Psychological chills and thrills are woven around a heartwarming love story in this action-packed romantic suspense novel.
Escaping from her abusive fiancé, Alexa O’Brien pulls into a gas station only to walk in on an execution. She’s in protective custody until she can identify Nicoli Zabat, Montreal’s mob boss, at his trial. But her safe house has been compromised, setting in motion a dangerous cat-and-mouse game.
Lieutenant Mike Delorme on the Sûreté Du Québec has spent the last eighteen months undercover in narcotics to take down Zabat, the man he blames for the death of his wife and unborn child. He doesn’t have the interest or patience to babysit a woman whose memory isn’t clear—but he’ll carry out his assignment to show the brass he’s a team player.
As Mike and Alexa dodge danger, it appears she’s in deeper than merely being in the wrong place at the wrong time. When the mafia hit she witnessed is revealed to be just the tip of an international terrorist’s plot, they must rely on each other to survive—but only if they can learn to trust their instincts and let love map out their next move.
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I live in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. The city is located an hour from Ottawa, Canada’s capital, an hour from Montreal, Quebec, and ten minutes from Massena, NY, which is just across the St. Lawrence River from us. Cornwall is my hometown, although I left it in 1969 to attend Carleton University in Ottawa, where I met my husband, John. We celebrate our 46th wedding anniversary in early September. We have three children and seven grandchildren.
Since I was born into a Francophone family, I speak both English and French, which explains my comfort with the language and the French words and expressions used in No Good Deed.
I taught school for more than 34 years, primarily English at the high school level, but I started as a French immersion teacher at the elementary level and finished up as a special education teacher.
I love to travel but haven’t been able to indulge that passion fully until I retired, and even now, since I work full time at my writing and my husband still works, we have to pick and choose our vacations. I use the setting from my favorite places in many of my books. I’ve been to Chateau Montebello, one of the locations in the novel, and the hotel in Cornwall is based on the Ramada here, run by a good friend—and yes, his name is Steve. I also enjoy camping in the summer with my daughter’s family. In winter, I tend to hibernate.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
The basic idea for No Good Deed has been on my mind for some time, probably because I often watch the news out of Montreal. The city has had issues with the mafia and biker gangs, specifically Hell’s Angels and Rock Machine, for years. The Rizzuto family is probably the most well known of the mob families, allied with Columbian drug cartels among other things. It’s still active, although many of its dons and underbosses have been assassinated, the most recent one in May of 2016. Cornwall sits on the border with the United States, but there is a Mohawk Reserve between us. Smuggling of cigarettes, drugs, weapons, and even people have taken place and continue to do so despite efforts on behalf of the various police forces in the area, and the people involved with the smuggling are often part of the crime syndicate from Montreal.
It’s no secret that terrorism comes in many forms and from the most unlikely sources. In fact, when a terrorist event happens—whether it’s a person going into a school or church and shooting the place up, or someone setting off a bomb in a public place, in many cases, when the perpetrator is identified, it seems to be a surprise to friends and neighbors. Imagine, if you will, that known terrorists on watch lists could have access to plastic surgery and exchange their wanted faces for innocent ones. How much more havoc could they wreak? And what if they had the mob helping them?
The other theme in No Good Deed, the one centering on spousal abuse, is something near and dear to my heart. I’ve never been in that situation, but someone very close to me suffered at the hands of her husband—not just the physical violence, but the emotional and psychological terror that has left wounds and scars on her psyche, some of which will never heal. It took a great deal of courage to escape from her abuser, dealing with the constant fear that he would find her and make her pay dearly. Spousal abuse, like terrorist thoughts, is a hidden crime and when the truth gets out, people are often reluctant to believe it, even when the evidence is obvious. Also, spousal abuse isn’t limited to one income level, one profession or one race.
Essentially, I took these three themes and blended them to create No Good Deed.
How do you create your characters?
This is an interesting question to answer because essentially, I don’t create them. They spring into my mind fully formed and take over the story. In all of them, there is a little bit of someone I know and some of myself, but I don’t sit down and make a list of characteristics. Those come along as the story grows. Alexa, for example, is in part based on a police officer crippled by a spinal injury received in a car accident while she was on a high-speed chase. She refused to let the injury stop her and still works as a police officer—desk duty. She uses a closed-cuff crutch. Mike’s physical appearance comes from my daughter’s significant other—I tease him about the white tufts in his beard, while his determination not to quit until he gets the job done comes from my middle son’s dogged determination.
What inspires and what got you started in writing?
Inspiration comes from all around me—the news, the people I see, and the places I visit, as well as my own imagination, which has been on overdrive since I began writing. What started me writing is more difficult to answer. I always wanted to write, but before the Internet and computers, the task was daunting. Prior to my retirement, I did some technical writing for the Ontario Ministry of Education’s online courses. I loved it. Once I retired, I decided to try my hand at writing fiction.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
When we bought our home, it had five bedrooms. Now it has two bedrooms, a playroom for the grandkids and my husband who’s a huge Star Trek fan, and two offices. John’s an accountant who works out of our home, so he has an office on the first floor and I have an office on the second floor. Even though we both work at home, during his busy season, we only see one another at meal times and in the evenings.
In order for me to write, I need silence. The voices in my head have to be heard, but in the morning I also need my coffee. In the afternoon, it’s mint tea or club soda.
What do you like to read?
I don’t read as much as I used to before I started writing, but I tend to focus my reading on books written by newer authors like myself. I enjoy romance in most formats. I love sci-fi, mysteries, thrillers, historical novels, and paranormal stories dealing with past-life experiences and ghosts. I’m not a fan of slasher-style horror or erotica.
I would like to thank you for this opportunity to be here like this. Knowing someone read my book and enjoyed it is what feeds my soul.