Message From The Author

Carla Neggers

Genre: General Romantic Suspense, Romantic Suspense

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Author's Message

In Declan’s Cross, my latest Sharpe & Donovan novel, FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan end up staying at a lovely spa boutique hotel on the beautiful south coast of Ireland. Of course, trouble finds them, a contrast to their surroundings. Creating a classy hotel, you understand, required hands-on research on my part.

Not all research needs to be, or should be, hands-on. Example: jumping out of a helicopter. I don’t need to do that myself. Really. My imagination and an interview with a generous USAF pararescueman worked just fine.

A spa hotel, though? Sign me up for that research!

Growing up in rural New England with six brothers and sisters, I never even imagined a “spa day.” I’m not sure I knew what one was. The closest I got were homemade facials of egg whites and oatmeal. I’d sit with that stuff on my face while I practiced piano. Now day spas and destination hotel spas are everywhere, and a favorite periodic indulgence of mine. I love to take my mother for a spa day. Seven kids in nine years. (I’m #3, by the way.) Think she did spa days? I don’t recall her trying my egg-whites-and-oatmeal facials, either. She enjoys a nice manicure and pedicure in a spa setting.

Many women schedule annual mother-daughter spa weekends. Doesn’t that sound like a fabulous way for a mother and daughter to spend time together? My daughter, mother of two little ones, has found a day spa nearby where she can get a massage and relax for an hour or two, but I’d love to do a spa weekend with her. Ireland might be a bit of a jaunt, but wouldn’t that be something?

Recreating some spa perks at home is also fun. Ginger ale with slices of fresh lime and a sprig of mint. Water with slices of lemons or oranges. Hot wet facecloths rolled up onto a little tray. Spa music and low lights while in the tub. Just looking at photographs of spas and spa treatments relaxes me. (I’ve collected some of them on my Pinterest boards.)

Emma Sharpe, an art crimes expert and the granddaughter of a world-renowned art detective, has more experience with spas and boutique hotels than her new love, Colin Donovan, does. Colin is a former Maine lobsterman and marine patrol officer, now a deep-cover operative. No way has he ever done a spa day. Emma, of course, thinks a couple’s massage in an Irish spa would be just the thing...but a missing American and an unsolved decade-old art theft get in the way.

Even coming up with the name of my fictional Irish spa boutique hotel was great fun. The O’Byrne House Hotel, owned by Kitty O’Byrne Doyle. Kitty doubts that Emma and Colin have arrived on the south Irish coast, in the heart of Saint Declan country, just for a massage. Kitty suspects—rightly so—that the FBI agents’ stay in little Declan’s Cross will be anything but quiet.



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