Jordan Welsh and Eddie Marino, Scottsdale private eyes, are hired to find out who's stealing from the Moon & Stars Children's Foundation. Foundation employees are suspected, but just as the pieces start falling into place, Jordan discovers a hidden agenda that puts her in the crosshairs of a crime lord. Who can she trust? Everyone has a dangerous secret, and the bodies are piling up. Even her partner, Eddie Marino, has a dark and mysterious past. Does she dare act on their attraction? Will it destroy their partnership? The two have landed in a hornets' nest. Nothing to do now but stir it up. Book 1 in a new romantic suspense series featuring Jordan Welsh and Eddie Marino.
About the Author
Arizona native Sally J. Smith lives in Scottsdale with her husband. The rarest of breeds, an adult who was born in Arizona, she has been a writer since she could spell. These days she stays busy at her chosen professions of writing (novels, short stories, and articles) and freelance editing. When a free moment appears on the horizon, she's out the door to a attend a play, a movie, a concert, or just take a long walk in the desert--if the temperature's under a hundred. Other works include The Ghost Wore Polyester. Sally is a member of Romance Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. For more information, go to www.smithandsteffens.com.
Jean Steffens also lives in Scottsdale with her family. She's a mother, reader, movie fan, and the Steffens' family chauffeur. She's also active in church activities. Like Jordan Welsh, P.I., Jean grew up in Chicago near Lake Forest. Jean's mother, however, was nurturing--baking cookies, carpooling kids to school, kissing boo-boos, unlike Jordan's mother, who's allergic to the kitchen and thinks a carpool is a hot tub in a limo. Jean is a member of Romance Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. For more information, go to www.smithandsteffens.com.
Read an Excerpt
He raised his eyes from the keyboard. “You think I’m intense?”
She was compelled to look away from his laser-like stare. I rest my case.
“Sometimes,” she lied.
He went back to work on the laptop and chuckled under his breath. “Intense, huh? Nah. I’m such a softy, especially where you’re concerned, angel.”
“You know my name’s not ‘Angel,’ Mr. Marino.”
“And you know my name’s not Mr. Marino. We gonna get in trouble hacking this hardware?”
“Oh darn. That takes away all the fun.”
“I didn’t mean to ruin your day.”
“You could never do that. Just hearing your voice perks me right up.”
While Jordan watched him work, she imagined herself slinking over, grabbing him by the shirtfront and planting a kiss that would make his ears smoke.
The computer beeped several times.
“How’s it going?” Her voice sounded husky, even to her.
She paced but stopped in her tracks when he exclaimed, “Bingo!”
He spun the laptop back around. The desktop was open and active. “His middle name and birthday. Not very imaginative. It looks like there are a bunch of deleted files. You want them?”
“Deleted? Can you get them?”
“Forget who you’re talking to, darling? I’m the magic man. No problemo.” He pulled a small external hard drive from the bottom drawer of his desk and hooked it to the laptop. “Just give me a second.”
Jordan watched, marveling at the speed and competence of his invasive attack.
Eddie had worked as a Special Ops cryptologist in the military. He never talked about it. Every time she asked him about any of his cyber miracles, he said, “If I told you my secrets, gorgeous, I’d have to kill you. Wouldn’t that be a shame?”
Yes sir, cryptic. That was Eddie Marino all right, but his skills certainly came in handy. At times like this, for instance.
“You’re a genius. Thanks! This could give us the break we need.”
She leaned across the desk and gave him a peck on the cheek. The kiss was innocent enough, just a spontaneous display of thanks and affection.
The response she got was totally unexpected.
Eddie latched onto her arm and got to his feet so their faces were on the same level and thrillingly close. “Have dinner with me tonight.”
Jordan was surprised. “Dinner?”
“Yes. I’ll pick you up at eight.”
He’d thrown her off balance.
“Dinner?” she asked.
At that very instant Eddie’s office door flew open and banged against the wall.
Before she could draw a breath, Eddie yanked her to the floor, threw himself on top of her and pulled his gun.
She twisted her head. The FedEx deliveryman quaked against the wall, three packages on the floor in front of him.
She looked at Eddie. “Overreact much?”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Jordan Welsh has eschewed following in her family’s footsteps and became a private investigator, partnered up with Eddie Marino. Eddie runs the security site of the business while Jordan runs the investigations. When their agency is hired by the owners of the Moon & Stars Children’s Foundation to find out who has embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars. As with any case of this type, the employees are automatically suspects, but as the search takes them farther down the rabbit hole they cross paths with Eddie’s past. When the bodies start piling up will Jordan and Eddie escape unscathed? STEALING THE MOON & STARS is an interesting and complex mystery. While we see bits and pieces of Jordan and Eddie’s pasts, they were woven seamlessly into the forward movement of the plot. I liked both of the main characters, but it was the secondary characters which really sold the story. They helped to solidify the well-developed world in which STEALING THE MOON & STARS is set. The romantic/sexual tension between Jordan and Eddie is palpable, but it doesn’t detract from the story at all. STEALING THE MOON & STARS is an excellent start to a brand new series with a straightforward mystery and compelling characters.
Jordan Welsh and Eddie Marino are two private investigators who take on a whole load of trouble while trying to find out who is stealing money from the Moon and Stars Children's Foundation. They are both very attracted to one another and things between them get more serious as the case goes on. Jordan starts to question her feelings for Eddie as secrets from his past start to reveal themselves. I found this to be an adventure filled romp, sometimes a dangerous endeavor when it comes to solving this crime. As the investigation goes on, you are taken deeper into the mystery of it all. Smith and Steffens keep you guessing at every turn. If you like a thrilling suspense novel with a steamy romantic twist, you will definitely enjoy this book.
Let me tell you. It was a treat reading about warm and sunny Arizona while toiling through an extremely long and cold winter. Between the desert heat and the sparks flying off of Jordan and Eddie, this book definitely made me feel all tingly inside. It was nice getting a visual of Eddie shirtless out on the patio soaking up the morning rays. It certainly warmed me up in a hurry! The author duo really did a great job in setting the scene. Jordan's obsession with air conditioning was a nice touch to keep the reader immersed in the arid climate. And I liked how whenever Jordan and Eddie went on their nighttime missions, they always made sure to include a shiver here and there, indicative of how cold it can get in a desert region after dark. These little details added up to form a complete picture, making everything seem so much more authentic and downright real. I also enjoyed the descriptions of the breathtaking landscape from the beauty of the bordering Superstition Mountains (what a great name!) to being reminded just how dry Arizona can be when Jordan related how the TV weathermen were hoping for some rain but weren't optimistic. Even in October, Jordan was still sweltering while driving around town, tracking down her next lead. The tension crackles right along with the Southwestern heat, a nice device the authors used to establish the mood. And the way they showed the different rungs of the Scottsdale social ladder was brilliant. The community leaders and criminal kingpins sharing the same real estate for their opulent (and sometimes extravagant) mansions. Nothing demonstrated the duality of this environment like Eddie's character. He's a blue collar guy who drives a Porsche. He splurges taking Jordan out to dinner at a restaurant with a maitre d' and valet parking but he's just as happy sharing a bratwurst sandwich with her from an outdoor vendor. He straddles both worlds, opening up new horizons for Jordan, showing her every facet of society. It's good training for a girl who went from being a trust fund baby in Chicago to a fine artist in Paris to hacking computers, breaking into safes and picking locks for a living. With Eddie, Jordan gets a true taste of the Arizona lifestyle from the top of the food chain to the bottom and everyone in between. The contrast certainly makes for a page turner of a read, holding your interest right to the very end.
The title of this romantic mystery caper is kind of nifty. What immediately came to mind was - if someone 'steals the moon and stars,' they're stealing everything. Your hopes, your dreams, your ideals. And that's exactly what happens in this story when someone starts siphoning funds out of a charity devoted to kids battling cancer, aptly named The Moon & Stars Children's Foundation. It immediately tugs at your heartstrings to think that someone would be depraved enough to steal from an organization similar to St. Jude's and Make a Wish. It's the most heartless kind of criminal activity because it's targeting the weakest among us and kicking them when they're down. That's why I was glad that Jordan and Eddie were on the case. They're two people you want fighting on the side of sick and dying children. Jordan's from a wealthy Chicago family so she knows a thing or two about philanthropy and how these non-profits work. And Eddie's a pro at delving into the depths of the seedy underworld while keeping his soul in tact. She's the brains behind the charity auctions and fundraisers, and he knows how to spot a staged burglary and work his mafia contacts. He teaches her how to pick a lock, and she gets him to show up at a costume ball. They're the perfect pair. Throughout the novel, there are a lot of red herrings dangled in front of Jordan and Eddie as they hunt down the source of the leak. Each lead sends them closer to the mastermind behind the operation, as the danger to their safety escalates. It's scary to think that Jordan ends up in the emergency room twice because of what these goons do to her. But she's willing to go everywhere with Eddie from strip clubs to stakeouts, determined to be a equal member of their team and pull her weight. Nothing gets her down for long, until Eddie gives her reason to doubt him. It's a troubling turn of events as the book concludes. Tired of rebuffing his overtures, she takes Eddie into her bed and into her heart, even though it might make working together a little complicated. She knows better than to mix business with pleasure, but he's way too persistent to ignore. He wants her. She wants him. And after a lot of false starts, they embark on the beginnings of a relationship. But by the final pages, we're left to wonder: Will it last? After getting so deeply invested in these characters, that's a cliffhanger I can really sink my teeth into. How longer until the next book? More please!
Jordan Welsh is one of those women who seem to have it all. She doesn't have to worry about money because she has a hefty trust fund. She doesn't have to work a mundane, nine to five job because she owns her own private investigating company. She doesn't have to worry about cleaning her house or cooking her meals because she has a sweetheart of a housekeeper to take care of her. But best of all, she doesn't have to worry about finding a man who makes her heart go pitter patter because her business partner, the oh so sexy Eddie Marino can't get enough of her. Oh, to be Jordan Welsh for a day! But things aren't all rosy for our heroine. She's assaulted by a criminal thug until she's left sprawled on the pavement. She's nearly blown up by a car bomb. She almost becomes roadkill when a hit and run driver runs over and kills the person standing next to her. Yeah, being a PI isn't all that glamorous after all. It's about working a case until all hours of the night. It's about putting yourself in all kinds of danger. It's about depending on the one guy who can make everything right. And Eddie sure is Jordan's weakness. He has ties to the mob. He's been in the army. He's done things he isn't proud of. But she can't resist her attraction to him. He's used to getting what he wants from women and she is well aware of that. She doesn't want to ruin their business relationship by getting involved with him, but he's just the kind of guy she's looking for. Someone willing to protect her against all odds. He wants her body, mind and soul and he won't stop until she gives herself to him completely. Smith & Steffens have a knack for proving that appearances can be deceiving. To the outside world, Jordan might come across as a pampered princess, but the authors open up all different sides to her personality, showing how much she wants her independence from her family's money and their interference in her life. She's striving to make it on her own merits, and you can't help but admire her for that. She's gutsy, willing to do whatever it takes to nail the bad guys, no matter what they try to do to her. She's not afraid to plunge headfirst into the fray. Eddie seems like he'd be the egotistical playboy, stringing women along for his own amusement, but buried beneath his macho persona is a real sweetheart. He cares about the women in his life from his mother to his sister to Jordan. He feels it's his duty to look after them. He'd do anything for them. He's devoted and loyal, and more of a one-woman man than you'd expect at first glance. He wants to commit to Jordan a hundred percent, but she's not as sure about them as he is. She wants him, she just doesn't know if she can handle him. Their romance certainly had my heart pounding, and I can't wait to see how their relationship evolves in book two, especially since Jordan's left wondering if he's being completely honest with her about his actions. But throwing more obstacles in their way only seems to bring these two closer together. Do I think Smith & Steffens will have them work through their differences? As Eddie would say, no problem-o.
We all want to be seen for who we really are. And boy, does Eddie see Jordan. He knows she's not a girl willing to sit behind a desk all day. She wants to be out in the thick of things, just like him. That's why they make a formidable private investigating team. They're tenacious, hungry to right the wrongs done to innocent, unsuspecting victims. Even when the going gets tough, there's no stopping Jordan from following Eddie out the door even if she's battered and bruised and too sore to move. As they close in on the ones responsible for ripping off a children's cancer charity, Jordan's bound and determined to be there right along with him as they bring the perpetrators to justice. No matter if they try take her out by blowing her up or running her over, nothing's going to stand in her way of returning the stolen money to these sick kids. Except maybe her feelings for Eddie. You see Jordan's a little gun shy when it comes to romance. She had her heart broken in Paris after falling for the charms of a suave, yet controlling, Frenchman. She's reluctant to lower her defenses and allow herself to get hurt that way again, especially since her and Eddie work so closely together. He comes on strong to make a play for her affections, inviting her out to dinner, buying one of her paintings, taking care of her when she gets injured. You name it. He does it. He's always there at the drop of a hat whenever she needs him. All it takes is one cell phone call, and he's at her side. She starts to depend on him for that and it scares her. Jordan's okay with investigating a case on her own and gathering clues. But it's Eddie's expertise when it comes to the ins and outs of the criminal landscape, that help her to piece everything together. She knows she'd be lost without him, and that makes her feel uncomfortable. She can't do this job by herself, and that makes her question whether she can get through any aspect of her life without him, either personal or professional. She hates being dependent on him, but their lives are so intertwined now, it's hard to see where one ends and the other begins. For a girl not looking for anything serious, realizing how close she's getting to Eddie sets off alarm bells inside her head. Jordan knows she should back away, but she can't. She's in too deep now. He has the power to destroy her if he's not careful with her heart, but from every estimation he seems up to the task. He's okay with putting her first. He might be a former mafia hit man and she might be the daughter of one of Chicago's finest families, but together they're able to restore some order to the universe. No matter if they get themselves all hot and bothered in the process.
. Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review: 'Stealing the Moon and Stars by Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens. While charities abound around the world in an effort to ease suffering, they are often the target of those whose scruples make them feel that anything is up for grabs. Embezzlement is often the crime of chance and circumstance, where those most in need become the final victims once again. In Stealing the Moon and Stars by Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens, we are introduced to a pair of Private eyes based in Scottsdale Arizona. Jordan Welsh and Eddie Marino have teamed up and are beginning to make a name for themselves. As business improves, the cases are becoming for dangerous but the importance of the business also becomes more evident. When they are hired to find out what has happened to the money for the Moon and Stars Children’s foundation they feel as though they have finally hit mainstream. Everyone is a suspect including those working the charity, and as Jordan begins to dig in deeper, she finds she is suddenly in the sights of a crime lord, and bodies around her begin to pile up. Her partner is somehow in the middle with a secret of his own. As the danger of her situation comes clear she no longer knows who to trust. Can she ferret out the secrets before it is too late? Jordan and Eddie are great characters with an interplay that is just short of scandalous. The heat of passion that evolves as they chase the danger seems palpable. Jordan is a strong woman with a wickedly funny sense of humor, and Eddie is a fun and deeply secretive and good looking man. With such chemistry, Jordan finds herself constantly reminding herself of the danger of becoming involved. That attraction which seems to flare up can also create more danger and as their investigation heats up, danger is more prevalent then they know. If you enjoy a fast paced romance, this will fill the bill. Add suspense and spice and you have a romantic suspense with a bit of a twist. If you are in the market for a great beach or escape reading experience then this is the work for you. It seems that we may have a new dynamic duo in private investigations. This first book in a new series is interesting and holds enough challenge to keep you entertained.
Stealing the Moon and Stars is the first in a new detective series. Jordan Welsh and her partner in business, Eddie Marino are private investigators. They have been hired by a large charity foundation to find out where a large sum of money has gone missing. I thought the mystery was pretty good with a couple of twists. It was well written and plotted out. I liked both Jordan and Eddie. They worked well together. Jordan is trying to be come a very independent person and establish her own identity apart from her family's wealth. Eddie's background is a little shady and adds some mystery to him. Eddie is in love with Jordan, but she's holding back. I also liked that aspect of the story-line. The woman was the hesitant one this time around. It wasn't too angsty though, which was a bonus. I think this writing team has put out a good solid mystery. I see the potential for a great series. I look forward to the next one.
Stealing the Moon & Stars by Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens I wanted to read this book because it's about a charity and funds were stolen from it. Not sure what to expect from the book from the start but enjoyed it so much it was hard to put down. Got caught up in the investigations and the love affair that Jordan and Eddie have. Loved learning all the aspects of why things happened. Quite a few surprises that take everyone for a turn. Throw in a mix of family members and you got a good read. Light romance and sex but enough to help move the story along and it's the unforbidden love that will make this series continue as they work together on more cases. I received this book from Tribute Books Tours in exchange for my honest review.