No Halo Required by Travis Casey Genre: Women's Fiction, Suspense
Isaiah Hightower has everything a forty-nine-year-old man could want: respect as a high school principal; admiration as a leader in the black community; and a wife who would do anything for him.
Despite his shining public image, Isaiah has a dangerous dark side. When his indiscretions threaten to unravel his life’s accomplishments, he has no choice but to silence the source by any means necessary.
When his wife witnesses her husband's greatest sin, her life is about to change forever. But it doesn't have to. One lie will keep her life the same and save her husband's reputation.
Isaiah stepped between the women. "Good morning, Gloria." He attempted to deliver an affectionate peck to her cheek but she pulled back, protecting her makeup. She puckered her lips and simply kissed the air in front of her.
"Isaiah," she greeted him. "Slain any dragons lately?"
"I can't say that I've disposed of any mythical creatures recently, no."
Yvette draped her arm over her husband's shoulder. "But what he has done …"
He held a victorious beam. "Well, only if you consider the Hilton Head Town Council a dragon."
"I've persuaded them to close the Bare Trap on Madison Street."
Gloria smiled. "I can understand with a wife as beautiful as yours you have no need for strip clubs, but why would you invest your valuable time in such an insignificant crusade?"
"Insignificant? It's hardly that. We need to protect the children."
It was barely noticeable through her packed foundation, but Gloria's face creased. "Isaiah, why are you worried about strip clubs? As immoral as those places may be, they have checks in place to ensure they are kept as a visual orgy for adults; whereas all the children of today's world have to do is jump on the pornographic gateway known as the internet and they can see all the nudity they want—and heaven knows what other kinds of debauchery."
Isaiah shook his head. "It's too near the high school. Young girls see the strippers arriving at work in Corvettes and Mercedes and will give up their education to make money the easy and uneducated way. No, God has spoken to me. He asked me to shut down this particular playground of sin, and I answered. The council has accepted my arguments and the Bare Trap was closed down two days ago." He thrust both arms in the air. "Halleluiah!"
"And that's your dragon?"
Isaiah dipped his head. "No halo required."
"And they did it on that argument? Your students may become strippers one day?"
"I may have mentioned that a sophomore student was already a dancer there."
"What? At sixteen? Was she?"
Isaiah shrugged. "It's possible—one day … maybe."
Yvette stepped forward. "And statistically, the ratio of minority dancers to white ones was grossly out of proportion. The place is not only immoral; it discriminates against people of color."
Gloria looked at her friend. "And you researched this, did you?"
Yvette nodded. "As you mentioned, Isaiah is a busy man. I help where I can when discrimination is involved. Out of twenty-three performers at the Bare Trap, twenty-one were white, one African-American, and one Native American—I believe she dresses up as a squaw."
"I see." Gloria continued flapping her fan. "And you want to see more people of color taking their clothes off?"
Yvette frowned. "No, you're missing the point—"
Isaiah patted her hand. "Not to worry, darling. Those Jezebels won't be taking their clothes off for the underclasses of Hilton Head anymore."
"Thanks to you," Yvette congratulated him, then turned to Gloria. "He's one of God's angels."
"No halo required," Gloria echoed.
Yvette looped her arm through Isaiah's. "Let's go give God the thanks He deserves and get the heck out of here. My pom-poms want shaking."
They entered the church—Isaiah's favorite place on earth.
Travis was brought up in Midwest America before embarking on a nine year Navy career that allowed him to travel the world and learn about life. He has ping-ponged across oceans moving from mainland United States to Hawaii, to Scotland, to Seattle, to England, to Minnesota, back to England, and back to Minnesota where he currently resides ... for now
He writes easy-reading, light-hearted fiction and "You couldn't make it up" true stories about his own experiences. Relax by the beach or curl up on the couch on a rainy day while Travis takes you on fun-filled adventures that let you forget about life for a while and have a laugh.
Where are you from and how you became an author?
I was a Midwestern kid living in Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Michigan, and Indiana by the time I was eighteen. Then I joined the Navy and packed a lifetime of living into nine years—the first four years in Hawaii and the last five in Scotland. Since then I've ping-ponged across oceans several times with my British wife living in Seattle, England, Minnesota, back to England, and back to Minnesota where we currently live with our two Shih Tzu/Bichon cross dogs.
I was in property development in the UK in 2009 when the big crash came. While unemployed, I began writing—not to become the next Stephen King, but to pass time. I wrote my Naval memoirs, but since I wasn't a Navy SEAL or warship commander there was little interest in my work. So I created my alter-ego, Tyler Chambers, and got a trilogy out of him. He went to Hawaii, sailed the Western Pacific, and ended up in Scotland. Much like I did, but Tyler was a lot more fun—and dare I say stupider—but he had a damn good time!
Since then I've written three memoirs about coming to and leaving America and No Halo Required is my sixth novel—nine books in total.
What inspired you to write this book?
I started this book long before the George Floyd catastrophe and the racial tension those events have brought about in the world. However, when I moved back to America from the UK in 2014, I was amazed at how often the news showed events of people being shot by police. Invariably, the news summary followed with "He didn't do it." I wondered to myself, "What if he did do it?" The concept is not new, but as a writer, I wanted to explore what might happen if a man of the community is not all he appears to be.
Do you have any quirks when you write?
I search the web for pictures of my main characters and post them over my computer for the duration of writing the novel, Isaiah and Yvette still hang on my wall and will until I start my next novel—which will be very soon. "The Snow Pimp" will be set in Minnesota and released in 2021.
Why did you choose this genre? Women's Fiction/Suspense?
I didn't really. It came down to a case of where No Halo Required fits on the shelf. My passion is romance and romantic comedies, with suspense being a close runner-up and intertwined into any of my novels. I did envision a degree of romance in this book but it didn't develop that way. After my editor and I worked on this for a few months, she asked me, "Whose story is it?" That kind of caught me off guard and I didn't know. We talked it through and she finally summarized it well: "I think Isaiah thinks it's his story then Yvette steals the book right out from under his nose in the closing chapters." Bingo! All my novels are for a female target audience, so here we are: A white guy writing about a black couple for a female audience.