Stealing the Moon & Stars: The Heat Is On for a Team of Scottsdale PIs

Stealing_moon2Stealing the Moon & Stars ($13.95, 242 pages, ISBN: 978-1-60381-983-1), by Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens, is Book One of a new romantic suspense series set in Scottsdale, AZ. A well-heeled beauty and a graduate from the school of hard knocks struggle to resist their chemistry as they try to solve an apparent case of embezzlement.

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“Smith and Steffens is the team to watch or better yet, the team to read. Stealing the Moon & Stars is a smooth and clever story. But don’t get too comfortable because it is also a well-crafted, suspenseful ride with unexpected twists and riveting characters. By the way, hands off. I have dibs on Eddie.”

—Maria Grazia Swan, bestselling author of Mina’s Adventures and the Lella York Series.

“A sassy maverick heiress and a sexy good guy making amends for his bad guy past form a dynamite PI team in this promising debut from Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens. A fun, romantic read, Stealing the Moon & Stars will keep you engaged all the way through its action-packed climax, and make you wish for the next book in the series. A winner!”

—Kris Neri, author of Revenge on Route 66 and Magical Alienation

“With an action-packed, tightly crafted puzzler of a plot, Stealing the Moon & Stars is an impossible book to put down. Smith and Steffens have created delightful characters in Jordan Welsh and Eddie Marino that keep the reader laughing as well as shouting out warnings. Jordan and Eddie are the best mystery solving duo since Nick and Nora. Is there a fire alarm ringing? Because their relationship is smokin’ hot!”

—Jenn McKinlay, New York Times bestselling author of the Cupcake Bakery Mysteries and the Library Lover’s Mysteries

“The action and sexual tension are as hot as an Arizona summer. The Shea Investigations team put their lives, and their hearts, on the line in this action-packed crime novel.”  Read more ….

—Lesa Holstine, Lesa’s Book Critiques

“Take a private investigator who is one smart, independent lady, add a sexy business partner with a mysterious and none-too-savory past, throw in a dash of embezzlement, a dollop of betrayal, and a pinch of organized crime, and it all equals a suspenseful and witty tale that will keep you reading way past your bedtime.”

—Donis Casey, author of the Alafair Tucker Mysteries

“The romantic/sexual tension between Jordan and Eddie is palpable, but it doesn’t detract from the story at all. STEALING THE MOON & STARS is an excellent start to a brand new series with a straightforward mystery and compelling characters.” Read more ….

—The Bibliophilic Book Blog

“Enjoyed it so much it was hard to put down. Got caught up in the investigations and the love affair …. Quite a few surprises that take everyone for a turn. Throw in a mix of family members and you got a good read. Light romance and sex but enough to help move the story along and it’s the forbidden love that will make this series continue as they work together on more cases.”  Read more ….

—Julie Barrett’s Blog

“This is a great, lighthearted read. I highly recommend it for those readers who like PI, mystery and light romance!”  Read more ….

—Hily’s Beehive

“If you enjoy a fast paced romance, this will fill the bill. Add suspense and spice and you have a romantic suspense with a bit of a twist. If you are in the market for a great beach or escape reading experience then this is the work for you. It seems that we may have a new dynamic duo in private investigations.”  Read more ….

—Leslie Ann Wright, TicToc Reviews

“Their romance certainly had my heart pounding, and I can’t wait to see how their relationship evolves in book two, especially since Jordan’s left wondering if he’s being completely honest with her about his actions. But throwing more obstacles in their way only seems to bring these two closer together.”  Read more ….

—Connie Char, The Character Connection

“It was a treat reading about warm and sunny Arizona while toiling through an extremely long and cold winter. Between the desert heat and the sparks flying off of Jordan and Eddie, this book definitely made me feel all tingly inside.”  Read more ….

—City Girl Who Loves to Read

“I found this to be an adventure filled romp, sometimes a dangerous endeavor when it comes to solving this crime. As the investigation goes on, you are taken deeper into the mystery of it all. Smith and Steffens keep you guessing at every turn. If you like a thrilling suspense novel with a steamy romantic twist, you will definitely enjoy this book.”  Read more ….

—Tribute Books Mama

Jordan Welsh and Eddie Marino, Scottsdale private eyes, are hired to find out who’s stealing from the Moon & Stars Children’s Foundation. Foundation employees are suspected, but just as the pieces start falling into place, Jordan discovers a hidden agenda that puts her in the crosshairs of a crime lord. Who can she trust?

Everyone has a dangerous secret, and the bodies are piling up. Even her partner, Eddie Marino, has a dark and mysterious past. Does she dare act on their attraction? Will it destroy their partnership?

The two have landed in a hornets’ nest. Nothing to do now but stir it up.

“Jean and I met via Desert Sleuths’ Sisters in Crime,” says co-author Sally J. Smith. “We had been friends for a while when one day, over coffee, we had the idea of writing together. Scottsdale, home of the rich and famous as well as the calculating and criminal, is the perfect setting for the Jordan Welsh and Eddie Marino Novels. A newspaper article about embezzled funds from a local charity delivered the plot idea for Stealing the Moon & Stars. We work together side-by-side, word-by-word, literally finishing each others’ sentences. Laughter and sarcasm abound during writing sessions, with occasional disagreements, sometimes involving right crosses or karate-ninja moves. Partners in crime have never had it so good.”

Arizona native Sally J. Smith lives in Scottsdale with her husband. She stays busy at her chosen professions of writing (novels, short stories, and articles) and freelance editing. Other works include The Ghost Wore Polyester. Jean Steffens also lives in Scottsdale with her family. Her published work includes “The Night Before Christmas” in the Desert Sleuths Sisters in Crime Anthology, How Not to Survive the Holidays. Both authors are members of Romance Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. Click here to find Sally and Jean online.

Keep reading for an excerpt:

To cool her jets and keep him from seeing the burning spots on her cheeks, she wandered over to an abstract acrylic on his wall. “New painting?”

“Mmm,” he mumbled. “You like it?”

“Yes, I do.” She headed back to his desk. “Great splash of color. Intense. It figures.”

He pulled the laptop around and flipped up the top. “It figures? How’s that? I assume you want me to burgle my way into this, as usual.”

“If you please.” She answered his last question first. “Well, you like intense art because you’re an intense person.”

He raised his eyes from the keyboard. “You think I’m intense?”

She was compelled to look away from his laser-like stare. I rest my case.

“Sometimes,” she lied.

He went back to work on the laptop and chuckled under his breath. “Intense, huh? Nah. I’m such a softy, especially where you’re concerned, angel.”

“You know my name’s not ‘Angel,’ Mr. Marino.”

“And you know my name’s not Mr. Marino. We gonna get in trouble hacking this hardware?”

“Afraid not.”

“Oh darn. That takes away all the fun.”

“I didn’t mean to ruin your day.”

“You could never do that. Just hearing your voice perks me right up.”

While Jordan watched him work, she imagined herself slinking over, grabbing him by the shirtfront and planting a kiss that would make his ears smoke.

The computer beeped several times.

“How’s it going?” Her voice sounded husky, even to her.

“Slow.”

She paced but stopped in her tracks when he exclaimed, “Bingo!”

He spun the laptop back around. The desktop was open and active. “His middle name and birthday. Not very imaginative. It looks like there are a bunch of deleted files. You want them?”

“Deleted? Can you get them?”

“Forget who you’re talking to, darling? I’m the magic man. No problemo.” He pulled a small external hard drive from the bottom drawer of his desk and hooked it to the laptop. “Just give me a second.”

Jordan watched, marveling at the speed and competence of his invasive attack.

Eddie had worked as a Special Ops cryptologist in the military. He never talked about it. Every time she asked him about any of his cyber miracles, he said, “If I told you my secrets, gorgeous, I’d have to kill you. Wouldn’t that be a shame?”

Yes sir, cryptic. That was Eddie Marino all right, but his skills certainly came in handy. At times like this, for instance.

“You’re a genius. Thanks! This could give us the break we need.”

She leaned across the desk and gave him a peck on the cheek. The kiss was innocent enough, just a spontaneous display of thanks and affection.

The response she got was totally unexpected.

Eddie latched onto her arm and got to his feet so their faces were on the same level and thrillingly close. “Have dinner with me tonight.”

Jordan was surprised. “Dinner?”

“Yes. I’ll pick you up at eight.”

“Tonight?”

He’d thrown her off balance.

“Dinner?” she asked.

“Sure. Why?”

At that very instant Eddie’s office door flew open and banged against the wall.

Before she could draw a breath, Eddie yanked her to the floor, threw himself on top of her and pulled his gun.

She twisted her head. The FedEx deliveryman quaked against the wall, three packages on the floor in front of him.

She looked at Eddie. “Overreact much?”

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