In Hot WaterOccupation: Sweet Pepper Police Chief

I know this is gonna sound like whining- and I hate whiners – but Sweet Pepper shouldn’t have gone outside our small town in the Smoky Mountains to hire a fire chief. We have plenty of talent right here. I would have chosen my best officer, John Trump, for the job. He’s a good man who has proven himself over and over again.

So now who do we have? A woman from Chicago who has never lived in this area and never been part of a volunteer fire department. She’s sassy, speaks her mind without much provocation, and is a general pain in the butt! Is that what we wanted?

I know – we hired her because Ben Carson wanted her. Then we found out she’s his granddaughter. Ben’s rich and owns most of Sweet Pepper. I know he expects things to be done the way he wants them. Being fire chief shouldn’t be part of that.

Now she thinks the town needs a fireboat! What next?

But what really bothers me is not knowing if I can trust her or not, you know? I’m the police chief. I need to be able to work with her. Right now, I can’t tell if she’s on my side or not. It scares me sometimes, thinking what she might do to our town. She has no respect for our traditions or our people or she’d never think a good man like Rep. Barney Falk could be involved in drug dealing.

I’d quit being police chief tomorrow rather than work with her, but I’m afraid Sweet Pepper needs me more than ever now with Chief Stella Griffin here. You mark my words – she’s trouble – and I know everyone will agree with me before it’s over.

You can read more about Don in In Hot Water, the third book in the “Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first two books in the series are That Old Flame of Mine and Playing With Fire.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on February 4 for the chance to win a copy of IN HOT WATER. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

About the authors
J.J. Cook writes award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, Joyce and Jim Lavene, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Penguin, Amazon, and Simon and Schuster along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family. Visit them at

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