- N. N. Light
One Red Shoe by @dmburton72 is a Shake Off Winter Doldrums pick #99cents #romanticsuspense #romance
Title: One Red Shoe
Author: Diane Burton
Genre: Romantic Suspense
It Happened One Night meets Knight and Day
When elementary teacher Daria Mason left Iowa for a writers’ conference in New York City, she didn’t expect to come home with a wounded spy. Sam Jozwiak works for a shadow agency that gathers intel vital to U.S. security. From the moment he steals digital files from a Russian Mafia kingpin, Murphy’s Law takes over. No matter how he covers his tracks, the kingpin’s assassins find him. What’s worse than getting shot in the butt? Accepting help from an Iowa tourist. Thus, begins a road trip that takes Sam and Daria cross country with the assassins right behind them.
Desperately needing a restroom, Daria Mason blasted through the door, past the sinks, and came face-to-face with a pervert, in unzipped jeans, wielding a green box knife. Because she’d raced into the restroom without checking out the situation, he now stood between her and the exit.
She was at the end of the proverbial rope. After walking in circles, she finally found a restroom, and nobody was stopping her from using it. Especially not someone playing copycat with that guy in the movie who wore one red shoe.
“I am having a really bad day,” she declared in the don’t cross me voice she used on her brothers. As soon as her words echoed off the hideous pink and black tiled walls and floor, she lowered her voice. “You are in the wrong place, mister. Now zip up and get out.”
She pointed straight-armed toward the door.
The man shook his head and set the flimsy knife on the counter. “Lady, you have more guts than sense. You are in the wrong place, at the wrong time.”
His voice was even softer than hers. He eyed her with a look so dark and intense it paralyzed her like a hawk freezes its prey. She swallowed past the fear in her throat, certain it sounded like a gulp.
“Before you embarrass both of us by peeing on the floor . . .” He jerked his head toward the stalls.
Daria’s cheeks burned with embarrassment. She hesitated for a moment, certain that if this were a movie, she was the heroine too stupid to live. But, darn it, she had to go. She beat it around a corner and headed toward the end stall, as far away from him as possible. By the time she finished, Daria fervently hoped the man was gone.
She squirted hand sanitizer into her palm and rubbed her hands as she came around the corner. So much for fervent hopes. He was still there. At five-ten, she didn’t often look up at a man, or at least not very far. He had to be six-two, with the lean hardness of a man who took care of himself. He had a scruffy beard, and she was sure his dark hair hadn’t seen a comb in days. He’d propped his foot—the one with the red shoe—on the sink counter and was using the box cutter to slit his pantleg.
Over his shoulder, he looked at her. “Go Hawks.”
Using the knife, he pointed to the black and gold University of Iowa button she had clipped to the strap of her purse so long ago she’d forgotten about it.
“How do you know— Oh, my goodness, are you an alum, too?”
He gave her an exasperated look. “You might as well wear a sign: Tourist here. Take advantage of me.”
He pulled aside the slit pantleg and began using a handkerchief to wash blood away from a ragged wound.
At that moment, several things came together. The man’s ashen pallor, the white creases along his tightly clenched mouth. Dark stains on the back of his jeans, the pocket of which was so ragged she could see his red shorts. His shoe. Oh, dear Lord, his shoe. His sock and one athletic shoe were stained with blood.
The cloying, coppery smell of blood assaulted her nose. Somehow, she missed it before. Now, the scent overpowered mildew and God only knew what else in a restroom that hadn’t been cleaned since Reagan was President.
She dropped her bag of books. “Dear God, what did you do to your leg?”
“Cut myself shaving.”
She tsked. “You’re hurt.”
“Very observant.” Red Shoe raised an eyebrow and went back to washing his leg.
His caustic tone stung. What else should she say to a bleeding man? Years of patching up her brothers, assorted animals, as well as her second graders, spurred her into action. “That handkerchief is making it worse.”
She set her purse on the long counter, a good distance from the man, and dug around for packets of moist towelettes. She set them closer to him before ripping one open. The astringent smell dissipated all other odors in a ten-foot radius.
“You carry hand sanitizer and wipes? Who are you? Monk’s sister? Aren’t you taking cleanliness too far?”
She’d heard that before from her brothers. She sniffed. Stale sweat. “And you don’t take it far enough.” She was instantly appalled at her rudeness.
With exaggeration, he lifted his arm and sniffed his pit. “I don’t smell anything.”
What a clown. Just like her brothers.
“Unless you’re carrying plastic gloves in that suitcase—” Red Shoe pointed to her purse, which wasn’t that big. “—you’d better give me the wipes.”
Daria gave him a smug smile, unzipped a side pocket, and pulled out a pair of latex gloves. “I believe in being prepared.” She ignored his derisive groan. “Make yourself useful and open the packets. One wipe won’t be enough.”
“Can you balance with your foot on the counter, or do you want to put it down?”
“I can balance.”
She shoved the slit denim past his knee, to get it out of the way, and used a wipe to clean around the wound. He sucked air, wobbled, then put his hand on her back.
“That hand goes any lower,” she said without stopping her ministrations, “and you’ll be picking your teeth up off the floor.”
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
Grab an e-copy on sale for 99 cents!
Amazon UK http://amzn.eu/d/08BSMAz
What’s your favorite activity to shake off the winter doldrums?
When the weather keeps me inside, I love to watch action-adventure movies. If there’s a romance between the main characters, that’s all the better. I also love to curl up with a soft fleece blanket, a cup of chai latte, and read—romantic suspense, a science fiction romance (with lots of action and adventure) or a cozy mystery. In both movies and books, I love humor. Adventure stories can be too serious. Give me some comic relief.
Why is your featured book a cure for the winter blues?
One Red Shoe features two characters who are meant for each other. They meet in a restroom, of all places. He’s been shot through his calf and his rear. Though she’s scared of this stranger, she helps him. He’s had more adventure in his life than he cares to remember. She’s such an innocent, who’s first adventure was traveling to NYC for a writers’ conference. Rescuing a spy isn’t on her agenda.
If you like humor/comic relief in your suspense, then you’ll find it in One Red Shoe. The men following Daria and Sam consist of an experienced assassin and his boss’ big, dumb kid who thinks he’s too good to learn from an old guy. I loved writing how Daria thwarted him at each turn.
One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon US or Canada gift card
Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon CA account to win.
Runs March 1 – 31
Drawing will be held on April 1.
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, and Numbers Never Lie, romantic suspense, and The Alex O’Hara PI Mystery series. She is a regular contributor to the Paranormal Romantics blogsite. Diane and her husband live in Michigan, close to their two children, five grandchildren, and Lake Michigan.
For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com
Social Media Links:
Goodreads: Diane Burton Author
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Diane-Burton/e/B00683MH5E?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2&qid=1633370029&sr=8-2
Sign up for Diane’s newsletter and get a free short story: http://eepurl.com/bdHtYf