Suspicious & The Sheriff of Shelter Valley
(Bestselling Author Collection)
Heather Graham & Tara Taylor Quinn
Adult Romantic Suspense
Paperback and ebook, 544 pages
May 26th 2015 by Harlequin
Suspicious by Heather Graham
Cold-blooded predators lurk in the Everglades—and not all of them are gators
When Jesse Crane returned to his roots to serve on the Miccosukee police force, he’d hoped to leave behind the violence of the city and the memories of his murdered wife. But bodies start to pile up in Jesse’s corner of the sultry Florida swampland…
As he probes these crimes, Jesse is drawn to the beautiful Lorena Fortier, a new hire at the local gator farm and research facility. Lorena is a little too interested in Jesse’s investigation, but before he can uncover her true motives, they’re both pulled into a dangerous web of greed, ambition and animal cunning. To survive, they’ll have to decide whether they can trust each other…before the hunters become the hunted.
The Sheriff of Shelter Valley by Tara Taylor Quinn
Six months ago, Beth woke up with no memory of her past, a bruised face and a little boy who called her “Mama.” Until her memory returns, the most dangerous thing she can do is to fall for the sheriff—the one man who can uncover the truth and destroy the person she’s become.
Huge thanks to Heather Graham for dropping by Brooke Blogs today with a wonderful guest post!
I’m delighted that Suspicious, a popular early (or earlier!) book of mine is being reissued, together with Tara’s The Sheriff of Shelter Valley. Written ten years ago, Suspicious is set in South Florida.
Now, I’m from South Florida, I grew up there, and I still live there. It’s my home and I love it. We have our ups–no snow when half of the country is bombarded. And we have our downs–intense, humid heat for much of the year. But I can tell you that I’ve been in Virginia, Texas, New York and even Chicago during the summer, when the temperatures soared above those in Miami. They say we have an ocean breeze, but I grant you it’s sometimes hard to find a leaf moving. These days, however, we have air-conditioning and a plethora of pools! It’s a nice place, I promise.
In Suspicious, we’re looking mostly at a tract of land that stretches across the lower end of the state. There are really two roads that cross it–Alligator Alley, recently incorporated into I-75. You can pop out of the Weston area of Broward County and visit Big Cypress and a wonderful Seminole museum.
Or you can take the Tamiami Trail.
When were young, we’d head across the Trail (S.W. 8th Street); if you took it all the way east, you’d be on Calle Ocho. We would leave greater Miami and bit by bit, there’d be nothing but a two-lane highway extending for miles and miles along a canal through the “River of Grass.” (Right after you pass the Miccosukee Casino, you’ll be heading toward true wilderness!) The Everglades is technically not a swamp; it’s a continually moving body of water, a river. But it sure looks like a swamp. High grasses stretch out for miles beyond the canals, sometimes hiding great patches of water where you’d think you could be walking–but you might sink waist-deep in a matter of minutes. There are also pine hammocks out there, areas where the land grows solid and trees take root.
You’ll pass “chickee huts” here and there–mostly airboat businesses these days, some owned by Native Americans, some by other old-time Floridians, and you’ll eventually come to Shark Valley. I’ve never seen a shark there–but I have seen massive bull alligators, pygmy rattlers, Eastern diamondback rattlers, water moccasins and tiny (but deadly) coral snakes. Incredible birds and mammals such as deer, river otters, silver foxes, opossums, and more–occasionally a rare Florida panther–can be seen there. Despite the fact that the reptiles and other creatures live along the walking and biking paths, I’ve never heard of an incident. Then again, I believe most people who are intrigued by Shark Valley aren’t heading out to pull an alligator’s tail! (Bad move–unless you grew up wrestling alligators and even then you’d have to be very careful.)
Across the street is the Miccosukee Restaurant, which serves the best pumpkin bread ever. As you keep going, you can stop at Native American villages, where you’ll find fascinating history, great traditional shirts, and lots more (including alligator wrestling!).
We have two main tribes in the Everglades, the Seminole and the Miccosukee. Once upon a time, “Seminole” referred to every Indian chased down into the swamps of Florida, whether they were Creek or Muscogee or Hitchiti speakers, or of a different tribe or nation altogether. The Seminole Indians–meaning all those grouped under that name at the time of the Seminole Wars of the 19th century–never surrendered. One of their great leaders, Osceola, was captured (despite a truce) and died of illness (quinsy or perhaps malaria) in 1838. Billy Bowlegs and other great leaders were captured or beaten, but the tribes still didn’t surrender; they disappeared into the Everglades. The Seminole Wars were the costliest the United States had ever fought up to that time.
Contrary to some tales, Osceola was not executed by the U.S. government. He does supposedly haunt Ft. Marion or the Castillo San Marcos in St. Augustine…looking for his head. That’s because his white doctor, a friend (some friend, in my opinion) removed his head after death and took it to study. History has it that he stuck it on a bedpost in his children’s room if they misbehaved. That worked so well, he left the head to his son-in-law, another doctor. Whether he practiced the same form of “discipline,” we’ll never know. He eventually sent the head to a museum in New York, which subsequently burned down.
I love Native American history and I smile when I think Florida Seminoles might have found the best revenge of all–they own the Hard Rock casinos!
I’ve always loved learning about their culture; I know what they (and yes, the soldiers sent to South Florida at the time) faced. Mosquitoes, deadly snakes, massive reptiles and more. It wasn’t easy for anyone braving the “River of Grass.”
All of this background, everything I experienced in South Florida, went into the writing of this book. I certainly hope you enjoy it. And if you come down here, don’t miss one of the true wonders of the world–our Everglades. It’s one of the only places on earth where you’ll will find both crocodiles and alligators (pythons, and boas, too). Since I wrote this book, we’ve also had the Great Florida Python Challenge, and for more on that, Google Dave Barry and his Miami Herald article on the Great Florida Python Challenge. (I have never claimed that my state is run sanely!)
We’re crazy, diverse, unique–so, come on down, y’all!
About the Authors
Heather Graham is the NYT and USA Today bestselling author of over a hundred novels including suspense, paranormal, historical, and mainstream Christmas fare. She lives in Miami, Florida, her home, and an easy shot down to the Keys where she can indulge in her passion for diving. Travel, research, and ballroom dancing also help keep her sane; she is the mother of five, and also resides with two dogs, a cat, and an albino skunk. She is CEO of Slush Pile Productions, a recording company and production house for various charity events. Look her up at eheathergraham.com.
The author of more than 70 original novels, in twenty languages, Tara Taylor Quinn is a USA Today bestseller with over six million copies sold. She is known for delivering deeply emotional and psychologically astute novels of suspense and romance. Tara is a recipient of the Reader’s Choice Award, a five time finalist for the RWA Rita Award, the Reviewer’s Choice Award, the Bookseller’s Best Award and appears frequently on bestseller lists, including #1 placement on Amazon lists. Tara is the past-president of Romance Writers of America and served eight years on that board of directors. She has appeared on national and local TV across the country, including CBS Sunday Morning and is a frequent guest speaker. In her spare time Tara likes to travel, climb Arizona mountains, and inline skate.
Tara is a supporter of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you or someone you know might be a victim of domestic violence in the United States, please contact 1-800-799-7233.
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Print copy of Suspicious/The Sheriff of Shelter Valley (US only)
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