Thanks to Pam Crooks and the ladies of Petticoats & Pistols for the invitation to blog about my February release from Harlequin Historical, WHIRLWIND SECRETS. I really enjoy this site. The posts are so entertaining and it’s a goldmine of information. 🙂
WHIRLWIND SECRETS is the fifth book in my Whirlwind, Texas series. Russ Baldwin, the hero of SECRETS, and his brother have been part of the series from the beginning. The Baldwin brothers initially began in my mind only as ladies’ men, but as I wrote book after book in this small Texas town, these two cowboys began to take on depth. They had stories to be told as well and Russ’s story is summed up in the title.
More often than not, the titles I give my books don’t stick, but for this book, no title other than WHIRLWIND SECRETS would really work. Not only because Russ was previously engaged to a woman who used him to hide a secret affair with another man, but also because Lydia Kent, the heroine, is brim full of ‘em.
Because of Russ’s experience, he looks twice at people. With him, what you see is what you get and he won’t be conned again. But nothing about Lydia is so straightforward.
I knew she had sued her former fiancé for breach of contract when she found out he was engaged to three other women … while engaged to her! (My research showed that lawsuits like this were more common than I ever imagined.)
She used the settlement money to buy part ownership of a new hotel in Whirlwind, Texas, but there was still so much about her I didn’t know.
Frequently, I’m asked where I get ideas for my books and half of the time, I can’t tell you, but it’s different for WHIRLWIND SECRETS. One evening, I saw a docudrama about a secret network for abused women. A week later, I saw the premise on a CBS drama and I realized the idea had been percolating in the back of my mind during that week. That was when I knew Lydia’s buying part ownership of The Fontaine wasn’t only a business decision.
The hotel is a fresh start for Lydia and more. It’s a way station on an underground network that helps abused women escape their situation. This clandestine endeavor is about more than Lydia’s desire to help; it’s personal. Her sister died as a result of a beating by her abusive husband.
Lydia has no problem lying to protect the operation and the women fleeing abusive situations, but she never intends to put Russ in the middle of a fight that isn’t his.
Which is exactly what happens when he begins to suspect that his curvy, sweet-talkin’ partner is doing something with their place other than renting rooms. She’s caught up in something more tangled than bad barbed wire and Russ intends to find out what. When he does, he learns that the only thing more dangerous than Lydia’s lies is the truth.