Character interview – Jerah and Rissa, from Splintered Lies
Today, Jerah and Rissa have granted me some time to answer questions about themselves. They refused to let me post a photograph of them, or reveal where they live. It’s a shame, Jerah is quite handsome and Rissa is his perfect compliment. But they do have compelling reasons for their elusiveness.
“I’m going to start with you, Jerah.” He curls his lips up into a smile and I immediately understand why he was so good at his job. The man is a born charmer. I clear my throat.
“Tell me, Jerah, what is your greatest fear?”
He takes Rissa’s hand and kisses her knuckles. “That I will screw up and lose the hard earned trust Rissa has in me.”
She smiles at him. “I will always trust you, Jerah.”
They are so much in love, I envy them.
“Rissa, what is the trait you most deplore in yourself?”
She lets out a long sigh before answering.
“My inability to just live one day at a time and not fret about what the future may bring.” She brightens. “But I am working on it.”
“Good for you. I admire someone who is willing to admit their weakness and accept the challenge to overcome them.” I turn back to Jerah.
“Jerah, what or who is the greatest love of your life?”
“That one is easy.” Leaning closer to Rissa, he kisses her. “She’s setting right next to me.”
“I guess that was a silly question, wasn’t it? Let’s move on.”
“Rissa, what is your most treasured possession?”
I laugh. “You possess him?”
“You bet she does. And I love every minute of it.” Answers Jerah with a grin.
“”Really, Jerah, you shouldn’t tease so much. No, I don’t possess him, but he is the most important thing in my life. Material things can be replaced.”
“Great answer. Those we love should be our cherished possessions.”
“Jerah, who are your heroes in real life?”
“Again, I’d have to say Rissa. But my former boss, Chief Montoya and FBI Agent Max Terran did a lot to help me when I believed I’d lost her, so I’d say they deserve hero status.”
“They sound like wonderful people. Do you stay in touch with them?”
Shadows fill Jerah’s eyes. “No.”
I almost ask why, but I don’t want to pry into what appears to be a sad topic.
“Rissa, what is your greatest regret?”
She squeezes Jerah hand. “Not letting Jerah know my secrets sooner.”
Now, I’m filled with curiosity. “What secrets?”
“You’re safer not knowing.”
Swallowing, I toss a brief glance over my shoulder.
“Jerah, are there occasions you feel the need to lie?”
A frown crosses his face. “To Rissa? Never. To everyone else? All the time. If you know our story you’ll understand why.”
I blink. “That was straightforward.”
“So, Rissa, do you have a close relationship with your parents?”
She snorts. “Not hardly. My father is dead and my mother is in prison.”
“I’m sorry I asked.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
I hesitate to ask this next question.
“Jerah, what is the worst thing you’ve ever done to someone?”
He runs a hand over his face. “I was bitter against Rissa when she disappeared. While I cursed her, she lay in a coma. I will never get over that terrible, nauseating feeling after I found out.”
“That would be an awful feeling.”
Rissa lays her head on his shoulder. “You’ve more than made up for that, sweetheart.” The purr in her voice almost makes me blush.
“Rissa, what is the first impression people have when they first meet you?”
“That I am a cold bitch. I don’t let people close enough to see anything else. Only a few have ever understood me. It’s not easy living under a constant threat of assassination. I don’t want others close to me, it’s too dangerous.”
“Wow, that must be hard. I can’t imagine the how you function under such a horrific threat. I admire your strength and the obvious love you have for Jerah. I hope you have a long and happy life together. Thank you for responding to these questions.”
“We enjoyed chatting with you, but just for the record, Rissa isn’t cold. She has a big heart and cares deeply about others even if they never realize it. I love her for it. She’s a wonderful woman.”
Rissa smiles. “That’s sweet, Jerah. I love you too. Now we must go, I don’t want to jeopardize anyone by staying too long.”
To learn more about Jerah and Rissa, pick up a copy of Splintered Lies and look for them in the second of my series, Fractured Lies, releasing later this year.
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: SilverTree Publishing
Date of Publication: May 18, 2014
Number of pages: 223
Word Count: 70k
Cover Artist: Karen Lopp
Available at Amazon
Detective Rissa Marten sacrificed her only chance for a normal life to put a drug lord behind bars. Now, her life in the shadows has to be brought to life to save the man she has secretly loved for years. With a price on her head can she risk letting him know?
Detective Jerah Qassem has built his career as an undercover agent in the dangerous world of drug cartels. But when a ghost from his past is resurrected can he overcome his bitterness in time to save her life?
Rissa peeled her eyes open and tossed the pillow off her head. Sun filtered in the room through the cracks of the curtain. A few blinks later, she let out a slow breath. Jerah slept by her side. Propped on her elbows she took a leisurely study of him. Hair mussed and shirtless, his dark toned skin made her mouth water. Two days’ worth of whiskers darkened his firm jaw that hung slightly open. The urge to run her fingers through that curly chest hair pulled at her heart. His abs were ripped and yummy. She grinned and reached out.
A cold fist of reality punched her in the gut and Rissa yanked her hand back. She could never jeopardize Jerah’s life like that, no matter how strong the temptation. Even a date was off limits. She jerked up and rubbed the base of her neck. The last two times she dated, both men ended up dead. Nothing but a deep rooted gut feeling suggested foul play, but she would never take that chance again. Besides, a life on the run didn’t make relationships an option. If Rissa were killed that was one thing, but anyone she ever got close to ended up six feet under. Even though Chief Wassom took her in, she had never gone to any family functions and rarely saw him outside of work.
Rissa tugged on her shoes and cast one last look at Jerah’s bare chest. Would he still be alive if he had taken her up on her offer of sex eight years ago? Somehow, even from prison, her mother managed to find and kill those she cared about. That was a worse punishment than being tortured to death.
A quick survey of the sparsely furnished room reminded her of her place. No family photos, no personal items, and probably frozen dinners in the freezer. She hated to think Jerah lived like this.
Still tired, Rissa padded to the kitchen and peeked inside the refrigerator and frowned. Didn’t Jerah ever have a meal at home? Hungry, she fetched her borrowed jacket and grinned when she spied some cash on the dresser. Jerah hadn’t moved and she flicked another longing glance over him. Look but don’t touch. She did have one thing in common with her mother. They both were in prison. Her mother’s was concrete and bars, hers was forced isolation.
Outside, she glanced up and down the street in search of food. Across the street a few tables sat along the sidewalk and she headed in that direction, grateful Jerah had a hefty stash of cash. She passed a phone store and slipped inside. It was past time to get a cell phone and check in with Montoya.
Phone in hand, Rissa stepped outside and punched in a quick text. Stomach rumbling, she hurried to the burger joint.
Her phone buzzed. “Hello.”
“I think Qassem may be the perp.” Montoya’s sharp tone startled her.
Ice trailed down her spine. “Why?”
“Meet me in one hour in front of the USS Midway Museum.”
Rissa frowned when Montoya hung up on her without any more explanation. Something had happened while she was gone. With a bag of burgers, fries, and two large cokes, she hustled back to Jerah’s apartment. Jerah couldn’t be a murderer. He just couldn’t. A lump formed in her throat. She would have never believed her mother could kill either. But she had, right in front of her.
About the Author:
Stories have always been a part of my life, from books to tales passed down from my ancestors that brought history to life. Danger, struggles and the will power to overcome are all found in the rich legacy of my family tree. Inspiration from their lives inspired me to write what I love. Branching out to contemporary suspense has been another dream come true. I hope my stories bring you entertainment and inspiration.
I love history of all times and places. And my second but equal love of suspense fills my books.
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