The Story Behind Matching Miriam by Mya O’Malley

29 Dec 2020

By Mya O’Malley

Born from the Maggie Ghost Trilogy, Detective Miriam Marty pulled at heartstrings with both her vulnerability and tough as nails exterior.  Anyone who has read this trilogy knows that Miriam’s match was just out there waiting for her to find.  While chasing down a serial killer isn’t the best time for major upheaval, Miriam has no shot in hell of turning Jesse away–he is, after all, Miriam’s only chance at love, he is her perfect match.

***

What happens when Officer Miriam Marty shields her heart from the past and comes face to face with a serial killer? The plain and simple answer is trouble; but with Miriam Marty, there’s always more to the story and it’s never simple.

Miriam bleeds integrity with a tough as nails exterior that permits only a few trusted people inside of her world. After spending years building up the walls that have sheltered Miriam from her past, Jesse, the only man she’s ever loved, makes an unexpected return back to Miriam’s home town.

Jesse has acquired all of the necessary skills for keeping relationships at bay. His new job as a fireman finds him returning to a place he once called home. What should be a sentimental homecoming turns into disaster for his heart when he finds old feelings stirred up, stronger than ever, for Miriam.

Miriam questions her own sanity as sleepless nights find her hunting the Decade Hunter, believing it to be the most challenging case of her career. She soon discovers that resisting Jesse at every turn proves even more difficult than the daunting task of chasing down a serial killer at large.

In plain sight lies the façade of a man who has played them all for fools, educating Miriam on a lesson she’s failed miserably at in her past–trust. Trust, not only in the game of love, but in laying one’s trust down in the safe cocoon we all find comfort in –only to have it blown apart in a heartbeat.

***

Excerpt:

“I know you said to leave you alone and all that, but then the oddest thing happened. This woman with a kitten hidden within her coat approached me, then I met this other kitten here, and instantly I knew she belonged with you. It was crystal clear.”

He was talking too fast, too much information was hitting her fast and hard. “Whoa. Slow down.”

“Okay,” he said after taking a deep breath. “Quick version is that this strangely beautiful woman charmed me into going out for coffee—”

He could have hit her with a brick. “Wait, what?”

“Oh, there was nothing between us, not really.” Somehow his words didn’t make her feel any better, but they did tell her that it didn’t sit well with her that he had been out with another woman. A beautiful woman.

“Go on.”

“It was the strangest thing, it really was. The only reason I even agreed to coffee was that we had such a strange connection, like I had known her my entire life, which is silly of course.”

“You’re rambling, and I thought this was the short version.” She huffed. This mystery woman was pissing her off already.

“Okay, so the whole time we were together it was like she was hyper-focused on us, you and me, on me not giving up on you. Almost as if her whole reason for going out for coffee was to discuss me and you.”

She couldn’t imagine the scene unfolding as he described. It was bizarre at best. But there was something about the way Jesse lit up when he spoke that told her to let him finish.

“Go on.”

“So that’s really it. She spoke of regret, that this was the biggest decision of my life, and not to listen to you about closure and all that, not to let you go.”

“That’s unbelievable.”

He smiled. “I know, right?” His shoulders relaxed.

“No, Jesse. I mean it’s really unbelievable. As in I don’t know that I should believe you.”

His shoulders slumped. “I know it sounds that way, but it’s true. And Miriam? She’s right.”

“Who is this woman? Is it someone I know?”

“Didn’t sound that way. Her name’s Gen, she lives down the road from me.”

She had no clue who this person was, so clearly they didn’t know each other. “Why would a total stranger care about either one of us? About our relationship? It doesn’t make any sense.”

“That’s just it.” He threw his hands up in the air. “I have no idea.”

He wasn’t making any sense, but what irked her about this was that Jesse was the furthest thing from flighty. This wasn’t him. It’s what opened her eyes and made her listen.

Could this somehow be connected to what Naomi spoke about during their call a few minutes ago? She continued to mull the question over in her head.

“Jesse, slow down. First of all, I hear you. I hear what you’re saying about us, but we have to put all this stuff aside right now.”

He stared at her, his eyes wide. “This stuff? This stuff?

“Yes, us, we have to just sit on that for a bit.”

He nodded but kept his frown in place as she tried to put her thoughts together. Any way she approached this subject with him, he’d flip.

“So I have this friend, her name is Naomi. She’s a good friend, my best friend actually.”

“Who’s rambling now?”

She nodded and fought her way to the bare facts. “She speaks with ghosts, spirits, you know? Anyway, she’s kind of psychic, too.”

“Miriam, what the hell are you talking about? Who is this crackpot and what does she have to do with any of this?”

“Ooh, you shouldn’t say that about Naomi.” She whistled under her breath and then continued. “Naomi sees visions, if you will, and she believes someone is out to kill me, problem is she isn’t exactly sure who that someone is.”

There, she laid it all out on the table and judging from his blank stare, he was every bit as bewildered as she was.

“You see my mind first went to the Decade Hunter, but that would be the obvious choice. Once I listened to this business about your mystery woman and this kitten, I’m not sure anymore. I’m not sure who I can trust.”

He lunged out of his chair and pulled her up, grasping onto her shoulders. “The Decade Hunter? Who the hell is the Decade Hunter?”

Distancing herself from his reach, she stepped back to give him space. “Surely you’ve heard about the murder in Cherry Creek? It’s what Lucas and I dubbed him.”

He nodded his head and cursed. “Yeah, I guess I have, and I probably should have figured that you’d be involved in some capacity.” He placed his hands on his head, pulling at his hair.

She stepped backward until she felt the wall behind her. “It’s my case. Mine and Lucas’s.”

“Your case. Oh my God, Miriam.” He advanced and then stepped back an inch. “Miriam, what am I going to do about you? How am I going to protect you from something I don’t understand? Something I can’t control?”

She felt a knot form in her throat. “Protect me? I don’t need your protection.” She couldn’t turn from his heated gaze, from the worry that she saw was killing him. “I’m a police detective, I got this.” Her last words faded as she lost herself in the pull of his emotions.

His forehead touched hers and she watched as he clenched his fists and then uncurled them. His palms landed on either side of shoulders, blocking her inside his energy.

She heard his breath hitch beside her own and gulped, knowing there was no way out, that she wasn’t strong enough to resist him, to fight whatever this was between them. She wasn’t sure that she should have ever even tried to fight it. The only thing she was sure of right now was her heart beating in time with his as she placed one hand to his chest and breathed him in.

“Jesse.” She didn’t know if she had said his name aloud until he tilted her chin with his hands. Her eyes followed his every move. Those hands had once traveled over every inch her body, those eyes knew every nook of her soul.

“I like the way my name sounds coming from your mouth, Miriam.”

His raspy words melted her, set a spark to her already spiked heartrate. “And I like the way you say my name too.”

His lips touched hers, he sucked her into a rabbit hole where only they existed, where nothing else mattered.

Just a boy and his girl.

A man and his woman.

She surrendered and tasted the coffee on his lips, the softness of his touch sent shivers up and down her spine.

A woman and her man.

She led him up the stairs. For years, it was all she had fought against and yet it was all she had ever wanted.

With Jesse and Miriam, it had never been simply black or white, for them it was every color in between.

***

How did Detective Miriam Marty come to tell her tale of heartache, loss, regret, and ultimately love?

While I was writing my Maggie ghost trilogy, I became intrigued with the character of Detective Miriam Marty. Miriam was such a solid, strong character throughout these stories that I knew I’d have to give Miriam her own voice; her own story.

Miriam is a character that can teach us all something; from her independence to her ability to forgive, and ultimately lay her trust in the hands of her loved ones, Miriam’s growth serves as an inspiration to us all.

Throughout the Maggie series, I felt that Miriam had demons to slash. She had so many unresolved issues that I knew I couldn’t leave this intriguing character hanging. I love how although Miriam and Naomi may have gotten off to a rocky start in the beginning of their journey, that Miriam was ultimately able to tear some of her walls down in the name of friendship.

Another reason I can’t deny for how I stumbled upon the idea of Matching Miriam is how I simply love writing the characters originated from the Maggie series. From Maggie, to Naomi and Lillie, I couldn’t get enough of these characters that now reside permanently inside of me.

Mostly, I knew Miriam was destined to find true love; someone she could toss her demons to, throw her heart out to and trust with her life. I wanted readers to know what made Miriam tick, how her past contributed to her present and molded her into the woman she became. I see Miriam as a warrior, one who tackled her demons at last, one who doesn’t have to rely on anyone else to find her happiness, but also a woman who was made to match perfectly with a man she can’t resist–Jesse. Jesse is the one steady person who would risk his own life to protect and love Miriam is a way no one else can. Miriam may have told herself she was her own heroine, the rock in her story, but when she finds she can’t resist her perfect match, there’s no denying that Matching Miriam was a damn difficult task, but so worth it in the end.

***

Mya O’Malley on writing her unique Matching Miriam characters-

I’m excited to have readers discover all the idiosyncrasies that make Miriam who she is. In a sense, Miriam is a living contradiction. She’s guarded, stubborn, untrusting, tough as hell, fiercely loyal, independent, loving, and the best friend a girl could ask for.

When I created Jesse I knew he would need to be independent, untrusting in his own way, vulnerable, loyal, sensitive, flexible, and above all, patient to a fault in order to match Miriam.

Genevieve. Well, she speaks for herself. Without giving away too much, Genevieve is a force to be reckoned with. She’s sweet, beautiful, classy, mysterious, and downright chilling at times. In other words, she fits in with the Matching Miriam characters perfectly.

Can we talk about non-human characters? (The kittens!) Yes, two kittens and a very wise cat happen to be amongst my favorite eclectic characters in this novel. Josie, Jackie (sisters), and of course, Zelda, stole my heart from the start. I’m hoping their mischievous ways and sweet nature capture my readers’ hearts as well.

What’s next?

I’m going back to writing a novel titled Timeless, which I started a couple of years ago, centering around time travel and the adventures of an orphan whose life takes a surprising turn at the age of eighteen. I’m excited to write this one, as it’s vastly different from any work I’ve done in the past.

I mentioned above how connected I am to my Maggie Trilogy characters. I’d love write another spin-off of the series, perhaps into the future when Naomi’s twin girls, Layla and Maddie show us a little mischief and paranormal magic of their own.

Mya O’Malley is the author of the new book Matching Miriam

Connect with Mya O’Malley
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