With every new release, I have done an interview on my blog, to give my readers more information about the book. For this release I decided to do something a little different, and I hope a bit fun as well. So here is Valentino and Dominique from Retaliatory Justice. This interview takes place after the events in the story.
I enter a small cafe in the heart of Chicago where I am to meet with Valentino Masterson and Dominique Walker. Two people at the heart of a case that affected the good people of New Orleans and Chicago. I take my seat at a small booth in the corner. It seems a bit more private which I hope will make them feel comfortable. Soon, two people enter through the door, talking intently to one another. He is casually dressed in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, while she is wearing a pair of black slacks and floral chiffon shirt. Her long braids pulled into a bun at the top of her head.
“You must be Ms. Witko?” the woman says politely, sticking her hand out to me.
“Yes, I am. Please, sit down.” They both oblige. I offer them a warm smile. “Welcome, the two of you. Why don’t we get started by having you tell us a little about yourself?” They both nod but neither speaks. “Who wants to go first?”
He smiles flirtatiously at the young woman. “Ladies first.”
“Stop winking, Valentino,” she says, and I can tell that she is somewhat embarrassed.
“What?” he replies innocently. “Is it wrong to wink at a beautiful woman? Hey, stop rolling your eyes.” She does not, instead she looks at her lap. “Oh, now you’re ignoring me? I see how it is.” He laughs, his eyes squinting in amusement.
She turns to me. “My name is Dominique. I’m a chef. I specialize in New Orleans cuisine. And no I don’t have formal training. It’s something that came naturally for me.”
Before I can respond, the man speaks up. “And I’m Valentino. I work with ATF. For those that don’t know what that is, its the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosive’s division within the federal government. I lead a pretty bad ass group of agents.”
She raises her eyes to the sky and then glances at him. “You are so cocky.”
“It’s not cocky when you’re clearly the best.”
“Have you heard of modesty?”
“Modesty? hmmm, is that some new food you’re going to make me try.” She starts to say something and he laughs, raising his hand to stop her. “I’m just kidding. I know what it means. I was just messing with you.”
Before she can reply, he grabs her hand, bringing it to his lips where he kisses it lightly. Her bracelets bang and clink against each other as they slide down her arm, sounding like a small wind charm on a summer’s day. She twists her lips up and shakes her head, before finally giving off a little chuckle. I smile at their interactions. They seem so smitten with one another.
“How did the two of you meet?”
He lets go of her hand, and leans forward slightly, offering me a wily smirk. “We met while I was investigating a case in New Orleans. She couldn’t resist me,” he finishes, as he rights himself.
She guffaws. “I think it was the other way around, Neo.”
He laughs and nods appreciatively. “That is true,” he states before whispering the word, “Trinity.”
He leans over and gives her a quick kiss on her cheek. Her eyes lower as a smile creeps across her face. They are too cute to watch. I wonder why they are using Matrix nicknames. I’m sure there is a story there. Speaking of stories, my editor wants to know about the case they were both involved in. After all it was big news, nationally and internationally. It took me forever to get them to agree to meet with me. They have been reluctant to talk about the details to anyone so I think I need to be more casual before broaching the topic with them. I take a sip of my coffee and set it down before clearing my throat to get their attention.
“Why don’t we talk about some of your guy’s favorite things. Anything …”
“Guns!” he interrupts with a smile.
“Oh, for crying out loud. Really, Valentino.”
“What? I like guns. And don’t act like you don’t either.” His head tilts slightly and he smiles provocatively at her.
“No, as a matter of fact, I don’t,” she answers indignant.
“Maybe it’s just gun ranges you enjoy so much,” he counters with a mischievous grin.
She blushes profusely which makes a beautiful rose glow, creep up her cheeks. He reaches his hand up and runs the tips of his fingers along the spot, seemingly pleased with her response. There is definitely a story there. I make a mental note to ask more about that. She finally breathes in and playfully nudges him away from her.
“You are incorrigible.” She then turns back to me. “I mostly love to cook. When I’m stressed or nervous, I tend to create new recipes, it helps settle me down.”
“What about you Valentino. Anything you like, besides guns?”
“I love cards. Me and my team, plus my Godfather, we all meet up once a week to play poker in what I like to call the Blue Sanctum.”
“The Blue Sanctum?”
“It’s umm.” He pauses, as his forehead creases slightly. “My father started it when he was a detective. He and his buddies would play cards and talk about cases in my Godfather’s poker room. When I was old enough, I was invited in as well.”
He looks away for a moment, seeming lost in thought. My brain works backwards, trying to remember and then it hits me. His father was killed along with his mother and sister. I watch as she rests her hand on top of his, squeezing it lightly. He turns to her and gives her a small smile before finally meeting my eyes again.
“I continue that tradition with my team and a few select friends.”
“That’s wonderful,” I reply with a smile. “I know everyone has been talking about what happened with the Sicignano family and I’d be remiss not to ask you about it.” I stop when she visibly flinches.
His brows furrow as he touches her shoulder. He gives me a hard look. The playfulness he’s had throughout our interview is gone. “Look, we don’t want to talk about how it all went down. We’re still trying to deal with the repercussions of everything and don’t want to rehash that here.”
“I understand, I really do but naturally everyone is curious, especially with the FBI releasing information indicating that Russian mobster, Dimitri Komarovski, was involved in the situation as well.”
She blows out a breath, her face hardening as well. “Look, I don’t want to talk about that.”
Valentino pushes his chair out and stands, helping Dominique up. “We agreed to meet with you, but not to talk about this. Everything is out there already. Look it up.”
He directs her away from the table and is once again whispering intently to her as they head out the door. I lean back frustrated. I can’t believe I blew it. I should have asked them a few more personal questions before getting into the nitty gritty of the case. My editor will not be pleased.
There ya have it, my little interview with Valentino and Dominique. This is not in the story itself. I just wrote it based on how I thought they would respond without giving away too many key elements. I did have fun writing it and laughed at the fact that I actually blew the interview. Shame on me! 🙂
Just a side note. Valentino is named after my youngest son, Adam whose middle name is Valentino. I have a tendency to put my children or grandchildren’s names into my stories somehow. So, this was his turn. I asked him if he wanted to be a bad ass federal agent and he laughed, saying that would be cool.
Retaliatory Justice is Book One in my crime suspense series, The Talionic Files. It is being released on Kindle Unlimited, Kindle eBook and Paperback, on March 20th. You can get all the preorder information HERE.