award-winning romance, book excerpt from The Nun and the Narc, books by Catherine Castle, Catherine Castle's Wednesday Writers blog series, inspirational romantic suspense, spunky heroines, The Nun and the Narc
Hi, everyone, and welcome to my Wednesday Writers blog series. I’m filling an empty spot today on my guest list, and I’m going to share some background snippets about the characters in my multi-award-winning inspirational romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc. I’m also presenting one of my favorite excerpts from the book.
Everyone is curious about novice Sister Margaret Mary. She’s a spunky heroine with adventure in her soul. She eats chapulines (fried grasshoppers) from the Mexican market, wields a skillet against the bad guys, and rushes into situations when she should think twice before acting. A tomboy life with her brothers taught her how to be daring. She also likes to do less risky things, like garden, so she gets garden duty at the convent. Unlike a lot of the sisters in the convent, she can still kneel—another reason why you’ll find her in the convent’s gardens most of the time. Because she’s younger than most of the sisters, and because Mother Superior is questioning her commitment to her upcoming vows, Sister Margaret was chosen to go to Mexico on a housebuilding trip. While she’s there she befriends a teenage boy named Rafael who loses his mother as the charity is building their house. Sister Margaret can relate to his hurt, because she lost her mother and knows how that feels. Her attempts to keep the boy out of trouble land her in the middle of a drug deal where she gets kidnapped by the local drug lord’s thugs, along with the hero of the story, Jed Bond. And when Sister Margaret finds herself inexplicable attracted to Jed, he becomes more dangerous than the men who have captured them, because he is making her doubt her decision to take her final vows.
Jed Bond, which is his undercover name, comes from a long line of cops, but he’s the first undercover agent in the family. He started out as FBI undercover agent and later joined the DEA because a drug user killed his father. Jed has a sweet tooth, as witnessed by the amount of candy he consumes while waiting in the Mexican market for his drug contact. He also likes working alone. So when Sister Margaret comes on the scene, she complicates his drug bust operation, in sooo many ways. In spite of the way she hampers his escape plans with her compulsiveness and compassion, Sister Margaret begins crumbling Jed’s defenses, and he finds himself opening his heart to the novice who shouldn’t look, talk, act, or kiss like Sister Margaret Mary O’Connor does. After years of walling up his emotions in an attempt to become the best agent possible, Jed begins to question his own beliefs as he falls in love with the sister. To lure her away from the church would be unforgivable—to lose her unbearable.
Excerpt From The Nun and the Narc
By Catherine Castle
Margaret inched forward, hoping to hear what they were saying. A mariachi band nearby blared out a tune, the polka-like melody destroying any hope of eavesdropping. The shriek of off-key brass sent chills up her spine. She covered her ears and moved closer to Rafael and the stranger.
After a couple of minutes of conversation, the man removed an envelope from his jacket and pulled out a handful of bills. He folded them in half and then slipped them into Rafael’s extended hand. With a furtive glance around, Rafael moved closer to the man, blocking Margaret’s direct view, and handed something to the stranger.
A wave of apprehension swept over Margaret. The chapulines she’d snacked on earlier that morning threatened to see the light of day.
A drug deal! Of all the things Rafael could do, this was the worst.
Esperanza had fought so hard to keep her son away from bad influences. Now he appeared to be involved in the very thing she’d hated most. Margaret imagined Esperanza banging on the gates of purgatory, trying to get out and rescue her son.
She hesitated for a moment, hearing Mother Superior’s admonishment. Stay out of trouble while you are in Mexico, Sister.
Silencing the nagging voice in her head, Margaret charged forward, protective instincts in full swing.
Stopping Rafael and talking to him about the dangers of drugs surely wouldn’t qualify as trouble. Bluntness, maybe, but not trouble. It was more like saving. Yes, that’s it. I’m saving him.
Margaret grabbed Rafael by the shirt. “I’ve been searching for you, young man.” She faced the stranger, giving him her best withering stare. “You should be ashamed of yourself.”
The man stuffed the plastic bag into his jacket pocket. “Who is this?”
“Some crazy gringa.” Rafael shrugged, hard, trying to escape her grasp.
The plastic bag contained something white. Heroin? Cocaine? Margaret tightened her hold and drew Rafael closer. She would save him whether he wanted to be saved or not.
“Get out of here,” Rafael snarled.
“What would your mother say if she saw this?”
Rafael’s expression darkened. “Leave my mother out of this!” He wrenched out of Margaret’s grip and spun around to face her. His expression morphed from anger to fear. “¡Madre de Dios!”
The man’s head jerked around. “Get down!” he shouted.
Rafael took off running down the street as the top row of pottery in the stand exploded like popcorn.
Margaret jumped at the loud noise and whirled around searching for the source. The man removed a gun from his jacket, swung around, and scanned the area.
Margaret’s knees buckled at the sight of the handgun. Her body tensed, her gaze frozen on his weapon. He fired off a couple of shots. Heart thumping like a jackhammer, she ran for cover behind the open car door. The window glass shattered as bullets whizzed over her head. She scrambled into the car and crouched on the floorboard. Another row of pottery shattered, sending fragments into the car like tiny projectile rockets. Sending up a quick prayer, she covered her head.
Slamming the door shut as he passed, the man leapt over the trunk. He jerked open the driver’s door then jumped behind the wheel. Jamming the car into gear, he roared out into the market street. Shoppers and vendors screamed, leaping out of the car’s path.
Margaret scrambled into the passenger seat. “Stop this car immediately!”
“Keep down,” he ordered, “unless you want to get shot.”
The rear window glass erupted into the car’s interior, punctuating his words. The man fired at the attackers through the shattered back window.
“Shot?” Her voice rose an octave. “Oh, dear Lord in Heaven, what have I gotten into?”
“Trouble, Lady.” He fired off another round. “Big trouble.
The Nun and the Narc is the recipient of The 2014 Beverly Hills Book Award and The 2014 Rone Award and was a finalist in the 2014 Epic contest, 2014 Carolyn Readers Choice Award, the ACFW Genesis contest, and the 2nd place winner in the Dixie contest.