Today I am so pleased to welcome Liz Faraim to Joyfully Jay. Liz has come to talk to us about her latest release, Pinned. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

 

Exclusive Excerpt

This excerpt is from Chapter Five of Pinned:

The next morning, I was up early, fretting about what to wear and trying to brush my unruly hair into something presentable. I ended up wearing my newest blue jeans, a white button-up dress shirt, and a brown leather belt. I slid on a pair of perfectly polished cowboy boots. After some more thought, I slipped on a silver ring and matching necklace with a turquoise pendant on it. I thought about conversation topics and what sort of questions to ask her, which made me nervous and sweaty. I had to put on more deodorant and change my undershirt twice before it was time to go.

Just before lunchtime, I shrugged into my trusty leather jacket and took the short drive to the main drag. I snagged a lucky parking spot out front of the restaurant we had chosen. After a moment of looking at the people milling around, I spotted her peeking in the window of a shop that sold succulents and antiques. I watched her for a moment and realized I didn’t know her at all.

She wore a flowing burgundy cotton dress that fell just below her knees, and cream-colored leggings with a bunny ears design showing above her low-top Converse All-Stars. She shivered under her light sweater, crossing her arms over her chest.

Hands tucked into the front pockets of my jeans, I walked up behind her, my boot heels loud on the sidewalk. Kristen turned and gave me the biggest damn smile. Her arms spread wide, she came in for a hug. I pulled my hands out of my pockets just in time and hugged her back. She smelled clean, like laundry soap and some sort of fruity lotion. As we separated, she looked up at me, her nose red and teeth chattering.

“Hey. Let’s get you inside. You must be freezing.”

She nodded. “Yeah. I’m not always the most prepared.” She motioned toward her outfit and light sweater, which wasn’t suitable for how cold it was.

I held the door of the restaurant open for her. The place was warm and only half full. The hostess led us to a booth in the back. I was relieved to be tucked away in a quiet corner, instead of out in the busier front room. I had only eaten at that restaurant once before, so I picked up a menu. The words were too small, so I mostly saw the blurs of the words that were next to pictures of food. Dammit. I squinted and tried again, but the low light and small print worked against me.

“You okay?”

“Yeah… I just…” I sighed and pulled my readers out of my jacket pocket and perched them on my nose, embarrassed. Then I remembered I was done apologizing for myself and sat up straighter. Kristen smiled and squirmed a little. “Oh, you wear glasses. That’s hot.”

I didn’t know what to say, and thankfully she looked back down at her menu. With the help of my glasses, I saw that the place served a mixture of Mexican and American foods. I ordered an iced tea, and carne asada tacos with a side of rice. Kristen ordered a chicken pot pie and a Shirley Temple.

I paid attention to how she spoke with the waiter, because how someone treats waitstaff and folks in the service industry tells me a lot about them. I was relieved that she was kind and friendly with the waiter.

I’d always assumed that all people who work in the service industry would be kind to others in customer service, but I had dated a woman back in the day who was an absolute monster with waitstaff despite being in customer service herself. That one didn’t last long.

“So, you mentioned being familiar with my little town here. You’ve been here before?”

“Yeah. I grew up just across the water in Diablo. I come here a lot.”

“You grew up in Diablo? Did you go to the central high school?”

“Sure did.”

“If you graduated, when was that?”

“Are you trying to figure out how old I am?”

I chuckled. “Guilty.”

“All you have to do is ask. I’m forty-two and yes, I graduated. And what about you?”

“I’m fifty-three. So, how long have you worked at PJ’s?”

“Fifteen years.”

“Impressive. So many people bounce around jobs these days…not that that’s a bad thing. It’s just not often I run into someone who sticks it out that long anymore. That’s about how long I’ve been at my job too. You like working there?”

“Yeah, I love it.” Her smile seemed genuine, and the corners of her eyes crinkled.

The server placed a plate of steaming tacos and rice in front of me, and Kristen beamed down at her pot pie. My mouth watered at the smell of chili, onion, and cilantro. Kristen cracked open the top of her pot pie, scooped out a big spoonful of chicken and vegetables, and savored her first bite with her eyes closed. We took a break from our conversation to eat.

After I had finished my first taco and half of the rice, I took a long drink of iced tea and dabbed at my mouth with a paper napkin. The booths around us were still empty, but there were the whoops and laughter of a rowdy group in the front room. Somebody shouted, “Another pitcher of margaritas, por favor.” The por favor was said in the most obnoxiously American way possible and I was glad not to be in the same room as them.

I turned my attention back to Kristen. “I have to be honest, I have so many questions I want to ask you, but I don’t know what’s impolite to ask on a first date.”

“Like I said earlier, all you have to do is ask. If you ask something I don’t want to answer, I’ll just say so.”

“All right. Uh, do you have any children?”

“No kids. You?”

“Just my dummy of a cat.”

She let out a squeal that took me by surprise. “Aw! You have a kitty?”

“Sure do.”

She leaned forward, her face beaming. “Oh my gosh. I want to meet him. I love cats.”

“Ha, well, glad to hear it. He’s pretty grumpy though. You’ve been warned.”

“He sounds sweet,” she said chirpily, not fazed by my description of his attitude “Do you have a picture of him?”

I pulled my phone out and flipped through the pictures until I found one if him sprawled out across the love seat, his long black-and-white fur glossy in the sunlight.

She let out another squeal. “Ohhh! Look at how long his whiskers are. I love him!” Taking my phone, she grinned at his picture. “I wish I could have pets where I live. It’s been hard not being able to have a kitty. I volunteer at the cat shelter when I can.”

“That’s really great. What else do you like to do when you’re not working?”

She gave a last glance at Porkchop’s picture and slid the phone back to me. “I like to play, push my body, and get dirty. I do things like mud runs and obstacle course races.”


Blurb

pinned cover“Rowdy” Randy Cox, a woman staring down the barrel of retirement, is a curmudgeonly blue-collar butch lesbian, who has been single for twenty years and is trying to date again.

At the end of a long, exhausting shift, Randy finds her supervisor, Bryant, pinned and near death at the warehouse where they work. Upon the news of his death, she battles to find a balance between the joys of an exciting new relationship and the struggles of processing her supervisor’s unexpected passing.

The manner of her supervisor’s death leaves Randy unsettled and suspicious as she gets sucked into both a criminal investigation led by the police and an administrative investigation conducted by her employer.

As Randy seeks the truth, trust erodes, key friendships are strengthened, and more loss awaits her.

Warnings: violence, cancer death

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Bio

liz faraim bio photoLiz has a full plate between balancing a day job, parenting, writing, and finding some semblance of a social life. In past lives she has been a soldier, a bartender, a shoe salesperson, an assistant museum curator, and even a driving instructor. She focuses her writing on strong, queer, female leads who don’t back down.

Liz transplanted to California from New York over thirty years ago. She now lives in the East Bay Area of California and enjoys exploring nature with her wife and son.

 


Giveaway

Liz is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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