Three years ago, I discovered a homeless kid living in my garage.
He had the full bachelor set-up—a chair and table swiped off of my deck, one of my coolers, an electrical hookup, and a sleeping bag on a lounge chair, also from my deck. After we called the police, we discovered the boy, who had been a school friend of my son, hung out at our house during the day so that he could leave random doors unlocked and access our home when we weren’t home or at night. Then he would steal food, electronics, and take showers.
At the time, I had broken my leg so I wasn’t driving and I rarely went out into the garage. And at night, I was essentially stuck on the second floor of my home because my son was at work and I couldn’t use the stairs without assistance. I thought I heard noises after I went to bed and had repeatedly complained to my son, but he was convinced I was hearing things.
Needless to say, the discovery of the squatter was so traumatic that I felt the need to write about it. In the Garage Dweller (released 7/17) the homeowner is a criminal defense attorney named Julianna Constant. She is skilled at emasculating witnesses and hogtying juries, but unprepared to deal with the homeless teenager found living in her garage. As the boy wages an unwinnable battle to stay in her home, Constant struggles to protect her family. Ultimately, the threat to her safety and emotional well-being mounts, and Constant pushes back, falling right into the arms of the new police chief, David Manders--“a man who always carries two sets of handcuffs and uses them for more than just restraining criminals!”
Unfortunately, for my son and I, the story was far from over. We still had bad moments, mostly triggered by some reminder of the event. Then I began to dream about what would happen if the kid returned, and Chapter Six of Kinky Briefs, Thrice--Teafoolery—was born. In that story, Juliana and the Chief have married and are happily ensconced in her home. However, The Garage Dweller returns to seek his revenge, with disastrous results.
Although that story has pretty much ended the saga of The Garage Dweller, I became enamored with the romance between the Chief Manders and Julianna Constant. This summer they will return in another novella, The President’s Wife, set for release on July 4.
In that story, Jules and David travel to Washington, D.C. to join her former college roommate, Marella de la Aerelli, in celebrating her husband’s election as the first president of the newly democratic Republic of Lodatia. Unfortunately, Jules is met with an unpleasant surprise. Her friend of almost 30 years not only looks unwell, she is cold and distant. After Julianna becomes convinced the woman is really an imposter, she attempts to expose the faux Marella by using a secret only she, Marella, and the sitting U.S. President share. In the process, Julianna helps to uncover an international conspiracy to seize control of the new country, a plot where the president’s wife is a pawn in a dangerous and potentially deadly game.
Why did I write that story? Primarily, because I wanted to remind people that even though America will celebrate more than 240 years of freedom on July 4, not every country is free. Many are still struggling for a life where they can determine their own destinies.
The Garage Dweller: https://bit.ly/2tUgRqQ
Kinky Briefs, Thrice: https://bit.ly/2f8K7Wi