Saturday, July 7, 2018

Book Excerpt, Guest Post and Giveaway: The Lilac Code (The Sisters, Texas Series Book 7) by Becki Willis

The Lilac Code
The Sisters, Texas Series Book 7
Becki Willis

Cozy Mystery
Will a case of mistaken identity be the death of her? 
Madison Reynolds is looking forward to a few days of rest and relaxation. Her best friend Genny is judging a celebrity bake-off near DC, so it’s the perfect opportunity for a girl’s getaway. With fun-loving Granny Bert in tow, the trio heads to the very heart of the Intel community. Deep in alphabet soup territory—surrounded by CIA, NSA, FBI and more—it takes only moments for things to go awry.

A mix-up at the airport leaves Madison with the wrong luggage, and a last-minute change in accommodations lands them at The Columbia Inn at Peralynna. How can they know its ties to the spy world will soon spin them into its web?

Designed as a CIA safe house, the inn has a fascinating history. When it seems a mysterious man in a dark coat is following her, Madison scoffs at her over-action imagination. She’s listened to too many spy tales, spun by the innkeeper herself. The stories of espionage and agents are intriguing, but too incredible to be real. 

The Texans know nothing about secret codes and counterintelligence. They’ve never heard of The Lilac Code, or the illusive agent-for-hire known simply as Kalypso.

Back home in The Sisters, a drama is unfolding that involves Madison’s precious twins. She’s raised them to do the right thing, no matter the consequence, but will their quest for justice put them in danger?

Thrust into impossible situations of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, the twins risk everything to save their school, while deep in spy territory, Madison and Genny race against the clock—and the elements—to save Granny Bert’s life.

The award-winning The Sisters, Texas Mystery Series continues in this exciting Book 7. This is a stand-alone book, but best when enjoyed as a full series experience.

“Well, hello, you two.” It was the innkeeper Sophie, stopping by for a visit. “Your grandmother isn’t joining you this evening?”

“Not this evening,” Maddy confirmed.

“It’s a messy night out. Perfect for staying in by the fire.” Sophie turned a pointed look toward Madison. “I trust today has been smoother than yesterday?”

Maddy’s answer was slow in coming, as she debated how best to answer. She still hadn’t told the innkeeper the whole truth, that someone had been in their suite and taken the suitcase. In the end, she simply smiled and said, “Yes. I’m sorry for any trouble I may have caused.”

“Not to worry. I’m just glad it was a false alarm. All the same, I think perhaps we should lay off the spy stories tonight, don’t you?”

They made the appropriate sounds of laughter. “By the way,” Madison said, before Sophie moved along to greet new guests coming into the room, “I was wondering about one of your guests. A tall, blond woman, quite commanding with her presence. Do you know who I’m talking about?”

Sophie looked around. “Is she in here now?”

“No, I haven’t seen her since last night. She was wearing a lovely dark gray pantsuit. The first night we were here, she had on a navy blazer and a blue sweater.”

“That would be Logan. She’s not a guest. She’s our local CIA agent.”

The news surprised Madison. Too stunned to speak, Genny spoke for her. “CIA?” It was more of a gulp, than a question.

“Yes. She pops in and out quite often. With the NSA and so many other government agencies practically in our backyard, you never know who might be here at any given moment. We don’t advertise the fact, but they often use the inn as a secure meeting location. It’s even served as a safe house a time or two.”

Madison’s brow puckered in thought. “So this Logan McKee is an agent?”

“Yes. One of the best, so I understand.” Sophie waved to the couple approaching the pastry tray. 

“If you’ll excuse me, I need to speak to Mr. and Mrs. Asano.”

“Certainly,” Madison murmured, her mind already miles ahead. She turned toward her friend, reluctant to voice her thoughts. “Genny, you don’t suppose…”

Genny’s blond head was already bobbing. “…that we somehow intercepted a piece of sensitive information?”

“Yes! It would make sense, you know. The note from the little girl, all those crazy letters and numbers, the case.” She gasped and clutched her friend’s arm. “The shadow from the chandelier! What if that’s some sort of coded message for Logan McKee?”

“I don’t know whether to be excited, or to be frightened,” Genny admitted.

“Why? They have the case back.”

“But you still have the note.”

Don't miss the other books in The Sisters, Texas series!

Chicken Scratch
The Sisters, Texas Series Book 1
When The Stars Fall
The Sisters, Texas Series Book 2
Goodreads * Amazon
Stipulations and Complications
The Sisters, Texas Series Book 3
Goodreads * Amazon
Home Again: Starting Over
The Sisters, Texas Series Book 4
Goodreads * Amazon
Genny's Ballad
The Sisters, Texas Series Book 5
Goodreads * Amazon
Christmas in The Sisters
The Sisters, Texas Series Book 6
Goodreads * Amazon

Becki Willis, best known for her popular The Sisters, Texas Mystery Series, and Forgotten Boxes, always dreamed of being an author. In November of '13, that dream became a reality. Since that time, she has published eleven books, won first place honors for Best Mystery Series, Best Suspense Fiction and Best Audio Book, and has introduced her imaginary friends to readers around the world. 

An avid history buff, Becki likes to poke around in old places and learn about the past. Other addictions include reading, writing, junking, unraveling a good mystery, and coffee. She loves to travel, but believes coming home to her family and her Texas ranch is the best part of any trip. Becki is a member of the Association of Texas Authors, the National Association of Professional Women, and the Brazos Writers organization. She attended Texas A&M University and majored in Journalism.

Website * Facebook * Facebook The Sisters * Twitter * Amazon * Goodreads
The setting for this book, The Columbia Inn at Peralynna, is quite real, and used with the permission of its owners, David and Dr. Cynthia Lynn. 

My husband and I first discovered this intriguing boutique bed and breakfast in September. We were charmed by the unique layout and, particularly, by our warm and gracious hosts. We returned again in February, when the Lynns graciously showed us around their home and their community. (Royal Taj Restaurant, The Iron Bridge Wine Company, and the old Savage Mills cotton mill complex are also real places.) Cynthia and I spent many hours in the four story great room, discussing our mutual love for books and writing, and brainstorming future plots.

The inn has a fascinating story behind it. It is, indeed, fashioned after a CIA safe house in Germany that Cynthia thought of as her family’s vacation home. She told me she simply thought their parents threw a lot of parties and took their five children on spur-of-the-moment trips, often in the still of night. It was years before she realized her parents were spies and that those clandestine encounters were related to national security. In fact, the American pilot Francis Gary Powers (you probably remember the name from the blockbuster movie Bridge of Spies) was debriefed at the safe house her father. 

During my last visit, I had the pleasure of listening to Cynthia and her sister Dot recall memories of the house, their parents, and their unique lifestyle abroad. Oh, the books these women could write! The character of CIA Agent Logan McKee is, in fact, Cynthia’s creation and will be the main character in a fiction series—non-classified, of course—that she plans to pen in the very near future.

I hope you enjoyed this book and the glimpse shared into The Columbia Inn at Peralynna. The next time you’re in the Baltimore/Columbia/DC area, you owe it to yourself to meet the Lynns and to stay in their beautiful home. Be sure and tell them I sent you. (And don’t forget to look for those secret staircases!)
By the way, Boonsboro, Maryland is only an hour away, where you can visit Turn the Page bookstore and the Boonsboro Inn, both owned by author Nora Roberts.

Until next time,

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  1. Replies
    1. No worries =) I love how the book is set in Texas <3 I also love the cover!