Welcome Birthday Guest ZA Maxfield!

I decided I wanted to spend my fictional birthday with Charlie Cochet’s Thirds. She knows how much I adore the series. I hope I have done Justice (ha-ha) to your boys, Charlie. Any mistakes in spelling and any liberties taken with canon are mine.

Just my luck–my new publisher had a last-minute glitch on someone else’s release, so my editor had to work late. And we had plans. She was going to show me around New York City, buy me dinner, maybe even get me into a show for my birthday since it was my first time on the East Coast.

Now, I guessed I was gonna spend a night on the town alone. No bother, really. I’d always enjoyed sightseeing, and I’d already cabbed around to get the lay of the land. I knew 42nd Street was where I’d find a Broadway show, and how to locate my hotel near Times Square, and where to find Central Park. I’d be fine.

It wasn’t dark yet, so I took off walking. Being from California, I had no clue how to walk in New York. Everyone charged where they were going. Cars darted around corners whether there was pedestrian traffic or not. Horns honked.

Despite the Human Police Force, which seemed to be on the streets in ominous numbers, I saw no less than six drug deals, two drunk-and-disorderlies, and a fist fight. Which was all very exciting, because that kind of thing was what I lived for.

The name’s ZAM. I write police procedurals. Gritty, realistic stuff.

The stuff you don’t read in the dark.

Getting out on the mean streets, watching law enforcement do their job, is where I get most of my ideas… But that much energy, noise, that much hustle, can be draining. Especially for an old introvert like me.

So, when I saw a group of plain clothes law enforcement heading into a bar I followed, hoping for some juicy ideas to flow. Some tidbits, I might use in my next book.

That’s what led me to Bar Dekatria, Sloan Brodie, and Dexter J. Daley, who I’ll remember forever as the one that got away.

The dude tending bar was extra nice. He poured heavy and had a smile like the lights on a new Mercedes. Old eyes though. He’d seen a thing or two. Hadn’t we all? Since the vaccine, and the virus, and the way our world cracked wide open and two interdependent species found themselves in a pitched battle for survival.

Some only wanted dominance. They could go to hell as far as I was concerned. In my life, and in my books, humans and therians were equals, and they worked toward a better future together.

Because of that, I didn’t know if I’d be welcome in that bar, but no one paid me any mind. Maybe it was because of the laid-back, casual atmosphere. Maybe it was the mix of humans and therians. But when the bartender poured me my third shot, and I let it slip it was my birthday, the guy next to me got so excited I thought he was going to helicopter off the bar stool and fly away.

“It’s your birthday? Really?” he asked. “Have you already had your pre-birthday birthday party?”

“My what?”

“What about the cupcakes.” His smile was sunshine. His blue eyes gave me shivers. They say only takes a moment to fall in love, and in that moment, I did. Hard. “Did you bring cupcakes? Because when it’s your birthday, we all bring cupcakes to share with the crowd. That’s totally a thing.”

“You’re supposed to bring cupcakes to your own birthday?”

“Well, I don’t.” He waved long-fingered, clever hands. “Normally, I’m on the cupcake receiving end no matter whose birthday it is. That’s a thing too. Totally a thing.”

“I see.” I spread my hands out, empty. “Er… No. I’m visiting from out of town and I was supposed to meet up with a friend, but she had to work. I thought I’d stop in here. See if I could soak up the vibe.”

“That’s almost the saddest thing I’ve ever heard.” He looked aghast. “Didn’t they know it was your birthday? Tell your friend she’s going to have to really bring her A-game to make it up to you. One time, my husband Sloane—”

“Talking about me again?” A massive Jaguar Therian had joined us. He nuzzled my new friend’s neck, at the same time destroying any chance I had at happiness going forward.

“Oh, you’re married.” Disappointment, like a fat dagger, pierced my heart.

“Yeah. This is my husband, Sloane Daley. Don’t mind his ominous glare. I can make him purr.”

“I’ll bet you can.”

“Hi.” Sloane held his hand out.

“ZAM,” I said. “It’s an acronym.

“I see you’ve already met Dex.”

“It’s her birthday, Sloane. And she’s alone.” Dex frowned. “Which is totally against the Dexter J. Daley code of birthday fun: Article Six, Section III, which states, no one celebrates birthdays alone. We have to make this right. Wait here.”

Dex darted into the crowd behind Sloane until I couldn’t see him anymore.

I lifted my brows in question. Sloane shrugged. “Your guess is as good as mine.”

Seconds later, the stage lit up.

Sloane’s lips twitched. “Oh, here we go.”

“What?” I asked.

At center stage, Dexter picked up the microphone, “We have a new friend, ZAM visiting our fair city, alone, on her birthday.”

People oh-noed, and awwwed…

They actually did that. For me. I guessed they would get on board anything Sloane’s adorable husband did or said. Especially when he started shaking his booty.

“Oh, holy cow.” I nearly swallowed my tongue.

“He has that effect on people,” Sloane said dryly. “I try to remember how helpless he is without coffee, and everything falls back into place.”

“If you say so.” But I knew. I’d met the one, and I would never be the same again.

It would be me and the lonely street with only the printed word for company…

The instantly recognizable guitar riff that begins, “Birthday,” by the Beatles, played. And Dexter J. Daley sang. Just for me.



Sarcastic cop Theo Hsu returns home to Hawai‘i after realizing he wants more from his life, and also, less. He hopes to reconnect with his past and make amends with his mother, who remarried a cool, distant man, leaving Theo unsure where he stands.

It doesn’t take him long to figure out where he wants to stand, though: right next to his childhood best friend, tattooed detective Koa Palapiti. Theo would like to upgrade their relationship, but Koa is putting out some seriously mixed signals. It’s a mystery Theo can’t let go, but just as they start to connect, kidnapping, murder, and a deadly game with international stakes get in the way. Koa wants to keep Theo out of it, and if it comes to a choice between him and Koa’s partner, Freddie Ortiz, Theo doesn’t like his chances.

But even if Koa wants to push him out of the investigation, and his life, Theo still has a few tricks up his sleeve. It’ll take all his special gifts, ingenuity, risk-taking, family ties—and even some kinky undercover work—to save the day… and the man he never should’ve let get away.

28 thoughts on “Welcome Birthday Guest ZA Maxfield!

  1. Ooooh! I so love Dex and Sloane. I totally feel you, I know my crush with Dex will never see a HEA.
    Thank you so much, ZAM

    1. We can enjoy Soane and Dex together though. I can’t tell you how many re-reads and re-listens I’m on now.

  2. Your book sounds really good. It’s one of yours I don’t actually have. Will definitely have to rectify that. 🙂

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