Sunday, August 5, 2018

Book Feature: Missing Innocence by Tina Susedik

Carly's View welcomes author Tina Susedik and her newest book, Missing Innocence. Tina is an award-winning, multi-published author who has been researching and writing books since 1997. She is published in non-fiction with military and local history books. She is also has published children’s books and romantic mysteries. She loves to add humor in her books, putting her characters in situations and finding a humorous way to get them out of them.

As Tina Susedik she writes for Soul Mate Publishing. As Anita Kidesu, she pens spicier romances for The Wild Rose Press. She is also self-published. Missing Innocence will be her twenty-fourth published book.

Tina belongs to the Romance Writers of America, Wisconsin Romance Writers of America, and the Wisconsin Regional Writers' Association. In 1996 she established the Chippewa Valley Romance Writers, which will celebrated its twentieth anniversary in October of 2016. She is a member of the Published Authors Network with the Romance Writers of America.

Besides writing, Tina gives talks to schools and organizations, judges writing contests, and helps in the business she and her husband own. She also hosts her own radio show, Your Book Garden, for Authors on the Air Global Radio Network. She lives in northwestern Wisconsin with her husband and adores her five grandchildren. In the spare time she has, Tina loves to camp, hike, bike, scrapbook and, of course, read, read, read.


Born with a disfigured right arm, Sally York longs to spread her wings and fly from her over-protective father and grandfather. Because of her antagonistic, teasing older sister, Sally stutters when nervous, making a job in the public eye impossible. Moving away from her family’s horse ranch to start a flower-growing business takes everything she has – emotionally and physically. When her life becomes endangered with the arrival of unusual packages to her greenhouse, can the mysterious Nathan Moon help her, or is he the one she needs to run from?

Undercover FBI agent, Nathan Moon, is sent to discover how and where drugs are arriving in Chandler County. With no plans for romance, meeting Sally sets him on his heels. His investigation takes him in a direction he wishes he didn’t want to go. Is the shy, reserved, lovely Sally part of the drug ring? Can Sally and Nathan overcome their distrust of each other and find the real culprits?

Excerpt from Missing Innocence:
Chandlerville, Kentucky
April, 1976

Sally York turned off the engine of her cherry red, 1965 Mustang convertible, closed her eyes, and rested her head against the seat. Thank heavens the evening was over. Society events were simply not her thing. The loud voices, music, laughter. The fake kisses, fake friendship. The pitying eyes.

She lowered Betsy’s top, the name she’d given the present she’d received for her sixteenth birthday and let the sounds of nature calm her nerves. Crickets, frogs, the crazy whippoorwill who many times kept her awake at night, a lone owl, and the whisper of a breeze sighing through the pines standing like sentinels around the perimeter of the ten acres she used for her gardens. Trails snaked through another ten wooded acres she owned.

This was more like it. Sitting outside her small home a few miles from Chandlerville, Kentucky, enjoying the peace and quiet. Even with the brightness of the nearly full moon dimming the array of stars filling the sky, their brilliance was still enough to fill her with awe. A falling star streaked across the sky before disappearing behind the trees.

Why had her sister, Faye, insisted she act as hostess for their grandfather’s birthday bash? To embarrass her with her stuttering? Make sure everyone knew she was considered a cripple? Born with her right arm nothing more than a stub below the elbow with two fused fingers, she was used to people’s whispers as she passed by. If she could yell without stuttering, she’d let them all know she was not a cripple.

Nor did it mean there was something wrong with her mind simply because she stuttered. She didn’t stammer all the time. It depended on who she was talking to. She never had a problem with her grandfather, father, or her best friend, Vickie. But put her in with a group of people, and it didn’t matter if it was comprised of strangers, someone she’d known for years or her sister Faye, she could barely utter one syllable, let alone an entire word or sentence. And Faye made sure to be around whenever someone wanted to carry on a conversation with Sally.

She wiped a tear running down her cheek. For as long as she could remember, Faye had been antagonistic toward her. Unless there was someone her sister wanted to impress—like men, women, their father and grandfather, children, she was mean and nasty. She huffed a breath. That list pretty much included everyone. It was one of the world’s great mysteries, why Faye Marie York hated Sally Ann York so vehemently.

Hooking her fused fingers around the car keys, she started up the engine, raised the roof, and pulled into the garage. As much as she’d love to stay outside and enjoy what was left of the evening, her feet hurt, and her eyes burned from cigar and cigarette smoke and holding back frustrated tears all night. She needed to get some sleep. It was already past midnight. By the time she got ready for bed, it would be after one. Five-thirty was just around the corner.

Tomorrow was going to be a busy day. Regardless of it being a Sunday, weeds needed to be pulled, new buds snipped from flowers, fertilizer applied to plants, and orders filled for area florist shops. Her greenhouse and gardens waited for no one.

The scent of damp earth from the day’s rain greeted her as she stepped from the garage and pulled down the door. Once the rattling door hit the gravel and silence reigned, the crickets and frogs resumed their spring mating calls again. The sign for her business, Sweet Pea Acres, hanging with chains from a mock hitching post, creaked and swayed in the breeze. She tipped her head back, stared at the multitude of stars spreading across the sky, and breathed deeply of the pure spring air. The scent always reminded her of life, new hope for the season, and the promise of budding plants. She took a step toward the house’s front door and stopped, cocking her ear toward the greenhouse.

Had she heard the door open? Impossible. Hadn’t she locked it before leaving for her family’s mansion? Strange things had been happening lately to risk a chance of someone breaking into her greenhouse, like unmarked packages showing up in her mailbox. What freaked her out the most was her phone ringing with no one on the other end. Cars coming up her driveway, then turning around before she had a chance to see who it was. With a dead-end sign posted at the end of her road, cars shouldn’t be traveling as far as her house unless they were here for a reason. Then she’d noticed few plants had gone missing, but who on Earth would want to steal plants still in their infant stage?

Something crunched on the gravel in the direction of her workshop. Was that a human shadow, or was her active imagination simply playing tricks on her? Sally turned and raced for the front door. With shaking fingers, she fumbled with her keys, dropping them to the concrete step. Most days, if left alone, it didn’t bother her not to have two functioning hands, but right now as she struggled to get the key in the lock, she wished she had five fingers on each hands.

Dammit all to hell.”

Finally, she got the right key in the lock, threw open the door, and slammed it closed. Taking control of her breath, she inched aside the curtain, and peered around the crack of the window above her shoe bench.

Nothing. She switched to the window on the other side of the door. There. An elongated silhouette moved along the side of the garage. Was that a person? She eased the curtain back into place and skirted the living room wall. Without pulling back the sheer curtains covering the picture window, she tracked the movement of whatever it was.

The shadow grew and slunk as it moved closer to the house. Sally held her breath. Could whoever was out there hear the blood pumping through her veins? Her heart pounding in her ears? Her gulp trying to swallow around the lump in her throat?

The blob was only a few feet from the edge of the garage when something else caught her eye. Something moved across the grass. Was the person carrying a rope behind them to tie her up with? She stuck the metal car key between the fingers of her left hand. If anyone got into the house and attacked her, she wasn’t going to make it easy for them. A stab into his leg along with a swift kick to the groin would hopefully give her chance to get away. Not that she knew where to run, perhaps to her greenhouse and hide behind the bags of fertilizer.

            Maybe she should call for help. The only phone in the house was on the wall in the kitchen and the desk in her office attached to the greenhouse. There was no way she was going back outside. Besides, by the time anyone arrived, she could be raped or, even worse, dead. It wouldn’t do any good to yell for help. No one would hear her with living so far out in the country. Besides, with her stuttering, she’d never get the words out anyway.

She pressed her back against the wall and closed her eyes, letting the faces of her loved ones play across her mind. George, her father. Her grandfather, Lambert. Ellie, her newfound cousin and her husband, Patton. Would she even be alive to see the baby they were expecting in a few months?

A tear ran down her cheek. She was just starting life on her own, away from the over-protective men in her family. Heck, she was twenty-five, and had only one brief, disastrous attempt at a relationship. Something fierce grew inside her. A need to survive. There was no way some faceless person was going to ruin her chances at life. If she had to, she’d stutter the person to death. Maybe he’d get irritated like Faye, throw their hands up in frustration, and run away.

Sally squatted and, without moving the entire curtain, lifted a corner. A head appeared around the corner of the garage. She hissed in a breath, then plunked her rear onto the floor and slapped a hand over her heart.

Did you like what you read? If so, check out the buy link below:

Universal link:

To learn more about Tina, follow her on social media:

Carly Jordynn is the author of young adult, adult, and middle grade fiction. Her newest book, Forest of the Mist: Guardians is due out on December 5, 2018, through Soul Mate Publishing. 

You can follow Carly at the following social media sites.

No comments:

Post a Comment