Melanie Atkins – April 2014

atkinstrs0314Melanie Atkins

Sienna Wright has it all: an exciting career, a handsome husband who is an ADA, and two beautiful step-children… until a vicious murderer takes all away and sends her tumbling into a terrifying black abyss.

Detective Nate Lincoln’s job is his life, and he jumps at the chance to reclaim his gun and badge once the department reinstates him after a long suspension. His first order of business is to solve the murders of Jeff Wright and his two children, a case that fell through the cracks.

Still shell-shocked after nearly a year, Sienna at first refuses to help Nate. Then someone tries to kill her, and in order to survive, she is forced to break free of her quagmire of depression and trust the man she once loved. Nate isn’t sure he can solve the case, and yet he has to try. He would do anything for Sienna, even if she refuses to admit she still loves him.

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Desert Breeze Publishing



“What else did the major say? We caught a case?”

“Yeah, a cold one. The murdered ADA — Jeff Wright. Remember that one?” Nate settled back in his seat and filled Jack in on the blood-soaked crime scene at the Wright’s upscale home as he negotiated the light Sunday traffic. “Our unit apparently hit a brick wall while I was gone, so Solomon handed it off to Cold Case — a colossal mistake, if there ever was one, because those guys sat around with their thumb up their asses, apparently. LeBlanc said Wright’s wife’s been calling headquarters at least twice a week for the past month, raisin’ hell about it.”

“Wait a minute.” Jack scowled. “I know Sienna. Didn’t you two date before she married Jeff?”

“Yeah, I was still seeing her when she met the bastard.” Nate gritted his teeth at the painful memory. He didn’t like to think about that depressing time in his life. He used to drink and party way too much. “She dated both of us for a while and picked him. Said she wanted someone steadier. Swore I was a bad influence.”

“Whoa.” Jack lifted his eyebrows. “That was cruel, man.”

“What can I say? She was right. And it was for the best, ’cause she loved Jeff.” Nate shook his head. “He made her happy. Two kids — a ready-made family — and a big, fancy house. He gave her a comfortable life. More than I could’ve ever given her. I didn’t have a pot to piss in, much less any kids.”

“Still, her choosing him must’ve gutted you.”

“Yeah, but not as much as losing Jeff and those kids did her. LeBlanc said she had a breakdown after the funeral and moved to Birmingham to live with her aunt. She’s still in Alabama, but right now she’s on the warpath with the DA and has threatened to sue the city ’cause we didn’t close the damned case. So the Major Crimes Section Commander turned it back over to us. He wants us to solve it yesterday.”

“You’d better talk to Solomon, find out why he tossed it to Cold Case.”

“Believe me, I will. I want to know why he gave up on it and has since refused to return Sienna’s phone calls.”

“Not a smart move. Give him my regards,” Jack said with a wry smile as he swung the sedan into the parking garage adjacent to the station.

Nate growled in response, but didn’t voice his true feelings about the case or Sienna. She’d broken his heart when she’d blown him off in favor of Wright, but he didn’t want Jack to know. All he needed was the facts. Sienna, a beautiful, headstrong woman, had been a popular reporter for the Times Picayune, yet she’d crumbled the night Jeff and kids had died. So much so, her doctor had hospitalized her after the funeral and kept her there until he’d found a family member willing to take care of her. Two days later, Sienna left Louisiana for Birmingham, Alabama. Nate had no idea how she was doing now but figured he ought to pay her a visit, even though it was the last thing he wanted to do.

“Save me from old girlfriends,” he muttered as he banged out of the car. He hated confrontations with women, thanks to his dealings with his own mother and the crappy way he’d ended his relationship with Sienna. Showing up drunk at her wedding had been the icing on the cake.

The pain of that day still gnawed at his soul.

Jack rounded the hood and clapped him on the back. “Talk to LeBlanc. He’s new, but he can probably unearth a lead or two for you. Something to help break the ice with Sienna.”

“Doesn’t sound like it.” Nate entered the squad room, lowered himself wearily into his chair, and tried to call the Cold Case detective, Alfred Lutz.

No luck. Lutz was out sick and didn’t answer either of his personal phones, home or cell.


About the author

Melanie Atkins a multi-published author of romantic suspense, a fan of crime dramas, and an avid reader. Writing is more than an escape for her — it’s a way of life. She grew up in the Deep South listening to tall tales and penning stories about her cats. Now she writes gripping stories of love, suspense, and mystery with the help of her furry little feline muses.


Also by Melanie Atkins

The six-book New Orleans Detective Series, the seven-book Keller County Cops Series, Haunted Memories, Valentine Vendetta, Voodoo Bones, Emily’s Nightmare, Blood Bound, and Above Suspicion from Desert Breeze Publishing, plus Blood Rite and Flash Bang from Whiskey Creek Press.


Interview with Holly Hewson

HH: Melanie, thank you so much for talking with us at TRS. Your featured book is Against All Odds. Where did you get the idea for this thrilling tale?

MA: To be honest, I have no idea. I started the book a long time ago, then had to set it aside to work on several contracted projects. I finally got back to it and had to reread the story to get back into it. I ended up rewriting most of it because I had lost my notes on the book, so it went in an entirely different direction than I had originally planned. I’m happy with the way it turned out.

HH: What do you like best about Sienna and what will readers like about her?

MA: Sienna has suffered a great loss when the book opens, but she overcomes this and fights through her grief to come out stronger in the end.

HH: What do you like best about Nate and why will readers love him?

MA: Nate is a bad boy turned good. His love for Sienna helped him to straighten out his life and take it in a new direction. I like that in a man. Doesn’t hurt that he’s drop-dead gorgeous.

HH: What makes this work different than anything you’ve written so far?

MA: The book has a resurrection theme, from dead to alive. Sienna is grieving at the beginning of the book, but releases that grief and learns to live and love again.

HH: What else do you have in store for lucky readers?

MA: I have a new series coming out with Desert Breeze. The first Bayou Bounty Hunters book, Protecting Her Heart, will be released in July. I’m excited about this new series, based in the fictional south Mississippi town of Magnolia Ridge just north of the Gulf Coast. The second book, Sealing His Fate, comes out early next year. I have so many great stories to tell.

HH: What inspires you in your writing?

MA: Any good story. I get ideas from the news and love watching well written shows on TV. I also do a good deal of research in the field of law enforcement. I always find inspiration there.

HH: What do you enjoy when you’re not writing?

MA: I love aggravating my cats, spending time with friends, drinking coffee, traveling, and container gardening. It’s about time to move my plants back out onto the back deck. I plan to head to the farmer’s market soon, too, to buy a few new ones. I’m so happy spring has finally sprung!

HH: What are you reading?

MA: Right now I’m reading Sandra Brown’s Deadline. Such a great story. I love her writing.

HH: What goals have you set for yourself this year?

MA: I just want to stay sane. My mother is ill, and I haven’t had much time to write. I hope to be able to get back onto a schedule soon so I can dive into my characters and forget real life, even for a little while.

HH: Where can readers find you online?

MA: I mainly hang out on Facebook. Just look up Melanie Atkins to find me and pictures of my kitties.

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