Lacy Dahl is a special heroine. I guess I should add “for me”. When I set out to write her story, her character study so enthralled me I knew I had a series in my head. Lacy is the star of The Art of Love and Murder. From her friends and relationships, the next four books spin off in my Love and Murder Series.
There are things you’ll learn about Lacy in The Art of Love and Murder such as she was adopted as an infant when she survived the small plane crash that killed her parents. Her adoptive parents are also deceased.
Lacy Dahl owns a coffee café called The Lacy Latte. Although only the last scene of the book takes place in the café, I had fun creating Lacy’s business. All the windows are topped with lace, there’s a huge fireplace to curl up by with comfy couches and the balcony upstairs is a warm nook. The twist is Lacy doesn’t drink coffee. She prefers chai which she serves in her coffee café.
You’ll learn she’s forty-three, widowed, half-Hopi and half Austrian, with a mystery in her past. She has startling lime green eyes that play a part in the mystery. She drives a crimson red BMW Z4 convertible. She runs every morning before she opens her coffee café. She is happy, self-assured, independent and responsible. I like her!
There are always parts of a character that don’t come out in a book. I have to have them to write the story, but the reader doesn’t necessarily need to know.
What didn’t make it into the book or was only touched on lightly:
Her adoptive parents, Arlo and Sarah Dahl were hippies in their younger days. They settled down in Scottsdale, Arizona and did volunteer work on the reservations near Flagstaff, Arizona.
Lacy’s main vice is expensive shoes, and she has a specially designed closet just for her shoes. She practices yoga twice a week and has recently talked her friend, Phoebe, into going to classes with her. Her preference is for "real" things such as ceramic over paper, real stones and metals in her jewelry and leather for her coats.
Her childhood was normal. In high school, she excelled academically and was Homecoming Queen two years in a row. Her college degree was earned at the University of California in San Francisco where she met her husband. She married and had two children. At the time of her husband's death, three years before the story opens, she was a pharmacist and he was a surgeon. She left her profession after he died and bought a coffee cafe, naming it the Lacy Latte. Her love life has been non-existent, too busy taking care of her sick mother and the café…until she meets Chance Meadowlark.
Title: The Art of Love and Murder
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Date Published: 5-2-14
Genre: romantic suspense
Word Count: 84,506
Lacy Dahl never questioned her past until the deaths of her adoptive parents and her husband. A husband who wasn't what he seemed. Her research uncovers secrets about the mother she never knew; secrets that dispute the identity of her father and threaten her life.
Sheriff Chance Meadowlark is still haunted by the murder of his wife and the revenge he unleashed in the name of justice. When he meets Lacy he is determined not to become involved, but their pasts may make that impossible. As they move closer to the truth, saving Lacy may be his only salvation.
Lacy begins to think the present is more important than her past...until Chance's connection to her mother and a murder spin her deeper into danger and further from love. Will the truth destroy Lacy and Chance or will it be the answer that frees them?
Momentarily struck dumb by his eye color, she stared back. Why hadn’t she noticed until now? Although not as light as hers or her father’s, the professor’s eyes were a startling green shade.
His hand nudged her arm. “Lacy?”
She jumped. “Oh, yes.” She slipped the tissue from the half-carved wolf. Another glance at his eyes and goose bumps riddled her arms.
He lifted the wood close to his face, using both hands as if handling a delicate hummingbird. His thumb traced the neck of the creature to the juncture of where it emerged from the wood. When he brought the piece to his nose, closing his eyes and breathing deeply, Lacy wanted to turn away from the oddly erotic gesture.
He swallowed, opened his eyes and set the wolf back on the tissue. His attention shifted to the photograph of the chest. He touched the photo, a smile on his lips. “Where is the chest?”
The chest. Like he knew it, had seen it before. “I’m having it sent. You’ve seen it before?”
He didn’t move, stared out the window as if deep in thought. “I’d like to show you something, Lacy.”
“All right.” She waited, watching his profile.
He turned and stared into her face a moment. “You’re so very lovely. A creation full of life and passion, surpassing any art form.”
His hypnotic voice floated on the classical strains drifting from the living room. She couldn’t speak. Didn’t know what to say. She’d been lifted upon a pedestal of admiration. With any other man, she might consider his words a means to a sexual end. The professor’s intentions, however, were crystal. He admired her like a work of art.
After many years of a near gypsy lifestyle, my husband and I have finally landed on the northern prairies of Arizona. We've transitioned from city people to country folk. We share our rambling farmhouse with our son the farmer, his wife, my granddaughter and three dogs. Together, we’ve embraced an age-old lifestyle that has been mostly lost in the United States - multiple generations living under one roof, who share the workload, follow their individual dreams and reap the benefits of combined talents.
Although I didn’t start out to write romance, I’ve found all good stories have to involve complicated human relationships. I’ve also learned, no matter a person’s age, a new discovery is right around every corner. Whether humorous or serious, straight contemporary or suspense, all my books revolve around those two facts.
Visit Brenda at www.brendawhiteside.com.
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She blogs on the 9th and 24th of every month at http://rosesofprose.blogspot.com
She blogs about prairie life and writing at http://brendawhiteside.blogspot.com/
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