A Serenade to Die For by Janet Fogg and David Jackson is a Mystery and Suspense Festival pick #books
Title: A Serenade to Die For
Author: Janet Fogg and David Jackson
Genre: Romantic Suspense
On the verge of her long-sought career breakthrough, singer Isbel Vargas has just completed the performance of a lifetime when a kidnapper demands a ransom for her father. Thanks to his car theft and antiquities operation, her father will be arrested if she involves the Acapulco police. Who can she turn to?
Isbel's ex-boyfriend, Cane Mullins, is once again south of the border, purportedly tracking down his beloved Camaro, a vintage street rod stolen years before by her father. Cane gets more than he bargains for, though, when he again crosses paths with the exquisite singer. Chased at high speed through the Sierra Madres, the former lovers search for Isbel's father and a priceless sword he has hidden away, the sole surviving Aztec maquahuitl, while sparks fly and passion reignites. But can Isbel trust Cane again...with her heart?
“Isbel.” Clap. Clap. Clap.
“ISBEL!” Clap. Clap. Clap.
“ISBEL!” CLAP. CLAP. CLAP.
Isbel laughed and danced to center stage in rhythm with the clapping. Three spotlights warmed her skin as her white sequined dress glistened and twinkled in reply. Spinning slowly, she loosened the clips holding her long black hair and let it tumble onto her shoulders.
“I’m Isbel Vargas,” she murmured into the mike. The theater erupted. “I hope you loved your evening in Paradise. I know I did.”
Wolf whistles faded and shouts of encouragement fell silent as she began to sing again, a final serenade for the perfect audience.
Her voice soared.
At the end of the song, she succumbed to the joy claiming her soul. This was what she was meant to do. The music swelled into a crescendo as Isbel let tears stream down her face. Lighter flames and cell phone screens glowed in the surrounding galaxy of fans. Isbel blew kisses and waved and then stepped back to catch hands with Hudson and Octavio as they lined up to bow together.
Backstage, goose bumps prickled her arms as Isbel palmed the tears from her cheeks. Her mountain of a drummer, Octavio, laughed and lifted her off her feet to spin her around. She looked over his shoulder and stiffened as he lowered her. Her feet touched down.
Cane. He shouldn’t be here. He couldn’t be. She’d banished him forever. Yet there he stood, an unwelcome specter from her past.
Hurricane. It really was him.
He said quietly, “You were sensational, Isabella. Better than I remembered.” His voice hadn’t changed. Smooth as a frosty beer on a salt-flats day, but quiet and low, taking its own sweet time to roll out each syllable.
Apparently Cane’s taste in clothing hadn’t changed either. A vivid yellow and green Hawaiian shirt topped new khakis and work boots. He looked strong and tan and unfairly handsome. Flashing the same stunning white smile as he pushed his red baseball cap to the back of his head, he freed more of his dark hair. His eyes gleamed with mischief as he suddenly grabbed the brim of the cap and swept it low in a courtly bow. “Guess I should call you Isbel now, shouldn’t I? Like everyone else. Well, whoever you are, you could stop the Super Bowl in that dress.”
Isbel remembered to breathe.
“Hurricane Mullins,” she said softly, holding tight to her desire to march over and slap him. “The only thing you can call me is good-bye.”
Was it Hurricane who’d tailed her through traffic earlier in the day? Whoever it was rode a bright red crotch rocket. Funny how it matched Cane’s bright red cap. Definitely his style. Or more appropriately, lack of style. On top of that, only the band and hotel staff could get backstage. By facing her here, Hurricane thumbed his nose at all of them, at their pathetic security measures and semblance of control.
The hint of a smile on his face, he looked at the floor in front of her toes. Clearly, there wasn’t a contrite bone in his body as his gaze then swept up to relish every curve of her body. Amber flames ignited deep in his eyes. “Glad to see you haven’t lost that spitfire,” he said.
“Glad to see you’re enjoying the view,” she retorted. “Now get out of here. Or I’ll call security.”
Hurricane shrugged. “Okay by me. They have a couple of problem areas, and I can set them straight.”
“Look, Isabella. Isbel. I don’t want to fight. I came back down for the same reason I did the first time, when I took the job with your father.”
“What, did you actually find your precious car?”
Flipping his cap around in his hands, he shrugged and said, “Not yet. But there’s a new lead on the Camaro. If I get it back and your father did have something to do with it going missing, he might take the fall. Figured I could at least warn you.”
Isbel narrowed her eyes. “How big of you. Or are you just trying to find out where he is?”
Octavio leaned close to rest one hand on Isbel’s shoulder. “You okay, Isbel? Want me to get rid of this guy?”
Isbel hesitated. That would be the easy way out. At six foot four, Octavio stood a couple of inches taller than Cane and outweighed him by at least forty pounds. Cane looked tougher, though. Hardened. Like seasoned driftwood. She wondered if Octavio really could get rid of him if Cane fought back. But this was her battle, and she could handle Hurricane Mullins.
Isbel shook her head. “I’m fine, Tavio. Thanks.” He squeezed her shoulder gently but didn’t move. “Seriously. Go back over with the band. I’ll be right there.”
Octavio nodded. He pointed at Cane. “I’m watching,” he said as he backed away.
Cane sighed and slipped his cap back onto his head. “I shouldn’t have even tried. You had nothing to do with it then, and you don’t now.”
“Seems like old times, doesn’t it?” Isbel said. “But you know, Hurricane, just like your nickname, every time you show up there’s a huge mess.”
“It’s not my nickname.”
“Oh, yeah, I forgot.”
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Why is your featured book a must-read?
A sultry singer. Her hunky ex-boyfriend. His stolen hot rod and her kidnapped father. The chase is on!
Enter to win an e-book bundle of all 42 books featured in the Mystery and Suspense Bookish Event:
Runs August 11 – 17, 2020.
Winner will be drawn on August 24, 2020.
Janet Fogg’s focus on writing began in the 1990s while CFO for the coolest architectural firm in Boulder. Fifteen writing awards later she resigned from OZ to follow the yellow brick road, and ten months after that signed a contract with The Wild Rose Press for her first published novel, Soliloquy, a HOLT Medallion Award of Merit winner. Since then Janet has enjoyed co-authoring three WWII military histories and collaborating on three novels: Misfortune Annie and the Locomotive Reaper, Misfortune Annie and the Voodoo Curse, and A Serenade to Die For. In 2018 Janet was recognized as Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Honored Guiding Member.
Not your typical author, David Jackson started writing in his constant pursuit to become a renaissance man. Then he fell in love with the art form and has celebrated publication of five novels. Comedy remains one of his many passions and he writes and performs skits as well as stand-up. Also a songwriter and guitarist, Dave has composed over 300 musical titles. Settled now in Denver, Dave is passionate about living life to the fullest with those he loves, especially his son.
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