Fine Gems and Crime with Author Ann Collins

Blue Diamond DeathPeople have desired diamonds and other fine gems for centuries. Exceptional stones have adorned crowns and jewelry worn by royalty. I’m not descended from kings and queens, but I sure do appreciate and admire a beautiful gem. One with a historic past and an alleged curse makes it even more interesting. The Hope Diamond, a gorgeous blue diamond, is just such a gem. It is believed to be bad luck by some and good luck by others. Just in case there’s some truth to the curse, I’m glad the Hope is safely on display in the Smithsonian Institution, not owned by just one person.

After seeing the infamous blue diamond for myself in Washington, DC, and reading more about it, I started to wonder if there might be a sister stone cut from the same rough. I made my speculation a reality in BLUE DIAMOND DEATH, a romantic suspense novel set on the sunny shores of La Jolla, California. I grew up in La Jolla, and it has some very nice jewelry stores, but where there is wealth, there is crime.

My heroine, Kathleen McGuire, is a gemologist and jewelry designer. I enjoyed researching her field of expertise, even attending a seminar at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in Carlsbad, CA. Poor Kathleen is suffering, though, and she has closed her heart to the possibility of finding love with a good man, especially a man in law enforcement.

Enter Mike Ryan, a special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). It seemed only right for me to feature an ICE agent in a setting so close to the U.S.-Mexican Border. Mike’s job is his life, and he’s not interested in a long-term committed relationship, but there’s something about Kathleen that takes his focus off the job.

Creating these two characters who must struggle, learn, and grow as individuals before they can find their happily-ever-after together was a lot of fun. I hope you enjoy getting to know Mike and Kathleen as well as I did.


A woman in danger:  Gemologist and jewelry designer Kathleen McGuire has no intention of falling for another man in law enforcement—a man who wants to be her hero. Her shattered heart cannot endure any more pain. But anonymous threats against her life push her to the brink, and she reluctantly accepts the help and protection of handsome Mike Ryan, a federal agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Though attraction sizzles between them, Kathleen fights temptation and desire. She is a long-term relationship kind of woman, and Mike is a short-term commitment kind of guy—until one night changes everything.

A man who vows to protect her:  Working a drug-related money-laundering case in the sun-drenched seaside community of La Jolla, California, Special Agent Mike Ryan needs a confidential informant familiar with the jeweler he’s investigating. Beautiful Kathleen McGuire isn’t who he had in mind for the job, but what she knows could break his case wide open. Arresting drug traffickers and their scummy, money-laundering partners is a mission to Mike, but when a stalker’s threats against Kathleen escalate, Mike makes protecting her his priority. Before long, he finds himself emotionally entangled with Kathleen, his heart and his future in as much danger as Kathleen’s life.

Blue Diamond Death, a sensual contemporary romantic suspense novel, has approximately 64,200 words and is about 265 pages in length.


Cupping his eyes against the jewelry store’s glass door, Mike peered inside. His gaze stopped at the showroom’s small desk.

A young woman he’d never seen before sat unmoving behind the desk. Shoulder-length, dark brown hair framed an attractive heart-shaped face with a creamy complexion.

Wanting a better look, he leaned a fraction of an inch closer. That was when he noticed her eyes. They stared straight ahead, as if looking at nothing. And yet those eyes also seemed to be seeing too much, though what, Mike couldn’t guess. He only knew he didn’t want to look away.

His heart kicked up an extra beat, startling him. San Diego had lots of pretty women, but not a one of them had made him feel anything more than an appreciation for their natural, sun-touched beauty. This woman, however, did something to him. She seemed so lost and alone, and he knew what that felt like. He tried not to think about it, or about her, other than how she could let him in to see Ambrose.

He rapped on the glass.

Her eyes cleared instantly, and she leaped up from the chair like a frightened rabbit.

Mike winced. “Sorry,” he said through the glass. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”

She stuffed an envelope and sheet of paper into the middle of a stack of mail on the desk. “You didn’t,” she called out, her voice muffled by the distance and barrier between them.

Liar. Mike knew scared when he saw it. But she rebounded quick. Admirable. She had a tough streak to her, one he suspected did not get breached very often. He’d caught her during a private and vulnerable moment. What had she been thinking about? he wondered, then reminded himself that he didn’t want to know. He had come here to enlist Ambrose’s help, not get curious about a pretty woman’s distressing thoughts.


Ann_Collins_2 Ann Collins was born and raised in La Jolla, California, the setting for Blue Diamond Death. Some translations of La Jolla are said to mean “The Jewel,” which she felt would be the perfect name for her story’s fictional jewelry store. As a child, Ann enjoyed and admired rocks, graduating to geodes and then fine gems. She has seen diamonds being cut in Amsterdam and pearls being sorted in Japan. Two gemology highlights during her world travels were the Crown Jewels in London and the Hope Diamond and other gems at the Smithsonian in Washington DC. Ann writes fiction and nonfiction. She enjoys bringing La Jolla and San Diego to life for her readers. She has published a historical romantic suspense novel entitled A Matter of Marriage, set at the Hotel del Coronado (Hotel Grand Victoria in her book) in the late 1800s. Her first historical romance novel, Protecting Jennie, was published by Harlequin Enterprises, won the romance category of the San Diego Book Awards, and received four stars from Romantic Times Book Reviews.

Ann’s creative outlets also include nature photography. She especially enjoys shooting landscapes and seascapes. She has two images in the 2015 Sierra Club Wilderness Calendar. To read more about Ann, please visit Compass Point Press or her photography website, Images By Ann Collins. To connect with Ann on Facebook, please go here ( Ann is also on Goodreads.


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2 thoughts on “Fine Gems and Crime with Author Ann Collins

  1. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend but I love other colors better. I’m a semi-precious stone girl because of the different properties that they hold. I love the idea of your book and wish you much success!

    • Thanks, Melissa! I like other colors, too: blues, pinks, greens, etc, though I have to say that a fine diamond that’s cut well is like a colorful prism when light hits it from different angles. So pretty.

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