For some reason, all the women tend to love him – and I kind of understand why. At first glance, he would remind of you of Keith Urban back when he wore his hair longer. He’s always got a five-o’clock shadow, and he wears torn jeans and tee-shirts with band or his favorite cola name pretty much all the time. He’s very easy going and has never met anyone he didn’t like. Well, except for Abby Keane, and none of us understood why he disliked that woman so much.
4. If you had a day to do anything you wanted, what would you do?
Kristy just informed that if I answer that honestly, I’ll be giving away secrets. She said to tell you I’d spend it fishing, but that’s a lie. I hate to fish.
5. What is your home like?
I live in an apartment that’s not as much of a home as I wish it was. But it’s a place to hang my hat. If I ever-
Jeez. That woman is quite the tyrant when she wants to keep a secret. Sorry.
6. How would you describe yourself?
You ask some tough questions, don’t you? I guess I’m just a normal man who wants the same thing everyone else does. A family of his own. To be happy. To make a difference.
7. How does your author see you?
Kristy made it clear from the get-go that she didn’t want me to be the perfect, handsome, muscular man. Not that I’m ugly, or wimpy, mind you. I’m pretty strong, and I don’t shatter mirrors when I look into them. But she wanted me to be a regular guy – down to earth, genuinely nice, and someone who valued his family. I think she succeed rather well.
8. Are you the hero of your own story?
As far as authors, readers, and publishers opinions are concerned, I suppose that’s what you’d call me. Personally, I just consider myself a man. One who is trying to live his life the best he can. One who tries to be a decent human being, and one who cares as much about others as he does himself.
9. What are you afraid of?
I would answer that question, but that would spoil my story, Laying Low in Paradise. If you want to know the answer, I’m afraid you’ll have to read the book. Are you happy, Kristy? I came up with that one all by myself. (she’s applauding with her fingers, but given the sarcastic smile on her face, I don’t think she’s impressed)
10. Has anyone ever betrayed you?
See answer number nine above.
11. And finally, Cameron, is there a secret you can tell us about Kristy?
Hang on. The dogs down the road are barking their heads off. That means Jack’s going to start barking his off any second and she’ll go quiet him down. Yeah. She’s gone. Kristy is addicted to something called Vernor’s. It’s a really strong ginger ale. She tries to make everyone believe she drinks water all the time, but when she’s writing, she practically lives on the stuff. Okay, she’s coming back. Ask me something else, quick.
That’s all right. I’ll save and close the file so she won’t find out you tattled on her. Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Cameron – and good luck with your book.
Kristy K. James' first goal in life was to work in law enforcement, until the night she called the police to check out a scary noise in her yard. Realizing that she might someday have to investigate scary noises in yards just as dark as hers if she continued on that path, she turned to her other favorite love...writing. Since then her days have been filled with being a mom and reluctant zookeeper (7 pets), creating stories, and looking for trouble in her kitchen.