As I put the finishing touches on the Book 2 in my Housewife Assassin series (The Housewife Assassin's Guide to Gracious Killing) I'm also having fun re-reading The Housewife Assassin's Handbook. The best thing you can offer your readers is an unexpected–and completely believeable–plot twist. The one you'll read below turns the life of my heroine, Donna Stone*, on her head .
“Mom–” Jeffrey is standing at the door, an ashen look on his face.
I sigh, and shake my head. “Not now, sweetie. Mary and I are–”
“But Mom, someone is here!” Jeff’s eyes are open wide in fear.
“What? Where, at the front door?”
“No. He’s in – your bedroom.”
“My – my bedroom? Where – where’s your little sister?” I try to keep the panic out of my voice as I hurry toward the stairs. Mary and Jeff are right on my heels.
Too late. I see Trisha standing on the threshold of my bedroom door. She hovers there, as if deciding whether or not to go in.
The rest of us freeze, hearing what has drawn her to the door: running water.
Coming from the shower. No…whoever is there has just turned it off.
I make it to Trisha in time to see the master bathroom’s door open slowly. I turn around and thrust my baby girl into Mary’s arms, who is close on my heels. But before I have time to whisper frantically for them to run back down the stairs and out the door, he is standing there, in front of us.
Although I have my back to him, I know this because I see it on my children’s faces: fear, anger—
Slowly I turn around and see him:
He is tall, handsome, and humming off-key. One hand holds the towel wrapped around his taut middle. The other is wiping down his broad, muscled chest as he saunters over to us.
Over to me.
A wisp of shaving cream still clings to the dimple in his jaw. His dark hair has coiled into a bed of damp curls. His seductive grin is totally captivating.
And boy, does he know it.
“Honey, I’m home,” he murmurs casually, as if we’d seen each other just this morning.
Is this a dream? How could this be?
What the hell is happening here?
Before I have a chance to catch my breath, he is standing next to the children. “Ah, so this is Trisha! My god, you’re the sweetest littlest princess in the world! Give me a big, big hug – yes, that’s my girl! Jeff – wow, boy, how about a shake, huh? You’re quite a bruiser, eh kid? – ”
Their wariness melts away under his awed, approving gaze.
And now it’s Mary’s turn:
Mary, the most jaded – and yes, the most traumatized – of all my children. He seems to know this instinctively, which is why he does all the right things: the tantalizing smile, the warm hug, and the gentle pat, as if she is a fragile piece of china that might break if he’s not careful . . .
“Ah, Mary,” he murmurs softly, gently. “You beautiful little heartbreaker, you–”
But none of this takes her in. Instead, she looks over to indicate that she’ll take her cue from me.
It’s my call.
So, what do I do now? Embrace him with open arms, or put him on the spot in front of the ones whose approval counts the most: my children?
Then, before I know it, he has me in his arms. I feel his lips gently brush over mine, too quick to resist –
The kiss is sweet . . . deep . . . tempting.
Jeff and Trisha, their radar always in tune, seem to pick up on this and shove us all, including Mary, into a group hug. They too are confused; but thrilled nonetheless.
Finally, their father has come home to them.
We stay suspended in the clinch for what seems like forever.
Then, one by one, the children break away.
Mary, her face a kaleidoscope of emotions, is the first. Slowly and awkwardly, she backs out of the room. The others, less out of doubt than natural shyness, follow suit, closing the door quietly behind them.
I wait until I hear the click of the knob.
Then I turn to him, and with a shy smile, I give him a sidekick to the solar plexus that lands him flat on his face, gasping for breath.
His pain is doubled when, a second later, I’ve wrenched his arm behind his back, straight up and out.
“So tell me, you audacious son of a bitch,” I whisper. “Who you are, and what the hell do you think you’re doing?”
*Not her real name
© 2011 Josie Brown. All rights reserved. This excerpt may not be resold or redistributed without prior written permission from Josie Brown or Signal Press Books (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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"This is a super sexy and fun read that you shouldn't miss! How do I love this book, let me count the ways: (1.) A kick ass woman that can literally kick ass as well as cook and clean. Donna gives a whole new meaning to "taking out the trash". (2.) The book is set around Los Angeles, mostly in a gated community suspiciously like Coto de Caza, full of housewives that could be 'real" and for the setting alone, a big giant WIN! (3.) Super sarcasm, snarky dialogue and making fun of all that is wrong in the OC, politics, as well as current world affairs."
— Mary Jacobs, Book Hounds Reviews
"The chemistry between the two of them is enough to set water on fire. Add in a healthy dose of humor and ridiculousness, some mayhem, and some really cute kids, and you've got a book that won't be putdown – so go pick it up now!"
— Cat's Thoughts