I've begun a new series that won't take the place of the Black Swamp Mysteries series but will be in addition to it. It's called the Ryan O'Clery series, and it's about an Irishman (for all those fans who love Celtic men) who moves to America and works as a detective in the town of Lumberton, North Carolina.
In the first book of the series, The Tempest Murders, Ryan is convinced a news reporter is a woman he has seen repeatedly in his dreams. As he works a serial murder case, he begins to realize the killer's intended target is the woman he is falling in love with -- and it's up to him to stop him before it's too late.
Here is the scene in which Ryan meets Cathleen Reilly for the first time:
He set his drink on the table and raised the grill hood again. He was getting hungrier by the minute. He left the hood open, reached for the plate and readied the patties. He was just preparing to plop them onto the fiery grill when a voice rang out.
He hesitated, his plate still held in one hand while the grill sizzled beside him. He thought his eyes were playing tricks on him. A woman had stepped through a break in the hedges and was standing there watching him.
She had very long brown hair that appeared thick but perfectly straight. There was something about the way she held her head, her chin slightly lowered so her eyes were cast upward as she looked at him. She was of medium height and as he drew his eyes downward, he took in a royal blue cotton blouse with a neck deep enough to expose just enough cleavage to entice him. His heart quickened as his eyes drifted further south to a pair of form fitting jeans that ended in open-toed shoes with enough heel to show off her slender ankles. A dragonfly was tattooed on one ankle.
“Ryan O’Clery?” she said expectantly.
She had an American accent but she’d pronounced his name in the Irish manner. Yet he knew he’d never laid eyes on her before—at least not in the flesh. He would remember if he had because her image had been seared into him night after night. It was as if she had stepped right out of his dreams and materialized in front of him, right there between the grill and the garden hose.
She took a step forward, her head still slightly downward and her eyes peering up at him quizzically. “Are you Ryan O’Clery, by chance? Detective O’Clery?” Her eyes were the color of a stormy sea; gray and blue with flecks of gold that swirled and danced like crashing waves.
Her chin wavered a bit and he found himself unable to tear his eyes away. She bit her lower lip. When he continued staring at her, she reached into a purse that hardly looked large enough for bills and a driver’s license and pulled out a card. Holding it out to him, she said, “I’ve been trying to reach you. My name’s Cathleen Reilly. I drove in from Atlanta—”
“You’re the reporter,” Ryan said. His voice sounded disembodied to him.
“I was hoping to ask you a few questions—”
“Only the chief can comment on ongoing cases.” Her face fell and he realized how abrasive he had sounded. It was as if his mouth was moving without direction from his brain. “But are you hungry?”