Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Friday Five Delayed

Because I was participating in a blog hop, the Friday Five was put on hold until today! Here are 5 things you may not know about B&Bs (Bed and Breakfasts)

1.    The custom of opening private homes to travelers in the United States dates back to the time before the colonies became the United States.

2.      During the Great Depression, enterprising folks earned extra money by putting a sign in their yards reading Tourists or Guests.
3.    After World War II, people who traveled in Europe brought home the idea of B&Bs to this country.
4.      B&Bs have evolved from rooms in private homes to restored historic homes, old schools, churches, and even cabooses which increases their tourist value.
5.      In recent years, many B&Bs have begun to offer amenities and services formerly only found in hotels: spa services, weddings, internet connections, and meeting spaces.

Penelope Pembroke opens the Kelley family home as a B&B to support Mayor Harry Hargrove’s campaign to resuscitate the little town of Amaryllis AR after its major job source closed. Her father Jake moves downstairs to a little apartment formerly occupied by live-in servants in the early days of the house. Penelope also turned the attic into a family-friendly accommodation. Only Abijah the cat takes offense to the new enterprise. (Read his “interview” on page 2 of this blog, Typed Tales.)
Life moves on smoothly until the night a scroungy biker with a Yankee accent strolls into the local honky-tonk, flattens Penelope at the sound of gunfire, and then disappears—until later that night when he shows up at her back door, slightly injured but very much on the run from his biker buddies. She patches him up and lets him stay in one of her empty rooms.
Before she knows it, she’s on the run, too—and with her ex-husband’s young soon-to-be ex-live-in girlfriend! Is Tiny the Biker/aka Sam protecting them or setting them up?

From The Bogus Biker

  Penelope tried without success to see her father, but the biker’s weight crushed her against the splintery wooden floor. Arms and legs spread-eagled like a turtle pinned under a rock, she thought she could feel her eyes bulging. “Daddy?”
  “He’s all right.” The biker’s voice, no hint of its former twang, came out clipped and correct. “Be still, and be quiet.”
Yankee, she thought with automatic contempt. “You’re squashing me.”
  He lifted his body slightly but kept his fingers around her wrists, rendering her arms immobile.
  “What’s going on?” she asked.
  “Not sure. Be quiet.”
  “Hush up, Nellie, “Jake hissed from somewhere.
  She heard chairs crashing around her. The jukebox went silent as the front door flew open against it. Feet stampeded in that direction. The cooler above them groaned and sputtered, sending droplets of water spattering down. Suddenly, the biker heaved his body upwards. She rolled over in time to see him disappear toward the back. Then the wail of police sirens displaced the eerie silence left behind by the exodus of patrons.
  Jake stood over her, his posture reminiscent of the soldier he had been a long time ago. “For heaven’s sake, get up off the floor, Nellie. Brad’s going to come walking through that door any minute, and he’s gonna be shocked enough seeing you here, much less with your skirt hiked up to your drawers.”
  Penelope fumbled with her turquoise, red, and yellow broomstick skirt and scrambled to her feet.   “Out the back,” she said. “Hurry.”
  With Jake at her heels, she headed down the short hall, past the restrooms that never smelled exactly clean, toward what Roger euphemistically called the ‘fire door’, and flung it open. Officer Rosabel Deane, the police department’s newest recruit, smiled. “Going somewhere, Mrs. Pembroke?”
  “I guess not,” Penelope said, tugging at the yellow knit pullover that had edged its way above her waistband. “Office Deane, isn’t it?”
  “Yes, ma’am. You want to just step back inside?”
  “Do I have a choice?”
  The young officer’s dark eyes danced with mirth. “No, ma’am, I’m afraid you don’t.”
  Penelope sighed and turned around. Jake, already on his way back in the main area, motioned her to the table they’d vacated. Her unfinished Reuben lay wet and limp beside the overturned water glass. She pushed it away.
 Jake’s eyes focused on the front door. In a few minutes his grandson, newly-minted Detective Sergeant Bradley Pembroke, strode in with one hand resting on the butt of his undrawn nine millimeter Glock. “How-do, Brad,” he said, touching his forehead in a mock salute.
  “Pawpaw! What in the…Mother!” His generous mouth, inherited like his mother’s from the Irish Kelleys, opened in a perfect ‘O’. Penelope resisted the urge to reach up and close it for him.             
  Bradley moved closer to the table and leaned down. “What are you two doing here?”
  “Having a Reuben and a beer,” Jake said. “At least, I’m having a beer. Your mother’s drinking water.”
  Bradley closed his eyes briefly. “Why tonight? Do you know…”  He straightened up and tried to rearrange his face to look like the hardboiled cop he aspired to appear. “Just sit there, and don’t move. I’ll get back to you two later.”
  Penelope looked around for Roger and saw him leaning against the far end of the bar. She’d heard her ex-husband say that raids, while not the norm, never bothered Roger Sitton. “He likes the excitement,” Travis said once.
  The four bikers, along with everyone else who had been in the Sit-n-Swill, had effected a get-away. Everyone, Penelope thought, except Daddy and me, thanks to that sleazy biker character. She glanced across the table at her father and rolled her eyes. He winked.
  “Was that a gunshot we heard?” she whispered.
  “Reckon it was. Check out the mirror behind the bar.” He nodded toward Officer Parnell Garrett who was examining a thin web of cracks that ran out from a single hole. “What kind?” Penelope asked.
  “I’d say a thirty-eight. At least it didn’t hit anybody.”
  “Do you think it was meant to, or was it just a random shot? Somebody raising he…Cain.”
  “Neither, if you ask me.”
  “What makes you think that?”
  “I saw one of those biker fellows take something out of his vest pocket. Could’ve been a gun.”
  “They hadn’t had time to drink enough to get mean.”
  Jake shook his head. “Diversion. Cover.”
  “Cover for what?”
  “The shipment maybe.”
  Penelope digested that. “Those four bikers got out of here in a hurry.”
  “Three,” Jake said.
  Penelope tried not to smile. “Oh, you heard him, too?”
  “Yankee. Some fancy school back east. Had a lot of them in the army during the war. Couldn’t understand most of what they said.” Jake chuckled. “Always hated it when one of ‘em started yelling at us through a megaphone when we were training. We didn’t know what the Sam Hill he wanted us to do.”
“So the biker rig was a disguise? Interesting.”
Jake lowered his voice. “What about those fellows who stayed last night—the ones who got your curiosity going?”
“Come to think of it, they talked like that, too. Yankees.”
  Jake nodded.
  Bradley skirted overturned chairs as he crossed the floor. “You two see anything?”
  “Bikers,” Jake said. “I think one of ‘em might’ve fired the shot.”
  “You saw him do it?”
  “No, just saw him take something out of his pocket. Couldn’t swear to what it was.”
  “So who was in here?” Bradley asked.
  “None of the regulars,” Penelope spoke up.
  “I hope you don’t consider yourself a regular here.” Bradley’s well-shaped eyebrows came together at the bridge of his nose. “If you want a Reuben, you can get one at the Daisy CafĂ©.”
  “They close at five-thirty,” Jake said. “Besides, Roger’s are better. And I can get a beer. Ben’s never bothered to get a liquor license at the Daisy. ‘Course, there might be a reason he can’t…”
  Bradley huffed and waved a dismissive hand. “What else did you see? Anybody you haven’t seen before?”
  “Just the bikers,” Penelope said. “Four.”
  “One took quite a shine to your mamma,” Jake said.
  “Not now, Daddy.”
  “One of them was hitting on you?” Bradley’s face turned red.
  “Nothing so dire,” Penelope said. “Nothing I couldn’t handle.”
  “Tonight of all nights,” Bradley muttered.
  “Why do you say that?” his mother asked. “Something going on?”
  “You know I can’t tell you that.”
  “I think you just did. The entire police force—all five of you, minus Chief Malone, naturally, didn’t show up for nothing. Besides, you got here before anybody had time to call.”
  “How do you know that?”
  “Because the phone is in the back, and Roger was behind the bar when the shot was fired and still in the exact same spot when I got up off the floor. So you had to know in advance that…”
  “Go home, Mother,” Bradley said, narrowing his eyes in what Penelope supposed he thought was a menacing expression but had always reminded her of the way he looked during pollen season when he had allergies as a child. “Just be glad you didn’t get arrested.”
  “For what? Besides, you wouldn’t arrest me.  Who’d give the guests at the B&B breakfast tomorrow morning? Who’d feed Abijah?”

And here are five bonus facts:

  1. To get readers started with this six-book series, The Bogus Biker is priced at only 99 cents for the foreseeable future. 
  2. You can find interviews with some of the main characters here
  3. You can win a FREE COPY of The Bogus Biker here Follow the link for 'contests. And...
  4. While you're that page, click on Penelope Pembroke to see a video trailer.
  5. You can hear what Abijah the cat thinks about the whole situation by clicking on the link for Typed Tales at the top of the page.

Get hooked on a good clean read!

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