Author Responses, Part 2

Here's more from author Jill Elizabeth Nelson. This week, at my request, she has provided us with a brief excerpt from one of her books that shows a scene involving housekeeping/mess/cleanliness, etc. Jill says:

My April release, Calculated Revenge,doesn't contain any such scenes, but my October release, Legacy of Lies,is littered with them. (Pun intended.) The snippet I picked is from a scene where the main male character, the local police chief, takes off-duty hours to help the main female character set her grandmother's house to rights after an official police search that created havoc in the household.

An unsmiling Nicole opened the front door to him. He followed her through the foyer into the living room. Most of the furniture remained out of place.

"I'll put your muscle to work with that to start with." She motioned toward the couch that stood kitty-corner in the middle of the room.

Rich moved toward the piece of furniture. Nicole darted ahead of him and grabbed the far end. Together they put the couch back in its place then worked steadily to set the rest of the room to rights. She must really be skittish of him because she didn't talk except to give directions and kept her distance.

"I'm done in Grandma's bedroom and mine," she said, "but not much else. How about you take the dining room, and I'll tackle the kitchen."

"Sounds like a plan." What else could he do but let her be the boss?

Over the next few hours, they worked through the house, room by room. Nicole always made sure they weren't in the same room. Accidentally or on purpose? Rich battled disappointment that she seemed determined to hold herself aloof. But wasn't that a good thing? Hadn't he determined a similar course of action where the attractive Nicole Mattson was concerned? Why couldn't he convince his heart to chalk her up as a missed opportunity?

They finished the last rooms on the second floor and then met in the hallway. Nicole eyed the open doorway to the attic as if a monster might emerge from the stairwell at any time.

"We might as well get this over with." She marched toward the attic.

Rich hurried after her. So that's what had been bugging her. Of course! She'd have to face the spot her grandmother had lain bleeding. The stain would still be on the floorboards.

"Just a minute," he called.

Oblivious, Nicole charged ahead and started up the stairs just as Rich reached the bottom. On the third step, she let out a sound like a half sigh, half sob and went limp. Her body collapsed backward. Exclaiming, Rich lifted his arms and caught her. The impact of her slight frame drove him a step backward.

Cradling her limp form, he lowered her to the floor. Nicole was out cold.

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