Free Cozy Mystery Available Today Only

Facing a ghost, a dead body, and a cat, Hetty Fox has her hands full. Recently widowed and new to town, she also must find her place among a village of strangers. That effort is how she discovers her first dead body and launches herself into her first murder investigation. Grab your free copy today.

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Free Read: Ginger’s Revenge, Chapter 1

I’m writing another Melanie Hart Cozy Mystery. I’ve also decided to publish this book here as it is written. Feel free to share  your thoughts on the story, thank you.

Chapter 1

Melanie Hart usually writes up these adventures. She’s a reporter, and she does a righteous job of it. No complaints there. But I told her that this is my story, and I intended to tell it my way.

To which Melanie  replied, “Go ahead. Knock yourself out.”

Reporters can be so touchy about little things like bylines, but Melanie is a decent sort. I don’t think I ticked her off too much.

I’m Ginger Black, by the way, the owner/operator of the Cut & Curl in Cloverton, a tiny town nestled along the western edge of Illinois. It’s an area that once lacked four-lane highways and was dubbed Forgottonia. Fortunately a four-lane highway now reaches us, and the name Forgottonia has been scrapped. In my view that’s a good thing, Nothing kills business like negativity.

In addition to being one of the town’s wildly successful business owners, I’m also a player in Melanie’s forays into the criminal world. We’ve tracked down two killers so far, and if I have my way, we’re about to take on our third.

But I digress.

My story begins about a week ago when I was driving home from the shop. I’d stayed late to fill in for an employee who needed the night off. After the shop closed, I tacked another hour on to catch up with the books.

So when I stepped out of the shop a little after ten, the street was dark with just a sliver of a moon showing overhead. Stars twinkled, but they provided little useable light. Also the temperature by then had drifted into the low 30s and was expected to keep falling. Decaying leaves blown by a biting north wind  skittered across my path. I shivered, pulled my coat collar up, and took off for my car.

All I wanted was to get home to my comfy bed. I had started my day before sunrise. Now my feet hurt, my brain was dizzy from balancing receipts, and a headache was threatening to polish off my night. Continue reading “Free Read: Ginger’s Revenge, Chapter 1”

The Baying Witness

Sheriff Delton Ross shifted in his chair. Through his office window, he watched late-August heat waves rise from the department parking lot. Halfheartedly, the sixty-year-old Ross listened to the improbable tale coming from the mouth of Ennis Archer.

She was a local woman, a sister to Dave Fairmont, the man who had recently run off and abandoned his wife of the last thirty years. The whole town of Willow Grove had heard the story.

Dave had left a letter for Lila upon his departure, and she’d run around showing the entire town its contents.

Case closed to his mind; had been for months, except for Ennis.

“I’m telling you Delt, my brother wouldn’t take off like that. Not without getting in touch with one of us. The ones he really loved. Somehow, sometime.”

That was a fact, Ross thought. The Fairmonts had always been more of a clan than a family. They were a tough bunch to get inside. Still, it was odd that the man hadn’t been heard from.

“And then there’s Edgar,” Ennis continued with a firm nod.

“Edgar? Edgar who?” Ross couldn’t believe Lila had taken up with another man already. She hadn’t seemed like the type. Besides, he couldn’t think of a single man in Hartford County named Edgar. Where’d this fellow come from?

“He’s the neighbor’s dog,” Ennis added, as though she had read Ross’ thoughts. “That poor thing sits and howls over that rose garden of Lila’s, day in and day out. Lila’s even built a fence to keep the beast away from her land. But the dog just sits on the other side of that fence and howls, anyway.”Ennis’s hard, gray-green eyes gave the sheriff a look that said, “There, now. What do you think of that?”

Ross blinked before leaning forward in his chair. Ennis now had his full attention. “What kind of dog is it?” Ross asked, taking care to keep his deep voice neutral. An avid sportsman, Ross knew his dogs. This could mean something, but he sure didn’t want to get this woman any more riled up than she already was.

“Oh, heavens,” Ennis answered. “How on earth would I know?”

Ross bit back a sigh and slumped back in his seat. “Which neighbor of hers is it that has this dog?”

“Ed Bracken. He lives in the house just behind Lila’s.” Ennis studied the sheriff a moment, then asked, “You gonna go out there? You gonna follow this up?” Continue reading “The Baying Witness”

The Opening to Blind Faith

He hunched his shoulders and picked up his pace. The man had followed this path home through this tiny park hundreds of times. He knew it better than he knew his own hand. So why on this night was his pulse racing? His hands sweating?

The word nerves came to mind, and he cursed himself for giving way to them.

He shook his head. Stephanie had threatened him. Had told him she would never forgive him. He had never seen such anger, but what could she actually do? She had no power, no contacts.

He tightened his coat collar and cast his gaze over the glistening snow. It was a frigid night. A night better spent driving home instead of wandering home through a deserted park.

He sighed and lifted his head. Dumping Stephanie had sounded so simple. It was the perfect solution, probably the only solution really. How could he know she would take his decision so hard? He had never promised her forever. Still, he could hardly believe the trauma his decision had cost him.

He stepped past a string of pine trees. A punishing north wind pushed him sideways. He danced through a couple of quick steps, arms flailing, to avoid plunging to the frigid ground.

Recovering, he swore softly and shoved his coat sleeve back, and glanced at his watch. Late now. The street lights were on. But it was the puddle of blackness between lights that made him shiver.

He needed to think. Needed to come up with an excuse for missing dinner.

He paused, cast a glance backwards. Had he heard something? He squinted., peered around bushes.  Shook his head. “Nothing there,” he reassured himself.

He set out again, his thoughts shifting now to Angela. Beautiful, faithful, boring Angela. The perfect wife. The woman who would one day morph into an exceptional mother.

He inwardly cringed. What had he been thinking? He was lucky to have her.

Had it been old habits or the siren song of a first love that had driven him back into Stephanie’s arms? That woman was like a fine wine. Difficult to put down. But so what? He needed to stay focused on what he wanted. A respectable life. An organized home. A family.

He rounded a corner. A figure stepped in front of him, blocking his way.  She held a knife in front of her. Lamplight glinted off the hard steel of the blade just before it found his beating heart.

“Angela,” he cried as his breath failed him, but his prayer was lost to the roar of the wind.

Mud Pie, a Delightful Free Novel

Oh boy, I  have another free book to recommend. It’s Mud Pie, written by Emma Lee Dole. It’s cute. It’s fun. And it’s a decidedly complicated mystery. I could not figure out who “dun” it  until the very last minute, and I read a LOT of mysteries.

It’s set in England, near Manchester, and features a young cook, Lannie Herron, being chased by an evil bunch of young thugs. They want to kill her for exposing their drug dealing. She is fleeing in hopes of escaping their retribution.

(Mud Pie, by the way, is a dessert, although I can’t really describe it since I’ve never had it. But needless to say, Lannie makes a great one.)

So there she is working in some small pub, praying to escape detection and death. Who said survival was easy?

The e-book is an engaging read full of rugby players, flirtations, and narrow escapes. I truly enjoyed it, and since it ended with her future not fully spelled out, I suggest Dole use this as the first  book in a series of Lannie adventures. I’d certainly read them for whatever that’s worth.

Mud Pie is available FREE for Nook, iTunes, and Kobo. I downloaded my copy at Smashwords.

I cannot end this post without also mentioning Widowmere, which is also written by Emma Lee Dole, and is also FREE. I read it. I loved it. But this book is heavy on description which bothers me not a whit. In fact, I reveled in the language used to tell this story. This tale features an artist as a protagonist who is as far removed from Lannie as possible. She’s sensitive, observant, romantic, and charming.

Widowmere begins when a beautiful young woman fills her pockets with pebbles and walks into the lake as the artist is painting the scene. It is more of a  literary mystery, but that bothered me not at all. This book is also available from the above outlets. Enjoy!