Fool’s Gold is here!

Cover of Fool's Gold by Jennifer Skully

First a reminder that Dead to the Max, Book 1, is free on most major e-book retailers. It’ll be jumping back up to regular price soon, so now’s your chance to try the Max Starr series,

Last week I told you all about She’s Gotta Be Mine, Cottonmouth Book 1. This week, I’ll give you an excerpt of Fool’s Gold, Cottonmouth Book 2! Both of these books are reissues from 2005, but they’re updated, and available for the first time in e-book, with wonderful new covers by Rae Monet Inc!

When I was writing She’s Gotta Be Mine, I actually fell in love with Sheriff Tyler Braxton. I wanted Bobbie Jones to fall him love with him, too, but since Nick Angel was such a misunderstood hottie, she went and fell for the bad boy instead. Which meant I had to write another story so Brax could find his happy ending. Now as I was thinking about Brax, I visited my brother-in-law in Goldfield, Nevada. If you’ve ever seen the old classic Vanishing Point with Barry Newman (rent it if you haven’t!), all the town scenes were filmed in Goldfield. Now that movie was made in the seventies, and I swear to you, Goldfield looks exactly the same. And there are some very odd characters there. My brother-in-law told me a ton of stories, about outhouse excavating and the “twinkie” caper. So when I was making up my fictional town of Goldstone, well, it looks like Goldfield, and it has a lot of my brother-in-law’s tall tales (thank you very much, Jonny)! I made some stuff up, too (there’s no whorehouse called The Chicken Coop, swear it).

So, let me introduce you to Goldstone and Sheriff Tyler Braxton in Fool’s Gold:

Goldstone, Nevada: It’s not your typical vacation getaway.

Sheriff Tyler Braxton hightails it out of Cottonmouth to Goldstone for a little R&R, when his sister puts out a distress call. Suddenly, instead of vacationing, Brax is offering advice to the lovelorn! And to top it off, he has to start his own investigation on his sister’s behalf: Is his brother-in-law having an affair with the local erotic author?

Simone Chandler has found her haven in Goldstone; she loves the forsaken town and its lovable but somewhat beleaguered residents. With a thriving Internet business penning made-to-order erotic fantasies, some of her friends in Goldstone just happen to be her clients, too. The problem: The hunky sheriff from out of town wonders if she’s not only writing stories for his brother-in-law, but acting them out with him, too.

Then murder comes to Goldstone, and Brax is suddenly hip-deep in small-town secrets, with sexy Simone Chandler at the head his suspect list.

Is Simone the real thing, or, as with everything else in Goldstone, is she Fool’s Gold?

You can find Fool’s Gold at Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, Sony, and Apple. Here’s an excerpt. In this scene, Brax has been forced to attend a tea party at the local rest home called Our Manor of the Ladies. Be sure to read all the way to the end because I’ve got a special surprise for you!

Fool’s Gold Cottonmouth Book 2

Copyright 2011 by Jennifer Skully

Brax shot the table at large a winning smile. “May I have one of those delicacies?”

“Scones. I made them myself. They let us use the kitchen here, you know,” Rowena said in her quaint British accent. “I’ve always loved baking, but with my chosen profession, I never had much time. Since I came here, why I bake to my heart’s content, don’t I, girls?”

“You should taste her trifle,” Nonnie added. “Delicious.”

“Trifle isn’t baked, you silly woman,” Divine burst in. “It’s custard and whipped cream.”

“Don’t forget the sherry on the ladyfingers,” Agnes trilled. “Rowena always puts extra sherry. It’s simply orgasmic.”

Brax almost knocked his water tumbler over. He cocked his head and stared at Agnes as if he wasn’t sure he’d heard correctly. Then he grinned, which Simone determined to mean he’d decided he’d imagined the word. After all, Agnes, her pile of gray hair knotted and confined in a silvery hair net with tiny sparkles of glitter, certainly didn’t look as though she’d say orgasmic. Simone covered her mouth to hide her smile, though it would have been terribly embarrassing if Brax had understood exactly what their former chosen profession had been.

He came out with “I’d love to try it sometime.”

“And then there’s her nut torte,” Nonnie added. “It’s made with crushed nuts, no flour or anything. It’s amazing. And there’s—”

“Pass him a scone, Nonnie, before he expires of hunger,” Rowena admonished.

“Ladies first,” Brax said politely.

“Oh no, you’re the first man we’ve entertained since Chloe opened the place,” Agnes revealed. “Gentleman callers first.”

“Oh yes, yes. And jam and butter.” The plate of scones rattled against the jam pot as Nonnie passed them to Brax with slightly palsied fingers.

“I can’t wait.” Brax took the offering, but his glance shot speculatively to Chloe.

Our Manor of the Ladies had been Chloe’s brainchild, and she’d funded a goodly portion of it, then chided town dignitaries to raise the additional monies. It had taken almost a year, but finally, the Manor had opened to its first residents, the four women now seated at the table.

“Here’s your tea,” Agnes said, passing the cup. Lukewarm liquid sloshed into the saucer. “And you must have milk and sugar, the way the British drink it. Rowena taught us that.”

“Thank you, ma’am.” Brax poured milk, stirred sugar, and spread jam and butter as the ladies tweeted around him like birds.

“Oh my, would you look at the size of his hands.” Eyes wide, hand over her mouth, Agnes was agog.

Brax stopped with a bit of scone halfway to his mouth. Then he extended his arm to look at the aforementioned hand. He quirked an eyebrow. “Is there something wrong with my hands?”

“Oh no,” Nonnie chirped.

“They’re so large,” Agnes went on with awe in her voice.

His gaze flashed left to right, from one lady to the other, his question shouted in his glance.

“You know what they say about a man’s hands, don’t you?”

Oh my God. Catastrophe was coming. Simone opened her mouth to divert it just as Brax said, “No, what do they say?”

Agnes let the words burst forth. “Why, that the size of a man’s hands is directly proportional to the size of his penis.”

If he’d been drinking his tea, Simone was sure he’d have spit mouthfuls across the table. As it was, his pupils dilated, and the scone dropped to his plate, landing with a splat, jam side down.

“Is it true?” Nonnie asked with wide-eyed innocence.

Simone’s cheeks flamed. Why, the old jokesters.

“You two stop that right now. My mother always says the tea table isn’t the place for discussing”—Simone searched for an appropriate euphemism and fell back on—“tallywhackers.” Brax was going to think that’s all they talked about in Goldstone.

Agnes hid behind pouring tea for everyone else and passing out the cups as someone—maybe Divine—snickered. Nonnie blinked behind her jeweled cat’s-eye glasses and said, “It isn’t?”

Rowena sampled her scone and pronounced it “Magnificent, if I do say so myself. And, my dear, in our profession, penises are always the first thing we wonder about.”

“Former profession,” Chloe corrected.

Rowena sniffed. “If men realized the virtue of an older, experienced woman, it wouldn’t be former, darling.”

“Here, here.” The ladies clinked cups, china tinkling in the dining room.

Brax had yet to pick up his teacup or his upside-down scone. Now that was a squirrel-in-the-center-of-the-road look if Simone ever saw one.

Divine tapped Maggie’s arm. “You didn’t tell him, honey?”

Maggie, silent and morose up to this point, twisted her paper napkin until it fell apart in her fingers. “I didn’t think I needed to.”

“Tell me what?” Brax croaked. His voice probably hadn’t cracked like that since he was thirteen years old. He had to know what was coming. In fact, Simone could have sworn he ducked slightly as if to ward off the blow.

“Our Manor of the Ladies is a home for former ladies of the night,” Divine explained.

“Chloe built it for us,” Rowena added.

“Sadly, many of us aren’t terribly good at saving our money for old age,” Agnes admitted.

“We never thought we’d reach old age,” Divine scoffed. “What with AIDS and all that.”

“Speak for yourself.” Rowena tipped her head with a queenlike gesture in Divine’s direction. “I always insisted on protection even before it was fashionable.”

Brax made an odd sound, either horrified laughter or he was choking on the bit of scone he’d just popped in his mouth.

“But Chloe came to our rescue.” Nonnie acknowledged credit where credit was definitely due.

“Isn’t she the most wonderful person?” Agnes said on a grateful sigh. The others nodded their heads like bobbing apples.

Simone couldn’t agree more, but Chloe, flustered by the glowing compliments and admiration, busied herself with buttering a second scone.

That’s why Chloe was the only one in town who wanted Jason’s resort. Most thought it was because she wanted increased traffic through The Chicken Coop. Which was true, but Simone suspected she wanted the extra cash flow to support the Manor. Fifteen ladies now lived in the small rest home, but she constantly received new petitioners. Chloe had a hard time saying no.

Brax finally swallowed the scone. He raised his dainty teacup, which looked ridiculously fragile in his big hand, and saluted each one. “Here’s to the most gracious quartet of ex-ladies of the night I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.” Then he inclined his head toward The Chicken Coop’s madam. “And to Chloe for her generosity.”

They all drank to his toast.

What a sweet guy. He could have run screaming from the room.

Agnes pointed to the hand still holding his teacup aloft and said, “So, don’t keep us in suspense. Eight inches? Or more?”


I hope you enjoyed the excerpt! Here’s my special surprise. My quaint British mother makes the trifle described in the excerpt. The recipe follows! It’s divine!

Mom’s English Trifle

  • 2 packages lady finger cakes
  • Raspberry jam as needed
  • 4 to 6 T sherry
  • 2 bananas sliced
  • 1 package thick custard
  • 2 half pints whipping cream

Place lady fingers around edge and center of dessert bowl, covering the whole bowl. Spread raspberry jam over top of cake (thin layer to individual liking). Drizzle sherry on top to soak into cake. Layer bananas on top of cake and sherry. Make thick custard from package and spread over bananas and cake. Whip cream and top over cooled custard.


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