Today, we get to hear from another lovely Dreamspinner author, Jana Denardo! Give her a warm welcome!
As of late I’ve been working with characters who already have families. I’m not sure why exactly. I do think, however, the kids add another dimension to the story. In Kept Tears, Rhys is a bisexual fae with children centuries older than his current lover. That was a great deal different than what the characters face in If Two of Them Are Dead.
Abraham Westbrook is a millionaire who both inherited his money and made his own millions. Growing up, he was well indoctrinated with the idea that he would be the head of the family and the business one day. He needed heirs, and his father had no compunction about selecting Abraham a bride from a good family. Abraham had no desire to be married, but had accepted it was inevitable for a man of his status. He had to satisfy his own desires in the Molly houses of NYC, bearing no small amount of guilt and shame in doing so.
His wife, Minerva, had been a compromise with his father. Minerva was bright and inventive and his best friend even though he didn’t greatly desire her. They had three children, Abe, his first born son and namesake and then the twins, Harrison and Vivian. Minerva died in childbirth along with their second daughter. He mourned the loss of his friend, but felt absolutely no need to remarry. Abraham ignored the demands of society to take another wife for the sake of his children. He considered his duty done.
Abraham is naturally aware of the fact Victor takes the children as a sign that Abraham would have no interest in him. It also put Abraham in a bind. He doesn’t want to hurt his children in any way and he wants to have a relationship with Victor. However, their relationship, by necessity in this time period, has to be a closeted one. When Victor proves to be good with kids, Abraham is relieved. There may be pitfalls ahead as the kids get older, but for now “Uncle Victor” is a positive influence in their lives.
Thanks to Grace for having me over today.
If Two of Them Are Dead
Called to Hyde Park, New York, ex-Air Corpsman turned detective Victor Van Voorhis comes to only three conclusions about his newest case: the gulf between his status and the wealthy Westbrook family is no trifling matter; someone brutally killed a young mother; and the victim’s brother-in-law is one of the most intriguing men Victor has ever met.
Inventor Abraham Westbrook lost his wife five years ago and is worried about the effect another death in the family will have on his children. He spends most of his time tinkering with steamships, but even his inventions can’t distract him from wishing Victor was in his life for any reason other than a murder investigation—one where Abraham himself is a suspect. He’s hidden his desires all his life, but no longer. Somehow, he’ll catch the detective’s eye.
With murder standing between them and a killer stalking the Westbrooks, Abraham and Victor’s chance at happiness could go up in steam.
Abraham’s head lifted from whatever he had been peering at so closely, spread out over the table. Spotting Victor, he smiled as bright as the gold coin sun in the sky. “Victor, what brings you here?” he called. His younger son swiveled around to see who his father was talking to, and his brother slammed the shuttlecock back, scoring a point.
Realizing he’d lost a point, Harrison stamped a foot. “No fair!”
“Harrison, you took your eye off the game. Accept the point with grace,” Abraham said, and Harrison huffed at him, picking up the shuttlecock. He stuck his tongue out at his brother and batted the cork back.
“I didn’t mean to disrupt your afternoon,” Victor said, taking a few reluctant steps forward.
“Nonsense. Please join us. The children are ridding themselves of excess energy.” Abraham looked at his daughter. “Or waiting their turn to do so.”
“They won’t run out of steam any time soon,” Miss Wedderburn said.
Victor hadn’t even seen her sitting closer to the wall of the house, sewing buttons onto clothing from a pile on the chair next to her. Miss Wedderburn also had a couple of Vivian’s dresses and a bag next to them with artificial flowers peeking out. She was most likely going to alter the dresses for the season. Some observant detective he was. He’d been far too concerned with Abraham and feeling his body close to his.
“So, do join us. Cook has fixed lemonade. It’s quite refreshing, more so than the drivel I’m putting down on paper.” Abraham shot a baleful glare at the papers on the table.
“What are you attempting to do?”
“Something with a persnickety engine upgrade, and I might have Vivian finish it, for all the good my brain is doing.” Abraham slapped a hand against the papers.
“Let’s have a look.” Victor sat down, and peered at the papers. He wasn’t even sure why he said that. It would look improper, him pretending to help.
Jana Denardo’s career choices and wanderlust take her all over the United States and beyond. Much of her travels make their way into her stories. Fantasy, science fiction, and mystery have been her favorite genres since she started reading, and they often flavor her works. In her secret identity, she works with the science of life and gives college students nightmares. When she’s not chained to her computer writing, she functions as stray cat magnet.
Jana is Queen of the Geeks (her students voted her in) and her home and office are shrines to any number of comic book and manga heroes along with SF shows and movies too numerous to count. There is no coincidence the love of all things geeky has made its way into many of her stories. To this day, she’s still disappointed she hasn’t found a wardrobe to another realm, a superhero to take her flying among the clouds or a roguish star ship captain to run off to the stars with her.
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