1963, Katherine “Kate” Tate is known for many things: her stunning singing voice, her exquisite taste in fashion, and her striking personality. But when God tells her to pack her bags and go back home, she wants to be only known for her faith in God.
The last thing Kate expects to do upon her return home is to solve a decades old mystery with the help of friends old-enter Reverend Jesse Waters- and new alike. The mystery isn’t supposed to have anything to do with Kate, so then why does every clue seem to lead right back to the doorsteps of the Tate family?
Can Kate do it all? Represent her new faith? Right the wrongs of her past? Fix her family’s problems? And figure out the curse?
Just got it back from my editor and beta readers. Should be out in a few weeks! I’m very, very excited about this book. Kate is so different from any other heroine that I’ve ever written. I can honestly say that most of my heroines have a little bit of me in them…except for Kate. I deliberately wrote her to do exactly the opposite of just about everything I would do. It was fun. She’s fun. And I hope you like her just as much as I do. Because of the delay. Here’s an excerpt:
Fame, like most addictions, is tough to quit. I knew I had to end the cycle, but the desire for glory kept tapping me on the shoulder, asking me if I wanted to dance. And oh, how I wanted to dance.
Behind the faded velvet curtain, I closed my eyes and inhaled the stale, warm scent of nicotine and beer. On stage, the drums began to pound out a steady beat. My blood hummed and my hips began to sway of their own volition.
I loved the adrenaline rush of standing before a packed house and hearing them chant my name as they waited for me to take the stage: “Cor-i-na! Cor-i-na!” I swayed in time to the syllables. Somers’ was always packed on a Saturday night. Tonight was no different.
“Oh, Katie!” my assistant Betty shrieked. She rushed up to me and fluffed up my hair. “I can’t believe this is the last time,” she said in her shrill voice I had come to hold dear. Betty pulled out a spray can, misting a cloud of hair oil over me. “There. Now, you’re ready, Katie.” She giggled. “Oh, I mean Corina.”
Corina was my stage name, my alter ego. She was exciting, worldly and sophisticated. And so very stupid. And this was the last time she would be making an appearance in this life.
I reached out and gripped Betty’s hands, suddenly overcome with doubt. I knew this life, this world of show business. I didn’t know anything about the life that was coming next.
“We’re going to miss you so much,” she gushed. “Me, Bobby, Yvette, Jimmy…”
The bubble popped. I let go of her hands. She had said the magic word: Jimmy. “I’ll miss you too, Betty,” I said softly. I blinked back the tears that clouded my eyes. It had taken me almost an hour to get my makeup just right.
“And here’s Corina,” Bobby sang out from the stage. That was my cue. I walked out slowly, sashaying to the beat of the drums in my skintight red dress. It hugged my curves, and I had many of them. Folks saw me coming. And they saw me going. I made my way to the center of the stage.
“Are we ready to have fun tonight?” I asked, making sure my voice was deep and throaty. “Hit it, boys,” I said to the band and swayed to the familiar intro of Billie Holiday’s “Easy Living.” I looked out into the audience searching for the one person I was singing this song for tonight: Truitt Tate.
Finally I spotted him lounging at the bar in the back of the room, no doubt drinking a Coke. I gave him my brightest smile, winked, and started singing. He would like the song; it had been our mama’s favorite… once upon a time.
“I’m ready,” I said, striding toward the bar with my clutch under my arm. My hair was hidden beneath my scarf due to the summer-in-Chicago humidity. I twirled the sunglasses I didn’t need, seeing as it was dark out.
“Going to miss you, Katie,” Bobby said and dropped my suitcase down at my feet. He shuffled a bit, still hot and sweaty from being the master of ceremonies earlier for the show. I reached out and patted his cheek.
“Take care, dear,” I told him. He pulled me into a hug and then left abruptly. Bobby didn’t like goodbyes. I looked at Truitt. He was still sitting on his stool from earlier in the show. I was pretty sure he hadn’t moved an inch. He looked me up and down before shaking his head. I had exchanged my skintight red dress for a fitted, low-cut white blouse with flowers on it and a bright yellow skirt. I raised my eyebrows at him. If it wasn’t tight, it wasn’t right. Truitt turned, tossed back the rest of what had to be his fifth Coke of the night, and stood up.
“All right. Let’s go then, Katie.”
“Katherine,” my now ex-boss said from behind me. I turned and looked at Jimmy Somers. He was tall, dark, handsome, and a whole mess of trouble.
“James,” I said, trying to keep my voice level. I met his eyes. I wasn’t sneaking out of here. I had nothing to hide.
“That’s it, baby? You’re just going to leave?” His expression was both harsh and pleading.
“She’s not your baby,” Truitt said. He reached forward, grabbing my arm. “And yes, she’s just going to leave.”
Jimmy looked at Truitt, his teeth clenching. Any softness he had previously had on his face was gone. “I don’t know who you think you are, just waltzing in here—”
“I’m her brother and you were her employer and she quit,” Truitt broke in, using that familiar hard-edged voice of his. He was going to explode soon if I didn’t get him out of here. And believe, me there was nothing I wanted more than to see Truitt put a hurting on Jimmy, but Truitt had already done enough for me.
I patted Truitt’s hand, looked up at him, and smiled. He grunted.
“Jimmy. My contract is up. It’s over. And I’m leaving,” I said, meeting his eyes. I was leaving his club, I was leaving Corina, and I was leaving him.
Jimmy’s head went back as though I had physically struck him. “Katherine,” he said softly, in that voice he had used on me so many times. “If you just give me some more time, I’ll marry you. We’ll be together. Just like I promised.”
“That’s enough,” Truitt cut in. “You stay away from my sister. Go home to your wife.” Truitt pulled on my arm. “Let’s go, kid.”
Truitt reached down and picked up my lone suitcase. I had packed up everything else earlier in the week, sending it ahead to Truitt’s house. I had wanted this to go as smoothly as possible. I followed behind Truitt. I didn’t look back.