February 15, 2023 | Author Friend Promo
From Vonnie Hughes
Ever wondered what the rationale is for happiness? When you think of it, the things that make some people happy can only make other people sad. For example, a full fridge overflowing with food can be a dieter’s hell. And the moaning sound of a moose in rut, although giving rise to happy enthusiasm on the part of a cow moose, only strikes worry and fear into the hearts of people living on the edges of forests in cooler climates.
Sunrise or sunset? What brings you more happiness? Why? If it’s sunrise, is it the thought of the day to come? What if the sunrise is weak and watery? Does happiness fade in anticipation of a squally, unhappy day? And if sunset toggles your happiness genes…why? Is it the color? Is it the thought of the end of a working day so you can finally relax? Or is it just plain appreciation of nature’s beauty?
Now I take umbrage at the late 20th century insistence on “everybody must be happy” psyche. Why? Why must we be happy? Doctors and psychiatrists say it leads to healthier people. Yeah? What if you’re a healthy athlete with a depression problem? How does that work? Smiling for photos? Yick.
You know what? If I feel sour, leave me alone. Sure, I’m wallowing, but we all need time to wallow. And see – even the word ‘wallow’ has negative connotations. Have you thought about this, that the superficially ‘happy’ upbeat person can be hard to live with, day after day? Shut up, Pollyanna.
Sloane here, I had the pleasure of reading Innocent Hostage. This is a compelling story with the right amount of twists and turns and red herrings that kept me enthralled and guessing to the last page. Here’s a little to tease you.
Two years ago, Breck Marchant handed his son, Kit, over to his ex-wife, Tania, even though it tore him apart. She knows all about kids. Thanks to his own upbringing, he hasn’t a clue. But when the boy is held hostage, Breck steps up to the plate. Somehow he’ll make this father thing work and hold down his dangerous job at the same time even though the odds are against him.
Ingrid Rowland is Kit’s preschool teacher and she has known Tania for years. As far as she can tell, neither Tania nor Breck know the first thing about being parents. She fears for Kit’s future. When Breck turns to Ingrid for help with his son, she sees a different side of him. As Breck and Ingrid work to protect Kit and hold on to their careers, they begin to work together to fight off a puzzling series of vicious attacks. Then a startling revelation culminates in a murderous turn nobody sees coming.
Toeing the inside of each stair tread he climbed the stairs that led to the bedrooms. As he got near the top, he hesitated. More perfume, different from the smell of soap powder hung in the air. Tania’s perfume, strong and poignant. It was called Chloe. He ought to know. He’d bought enough of the stuff.
He stopped. Was she here? Had she been here? That stuff lingered for a long time. Their apartment had stunk of it for weeks after she’d left.
“Tania?” he whispered.
A disturbance in the air was his only warning. He ducked as something whizzed over the top of his head. Then he was shoved aside as a dark figure pushed past him. Breck clutched at the banisters, his feet shooting out from under him on the slippery carpet. Shit! Scrambling to his feet, he bounced down the last couple of stairs and chased the stocky figure careening down the hallway.
His quarry wrenched open the front door. Dusk had settled and it was almost dark outside. He managed to grab his attacker’s coat and began reeling in the interloper like a fish. But the man wriggled out of his plastic raincoat and fled towards a blue pick-up truck waiting at the curb. His balding head gleamed under the streetlights. Someone inside the vehicle leaned over and flung open the passenger door, revving the engine just as Breck aimed a solid punch at the back of the attacker’s neck. Reeling against the car door, the man half-collapsed on to the front seat of the truck, his legs hanging out the door. The driver floored the accelerator and the blue truck jerked out from the curb as if the driver was unfamiliar with the gears.
Vonnie Hughes is a multi-published author in both Regency books and contemporary suspense. She loves the intricacies of the social rules of the Regency period and the far-ranging consequences of the Napoleonic Code. And with suspense she has free rein to explore forensic matters and the strong convolutions of the human mind. Like many writers, some days she hates the whole process, but somehow she just cannot let it go.
Vonnie was born in New Zealand, but she and her husband now live happily in Australia. If you visit Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand be sure to stroll through the Japanese Garden. These is a bronze plaque engraved with a haiku describing the peacefulness of that environment. The poem was written by Vonnie.