Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Joyce Brennan: Misplaced

It's my pleasure to welcome Joyce Brennan back to Heart of Fiction.

Joyce joined us in January with her book, The Hidden Journal. Today, she introduces us to another wonderful story -- Misplaced.

Living in warm and sunny Las Vegas, Joyce in the prefect city for researching mobs and a Mafia criminal underbelly. After all, it was Bugsy Siegel and his Mafia crime friends who founded the first casinos in the city, and murder and mayhem in their history. Applying a creative twist, Joyce tells the tale of a woman who has witnessed and been victim to a Mafia hit.

Gilda Scarlotta is in a very happy place in her life. Nothing is perfect, but it's feeling pretty close. Then one day, she visits her parents in their home, only to find their bloody, lifeless bodies. And their killer is still in the house! He can't leave any witnesses and shoots her, leaving her for dead.

It's a long recovery, emotionally and physically, but things will never be the same. In fact, her life changed forever in many ways, that day she was shot. Including agreeing to testify against the Buffalo Family, and then she's placed in witness protection, forced to take on a whole new life, with a new identity and career. Now, as Jillian Martin, a teacher in the small Ohio town of Quincy, she must try piecing her life back together.

Police chief, Nate Spencer, is the town's only full time officer. Quincy is about as sleepy as a town can get without it actually falling asleep on itself. When Jillian Martin moves to town, Nate feels change is on the wind. The call from a US Marshal is just the beginning. He tells Nate who Jillian really is and why she's in Quincy. Unbeknownst to Jillian, Nate promises to protect her.

Nate's secretary,Celia James, is secretly in love with him. When she sees how close Nate and Jillian are becoming, Celia begins an aggressive campaign to discredit the newcomer, including finding out who Jillian really is and tells the Mafia where to find Gilda Scarlotta!

Oh, my goodness! Misplaced is a fabulous romantic suspense, with equal measures of romance and suspense. Though I'm not sure if that should be suspense and romance. Really, it's hard to tell which is more evident. The story opens with Gilda discovering her parent's bodies and getting shot herself. Suspense from page one. The attraction between Jillian and Nate is palpable. We follow this couple in their budding relationship, never really getting a fair chance at a normal relationship. What's normal for Gilda-Jillian anymore? Neither are looking for a relationship, but both needing something the other can provide, until a very personal relationship evolves, despite (or is that in spite of) Celia's interference and collusion with the Mafia. This story is well-paced and engrossing. Joyce's voice is strong as she weaves her tale, pulling the reader in on invisible threads and ensnaring them within her pages. The only way out is to finish the story. Believe me. You'll want to read this in one sitting. How can you help but not?!

Misplaced is right up there with any of Linda Howard's romantic suspense novels. I dare say, Linda has some stiff competition with Joyce Brennan! This is definitely a must read for anyone who likes edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense/suspenseful romance. Great job, Joyce!

Readers -- Before we get to the blurb and excerpt, remember that we're giving away a copy of this book to one lucky commenter. Be sure to leave your email address for contact.

• • •

Gilda Scarlotta discovers her parent’s lifeless bodies in their upscale home only to have their murderer turn his gun on her. Left for dead, she recovers and identifies the assassin as a member of the Buffalo mob. The FBI places her in a small Ohio town under the Witness Protection Program. Gilda falls in love with the local chief of police, and just when she believes her life is safe, the mob learns of her new identity.

Buffalo, New York

Gilda Scarlotta hooked her purse over her arm, grabbed the specially wrapped box of imported Belgian chocolates from the front seat of her chili red Mini Cooper, and dashed up the porch steps. She barely touched the handle on the double hand-carved front doors when they swung open.

She hesitated. Papa always insisted they keep the doors locked, even when they were home. Noting a car parked in the driveway, she shrugged it off. A guest? Her parents were always entertaining. She stepped inside. Her spike heels sinking deep into the thick green carpet muffled her footsteps as she walked through the foyer.

The house was dark with the exception of the dining room where she could see the end of the set table, graced with a white lace cloth and flickering candles. She smoothed her skirt and brushed back her hair. Her entire body tingled. Her parents thought she couldn’t come home for their thirty-fifth anniversary celebration because she had to study for finals. She anticipated their astonished expressions. She walked toward the room.

“Momma, Papa, surprise! I’m home.” Her voice trailed off in the silence. A hardened lump formed in her throat.

Why didn’t they reply?

She ventured further into the doorway and gasped. Momma, head hanging grotesquely to the side, slumped in the antique dining room chair. Papa’s body sprawled face down on the Oriental rug. Blood. Blood everywhere.

Her hands flew to her face. “No.” Her scream pierced the deadly silence as she backed away in horror. Before she could turn and run for the front door, two shots ripped through the room in rapid succession. The impact spun her sideways. Her head throbbed. A fierce pain raged in her chest before she crumpled to the floor.

Footsteps clicked on the parquet floor that bordered the Oriental dining room rug. Gilly kept her eyes closed. Held her breath and kept her body limp. She sensed the killer standing beside her. A shoe jabbed her ribs.

Oh my God, he’s checking to make sure I’m dead.

It took all of her resolve not to react as she mentally braced for another gunshot. It seemed like forever before the carpet moved and the killer stepped over her. She blinked open her eyes as he casually strolled through the entry way and out the double front doors, not bothering to close them. Gilly choked back a sob, terrified to move or make a noise until she heard the soft purr of an engine as the car spun out of the driveway.

She pressed her hand to the side of her head. Warm sticky fluid oozed through her fingers. Each breath tore at her chest. A burst of blood had soaked through her sweater. She struggled to stay conscious. She had to call for help. Eyes blurred, she fumbled in her blood soaked Gucci bag and pulled out her iPhone, willing her fingers to punch in the numbers.

“911, what’s your emergency?”

“Help me,” she coughed, gasping for air. “I’ve been shot.”

• • •

Joyce Brennan writes Romantic Suspense and Cozy Mysteries. She served as editor for a business school newspaper before embarking upon a career with American Airlines. She has authored three Romance novels: Hidden Journal, Broken Promises, and Don't Dance on My Heart. Her short stories have been published in four anthologies and in an internet magazine. She is an active member of the Las Vegas Romance Writer’s, a Chapter of the Romance Writers of America, The Las Vegas Valley Writers, and The Henderson Writers Group. She gives presentations on writing, hosts a critique group and a leads a Creative Writing class. She writes articles for the community newspaper and gives writing advice on her blog. Joyce volunteers at a warehouse that provides medical equipment for seniors. She resides in Las Vegas, NV, with her husband, Tom and their two Yorkies.

Find Joyce online --

Website - http://www.brennanwrites.wordpress.com
Blog - http://www.joycebrennan.blogspot.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/joyce.brennan.710
Tirgearr Publishing - http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Brennan_Joyce

-- > Don't forget we're giving away a copy of this book to one lucky commenter. Leave her a question or comment here with your email address to be automatically in the draw.

Or you can grab a copy of this book now for just $4.99 through Tirgearr Publishing.


  1. Welcome back to Heart of Fiction, Joyce. Always lovely to see you. Congratulations on your newest release -- Misplaced.

    This is a fantastic story. Where did you get the idea?

  2. Kem, I read an article in the newspaper about a person placed in the witness protection program. I asked "What If ?" What if a spoiled woman of privilege was placed in a small farm community where she had nothing in common with anyone. I went a step further and asked, what if her assets were frozen and for the first time in her life, she had to work to support herself. The possibilities were endless.

    1. Have you ever watched the program, In Plain Sight? It's a crime drama about people going into witness protection, or who are in WP and something happens to them. I enjoy the program but I'm not sure if it's the program (different premise to other crime dramas) or the spitfire female protagonist.

      I love 'what if' questions for that very reason. The possibilities are endless.

      Have you ever thought of spinning this book into a series, with stories all based in WP?

    2. I haven't considered a series for this novel, but I'm presently rewriting the Women Of Rexford series.

    3. I'm a series FREAK! It would be amazing to see this book as part of a series.

    4. I've never considered a series from this book. I pretty much wrapped up the ending. However, I'm working on a series based on my hometown...a different name, of course.

    5. Where is your hometown? Is it a smaller town or a big one? I always wished that those quaint little towns with carnivals, bake sales, small populations and almost no crime really did exist.

    6. I was thinking more in the line of other characters in WP rather than the hero and heroine of this story.

      I'm anxious to see where the Rexford series goes. Like Val, I love series works!

      Maybe you can tell us a little bit about the first book in that series?

  3. Hi joyce, trying to post again. I can't wait to read Misplaced, it sounds amazing. I didn't know you lived in Las Vegas, so do I! Are your characters based on anyone in your life?

  4. Val, the characters in Misplaced aren't based on anyone I know, however I constantly threaten my friends that they might show up in one of my books.

  5. Joyce, congratulations on the release of Misplaced. The plot sounds really intriguing and I'm looking forward to reading it.

    1. Thanks Shirley. I had fun writing MISPLACED. I hope the characters are unique and have different goals.

  6. I think Blogger is having issues today. I keep having to post twice for it to show up. Anyway ... as long as you don't off your friends in a book, it would be kind of cool to have a character in a book based off of your life. lol

  7. Val, never, never, never will I base a character on myself. That would be too scary.

    1. That would be TOTALLY awesome. Just give her a different name, then it won't be so scary. hahaha. Do you ever write books based on Las Vegas? I can't believe I found an author who lives in the same town as I do.

    2. Val, I have a few thoughts about writing a book based in Las Vegas, but I have an evil twist. I'm thinking of murder in a Senior Citizen's complex.

    3. HAHAHAHAHA OMG! Well, we have enough of them around here. That would be insane. Whatever you do, don't go down to Commerce street to research anything. lol

    4. I know a lot of writers say they never base characters on themselves, but we all put something of ourselves into our characters. Joyce, do you see *any* part of yourself in Gilda?

      Your idea for a murder in a seniors complex sounds interesting. Sounds like you have a lot of irons in the fire!

  8. This sounds like a great read! I hope I get a chance to read it sometime and good luck with it!

    1. Thanks for your support. Tirgearr is offering my last eBook, The Hidden Journal, for $.99 during this book launch. Read the first two chapters on their web page or on Amazon