So today I was over at EM Lynley’s blog and left a sneak peak of Requiem in Leather: Deputy Joe Book 4. No, the book’s not finished yet, but I thought I’d tease everyone.
Laying Ghosts is a many-layered story. There’s a mystery to be solved, as well as a lot of family drama and relationship changes and growth for Joe and Kabe. Joe is a wonderful first-person narrator. He comes across as a bit of a redneck and sometimes a bit too stuck on the rules, but inside he’s much more. He’s a sharp investigator, a loyal lover, son, and brother, and much more emotional than his tough exterior would reveal.
Two reviews at Jessewaves’ for Laying Ghosts…both 4.75
First from Wave:
Laying Ghosts revealed a lot about Kabe’s character and I really got to know him through the evolution of his relationship with Joe. Seeing him blossom into the man he was meant to be was wonderful as well as surprising as he showed the greatest character growth. His interactions with Joe’s family, especially his mother, were delightful as he held his own and gave back as good as he got. His new temporary job fighting fires allowed him one more outlet for his penchant for danger, excitement and thrills and he seemed to glow from within as his life came almost full circle to that of a man fulfilled
and then from Feliz
To sum it up, I can only warmly recommend this newest addition to the Deputy Joe series, as well as the series as a whole. A winsome narrator, a wonderful romance (not to forget the seriously hot explicit scenes!), a vivid and scenic setting, realistic conflict, well-wrought secondary characters, and on top of all this, a suspenseful mystery in every book make this series a must-read.
A Deputy Joe Novel
|ISBN#||MLR-1-02013-0015 (ebook) $8.99|
|978-1-60820-7787 (print) $16.99|
|Release Date||January 2013|
|Cover Artist||Winterheart Designs|
|Length: (*)||123,000 words|
|Available At:||MlrBooks (ebook)|
Some families are haunted by tragedy. Some people are haunted by their pasts. Some men are haunted by who they are. Joe Peterson is haunted by all three. His parents’ return from their mission, combined with a family reunion, forces Joe’s kin to deal with his new life: out of the Mormon Church, out of the closet, and living with his lover Kabe. When a decades-old murder of a child lands on Joe’s desk, digging into it dredges up long buried truths and festering secrets about folks Joe thought he knew — including Kabe. Joe and Kabe must lay the ghosts of the past and bring closure to a family scarred by loss to move forward in their life together.
The insistent ring of my cell phone made me pull it off my hip and glance at the face. I knew that name, and, honest, seeing it…well it was like a sunrise after a rain. I hit accept as I got up from my desk and ducked back into the break room. “Joe’s Pizza.” Hadn’t clocked back in from lunch yet, so I could take a personal call, and not like I was all that busy right then anyhow.
Of course, I’da taken this call even if I’d been in the presence of Heavenly Father himself.
A lot of static cut across Kabe’s words. “Holy shit, dude, same suck-ass joke as always.” I didn’t care about the tease. I didn’t care that I could hardly hear him. That voice was the best darn thing to hit my ears in what felt like a million years. “You’re such a dork.” He might have razzed me, but I could suss out the slow, deep current of warmth under what he said.
I hadn’t seen Kabe in over a week. “Guilty as charged.”
I wondered if he could tell how big my grin was just by my tone. Lord I’d missed him, more than I really wanted to admit. I’d gotten used to the warmth and the smell of his body next to mine at night. I’d roll over and the absence of him would wake me up. Just coming home to an empty house, hearing my boots echo…I don’t know, it dropped my heart more than I ever thought possible.
“It’s been kinda, ah, quiet around without you.” Never, ever thought I’d have a life like this, with someone, and I liked it more than I believed possible.
“Hey, I haven’t even had time to jack-off,” he laughed, “so don’t tell me who’s missed who.”
Trust Kabe to take the conversation down to the lowest point in the stream. “So how much longer until the forestry service cuts you loose?” Mother bear, Ranger Nadia Slokum, prodded Kabe into applying for a fire crew back in February. My boy’d gone and landed himself a job – he finished up his EMT certification in early spring, got his fire-fighter’s ‘red card’ by completing a few weekend courses and passing the final exam: hauling fifty pounds of gear through three miles of wilderness in less than forty-five minutes. His probation officer, being on board with the whole idea, gave him a letter saying that he could travel outside the county, and the state, so long as he was working a fire and checked in by phone when he was able.
“Dork.” He repeated the barb, but added a laugh. “We’re in Milford.” Milford? That put him about an hour and a half away. “Stopped to gas up the truck and get something to drink.”
“You’re on your way home?” With his training, plus being an experienced rock junkie and back-country camper; yeah it qualified Kabe for a minimum wage job digging fire breaks, clearing dead wood, back-cutting brush and risking his life to fight wilderness blazes. Up until now he’d logged a lot of blisters, pulled muscles and about a dozen hornet stings. Then his crew got called out for the first real fire of the season up in Great Basin National Park. He got tapped and he went: brave, gung-ho and ready for action.
“Yep. They declared hundred percent containment at about two in the morning.” He sounded downright exhausted. “Started cutting crews loose just before dawn.”
“Well.” All of a sudden I got excited, and not just south of the boarder. “I’ll see you when I get off work then.” Boy, I sounded like a kid who found out they canceled school for the rest of the year.
“We got to put shit away in Cedar, but, yeah, our bed tonight.” Oh, Lord, that sounded like one sweet promise. “Got to run.” He huffed it out like he didn’t much want to get off the phone either. “See you.”
“Hold you to it, boy.” My way of saying, I’ve missed you more than I can really put into words. “Drive safe up the mountain.”
“You got it.” Kabe answered before clicking off. We never actually said good-bye. That’s what folks said when you didn’t expect to see the other again. As first responders, nobody ever wanted to jinx nothing.
The news, though, put a bit of bounce in my step as I headed back to my desk. Made everything just a little more bearable knowing Kabe’d be home before sundown. I sat down in front of the computer. A dozen old folders were stacked in front of me and I entered the data from the open one into the national data bases. Although I was back at work, Doc Snow had me on light duty. He didn’t want me chasing after deadbeats on foot or jumping off walls. I understood that he needed to make sure my knee was stable after my accident, but still, my Lord, this duty equaled boring. I did get that it had to be done. Clear old cases. Link some crimes to others out there.
Still, it made me feel like a secretary not an officer.
“Hey, Peterson.” The new Watch Commander came up behind me. “How are you doing on the cold cases?”
That was one of the main reasons I needed Kabe around to make things more bearable. I rolled my neck a couple of times before answering. “I’m almost caught up on what we have.” I’d like to say I rose above my situation, but I really couldn’t. Diamond had resigned, her kid needed twenty-four-seven home care after release from the hospital and she had to step up. I’d lost a year of pay and a rank over my relationship with Kabe. Before that, I’d been a sergeant, the Watch Commander, all of it got pulled from me when I’d consented to my boss’ discipline for messing with a guy on probation—legally in custody. But that meant they needed someone to fill my slot and I got Diamond’s job.
Lt. Jared Lowell, formerly of Orem PD, took a cut in pay, and gained a lot better hours, to take my job. “Okay, what year are you back to?” While it was my own damn fault that gave him the opportunity, it didn’t mean I had to like the man for it.
Even if I felt sore, I wouldn’t change the turn my life took when I met Kabe.
And while Lt. Lowell didn’t hit the top of my list of favorite people, I knew better than to piss in my own back yard. I made an effort to play nice. “Once I get these in,” I thought a moment, “we’ll have everything from about eighty-two on in all the national databases.” Not like we had thousands of cold cases. Most of what I’d been reviewing were old burglaries, assaults and property crimes where the statute of limitations had run out long ago. We had a few murders, where the officers knew who did it, but just couldn’t prove it. Then there were the nameless ones: the Johns and Janes buried by the county under the last name Doe who died alone in the forest or along the highway. Someone out there loved them, though, and deserved to know what happed to their kin. “Already cleared half a dozen or so cases with dental/tattoo hits and the like.” Most, so far had been through the missing persons clearing houses. I suspected that the likely matches I’d gotten back would resolve a lot more in time. Then there were the few felons serving time that popped on DNA hits.
Mostly, though, this duty gave me a lot of time with my own thoughts. I’d be playing hunt-n-peck on the keyboard and my mind would drift off to imagining what Kabe was up to. Cooked up a lot of ways to have fun with him, you know, like we tended. This past week rubbed really raw, me missing him more than usual. I couldn’t wait to see him, wrap him up in bed and forget the rest of the world existed. Well, except for tomorrow, ‘cause my folks were coming home after two years in Russia serving the Church and I had to go get them from the airport.
But before and after…yeah, a lot of nekkid consumed my dreams.
Lowell’s voice called me back to the here and now. “Only to eighty-two?” He settled his weight on the edge of the desk I’d been assigned to. Thick arms folded across a barrel chest, he stared down at me from beneath bushy white brows. Even his red-tinged, but grayed out, mustache seemed to twitch with irritation.
I’d pulled every old file outta the storage cabinets in our current building. “Well, that’s all I’ve found files for.” Honestly, there were a lot more boxes in evidence storage than I had files to match…most of them pressed up against the very back walls in dingy brown boxes. And look, I knew I needed to get to those, but the farther back you went, the cases meandered from slightly frostbitten cold-case to down right freezer burned. Twenty-five years ago meant locked in permafrost.
“The department goes back longer than that.” Lowell reminded me.
“Yeah.” I almost managed to not sound snotty with my response.
“There’s got to be older files.”
I knew he was right, but I protested all the same. “That’s more than thirty years ago.” I wanted to be out on patrol, making a difference, doing what I did best. This duty made me feel like some clerk. I hadn’t spent my life training for data entry.
“And if we can clear them though the Fed’s combined indexing systems,” he let a heavy pause settle down between us before he finished his thought, “it’s out of the unsolved and into the solved files.”
“Well, I’m having trouble with some of the older stuff because we have the old style info on it and not the new format. And a lot of it is backlogged at the OME’s office.” The Office of the Medical Examiner for the state, well new cases took six to nine months to process. Ice cold cases, yeah, they got shelved towards when there was a bit of time when nothing much else was happening. Like maybe when Hell froze over. “It’ll be a while before anyone can enter final details on those.”
“Okay, but the department has existed more than thirty years.” He repeated it with a little more aggravation than the first time he said it.
I tried not to let my own issues mess with trying to live with my new boss. “Yeah, and?” Cain’t say I was too successful.
Again, Lowell insisted. “Where are those records?”
“They ain’t here.” I huffed and pushed back from the computer. “I ain’t found them yet.”
“Well.” He stood, tapped the desk and leaned over me. “Find them.”
I couldn’t quite let it be. “Why? Thirty plus years…everybody’s dead or long gone.” I wasn’t like this normally. But this was not doing. This was just waiting. Cooling my heels while someone else to decided if I could go back to working at what I loved. It drove me nuts.
“Because your purpose right now,” he glared, “deputy on disability, Joe Peterson, is to enter all of our cold case files into the databases.” He rapped a meaty set of knuckles near my keyboard. “I will drag this department, kicking and screaming, if I have to, into the twenty-first century. Where do you think old files might be?”
“Ah.” I backed down a little, sorta. “Okay, up until, maybe twelve years ago, the sheriff had the old offices and county jail had cells in the new county courthouse.” I probably sounded as bored as I was. “That was built in the early eighties. Maybe at the old cells in the courthouse. I think some stuff was moved into storage there along with a lot of the old county records.”
“You got a phone, deputy, get on it.” He ordered as he started to walk away.
There’s protesting and then there’s banging your head against brick walls. This argument, for me, headed towards the latter. “Yessir.” I muttered, not quite giving up my attitude even if I abandoned the fight. Took me five or six different times striking out with folks who had no more clue than I did before I really thought about it. Picked up the phone one last time and dialed the maintenance office over at the county building. If anyone would know what lurked in the musty, dusty corners of the courthouse, it’d be the janitors.
Had a nice long talk with the head maintenance guy. Took a bit of cajoling to convince him why my boss’ do now should become his problem. I finally got him to ask around his crew while I waited on hold. When he came back on the line, I got a definite maybe on whether they knew where those files were. It equaled better than a sharp stick in the eye.
By then it was time for me to clock out. I’d never been much of a clock watcher before I got injured. But, honest, this current assignment couldn’t hardly get more boring. A few cases I reviewed caught my attention, got me lost in the reading of them, trying to think ‘em through. Besides being few and far between, they tended to be solved when I entered the right data in the right place. That gave me a momentary thrill. A few others, well, I could see likely as clear as the officers handling them had as to who done it…those though, they just needed the technology to catch up to the evidence. Waiting a few more months for the old blood and other fluids to run through the DNA wringer weren’t going to make ‘em any colder.
The rest of the lot seemed only slightly more interesting than watching grass grow.
I shut down the computer, stacked the files on the edge of my desk, before I headed over to where Lt. Lowell sat filling out some sorta paperwork. I knew he saw me. I’d come up on him just so he could see me. He didn’t, however, seem to be in any rush to acknowledge that I existed, much less waited on him. Shuffled my feet a bit, picked at a bit of lint that somehow attached itself to my sleeve and basically fussed, without really fussing, while he seemed bent on ignoring me. I’da never done that to one of my men…make ‘em wait without even the courtesy of asking for a moment. And I know that what I worked on didn’t rate too much on the scale of urgency, still a little courtesy never hurt.
Probably pay back for my bit of lip earlier.
Finally, he scribbled his name on the bottom of the paper and grunted out a, “Yes,” as he stacked it with the other sheets in his out box.
Took a couple deep, but not obvious, breaths before I figured I could say anything without coming off all bitter and put out. “Talked to some folks at the courthouse, they think they might have some old boxes and such belonging to us.” The lieutenant nodded like he listened, so I figured I’d just rush it on out. “They ain’t sure, but someone seemed to recall coming across them.”
“Okay.” That came with him starting to write on the next form. “Head over there and see what you can find.”
I didn’t even rate a look. I guess neither of us was too keen on the other. Still, he outranked me and I had to explain myself. “The head maintenance guy’s going to meet me day after tomorrow.” When I saw his lip tighten up, I cut Lowell off. “He’s got guys out sick. It’s his schedule not mine. I’m going to come in part of my day off to go take care of this.” Figured reminding him that I usually wasn’t a thorn in folks’ sides might not hurt right then. Wouldn’t quite make up for some of my attitude from earlier.
“You’re off tomorrow and the next day?”
“Yessir.” Reminded him about that too. “It’s the end of my work week. My folks are coming home from overseas. I got to go pick ‘em up in Salt Lake.” Just for good measure, I threw in an excuse. “Since I’m not on patrol it’s not like I’m leaving y’all hanging.”
“Don’t have to explain.” He grunted. “You’re finished with your shift. I don’t expect you to live here.” What little of his attention I’d had up ‘till then pretty much evaporated. Felt it like a slow fizzle of heat being wicked off my chest. Guess that meant I was dismissed, so I didn’t even bother to say good-bye as I headed out.
Don’t usually do Meme’s here…however this one gives you a taste of the WIP. Now, I’m not cheating, but I am estimating. I’m writing in Scrivner so I estimated 500 words per page to get to page 7 and then here you go:
Post your work in progress, page 77 or page 7, lines 7-14, no cheating.
Opened my front door and smelled smoke. After about two breaths of panic, I realized I didn’t hear the smoke detector screeching. When I stepped on inside, I figured where the smell came from. This big ol’ pack sat right next to the door and Kabe’s boots rested maybe two steps beyond it.
It all reeked of cinders.
Kabe himself, well, he sprawled dead-to-the-world on the couch. Hadn’t even changed out of his filthy t-shirt and cargo pants. Likely he just stumbled in, tripped out of his boots and passed out. Hard work he was doing these days on a fire crew.
Thought of a hundred scenarios of how I’d show him how much I’d missed him around the moment he stepped through the door.
And not a one of them was gonna happen with him out cold.
Light Me Up implies to more than lights on a tree. […] James Buchanan’s Light Me Up is a heartwarming enjoyable short story.
I’d say Cassie liked it:
Spin Out is another engaging look into the life of Deputy Joe. He’s a fascinating narrator for many reasons. For one, he’s an unapologetic small-town guy. He’s intelligent and good at his job, but he speaks in a way that’s very much indicative of where he comes from.[…] He’s a former LDS, whose excommunication has left its mark on him but has not shaken his core beliefs. Add in his laconic, determined to protect others at all costs attitude and you get a character that’s very different from most other romance heroes.
Read the full review: SPIN OUT by James Buchanan | Joyfully Reviewed.
I was one of those who expected a lot. I needed all of the elements I liked in the first book to still be in this one and I needed that something extra which would make it better. Well, I got what I wanted …
Yes, I am a total geek when it comes to research, so I have pulled down a Risk Prediction Index (RPI) Hand-Calculation Worksheet and done on behalf of one of Kabe.
What is the RPI? It is a tool used in the Federal Criminal Justice System to determine how much at risk an offender is for recidivism — committing another offense. It is used by judges in determining sentences and whether inmates should be moved to half-way houses and how stringent their supervised release should be (do they have to physically meet their probation officer each month or do they qualify for written check in and only periodic meetings?). It is also used when determining whether someone qualifies for an Early Termination Agreement — Kabe’s situation.
One of the criteria (worth 51 negative points) is if the offender is not living with a spouse or children. And the subtle discrimination part of it…well, in the FAQ they pose whether a homosexual marriage or domestic partnership would qualify. The version I obtained was written before any state had legal homosexual marriage and they analogize it to common-law heterosexual marriage which doesn’t count as “married” in the RPI. As to domestic partnerships: “they are not the legal equivalent of marriage.” And so, even a gay/lesbian in a registered domestic partnership is not equal to a married heterosexual.
So yeah, most GLBT folks will never run into this, but it’s just one more little reason why a domestic partnership is not the same as being married.
The sequel to Hard Fall .
|ISBN#||978-1-60820-366-6 (print) $14.99|
|978-1-60820-393-2 (ebook) $8.99|
|Release Date||July 2011|
|Cover Artist||Winterheart Designs|
|Paperback:||284 pages, 95,000 words|
|Available At:||MlrBooks(ebook)Amazon (Kindle & Paperback)|
Book 1: Hard Fall
Book 2: Spin Out
Book 3: Laying Ghosts
Deputy Joe Peterson understood the risks when he got involved with ex-con Kabe Varghese. He didn’t, however, see fit to warn Kabe. Now, in the middle of searching for the killer of a local boy, he has to contend with his career and his relationship spinning out of control. Solving the case may be easier than repairing broken trust.
Ain’t nothing like the mountain air first thing in the morning. As I swung out of my new department issue Explorer, I could almost taste the first touch of snow on my tongue. Wouldn’t be long before winter hit. That meant skiing, Christmas and snuggling up next to my Kabe’s fine body under a layer of quilts. Not that I needed much excuse to do that. Three, sometimes four, nights a week he spent over at my place…and boy didn’t the gossips like to pass that bit around.
No sense ruining my day thinking on that.