Barb’s Writer Friends: Mari Manning

Today I welcome author Mari Manning to share a little about herself and her latest release,  Stranger at My Door.  First Mari answers my quick questions and then more about her book and an excerpt.

Someone just gave you the best compliment ever.  What was it?

You are a gifted writer.

Name one thing that is guaranteed to make you laugh and one thing that will always make you cry.

I have three brothers and two sisters, and when we get together, we always end up laughing about something. After 30 years, the endings of “It’s a Wonderful Like” and “White Christmas” still make me cry.

You get a month off from your regular personal life and writing routine to travel.  Where will you go? What will you do? Why did you choose this destination or trip?

If I could go anywhere and safety weren’t an issue, I’d go to Egypt and see the pyramids. I used to gobble up books about archeology when I was little, and the ancient world has always held a fascination for me.

You get one do-over from your life so far.  What is it?

I would have started writing when I was younger, and I would have joined a writer’s group. Joining the Chicago North RWA has accelerated my writing career and helped me hone my skills.

You have no choice but to live your life from now on as one of your characters.  Which character is it and why?

It’s hard to say. I love all my characters equally. They’re like children to me. One heroine is a gifted musician and another has great warmth and sympathy. I have a generous hero and another who is not afraid of love. How can I choose?

Optional:  Name one person who has either influenced you the most or you learned the most from and why.

My mother is a writer and a published author. She has encouraged me to write since I learned my ABCs. She has taught me so much, and I think my decision to write is partly a tribute to her.

SaMD_500Stranger at My Door

A new romantic suspense by Mari Manning

The only thing standing between her and disaster is a man she can’t trust …

As far as Dinah Pittman is concerned, men can’t be trusted. Especially cops. Her own father was a cop and a convicted felon who stole a small fortune before dying in prison. The best part? No one knows where the money is…and someone is willing to kill off everyone who knows anything about it.

And Dinah is next.

Rafe Morales left the Dallas police force to settle down to a simpler life in the small Texas town of El Royo. Instead, he finds himself protecting an infuriating, tough-as-nails, oh-so-sexy victim—and driving himself crazy with a thoroughly unprofessional desire.

But as the body count rises, Rafe and Dinah must find a way to trust each other…before they both end up dead.

Scene from the book:

The front door rebounded and clipped Rafe’s shoulder. He kicked it closed with his boot before raking his flashlight beam across the unlit entryway. The hall was clear. His heart thumping against ribs, he burst into the living room. His light hit the figure of a woman, and his feet froze. He tilted the beam up and framed Dinah Pittman’s expressionless face.

Most girls would have screamed or hid when he kicked in the door. Not this one. She had balls, he’d give her that.

Her forearm lifted to shield her eyes from the light. “Who are you? What do you want?” She sounded tired. “I already told Teke, I don’t know where the money is.”

Rafe lowered the flashlight and rolled his shoulder to loosen a tight muscle. There were about two dozen abandoned bungalows in this part of town. When he saw a candle flickering in the window, he’d expected a confrontation with teenagers or maybe a squatter.

He stepped into the candlelight. “Officer Morales, ma’am. Got something against electricity?” As soon as the words were out, he regretted them. The pink flyers. She’d needed money to turn on the lights.

Her mouth tightened. “Get out.” Turning to a small table by the window, she gathered up scattered cards, probably her tarot cards. Had she found customers already?

He studied her as he summoned up an appropriate apology. She wore cut-offs and a white T-shirt. His eyes swept down her slim legs to her bare feet and red toenails before he could stop himself. Why were pain-in-the-ass women always hot?

“I didn’t mean to upset you—”

“Don’t flatter yourself.”

“That’s tough to do with you around.”

Her hand stilled for a moment, then returned to its task. “You could have knocked.”

“Sometimes we get squatters in these abandoned houses. They’re more likely to be discouraged by a show of force.”

“I could have been a mass murderer. Aren’t you supposed to call for backup?” She glanced down at his flashlight. “If I was a bad guy with a gun, you’d be dead, Officer Morales.”

“Rafe.”

She’d read him right. He’d tried to pull out his service revolver when he broke down the door, but—predictably—his hand had turned to Jell-O. After two years, he still couldn’t get past the night in Dallas when his beautiful, daring Sam’s luck ran out, and he’d avenged her but failed to live up to his own lofty ideals. So he relied on the element of surprise and big fists.

Gathering up the cards, she set them in a neat stack. “As you can see, I am not a squatter.” Her gaze flickered to his flashlight, then back up to his face. “There’s an empty house about two blocks down if you’re determined to rescue one.”

The corner of his mouth inched up. She’d be a handful…for the right man, which sure as hell wasn’t him. Not anymore. “Thanks for the tip.”

About Mari Manning_MG_7338-67

Let’s start with the fun stuff. I love small towns, mysteries, quiet men, laughter, old-fashioned spaghetti dinners. I love boots and shopping and jokes and Hershey’s dark chocolate and white wine. I love lots of things. But my first love is reading.

I love to read. Just about anything, but it has to be well-written. I go through periods where I am into historical novels or romance or mystery or history or biography. I never know when my desires will suddenly change.

Now for the writer-ish, official stuff: Mari Manning is the author of several contemporary romances and three romantic suspense novels set in the Texas Hill Country. Stranger at My Door is the first in her A Murder in Teas series. The second, Stranger in My House will be published by Entangled later this year. The third book in the series is Stranger in My Bed. Currently Mari is working on a series of cozy mysteries.

She and her husband live in Chicago.

Buy links to all the major electronic sites are here: http://www.entangledpublishing.com/stranger-at-my-door/

Contact Mari at manningillinois@gmail.com Visit my website at www.marimanning.com

Follow me @mari_manning on Twitter

Love the cover, Mari and this looks the kind of romantic suspense I like to read. Thanks for sharing!

#writing #suspense #novels

 

 

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