Today we welcome Diane Burton back to our blog to share with us something she treasures....
What I Treasure
When Pam asked me to write about something I treasure, the first thing that popped in my head was my family, especially my three grandchildren. As I write in the dedications to my books, they always make me smile. Holding a baby is a great de-stressor. For the past three weeks, I’ve been getting in a lot of holding with the eight-month-old and losing a lot of stress. When her mama brings her downstairs and she sees me, her eyes light up and she grins broadly. Then she holds her arms out to me. That just makes my heart swell. In a little over two weeks, we’ll have to leave, so I’m treasuring every moment.
But when we leave this little one, we have two older grandkids waiting for us—especially, to celebrate Christmas with them. The almost-six-year-old always races across the room to greet me with such enthusiasm I have to make sure I’m holding on to something, or I’ll get bowled over. Meanwhile, the eight-year-old patiently waits her turn. Since she’s getting so tall, I don’t have to bend over too far for her hugs and kisses.
One thing I enjoy sharing with the grandchildren is my love of reading and writing. With the baby, we’re still at the reading stage. Holding her in the rocker and reading Dr. Seuss reminds me of times when the older grandchildren and my own kids were young. While I love reading to the older ones, they enjoy writing their own stories with the help of myStoryMaker from The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, a fun interactive computer program. They tell the story and I type—a good division of labor. After they finish the story, we always print it out so they can show their parents. We play card games with them, too, like my grandmother did with me and my siblings. No matter what we do, it’s time well spent. Time when I put aside my own writing, household chores, reading or television shows and just enjoy being together.
Without our children and their spouses, I wouldn’t have my three treasures. More importantly, the love of my life for the past forty-three years made all this possible. That’s why I say my family is my dearest treasure.
My latest release is a cozy mystery featuring a female private investigator. The Case of the Fabulous Fiancé is the second Alex O’Hara novel.
She’s at it again. Alex O’Hara just can’t say no to a new investigation. What do a 45-year-old boyfriend, a deadbeat dad, and a teenage runaway have in common? All new cases. With phone and internet problems, no receptionist, and her own boyfriend in the wind, Alex has no idea how she’ll manage. But the question for the past three months is why did Nick disappear. Is this the end of O’Hara & Palzetti?
I picked up the pen before looking at Nora Finley. Even though I was in the middle of a major case, I never turned down a prospective client. At least, not right away. I’d hear her out and then decide.
“What can I do for you?”
Her expression completely changed. The high-powered exec disappeared. In its place, caution and . . . vulnerability. “Ellen VanderVeen said I could trust you.”
I smiled. Ellen and I had been friends since college. That girl had more fashion sense in her baby finger than I did in my entire body.
“Yes, I know Ellen.”
“She said you helped her investigate her fiancé.”
She hesitated and appeared to rethink what she was doing in a private investigator’s office. Quickly, she came to a conclusion. “I’d like you to do the same.”
“You want me to vet your fiancé?”
“He’s not my fiancé. Yet.”
She didn’t explain any further, so I asked, “Why? Do you suspect something?”
“No. Oh, goodness, no.” She pursed her lips before continuing. “My father left me a prosperous financial firm plus a sizeable inheritance. I am not saying that to brag but to explain my concerns. In my younger days, I was, uhm, taken advantage of. I need to be sure this man truly loves me—me, not my money.”
Although nobody would ever mistake me for an heiress, I understood her caution.
“I am almost forty years old,” she said. “I want to have children before I’m too old.”
Again, I understood. I’d recently passed a landmark birthday. The big Three-Oh. Rather than worry about kids, though, I devoted myself to my business. After a rocky start, I was on a pretty even keel. Plenty of work. Not enough time. But I did have plenty of time before settling down with kids. And a husband, of course. I’m kind of old-fashioned like that. I’d thought Nick might— Don’t go there.
“Ma’am, if you’d called for an appointment, I could have saved you a trip. I do not have time to devote to your case.”
A crestfallen Nora Finley stared at me, her mouth slightly open. I guess nobody ever turned her down. While hers might be interesting, I didn’t have a good feeling about this case. A client might want the lowdown on a prospective mate—as I’d discovered before—but they often resented the bearer of bad news. Of course, the client could be grateful if the news was good, like my friend Ellen.
“I will double your usual retainer.”
“It isn’t a matter of money—” Although money never hurt. “—I’m in the middle of a large case that is taking up all of my time.”
“How soon will you finish?” No longer disappointed, she looked calculating.
God save me from rich people who think everyone should drop what they’re doing to attend to them.
“Three weeks, minimum.”
“Good. I will be out of the country for the next four weeks. You may finish your present case then check into Clyde Wilson.”
Well, shit. I mean, shoot. I was trying to break my bad habit of swearing. I had misgivings about this woman. Demanding, she was going to be difficult to work with. She exuded the power that came from old money. Power that expected everyone to drop everything and do her bidding.
But then I’d had difficult clients before and managed them. I could probably wrap up the fraud investigation in a couple of weeks. I’d given myself a cushion when I’d told her three.
Were my misgivings about her enough to turn down double my retainer?
I drew the pad closer to me. “Tell me about this man. Clyde Wilson?”
That better not be a smug look on her face.
The Case of the Fabulous Fiancé: An Alex O’Hara Novel is available at:
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and The Alex O’Hara PI mysteries. She is also a contributor to the anthology How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and three grandchildren.
For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com
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