Desert MoonI pine for grey skies and coastal fog. I pine for the smell of brine and the saltiness that coats your skin after a day at the beach. What can I say? I pine for Dana Point and Orange County with the crowded freeways, the houses on stilts and the beautiful people serving you fries with your Big Mac while waiting for their big break in show business.

In retrospect it’s pretty silly. When I first arrived to Southern California from my home in Italy, I was floored by the same things I now miss. Go figure.

And how did I end up in Phoenix, Arizona, in the middle of summer? Well, that alone is the stuff that you would label ‘fiction’ if you read it in a book.

I drove through the desert. 380 miles. Alone in my Mustang. The whole trip with only one stop. All that because according to Larry Devin, Flash, my cat, was a stowaway in his Mercedes.

I know what you’re thinking. How does a domestic black cat from Southern California become a stowaway ending up in Phoenix, Arizona? My question exactly.

Okay, to be fair Larry did stop by my house on his way out of town and we did—you know–linger in the –embrace—and maybe my front door was open and so was the driver side of his Mercedes…but still.

And now that I’m sitting here, on this plushy lounge chair, a chilled Margarita next to me, observing the inviting blue water of the cool pool in the complex where Larry rented a furnished condo to die for, I’m wondering if he kidnapped my cat to get me here. No use asking Flash, she seems to have grown fond of Larry. Perhaps he slips her cat nip?

Ah, here comes Larry wearing his black Pucci swimwear whose sale tax is more than I paid for my bikini— top and bottom, mind you. I roll my eyes to the blinding blue sky above, and Larry is by me, stroking my hand, smiling tenderly. He brushes my earlobe with his lips and whispers: “I swear, I did not kidnap your cat.”


Desert Moon is the third book in the Lella York mystery series, September 2016.

When her cat hitched a ride without her, she had no choice but to tail the furry creature.

From award winning author Maria Grazia Swan comes a story of suspense, romance, and one mischievous cat. How does a domestic black cat from Southern California become a stowaway and end up in Phoenix Arizona? That’s what Lella York wants to know as she crosses the desert, pedal to the metal, to bring her cat, Flash, back home. But something about a full desert moon bewitches Lella into staying in Arizona longer than she planned and playing house with the sexy Detective Lawrence Devin who is in Arizona as a special witness for an old murder case. The desert is a land of extremes so it’s no surprise that Lella and Larry brave the heat to chase after a cold case. Throw in a hint of Russian mafia, some attractive flight attendants, and a ferret named Lucy, and Lella realizes what a dangerous place the desert can be under a full moon.

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About the author
Maria Grazia Swan was born in Italy, but this rolling stone has definitely gathered no moss. She lived in Belgium, France, Germany, and beautiful Orange County, California, before settling in her current home of Phoenix, Arizona. Maria loves travel, opera, good books, hiking, and intelligent movies (if she can find one, that is). Her idea of a perfect evening includes stimulating conversation, rich Italian food, and a perfectly chilled Prosecco. Maria has written several novels, short stories, and articles for high profile magazines and blogs taking on life and love . . . Italian style!

All comments are welcomed.

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