Category Archives: Novels Set in Fictional Places

5. Novels Set in Fictional Places

Michelle Major. A Brevia Beginning. Don Mills, Ontario: Harlequin, 2014.

aBreviabeginning“Something had changed in her when she’d chosen her act of rebellion. From the start, she’d known he’d find out, and she’d understood there would be hell to pay. She also believed it couldn’t be worse than the hell she called a life.”

From the day she was adopted at six years old, Lexi Preston has done everything she can to be the perfect daughter to her adopted father, Robert Preston – this includes following in his footsteps to become a lawyer in his firm. All of that ended when Lexi went behind her father’s back and gave the opposing client information. The Prestons’ clients, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, were trying to dig up dirt on Julia Morgan, the mother of their grandchild, so that they could gain custody of their grandson Charlie. Taking note of how Julia kept fighting even with all the odds piled against her, Lexi decided to help her out, knowing that it would mean “hell to pay.” When Robert Preston found out, he publicly humiliated Lexi and kicked her out of his life. With nowhere else to turn, Lexi travels to Brevia, North Carolina in search of Julia, who is now Julia Callahan and married to the police chief of Brevia. Julia isn’t too keen on helping out the woman who made her life a living hell during the custody battle, but she wouldn’t have ended up being able to keep her son Charlie if it wasn’t for Lexie. So, she offers to get Lexie a job working at Riley’s Bar.

United States Marshal Scott Callahan is in need of some time away from it all after losing his partner during a botched arrest. Not ready to face the interrogation from the Marshals office or the constant questions from others, Scott finds himself at Riley’s Bar in the hometown of his father, Joe, and brother, Sam. Also not ready to face his family, Scott decides to drown his sorrows for a while. Scott ends up in an argument with the bar owner which results in Scott buying the bar, with the help of a legal contract drawn up by one of the waitresses, Lexi Preston. Lexi is the worst waitress the town has ever seen. After Scott recovers from his drunken night, he and Lexi make a deal – Scott gets to share her two bedroom apartment and Lexi won’t hear mention of her getting fired for the month she plans to stay.

Sparks flew between the two on the night they first met; the close quarters instituted by both working at the bar together and living together only adds fuel to the fire. However, this arrangement is only temporary. Scott knows his greatest talent is the ability to mess everything up. He can’t expect to ever be good enough for Lexi. On the other hand, Lexi has never been on her own. She doesn’t know if she can make a life without her father, but this may be just an adventure that will end when her father is ready to take her back. When Lexi stands up to her father, letting him know that she won’t be coming back, will Scott be able to give up the action of U.S. Marshals Service and settle into the small-town life?

A Brevia Beginning is the third novel set in the fictitious town of Brevia North Carolina. The series continues to show that small-towns can have big-city action.

Check out this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Major, Michelle, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship

Elizabeth Spann Craig. Progressive Dinner Deadly. United States: Elizabeth Spann Craig, 2013.

progressivedinnerMyrtle Clover and her best friend Miles are planning a coup in the fictional town of Bradley, North Carolina. Today at book club, they’ll suggest the reading of actual literature. Myrtle even has a back-up plan, in case things aren’t looking too good for this suggestion. What Myrtle didn’t plan for is for her horrible neighbor, Erma Sherman, to chime in when the question of changing the book club is brought up.

Erma proposes a supper club, making it look like Myrtle was hinting at this suggestion. Myrtle wishes Erma would focus on the crabgrass that keeps creeping over into Myrtle’s yard and keep her proposals to herself! Nevertheless, the suggestion of a supper club is met with enthusiasm all around –even Miles is looking excited. Many in the group are even more enthusiastic for the idea of a progressive dinner, a dinner in which the group will go from house to house throughout the night, enjoying different courses at different houses. Myrtle is completely against this idea until she is complimented on her blackberry cobbler and asked to host the dessert portion of the night.

The supper club is off to a rowdy start when guests who weren’t even a part of book club show up at Miles’s house. The event soon takes a turn for the worse when Jill and her sister, Willow, get into an argument over Jill’s husband’s taste for drinking. After that, the night continues to deteriorate, from Willow’s house where the hostess isn’t there at their arrival and then rushes off, to Jill’s house where the group is greeted by a drunken Cullen, Jill’s husband. Nevertheless, that isn’t the worst of it–that comes when Myrtle finds Jill in the kitchen, lying in a puddle of blood.

Myrtle is soon using her detective skills to search out the suspects, and she isn’t against relying on charitable acts to get close to them. Just as it seems like Myrtle has solved the case and avoided danger, there is an unexpected action that sheds new light on the murder. Will Myrtle be able to outmaneuver the suspects and solve this case before she ends up being the next victim?

Progressive Dinner Deadly is the second book in the Myrtle Clover Mystery series. Originally published as an e-book, the printed version is now available. Octogenarian sleuth, Myrtle Clover got her first taste of solving crimes in Pretty is as Pretty Dies and it doesn’t look like this spry retired English teacher will be putting down her detective cane anytime soon.

Check out this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Craig, Elizabeth Spann, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Janice Maynard. A Baby for Keeps. Don Mills, Ontario: Harlequin, 2014.

babyIs it true that most of us are still haunted by our high school years?   That’s certainly the case for Dylan Kavanaugh.  Although Dylan was a good-looking athlete from a prominent family, his memories of  his high school years are mixed.  Dylan is dyslexic; reading was a struggle for him, a struggle he hid from his friends, if not his teachers.  Knowing the seriousness of his disability, the school got him a tutor.  Mia Larin was two years younger than Dylan, but she was off-the-charts bright and a quiet, patient person who helped Dylan through many assignments, including his memorable take on Romeo and Juliet. Dylan still cringes when he thinks how he treated Mia.

Imagine Dylan’s surprise when Mia shows up back in their hometown–with a baby but no husband.  In the years since high school, Mia went on to get two doctoral degrees.  She was working as a medical researcher in the Research Triangle of North Carolina when she heard her biological clock ticking.  With no man in her life and a job that she thought was secure, Mia decided to have a child through artificial insemination.  Now she has lovely little Cora, but the funding for her lab dried up, and she is close to broke.  She has come back to the little mountain town of Silver Glen to regroup.

Once Dylan learns about Mia’s situation, he springs into action.  He sees helping her–with a job and a place to stay–as a way to ease his conscience over how he treated her in high school.  But Mia’s not the shy, young nerd she was in high school.  She has her pride–and she has quite a nice figure.  Mia had a crush on Dylan in high school, a crush that he never noticed.  Now, as grownups there is a mutual attraction, but should they act on it?  This being a romance, they do, but that’s not the end of it.  Self-images formed in high school, professional setbacks and opportunities, and Dylan’s fear of fatherhood make a long road to happily-ever-after.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Maynard, Janice, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship

Sandra Balzo. Hit and Run. Sutton, England: Severn House Publishers, 2014.

hit&runJournalist AnnaLise Griggs returned home to the fictional town of Sutherton, North Carolina because her mother was struggling with health issues. AnnaLise didn’t expect to get an offer from the town’s “legendary womanizer,” Dickens Hart, to write his memoirs. Even more unexpected was the discovery that Hart is AnnaLise’s biological father.

Dickens Hart is the founder of the White Tail Lodge – a knockoff of the playboy mansion concept. After years spent womanizing, Hart is out to make amends and needs AnnaLise’s help in order to do so. Hart wants AnnaLise to look through his “big black book” and find all the women that he could have had children with through the years, so that Hart can reach out to them. His plan is to have a big Thanksgiving dinner with the mothers and their offspring, AnnaLise included. For her part, AnnaLise will bring her mother Daisy and her mother’s best friend Philomena, affectionately known as Mama, with her. All of the guests will be staying at Hart’s manor.

Out of Hart’s black book come sixty-three possibilities. From these sixty-three possibilities, only three agree to attend along with their offspring. When a fourth shows up, it is clear that Hart decided to include one of his favorite old flames, even though he couldn’t be the father of her child. With the inclusion of ex-wives for good measure, this is sure to be a drama-filled weekend.

Hart ends up being the center of all the action–but probably not in the way he expected–when he becomes the victim of a homicide in his own bedroom. A house filled with people who aren’t sad to see Hart go, and many of them with reasonable cause to have killed the man, provides the police with a multitude of suspects. However, it is soon clear that the evidence is piling up to point at AnnaLise, the only acknowledged heir. Knowing that she did not kill her father, AnnaLise must work fast to solve the case before she ends up paying for a crime she didn’t commit.

Hit and Run is the newest title in the Main Street Mystery series. This series features the journalist AnnaLise Griggs, playing up the ability of journalists to sniff out the facts and discover the truth before all others.

Check out this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Balzo, Sandra, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Janice Maynard. A Not-So-Innocent Seduction. Don Mills, Ontario: Harlequin, 2014.

not-so-innocent“Being human is to be lonely. It’s a rare gift in life to find the person that completes you.”

When Zoe Chamberlain’s VW bus, Bessie, breaks down in Silver Glen, North Carolina, Zoe takes it as a sign that it’s time to kick back for a while. Zoe is constantly on the road and has spent many nights sleeping in Bessie, so booking a room at the Silver Beeches Lodge for six weeks straight is a huge indulgence. The most Zoe expected was to enjoy pampering at the lodge and to have time to explore the beautiful town of Silver Glen. Zoe gets much more than she bargained for in the form of one of the owners of the Silver Beeches Lodge, Liam Kavanagh. Life on the road can get really lonely, and there might be more to explore here than just the town.

Liam Kavanagh has lived in Silver Glen all of his life – his ancestors actually helped to build the town. Since the death of his father, while Liam was still a teenager, Liam has shouldered his family, including his mother, a multitude of siblings, and the family business, the Silver Beeches Lodge. Liam loves his job and the fact that he has loads of family right down the road, but there just has to be something more. Then Zoe Chamberlain walks into the doors of the lodge and takes his breath away. Liam knows he just has to get to know her, but that’s easier planned than accomplished.

Liam is a handsome man and Zoe is interested. The two of them start to spend time together, but where Liam shares himself with Zoe, she continues to hold back. Now, Liam knows how secrets and the pull of mystery can lead to devastation–he witnessed it with his father. So, how can he be falling in love with Zoe when he doesn’t believe he can trust her? Zoe is enjoying her time in Silver Glen and the man she’s spending time with, but the problem is that time runs out. It is only a matter of time before she’s discovered and has to move on, but how can she leave the place and the man that are just beginning to feel like home?

A Not-So-Innocent Seduction is the first novel in The Kavanaghs of Silver Glen series. The second novel in the series is Baby for Keeps; it tells the tale of Dylan Kavanagh, who plays a part in helping his big brother Liam take a chance on his love for Zoe.

Check out this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Maynard, Janice, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship

Stephanie Tyler. Vipers Run. New York: Signet Eclipse, 2014.

vipersrunCalla Benson works in the office of a private investigator named Bernie. When Calla’s grandmother died last year, Calla was supposed to inherit her grandmother’s money and the bar that she owned. However, Calla’s half-brother, Ned, got to the money and the bar first. Ned used their grandmother’s debit card to get to her money and forged Calla’s signature on the bar deed in order to sell it. After turning to Bernie for help finding her brother, Calla ended up working in the PI’s office. Calla may handle the office for Bernie, but his cell phone is where the most important calls come in and it is usually with him. When Bernie’s cell is left in the office and won’t stop ringing, Calla can’t help but answer – not knowing that this one call will change her life forever.

Christian Cage Owens is a former Army Ranger and also a member of the Vipers Motorcycle Club in the fictitious town of Skulls Creek, North Carolina. Cage was born into the motorcycle club life, but he was born into the Heathens Motorcycle Club. Escaping as a teenager from this corrupt club, Cage didn’t know anything but MC life and so he turned to Preacher, the leader of the Vipers. The Heathens have had it out for the Vipers ever since Cage turned on them. To protect his brother Vipers, Cage has searched out the Heathens’ secrets. Cage gathered evidence that can bring down the Heathens MC, but they found him before he had the chance to pass on the information. Cage uses his dying breath to call his Army-buddy- turned-PI, Bernie, who will know what to do with the information. Cage is surprised when Calla answers but gives her the information, ultimately endangering her life. Nevertheless, Calla provides Cage with a reason to fight for his life.

Left with Cage’s promise to find her, Calla goes on the run and ends up in the house of another friend of Cage and Bernie’s. Calla is mourning the death of a man that she never even met face-to-face, when that same man appears ready to make good on his promise. Neither can deny the connection that was forged between them, nor the passion that they share for one another.

Vipers Run is the first novel in the new Skull Creek series. This book is a romantic suspense in which the two characters will have to face the demons in their past. Calla may not be as naïve as she appears, but is she ready for the MC world? Cage has kept his promise so far, but will he look at Calla the same after learning the details of a fun college night turned nightmare?

Check out this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship, Suspense/Thriller, Van Loon, Elizabeth

Tracy Solheim. Foolish Games. New York: Berkley Sensation, 2013.

foolishgamesWill “William the Conqueror” Connelly is the poster boy for fairness and integrity. That’s why the discovery of an illegitimate son is such a surprise to Will and to those who know him. Having been born out of wedlock himself, Will never wanted to subject a child of his to that fate. Will is a starting player for the Baltimore Blaze NFL team. He is currently under scrutiny for having been involved in a scheme in which players took money to injure other players. This allegation involves so many players that the U.S. Senate has gotten involved. When called to a meeting with U.S. Senator Stephen Marchione, Will is prepared for anything but hearing that he has a son by the Senator’s sister.

Julianne Marchione is a professional bridal gown designer. Her business will provide her with more than enough money to take care of her son. A son who is the result of a one night stand at a client’s wedding, caused by a mixture of migraine medicine, fear of thunderstorms, and the comfort offered by a “smoking hot football player.” Julianne sees her son Owen as a gift of love and does not plan on sharing his existence with his father at all. But, Owen is born with an advanced hemolytic disease that calls for a blood transfusion. When Owen’s body rejects Julianne’s blood, Owen’s best bet is to have the blood of his father. So, Julianne must reveal Will’s identity and ask for his help in saving her son.

Willing to give every drop of blood for the life his son, Will does the transfusion and Owen is soon a healthy little boy. Julianne expected Will to make her pay for keeping Owen from him. However, she never expected that Will would demand that she marry him in order to make Owen legitimate. Of course the marriage is just for Owen, and the two will seek a separation in three months when Will has to go back to camp. But, moving into Will’s house together, in Chances Inlet, North Carolina, may be asking too much given the passion between Julianne and Will.

There may be passion between the two, but how can Will trust a woman who tried to keep his son from him? And what about the fact that her brother is head of the committee investigating him? Can Will trust her with his career and his heart?

Foolish Games is the second book in the Out of Bounds series, a series about players from a fictitious football team, the Baltimore Blaze.

Check out this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Coast, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship, Solheim, Tracy

Elizabeth Spann Craig. A Body at Book Club. United States: Elizabeth Spann Craig, 2014.

abodyatbookclubMyrtle Clover may be in her 80s but she can still think of better things to do with her time than go to book club meetings where no real literature will be discussed. But, a missing cat has forced Myrtle into attending book club in order to get the word out around the fictional town of Bradley, North Carolina. Pasha may not be a house cat, but Myrtle cares about her and wants to make sure she’s safe. After making her announcement, Myrtle finds herself quite teary-eyed and makes her way inside Rose Mayfield’s, the hostess for book club, house in search of a tissue. Instead of tissue, Myrtle stumbles upon a neighbor, Naomi Pelter, dead in Rose’s living room. Now she wasn’t there just thirty minutes ago.

Naomi had emailed Rose to let her know that she was sick and couldn’t make book club. Her death seems to be from natural causes, but Myrtle decides her son Red, the police chief, should be called anyhow. Whether or not Naomi died from natural causes, the story would still be a good one to write up for the town paper. So, of course Myrtle is determined to sniff out all the details. When it’s discovered that Naomi was poisoned, Myrtle already has her suspicions and sets out with her widower sidekick Miles to begin her investigation. Handing out flyers about Pasha is the perfect excuse to talk to suspects. Red wants her off the case and blocks her at every turn. Myrtle decides Red must be the one off his rocker when she gets a call from Greener Pastures telling her that she’s been added to their waiting list and they need to set up an interview and tour to determine if she would be a good fit for their retirement community.

The case is looking like a no-brainer for Myrtle. There are other suspects, but Rose Mayfield had a grudge against the victim and was very vocal about it. However, there is a twist; another murder knocks out the biggest suspect. On top of that, Myrtle and Miles have a falling out over his not caring about Pasha. Nevertheless, Myrtle is not giving up on solving these crimes. The return of Pasha and reconciliation with Miles helps Myrtle to focus on the case. As Myrtle draws ever closer to the killer, the danger to her life continues to increase. Confronted with death, who would have ever thought Greener Pastures would be Myrtle’s salvation?

A Body at Book Club is the sixth novel in the Myrtle Clover Mysteries. Read on to find out if our favorite octogenarian sleuth will retire for good.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Craig, Elizabeth Spann, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Jessica Beck. Deep Fried Homicide. United States: CreateSpace, 2014.

Suzanne’s Hart’s normal day at Donut Hearts in April Springs is shattered by a “dark stranger in a severe suit.” Inspector Terry Hanlan hasn’t come to the shop to catch a last-minute donut, but instead to inform Suzanne that her boyfriend, Jake Bishop, has been shot in the line of duty. Suzanne rushes out with hardly a thought at all to the shop.

Jake was shot tracking down a killer in Hickory. Jake escaped with his life; the same cannot be said of the killer. Jake’s wound will require him to take a lot of rest and wear his arm in a sling. So, when he’s released he will be going to stay with Suzanne at the cottage while he recuperates. This will be interesting; Suzanne, her mother, and Jake all in the same house.

But, upon arriving at the hospital, Dorothea, Suzanne’s mother, informs Suzanne that she’s bought a house in town and will be moving there so Jake can have her downstairs bedroom. Even more surprising is the fact that Dorothea has gotten engaged to Chief Martin and plans to stay in the other house permanently. After adjusting to this announcement, Suzanne realizes that this is a good thing for her mom and also for her. She hasn’t ever lived on her own and will get the chance to do so after Jake gets better.

However, Jake’s road to recovery and Suzanne’s time off from Donut Hearts won’t be as tranquil as she hoped. Apparently the killer Jake took down had a partner, Rusk, who is out for revenge. Rusk might be after Jake, but Suzanne is in danger as well. Heather Masterson, who was in prison for poisoning her aunt and coming after Suzanne, is on the loose and may very well be on the way to finish what she began.

With two killers who want the couple dead, how will Jake and Suzanne fare? This thirteenth book in the Donut Shop Mystery series is filled with action and surprises that will keep readers hooked until the very end.

Check out this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Beck, Jessica, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Mary L. Ball. Stone of Destiny. USA: Prism Book Group, 2013.

stoneofdestinyTaylor Harrison is the youngest CEO of Mugful’s Beverage Company. Moving further up within the company is Taylor’s highest priority. For Taylor, work always comes before play. Nevertheless, work does not come before family. Taylor’s parents often traveled while she was growing up, and they still do so now. Because of this, Taylor has spent most of her time with her paternal grandparents. Now that her grandfather has passed on, her grandmother, Kay Harrison, is the most important person in her life. Granny Kay has decided to sell their family home in Liberty Cove, North Carolina. When she asks Taylor for assistance in getting the place ready, Taylor can’t help but take some time off from her busy schedule. Taylor will soon discover Granny Kay actually wants Taylor there to search the house for a lost family ring.

Also unbeknownst to Taylor, Granny Kay and her best friend Louise are matchmaking. The contractor, Brent Roberts, who Granny Kay has employed to work on the house, is actually Louise’s nephew. The two ladies are hoping that the young couple will hit it off. There is chemistry between Taylor and Brent, but Taylor has no time to get involved. Right now, her career is her complete focus.

When Taylor miraculously uncovers the ring from a loose floorboard and Brent gets Taylor to agree to regularly going out with him, it looks like life couldn’t get much better. Then Taylor gets offered a promotion that might end the relationship. This promotion would require Taylor to oversee the building of a new Mugful’s in Panama.

Deciding to take the job, Taylor asks Brent not to contact her again. Additionally, the separation is the furthest that Taylor has ever been away from Granny Kay and will be hard for the both of them. But, it is only three years and Taylor will make sure to come back every few months to visit her.

Soon after the move, Granny Kay falls seriously ill. Will Taylor risk her position with Mugful’s when her boss denies her the leave? If she returns to North Carolina, what will happen with her and Brent? Most importantly, will Granny Kay pull through?

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

 

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Ball, Mary L., Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Religious/Inspirational, Romance/Relationship