Susanne Matthews returns to give part two of her cole slaw trauma llama! She’s got a spiffy new romantic suspense out, too. Checkout the blurb below and scroll for an excerpt.
What starts as a quiet evening alone watching football turns into the night from hell for FBI agent Jason Spark, who is covering sheriff duties for his honeymooning brother. He thought the 911 call was a butt dial but instead stepped into a bloodbath, complete with writing on the wall. It’s a scene straight out of a slasher movie—a dead physician, his son, and his wife so badly beaten, it’ll be a miracle if Nikki Hart survives.
When Nikki Hart awakes from a coma, she’s terrified. She doesn’t know her name, recognize her face, or remember anything about herself and her past. She clings to the memory of the angel who comforted her in her darkest moments, but no one in the world she wakes up in resembles the good guy.
Evidence in the case leads Jason to The Butcher, a hired assassin usually contracted by the Sicilian mob, a man who doesn’t quit until the job’s done. News of Nikki’s recovery puts her in the killer’s sights again. Jason will do whatever it takes to protect the woman he’s learning to love. But can he save her from a vicious killer intent on earning his million dollar fee and his employer bent on revenge?
And when the smoke clears, can Nikki ever forgive the secret role he played in her injuries?
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Susanne’s Trauma Llama Tale Part Deux
Hello again. If you visited back on July 17th, you had a chance to laugh at my dramatic faux pas. If you’ll recall, the woeful tale ended with me, covered in coleslaw, sitting on the floor at the equally coleslaw covered feet of my sister’s father-in-law.
As the coleslaw settled in a wet, green, oily blanket around us, the crowd came running to see which child had fallen down the steps. Logical conclusion considering the one wailing was the three year old and her six-year-old conspirator was nowhere to be seen. One look at the gooey green mess, had everyone gasping. My sister, a nurse, immediately took charge of the situation while my brother-in-law continued to pass out drinks to the curious and somehow growing audience. Mitch, that’s my sister, called to my mom to get some paper towels and regular towels. Paper towels arrived quickly, but the other towels were locked in the washroom with Mrs. Smith, still oblivious to the event.
Assuring herself that her father-in-law, although somewhat stunned, was relatively unscathed, she helped him out of the corner where he still cowered and sent him back up to the kitchen where some of the other women tried to clean him up. I doubt they had much luck. At that moment, Mrs. Smith vacated the bathroom and with a “Holy, jumping Jesus, what happened to you, Murdo?” was brought up to date. Towels were fetched and my sister turned her attention to me.
Picture this if you can. A women, sitting on the floor, right leg straight out, left leg buried under her hot pink knit and coleslaw covered body. It was in my hair, brown at the time, running down my face, in my cleavage and of course puddled in my lap. What wasn’t covered in bits of green was stained with oil and vinegar. Needless to say, the suit was ruined and eventually consigned to the rag bag.
If you’ve ever fallen in public, your first desire is to get up as quickly as you can, a task impossible given my situation. I wanted to stand, prayed to stand, begged to stand, but all of my pleas fell on deaf—make that pigheaded—ears. My sister refused to allow anyone to help me up until she’d checked me over. Once she determined I hadn’t hit my head, and wasn’t in some kind of shock since I wasn’t crying, but kept apologizing like a broken record, she had my husband—oh yes, he was there laughing his damn head off—move the spectators away so she could look at my leg… not the one sticking straight out, but the one crushed under my 150 lb. body. With my laughing husband’s help, she managed to get my ass off the floor and onto the bottom step. That’s when the tears came!
My expensive pantyhose was ruined! The leg was swelling and my sister was concerned, so, despite my best efforts, once again my pleas were ignored and I was carried to the car, loaded into the back seat, said leg propped up beside me and taken to the hospital for x-rays. Since my sister worked there, she knew exactly what to do and what to say to get immediate attention. I didn’t realize she’d called ahead, so when we pulled into the ambulance bay, there was a nurse and wheelchair waiting for me. Mitch left me in the nurse’s care while she went to park the vehicle. By the time she’d returned, I was in a cubicle, registered, and waiting for the doctor.
At this point I need to say thank God for the Ontario health care system. I was feeling pretty low. My new outfit was ruined, every part of me seemed oily, the leg throbbed like crazy, and the damn pantyhose I’d paid $12.00 for were shredded. That’s when I realized I should have listened to my mother!
My sister joined me in the cubicle and announced the ER doctor would be in shortly. She uttered the words I will never forget.
“Let me help you take off your pantyhose.”
“Are you nuts?”
“Come on, Sue. Be reasonable. You have to take them off for the doctor and the x-rays. Don’t worry. I’ll help you.”
I burst into tears. “I can’t.”
I Love my sister dearly, but her bedside manner sometimes needs work.
“Why the hell not?”
“Because I’m not wearing any underwear,” I cried.
All my life I’d listened to my mother preach the litany: always wear clean underwear when you go out in case you end up in the hospital, and here I was in the hospital, bare ass to the wind since I’d ignored the rule. I’d purchased Underalls, the pantyhose and underwear in one combination that guaranteed no unsightly panty lines. When my sister stopped laughing and could breathe again, she helped me take off the offending garment and tossed it in the trash. As she predicted, after examining the leg, the doctor ordered x-rays, so I was back in the wheelchair, this time with my left leg down and my right leg elevated, my short skirt hiked up mid-thigh, my hands buried in my lap trying to make sure no one could see my lady parts, sans panties.
As the nurse pushed me down the hall to x-ray, I wondered where the people had come from since the halls were now crowded and busy.
“Shift change,” she answered cheerfully. “I’m working a split today.”
Just my luck. One hand firmly placed to keep my skirt from exposing me, I pulled up the other to shield my face and prayed I wouldn’t meet anyone I knew. We arrived at x-ray, and I breathed a sigh of relief—short-lived since she parked me outside the door and vanished!
People kept walking toward me. Some smiled and nodded. Others looked at me curiously. It wasn’t as if we’d taken the time to comb the coleslaw out of my undo. A few even commented on my aroma.
“Something smells good? I wonder what the cafeteria’s cooking. It smells like coleslaw, but there’s a spicy almost musky scent to it.”
I could have answered, “That would be coleslaw à la Shalimar,” But kept my mouth firmly shut instead. After an eternity, another nurse fetched me out of the hall, x-rays were taken, and within half an hour I was back in my ER cubicle.
“Food news, Mrs. Matthews,” said the doctor whose name I can’t recall. “Nothing’s broken, but you’re going to be black and blue for a while.”
He gave me pain medication, crutches, and an appointment to come back to be checked within a few days. I was off work for two weeks. It took well over a month before my leg returned to its normal color.
I can laugh about this now, and imagine the picture I presented, but to this day, I always wear panties. To hell with panty lines. I can live with them!
The heroine in my latest novel finds herself in the hospital, but there’s nothing funny about what happened to her. Check out my latest Crimson Release, On His Watch.
Check out this excerpt from On His Watch:
The sound of breaking glass coming from downstairs shattered the stillness. Nikki tensed. Had the sound come from the kitchen? Had she left a window open? She’d shut the bedroom window a few moments ago because the wind had picked up and its whistling sound bothered her. Could it have knocked over the crystal vase of roses Sam had sent her this morning? Perhaps Mrs. Olsen’s tabby had jumped in the window and knocked the vase over. The cat had been a regular visitor when the previous owners had lived here, and he saw no reason to curtail his visits. She’d almost had a heart attack the last time he entered, bringing her a gift—a dead mouse—and Danny had laughed himself silly at “Mommy’s girliness.” Sam, not an animal lover, had threatened to poison the animal if it came into the house again. If the cat had broken the vase, its days were numbered.
Or what if someone was in the house? She’d noticed a lot of strangers in town, some looking more unkempt than others. There were plenty of family campers, but every now and then, she’d seen so-called gold prospectors combing the Larosa hills. Trudy, Mandy’s best friend Lily’s mother, had said they were harmless but to a girl like Nikki from San Francisco, dirty, half-starved men meant trouble. They could easily be junkies desperately needing a fix.
She took a deep breath. She didn’t hear any other suspicious sounds. As Sam would say, she was letting her imagination run wild. Most likely it was one of Larosa’s minor quakes that had caused a glass to slip off the table. Just a few miles off the San Andreas Fault, the town was constantly trembling. She barely noticed the Earth’s slight shaking anymore.
Even though she’d convinced herself nothing was amiss, Nikki tiptoed to the guest room, got down on all fours, and peeked under the bed. Mandy was asleep. The child slept like the dead once she was out. Nikki reached for the flashlight, turned it off, and used the bed to leverage her body upright again.
She picked up the cell phone she’d left on the dresser earlier, made sure it was on in case Sam called, and dropped it into the right pocket of her pajama top. Carrying the flashlight, she slipped out of the room, closing the door softly behind her. Maybe getting a dog’s a good idea. It would keep the damn cat out of the house.
Nikki stood still in the hallway and listened. The only thing she could hear was the sound of the television in the den. Someone was buying a vowel.
She reached Danny’s room and opened the door. When she saw his bed was empty, she relaxed and shook her head in resignation. As much as it annoyed her to admit it, this time Sam was right. Her imagination did tend to look for boogeymen where there weren’t any. Clearly her eight-year-old and his bottomless pit of a stomach had decided to have another bedtime snack. No doubt he was the culprit. She left the room and placed the flashlight on the hall table where it usually sat in case of a power outage.
“What did you break this time?” she called as she headed down the stairs. “I swear, you’re like a bull in a china shop.”
The sound of the garage door opening indicated Sam’s arrival. Although the clinic was nearby, since he carried major opiate drugs back and forth, Sam always took his car to work. He’d enter the house through the garage, leaving his lab coat and shoes out there and washing his hands at the sink he’d had installed for that purpose.
“Let’s get this cleaned up before your father comes in.” She turned the corner into the kitchen and stopped cold.
The fridge door was open, the pitcher of orange juice shattered on the floor beside what was left of her crystal vase full of roses, the red petals vanishing in her son’s blood. So much blood! Danny lay there, his head at an awkward angle, his eyes open, looking into the face of death. A scream froze in her throat as arms grabbed her from behind, and the sting of the knife bit into her upper back.