Advice to the Love-shorn

Celebrity Characters Dish
Sasha McCandless advises Wendy Darlin

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As the world-renown Love Investigator I am frequently nailed with questions on how the opposite sex thinks.

   Today we have a special guest advisor:
Sasha McCandless: attorney and Krav Maga practioner

Dear Love Investigator,

 I understand you have access to volunteer relationship advisors. Is there any chance you can connect me to Sasha McCandless, the lawyer with the Krav Magna training?
~Wendy Darlin
Dear Sasha,
I frequently find myself forced to defend both me, and my guy archaeologist Roger Jolley. Other than a few Kill Bill films I have no formal training in thug-kicking, but I always seem to come out on top. This has caused my otherwise macho lover no small amount of embarrassment. How do you manage not emasculating Leo?

~Wendy Darlin

~ * ~ 
 Dear Wendy,

I’ve found that a girl can set the tone for that sort of thing right from the beginning. I was lucky enough to disarm Leo and break his nose the first time we met. Now we have a great story about how we met and he doesn’t get sulky when I headbutt a few thugs. While I don’t recommend necessarily beating up Roger, I think you’ll have to just trust him to put aside the machismo when you’re in danger and follow your lead.

~Sasha McCandless

 ~ * ~ 
 Dear Sasha,
This is exactly what happened on our Cairo Caper. From your experience, what could I have done better?

 I dozed briefly and woke to find Roger, still naked, quietly pacing in the dark between the bed and the wide-open balcony doors. Occasionally a moonbeam would highlight his body. The hung and the restless. He stopped pacing and cocked his head. I started to speak but he waved me off with a finger to his lips.

 A voice carried in from the upper deck. Whoever was up there spoke Russian. Then silence. I felt naked for two reasons. First, I was. Second, I was unarmed. I pulled the sheets up to my chest and shivered despite the heat. I groped around on the nightstand for the marble ashtray till I felt it’s cool surface. I exhaled softly. Now I was only naked- naked.

 With a light thump someone landed outside the doorway. What was it with Egyptian balconies? Roger assumed an Inspector Clouseau-like karate stance that gave me absolutely no confidence. This wasn’t the set of The Pink Panther. I tightened my grip on the ashtray.

 A tall figure slipped into the room. The person was backlit so I couldn’t tell much about him except that he had broad shoulders and was half a head taller than my bedmate.

 “Key-yah!” Roger yelled as he jumped the prowler and took him down. They were tied in the cursing department with an equal number of Russian and English epithets coming out of the cartoon-like tangle of arms and legs rolling around. Roger would be on top for a second, then the Russian. I hesitated. I could bop Roger as easily as the intruder. The Russian yelped when he missed Roger’s head and slammed his fist into the floor.

 As the Russian sucked on his wounded knuckles, Roger separated from him and jumped to his feet. The Russian did the same. Roger hopped back and forth jabbing little punches in the air but not connecting. The Russian said something that sounded like good night. He socked Roger in the jaw and my guy went down.

 A banshee couldn’t have matched the sound I made as I leaped off the bed and nailed the Russian on the noggin with the marble ashtray. He went down face-first with a thud. A black semi-automatic pistol dropped from his hand.

 I helped Roger stand. He swayed in front of me. “Why’d you hit him? I was winning.”


 ~ * ~ 

 Dear Wendy,

 Hmm, a little bit ungrateful, aren’t we, Roger?

 I think you did everything right. But maybe next time, you should spare a few minutes to grab the nice, thick Egyptian cotton robe that no doubt the hotel provided and wrap yourself up. Heck, brush your teeth, if you want. Let the intruder get a few more really good knocks in before you save Roger.

 I’ve also found that when I’ve had to rescue Leo—most recently, from armed banditos at our wedding rehearsal—following up with a few well-placed compliments about his cooking seemed to soothe his ego. Maybe you could be sure to let Roger know how impressive his … uh … naked attributes were during the scuffle.


~ * ~ 
 Dear Sasha,

You are one brave chick! I just finished reading A Marriage of True Minds. To slash your mermaid-tight vintage wedding gown so you could free up your limbs for your nifty Krav Magna techniques was nothing short of heroic. What we won’t do to save our men!

 I practiced the move where your draw your forearm into the bandito’s windpipe using my sofa cushion as a dummy thug. Good news… the doctor says I’ll be out of the sling in two weeks. Since Roger doesn’t cook and I may have overplayed my admiration for his naked attributes, I’ll probably flatter his mummies instead.

~ * ~ 

 I’m sorry to hear about your recent cushion-related injury. Whoever would have thought something so soft could be so dangerous? On the Roger front, for a moment I thought “flatter his mummies” was a euphemism. And I always say whatever works between two consenting adults. But, now I realize you’re talking about his work. Yes, that’s a great idea. I’m confident that you and he will have many more romantic, or at least wacky, adventures in the course of his work and yours.

And if he gets out of line, maybe you could flatten his mummies—they’re unlikely to fight back.


About the Author: 
I'm Melissa F. Miller, author of the Sasha McCandless legal thriller series and a practicing attorney. When I'm not in court or on the playground with my three delightful children, I'm hard at work on my next novel.
Please visit my website to sign up for my e-mail newsletter or follow me at Facebook or Twitter so you will know when my next book releases! 
Find the entire Sasha McCandless legal thriller series here: 

Review of STATE vs LASSITER by Barbara Silkstone:

Jake Lassiter is the kind of guy who wears his human weaknesses stamped on his forehead... the same noggin he occasionally uses as a weapon. He can take a beating and keep on kicking. Having read all the Lassiters, I think State vs. Lassiter may be the best. The courtroom scenes unveil the truth about what goes on behind the robes. I could almost hear Jake's teeth grinding as he is forced to sit silent while the justice system plays with his life. There is only so long that a brilliant loose cannon can exercise self-control. Paul Levine knocks another one out of the ballpark. Highly recommended.


The following letter arrived in my Love Investigator mailbox marked URGENT! It’s from Jake Lassiter, Miami attorney, ex-Miami Dolphin, and occasionally clueless man about town.

Dear Love Investigator,
If a guy woke up on the beach and discovered his girlfriend was strangled in their penthouse hotel suite… this guy is a brilliant but wise-ass lawyer… any chance if the lady was really pissed she could have strangled herself with his belt just to get even?
Jake Lassiter

Dear Jake,
This is way out of my league. I’m no expert on revenge.
~~The Love Investigator

Dear LI, Just answer the question. Could she be framing me from the grave?
Dear Jake,
I’m going to pass this question to Darcy Bone. She’s Wendy Darlin’s nemesis and archaeologist Roger Jolley’s ex-girlfriend. Nobody does revenge better.
The Love Investigator
 Darcy Bone’s response:

Dear Jakey,
Happy to help you. I used that strangled ploy a few times myself. Not to worry. She just overplayed her hand.

I’ve been following your Miami adventures for years. Your problem is you go for willowy women. You might change your luck if you switched to Rubenesque gals. I can be a real asset to you in your defense. I’ve watched all the Grisham movies at least twice and know my way around a courtroom. For the record I bear an amazing resemblance to the late Anna Nicole Smith.
♥  Darcy Bone XO
Dear Darcy,

The Jakester wonders if you bear a resemblance to Ms. Smith before or after she became "late." Either way, I am not wedded -- ooh, bad choice of words -- to willowy women. It's just that the dames who cross the threshold of Jacob Lassiter, Esq. may have lost some weight, due to their exigent circumstances of being under suspicion for murder or just being a femme fatale. (Funny, though, you can't spell fatale without "fat.") I will try to follow your advice though, especially if Oprah Winfrey or Melissa McCarthy ever waltz into my neighborhood watering hole.
~Jake Lassiter


No way!
I’m a hot babe. Ask Roger Jolley.
Focus, Jakey!
A bird in the hand and all that…
♥  Darcy XO

ABOUT THE AUTHOR The author of 18 novels, Paul Levine won the John D. MacDonald fiction award and was nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, International Thriller, and James Thurber prizes. A former trial lawyer, Levine also wrote more than 20 episodes of the CBS military drama “JAG” and co-created the Supreme Court drama “First Monday” starring James Garner and Joe Mantegna. The critically acclaimed international bestseller “To Speak for the Dead” was his first novel. Levine is also the author of the “Solomon vs. Lord” series and the thrillers “Illegal,” “Ballistic,” “Impact,” and “Paydirt.” A graduate of Penn State University and the University of Miami Law School, he lives in Miami. More information at Website

As the world-renown Love Investigator I am frequently nailed with relationship questions. Dudes and dudettes looking for love in all the wrong places

The following letter touched my heart. It was meant for Lauren Butler, the heroine of DATING GEORGE CLOONEY. I have forwarded it to Ms. Butler for her advice to the Love-Shorn.

Review of Dating George Clooney by Barbara Silkstone:

Maureen Driscoll captures the action on the big three playing fields, religion, politics, and movies. With her subversive humor she shows us how power doesn't necessarily corrupt it just bends and warps. Heroine Lauren Butler lacks people skills and has no brakes on her mouth. Andrew is one of those refreshing young guys who has a way of temporarily juicing up a woman's life. One of the real howlers is "The Finisher." A perfect hit man. But, it's Lauren's fantasy world with George Clooney that left me in tears of laughter. Costco-shopping with George! Get this... Mark Walberg serenading the couple as George Clooney purposes to Lauren while placing a giant pink diamond on her finger. Lauren Butler may not possess real life skills, but she sure knows how to fantasize. This would make a super funny film.


Dear Love Investigator,
I recently read an inspiring book called Dating George Clooney. It has given me the confidence to pursue my dreams. Can you put me in touch with the heroine of this magical love story? Her name is Lauren Butler. I really need her advice on how to land a celebrity lover. I mean… not someone who loves celebrities but a hot dude who is a celebrity. Thank you for expediting my request.

Fiona Feelgood
Author of the upcoming Erotica for Dummies

Dear Ms. Butler,
You are my hero. You have captivated the George Clooney. I imagine you are a gorgeous gal and the perfect age of forty-two. I’m only just forty and a bit shy of five feet tall. What are my chances?
Fiona Feelgood

I believe your mistake is in referring to him as the George Clooney.  He is my George Clooney.  As for how I look, gorgeous is a relative term, of course.  But I can say with certainty that the Lauren Butler who’s dating George Clooney is supermodel thin, with Real Housewives-sized breasts.  The Lauren Butler who’s writing to you isn’t quite that perfect.

I would say your chances of getting an imaginary non-George Clooney boyfriend are excellent.

Do you think your appeal might be in that you are not openly ga-ga over him?

You speak as if he doesn’t have flaws.  For instance, he…okay, I’m not really coming up with any.  But the paparazzi can be very difficult to take.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to have to put on make-up before leaving the house every day?  Not just on those rare occasions when I’m dressing up (i.e. getting out of my pajama bottoms and putting on sweats).  But every day.  I blame him for this.  But he almost always makes it up to me.

No, you cannot have him.

I suggest you get an imaginary boyfriend of your own.  Do you have anyone in mind?

Ryan Gosling. I saw him in Lars and the Real Girl and I can’t get him out of my mind. Whenever I walk through Costco I imagine how you must have felt with George pushing the grocery cart. The way he looked at you!!!

Ryan Gosling would be a terrible imaginary boyfriend because he hates Costco and only shops at Target.  Actually, I love Target.  Ryan Gosling is my new back-up imaginary boyfriend.

Thank you, Lauren. You have inspired me to find my own celebrity boyfriend.
 Is Omar Sharif still alive? Never mind.
 If you are really done with that cutie Andrew, I might take a crack at him. What’s his number?

Lauren:  555-Don’t you dare.

Maureen Driscoll is an Emmy-nominated writer-producer in Los Angeles whose credits include "The Dish" on the Style Network, "Jimmy Kimmel Live," and Nickelodeon's "BrainSurge." She was also a recipient of a Walt Disney Studios screenwriting fellowship, where she wrote a romantic comedy based on her rather painful divorce. The script didn't make it to the big screen, but it did teach her a few things about happily ever after.

Before moving to Hollywood, Maureen spent nearly a decade working on Capitol Hill. Her novel DATING GEORGE CLOONEY is a political satire inspired by her time there.

NEVER DENY YOUR HEART, Liam's story, is the fifth book in the Kellington series of Regency romances. NEVER A MISTRESS, NO LONGER A MAID (Ned) was the first, followed by NEVER MISS A CHANCE (Lizzie), NEVER WAGER AGAINST LOVE (Arthur) and NEVER RUN FROM LOVE (Hal). Maureen is currently working on the sixth Kellington book and would love to hear from her readers on Facebook at Maureen Driscoll Author, Twitter, Goodreads and

She is very, very appreciative of her readers and thanks people for taking the Kellingtons to heart.


From time to time I call on celebrity characters to assist me in really messing up lives.Today my very special guests are: Hetta Coffey a sassy Texan with a snazzy yacht and she's not afraid to use it. She's a globe-trotting civil engineer with swath of failed multi-national affairs in her jet stream.

Plying the San Francisco waterfront, trolling for triceps, her attention is snagged by a parade of passing yachts – especially their predominantly male skippers – and experiences a champagne-induced epiphany: If she had a boat, she could get a man.

In spite of a spectacular ignorance of all things nautical, Hetta buys her dream boat, but shadowy stalker, an inconvenient body, and Hetta's own self-destructive foibles, give a whole new meaning to the phrase "sink or swim!"

                               Amazon: Just Add Water - Hetta Coffey Mystery

Hetta is joined by Wendy Darlin - Tomb Raider and until last year a full-time real estate agent for Miami Beach millionaires. Wendy’s been told her life is like the movie Romancing the Stone but at times she feels more like Indiana Jones with boobs.

Not really the life Wendy envisioned when she promised to look after the criminal miscreant Charlie Hook. When Hook held her hostage on his mega-yacht, she had no choice but to help him recover his ill-gotten treasure as they cruised to Nevis Island in search of the Lost Boys.

                                   Amazon: Wendy and the Lost Boys

Since Hetta actually owns a yacht whereas Wendy was merely a hostage on a yacht, we’ll open the floor to Hetta:

Today’s question comes to us from Desperate in Detroit:

"Does size really matter? I fell for a perfect angel who told me she could only love a man with a yacht. I sunk every dollar I had in a 32' yacht. Now she says a yacht ain't a yacht until it's over fifty feet? Does size really matter?" 

Just for starters, Desperate, congrats on getting yourself that yacht. Now take the next step: throw the money-grubbing bimbo to the sharks. Join a yacht club. Trust me, there are many more perfect angels out there on those bar stools who will think the size of your, uh, yacht is just dandy.

Desperate, from my experience size does matter. Three hundred and seventy feet of mega-yacht felt small when the UpUGo engorged Captain Hook chased my bod. But I agree with Hetta. You should be thinking about long walks on the beach, staring into her eyes, and sipping champagne from her slipper. Drop the “enhancement” and get schmaltzy!

Uh, Wendy, while I realize that asking me to give advice on relationships is like signing up Atilla the Hun to teach an anger management course, I have to say that being alone and unarmed on a large yacht with someone named Captain Hook might have tweaked your self-preservations instincts a mite.

It wasn’t his name that scared me.


                     Desperate, I hope that answers your question. 

                   Book characters are always welcome. 
              Please contact: LoveInvestigator3(at)gmail(dot)com

Jinx Schwartz

She's baaaak! Just the Pits, Book 5 in the Hetta Coffey series, is now available 

                                                      Just the Pits - Hetta Coffey Mystery

And for the other four, get Hetta in a box. Hetta Coffey Collection Boxed Set Books 1-4 in Award Winning Series  

                      Hetta Coffey Boxed Set

ALL other BOOKS just 2.99, including the others in award-winning Hetta Coffey series. 

                 Twitter @jinxschwartz 



  1. This is hysterical. I love the hypothetical back and forth. But let's just make everything clear. George Clooney is mine and always has been. We don't go shopping at Costco though because it annoys me. And though I loved Ryan Gosling in Lars and the New Girl, he's no George.

  2. Georgina, How many ways can we spread George Clooney?... even in our dreams. :)

  3. Cool... yet,
    sumtin more sauveNdelicious
    is Upstairs for eternity, dear.
    ♡ ♡
    Choose wisely, miss gorgeous.
    I shall be in the Great Beyond, too,
    waiting for you to serveNlove...