Lavender vs Mackey ‘ACTS OF MALICE’ ~ which of the 4 Classic Temperaments are they?

AOM Cover

Phlegmatic, Sanguine, Melancholy, Choleric

Lavender Raines: Diplomatic, Appropriate

Mac “Mackey” Mackenzie: Guardian, Tough Guy

 

I use the Four Classic Temperaments when viewing my main characters in terms of similarities, complimentary attitudes, and conflict. I don’t use personality charts because personality can be something that is acquired over time to cover something deeper. Temperament is that deeper part.

Most people aren’t just one type. They are dominant in one and recessive in another. I see Lavender as Phlegmatic/Winter Dominant/Sanguine~Spring Recessive. And Mackey is Melancholy/Fall Dominant~Sanguine/Spring Recessive.

AAA 4 Temperments

Lavender and Mackey hardly know each other. Their temperaments appear to be in opposition to each other. He is emotionally shut down about his life, but protective of others. She is a pillar of strength in her family, but distrusting of Mackey and guarded around him. Her husband was brutally murdered right before the holidays, and the FBI isn’t telling her anything. She’s afraid for her life, her daughter’s, and her mother’s. She afraid of tough guy Mackey, but he could be the only one who can find her husband’s killers. Can they find common ground amidst the treachery, lies, and turmoil?

Excerpt:

Chapter Eight

Lavender Raines

 Wrapped in my ratty robe, I sat in George’s recliner with my feet dangling off the raised end in equally shabby, fluffy slippers. Savoring my first mug of coffee, I watched a favorite home buyers, renovators, and flippers cable show. On this morning’s episode, a petite woman with aqua combs in her frosted hair, and an artistic bent, shopped for a tiny house.

My mother waltzed into the living room in her kimono, carrying a steaming mug.

I pointed at the home improvement show. “Isn’t that A-frame adorable? I can see myself in it.”

“Oh, sure. I see you bumping your head when you climb that silly ladder trying to get into the loft to go to sleep.” She sat on the sofa.

“It’s got wheels. I could move anywhere I wanted. There are so many places I’d like to visit.”

“And just how would you haul that thing around?” Her laugh conveyed skepticism.

“I’d buy a Jeep Grand Cherokee and tow it wherever I went.”

My mother stared at me. “Lavender, I think you’ve lost your mind since George died.”

I lowered the sound. “Why? Tiny houses are the new rage. Lots of people, from all walks of life, buy them or build them.”

“Well, Strickland’s don’t do that sort of thing.”

“Mother, I’m no longer a Strickland. Haven’t been one for a long time. I’m a Raines.” What she could never be told was why I longed to run away. The problem was, I’d take the image of George’s tortured body with me wherever I went.

She placed her mug on the coffee table. “Lavender, darling, for your own good, I think you should come live with me for a while.”

I turned off the television. “Mother, I appreciate your offer. I do, but I’m going to stay right here. I’m not running off in a tiny house on wheels, as appealing as that might seem.”

“You exasperate me. I’m worried about you.”

I walked over to the sofa, sat beside her, and hugged her. “I love you.”

“I never doubted that. I love you too.” She stood and swiped at a tear. “How about some more coffee?”

I followed her into the kitchen and sat at the table while she brewed a fresh pot.

She turned to face me. “Kendall and I will be leaving this morning. She can’t miss any more classes. Duke will be only so forgiving.”

“Yes, she has to get back to school.” I stood and wrapped an arm around my mother’s waist. “Thank you for chauffeuring her.”

She stepped back and took a long look at me. Her head bobbled for a moment. “Really, Darling, you must do something with your hair. That bun is falling apart.”

“It’s a loose chignon. It’s a mess right now, and I don’t care one bit.” I laughed and gave her a quick hug.

“Darling, I swear, somebody switched you at birth. You can’t be mine.” She emptied the old coffee out of our mugs and filled them with fresh brew.

I placed two percent milk and artificial sweetener on the table, added a splash of the milk to my coffee, and doused hers with both the sweetener and the milk.

We sat at the table in somewhat companionable silence, drinking coffee.

I placed my mug on the table top. “I have to review our finances to see if Kendall can remain at Duke next year. We’re not broke by any means. George always did the responsible thing and, of course, had a life insurance policy. That only goes so far, and we don’t have George’s salary coming in.”

Mother blinked twice.

Oh, my, I didn’t dare laugh. She’d already put on her false lashes.

She stared and blinked again. “I’ll pay for Duke. Kendall is not going to some state school.”

Resisting her would be emotionally exhausting, and she’d drag Kendall into it. “Thank you, Mother. Kendall loves Duke. I know she’ll appreciate your generosity.” I took a sip of coffee. That was one thing off my plate.

Kendall would be happy at Duke. That left two things.

How I was going to get the information, I didn’t know, but I had to find out what had happened to George. Agent Lightfoot had stopped returning my calls.

And what was up with Randall Creston? Why was he intimidating Abigail and Olivia?

 

Day Ten, Morning

Mac “Mackey” Mackenzie

The water sluicing over my body was bracing, but in an abbreviated wetsuit, not frigid. I kept swimming out to sea. The waves were with me. I caught a big one and rode it farther out. The return would be the trial.

My dive watch told me I’d gone far enough, so I stopped and treaded water.

Through a pair of military grade goggles, I fixed my eyes on the shore and began the strenuous swim back. My thigh muscles strained as my legs sliced through the waves, which were now against me. I hadn’t worn flippers intentionally, to make the swim more difficult. When I reached the shore, I was winded.

Sunrise Boulevard ran north and south along the beach. It had a bike path and sidewalks on either side but no parking along the road. Three large public lots intruded onto the beach, having hard-packed sand due to constant vehicle usage. They were spaced evenly apart along the beach front. I walked to my graphite colored Jeep Wrangler, parked in the lot at Sunrise and Beaumont.

I shed my wet suit, slipped a pair of jeans over my swimming trunks, and fastened a clip-on holster to my belt. Then, I stowed my wetsuit in the four-by-four’s cargo space.

A seagull swooped low over the vehicle as I opened the driver’s side backdoor. I removed the floor mat, punched a code into a tiny panel, and lifted the cover of a custom-built secret compartment beneath the floor. I pulled out my Berretta, and secured it in my holster. After I threw on a black untucked, long sleeved shirt, I was good to go.

That’s when I noticed Lavender Raines walking on the sidewalk next to the bike path. The early morning sun, rising over the ocean, played with an occasional red strand of hair in the bun that looked as if it was about to fall apart. Her hair was lush and dark, but not quite as dark as I had thought.

“Mrs. Raines.” I waved. No time like the present to do as The Old Man requested. Check up on her.

She stopped and placed the flat of her palm over her eyebrows, to ward off the morning sun, as she tried to figure out who I was. Then she smiled.

I trotted to her. “It’s good to see you. How are you doing?”

She clasped her hands together. “I’m fine. Thank you for asking. Mackenzie, is it?”

“Yes, ma’am. It’s so good to see you again.” I’d never been accused of having a way with words.

“So kind of you.” She backed up a step.

Awkward.

A kid on a skateboard propelled himself forward by repeatedly striking his foot on the sidewalk. He lost his balance and the skateboard left the pavement, flying six inches off the ground, directly at her.

She let out a small, frightened cry.

I grabbed her and turned her away from the wooden missile. We both staggered backward.

The skateboard grazed my calf. I winced.

“Ouch, my ankle,” she cried.

The kid ran after his board, and we never saw him again.

“I’m sorry, ma’am. I tried to get you out of the way.”

She held onto my arm. “Don’t apologize. I’m grateful to you. Are you hurt?”

“Nothing much at all.” I’d have a bruise and would feel it for a while.

She took a halting step but found it difficult, painful. “I think I twisted it.”

Her leg buckled. As she collapsed to one side, she tried to break her fall by grasping my waist. Her head jerked and her eyes opened wide. She withdrew her hand from my weapon as if a snake had bitten her. If she hadn’t known I carry concealed, she did now.

I lifted her, holding on to her until she was able to stand up more-or-less straight. “Keep your weight off your foot.”

“I’ll do my best.”

“If I brace you on one side, can you hobble to my Jeep?”

“I’ll try.”

We took a faltering step, then another. A three-legged dog could’ve done much better. When she whimpered, I scooped her up in my arms and carried her to the Jeep.

Once I got her comfortably settled, I ignored her protests as I untied her running shoe, slipped off the sock, and examined her foot. “There’s nothing major broken. Still, you could have a hair-line fracture. Would you like to go to the emergency room?”

“No. No, thank you. I was on my way to my friend Emmi’s house. It’s on Beaumont off of Catalina– not far from here. If you could drop me there.”

I shimmied the sock back onto her foot over pale-pink painted toes that matched her fingernails. Then, I slid the shoe back on. After I tied the laces, I gently patted the shoe. “All done.”

When I got behind the wheel, she looked directly at me. “A lot of men in Florida carry concealed, but you’re more than you appear to be. From what George told me, Mr. Agard, he’s pretty important in the government.”

I looked straight ahead. “I don’t know that much about what Mr. Agard does.” True, very true.

“At the funeral, you said you knew my husband. Do you know what happened to him? He said he was going to New Orleans and they found his tortured body in Caracas?”

“I can tell you with absolute certainty, it had nothing whatsoever to do with another woman.”

“I already know that,” she snapped. She closed her eyes and took a breath. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to take it out on you.”

“No apology necessary. Your world has been turned upside-down. I’ll take you to your friend’s house.” I fired up the engine, determined now more than ever to learn what had happened to George Raines. The man should be home with his wife.

Which of the Four Classic Temperaments are you? Leave a comment. I’d love to know!

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LAND LORD by Cheryl Colwell ~ a review

Land Lord

There is no end to big surprises in this espionage thriller. The one at the end, I didn’t see coming. In fact, I didn’t see quite a few of them coming. It’s a story about an attempt to overthrow the United States government from within. The reader will have to remember not only the novel’s characters but also their code names. But it’s worth it. So much is not what it seems. So much is clandestine.

Secret Service Agent Dain Ryder is loyal to the president at a precarious time when not all the men sworn to protect POTUS are trustworthy. Dain’s family were missionaries in China where his grandfather was murdered and his father blinded. Thus, he has long lived with bigotry and hatred in his heart toward the Chinese people. So, he’s thrown a curve ball when President Robert Bradley gives him a special assignment to work with a beautiful Chinese spy to find out who is behind the plot to bring down his administration.

Lian Chen is not only gorgeous, she’s a biochemist, a superb classical Chinese dancer, martial arts expert, a crack shot, and proficient with explosives. Dain begins to doubt her loyalty to America and to the president. She could be on the wrong side. She’s hiding something big. As he fights his attraction to her, he fears she may have a secret relationship with Robert Bradley?

This story goes from the Oval Office, to the halls of George Washington University, to the streets of D.C.’s Chinatown and back again. It’s quite a thrilling journey.

 

DIAMONDS ARE FOR EDEN by Felicia Mires ~ a review

Diamonds Are For Eden

The author thrusts the reader into a whirlwind of spies and assassins, all the while delivering a well written romantc suspense novel. Personally, I like my terrorists horrific and frightening as all get out, while the hero and heroine and totally focused on and consumed by the chase. That’s simply my espionage thriller preference and doesn’t at all detract from this writer’s ability to deliver a suspenseful romance.

Natasha Kelly owns a courier service for museums with her African born brother Katir, adopted by her parents when they were missionairies. She has been engaged by the Mossad, Israel’s spy organization, to transport uncut diamonds from South Africa to Israel. However, terrorists are trying to stop all diamond shipments from reaching Israel. Natasha not only has to get the diamonds to Israel, she also has to find out who the terrorists, are and why they’ve targeted South African diamonds.

Brithis screen heartthrob Dirk Sloan happens to sit across the aisle from Natasha on her flight to South Africa. He is also staying at her hotel, and appears out of nowhere to stop an attack upon her in a dark alleyway. At that point he gives her a kiss and she has to wonder if he’s playing foot-loose-and-fancy-free with her. She’s beginning to have an attraction to him she is fighting. He seems to be able to find her at any moment. He could be working with the terrorists seeking to stop her.

David Benjamin, career Mossad agent, has feelings for Natasha. So does Dirk Sloan, and there you have the classic romance novel love-triangle. Natasha is attacked in the middle of the night at a Mossad camp in the desert. The upshot is the two men take turns sleeping on her couch to protect her. Later Natasha and Dirk travel by camel to a desert Christian abbey where they must rescue monks who have been taken hostage by the same  terrorists who have been intercepting the diamonds. This romantic suspense novel has twists and turns, action, plenty of sizzle, with a deep faith element. The story continues in the next novel of the series.

DEADLY ADDITIVE by Donn Taylor ~ a review

Deadly Additive

Billionaire Steve Spinner has been manipulating his daughter Jocelyn since her birth. Now he’s endangered her life by forcing her and journalist Kristin Halvorsen to embark on a dangerous  mission in Columbia. They are posing as bird watchers, in that South American country, when they stumble upon a brutal massacre in the village of Chozadolor and are captured by a group of guerrilla fighters headed by the ruthless and viscous Diego Contreras. Kristen took photos of the massacre which show most of the men massacred in the village were butchered, but some apparently died due to some sort of chemical agent. Contreras’ men smash Kristen’s cameras, but she manages to hide a memory card with photos at the gruesome site.

No amount of money can entice soldier of fortune Jeb Sledge to rescue the young women. The hyper-responsible soldier of fortune who must right the wrongs in this world was the Old Sledge. He is determine to become the more relaxed New Sledge. This idea of the Old Sledge and the New Sledge confronting each other is a theme running through DEADLY ADDITIVE.

When Spinner dangles the name Diego Contreras as bait, Sledge bites. In the not so distant past Contreras and his men killed Alita, a young Colombian woman from a notable family Sledge had fallen in love with. Her entire family was killed in the attack and Sledge was severely wounded. However, in his gut, Sledge knows Spinner, the master manipulator is keeping something from him.

Sledge is assisted by Roger Brinkman, a retired CIA operative, now running his own private ‘information service’ which doesn’t have the constraints of a US government agency. Brinkman puts Sledge onto the quirky Ramirez family who offer their special services.  The entire family speaks in malapropisms which adds a touch of humor in just the right places. Two of my favs are: “It’s time to wake up and smell the coffins” and “That I must take with a fifth of amendments.”

Few male writers can write about the internal drama going on inside a woman who has been sexually threatened or abused. Donn Taylor does this extremely well by not intensely highlighting it (as many authors are inclined to do). He simply states it. We, the reader, understand what the character is going through.

The inspirational element is authentic and organic to the story as Jeb and Kristin, having confronted abject evil,  try to figure out if anything has a greater meaning. This is an edge of your  seat, page turning story.

 

One Night In Tehran by Luana Ehrlich ~ a review

One Night In Tehran

 

I read ONE NIGHT IN TEHRAN by Luana Ehrlich as a judge in the Grace Awards. Right in the first pages, its authenticity  floored me and made me want to keep reading.  The author has such a vast knowledge of CIA protocols, one wonders if she’s had some type of connection to that highly secretive world.

The story begins in Tehran. Titus Ray, an undercover American CIA agent is being hunted by Iranian authorities, but manages to escape the country. Back in the states, he learns he’s been targeted by an Iranian assassin. The CIA gives him a new cover story (a legend) and ships him to Oklahoma for his own safety. The rest of the story plays out on American soil and is a skillful combination of detective novel and spy story.

This book was a finalist in the Action-Adventure/Thriller/Western/Epic Novel category of the Grace Awards 2014 because it’s main character, CIA agent Titus Ray, was deeply affected by the Christian family who gave him shelter while he hid in Tehran. Thus he began a personal, spiritual search and converted to Christianity. The faith element of the novel doesn’t at all intrude on the action-adventure, spy story. It simply gives the main character depth.

The novel is well written, exciting, actually. It kept me fully engaged. My only criticism is that it seems to end abruptly with a major string untied. This is deliberate on the part of the author, a literary choice she made. I recommend this novel and will indeed be reading the sequel.