“A comedic romp from small town to big city in search of missing money, hair catastrophes, and love. A truly fun read”—Cynthia Hickey, author of the Shady Acres Mystery series.
What happens when a New York stockbroker crashes his car into Eve Castleberry’s North Carolina beauty shop...on the same day the young widow’s defective hair products are causing wild hairdos? Soon Eve finds herself helping the handsome stranger hunt the thieves who stole his client’s cash...and hot on the trail of two of the F.B.I.’s most-wanted criminals! Romance blossoms amid danger, suspense and Eve’s hair-brained plan to get back the money.
The bright May sun beaming through the window of my beauty shop created a stripe across the black shampoo bowl. Every day the ache in my heart reminded me that Eve’s Clips was my life now. I leaned Joyce Westmoreland’s head back and scrubbed her blonde locks. Then I reached for the conditioner on the metal shelf behind the shampoo bowl. The bottle was empty, and it was the last one I had. That ne’er-do-well Durbin Brown hadn’t delivered my products.
A breeze hit me in the face as the door swung open, the pink flowered curtain flapping. “Hello, where have you been? You were supposed to come on Monday.” I held out the container. “I’m out.” My insides boiled at such bad service, not to mention that my creepy new salesman reminded me of Ichabod Crane.
He plopped down several cardboard boxes, ripped the top off one and handed me Strawberry Fields Conditioner.
Durbin pulled a small pad out of his pants pocket, flipped it open, and tapped his foot. “I’m writing a bill for you.”
The building shook. Metal crunched. Bricks fell amid loud scraping.
My nerves vibrated. Durbin’s mouth twitched. Joyce bounded out of her chair, her blue eyes wide.
“Quick, under the vanity,” I yelled out.
Joyce shot to it like a bullet, but Durbin froze. I grabbed his spindly arm and pulled him behind me, the heels on his black boots scraping across the gray laminate floor. “Get under here.” I couldn’t help but use a harsh tone. He hunkered down, and I scooted beside Joyce. He nuzzled into my shoulder and shivered like a wet puppy. My head spun as the walls shook, shards of glass fell, and sheetrock dust trickled into the air.
Finally, the structure stood still and quiet. I crawled out, and my legs nearly buckled under me. Joyce and Durbin followed. Then we all turned toward the window. My heart sank and landed like rock in my stomach.
A blue car stuck through the wall and lower portion of the large glass pane.
Character Interview with Eve and Philip.
Tell us your name and a little bit about yourself?
Eve: Hi, I’m Eve Castleberry. I lost my husband to a drunk driver and I’ve been lonely ever since. My life revolves around Eve’s Clip’s, my beauty shop.
Philip: I’m Philip Wells, a stockbroker. I came to Triville, North Carolina, to service a new account for Make More Money. I can’t believe my new client owns his own mountain, but that’s only one of the many things that have taken me by surprise in this small community.
Tell us about where you live and why you choose to live there?
Eve: I live in Triville because I grew up here. I dated Jordan Castleberry in high school. Then we married, and I opened my beauty shop. I wouldn’t think of living anywhere else.
Philip: I’m from New York. I grew up there, found a job after college and started work.
What is a quirk of your personality that most people wouldn’t know?
E: I’m don’t understand how I could love someone else if I’m still in love with Jordan.
P: I’m a spur-of-the moment kind of guy, working and playing hard. Life’s not to be taken too seriously, but if I see an opportunity I take it.
Name two things you would hate for people to know about you?
E: It makes me jealous when Bonnie Sue flirts with Philip. I’ve not cared for Durbin Brown, my new beauty supply salesman, since the day I met him.
P: I try to like Valerie Klingman, a large investor at Make More Money and one of my best clients, but I can’t. I get tongue-tied around Eve.
Tell us about your special lady/bloke. What makes her/him special?
E: Philip’s a good-looking guy, and he’s very smart. His company wants to secure Mr. Jacobsen’s business really bad, and they sent Philip to do it. Wow! He’s even too smart to fall into Bonnie Sue’s trap. She’s the town flirt. Even though Philip doesn’t know that, he ignores her advances. That endears him to me. He’s a good sport too. He drives that clunker the town mechanic loaned him while he works on Philip’s car. The rickety old thing will barely make it up a hill, but Philip doesn’t complain. He takes it all in stride. He’s persistent too. When he lost his client’s million dollars, he was determined to get it back.
P: Eve is the most gracious woman I’ve ever met, and the kindness in her eyes tells me beauty lives inside her as well as outside. She’s hot. Spending time with her is as good as a day on Narragansett Bay, which is where I go to relax.
The first time you saw her/him, what did you think?
E: The first time I saw Philip I noticed how handsome he was and he seemed kind.
P: The first time I saw Eve I thought she was attractive and very calm considering I’d rammed a car into her beauty salon.
Did you like her/him immediately, or did she/he have to grow on you?
E: No, Philip had to grow on me. I feared he would leave and forget about me after he landed the brokerage account, so I didn’t admit it to myself when I did start to fall for him. Also, I still loved Jordan.
P: I knew immediately Eve was special and I wanted to spend my time in Triville with her. However, when she broke up with me I realized our relationship went much deeper. Actually, the way my stomach felt, at first I wasn’t sure if I had food poisoning, or if it was love.
What would he/she hate people to know about her?
E: Philip would hate for anyone to know how nervous it made him driving the old loaner car until he realized it would chug up the mountains.
P: Eve hates using store bought beauty supplies. It took some convincing for me to make her realize her customers came to her for her wonderful hairdos and not the products.
What is your favourite thing to eat and drink?
E: The pot roast in Bob’s diner with sweet tea.
P: Eve’s brownies. They edge out Bob’s pot roast, but just barely.
If you had to fight, what would be your weapon of choice and why?
E: I’d talk my way out of the fight. Talk was all I ever did with my beauty supply salesman, Durbin Brown, and if I ever wanted to hit someone, it was Durbin.
E: I agree with Eve. I’m not much of a fighter.
Pepsi or coke
P: I’ve grown accustomed to Coca-Cola in New York.
Tea or coffee
E: I love my sweet tea.
P: It depends. If it’s lunch, tea, but if it’s dinner and I’ve enjoyed a great meal, nothing tops it off better than dessert and coffee.
Elephant or tiger
E: I’d love to ride an elephant.
Roast dinner or burger and chips (fries for our US readers)
E: Bob’s pot roast.
P: Bob’s pot roast.
Classical music or pop
E: I like good music. It can be good country, pop or classical like Jeffrey played in the Blue Room when I went there with Philip.
Sunrise or sunset
Walk or run
Chocolate or crisps (chips for our US readers)
What would you like on your epitaph?
E: I’m too young to think about that.
P: Me too. Eve and I have lots of living to do.
Amazon US - Ebook Paperback
Amazon UK - Ebook Paperback
Barnes and Noble paperback
Gail is also offering a free copy of Barely Above Water to one commenter.
Barely Above Water is a Reader’s Favorite 2017 Book Award Winner.
An illness comes out of nowhere and strikes Suzie Morris. Her boyfriend dumps her. She has no living family, and her physician can’t diagnose the malady. Suzie relies on her Christian faith as she faces the uncertainty of the disease, and turns to a renowned alternative doctor in Destin, Florida. She takes a job coaching a county-sponsored summer swim team. She’s determined to turn the fun, sometimes comical, rag-tag bunch into winners. Her handsome boss renews her belief in love, but learns of her mysterious affliction and abruptly cuts romantic ties. Later he has regrets, but can he overcome his fear of losing a loved one and regain Suzie’s trust?
Award-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. A former Grace Awards Finalist and a Reader’s Favorite 2017 Book Award winner, she’s published five books, poems, short stories and two-hundred articles. Some of her articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums. She loves to connect with readers. Visit her website at https://www.gailpallotta.com