The Gunny & The Jazz Singer
A Birchwood Falls Novel
by Jane Leopold Quinn
I’ve always loved the idea of small towns. I grew up in one but have lived in the big city for more years than I did in the small town. I’m not sure I could re-acclimate to a small town after all these years, so I’ll write about them and about the people who live there.
I created a small town, and because I love birch trees I named it Birchwood Falls and even drew a site plan for the town. The inspiration for the map came from Jan Karon’s Mitford series. If you’ve read her books you know the main character is an Episcopal priest so very different types of books from what I write. But I do love the maps of Mitford in the front of the books. Mine’s a really rough map as you can readily see, but my artistic talent is nil. I can barely draw a stick figure. 😉
Then I wondered about what love stories I wanted to give the town. Several of my books have a former or current military hero, so Marc, my Marine (the Gunny Sergeant in the title), was raised in Birchwood Falls and is now home on leave after almost a decade of deployments. His parents had been killed in a car accident when he was in high school. He couldn’t wait to leave town after graduation and escape from his pain. Now he comes home, and because he’s never believed their deaths were an accident, he’s going to find out the truth about them.
What kind of woman would be a good foil for Marc’s military persona? Hmm…a young artistic and musical jazz singer? Phoebe’s adoptive parents recognized her singing talents and gave her lessons. Now she performs in a local jazz club and yearns to make it to the “big time.”
Marc and Phoebe have divergent goals, but their attraction is real and immediate. They’ve both lost a great deal in their pasts but find love with each other.
Here’s a description of The Gunny & The Jazz Singer –
U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Marc Rahn, Jr. enlisted after high school graduation to escape the pain of his parents’ fatal car wreck. Now on leave after eight years and multiple Middle East deployments, he returns to his hometown to put to rest his suspicions that the “accident” might actually have been anything but.
What he doesn’t expect on move-in day from the neighbor across the street is an intriguing flash of pierced nipple. The breast’s owner, Phoebe Barnes, is a beautiful young jazz singer who has plans to make it big in the music business. Her early years in foster care made her hungry for attention and fame, and she’s out to achieve both at almost any cost.
Despite their differing goals, Marc and Phoebe quickly give in to the sizzling attraction between them. But will their passion turn deadly when the person who killed Marc’s family decides two murders might not have been enough?
Author’s Note: This book was originally published as Lost and Found.
It now has a new title and new cover.
The Gunny & The Jazz Singer – a PG-rated excerpt-
“Ain’t no sunshine…”
With deep, earthy tones she serenaded the microphone, her lips pursed as if kissing it. She wrapped one arm around her waist. Through narrowed eyes she saw him, big as life. Bigger. His shoulders filled the entryway as he paused there. His eyes met hers. She sang directly to him, her heart pounding, voice fraught with sensual resonance. The audience thought it was part of the song. She had no way of knowing what he thought.
Singing on automatic pilot, she watched his gaze roam every inch of her, stopping at the spots he’d surely seen this morning. Her belly tightened, and her nipples pinged with anticipatory pleasure.
The song ended, and all she could focus on was him. Suddenly closer to the stage, he’d slipped down the side of the room and enveloped himself in a nearby dark alcove, never releasing her from his compelling gaze.
She felt an overwhelming frisson of something like fear. This had never happened before. She’d never had this primal reaction to a man. But then she’d never even seen a man who looked this raw. He was big and dark, his huge muscles bulging beneath the sleeves of his T-shirt. Jeans hugged him like a second skin. She could almost feel the wet flat of his tongue circling her…
Then she froze. She was so wrapped up in the man she hadn’t noticed Butch Wilcox standing right beside him. Were they together? Was the hunk a cop too? Her heart did a little flip-flop. Any fantasy about the neighbor guy would have to be abandoned if he turned out to be anything like Butch Wilcox.
Oh God. Silence. Flicking a glance at the audience, it was as if they’d caught the interplay between the stranger and her. Face flaming, she felt sweat pop out on her upper lip. Get it together, girl!
He hadn’t moved. Didn’t give her any help. She was on her own. Summoning her long-practiced stage presence, she towed a tall stool toward the baby grand, her knees too rubbery to stand. Settling herself and leaning her elbow on the piano, she dove into the next number and sang the Al Green lyrics…
“You’re my one desire…”
Being this “full of fire” for a stranger was a precarious development. It got worse. Singing about raging fires and getting next to him was not helping any. Finishing the last chorus brought her own silence and the audience’s stomping and applause. The stomping would be from her friends. She bowed her head, supposing it to be dramatic, but the truth was if she glanced up it would be at the man. If he was still there.
Get a damn grip! Show some professionalism.
With her own exhortation, she lifted her chin and aimed a smile at Moira and Davy. Thank God for their support. Smiling more broadly, she included the rest of the audience, her eyes skipping over the dark corner. Except—too late. It was empty.
The Gunny & The Jazz Singer
is available here for 99 cents pre-order until November 20
Mike Banning, Marc’s childhood friend, watch Marc and Phoebe struggle against a foe and then are rewarded by finding love with each other.
Look for Mike’s love story in The Bride Takes a Powder
Two county deputies, Hank and Pete, from Parkersburg, a neighboring town, appear briefly in this story as Phoebe’s home town friends.
These deputies have their own love stories also available now.
Hank’s story is Home to Stay http://amzn.com/B00P3AQ8WQ.
Pete’s is The Keeper http://amzn.com/B0087RW3KI.
Sensual fantasies were locked in my mind for years until a friend said, “Why don’t you write them down?” Why not, indeed? One spiral notebook, a pen, and the unleashing of my imagination later, and here I am with nineteen books published. The craft of writing sensual romance has become my passion and my niche in life. I love every part of the creative process—developing characters, designing the plot, even drawing the layout of physical spaces from my stories. My careers have been varied—third grade school teacher, bookkeeper, secretary—none of which gave me a bit of inspiration. But now I’m lucky enough to write romance full time—the best job in the universe! And I’m fortunate enough to have found my own happily ever after husband.
Jane Leopold Quinn
My Romance: Love With a Scorching Sensuality
Amazon Author Page http://amzn.to/1DfiXkP
The Bride Takes a Powder – coming soon