My five-year-old niece doesn’t sleep with a stuffed animal. Her favorite nighttime lovey is a limited edition miniature Tesla that her grandfather received as a thank you for buying one of the first electric cars. She calls it “Big Orange Car” because, well… it is a big orange car.

Big Orange Car isn’t soft or snuggly, but my niece adores it anyway. She would be devastated if anything happened to it (and my sister-in-law lives in fear of Big Orange Car going missing).

Cal O’Brien, the hero of my newest Riley O’Brien & Co. novel, Hanging by a Thread, adores his car, too—a vintage Cadillac Coupe De Ville that his grandmother Violet gave to him. He named the power-blue car Belva as a tribute to his grandma, who introduced herself as Belva when she met her future husband and Cal’s grandfather after World War II.

This is what I imagined when I introduced Belva in the first Riley O’Brien & Co. novel, All the Right Places:

Meet Belva

Cal and the heroine of Hanging by a Thread, Bebe Banerjee, have a conversation about Belva while heading to an orchard north of San Francisco for a day of apple picking. Here’s a little excerpt:

“Have I told you how much I love your car?” She shifted slightly so she could look at him. “It’s like riding on a cloud.”

His vintage Cadillac Coupe De Ville was very comfortable. It also was a gas-guzzler and almost impossible to parallel park, but he couldn’t give it up. His Grandma Violet had given the powder-blue car to him, and he liked feeling connected to her, even if it was through a piece of machinery.

Bebe stroked her hand over the dark blue leather seat, her rings glimmering in the sunlight, and for one fleeting moment, he was insanely jealous of a bench seat.


Lucky for Cal and Bebe, the Caddy has a very spacious backseat for a variety of pleasurable activities…

Are you like Cal? Is your car one of your prized possessions? Does it have a name? Do you know anyone, male or female, who is crazy for cars?


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