Hello, friends! I am not actually here right now as I'm on a road trip to Chicago to see Hamilton - yay! I'm so excited to be seeing the show and also to have Diane Burton as my guest on the blog while I am gone. Diane is here as part of the blog tour for her new release Numbers Never Lie and she's sharing a bit about the novel's Michigan setting. Take it away, Diane!
Thanks so much for having me here today, Julie. I’m excited to share my latest release, Numbers Never Lie, a romantic suspense, that was over fifteen years in the making. Life intrusions made me set this story aside until this year. It was so much fun to finish it and be able to share it with everyone.
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The story takes place in West Michigan, near Grand Rapids, Michigan’s second largest city. Maggie Sinclair’s best friend talked her into helping with a group of girls who loved to camp. When her friend moved away, Maggie “inherited” the group of fourteen-year-olds who desperately want to camp at Isle Royale National Park.
Isle Royale (sounds like “royal”) is a rugged, isolated island in Lake Superior. The only way to get there is by boat or sea plane from Michigan, Wisconsin, or Minnesota. If you want solitude and adventure, it’s a great place. Backpackers, hikers, boaters, fishermen, kayakers, and scuba divers will find plenty to do. Camping on the island is primitive. But, if roughing it isn’t your style, Rock Harbor Lodge is available June through September. Maggie, her friend, and the girls prefer to rough it. Isle Royale and the other 450 surrounding islands make up the National Park.
An abundance of wildlife live on the island. You’re liable to come across moose, wolves, foxes, beavers, squirrels, plus pond life, like frogs, salamanders, and turtles. The girls in Maggie’s group are gearing up for the trip by learning as much as they can about the wildlife. One of the girls, who wants to be an ornithologist, is studying birds in order to recognize the different species. She even has a recording of bird songs so she can identify the sounds they hear.
In preparation for the trip, the girls need to toughen up. Walking every day and hiking each weekend would be ideal. But there’s one glitch. For safety reasons, Maggie won’t take the girls camping without another adult. The moms don’t want to and the dads are too busy. If only someone would volunteer.
When the girls thought all was lost and their camping days were over, Ellen says her dad (Drew) will chaperone their weekend camping trip. Yay!
But did Drew know what he volunteered for?
A shocking secret brings danger to Jack Sinclair and his sister Maggie.
As kids, they were the fearless threesome. As adults, Jack's an accountant; Drew, a lawyer; Maggie, a teacher and camping troop leader. Upon returning from a weekend camping trip, Maggie receives horrifying news. She refuses to believe her brother Jack’s fatal car crash was an accident. If the police won’t investigate, she’ll do it herself. Convincing Drew Campbell to help is her only recourse.
Drew Campbell was too busy to return his best friend’s phone call. Too busy to attend a camping meeting important to his teen daughter. Too busy to stay in touch with Jack. Logic and reason indicate Jack’s accident was just that--an accident caused by fatigue and fog. Prodded by guilt, he’ll help Maggie even if he thinks she’s wrong.
A break-in at Jack’s condo convinces Maggie she’s right. Then her home is searched. What did Jack do that puts Maggie in danger?
Maggie Sinclair wondered for the tenth time that morning why she hadn’t had her head examined before agreeing to Ellen’s offer. The week before, Maggie called off the trip when not one parent volunteered to chaperone. She hated disappointing the girls who had been crushed when their leader moved away. For the past two months, they talked about camping again. But week after week they returned with the same news. Their mothers refused, and their dads were too busy.
So when Ellen said her dad would help, the girls went wild. And Maggie, who should’ve known better, believed Ellen who swore she’d asked and her father agreed. Maggie should have followed up with a phone call, but years of avoiding Drew Campbell prevailed. Years of unreciprocated longing—from when her heart first took notice, through the years when he was single, then when he was married. Except for that one time, she never let him know. Avoidance was best.
Now here she was needing his help with the girls. Preparing them for a week-long camping trip to Isle Royale had been Trish Morrow’s goal when she started the group four years ago. The girls loved roughing it. They just needed more hiking and camping experience before tackling the primitive island in Lake Superior.
Though they’d gotten a late start this morning because of the fog, Maggie noticed the girls’ energy start to flag after the fifth mile of the hike. That was when she put Drew Campbell at the front of the line. From the rear, she watched him trying to set a faster pace—especially after Gretchen’s assurance that they could keep up. The man was in a world of hurt even if he was making a concerted effort not to show it. He looked so trim, so athletic, Maggie had assumed he was in good shape.
Typical desk jockey. He probably got his exercise in a climate-controlled gym. No, wait. In a health club.
For better or worse—and she was afraid worse was the operative word—she was stuck with him for the next thirty hours.
Are we having fun yet? she mocked herself as she tromped through the woods with eight tough little girls on the brink of womanhood and her brother’s best friend. From the back of the line, Maggie watched his long-legged stride and the way his navy golf shirt revealed his strong shoulders and the way his obviously new jeans conformed to his butt. She lifted the tail of the bandanna knotted around her neck and wiped the sweat from her upper lip. She couldn’t blame the sun for the heat coursing through her.
Okay, Sinclair, she told herself, keep your mind on the matter at hand. And not how good Campbell’s butt looked in tight new jeans.
Good Lord, she felt fifteen again—instead of thirty-four. Her stomach in knots, her skin on fire. Lusting after the man who said she kissed like a guppy.
Numbers Never Lie is available at Amazon.
About the Author:
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 mystery series. She is also a contributor to two anthologies: Portals, Volume 2 and How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and five grandchildren.
For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com
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