Every weekday (Monday through Friday) for the month of December I will spotlight a story here on my blog. Yes, this is 17 days of Christmas book browsing. And on Christmas Eve I will announce the lucky winner (at least two that I know of right now). The person who leaves the most comments throughout the month will receive their choice of any one of the books spotlighted. That's from me. Other prizes are being offered by the individual authors.
Today I'd like to welcome, Nike Chillemi, known as a Crime Fictionista. Let's see why.
Pediatric nurse, Katrina Lenart, grew up strong willed and independent minded, while sharing her mother's flair for high fashion. When the police chief gives her an orphaned baby to care for, her maternal instincts take over and she's willing to fight anyone who might not have the infant's best interests at heart, even the man she's growing to love. After an attempt is made to kidnap the baby, she and the resolute village detective team up and do some sleuthing, undercover as well as at a fancy ball.
Detective Ian Daltry is a widower with a child and is not interested in a new love. Hunting a killer who stops at nothing has placed him in the position where he must protect a beautiful young woman he's drawn to. Is there's something he's overlooked in analyzing the case? Will he find out what that is before this ruthless murderer kills someone he loves?
"This is outrageous." Her eyes narrowed and she crossed her arms over her chest. She hated the tone of her voice, but this baby wasn't a ping-pong ball to be batted back and forth as the detective moved forward with his murder case.
He ignored her and continued addressing her mother.
"I'm sorry, ma'am." He removed his fedora. "Chief Ferguson has already made the necessary phone calls and arrangements have been made. I must take Leslie Janos Bauer with me to the home of his aunt in Bay Shore. The chief would prefer your daughter come along in an official capacity as a nurse. It's up to her, but I have to take the baby."
Momma's face flushed beet-red, a sure sign she'd become enraged. "This is not good for him… this hustle from place to place."
"With all due respect, ma'am, a child belongs with his family, if at all possible." The detective took a step toward Katrina. "Now, will you please fetch the baby." It wasn't a request.
Katrina made sure she stood tall. "Yes, I'll get Leslie." She clenched her fists at her side and jutted her chin. "This is disgraceful. You are using this infant to solve your murder case. Perhaps your own tragic life experience clouds your judgment?"
His mouth fell open and he took a step back.
"If you have it within your heart, give me one minute. I'll get him ready and get my coat and boots on." Without giving him a chance to reply, Katrina turned and stormed up the stairs.
Leslie lay sleeping in the baby-doll cradle Poppa had made for her when she was a little girl. Poppa had that kind of talent. He could make anything. In her heart she knew, he'd figured it would be her baby's bassinet. At least now, it had a real purpose. She ran a finger over the hand carved leaves in the headboard.
"Milachku, time to wake up." She took the infant into her arms inhaling the smell of baby, sweeter than the most expensive imported perfume.
Leslie yawned and she snuggled her nose in the soft folds of skin between his head and shoulder, kissing his neck. He cooed, so safe in her arms.
She brought him to her heart, holding him, rocking him and spoke softly to her reflection in the mirror above her bureau. "Fat chance I'll ever walk down the aisle or have a family of my own with the man shortage since the war." Something deep in the core of her female-self rebelled, a throbbing turbulence, from which deep hunger erupted.
She stroked Leslie's cheek and made a funny face. The softness of his skin melted her heart.
He smiled at her and kicked.
"I'm so sorry. I promised I'd protect you and I can't." She forced a smile and made clucking noises.
He grabbed her hair and yanked.
"Ouch." She laughed, removing strands of her hair from his little fist.
A tear escaped and ran down the side of her cheek. "I can do this." She lifted her chin, sucked in a long breath, wrapped Leslie in a heavy quilt, and picked up his tote bag.
All I can say is WOW. I can see how Ms. Chillemi got her nickname of the Crime Fictionista. She sure does know how to build a story - and a crime plot. The whole time the detective is interviewing people, I felt like I was right there with him, listening for nuances in answers, watching the unconscious body language of nerves or fear. But through it all, she doesn't give a thing away. Yeah, you hear his thoughts, but they're just that - pieces that he's trying to put together in some way that makes sense.
And the way she describes Katrina's family and home life gives the story such a warm rich texture. Again she made me feel like I was right there in the kitchen eating dinner with them, or sitting by the fire.
Oh, and the love you feel from these strangers for this baby is amazing. Truly, this is the way every child should be loved!
And then the romance begins.
Well, I'm beginning to think I can't say enough good things about this story. It's heartwarming, gut wrenching, edge of your seat intriguing, and just plain sweet all rolled into one. Check it out for yourself, it's a wonderful read!
For more about Nike, visit her at: http://