Author Maggie Toussaint is published in mystery and romance. Her recent release, MUDDY WATERS, is a romantic suspense where danger stalks friends turned lovers as they search for hidden treasure. Her debut release, HOUSE OF LIES, won Best Romantic Suspense in the 2007 National Readers Choice Awards. Maggie’s an active member of Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. Visit her at www.maggietoussaint.com and at http://mudpiesandmagnolias.blogspot.com/.
Will realtor Roxie Whitaker and security expert Sloan Harding find his lost inheritance or will trouble find them?
As Written by Maggie Toussaint:
Between the Pages recently caught up with Sloan Harding, the leading man of MUDDY WATERS by Maggie Toussaint, while he was tossing a ball into the Mossy Bog River for his German shepherd, Mac. Here’s a recount of that interview.
There he was! I slammed on brakes and grabbed up my reporter bag. Whadda hunk. I’d heard he didn’t like reporters so I raced across the lawn at Waterfront Park to keep him in my sights.
“Mr. Harding? I’m with Between the Pages blog. Could I ask you a few questions to let your fans know about your background?”
Sloan shrugged. “Depends.”
Ah, a gentleman who doesn’t tell all. How nice for Roxie Whitaker, his leading lady. How challenging for my interview. I squinted at the scribbled notes in my narrow notepad. “I see you that you haven’t been back to your hometown for nearly a dozen years. Would you comment on that?”
“I have a history in this town. The entire Harding family had a history here. For awhile that history strangled me. Then I left, and a strange thing happened. The place I’d left behind wouldn’t let go.”
I scribbled fast to keep up. “About that history. Any truth to the rumor you flunked out of high school?”
A silver convertible pulled up in the parking lot. Sloan and his dog stilled as the car circled then departed. “None whatsoever. I graduated from the Bog.”
If he kept answering in short sentences, I wouldn’t have much of an interview. I tried a different tactic. “Tell me about your dog. How long have you had Mac?”
“Long time.” Sloan ruffled the dog’s fur. I stepped forward to do the same, and Sloan’s palm blocked my approach. Mac showed his teeth with his low-throated growl. “Mac isn’t a pet. He’s a working dog. My best employee at Team Six Security. I can always count on him to get his man.”
I retreated two steps. “But Roxie’s allowed to pet your dog, right?”
“Mac has a thing for Roxie. He knows good people when he scents them. Roxie is good people.”
I tilted my head to one side to surreptitiously see if my deodorant was holding. No body odor. Whew! “Your dog likes females?”
“Didn’t say that, but Mac loves good cooks, and Roxie is on heck of a chef. My dog has excellent taste in women. He pined away when Roxie and I hit a rough patch, and he made me see that she was the woman for me.”
I’d beaten around the bush long enough. Time to get to the meat of the matter. “About the Harding fortune—”
“What about it?”
His curt tone didn’t faze me. Reporters had to deal with alpha males all the time. I held my ground. “After all this time, why did you decide to look for it?”
“Easy. I didn’t want any ties to Mossy Bog, but I couldn’t part with the house my grandfather built until I searched for my inheritance one last time. The tree limb in the roof gave me a good reason to make the trek to the coast from Atlanta.”
“You didn’t answer my question.” I tapped my reporter pad against my jean-clad thigh. “Why believe in something you spent your entire life denying?”
Sloan sighed. He motioned Mac to lie down. “You really wanna know?”
I nodded rapidly. “Please. Tell me.”
“All my life I was ‘that Harding boy.’ My dad wasted his life looking for the fortune. I figure if he spent that much time looking for it, the rumor had to be true. My grandfather hid his wealth. Whether it’s still here, I didn’t know, but I have to find out.”
“Let me make sure I have this right. Your dad spent so much time searching for the treasure, therefore it must exist?”
“You got it. But keep it on the down low for now. I don’t want every get-rich-quick schemer in the state of Georgia to case my house. This treasure’s been hidden for nearly twenty years. I want to be the one that finds it.”
“You think it’s buried on the property? Is there a treasure map?”
He fixed me with a stare, then his brown eyes lit up. “Anything is possible. Now, if you’ll excuse me, our ride is here.”
Sloan motioned Mac forward, and the dog bounded over to Roxie’s vintage Cadillac. Sloan followed. Seeing the smoking hot kiss he gave Roxie had me sighing with romantic longing. What I wouldn’t give to have a hunk like that adore me.
Want to read more about Sloan? Muddy Waters is out now in digital and trade paperback.
Author of romantic suspense and mystery