I absolutely love The Vicar of Dibley, and pretty much any other show with a vicar/minister in it. Which is why I was very happy to host this books today.
Dangerous Sanctuary by J.Q. Rose released last June in the Christian, Mystery, Suspense genre.
Pastor Christine Hobbs, who has been in the pulpit business for five years, is the spiritual leader of the Dayspring Church in Fair Lake, Michigan. She performs her expected duties as pastor with love and a lot of help from above, but the seminary curriculum never prepared her for dealing with the care of a service pig and kangaroo, and definitely not for the investigation of the murder of the Dayspring Church music director, William White.
Detective Cole Stephens considers every member of the church a suspect in the case, including the pastor. The detective’s high-handed investigative methods infuriate Pastor Hobbs as much as his deep brown eyes attract her. Her beauty, feisty character, and strong personality interest him, but interrogating the pastor at the police station and accusing her of murder does not help to win over the alluring lady preacher.
Christine enlists the help of her uninhibited florist friend, Lacey, to help prove her innocence. Concerned for their safety, Detective Stephens does not approve of the two bumbling sleuths snooping around for clues in the murder investigation.
In the middle of the stress of the investigation and the relationship between Christine and Cole, an elderly woman and her friend lose their camper in a fire. They come to Pastor Christine for help. The pastor is surprised to meet their two unusual service animals. The woman experiences a heart attack in the church parking lot, so the 9-1-1 call is made for an ambulance to take her to the hospital. When Cole arrives on the scene, he finds Christine hanging on to the leashes of the animals, Abraham the blind, service pig and Katy the kangaroo. He helps Christine take the animals to the backyard of the parsonage and builds a makeshift fence, not realizing this is the beginning of building a relationship. The fence she has built around her heart to keep it safely inside is torn down by the warm and caring aspect of Cole’s personality.
Pastor Hobbs and Detective Stephens discover it is difficult to maintain a professional only connection when working on the case. There’s electricity in the air when they are together. Is it Heaven-sent?
Christine stood in the parking lot, hanging onto the leash of the agitated pig in one hand and the docile kangaroo in the other. Taking her eyes from the ambulance careening out of the parking lot, she turned her attention to the animals and wondered what just happened here. Her heart caught in her throat when she spotted Detective Cole Stephens speed into the parking lot, barely missing the departing ambulance. What was he doing here?
He pulled up near her and jumped from the car. “I heard the call come through. I was afraid of what I’d discover at this church.” His serious expression broke out into a huge smile. “You never know what situation a 9-1-1 call will lead to. This… this is a first for me.” His hearty laughter echoed off the brick walls of the building. He wiped tears from his eyes with the back of his hand.
Cole’s appearance seemed to shake up the animals. Christine struggled to hang on to them, so the detective grabbed the kangaroo’s harness and tried to calm the frightened animal. “What are you doing with the Noah’s ark critters?”
She saw the twinkle in his eyes. Her face cracked into a smile. She had to admit it was an odd situation. She must look like an idiot standing out in the lot hanging onto these two adorable creatures.
“Well, in a nutshell. A woman had a cardiac arrest here in the parking lot. As you saw, she’s on her way to the hospital, and well, these are her pets.” Christine swept her free hand toward the animals just catching a glimpse of Jackson’s old van making a beeline for the parking lot exit.
“Isn’t that right, Ella?”
“Yes, her pets.” Ella nodded and pointed to Katy and Abraham.
“Um, I guess I’m keeping them till, well, until… Let’s just say we didn’t really have time to discuss it. I’m sure you probably have a place to put them, don’t you?”
“Huh-uh, lady. I’m not taking in any animals.” He backed away as if they were wild animals ready to attack. “Anyway, my retriever would probably eat them.” His wink was disarming.
Christine turned to Ella standing nearby. “Ella, would you?”
“No way, Pastor. You’re on your own with those animals. Remember? I’m the one who didn’t even want the cat.” Ella made a quick exit for the safety of the church office.
Christine turned to the detective. “Now what am I going to do?” She pushed her bangs off her forehead.
“I can call the animal shelter. They’ll probably take them. Meanwhile, shall we take them over to the parsonage lawn instead of standing here?”
He tugged a bit on the kangaroo’s leash. Katy didn’t exactly hop right. She had a hitch in her hop gait. What a sight as the little band hopped, tugged, pulled their way across the street and into the parsonage back yard.
“Do you think this animal is housebroken?” Cole asked. Christine sliced her gaze at Cole ready to dress him down while she was in the middle of this predicament until she spotted those sparkling eyes full of mischief. A grin spread across her face.
“Well, I don’t think the congregation would appreciate a kangaroo in the parsonage, nor a pig. Would you call the shelter for me now, please?”
“Sure.” He slipped his phone off his belt. Thank goodness Katy and Abraham needed her attention. Otherwise, she would’ve cupped his face in her hands and given him a healthy kiss for being here with her.
ABOUT JQ: After writing feature articles in magazines, newspapers, and online magazines for over fifteen years, J.Q. Rose entered the world of fiction. Her published mysteries are Deadly Undertaking, Dangerous Sanctuary, and Terror on Sunshine Boulevard released by Books We Love Publishing. Blogging, photography, Pegs and Jokers board games, and travel are the things that keep her out of trouble. She spends winters in Florida and summers up north camping and hunting toads, frogs, and salamanders with her four grandsons and granddaughter.
My Inspiration for the Romantic Suspense Novel, Dangerous Sanctuary
by J.Q. Rose
The main character in Dangerous Sanctuary is a female minister, Pastor Christine Hobbs. People often ask what inspired me to write a book featuring a woman pastor.
When I interviewed a female minister for my non-fiction book for middle-grade girls, Girls Succeed: The Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women, I was intrigued with her story about entering into the ministry at a time when it was typically a man’s career. After talking with her, the idea for a story began swirling through my brain.
That same year, a woman pastor was assigned to our local church. I learned even more about the role and expectations of a woman pastor e.g. no one tells a male pastor he’s wearing cute shoes! With these two exceptional women as role models, I created the character of Pastor Christine Hobbs.
Click here to connect with J.Q. Rose online at JQ’s blog, Focused on Story