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An attractive visiting female detective discovers bones, follows the clues and helps the sexy local police chief arrest the killers.
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Description

Sneak Peek: Read the first 3 chapters

Genre  Mystery

Release  February 22, 2013

Editor  Kim Cresswell

Line Editor  Les Tucker

Cover Designer  Marion Sipe

Words  46518

Pages  160

ISBN  978-1-77127-272-8

Price  $5.50


Back Cover

While walking a dog in the woods near the small town of Oyster Bay, on the Southern Oregon Coast, Maggie Lawson discovers a human skull. A homicide detective on leave from LAPD, Lawson planned on a relaxing for a few weeks, house and dog sitting for her cousin. Bored by inactivity and intrigued by the bones, Maggie volunteers to help sexy OBPD Chief James McAlister in his quest to discover everything he can about the skeleton. Their attraction is immediate, but both have reasons to hold back. Working together they identify the bones, uncover the killers and nearly lose their lives in the process. Will Maggie’s life ever be the same?


 Excerpt

The dog danced around her knees, woofed, and play-bowed. She laughed all the way to her car. “You are such a silly critter.” She clipped her cell phone to her waist, dropped her purse in the trunk and started to shut it when her training took over. She removed her .38 caliber gun from her purse, and checked to make sure there wasn’t a bullet in the chamber. She glanced around the empty street and shoved the gun in her pocket. Maggie had no intention of being like the heroine of so many novels she’d read who were ‘TSTL’, too stupid to live. The characters, usually blonde and buxom, would go trotting down into the basement of the old spooky house, all alone at night, in the dark, even though she knew there was a mad killer lurking. Nope, not Maggie Lawson. She would be going into the forest alone, but not unprotected. She started to slam the lid of the trunk, then stopped, fished her wallet out of her purse, and stuck a twenty dollar bill in the pocket of her jeans. She took off with Rudy to find Kendo Park again.

With only two wrong turns she found the place, slipped into an empty parking space, snapped the leash on Rudy, and headed into the park. Dark clouds had drifted in from the ocean and threatened to sprinkle rain on them. Maggie didn’t care. She was determined to find the man who’d called and get him to talk. She followed the path around the pond and went back to the phone booth. She had to hurry before the rain washed away any scent that might still be here from the caller. With a quick look around to make sure no one was watching her, she pulled the piece of cloth out of her pocket and held it under Rudy’s nose.

“Find, Rudy. Find the man.”

He sniffed the cloth, shook his head, and looked up at her, confused.

“Come on, Rudy. You’re a bloodhound, this is what you’re supposed to do for a living.”

He thumped on his butt and looked up at her. “Oh, okay—I get it.” Maggie pulled a plastic baggie full of doggie treats out of her pocket, opened it, and gave him a bit of dried liver. Then she put the cloth under his nose and said again, “Find, Rudy.”

The dog stood and dropped his nose to the ground. Then he took off like a shot, almost yanking Maggie off her feet.

He headed up the grassy hill, his nose at ground level, weaving back and forth, towing Maggie behind him. They passed a dormant rhododendron garden, then a large outdoor fireplace and picnic table just before they reached the edge of the forest. Rudy hesitated for a second, allowing her to catch her breath, then he was off again. He moved through the trees with his nose to the ground like a snake, only stopping twice to catch the scent. She could see a faint, barely path zigzagging around bushes and fallen logs. Rain started falling in earnest now, and before long, Maggie’s head and shoulders were drenched, in spite of all the thick branches overhead. The fecund smell of rotting leaves and saturated dirt filled her nostrils.

A flash of lightning shattered the sky and thunder grumbled overhead. Undeterred, Rudy kept going. Leaves and twigs wiped across her face and grabbed at her hair. A trickle of moisture wiggled down her neck and kept going until the cold drop stopped in the middle of her back. Maggie gritted her teeth and plowed through the brush, hoping Rudy could find his way back out of the park.

A thick stand of brush halted the dog. He rambled right, then left, looking for a way through. A frisson of fear halted Maggie in her tracks. This barrier appeared to be man-made. She could see where small twigs and branches and been bent and twisted and woven together. The smell of green wood tickled her nose. Rudy sat at her foot, looking up as if to say, ‘well, lady, I found what you were looking for, now what?’

Maggie bent and grabbed his collar. Together they started to walk along the barrier until they came to an opening. Maggie gasped. She and Rudy had found someone’s camp. A large tarp had been strung between the trees, shaping a crude shelter. A tight stand of trees formed the back of the camp, and more tarp hung on two sides. An aged steamer trunk rested against the trunk of a huge Douglas fir, a dented, rusty kerosene lamp resting on top. A thick bed of ratty blankets was high and dry on some old wooden packing crates, creating a bed. Boxes and bags, many covered with bits of plastic, dotted the campsite. The remains of a campfire lay in the middle of the clearing, a scratched coffee pot nestled among the coals.

The camp looked like it had been there for quite a while and Maggie was reluctant to go into the space. She was standing in the only way in…or out, of the enclosure. Cold, wet, and discouraged, she decided to go back to the police department and have one of the men return with her. She’d been foolish to come alone, after all. Before she could turn around, Rudy growled low in his throat, the hair at the nape of his neck bristled. Maggie felt a warm breath against her cheek—it smelled minty.

“Who are you?” The rusty words trickled into her ear from a man standing slightly behind her right shoulder, and way too close.


 

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