Let’s welcome the heroine from Tender Misdemeanors to the hot seat with an exclusive interview with yours truly.
What’s your name?
What do you look like?
Maybe 5’8” in my boots; blonde, shoulder-length hair, green eyes, pretty fit build. Gotta say I look pretty sharp in my uniform. *wink*
What time period does your story take place?
What’s your goal in this story?
Since I work for the Bureau of Land Management in Kalispell, Montana, my assignment most recently has been to track down cases of ecotage—people who are trying to sabotage legal cutting of the old forests. But once I meet ecotager Levi Bradshaw, my life turns upside down, and then I’m trying to stay alive, and keep those I love alive as well.
What did you think the first time you saw Levi Bradshaw?
I was pretty sure he was going to shoot my ass. Or his big Rhodesian Ridgeback would eat me. One or the other.
What is your family like?
My mother died when I was young, and my police officer father raised me and my younger sister Trescha. I really helped to raise my sister….she’s turned into a hippy-dippy pagan. I wish she’d just learn to be a real grown-up. Now that my father’s gone, she and I only have each other.
What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?
I always wanted to be a member of the FBI. I studied real hard, and got right to the last rung before I failed the tests. I mean, my dad was an officer, and his dad was an officer, so I’d never considered anything else. After I got over that failure, I looked around for what else was available in law enforcement, and this job for the BLM popped up. I get to spent a lot of time out in the natural world, which I really love, so maybe this is where I was supposed to be all along.
Do you see morality as black-and-white, or with shades of gray?
Ha! That’s a funny question. For a long time, I would have told you I see things black and white. A lot of law enforcement types do. But after I met Levi, the question of who was right and who was wrong in this growing disaster certainly sank into a mass of gray tones. Truly, what is legally right may not be the moral choice, and when you have to do the moral thing, sometimes you end up breaking the law.
Caryn Orlane has law enforcement in her blood; her father was a cop, and his father, too. She’s a federal agent in northwest Montana, protecting the old forests and keeping the peace.
Levi Bradshaw also believes in protecting the forests, but has a very different MO. He’s the leader of a group of eco-warriors, determined to save the trees of the Bitterroot by legal—and illegal—means.
When they meet in the woods at gunpoint, their encounter ignites a spark of interest, despite operating on opposite sides of the law. When their worlds turn on them, they only grow closer. If they don’t work together, can either survive?
Levi said, “All I’m asking is for you to bend a little. You try to keep an open mind. I know you do, because you didn’t shoot me yesterday. Not even in the kneecap.” A faint smile. “I guarantee you that if you leave this alone, right here, right now, that you won’t see us again in this area. And no one will get hurt.”
Now wait a minute. Was he dissing her lack of action? That jab about the kneecap. She could have winged him, sure, but he had his own gun. He might have shot her dead. Then what enforcement action would she have been able to take, hmm? None.
Indecision tore at her. Did he really expect her to believe his so-called ‘guarantee’? He’d violated a host of state and federal laws that she was duty-bound to uphold. So why didn’t she?
He leaned forward, studying her intently. “Look, I think my guys know who you are. Not like BLM and our groups are best friends, you know? Could be dangerous for us to be seen together, for both of us.” He reached for her hand, but she pulled back. He chuckled. “On the other hand, there’s just too few beautiful, intelligent women here on the mountain to let you just walk away. I want to see you again.”
And there she had her answer. As he kept talking, her insides melted like expensive chocolate in a fondue pot. Something drew her to this man, and until she could sort out her feelings, she wanted to believe what he said about this being the end of the violence here.
She knew she couldn’t be dissuaded by his fancy talk, though. He had pointed a gun at her. He had to face consequences. She dug in her pocket for her cuffs, but he didn’t wait. He suddenly stood up, gathered his paper and his check. “I know where to find you,” he said, then he walked up to the counter, dropping the check and some paper money by the register. He was out the door before Caryn recovered her composure.
She jumped up, catching the edge of the narrow table with her hip, knocking the glassware sideways with a loud clatter. Everyone turned to look at her. Embarrassed, her face a flush of heat, she maneuvered her way out of the crowded restaurant, even those waiting in line at the door to be seated blocking her, until she could get outside.
He was gone. Again.
I know where to find you, he’d said. Was it fair that those words filled her with anticipation? And it had nothing to do with her job. Nothing at all.
“That’s it. I’m going straight to hell,” she muttered. She climbed into her truck and headed back to her office.
Alana Lorens has been a published writer for more than forty years. Currently a resident of Asheville, North Carolina, she loves her time in the smoky blue mountains. One of her novellas, THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE, is set in the city of Asheville during the old Bele Chere festival. She lives with her daughter, who is the youngest of her seven children, two crotchety old cats, and five kittens of various ages.
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Alana-Lorens/e/B005GE0WBC/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1