Sample Sunday: Palm Trees and Snowflakes

The second Hawaiian Storm mystery featuring Vanessa Storm from Torn Roots will be on the Amazon virtual shelves in time for Christmas and for downloading to those new Kindles you might find under the tree. This is a true Christmas story, with mystery, action and even romance for Vanessa. Here’s an excerpt from the opening.

On the third day of staring at Ferreira’s computer screen, Alan Terakawa brought Vanessa a cup of coffee from the shop she liked. “Find anything yet?”

“Nothing useful. The most common files have a .scm extension, but there’s no application that can open them.”

“Did you ask IT?”

“They’re doing research, but so far, nothing. Did you find his son, Peter?”

Terakawa shook his head and sipped his own coffee. “Not yet. He lives alone, and his house is empty. According to HPD, one neighbor said she saw him three days ago, but no one in the area has seen him since the night on the pier.”

“I’m liking him for the second man in the Lexus more and more.”

“It’s a plausible theory.” He sat on the edge of her desk. “Still hoping to go back to Vermont for Christmas?”

Vanessa rubbed her head, trying to push away a building headache. “I have two more days, including this one, to make an arrest, so it’s not looking likely.”

Terakawa’s face was serious. “Two things. First, you appreciate how important our work is, right? Not every cop gets to be part of the FBI. And second, you’re in Hawaii. Why don’t your parents come here?”

“It’s too late to make plans to travel to Hawaii for Christmas. Besides, while we are indeed in paradise, to me it’s not Christmas without snow.”

“The Big Island has snow.”

“Only at the top of the mountain and not every day.” Her hand went to her head again. “I’m going to take a walk.” She took her coffee and went outside, but the combination of caffeine, humidity and bright sunshine did nothing to relieve her headache. She walked up Punchbowl Street, relishing the intermittent shade of the koa trees. Wispy clouds decorated the blue sky, birds sang, even the trucks seemed to be quieter than in New York. But the artificial Christmas trees in front of stores and the strings of lights around the koas just looked out of place. The holidays need snow. Her headache began to dissipate.

Her phone trilled. She checked the display before answering. “Hello, Perry,” she said.

“Hey, babes!” Perry was using his party voice. “How ya doin’? I was just callin’ cuz I thought maybe you didn’t get my text messages. I’m in your town now, and I’d love to get together.”

The headache returned. Vanessa tossed the tepid remains of her coffee into a trash can. Now that she had one hand free, she could massage her forehead. “What for?” she asked.

“Just to talk, to catch up. It’s been two years, babes. Two years and thousands of miles since Vermont.”

Memories flooded her mind, thoughts of Perry’s muscular arms and chest, his full lips, the way those lips kissed her. She remembered the way those lips were locked onto her roommate’s naked breast when she walked into her bedroom one winter day, and she remembered Chelsea’s smirk as she climbed off of Perry.

Palm Fronds and Snowflake is a longish story, just under 10,000 words, available for pre-order for just 99 cents exclusively from Amazon. It will launch on November 30, 2018.


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