Sunday, September 24, 2017

Dead in a Dumpster Excerpt

When Leah Norwood finds the body of Isabel Meeks in the dumpster behind her store, she can’t believe the police consider her a suspect. Sure, she didn’t liked Isabel, but then again, neither did anyone else. Isabel had a condescending attitude and a bad reputation. As manager of the antique store, Patina, she had made a lot of enemies.

There is Patina’s assistant manager, the handsome and charming Trent. Isabel was blackmailing him. There is Patina’s owner, the aloof and influential Anthony Thorpe. Isabel was smuggling drugs through his store. And there is the entire drug dealing Cantono family. Isabel had lost a box containing heroin from one of their shipments. That is just to name a few and didn’t even include the stranger who was seen arguing with Isabel just hours before her death.

The police have too many suspects and too many soft alibis. Leah needs to prove to the sexy new chief of police that she had nothing to do with Isabel’s death.

Leah loves a good mystery. Can she find the killer before the police arrest her for murder?

“So you found the victim about seven fifty?” asked the baby-faced young cop about twenty minutes later.
Why was everyone so young? The name on his badge read Keith Cisneros. I have always been a little nervous around police officers. I’m not sure why. Other than the occasional speeding ticket, I don’t break any laws. Maybe it’s the uniform or just the authority figure mystique. However, I couldn’t be nervous around Keith. First, he was just too young. Second, I didn’t have any nerves left. I was too wet, too cold, and too miserable. And third, I knew Keith. Not well, but well enough to not find him intimidating. He had been the star quarterback on the local high school football team a few years back. His girlfriend at the time had come into my shop quite often, and wherever Susan went, Keith was not far behind. I don’t know what happened to Susan. I haven’t seen her since she went away to college, but Keith had stayed in Reed Hill. He had attended community college and then did whatever it was one did to become a police officer.
We were standing by the dumpster and trying not to look at Isabel. I don’t think Keith had ever seen a dead body either because the look on his face made me think he wanted to follow in my footsteps – scream, run into the nearest building, and lose his lunch. But the kid was made of sterner stuff. My estimation of him rose as he held his ground and questioned me.
“What were you doing out here?” he asked. Okay, so my estimation of him fell a little. I glanced at the trash bags sitting at our feet and tried to keep my voice even as I answered.
“I was taking out the trash.” I don’t think I succeeded as he looked at the trash and then flushed. Now I felt bad, like I had kicked a puppy.
“So did you…”
“Cisneros.” A deep, smoky voice cut through the night. Both of us jumped and then turned toward the voice. Keith’s car was parked nearby, and his front lights were illuminating the vicinity around the dumpster. With the lights from the nearby stores, it was a well-lit area. From the shadows, a figure emerged. If I had any nerves left, I might have been a little anxious. The man walking toward us moved like a stalking panther. Smooth, long strides that ate up the space.
He was breathtaking. Not gorgeous or handsome but there was a power about him that drew the eye. He wasn’t exceptionally tall, standing about five eleven, but his shoulders were broad and his hips narrow. There wasn’t an ounce of fat on his lean, hard body. Dark hair cut short in a military style, covered his head. His face was attractive in a timeless way. Chiseled and clean-shaven but with just a hint of a five o’clock shadow. He had a small indentation on the right side of his mouth that was trying very hard to be a dimple. It was as if he was willing it not to appear with the strength of his personality alone. He had intense green eyes that swept over me briefly before settling on Keith. He was dressed casually in blue jeans, a dark t-shirt, and a navy sports coat. He had to be freezing, but it certainly didn’t show.
He looked familiar, but I knew we had never met. I would have remembered him. He wasn’t the type of man you would ever forget. I searched my brain for a name to go with the face but came up empty. He stopped between us and turned to Keith. “What have we got?”
The kid stood straighter. I guess the man was his supervisor. Although he didn’t look much older than I did, his physical presence alone commanded authority. Keith answered quickly while consulting his notes. “Victim identified as Isabel Meeks. Gunshot wound to the chest, close range.”
The man looked at Isabel still sitting where I found her. He leaned closer. “Looks like a Glock 9mm.”
I was impressed. He was able to identify the type of gun by looking at the body. I owned a Glock and also knew what type of bullet hole it made, but I would have never been able to tell by looking at Isabel. Keith nodded and then looked back at his notes. “She was found about seven fifty p.m. by Ms. Norwood.”
Keith pointed to me, and the man turned his eyes to mine. His gaze swept down my body and back up. He then dismissed me without a second glance before turning back to the rookie. “Has the ME been called?”
Now, I know that I am not the most attractive person in the world. I am what most people would call average. Average height, average weight, average looks, but being dismissed so completely really pissed me off. I was cold, wet, tired, and quite frankly, still a little queasy. And it had been a really bad day. The two men were in deep conversation about the medical examiner when I interrupted.
“Can I leave now?”
Both of them turned toward me. Keith seemed a little surprised that I was still there. I guess he had forgotten about me. The other man just seemed irritated that I had interrupted him.
“You found the body?” he asked and then continued when I nodded, “We’ll need to ask you some questions.”
Keith had been asking me questions. My nerves were shot and my temper short. I am not usually such a bitch, but I had enough of standing out in the freezing rain. I probably shouldn’t have mouthed off to a police officer, but I figured my day couldn’t get any worse. I summoned up my inner diva, gave him my most haughty look, and asked in a snooty tone. “And you are?”
He stared at me a minute, his eyes hard and unyielding. He raised his eyebrows just a notch, pulled out a badge, and held it toward me. “Chief of Police Alexander Griggs.”
Well, damn, my day just got worse.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Excerpt from Convince Me: Holton Series #1

Anna is afraid of love, but Steven changes everything.

Anna West just wants to start over in a new town far away from her past. The only child of a mixed race couple, Anna learned about the ugly side of human behavior at an early age.  After watching her abusive father mistreat her mother, Anna knows that love is not for her.

Steven Carson has always known what he wanted, and from the moment he saw her, he wanted Anna.  Steven is ready for love.  He is ready to settle down, start a family, and he knows Anna is the one for him.  Now all he has to do is convince her.

Come visit Holton, Texas to see if Steven can convince Anna to take a chance on love. Convince Me is the first book in the Holton Series but may be read as a standalone novel.

Steven seemed to fill the room, and Anna couldn’t look away. Every time she tried, her eyes returned to him. He was dressed similar to the first time she had seen him, but this time the suit was gray. It was neatly pressed, and the white shirt was starched. Once again, the tie seemed out of place. This one was a dove gray color and matched the suit well, but it contained a large picture of a giraffe. Anna was fascinated by the fact that a man who appeared so conservative and serious would wear such an item. She realized she was staring at it when she heard Steven chuckle.
“Hideous, isn’t it?” he said with a smile, picking up the tie and looking at it. “Victoria gave it to me, so I have to wear it.”
“Who’s Victoria?” Anna tried to stop herself from asking, but her curiosity got the better of her. She knew Steven wasn’t married, but he said the name Victoria with such affection that she had to ask. She wasn’t sure she really wanted to know the answer.
“My sister.”
Relief flooded through her at his simple statement. Why she was so relieved? She wasn’t interested in Steven herself. Was she? No, that couldn’t be it. Anna wasn’t looking for a relationship. She shook off the feeling.
“She has interesting taste. Did she give you the multi-colored one too?” she asked.
Steven laughed. “Yes. Tori is always trying to update my sedate image. She thinks I’m far too conservative. Since I refuse to let her take me shopping, she buys me these crazy ties. The worst part is I think she would really be offended if I didn’t wear them, and even though she lives over a thousand miles away, she would know if I didn’t.”
“Where does she live?” Anna asked.
“In Los Angeles,” Steven replied. “But she and Julie are best friends, and no matter how far away she is, Tori always know what’s going on.”
“So, you wear the ties,” Anna stated, intrigued by this aspect of his character. It would be interesting to see how much he would do for his sister. Anna, who had no siblings, found it charming that he could care so much.
Steven smiled sheepishly and nodded. “Yeah, I wear the ties.”


Friday, September 15, 2017

Monthly Giveaway

Rachel Lewis hides her looks behind dark framed glasses and drab clothes. As the head librarian in Holton, she is satisfied with her life and her appearance. Rachel isn't looking for love or a relationship, but Paul captivates her. He lives in a completely different world, but she wants him more than she has ever wanted any other man.

Paul Hart is handsome, rich, and successful. As the owner of a thriving business, he is happy with short-term relationships and jaded women. Paul has been betrayed too many times to trust a woman, but Rachel intrigues him. She isn't like any other woman he has ever known. Can he learn to trust her?

Return to Holton, Texas for Victoria and Andrew’s wedding to see if Rachel can win Paul’s trust. Trust Me is the third book in the Holton Series but may be read as a standalone novel. 

Entering the giveaway will also add you to my mailing list. You may unsubscribe at any time.

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Excerpt from The Lost Macaw

I am currently working on the next novella in the Lost and Found Pets series. Release date will be sometime in October or November if all goes well. Here's a little snippet.

Standing on the porch reminded me of the note. It had been taped to the front door. The envelope didn’t have postage or an address. Someone had to have delivered it. They wanted Trudy to see it, but I didn’t understand why they didn’t leave it in the house.
Leslie McMillan and her children were no longer outside. I walked next door and rang the bell. A moment later, Leslie opened the door with a puzzled look.
“Sorry to bother you, but I was hoping I could ask you a couple of more questions.”
“Oh, sure. Come in.”
I followed Leslie into the house. All the children were in the living room. The baby was asleep in a playpen against the wall. Anna and Jeremy were seated on the couch. Jeremy was holding a worn stuffed brown bear. One ear was missing, and there was a large stain on its tummy. The boy looked me a moment and then held the bear up toward me.
I like kids. They don’t worry about small talk or social niceties. They do just fine with my default communication style. I ask questions. They answer. They want to know something. I tell them. It’s easy.
“This is Teddy,” he said.
Not very original but the toy was obviously well-loved. I took a step closer, tilted my head, and studied the bear. Jeremy watched every move like he was afraid of what I might say. Leslie sighed softly behind me. I had a feeling I had stepped right into the middle of a battle of wills over the existence of the stuffed animal. When I was four or five, I had a cheap stuffed dog my mother had picked up at a thrift store. It was old and ragged when I got it, but I had taken it with me everywhere. It had been left behind in one of the many moves we made. I can still remember the feeling of loss that almost overwhelmed me when I realized it was gone.
“Hi Teddy,” I said to the bear. “How are you?”
Jeremy smiled. He turned the bear toward him, waited a moment, and then turned it back toward me. “He said he’s fine.”
“Good to know.”
Anna giggled, and Jeremy whispered something into to Teddy’s lone remaining ear.