Available from 5 Prince Publishing
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Suspense
Release Date: July 17, 2014
Digital ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-047-3 ISBN 10: 1-631120-47-6
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-048-0 ISBN 10: 1-631120-48-4
Purchase link : http://www.5princebooks.com/buy-links.html
Crisis of Serenity
Tess Copeland lives a quiet life in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Thanks to the government’s witness protection program, she enjoys the freedom of never having to glance over her shoulder to see if someone is following her. Life has become safe, serene...and boring. Her heart longs for something more than just existing...until a ghost from her past shatters her serenity.
Once upon a time, Tess was caught between the FBI and the men the feds were trying to take down. Jake Coleman is the U.S. Marshal who extracted her from the jam she was in with the FBI, a man she could have fallen for...hard...if she had let herself. It’s been a year since she last saw Jake, and in all the months that have passed, he’s never tried to find her. The longer he keeps his distance, the more she wonders why his absence hurts so much.
When a stranger comes to town searching for her, all of Tess’ old fears are resurrected. Asking Jake for help with her current crisis might lure him into a dangerous trap involving murder, kidnapping, and revenge. When Jake and Tess come face-to-face with the past, they will have to use all their wits to survive.
About the Author:
Denise is a Southern girl. She has lived in Louisiana all her life, and yes, she has a drawl. She has a wonderful husband and two incredible children, who not only endure her writing moods, but also encourage her to indulge her writing passion. Besides writing romantic suspense, she enjoys traveling, reading, and scrapbooking.
Accounting is a skill she learned to earn a little money to support her writing habit. She wrote he first story when she was a teen, seventeen handwritten pages on school-ruled paper and an obvious rip-off of the last romance novel she had read. She’s been writing off and on ever since, and with more than a few full-length manuscripts already completed, she has no desire to slow down.
Public contact information
Excerpt of Crisis of Serenity
CRISIS OF SERENITY
It was seven a.m. and Sadie’s Pancake Kitchen had just hit its peak occupancy. Morning rush was prime time, but the pace never slowed from the time the restaurant opened to the time the last customer waddled out the door at night. Sadie’s served breakfast all day, every day.
As soon as I walked in the door around six, Wendy, the hostess, didn’t waste any time assigning me a section on the top floor. She did it on purpose because I had once complained about the trip up and down the stairs. When I worked the top, I had to climb those stinking stairs fifteen jillion times a shift. The owner, whose name was Helen, not Sadie, kept telling us she was going to install an upstairs kitchen or a food service elevator. Yeah, right. Wendy told me to suck it up and do my job, as if she were my boss. I called her Princess behind her back one day and the rest of the wait staff picked up the nickname. The nasty wench obviously held a grudge.
After I cleaned the coffee maker and set a fresh pot to brew, I wrapped my apron around my waist and stuck a pencil behind my ear. Once I entered the dining room, routine set in. What do you want to drink? What will you have today? Can I refresh your coffee? Is there anything else I can get you? Slap the check on the table.
I’d never been a waitress before, but I found I wasn’t half bad at waiting tables. Sadie’s wasn’t the best job I’d ever had, at least not since the feds decided my life would be so much better if I was placed in their questionable witness protection program, but the steady paycheck served my purpose. The waitressing gig kept my wallet fed. No extras. Just subsistence. That’s all I asked. All I needed. Anything more might bring unwanted attention to my existence. After all, the FBI wanted certain individuals to think I had disappeared from the face of the planet so the bad guys would stop searching for me. Because I had dared to testify against Bennie the Goon in federal court, something that didn’t nsure a long life, I had to cooperate with the feds. I liked living and I liked living on the outside. I don’t do well in prison.
Life in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, had settled into a comfortable pattern. Get up at five. Take my niece to daycare. Bum a ride to work. Roll silverware. Brew coffee. Clean teapots. Wait tables until my shift was over at three. Catch the trolley. Pick up my niece from daycare. Go home. Feed the kid. Stuff a few bites of food into my mouth. Soak my feet. Put Joyce to bed. Watch TV. Pass out. Rinse and repeat.
Some of the patrons at Sadie’s were tourists, but quite a few locals breakfasted there several times a week, some every morning. After a few months, faces, and then names had blended into my daily grind. The monotony of the ordinary promised me safety and few surprises. For the first time in years, I wasn’t looking over my shoulder every second and wondering who was stalking me. The sameness of my days appealed to me, better than the life I’d led after I escaped from the Illinois corrections system and the Fugitive Task Force began looking for me. There was never a dull moment as a fugitive. By the time I came out of hiding, the FBI had taken an interest in my case and coerced me into rolling on Bennie. That’s when the feds immersed me in the witness protection system.
I sighed, set Jim Owens’ cup in front of him, and poured coffee from the fresh pot I’d just made. He smiled at me, revealing a perfectly straight set of ultra-white teeth. He had one of those symmetrical faces that cameras love. Why was the guy a cop instead of a movie star? For the first time since I met him, I smiled back. Just because I felt like it.
After a year of living—no, more like hiding out—in Gatlinburg, my stomach had stopped churning every time a member of law enforcement spoke to me. Sadie’s was a popular cop hangout early in the morning. If I had known, I would have taken the job at the souvenir store down the street, despite the fact the owner of that fine establishment couldn’t keep his eyes off my assets. Where his eyes roamed, his hands were likely to soon follow. I didn’t need that grief.
The ticket booth position my handler had obtained for me at Zombiemania when I first arrived in Gatlinburg went away when the attraction went out of business. After that, I found employment on my own. I figured I could do a better job hunt than the federal agent that couldn’t care less if I survived or not.
So I was settled in Tennessee, at least for a while. I gulped down my distrust every single day and served Gatlinburg’s finest their breakfast, even though I had certainly had my fill of cops. This particular patrol officer seemed nice, but I swore I’d never trust a cop again. Ever.
“Thanks.” Jim flashed his gorgeous smile. “How are you today, Tess?” His eyes gleamed with expectation.
“Good. You want the usual?” I asked him the same question every Friday at seven a.m. He always sat at his favorite table. The one that offered the best view of Parkway. Jim was predictable. I liked that in a man. My ex-boyfriend Trevor was anything but.
“Hmmm. Let’s see… Yeah.” His order never varied. Four buttermilk pancakes. Four crispy pieces of bacon. Two eggs—over easy.
A shiver of dread snaked along my backbone. My head snapped up and I peered through the window. A thin ribbon of sidewalk separated the two-story-high plate glass from the roadway. The clink of silverware and restaurant grade china clattered against the background noise of cars stopping and starting. I wiped my bangs from my eyes and studied the flow of traffic on the street below. Two lines crept bumper-to-bumper in view of the restaurant, a small percentage of cars making it through the green light in one cycle. Stoplight #6 was always busy. A patrol unit had stopped at the signal. The officer turned his head my way. Our eyes met and held, and then my heart skipped a few beats. What was he doing here in Gatlinburg? I thought I had left him behind in Colorado.
Nothing on earth could have dragged me away from his stare. Life as I knew it had changed, and my monotonous existence didn’t feel so safe anymore. The uncontrollable urge to escape overtook me…again. I had always been good at running.
“I was thinking…” Jim’s voice drifted in and out of my consciousness.
“Tess, are you all right? You went pale all of a sudden.”
“I’m okay.” I turned my attention back to him. “I’ll put your order in.”
I left before he could hint that he wanted to take me out. He was predictable about that as well. Today wasn’t a good day. There might never be a good time—not with a ghost from my past invading my newly acquired contentment.