Posted in Books by Juanita Kees, Under the Law

My Charming Hero


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Thank you to the lovely Jennie Jones for the opportunity to share my delectable hero, Mark Johnson. You met him in Fly Away Peta. He starts a murder investigation in Under the Hood. When will Detective Mark Johnson have his chance at happiness? Well, soon…hopefully.

I recently placed my heroine, Lily Bennetti under interrogation. One of the questions I asked was who the love of her life was. Her reply?

At this point, I’d have to say my son Luke. But there’s a certain sexy detective who has caught my eye.”

He’d rolled up the sleeves of his white shirt to reveal strong, corded forearms, pumped now from tossing the football. His tie was stuffed carelessly in his pants pocket and the top three buttons of his shirt were undone to reveal a smooth, solid chest. That killer smile alone would have women on their knees. With a will of their own, her eyes followed the line of the buttons to the belt at his waist and she watched slim hips move with a rhythm that had heat surging through her.  Her hand shook a little with the force of it, sloshing the wine over the side of the glass.

But there’s more to Mark than how he fills out his jeans. He has an easygoing personality, a great sense of humour, talks to dogs, enjoys the peacefulness of the hills and it’s second nature for him to serve and protect. He meets Lily Bennetti under the worst possible circumstances.

When Mark Johnson continues his investigation into the murder of Tiny Watts and the involvement of the teenage gang, the Tag Raiders, with sleazy lawyer, Gino Bennetti (Under the Hood), the last thing he expects is to be interviewing Gino’s widow. And it seems she’s in a world of trouble.

With her husband’s blood on her hands, Lily Bennetti has her son to protect and secrets that run deeper than the scars she bears. Mark Johnson is the last person she wants uncovering those secrets. Especially the truth about her son Luke’s involvement in Tiny Watts’ murder.

As the investigation continues and Lily’s scars heal, she finds the gorgeous detective easy to trust and the friendship between them blossoms into more. But the secret Lily holds is placing them in very real danger. She stands to lose her son, the man she loves, her freedom and quite possibly her life.

Mark being the hero and gentleman he is, will give Lily as much space as she needs to heal, but that won’t stop him loving her or putting himself in danger to protect her and her son Luke. Before they can find happiness together, he must first clear her name and put the real bad guys behind bars.Under Cover of Dark

Mark shut the little black notebook and stood. Fresh air. He needed to clear the cobwebs and think this through. Sarge lifted his head off his paws as Mark stepped through the front door of the cabin and into the balmy night. It was dark up in the hills. No afterglow of street lamps lighting up the sky like down on the flats. Here the only light was that of the stars and the big full moon that glowed through the tree tops.

“Come here, boy.” The dog lifted his bulk and stretched, before padding over for an ear scratch. “This puts us in a bit of a pickle.” Sarge eyed him with big, sad brown eyes, a frown creasing his furry brow as Mark sighed and pulled his phone from his pocket.

He dialed and waited until a deep, grumpy voice said, “Do you have any fuckin’ clue what time it is, dude?”

“It’s not like you need your beauty sleep, Princess. I need you to get your lazy arse down to the station.”

“Now?”

“No, next week! Of course I mean now.” Despite Harold’s response, Mark could hear the squeak of mattress springs, followed by the muffled sounds of him hastily pulling on clothes, a woman’s murmur and Harold’s reply.

“Jeannie says it’s time you came over for dinner.”

“Tell her only if she bakes that choc mint mudcake I like so much. Now, I need you to go and start connecting dots for me in Tiny’s diary.”

“I thought that’s what you were meant to be doing.”

“I got a little…sidetracked.”

“Pfft…I bet! Always the fuckin’ Knight in Shining Armour. So how is our lovely widow?”

“In a cesspool of trouble, Jonesy. We have new evidence. Things are about to get ugly.”

Well, I don’t know about you, but if I was Lily Bennetti, I’d want this hero on my side with his arms around me, ready to protect and serve. What do you think?

Posted in Books by Juanita Kees, Under the Law

Under Cover of Dark’s Lily Bennetti under Interrogation


What does a writer do when a character is being a little evasive? Lily Bennetti, the heroine in Under Cover of Dark (working title) has built walls so thick around her, I can’t get inside her head. While the delectable Detective Mark Johnson is cooperating beautifully in the story, Ms Lily is playing hide and seek with me. So I did what any good detective would do…I put her in the interrogation chair.

  • What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Seeing my son smile again. Learning to live without fear and trying all the things on my bucket list.Lily Bennetti

Tranquility surrounded her, as Lily sipped her glass of chilled Margaret River wine. The classic dry white and TJ’s laid-back company made it easy to relax, despite the horror of their day. That, coupled with the glorious sound of Marty and Luke’s laughter blending with the deeper male voices, had her letting down her guard a little. God bless these people—these strangers—and their power of distraction. She welcomed the distraction as a band aid on the events of the day. How long had it been since she’d heard Luke laugh?

  • What is your current state of mind?

Scared, unsure, but I’m slowly starting to recover my backbone.

“Get out, Nic.” The deadly calm in her voice was belied by her shaking hands.

Albero’s eyes narrowed on hers. “You’ll regret it, Liliana.”

  • What or who is the greatest love of your life?

At this point, I’d have to say my son Luke. But there’s a certain sexy detective who has caught my eye.Under Cover of Dark

He’d rolled up the sleeves of his white shirt to reveal strong, corded forearms, pumped now from tossing the football. His tie was stuffed carelessly in his pants pocket and the top three buttons of his shirt were undone to reveal a smooth, solid chest. That killer smile alone would have women on their knees. With a will of their own, her eyes followed the line of the buttons to the belt at his waist and she watched slim hips move with a rhythm that had heat surging through her.  Her hand shook a little with the force of it, sloshing the wine over the side of the glass.

  • What is your most marked characteristic?

I care…sometimes too much.

  • What is your greatest regret?

Not getting help for myself and my son sooner.  We wouldn’t be in this mess if I had…

Restless now, she stood and walked to the edge of the veranda. “Naïve and young, that’s what I really was. He’d never change and I did Luke more harm than good by staying.” Guilt sank heavily in her stomach. By staying, she’d put him in danger and destroyed them both emotionally. She’d forbidden him the chance to have a happier childhood.

  • Which talent do you have?

I’ve just discovered I have a talent for garden design! I’m looking forward to transforming the gardens at TJ and Scott’s teenage refuge.Lily's Garden Project

  • What qualities do you most like in a man?

Loyalty, honesty, inner strength and a caring nature

  • Who is your hero in real life?

Detective Mark Johnson, without him Luke and I could be in serious trouble.

“Mark?”

He turned to find her face inches from his. “Yes, Lily?”

“Thank you.”

“For what?”

“For everything. For helping us, for knowing what to do.”

  • On what occasions do you lie?

I didn’t exactly lie, but I withheld evidence from a police investigation to protect my son. It was necessary…to stay alive.

  • If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’d like to be stronger emotionally.

  • What is your motto?

I never had a goal, let alone a motto before I met Detective Mark Johnson. Now, I can say—Fight for what you believe in.

Well, there you have it. Thanks to a wonderful brainstorming session with my muse, Kerrie, this morning, we’ve helped Lily find herself a little more. Lily and I are now off on an adventure of discovery. See you soon…

What’s next for Detective Mark Johnson?

You met him in Under Shadow of Doubt. He starts a murder investigation in Under the Hood. When will Detective Mark Johnson have his chance at happiness and what’s next for the bad guys? Find out over at Romance Book Haven.