Read More from Calle J. Brookes

Free Stories from Finley Creek and more…

I’m still working away like crazy, around kid’s homeschool, taekwondo, and volleyball schedule. Plus a few medical appointments of my own. It’s amazing how drive time to appointments can suck up writing time! I’m also trying to work in time to do some Christmas shopping and kiddo b-day shopping. Talk about chaos.

This month is Nano (for those who aren’t familiar, it’s an event where writers from all over the place try to get a book or 50,000 words written in one month. (I actually average around 80-100,000 a month on good months). I’m using Nano as a way to finish a few half-finished projects. And start a few new things.

So November is just a month of WORDS.

The editor has Shelby now. When she is finished with that, she’ll be getting the next Masterson–Nikki and Hunter. Their book is almost finished. I just need another week or two and it’s on its way.

I’ll know actual release dates and preorder dates later this month. I won’t be doing as long a preorder as I did on Jude and Michael or Maggie and Clint. And I will be offering Shelby at a discounted preorder price of $5.99. After one week, she’ll be raising in price, so watch the blog and Facebook for updates.

In the meantime, here’s probably my favorite scene I had to cut from Shelby…



“That blonde behemoth has a brain the size of a walnut,” Powell said, as she looked at Shelby.

“His name is Gunnar Erickson. He’s part of Major Crimes. I’ve only spoken to him once or twice. What did he say?” Shelby asked.

“He said that he was going to take a page out of Houghton’s book and just carry me away. I could totally kick my cousin’s ass for that.”

Houghton had scooped Mel up and carried her away. Now every Barratt in the state teased about doing the same. 

Except for Powell.

Zoey snickered, grabbing soda out of Shelby’s refrigerator. “Did he mean it, though? He’s not bad looking, after all. He’s actually a nice guy I’ve worked with before. Of all the guys in Major Crimes, he’s probably the least irritating. Even if he does talk a lot.”

“That’s beside the point.”

Gunnar Erickson was a gorgeous man. Nothing bad looking about him. He was as gorgeous as Daniel or Jake, he was just blonde and blue-eyed instead.

“He reminds me of Thor or a Viking,” Shelby said. “All hard muscles and perfectly chiseled. Yum, yum.”

Powell’s cheeks just got even darker. Her blue eyes almost glowed from emotion. Irritation. “He was just trying to distract me from whatever was going on with you and Detective MacNamara. I knew what he was up to. And I’m not going to fall for it. He has to be a total playboy, the way he looks and talks. And flirts. And that’s the last thing I’m interested in.”

“Not really,” Charlotte said, coming into the kitchen with Madison in time to hear her words. “They’re gone, by the way. And Gunnar? He’s not a playboy, he just flirts.  Part of his defenses. He’s really good at flirting, but everybody knows the truth.”

“It’s really sad, actually.” Madison said. “Poor man. I can’t imagine it.”

“What?” Powell asked. Shelby handed her a soda. She would make a list. Her friends liked junk food. They said they rarely indulged. Well, they could indulge in her place. She’d keep it stocked.

“Gunnar is all alone, Powell,” Charlotte said, grabbing the lone orange can. “His wife was killed five years ago. Drunk driver out on drug charges. She was seven months pregnant; he lost them both. Rumor has it he hasn’t dated anyone seriously since. He doesn’t have much family either. He’s good friends with the chief. It’s why he moved to Finley Creek to begin with. They were really close; they said he was there with them at the funerals of the chief’s family when they were killed.”

Shelby winced. The guy had always seemed like a big jokester to her. “That’s so…so…so sad.”

It deflated Powell’s anger. “Still, it was obvious the man wasn’t serious. And that’s horrible, what happened to his wife. I can’t imagine losing the one I loved like that.”

Charlotte nodded. “You should be aware, Powell. Rumor also had it that Gunnar lit into the attorney who had gotten the man out on drug charges after. Some say he still blames her, and all attorneys, for his wife’s death. The driver was a lawyer, too.”

“Well, he knows what I am. Another reason why I know he wasn’t serious. Let’s talk about anything other than the men who were hanging around Shelby’s driveway.”

“Do we have to?” Charlotte asked. She sent a wicked look at Shelby. “I want to know if Jake has kissed Shelby yet—other than when he was devouring her in the foyer when I walked in. It was like he was gobbling her right up. And melting the tile floor.”

“Charlotte, be good. Shelby probably has a no-kiss-and-tell policy, unlike someone else I know. Someone who has kissed half of Major Crimes now. Or is it all of them? No?” Madison thumped Charlotte on the back of the head.

“I have not kissed Sean or Gunnar, and of course I have not kissed Detective Charlie Fields. That will never happen; even a peck on the cheek for him, that old poophead father of mine. But all the others, yes. I have kissed them. Well, except for Daniel McKellen. Also something that will never happen, I might add. Ick. Even the thought makes me want to drink an entire bottle of mouthwash. Drink it—not rinse. Anyone kissing Daniel McKellen has to have cooties by now. I need to ask Haldyn if she’s been tested for cooties lately.”

Charlotte sneered.  It surprised Shelby. The man in question was very nice—and very attractive. “Y-y-you don’t like Daniel?”

Charlotte shook her head. “Not for a minute. I don’t trust him at all. He’s too smooth. Polished and practiced. Something about him raises the hair on the back of my neck.”

Madison snickered. “The problem with Daniel is that Daniel doesn’t get all stupid when Charlotte smiles at him, like the rest of the goon squad does. And never has. He seems to be totally immune to her. Daniel doesn’t follow her prescribed script. He does seem to have a thing for Haldyn. Maybe. She’s never fully said. For a while there, I was afraid Char would get all of Major Crimes all riled up and there’d be fist fights over her.”

“They can be rather primitive. That doesn’t mean it’s my doing…” Charlotte shrugged, then gave a wicked grin. “But it’s fun to watch. And…dating the guys in Major Crimes really yanks Pops’s chain, so why wouldn’t I?”

From what Shelby could tell, Charlotte really enjoyed tormenting her biological father—who worked with Jake in Major Crimes—whenever she could.

Madison turned to Charlotte. “You kissed Dom? When?”

“I didn’t kissed Dom—he kissed me. There was a mistletoe involved.”

“Really? Imagine that. The man is such a dog.”

Shelby wasn’t going to touch that with a 10-foot pole. Madison had a lot to say about the son of the man her mother had married. 

And most of it wasn’t good.

“D-d-does anyone fully get along with the men in Major Crimes?” she asked. 

Charlotte and Madison looked at each other. 

“No,” Madison said, shaking her head. “Someone is always arguing with somebody else.” 

“It’s because the men in Major Crimes are so primitive. They are walking cavemen, you know. I really want to study their DNA. See what percentage is total Neanderthal. Can you imagine comparing their DNA to the DNA of the sophisticated, sexy, intelligent, civilized Barratts of Barrett County?” Charlotte covered her heart with her hands and made a thump-thump motion, grinning wickedly at Powell. “It would be an interesting case study. Can you help us out? All we need are a few samples. But we have to get them by kissing. No boring swabs allowed.”

Powell shook her head. “Ick, Char. Oh, my brothers and cousins are cavemen, too. They just dress in slightly better furs and ride bigger mammoths than your pals at the TSP. Have Bailey grab you a sample from Clay. You’ll see. Just as caveman as the rest of them.”

Shelby laughed as her friends kept talking about Jake’s team. Not all of it was good. They hadn’t been friends before. Not until Shelby had gotten Powell involved in turning the children’s choir into a nonprofit. 

She looked around, the only ones missing today were Daryn and Haldyn, who were working. Daryn was covering shifts for her sister-in-law A.J. after the birth of her baby. 

Zoey, Madison, Charlotte, Powell, Haldyn and Daryn—she had friends. Real friends, that she thought she could depend on, and trust now…she would never forget that…

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