By Jake Del Vecchio
From Denise Swanson’s Devereaux’s Dime Store Mysteries
Do you watch all those cop shows? You know, like Blue Bloods and Criminal Minds. When I was growing up, I loved watching reruns of Adam12 and Hawaii Five-0. By the time I was twelve, I knew I wanted to be in law enforcement.
In college, I was recruited by the U.S. Marshal Service and I never looked back. At least until I was wounded in the line of duty. For a while there it looked as if I’d never walk again, which is when my wife dumped me. If that wasn’t bad enough, she and I were on the same team so if I did go back to work, I’d have to see her every day. Still, as soon as I was given medical clearance, I returned to the job.
But after my first case, I knew that my leg would never be a hundred percent and I couldn’t risk endangering my fellow marshals so I retired. I took over managing my uncle’s cattle ranch in Shadow Bend, Missouri and settled in to life as a rancher.
I didn’t feel as bad about quitting as I might have before I met Deveraux Sinclair. Dev owns the dime store in Shadow Bend and she lives with her grandmother who is our nearest neighbor.
Unfortunately, although we were off to a good start—Dev and I have chemistry that’s hard to ignore—she’s also dating the town doctor, Noah Underwood. But Dr. Dweeb has his hands full with an interfering mother, so I was sure that ultimately Dev see that I’m the man for her and tell Frat Boy goodbye.
At least I was sure until my ex-wife, Meg, was kidnapped by a serial killer called the Doll Maker. Thankfully we found her before she was physically injured, but mentally she was a mess. The docs said that it was likely she’d eventually recover, but since she was nearly catatonic, she’d need constant care.
Meg doesn’t have any family and really no close friends, so if I wasn’t willing to take responsibility, she’d have to be put in a residential care facility. And even though I knew it might screw up my chances with Dev, I had to bring Meg to the ranch to recover.
Dev said she was fine with my decision, but that was before I couldn’t find time for her. I finally found a home health aide and I’m hoping that Dev and I can get back to where we were before Meg arrived.
With Dev’s mother back in town and the number one suspect in her husband’s murder, I’m going to do everything in my power to help her figure out the identity of the real killer. I plan to spend a lot of time working on the case with her. And by the time the killer is in jail, I’m positive Dev will realize that I’m the guy she loves.
What do you think? Are you Team Jake?
Between a Book and a Hard place debuted March 1.
---Denise Swanson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Scumble River, Devereaux’s Dime Store, and Stephanie Danielson mystery series. As well as the Change of Heart romance series.