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Time Out

Murder investigators, Dunning and Briggs, expose a bed-hopping trail that shocks and titillates Coastal Bend oil town Pettrolius, Texas.
Sales price: $4.50
Sales price without tax: $5.95
Discount: $-1.45
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File Type: epub
File Type: htm
File Type: pdf
File Type: prc
Price: No additional charge
Author: C.E. Chessher

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A South Texas Mystery

Genre  Cozy Mystery

Tags  Mystery, romance, political intrigue, rivalry, curse.

Release  July 19, 2013

Editor  Ellee Braun

Line Editor  Val Haley

Cover Designer  Marion Sipe

Words  73226

Pages  321

ISBN  978-1-77127-377-0

Price  $5.95


Back Cover

An investigation of Pettrolius Schools Athletic Director Ray Willis’ murder exposes a bed-hopping trail that shocks and titillates Coast Bend oil town Pettrolius.

Described by critics as “a womanizer who can’t keep his zipper closed,” Willis is found shot dead in his office.

As the deadline approaches for the first annual Oil Jamboree Parade, Boycott Mayvale organizer Ruthanne Heggeman, enters the fray, pressuring newspaper editor Glennis Dunning and Deputy Sheriff Jake Briggs to “get the lead out.” A killer and an arsonist are terrorizing Pettrolius, and if the mayhem continues, county-seat Mayvale threatens to pull the plug on the Oil Jamboree.

Continuing petroleum industry labor strife and racial tensions add to the volatile mix in this troubled town plagued by the shadowy aftermath of long-simmering rivalries, political intrigue, and a lingering pall cast by an old Indian curse.



On the west side of Pawnee, a town of three hundred people, Glennis’ reverie dissipated when a gray Crown Vic darted from a side street and began following her. Her heart leaped in her chest.

Damn. Someone is tailing me. Again?

On a desolate stretch of highway between Pawnee and Oakdale, she floored the Belvedere until the Crown Vic was a mere speck in the rearview mirror. A moment later, she crossed a knoll, and the Crown Vic disappeared. She breathed a sigh of relief, but past a curve, she noticed a HiPo cruiser idling at a roadside park.

She let off the gas, but it was too late. The cruiser flipped on its dome light and took out after her.

Damn. I don’t need this—please.

Resigned to a citation, Glennis pulled off the highway and waited for the officer to approach the car.

It was Ron Kidman, the same officer who had helped investigate the Ray Willis murder scene in Pettrolius.

“Evening, ma’am,” Kidman said, lifting his hat as he peered inside the Belvedere. “You seem to be in a hurry this afternoon. Do you have some kind of emergency?”

Glennis wanted to blurt out the whole sordid truth.

You bet this is an emergency. A man in a Crown Vic is tailing me, and I don’t have the slightest idea who it is. A shooter is running loose in Pettrolius, and no one knows if it’s the same man who killed Ray Willis. An arsonist is torching buildings and no one knows who that is, either. It’s too much, too soon, and I don’t know who to deal with it, okay? I’m not a trained investigator; I’m just a lowly newspaper reporter, and I’m tired.

“Hello, officer. I guess my foot got a little heavy,” she heard herself say. “I’ve had a lot on my mind lately…”

He peered at her for a few moments, as if examining a science specimen. “You need to take it easy, Miz Dunning. We all know the pressure you’ve been under lately…with the murder and all.”

Kidman’s words and his manner sliced through her like a dull knife, reopening old wounds that had never healed. Her heart went into overdrive as clashing thoughts fought for dominance.

Tell him.

No, he’ll never believe you.

Tell him. What do you have to lose?

Finally, it was too late to stop the words that escaped her mouth. “Someone is following me.”

That got his attention. He glanced toward the section of highway that led east toward Pawnee. “Who’s following you, ma’am?”

“I don’t know who it is. A man driving a gray Crown Vic. He followed me all the way to San Antonio one day.”

He glanced back at the highway again. “I don’t see anyone, ma’am.”

Her cheek flinched from an involuntary spasm.

Damn. He’ll think I’m lying.

“The car came out of nowhere. I tried to outrun him. That’s why I was speeding.”

This time, he eyed her compassionately, a look a preacher might use with a wayward congregant. Flipping open his ticket book, he began to write on it. “I’m going to give you a warning this time, Miz Dunning.” He tore off the ticket and handed it to her. “But I want you to take it easy, okay. Take it from someone who’s been there. You need to get away from Pettrolius for a day or two. Longer, if you can swing it.”

He tipped his hat again. “Good day, ma’am.” Then he walked back to his patrol car, crawled inside, and waited for Glennis to pull back onto the highway.




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