My guest today is fellow Wild Rose Press author Constance Bretes. She's here to tell us an amazing story, or a funny one, depending how you look at it. Constance obviously has a wonderful sense of humour and isn't afraid to laugh at herself! Thanks for being here, Constance!
I don’t know if this is an amazing story, but it certainly was funny. We have a botanical garden here in Montana, called Tizer Gardens. It’s all naturally landscaped, with a creek running through the middle of it. Depending on if you visit in the spring, early summer, late summer or fall, as to what kind of flowers are in bloom all through the garden. I love the scenery, the scents of blooming flowers, and all the lawn decorations throughout the garden.
One day, it was so quiet and peaceful, that I decided to sit down on a small little wooden bench by the creek and enjoy the moment. My foot slipped, and I went down the embankment, and head first into the creek. My husband grabbed my shirt from behind and the momentum brought him into the water behind me. I finally got up and stood in the water debating how I was going to get back up the embankment. I climbed up on my hands and knees, but my legs were slipping out from under me, and my husband decides to give me a big push up the embankment from behind. By the time I stood up on the path, I was covered in woodchips and dirt. It was in my hair, on my face, and the rest of my body.
My husband wanted me to go with him to the owners to get a first aid kit and let them know what happened, but I was just totally too embarrassed to show myself to anyone and hurriedly headed back to my vehicle. The incident sparked all kinds of comments from my friends and family when I mentioned that I fell into a creek.
This incident eventually ended up in my book, Jade’s Redemption. Attached is the entrance into the garden with the arch, and the creek that I fell into.
Constance Bretes Bio:
I started writing contemporary romance and contemporary romance suspense fifteen years ago, and after multiple rejections, got my first contract for Delayed Justice, released in 2014.
I lives in Basin, Montana, where three feline furballs own me and my husband, and a dog that lives next door named Sara, who thinks she also lives with the Bretes family. I love the mountains that surround my home, I love basket weaving, jewelry making, and just visiting all the folks in the small community we live in.
I currently have seven books published, and a number of other ones in various stages of edits. Right now, I’m working on a new book, called Roadside Love, a murder mystery/romance is a small town in Wyoming. I have two other books that are at the end of their editing days and now at critique partners. The books are Elkhorn In The Moonlight and Rocky River Gold. Both are small town romances.
I can be reached through the following media.
Be sure to visit my webpage, navigate to the News & Things, and enter the monthly rafflecopter at the bottom of the page. Join my newsletter mailing list also at that site, and you will get my newsletter, once a month and only occasionally, anytime the rest of the month, if I suddenly have something that has come up after the newsletter was sent out.
He's an overworked police chief, and she's a disgraced cop. Can he rescue her from her own depths of hell without losing his heart to her in the process?
Someone is kidnapping newborn infants and selling them to the highest bidder. Police Chief Patrick Carter has his hands full investigating the case. To complicate matters, he's short on staff.
Jade Harlowe has secrets, ones that she vowed no one would ever know. She used to be a police officer, but when a tragedy occurred—one that everyone held her responsible for—she resigned and moved to another state to start over, accepting a job as a dispatcher for the police, fire, and ambulance departments.
When Patrick discovers Jade's past police experience he offers her a job on the force. He needs help working the kidnapping cases, and Jade previously solved a similar case, so she could be a valuable asset. But will they be able to fight the attraction that's sizzling between them? Something that could be very distracting if they can't control it.
The clock is ticking. They have to find those babies and prevent more from being taken. But a very nosy news reporter may compromise everything if she digs deep enough to uncover Jade's past.
Neither Patrick nor Jade thought they had room for each other in their lives, but working so closely together makes it impossible to deny the chemistry. Can Patrick break through the wall Jade has built up around her, or will her past finally catch up with her and she loses everything once again?
When Jade arrived at the police station that morning, she saw that Patrick’s vehicle was already there. Why was he in the office so early?
She scanned her ID to get into the communication call room. She acknowledged the two dispatchers still on duty, then grabbed her mug and went to the break room. After pouring herself a cup of coffee, she headed back. On her way, she greeted two officers and walked by Patrick’s opened office door.
“Jade, in my office. I need to talk to you,” Patrick said.
“Okay.” She didn’t report to him, so why did he want to see her? She entered his office.
“Close the door,” he commanded, his voice terse.
She closed the door and sat in the chair in front of his desk.
“There was another kidnapping last night. Here’s the file on both kidnappings and files from other known cases to cross-reference. I need you to investigate the cases and try to get these babies back and prevent another one from being taken. I want you to go out into the street, ask questions, get in people’s faces, and help solve this crime.”
“Um, not an officer, Patrick.”
“You are now. If you’ll stand, I’ll swear you in.” He opened the desk drawer to get the book out.
“You can’t make me an officer, just like that.”
“Yes, I can. I know you were an officer in Oklahoma City, and I know your credentials are up-to-date. You are certified and ready to be an officer. All I need to do is swear you in.”
“You checked up on me?” Jade asked, her voice faltering.
“No, at first, I called the Oklahoma City Police to find out about the kidnapping case you mentioned. In the course of my discussion with the chief, I asked if he knew you, which he said he did.”
“Then you know what happened there.”
“No, they couldn’t tell me due to your non-disclosure stipulation.”
“Then you shouldn’t hire me.”
“I’m giving you an opportunity here. This is your chance to prove yourself. You are given full range to investigate the cases. You’ll report back to me every day as part of your training. I will guide you to where and how to solve this crime and many others. Now, are you up to it and ready to start?”
“But…Patrick…um…Chief. This is so sudden. I...” She was speechless, she didn’t want to do an investigation into a possible kidnapping. She didn’t want to handle cases that involved children. How could she get out of this? Did she really want to get out of this?
“Say yes so we can get started.”
“You sure about this?” She wasn’t, but she couldn’t tell him no. This was the kind of once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you didn’t turn down. It felt strange though; he never talked this fast, and he wanted her decision now.
“Yes, I’m sure. So, what do you say?”
“Chief, I’m not sure this is a good idea.”
What could she tell him? “I’ve been away from police work a long time, and I’ve never been a detective. I was only in training to be one.”
“Your previous employer said that you were showing signs of being a good detective. Jade, I need a detective. I need fresh eyes, someone quick to analyze the situation and get to the bottom of this. I’m offering you a chance to prove you are the right person to do the job. Anyone else would jump at the opportunity. Why are you hesitating?”
“I…um...” She couldn’t tell him she didn’t want to work baby or children cases. You couldn’t be selective when you were a detective. You took all jobs, no matter how difficult or painful it was.
“Have you talked to the fire chief? Does he know?”
“Yes. I talked to him this morning. He’s going to hire someone to replace you.”
“What about the police commissioners?”
“I’ll deal with them.”
She stared at Patrick and swallowed a big lump in the back of her throat. A detective? Her heart hammered hard in her chest. Could she do it? If he knew her past, why would he even consider her for the job? Talk about a bombshell dropping. Couldn’t she have time to consider it?
But a little glimmer of hope sparked in her heart. So there was a chance for her to redeem herself? She’d be stupid to turn down the opportunity. “Okay. I’ll do the best I can.”
“Good.” Patrick stood up, pulled out a Bible, and said, “Place your hand on this and repeat after me.”
After she was sworn in, they sat back down and Patrick went over the second kidnapping with her and handed her the files.
“I want you to work with Clyde on this, as he’s been doing the legwork. Between this case, the first case, and a murder case, he’s been pulling double duty trying to handle everything. But before you go out anywhere, you check in with me and let me know what you and Clyde are doing.”
She wished she could say she’d do the murder case. “It looks like this second baby was taken the same way. The two cases are likely related. Did you have any evidence that we can use?”
“So far, no. CSI went to the second scene this morning to gather any trace evidence there, but we won’t know anything for a couple of days. When you investigated the case in Oklahoma City, how did you crack it?”
“I posed as a woman wanting to adopt a baby.”
“How did you know who to connect with?”
“It was a long shot. I started with the kidnapped baby’s mother, then it went to a person who knew a person who knew a person. Then I created an identity of a woman desperate to adopt. I made sure I stayed visible and willing to try anything to get a baby.”
Jade rose, walked to the door, and put her hand on the doorknob, but before opening it, she turned to him. “Are you sure you want me to do this?”
Patrick leaned back in his chair and stared at her as if he was reflecting on something. “Yes, I’m sure. There are a lot of things we need to discuss. But right now I need you to get on board with Clyde, quickly, and start working this case while it’s still hot.”
“Okay. Where do you want me to work?”
“The next room down the hall is the detectives’ squad room.” He gestured with his thumb. “Grab whatever desk and computer you want. Stop by the lock-up room and get Mike to assign you a gun.”
The case was the opportunity of a lifetime for her. It gave her the chance to prove to herself, to Patrick, and the whole world, that she could do the job. Would solving this help make up for the child whose life was taken because of what she did?
She took a deep breath, opened the door, and headed to the lock-up room. She had walked into the station today as a nine-one-one dispatcher, and was now walking out as a detective.