Lexie Marshall, heroine of Ride with Me by Ruthie Knox
Holly Henrikson, heroine of “Nightfall” by Laura Griffin
Rebel Yell Culpepper, heroine of “Rebel Rose” by Karin Tabke
Callie Parrish, heroine of “Pick Your Poison” by Roxanne St. Claire
Bobbi Faye Sumrall, heroine of “Bobbie Faye’s Whacked Out, No Good, Really Sucky, Hot Mess of a Wedding” by Toni McGee Causey
Stella Hardesty, heroine of “A Punishing Night” by Sophie Littlefield
LEXIE: Hi, ladies! Wow. I dealt with some tough cookies back when I was a high school teacher supervising detention, but I don’t think I’ve ever been in a room with this many females packing heat. You scare me, ladies. I’ll just have to bear up. So tell me … what’s your favorite way to deal with a threat? Brains, brawn, lead slug? Or do you have some other secret superpower?
HOLLY: I guess I’ll go first. Hi, Lexie. I’m Holly Henriksen. The sign on my shop says I’m a “floral designer,” but really, I’m a starving artist about one missed rent check away from getting booted out of her apartment. My secret weapon? That’s easy. I’m a florist, so people underestimate me. The smart ones don’t do it twice.
LEXIE (laughing): No, I imagine not. I like that. All right, next up. [frowns] Miss Rebel Yell Culpepper?
REBEL: That’s me! Right off the bat, I want to say thank you, Miss Lexie for inviting me to your blog and for taking the time to ask me these questions. This is my very first blog appearance and I have to admit, while I am excited, I’m a little nervous too. I hope I don’t mess anything up. Secondly, it’s not my intention at all to scare you. Even if I could, a high school teacher doesn’t scare easy. Not that I would know. I never gave my teachers a problem, well except for the excessive talking in class but that wasn’t my fault. I—
LEXIE: Maybe you could go ahead and answer the question, Rebel?
REBEL: Oh. Yes, ma’am. Unlike the other ladies, I don’t “pack heat.” Not the kind you’re talking about anyway. I would love to pack some heat, but seeing as how I don’t have a permit to carry a concealed weapon, I wouldn’t want to tempt the law. Not that I would mind if a certain detective by the name of Cash Cantrell patted me down in search of such a weapon. (Don’t tell gran I said that. She’d be mortified.) Most folks are fooled by my southern belle demeanor. Little do they know, I can shoot better than most military snipers. Back home I have a locker full of guns and rifles, all legal, but carrying one in my purse or under my jacket? I don’t have a permit for that. But now that you mentioned it, I don’t see why I shouldn’t have a permit. I suppose it can wait though. Because after I go through the State Bureau of Investigation Academy, I’ll be legal to carry a concealed weapon and use it to serve and protect the citizens of North Carolina! How exciting is that? It’ll be all official—
REBEL: Oh, where are my manners? Sorry. Now, since I don’t ‘pack heat’ (at the moment), I suppose my most effective way to deal with a threat is to face it head on. Gran says my greatest asset, aside from my hair, is my mule-headed tenacity. I just don’t give up. For nothing or no one. It has occasionally gotten me into some trouble, but I just turn that tenacity around to get out of trouble. I will admit that sometimes tenacity needs a little help. Like a nice two by four, a nice big square point shovel or whatever I can get my hands on. Pappy says Trouble is my middle name. Great granpappy says I was named Rebel Yell for a reason. He has said on more than a few occasions that it would be nice if once and awhile I didn’t speak my mind on everything, but I can’t help it. Everything interests me. Especially mysteries. I remember once when I was five and my rag doll went missing. I told gran I was—
LEXIE (to Holly): Is she always like this?
HOLLY: Don’t look at me. They don’t make them like that where I come from.
REBEL: I beg your pardon, Miss Lexie, I didn’t mean to run on like that. In a nutshell, the way I face a threat is by acknowledging my fear, then looking for a weakness to exploit. When all else fails, my pappy taught me how to handle myself, and I’m not past kicking someone’s rear-end if I have to. In fact—
LEXIE (forcefully): Thank. You. Next up. Uh, let’s see, Callie?
CALLIE: Hi, Lexie! I’m Callie Parrish, and I live in the agricultural purgatory known as Madison County, Florida. Unlike some other adventurous ladies you’ll read about, I don’t “pack heat,” unless you mean my handy .22 that I keep by the door to shoot a the occasional rabbit who thinks my the rare roses I grow are his lunch. I’d never shoot a person! Heck, I don’t even swear. Well, until that morning when I went out in the flower beds and found my entire crop of Black Cherry roses stripped and snipped. I might have cussed a bit then, and I was mad enough to kill the next person I saw. And that just happened to be the devil himself who I found in my flower shed—breaking, entering, and stealing my sanity with his jaw-dropping good looks. Before I could catch my breath, he informs me—with some colorful language, I might add—that he’s part of some elite force of security professionals on the hunt for an assassin. I no sooner mention my stolen flowers are quite poisonous than he’s dragging me across the state to help save the governor.
And I may not know how to use a gun as well as this man who calls himself a “Bullet Catcher” (I don’t know what that is, but it sounds hot, and he looks the part), but in the course of that wild afternoon I used my foot to trip a bad guy, my body to melt some life-saving ice, the brains God gave me to stop an assassination attempt, and when I was all done…I used my heart to capture a Bullet Catcher for my very own. I may not carry a gun, but I’m mighty capable without one!
LEXIE: I’m in awe, Callie. And here I thought taming a grumpy, reclusive bike mechanic for my very own was an achievement. [shakes her head] “Bullet catcher.” Where do we find these men?
CALLIE: Well, like I said. In the shed.
LEXIE: Good point. Okay, Bobbi Faye, you’re up.
BOBBI FAYE: Well, thank God you asked me and not anyone else, because I’m just not as crazy as everyone claims. I mean, seriously! I cannot help it if the Governor cried that last time when I had to deal with those terrorists. It’s not like I invited them to try show up and destroy my house, my world, and try to bomb the LSU stadium during the middle of the LSU/Alabama football game, for crying out loud. I can’t help it if a little of the voodoo juju that Ce Ce cast on the crowd made him dance with his clothes off in front of everyone up there in his box, and that his wife saw his girlfriend’s tattoo of his name when they all succumbed and got nekkid and joined in. I was down on the field, gettin’ humiliated, thank you very much. It’s not like I wanted to be down there, doing… I can’t even say it.
And hell, if you’d asked Cam, my detective ex-boyfriend, he’d give you a freaking list the length of the Mississippi of all the things he thinks I do wrong when there are threats, and it’s just not my fault that people with guns who don’t have a fucking clue how to use them keep getting
stupid and pointing them at me. I teach sharpshooting. I’ve won contests around the world. Idiots point a gun at me, idiots are gonna get shot. Idiots are especially gonna get shot if they point a gun at Trevor, my fiancé, because if I don’t shoot ‘em, he will, and I am not even kidding when I tell you he looks like the Hand of God when he goes after the idiots. Hot. Smart. Sexy. Biceps curling up and those abs tightening as his arm levels and his thighs, dear God, his thighs when he takes a stance and… um. What was the question again?
LEXIE: Don’t worry about it. Really, it’s fine. Just … stand over there, will you? Stella, you’re next. You look like you might not hurt me, so I saved you for last.
STELLA: Thanks, Lexie. Secret power, huh? Well, the thing about a guy who beats his wife is, he’s generally not going to see a middle-aged lady as much of a threat. So I’ve got surprise working in my favor. It’s amazing how fast you can get a pair of disposable plastic cuffs on him—he usually hasn’t learned yet that a woman in the proper frame of mind can be faster, smarter, and meaner than he is. Once I’ve got him more or less sitting still, it’s time to dig into my bag o’ tricks—ok, ok, it’s a Rubbermaid tote—and dig out some of my favorite finds from that bondage website. You name it—restraints, whips, floggers, clamps, masks, gags—I’ve built up quite a collection. I’ve got the toys, sugar, and I ain’t afraid to use ’em!”
LEXIE: Huh. I don’t even… You know, you ladies are even scarier than I thought. But I like that about you. Thanks for stopping by!
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