Giveaway Ends 8/24
Introducing Rook Campbell from Devil’s Kiss
by Michelle Bennington
Family is everything. Especially to someone like me because, you see, my mom was murdered when I was a young child and my dad was sent to prison for it. I’ll be the first to admit that my dad was a criminal—a petty thief, an embezzler, a shady contractor—but he was no murderer. But, when you’re poor and already have a reputation for underhanded business practices, you’re not likely to get the sort of celebrity legal counsel that keeps rich criminals out of jail. My dad had been a hell raiser since his youth and had more than once attracted the attention of Sheriff Harlan “Bulldog” Goodman. So there was already bad blood between them. I won’t go so far as to say that Sheriff Goodman targeted my dad. I have no doubt that he did his job, but I can’t help but think there’s something he missed.
I wish I could tell you more about my mom, but I don’t remember much about her. It’s almost as if the pain of losing her cut so deep that it blacked out my memory. I remember snippets. Her musk perfume. Her dark hair, like mine. Decorating sugar cookies and the tree at Christmas. But I struggle to remember her whole face and that’s when I panic and go to look at the picture my dad had taken of her and me leaning against a rail at the Louisville Zoo when she was not much older than I am now.
Ever since mom’s death, I’ve lived with my maternal grandma, Primrose “Prim” Vertrees. To look at her you’d think she’s a sweet, delicate creature who’d fall over in a stiff wind. But you’d be wrong. That petite, bird-like frame has a spine of steel and she speaks her mind—many times to my shame and embarrassment. She’s kept me on the straight and narrow. I might’ve turned out a very different person without her influence. But between her and the Old Lady Network (the OLN) in the small town of Rothdale, I couldn’t get away with anything! Lord knows I tried, too. As I grew up and learned more about life, I came to appreciate her and her sacrifices for me. I made a promise to myself early on that I’d never let her down if I could help it and that I’d always take care of her the way she’d taken care of me.
One thing my tumultuous life has taught me is that family isn’t always blood-kin. Sometimes, family is the people you pick up along the way, like Bryan Bishop. He and his mother, Batrene, have lived next door to Prim and me for as long as I can remember. Bryan is a few years older than me and is the brother I never had. When his friends came over to play football, video games, or go fishing, I was allowed to join in. When bullies tried to mess with me in school, he set them straight. When boyfriends broke my heart, he let me cry on his shoulder then he set them straight, too. Some of my favorite times with him were sitting outside by a fire on a chilly October night, listening to the music of the crickets and tree frogs, and sipping a beer or a Kentucky Spice soda.
Then there’s Millie Dawson, my other best friend. I definitely consider myself doubly blessed to have two great friends like Bryan and Millie. I’ve known Millie since kindergarten. We sat together in Mrs. Brown’s room. We were supposed to be coloring the letter A sheet in front of us. It was a giant A surrounded by things that started with A, like apple, alligator, airplane, and acorn. I was freaked out by the new environment and sat quietly at the table, taking in my surroundings and crinkling my nose at the boy trying to wipe his boogers on another boy. I shrunk back, hoping with all my might that he didn’t try that with me because he was going to get a rude awakening. I didn’t want to be in trouble on day one. But I was soon distracted by the girl next to me who was crying. She had large, almost teal eyes, and lush dark hair that cascaded down her back—of which I was immediately envious when I considered my own rebellious hair, stringy as corn silk. The only thing I could think to do was select my favorite color from the box of crayons. Periwinkle. I handed her the crayon. With a child’s simplistic view of things, I was certain that if periwinkle made me happy it was bound to make this girl happy, too. From that day on Millie and I became fast friends and were forged together in a sisterly bond.
Of course, I could tell you all about Cam, Batrene, Jimmy, and all the other special people in my life, but it looks like I’ve taken up enough of your time. I just wanted to run by and introduce myself and a few people nearest and dearest to my heart. Blood-related or not, we take care of each other. We hope to see y’all around in Rothdale sometime.
About The Book
Rook Campbell is broke, divorced, jobless, and in desperate need of steady employment, which is hard to come by in the small town of Rothdale, Kentucky. With the help of her friend and neighbor Bryan, she lands a good job at the Four Wild Horses Distillery and meets an attractive co-worker with lots of dating potential. Her life is finally headed in the right direction until a co-worker dies under suspicious circumstances and a shipment of rare small-batch bourbon goes missing. Worse, her personal life begins to unravel as her beloved grandmother falls ill. Normally she can depend on her ex, Cam, for help, but his new fiancée’s jealousy is getting in the way. As the body count rises, Rook becomes ensnared in discovering who’s committing the crimes—or she might be the next to die.
About the Author
Born and raised in the beautiful Bluegrass state of Kentucky, Michelle Bennington developed a passion for books early on that has progressed into a mild hoarding situation and an ever-growing to-read pile.
When she’s not creating contemporary or historical fictional worlds full of mysteries, she obsesses over all things British and historical. In rare moments of spare time, she can be found engaging in a wide array of arts and crafts, dance, and attending ghost tours.
GoodReads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22406377.Michelle_Bennington
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