Guys, here’s another book I thoroughly enjoyed and reviewed. Also, Cee Ree did something VERY special for me: she wrote a blog story with me and the characters together! Nobody ever made me part of her book!!! I”m noticing this is a post full of marvels.
Let’s start from here: the book is The Grave Digger (The Rayburn Mysteries Book 1) by Ceeree Fields, a Romantic Suspense.
Hunting a killer is easy. Learning to love is hard.
Josephine ‘Jo’ Rayburn has no luck with love. Between the demands of her job as a homicide detective, finding the perfect yarn for her knitting projects, and her nosy family, she doesn’t have time to find her happily ever after, nor does she really believe it exists. Until she’s assigned to the Gravedigger task force where she meets Rhysian ‘Rhys’ Harrison, the sexy Coroner’s assistant.
Rhys Harrison thought he had found love with the perfect woman. But his parents’ death forced him to choose between his fiancée and caring for his brother, he chose his brother. His only regret, the medical degree he abandoned to work in the Coroner’s office. When the Gravedigger leaves his latest victim at the gates of a cemetery, Rhys and Jo are thrown together, her prickly personality interests him, but it’s her deeply hidden romantic side that captivates him.
After one of the task force members is shot, Rhys’s fears of losing Jo, like he’s lost so much already, threaten to rip them apart. Can she convince him that love is worth having no matter the risk? Or will he play it safe, leaving before his heart becomes too attached?
~Amazon Buy Link
This was an amazing book. I loved Josephine, she was the perfect heroine. tough and tougher, she never lost her sweet side. She is well rounded and absolutely believable.
Rhys…. *sigh* I love nerdy heroes, and he was perfect without being too much–too nerd, too goody-two-shoes, too whatever.
The story flows away. You’ll never have a moment when you get bored, or skip because the characters get lost into the eternal thinking. There’s a lot of action and a scare.
I’m still scratching my head trying to understand how the Author managed to give us such real feel of a police station )and police life) by writing so little about it. Romantic suspense can get stuck into procedures, investigations and the such, but here you have a very real, down to earth recount of a cop’s life without even realizing it. It was amazing.
Actually, now that I think about it, I’ll have to re-read the story to see how CeeRee wrote so many things and made it feel like the most natural and organic way to tell a complex story.
5 stars, well deserved
**Giving the mic to CeeRee- Vivi out**
Hi, everyone. Thanks, Vivi for having me on your blog today to introduce my latest romantic suspense, Gravedigger. I did something a bit different: instead of a character interview or author interview. I wrote a blog story. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
“So, it’s my turn to be grilled, huh?” Rhys said a teasing smile pulling across his face.
Vivi nodded. “Yep. I was expecting Josephine with you, so some of the questions–”
“Oh, she was called to a crime scene at two this morning. She’ll be here as soon as they wrap up.”
“You really shouldn’t call her Josephine. She doesn’t like that,” Rian stated from the seat next to Rhys. He all but vibrated with excitement and hadn’t lost the blinding smile since Vivi had shown them to the patio set around back.
No way was she taking a chance on a big arrest scene in her house. Taking a sip of her iced tea, she looked over the list of questions she wanted to ask when the sound of dogs barking broke the small silence. A whimper coming from Rian pulled her attention, the absolute stillness of him gave her pause until she saw the unfettered joy in his eyes.
“Dogs?! Can I go play with the dogs?” He gasped out and grabbed Rhys’s arm. “Please, Rhys?”
Rhys laughed as he looked at Vivi. “Is it safe?”
“Oh, sure, Travis fosters dogs until they can find their forever home. Come on, I’ll take you over and introduce you.” Vivi waved Rhys back to his chair.
When Vivi returned, Rhys arched a brow.
“He’s fine. The dogs already love him, and Travis is having him throw balls for them while he gets their food ready.” Settling back into the chair, she decided to start. Jo could catch up when she got there. “So, what made you decide to ask Jo out?”
Rhys frowned. “That’s what you’re going to ask? Not about Rian now that he’s gone?”
Confused, Vivi shook her head. “No. Why would I ask about Rian?”
“Because most want to know if he’s autistic or dangerous–”
She held up a hand. “He’s not autistic. I did read your story, you know. He was involved in a hit and run.”
Rhys tugged at the ends of his hair. “Sorry, I overreacted. Rian was on his bike when he was hit, this was when he was twelve, back when my parents were still alive. They’d bought him a bike for Christmas. The second he was steady enough, my dad thought it’d be okay for him to ride around our neighborhood. It wasn’t as safe as he thought and Rian got hurt.”
“They never caught the driver?”
“Well, he’s happy, healthy and worships the ground you walk on. When he started talking with Travis, he kept quoting you.”
Rhys’s smile returned, and he relaxed back into his seat. “He’s a good kid.”
“He is. You’ve done a good job being his guardian since your parents died. He was what? Sixteen by then?”
“Yes, he’s eighteen now and desperately wants a dog.” Rhys waved toward Travis’s house. “As you can see. Okay, so what do you want to know?”
Rhys laughed. “You’ve really got to stop calling her that. She hates that name with a passion.”
Rhys shrugged, his grin turned mischievous as if he were protecting a secret. “You’ll have to ask her.”
Vivi made a note to maybe ask Jo about it. After hearing stories of her prickly nature, Vivi wasn’t sure she really wanted to broach the subject. “I’ve got to say, I’ve had a lot of characters and authors on my blog, but I don’t think I’ve ever had someone that pronounces their name as Rice.”
Rhys chuckled. “My parents were sci-fi fans, my mom, more so than my dad. So, I’m Rhysian T. Harrison, and Rian would have been Leonard, but Mom chose Lorian for his middle name. Dad didn’t want to give his son two L names in a row, so he went with Montgomery.”
“Your parents were Star Trek fans?”
“Yep, the original series. They met at a convention at the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center when they both went to see Nichelle Nichols. Needless to say, they were like two halves of the same whole. Even joined a Star Trek club.”
The things she learned when asking everyday questions still surprised her. “What made you ask Jo out? She seems harsh–”
“Let me stop you there because I thought the same thing. I’d seen Jo around a few other crime scenes, but she was laser-focused on not missing a single detail that I flew under her radar. Which at the time was fine with me, because on the job she’s not a nice person.” He tipped his head from side to side. “Well, not nice to her co-workers and the murderers, but she’s a bit warmer towards the victims’ families. It wasn’t until I went to collect the victim on the Gravedigger case that I actually saw her.”
Vivi hummed for him to continue when he fell silent.
“Sullivan, her partner on the job, he swears Jo was thrown for a loop when her half-sister was assigned to the case, and it showed at the cemetery for the first time. When I saw her in the ring with Karma, her half-sister, Jo seemed to be a pulsating raw nerve. She seemed human and vulnerable.” He shifted the almost empty glass between his hands. “I wanted to get to know her.”
“And you latched on to her half-sister at the cemetery–”
“Oh, no. I did not turn my attention to Karma.” He did a full-body shudder. “I quickly looked away from Jo because I refused to get an erection at a crime scene with a dead victim right there. One that I’d be required to handle. That’s just… well, gross to be quite frank. So, when I looked away, Karma just happened to be right next to Jo.”
Vivi laughed. “And that killed your hard-on.”
“Ohhhh, Karm did you hear that? You’re a hard-on killer,” Jo said as she opened the gate to the backyard and joined us.
“Screw you, Jo. I’m so not a hard-on killer. Rhys just saw you first is all. If he’d set eyes on me, it’d be all she wrote. Like that Helen chick. I mean she had a whole war named after her.”
Vivi covered her laugh with a cough as Jo snorted. “The war wasn’t named for her, Karma–”
“Bull. Helen of Troy… see.”
“That’s not the name of the… you know what, go for it.”
Karma pumped her fists in the air and danced around like Rocky after running up the stairs.
It was then Rhys broke into the two squabbling siblings. “What in the world are you wearing?”
Jo glanced down and huffed as she flopped in the chair next to him. “I know right?” She tugged at the navy blue sweatshirt with the Birmingham Police Department logo on it as well as growling at the matching sweatpants. “Stupid perp, who we got on camera for the triple homicide, ran and hid in a dang dumpster.”
Karma snorted, then rolled with laughter as she took the seat next to Jo. “Yeah, and Sullivan wouldn’t go in after him, nor would he let Jo shoot a few warning shots at the dumpster to get the guy out.”
“He’s still pissed we had to do the week-long training about appropriate use of firearms. But the guy shot at us first, and he was barricaded…” Jo waved her hand between them. “You know what, never mind that’s a bad example. However, this time I really could’ve done a few warning shots and not hit the suspect, instead Sullivan made me go in after the jerk. Even though it was Sullivan’s turn, he claimed the ‘Hot Date Rule.’ Which meant I was forced to take one for the team.”
“So, how much mandatory shrink time do you have this go around?” Rhys asked while trying to hide his smile.
“None, smartass, I didn’t fire a shot. I got the guy with minimum use of force, and the captain is extremely pleased with how I handled the situation. So pleased, the captain had the new patrol guys handle transporting the perp to lockup for processing. And as I didn’t pull my weapon, no shrink time for us. Wins all around.” Jo grinned broadly. “So, how far into the interview are you?”
“A few questions, we were distracted when Rian heard the dogs next door.”
Karma and Jo started in on getting Rian a dog while Rhys leaned toward me. “As you can see, Karma’s more of a sledgehammer and Jo’s more of a scalpel in terms of their jobs–”
“Hey, I resent that,” Karma swung her gaze to Rhys.
“Am I lying?” he asked, throwing his hands up.
“I swear, keep one kingpin and his cronies at bay with Molotov Cocktails, and you get the ‘sledgehammer’ title for life,” Karma grumbled.
Vivi could see the interview was totally off the rails and sat back to enjoy the show. Even though Karma and Jo were half-sisters, the only way to tell was their eyes. Both had the startling ice blue eyes. Jo’s eyes warmed and softened whenever they landed on Rhys and sparkled with challenge as they tangled with Karma’s.
Rian rounded the corner from Travis’s side of the yard, and I could only gape in shock. Then he was sprawled across Karma’s slight frame all but hiding her from view as she shrieked beneath him.
“You came!” He shouted so loud I would be surprised if Karma could still hear.
“Oh my God, Ri. Off you big mammoth! You’re soaking wet.” Karma’s voice became shriller as Rian didn’t move. His water-logged jeans and shirt made a dripping sound as the water pinged on the paving stones.
“You aren’t allowed to call me fat, Karma. My doctor says I’m a healthy weight, ask Rhys he took me just last week.”
Karma growled while Jo, Rhys and I rolled with laughter. Rhys was the first to get his under control, and he asked, “How’d you get so wet, buddy?”
“Travis has a wading pool for the dogs. He let me put it out since it’s still warm.”
Being that it was September in Alabama Vivi could understand, it was nice and sunny almost balmy.
“And you got wet filling it up?”
Rian jumped off Karma’s lap and rubbed his side a disgruntled expression on his face. “You’re not supposed to pinch that hard, Karm.”
Large splotches of water seeped into her black top and pants. Her bright blond hair that had been in a jaunty ponytail when she’d joined us was now in a sodden mess as it hung half in and half out of the clasp.
Rian continued, ignoring Karma’s fierce frown.“No, I didn’t fill it up, Travis did. But one of the dogs looked too scared to get in, so I took her in with me while Travis was fixing their snacks. Then she jumped out of my arms and into the pool at which point the other dogs tackled me.”
Laughing, Rhys shook his head and stood. “Come on, I still have some clean clothes in your gym bag. We’ll find the bathroom and get you dried off and cleaned up.”
Jo followed Vivi’s gaze, and her eyes warmed with a genuine smile, not the snarly facsimile she seemed to wear for everyone else. “He’s a special man to put up with my family and me.”
“Yep, and has to have a LOT of patience,” Karma chimed in stealing the drink Rhys had brought out for Jo. “At least we didn’t have to arrest anyone this time.”
Jo snorted. “True, but I could’ve done without the wet t-shirt contest you’ve got going on…”
Vivi tuned them out and agreed with Jo’s assessment of Rhys. For as much as the group bickered and snarked, you could all but feel the tight-knit bonds that bound them together marking them as a loving family.
Thanks again for having me, Vivi! It’s been so much fun. Just a heads up, none of this can be found in the Gravedigger book. I wrote this especially for Vivi’s group because Jo and Rhys’s family have a fun, quirky dynamic that’s meant to be shared and enjoyed. If you want to read more of Jo’s antics and the man who burrowed behind her prickly defenses get your copy of Gravedigger from Amazon today.
CeeRee Fields currently lives in Groningen, the Netherlands with her husband and cat. Since she was born in Alabama and moved to the Netherlands, Dutch is not her first language which gets her into mischief in various stores around town when she tries to speak it.
She loves writing, building worlds that her characters can explore and break if they feel the need. Action, adventure and love are her favorite things. And when stuff gets blown up who says the guy is the only one who gets to do it?
She can be found at:
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