As you know, I have two books published, and a third on the way. I thought I would take an opportunity today to post an excerpt from my second book, Faithful. Here is a summary of Faithful, and following that, an excerpt. The book is available for purchase at the following link (or at your favorite bookseller):
Faithful by Jo Janoski
Belle Simpson’s husband left her with barely a word of explanation. Determined to get him back, she enters the mysterious world of gang violence and grand larceny, following the trail to his heart. George McDougle, a private investigator, keeps her in his sights on the pretense of helping her, but is he really? A beautiful waitress, street thugs, and a gold bracelet all come together to spin this colorful story of love.
Excerpt from Chapter 9:
Belle didn’t know what she wanted. Wandering back to the coffee shop the next day, she hoped to find out more about Bill. Opening the door, she peered in. No sign of George. Making her way to a table, she settled and looked around. Not too many people, a perfect setting for some quiet investigating. Sandy, the waitress, came to take her order.
“What will you have?”
“Just coffee.” Belle folded the menu and laid it down. “Say, don’t I know you from somewhere? What’s your name?”
Belle loathed the idea of making conversation with the girl, but she needed information about Bill, and the waitress might have it.
“No, I don’t think so. I’ve seen you in here is all. My name is Sandy,” the girl said, pointing to her name badge.
“Sure I do. Aren’t you a friend of that tall fellow, Bill? I saw you two standing in front of a building on Second Avenue last week!”
“Well, yeah,” Sandy stammered. “Bill’s a friend of mine, but nobody special. Although he keeps trying….”
“You mean you two are not an ‘item,’ as they say?” Belle felt her heart skipping beats.
“No. Actually, I go with a guy, Joey. He’s well built, works out a lot. Maybe you’ve seen him around.”
“Oh. I assumed you went with Bill.”
“No. Well, I’ll bring your coffee.”
As Sandy walked away, Belle barely contained her joy. Sandy and Bill were not involved with one another! The older woman’s heart swelled with renewed hope to salvage her marriage…to be in Bill’s arms once more, to be happy again. But if there was no affair, why was her husband avoiding her? Could it be a one-sided affair, where Bill was in love with Sandy, but she didn’t love him back?
All the same, hope emerged to win Bill’s love again. Where was he staying? What kind of relationship did he and Sandy have? Time to confront him again, and this time she’d be strong and reach out to the part of him who loved her once.
Sandy arrived with the coffee. Placing it on the table, she suddenly startled spilling a few drops, at the sound of car tires screeching outside.
A battered black Chevy pulled up in front of the coffee shop. A blast of loud rock and roll orchestrated all four doors opening at once. Four rowdies jumped out, slamming the doors behind them. One fellow inside revved the engine as the other men entered the shop. A disheveled bunch, wearing dark clothes and darker expressions, all eyes in the diner locked on them.
Belle sat up, observing them both in interest and alarm. Were they going to rob the coffee shop? The gang leader, a scoundrel with eyes like steaming coals, scanned the restaurant.
His piercing glare stopped to rest on Sandy. When the waitress spied the boy looking at her, she cursed under her breath. Racing across the room, she grabbed the fellow’s arm and shoved him toward the door. Belle continued her vigil. Did Sandy know these thugs? By now, the waitress had pushed them all outside, and Belle surveyed an intense conversation, punctuated with hand gestures, visible through the window. She wished she could hear them, but the altercation remained a mere pantomime from inside the shop. One fellow bent over to pick something up when a glint of metal shined from under his waistband. Belle knocked her coffee over in horror. It was a gun. Scooping up her check, she raced toward the cash register. No one was at the machine and she waited, still straining to listen.
Only the tone of the conversation reached her ears. Now and then one man’s voice rose in a crescendo and fell back again. Abruptly, Sandy opened the shop door to come inside. Belle heard her say, “Maxim’s, Friday, 2:00 a.m.” as she entered.
Maxim’s. A store like Bill’s, in the West End of the city. Now why would that crew want to be there, and in the middle of the night? How did Sandy fit in? Did Bill have something to do with this? It looked like she’d have to try to drive that darn car, the Roadmaster, to Maxim’s on Friday night to see about it for herself, if she was ever going to find out about Bill. She paid her tab and went home to plan.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Jo Janoski