Saturday, May 3, 2014

Sarcasm & A Gun

The flamboyant Victor Melling sums up Sandra Bullocks' character beautifully. When the only tools in your arsenal are sarcasm and a gun, you'd better be good with both, but if so, the combination can be pretty effective.  Unless you have half a masticated cow stuck in your teeth.

Though I've never created a character as ugly-duckling-meets-Miss-America as Grace Hart, something about Sylvi Lockhart reminds me of her.  Though Sylvi's weapon of choice would neither be sarcasm nor a gun, a healthy dose of Grace's self-defense would certainly be in her arsenal, as well as the stand-for-what-you-believe-at-all-costs philosophy Hart espouses.  Sylvi's easily one of my favorite heroines, and her co-star Jesse, who wields both sarcasm and a gun with a master hand, isn't half bad either. 

And because I'm a giver, I'm sharing s'more of author Sylvi and P.I. Jesse:

Excerpt from Sylvi Lockhart

Wallowing in my bed until the stench urged neighbors to alert the authorities sounded like a good plan.  No one would be the wiser until it was too late.  And I didn’t have any cats to feed on my decomposing corpse, so at least there was that.
Now that everything had fallen apart and there was no one left to care, what was the point of carrying on?  
Bring on the cats, I thought dolefully.
Brrring!  The doorbell sounded, rousing me from my morbid fantasies.  It was probably Kevin, returning for my last shred of dignity.  Shambling down the long hallway to the door with a tattered comforter around me, I braced myself to face the man who had broken my heart.  With a lump in my throat, I eased the door open.  
“You look like crap.”  Leaning nonchalantly in the doorway, Jesse James looked me over.  
I glanced into the mirror perched on the side-table to my right.  My lusterless blonde hair, sticking up on one side, gave me a cockeyed appearance, and the make-up I’d forgotten to remove the night before ran in twin rivulets down my cheeks.  
I shrugged.  “Bad day.”
“We can turn that around,” he said, pushing his way past me into the apartment.  “S’only 11 a.m.”  He made his way to the kitchen, nosing around until he located pots and pans.  I followed in his wake, bemused.  “Do you like French toast?  Everybody likes French toast,” he asked
A feeling of irritation grew within me.  First Kevin waltzed in to ruin my life, and now Jesse, whom I barely knew, was messing with my resolve to quietly waste away.  
He met my eyes, pity curving a corner of his mouth down.  “Look, I can see you’ve had a rough night. And I feel bad for dragging you into that situation the other day.  Let me make it up to you?”
“With French toast?”  He probably just wanted to cheat me out of a free breakfast, but the look of genuine sympathy on his face made me rethink the decision to toss him out and resume wallowing.  I sighed.  
“Great!” He waved a plastic spatula in my direction, “Why don’t you clean yourself up a bit? I’ve got this.”

The aroma of bacon hit me as I stepped out of the bathroom in a clean tee-shirt and pajama pants.  I finished toweling my hair dry as I entered the kitchen.  My stomach rumbled.
“Hungry?” Jesse grinned up at me as he placed utensils on the small dining table.  Motioning me to a chair, he proceeded to pile French toast, hash browns, and crispy bacon on the plate before me.
“Whoa, cowboy,” I said, as the deluge of maple syrup he’d poured on top threatened to run onto the tabletop.
“Just tuck in there, little lady,” he said, adopting a Texas accent, and winking hugely.
Normally I would have scowled and snapped that I was nobody’s little lady, but my stomach had begun growling again, so I did as he directed.
“That’s more like it,” he said approvingly, starting in on his own plate.
A few minutes of silence followed as we enjoyed the meal.  I looked him over as I dredged my last bit of French toast through the syrup puddle.  Much like the day before, he flaunted a five-o’clock shadow, mussed-up hair, and a tee-shirt and jeans.  The only real change was today’s tee-shirt, which had a depiction of a steaming baked potato and the words drop it like it’s hot
“Feeling better?” he asked, licking syrup off his fork. It was sort of cute, in the way of messy little boys. 
I smiled across at him, admitting to myself that I did feel better.  “Thanks for breakfast.  I wouldn’t have pegged you as a guy who cooks.”
He shrugged.  “Hidden talents.” To prove the point, he piled up the dishes and stood to take them to the sink.
“You don’t have to do that,” I said, reaching to take them from him.
“I insist,” he said, sliding the plates out of reach. Before I could stop him, he rinsed them in the sink and popped them into the dishwasher.
A man who cooks and does the dishes.  Hmmm...
Jesse returned to the table, flipping his chair backwards and sitting on it with his arms propped on the back.  “Now for the real reason I came—“
“About that, how did you know where to find me in the first place?”  Now that my stomach was full and my suicidal tendencies squelched, I wondered how he came to be standing on my doorstep.  He was the type that would make a particularly determined stalker.
“P.I.” he said, spreading his arms wide.  “Mad investigative skills.”
I blinked back at him for a second.
“Though usually Google does the trick.”
I huffed out half a laugh.  “Fair enough.  You were saying?”
He didn't miss a beat. “I’m here to offer you a once in a lifetime chance, Sylvi.”
“Which is…?”  I imagined some of the things he might suggest, all of which made me rather nervous.
“I’m here to offer you a job.”  He leaning forward slightly, his eyes glinting with excitement.  “You seem to be a natural at the investigative business, and I could use someone to back me up.  Bring a bit of organization to the job.”
The numerous Happy Meal toys littering his cab and the way he’d taken after Eugene without thinking of his own safety added credence to the assertion.
“How much would it pay?” I asked hesitatingly.
His gaze shifted away.  “That’s the tricky bit, I can’t actually afford to pay you.” An apologetic expression showed on his face.  “But you’ll get plenty of field experience.”
I felt bad, but my meager savings would only cover the rent for so long.  “I’m sorry Jesse, but I’ve just lost everything. I can’t afford to work for nothing.”
“You lost everything?” He perked up.  “What happened, your ex-boyfriend steal your credit card and go on a bender?”  
“No, nothing like that.  It’s my grandfather’s estate.  I’ve been living off it since I started writing full-time, and apparently he was involved in some iffy business deals before his death.  They’ve seized everything,” I explained.
“Interesting,” he replied, rubbing his stubbled chin thoughtfully.  After a moment his eyes refocused on me, a half-grin tilting his lips.  “I’ve got a deal for you, Sylvi.  You help me out with a few cases and I’ll help you uncover the truth about your grandfather.”  He stuck out a hand.  “Deal?”
I considered for a moment.  I was jobless, working on a novel no one wanted, and painfully single.  What did I have to lose?

* * * * *

For more of Jesse and Sylvi, revisit Woman: The Most Dangerous Plaything.


  1. This sounds like so much fun. When do we get to read it??? Have you patterned your hero after a certain Jake we know??

    1. There may be something to that...and it's not done yet.

  2. I loved reading this excerpt, Sarah! I'm definitely intrigued by both of these characters and am interested to see where the plot goes from here. Sylvi sounds like a woman most of us can relate to and in desperate needs of some adventure and something to look forward to in life!

  3. Thanks, Gina! Honestly, I'm just having fun with it!