A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones finds a sheriff who didn’t run for office taking on the case of a missing teenager. Read an exclusive excerpt!
Did you know you could become sheriff without ever entering your name in the race? Sunshine Vicram does. That’s how she landed the gig of protecting her hometown of Del Sol, New Mexico.
Check out the awesome book trailer below, and then read an excerpt from Darynda Jones’ latest novel. You’ll meet our titular heroine and her trusty (and hunky) sidekick Quincy. The action hasn’t even started yet, and this book is already off to a great start.
Read our exclusive ‘A Bad Day for Sunshine’ excerpt
Having taken the scenic route through town, Sunshine Vicram pulled into her parking space at the station with a nostalgic smile on her face. She’d forgotten how beautiful Del Sol was, especially when blanketed with fresh snow. It was enchanting and mystical and serene.
Passersby would find the town tranquil. Spiritual, even. And it was. She’d give it that. But it was also quirky and charismatic and unpredictable.
Just like the people who inhabited it. For the most part.
A large black font graced the side of the stucco building that read Del Sol County Sheriff’s Posse.
God, she’d always wanted a posse. Of course, she’d envisioned them all on horseback, racing over the rugged countryside in search of a man with a black hat and a handlebar mustache, but this would do.
Sadly, a sharp rap on her window startled her out of her prepubescent fantasy. She hadn’t even gotten to the good part where a Native American named Tarak saved her after the bad guy shot her in the shoulder, and they made sweet, sensuous love by a campfire — apparently, she healed really fast — before resuming the search the next day, capturing said bad guy, and taking him to be sentenced by the Hanging Judge, thus making the Great Plains great again. And bad-guy free.
C’est la vie.
She peered through the window, first at a police-issue flashlight angled against the glass, second at a blond-haired, blue-eyed, half-Latino in a starched black uniform and a gun at his hip. The refrigerator-sized intruder wore a grin that could weaken the knees of a sisterhood of nuns.
Quincy. Of course he’d be there to greet her.
She opened the door and jumped into the arms of her very best friend on planet Earth. Apart from Auri. And her hamster, Gentleman Jack, but he’d died decades ago. So, Quincy had moved up a notch.
She’d warned him at the promotion ceremony he had some mighty big shoes to fill. Or he would have if hamsters wore shoes. But Quincy took it all in stride, confident in his ability to run on a spinning wheel and crawl through plastic tunnels.
They were five. Their aspirations hadn’t been particularly lofty.
He lifted her off the ground with a chuckle, and she squealed, the sound very unsherifflike.
“Sunburn Freyr,” he said when he put her down and held her at arm’s length, “as I live and breathe.” He acted like he hadn’t seen her in decades when, in truth, they’d met for one meal or another every chance they’d gotten over the years, which wasn’t nearly as often as Sunshine would have liked. And they’d even brought in the new year together. With a confiscated keg, apparently. But the enthusiasm was welcome.
Still, she settled a warning glare on him.
He cleared his throat and made a correction. “Vicram. Sorry, love. Still can’t get used to that.”
“I’ve been a Vicram for over fifteen years.”
“I’m set in my ways.”
“Well, I can’t get used to the He-Man you’ve become.” She squeezed his biceps. “How much do you eat?”
“Don’t you worry, gorgeous. It’s all muscle.” He flexed the guns for her appraisal.
Sun snorted. Flirting was a part of their shtick. They’d done it since they were kids, before they’d realized what it meant. But now they were in a professional relationship. Their playful banter would have to stop . . . eventually.
He gestured toward the building. “You ready for this?”
She studied the letters again, her stomach doing somersaults. “I don’t know, Quince. How’d they do it?”
“I can’t be sure, but I’d bet my last nickel they used a stencil.”
“I like to think I am.”
“Spill,” she said, infusing her voice with a warning edge.
Quincy laughed and decided to study the snow. “Let’s just say your parents are very talented.”
Talented they may be, but Sun was genuinely worried about her mom and dad. “They got me elected, Quince. Without my knowledge.”
He winced and patted the air, urging her to keep it down.
She lowered her voice to a harsh whisper, which probably carried farther than her voice would have. “How is that even possible? There was a debate, for God’s sake!”
“You did great, by the way. I especially liked your ideas on how to eliminate drunk driving.”
Sun pinched the bridge of her nose, wondering how she managed to debate the previous sheriff when she’d had no clue she was even in the running. “Someday you’re going to have to tell me how they did it.”
The grin he wielded like a rapier served two purposes: to disarm and to charm.
And here Sun thought herself immune to the charisma of Quincy Cooper. Well, okay, she was immune, but she could see the appeal. The allure of the chick magnet — his words — he’d become.
In high school, Quincy had been popular enough. Very well liked. But he’d never been what one would call a ladies’ man. Now, the chunky — his description — former sugar addict looked less like a huggable marshmallow and more like a boulder. His waist had narrowed and his shoulders had widened and his smile had grown into something girls of all ages longed to gaze upon every chance they got.
What did the women at her mother’s book club call him? Ah yes. Stupid hot.
She’d certainly give him that. But deep down, she still saw that sweet kid who fought back tears after skinning his knees on the playground.
And now, after almost fifteen years, the Dynamic Duo — a.k.a. Quincy and Sunshine — was finally back together. Sun could hardly believe the roller coaster of events that had led her here.
“Are you sure you’re going to be okay with my being your boss?”
Her chief deputy snorted. “Like anything has changed. When haven’t you bossed me around?”
“Good point.” She hadn’t planned on bringing it up so soon, but she needed to know what awaited her. “All right, Q. Cards on the table. Is the mayor going to let this rest?”
Mayor Donna Lomas seemed to be the only one questioning the legitimacy of Sunshine’s win over Del Sol’s former sheriff. Well, besides said former sheriff. And Sunshine herself.
Quincy turned away from her, but she saw the muscles in his jaw flex as he worked it, a sure sign that not everything was popping up daisies in the Land of Enchantment.
“I don’t know, Sunny. She’s pretty worked up about the whole thing.”
“And she should be.” Sun collapsed against her cruiser. “I mean, isn’t there someone more qualified? You know, someone sheriffier?”
“Okay,” he said, joining her at the cruiser with arms folded across his chest, “let’s think about this. You have a master’s degree in law enforcement. You single-handedly solved one of the highest-profile cases the state has ever seen. And you were the youngest officer to make detective in New Mexico history.” He tilted his head. “I’m thinking no.”
Sun straightened, faced him, and adjusted his tie before replying, “First off, I have a master’s degree in criminal justice, not law enforcement.”
“Second, I was the third-youngest officer to make detective in New Mexico history. I was only the youngest in Santa Fe history.”
“Well, then, I take back everything I said.”
“And third, no case is ever solved single-handedly.” She patted his cheek. “You should know that by now, Chief Deputy Cooper.”
He let a calculating smile widen across his face. “Keep telling yourself that, peaches. I read the file.”
“Hmmm.” Refusing to argue the point, she returned her attention to the building.
“I’ll give you a minute,” he said, starting for the door. “Let you gather yourself. Make a grand entrance.”
“Great, thanks,” she said, neither grateful nor thankful.
About ‘A Bad Day for Sunshine’ by Darynda Jones
Sheriff Sunshine Vicram finds her cup o’ joe more than half full when the small village of Del Sol, New Mexico, becomes the center of national attention for a kidnapper on the loose.
Del Sol, New Mexico is known for three things: its fry-an-egg-on-the-cement summers, its strong cups of coffee — and a nationwide manhunt? Del Sol native Sunshine Vicram has returned to town as the elected sheriff — an election her adorably meddlesome parents entered her in — and she expects her biggest crime wave to involve an elderly flasher named Doug. But a teenage girl is missing, a kidnapper is on the loose, and all of it’s reminding Sunny why she left Del Sol in the first place. Add to that trouble at her daughter’s new school and a kidnapped prized rooster named Puff Daddy, and Sunshine has her hands full.
Enter sexy almost-old-flame Levi Ravinder and a hunky US Marshall, both elevens on a scale of one to blazing inferno, and the normally savvy sheriff is quickly in over her head. Now it’s up to Sunshine to juggle a few good hunky men, a not-so-nice kidnapping miscreant, and Doug the ever-pesky flasher. And they said coming home would be drama-free.