Pandemonium on the Peninsula by Valerie J. Clarizio
Character interview with Deputy Ryan Larson.
Bio: Ryan grew up in Door County Wisconsin. Being the son of a two law enforcement officers he chose that career as well. Ryan is twenty-six years old. His hobbies are fishing and hunting, and he is a sports fanatic.
- What is your biggest fear? What frightens you the most?
My biggest fear is having my sister out-hunt or out-shoot me. Park Ranger Talia Johnson frightens me the most (Secret: Talia will be shifting from enemy to love interest before Ryan can count to 100).
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself being promoted to sergeant.
- What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
Shopping. There, you pried it out of me. My guilty pleasure is shopping. I’m a kitchen gadget guy. If it’s a kitchen item from ‘As seen on TV,’ it’s in my kitchen.
- What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was real young I wanted to be a professional wrestler. My friends and I even made our own wrestling ring in the backyard.
- What is your favorite pet?
My parents had two Siamese cats. They were brilliant. They could do tricks like dogs and everything.
Ryan Larson is the main character in Pandemonium on the Peninsula which is a short story set in Door County Wisconsin and will soon be released in a romance anthology featuring 11 beach stories. The anthology is titled Stories of Sun, Sand and Sea…11 Beaches where anything can happen.
Stories of Sun, Sand and Sea: 11 Beaches – Anything Can Happen
A summer breeze, sandy shore, and sparkling waters. Is it the perfect setting for love or something more dangerous?
First loves, second chances, mystery, and intrigue, even murder.
Drift away with this collection of stories about Sun, Sand and Sea to 11 beaches…where anything can happen.
Word count: Roughly 135,000
Amazon : http://amzn.to/29ibeKI
Talia’s eyes felt clamped shut. She aspired to open them, yet she was too tired and wanted to sleep. If not for those annoying beeping sounds, or the fact she felt frozen to her core, there wouldn’t be a problem. She shivered.
Why am I so cold?
It was the middle of summer; that didn’t make sense.
In her half-awake state, she recalled the dream she’d had about the fireworks explosion at the park. One heck of a nightmare, and seemed so real. When she got to work today, she hoped things wouldn’t turn out that way.
“Talia,” an unfamiliar voice spoke.
She worked to open her eyes and attempted to speak, but something blocked her voice.
A vision of a blurry woman leaned over her. “Hello, you came out of surgery a while ago. You’re doing good. I’ll be back in a bit to take out the breathing tube. You just keep resting.”
A surge of panic ripped through her. Breathing tube? What’s going on?
After blinking several times, her vision began to get clearer. A few more times, another minute, should do the trick.
Talia swung her gaze around the room. The white walls looked freshly painted. Equipment with monitors lined her bedside next to a couple of IV drips. Muffled voices echoed just beyond the curtain barrier blocking her view. That beeping noise continued to annoy her.
Think, Talia, think. What happened?
It took only moments for realization to set in. What she’d thought a dream, wasn’t. The fireworks explosion had actually happened.
Her pulse pounded. Her body quivered. Tears flooded her eyes.
All those injured people.
She’d thought her own injuries were minor. Just a few burns and cuts, even the one under her arm. Though it had given her a bit of grief, she’d assumed she could deal with it when time permitted.
Evidently, I was wrong.
The last thing she remembered was leaning against a tree and trying to catch her breath.
He’d approached her, and she’d collapsed into his arms. Deputies normally didn’t show emotion on scene, and the concern in his eyes had scared her.
Vague memories surfaced of him laying her on the backseat of his squad. Leaning forward, he’d gently pressed his lips to her forehead.
“Stay with us, sweetheart. I’ll get you to the hospital. Everything will be okay.”
She’d shivered from the cold, yet her forehead warmed in the spot Ryan had kissed her. She had longed for that kiss from the first day she’d laid eyes on him. Every time he’d arrived on scene, her heart fluttered so hard she could hardly think straight. Confident and competent, he was always in control. She admired him.
But that nasty dark cloud always hovered. Disappointment because he’d participated in that damn bet. When it came to Ryan Larson, her brain and heart battled, and her mouth always spoke her mind.
The nurse returned. “Let’s get this tube out of you now.”
Reactively, Talia coughed and gagged as the nurse removed the tube from her throat.
“How you doing?” the woman asked.
Talia swallowed hard. Her sore throat itched. “Groggy.”
“That’s to be expected. It will pass soon. By the way, you have some men anxiously waiting to see you. We’ll get you to them shortly.”
She assumed one would be her dad, but could the other be Ryan? She willed him to be here.
Lights flashed overhead as the nurse wheeled her into another room, similar to the one she’d just left. The quick rushes of light made her stomach queasy. She swallowed hard a few times to tamp it down. Slowly but surely it began to work.
Within minutes, her dad bounded through the doorway. Her heart panged at the concern in his red-stained eyes.
He flew to her side. “You gave me quite the scare. The doctor said everything went well.”
Talia didn’t have enough breath to speak.
“They repaired the puncture in your lung.” He brushed a strand of hair off her cheek. “You’ll be fine in time.”
“Men,” Talia whispered gruffly.
“What?” He leaned closer.
“Nurse said…men here.”
A smile tugged at his lips. “Ryan’s here. Just waiting for the go ahead to come in and see you.”
“Do you really need to ask that, honey?”
She closed her eyes. Tears escaped the corners and slid down her face.
She opened her eyes. .
Her dad’s sober gaze grabbed hold of hers. “You can’t be afraid to love someone out of fear of losing them. I know what it did to you when your mother died, and you saw what it did to me. But don’t block your heart off like this. Yes, I lost your mother way too soon, and as painful as that was, is…I wouldn’t hesitate to love her all over again, even knowing I’d lose her too soon. Our time together, our love for each other, was worth every heartbeat, far outweighing my pain now.”
Talia lay silent, processing her dad’s words. He was right. She’d intentionally pushed Ryan away in fear of potential heartache. “But…the bet.” She whispered, unable to let it go.
“I think you need to ask Larson about it. You may be surprised at his response. Trust me.”
No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t deny her feelings for him. When he’d held her gently in his arms as he’d carried her to his squad, she’d never felt so safe and secure. And when he’d kissed her so tenderly on the forehead, she never felt so cared about by someone other than her parents.
Valerie Clarizio lives in romantic Door County Wisconsin with her husband and two extremely spoiled cats. She loves to read, write, and spend time at her cabin in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
She’s lived her life surrounded by men, three brothers, a husband, and a male Siamese cat who required his own instruction manual. Keeping up with all the men in her life has turned her into an outdoors enthusiast, of which her favorite activity is hiking in national parks. While out on the trails, she has plenty of time to conjure up irresistible characters and unique storylines for her next romantic suspense or sweet contemporary romance novel.
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- Posted in: Book Set