I'm happy to welcome Tracy Solheim back to The Romance Dish today. Tracy's newest novel, Shot in the Dark released last week and it's another fast-paced, action-packed, suspense-filled romance that's sure to keep readers flipping pages to find out what happens next. I loved the pairing of zoologist, Josslyn who hates guns, rebels against authority, and does whatever it takes to keep her beloved animals safe with by-the-book Secret Service agent, and expert marksman, Adam who has yet to meet a rule he doesn't follow. Add in a secret past encounter, sizzling chemistry, and the fact that they are in the cross hairs of an international poaching ring and you can be sure there will be plenty of fireworks ahead...both in and out of the bedroom.
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Shot in the Dark
by Tracy Solheim
Men of the Secret Service - Book 2
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Release Date: February 25, 2019
If there’s anything zoologist Josslyn Benoit abhors more than guns, it’s poachers. When an African “fact-finding” mission with a wildlife conservationist group goes horribly wrong and one of their members is shot, Josslyn and her team must flee for their lives. What’s worse? Josslyn must call in a favor from her older half-sister…the First Lady of the United States. She returns to D.C. to hunt down a major importer of illegal animal products and the last thing she needs on her tail is a gun-toting, testosterone-fueled hottie who’s too sexy for words and too bossy to tolerate.
After suffering an injury in the line of duty, Adam Lockett, commander of the Secret Service’s elite team of snipers, is sidelined on a boring protective detail—guarding the First Lady’s wild-child younger sister, who’s hell-bent on ditching her detail. He’s biding his time until he can return to the job he loves best, and no tree-hugging, animal saving smokey-eyed beauty is going to ruin his perfect protection record. But when Josslyn’s leads heat up, it’s her own skin on the line, and she’s become much more than a job for Adam.
Can two opposites find happiness, or is it just a shot in the dark?
Who Says Fiction Can’t Be Factual?
by Tracy Solheim
by Tracy Solheim
I’ve spent much of my adult life researching. Whether it was to earn an advanced degree or testify before Congress, I’ve done my fair share of sifting through archives, depositions, micro-fiche, and surfing the Internet. Just because I write fiction now, doesn’t mean I don’t want it to be “real.”
Case in point, my Men of the Secret Service series for Tule Publishing. The agents may be characters of my own imagination, but the weapons they carry, the equipment they use, the code names they utter, are all based on real-life accounts from actual agents. Best of all, the setting for the series is the White House, a place rich with its own history and a treasure trove of fun facts I can sprinkle throughout my books—especially when the plot seems to stall!
Let’s explore some of those fun facts, starting with the Secret Service. Most people aren’t aware that the agency was created following the Civil War to help sort out the influx of counterfeit money that arose during Reconstruction. It was only in 1901 after President McKinley was assassinated—the third US president to be killed while in office—that someone got the bright idea elected officials might need an extra bit of personal protection. Thus, the Secret Service we know today was born. But that doesn’t mean the agency isn’t still on the front lines sniffing out counterfeiters. They continue to lead federal law enforcement’s efforts in that area.
Getting a feel for the White House was easily my favorite
aspect of the research for this series. The White
House Museum has an interactive site where you can wander from room to room
within the eighteen acres of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I had fun sending my
characters to the historic rooms everyone sees in history books. But it was the
obscure places no one knows about that lend a little something extra to the
book, like the chocolate shop in RECIPE FOR DISASTER, or the Children’s
Garden in SHOT IN THE DARK.
The third book in the series will feature a look at the First Lady’s offices and Camp David. The characters will also spend a hot minute in the White House Calligraphy office. Yep, they address all those invitations by hand! The three White House calligraphers are among 300 staff whose job it is to keep the executive mansion running on a day-to-day basis. And that gives me a deep well of characters to choose from in this series!
In Shot in the Dark, I put another dog in the White House, Fergus the Scottish terrier. There have been many pets—including a few famous Scottish terriers—who called the White House home. FDR’s terrier, Fala, was so popular, she was the subject of a short film. Miss Beazley, the terrier owned by First Lady Laura Bush, was the first pet to be adopted by a president. Bo and Sunny were scene stealers from the Obamas during photo shoots, while who could forget Nixon’s dog, Checkers or Liberty, Gerald Ford’s beautiful golden retriever.
|Obama in Children's Garden|
And there were a few exotic pets, too, including a one-legged rooster Teddy Roosevelt owned and a raccoon gifted to Calvin Coolidge that was supposed to be dinner, but who was spared and kept as a pet by the First Family. The Coolidge family ended up with a second raccoon before they left Washington, not to mention a pet bobcat named Smoky! Benjamin Harrison kept a pair of opossums while he was in office. Martin Van Buren wanted to keep a pair of tiger cubs gifted to him by the Sultan of Oman, but Congress quashed that idea, forcing the president to donate the animals to a zoo, instead.
Speaking of zoos, the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park has a few scenes in the Shot in the Dark. I’m grateful for the docents within the Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) who took the time to answer my many questions and show me around the Elephant Trails exhibit—including the poop pit! I truly am lucky to have this career. And yes, I do base my characters in places I’d love to research, because why not?
I have signed copies of both books in the Men of the Secret Service series (digital copies if the winner is international) for one randomly selected person. Just tell me below if you could get unlimited access, what famous place would you love to explore?