Answer this question to enter the drawing for a paperback copy of Finding Jackie (if in the US, ebook if you’re in another country).What kind of shirt does Sonny have on at the wedding? Comment below to enter! (Hint: The answer can be found in the Dreamspinner catalogue listing–just expand the excerpt.
Hi, I’m Lou Sylvre, author of the Vasquez and James series, including the most recent novel, Finding Jackie. Thank you, readers, for coming by and giving Sonny, Luki, and me a read—I hope you’ll let us know your thoughts and reactions when it’s done. And, thanks Rhys Ford for letting us invade your space!
Before going any further, look to your left at the gorgeous cover Reese Dante made for Finding Jackie, and I’ll follow that with the blurb:
Luki Vasquez and Sonny Bly James finally have their Hawaiian wedding, and it’s perfect, almost. But their three-phase honeymoon is riddled with strife. Luki’s status as a working badass spells discord for the newlyweds. A former informant from Luki’s days with ATFE brings a troubling message (or is it a warning?) from a Mob hit man. When Luki’s sixteen-year-old nephew, Jackie, is lured into capture and torture by a sadistic killer, the honeymoon is well and truly over.
The couple put aside their differences and focus on the grueling hunt, which takes them from leather bars to dusty desert back roads, and calls on Sonny’s deep compassion as well as Luki’s sharpest skills. Their world threatens to fall apart if they fail, but their love may grow stronger than ever if they succeed in finding Jackie—before it’s too late.
Yes, the guys get married early on in the course of Finding Jackie, fulfilling the engagement that started so sweetly with Sonny’s proposal in Delsyn’s Blues. To refresh the memory, here’s how the last little bit of Sonny’s proposal went:
(This takes place in the mustang, which is parked in the “garage” or “car barn,” where they guys are waiting out a sudden, torrential downpour. The reference to getting crude has to do with sexual innuendo, which should surprise no one.)
(Sonny said,) “Before we get crude, there’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you—”
“Ask away. No time like the present.” What the hell has gotten hold of me, Luki thought. It’s like I’ve got two modes—smoking and stupid.
“Yes,” Sonny continued, “I’m trying to. Umm… why—”
“Do I keep smoking even though it’s stupid?”
Sonny took an exaggerated breath and blew it out. “No, no, that’s a very good question but—”
“You’re right. I’m quitting, Sonny, for real.”
“Good! But, damn it, that’s not what I was going to ask….” Suddenly wide-eyed, he turned and leaned to get a good look at Luki’s face. “Hey, maybe you really are getting a fever.” He put a hand on Luki’s forehead.
“Maybe. Doesn’t matter.”
“Matters to me.”
“Yes, if you’ll let me ask!”
“You are lucky I want to ask this so badly, or I’d be out of here.”
That sounded ominous to Luki. He didn’t know why it should, but he thought a lot more might be riding on that statement than a little half-serious afternoon spat. His head hurt, and he’d started shivering again. Maybe that made it seem more important. Maybe he did have a fever. Whatever.
“Luki, will you marry me?”
And the wedding in Finding Jackie is equally sweet and funny and emotional. Reading the book you’ll see them on a windy Hawaiian hilltop, dressed both in white and decorated with Sonny’s colors, Sonny’s creations. They’re guided through their vows by Luki’s uncle Kaholo, and attended by many friends. But what you don’t see is what happened before the wedding, when Luki and Sonny each, separately, were subjected to “that” conversation—the one usually full of sage advice on the eve of marriage.
Kaholo, as we would expect, talked to Luki, but I’ll get to that next. This post, shows us what Sonny talked about with Jim Standing Bear, his long ago reservation basketball coach. I listened in on their talk as they were hanging out at an outdoor bar down the beach from the resort, keeping themselves busy while Luki and Kaholo are securing some rented surfboards and the services of an instructor for Luki. Sonny has a beer but he isn’t drinking it. Jim has coffee, black and boring, as Sonny has been known to call it.
“Sonny,” Jim said. “I wasn’t happy when you left the rez to go live with Melvern once and for all, although Thelma was. She thought it was great.”
Sonny laughed, which is what Sonny often does when confronted with a statement that resembles a catch 22. Finally said, “So… Thelma was glad I was leaving?”
“Sonny, despite the fact that you taught Thelma to be a cheater—”
“I didn’t, Jim. I taught her how one cheats at cards. She’s the one who decided to cheat every single minute of the game.”
“Oh, you don’t do that?” Jim looked incredulous.
“No, as a matter of fact I don’t,” Sonny said. Hand was now on hip, but he was smiling. “Ask Luki. I play the game and every once in while I cheat a little. All in good fun.”
“Anyway,” Jim said, bringing the topic back to Sonny’s history. “Thelma thought if you’d stayed on the rez you would have been lost for good—addicted, in prison, infected with awful things. She saw Melvern and Ida and their home as your hope. And, after some detours, turns out she was right.”
“Yeah, I took some detours all right.”
“Me, I was just pissed you weren’t going to be playing rez ball any more.”
“Oh, c’mon. You had lots of good players on the teams.”
“You were good Sonny. Not the best maybe, but good.”
“You’re a good coach, Jim, that’s all. You care about the people. Not just the game. Admit it.”
“And then,” Jim said, “I was afraid if you left the rez you’d quit dancing. Almost did, huh? But you went back to it, for a while. For Delsyn, I think.”
“You were quite the grass dancer, Sonny. And you really cared about that kid.”
Sonny nodded, lost in memories for the moment. “Yeah,” he said. “Somebody had to. He really pissed me off when he decided to be a fancy dancer.”
Jim shook his head, “I know what you mean—it had to hurt his knees! But he was good at it!”
Sonny smiled. “He was beautiful at it, until he couldn’t hardly walk, much less dance.”
Jim said, “You miss him.”
“I do. But at least now we’ve got some new nephews, Josh and Jackie!”
“Yeah. That Jackie is going to require some extra TLC, I think.”
“Yeah. So what are your words of wisdom?”
“I thought you wanted t talk to me about being married.”
“Shit! When I figure it out I’ll let you know. Meanwhile just watch out… huh. Probably I should say that to Luki. You have a lot in common with Thelma.”