Monday, February 29, 2016

Monday Excerpt - Dead in a Park: Leah Norwood Mystery #2

This month’s Monday excerpts are from Dead in a Park: Leah Norwood Mystery #2.

Griggs and Reddish were standing at my door. I stepped back automatically which they took as an invitation. Before I knew it, both men were in my living room. Griggs watched me as David greeted Harry. Harry loves David and demands attention every time the captain stops by the store. I glanced at them briefly before returning my attention to Griggs. He stood in a relaxed stance with a blank look on this face. He has the best poker face of anyone I have ever met. I couldn’t stop the flutter in my stomach, but I schooled my features into what I hoped was simply a friendly expression.

“This is a surprise,” I said. “What are you two doing here?”

“Are you alone?” Griggs asked sharply. I didn’t like his attitude so I crossed my arms and glared at him. I saw his lips twitch briefly. He raised his hand as if in apology. “I meant we need to speak with you, but I’d like to keep it confidential as long as possible.”

“I’m the only person here. I doubt Harry or Pandora will be spreading any gossip.”

“Pandora?” Griggs asked in a perplexed voice.

“Her cat,” David supplied, pointing to the black bundle of fur on the couch.

“You have a cat, too?”

“Yes. I have a cat too,” I said. “What’s the big deal?”

“I was just…no, never mind,” Griggs said. “We need to ask you some more questions.”

“All right. Have a seat. Does anyone want anything to eat or drink? I was about to have some pie.”

“Strawberry pie?” David asked.

“Is there any other kind?” I asked with a grin
.
Although I’m not a great cook, I can make a really good strawberry pie. David knows this as he had the opportunity to taste one. When I bake, I usually make two pies and take one to work. The last time was the same day he had stopped by to visit.

He grinned back. “I’d love a piece of pie, but we should probably get on with the questions.”

I sighed and nodded before sitting on the couch. Pandora immediately crawled into my lap while Harry settled at my feet. Griggs shook his head at the animals. I'm not sure why he thought my having a dog and cat was so odd, but he seemed preoccupied by it. David sat on the other end of the couch, and Griggs took the chair. He studied me a moment.

“You said you didn’t know the victim?”

“I said I didn’t think I knew the victim. I couldn’t see much of his face so I can’t say for sure. Should I know him?”

David pulled a picture from his coat pocket and handed it to me. “This is the man. Do you recognize him?”

I studied the picture a moment. It was a young man with light brown hair and hazel eyes. As when I had found him, he was dressed in a suit. It looked odd on him as it was similar to the other one. Dark with long, broad lapels and stripes. The picture only showed his upper body, but it appeared to be a double-breasted suit. Very strange attire for such a young man. Both Griggs and Reddish seemed to think I should know him, but I had never seen him before. “No, I don’t recognize him. Should I?”

“His name is Donald Collins,” Griggs said. “Goes by Donnie.”

“No.” I shook my head. “I don’t know him…wait, my grandmother’s maiden name was Collins.”
Griggs nodded. “Young Donnie is a distant cousin of yours.”

“Really?” I looked back down at the picture. My grandmother had passed away about three years ago. She and I had been very close, but I hadn’t met anyone from her side of the family. I didn't see any resemblance between Donnie and anyone in my family, but then I didn't look like anyone in my family either.

“Yes,” Griggs continued. “Donnie had been arrested numerous times in New York so when we ran his fingerprints, his record popped. We got his picture off the Internet. I didn’t think you would want to see his mugshot. We wouldn’t have traced him to you except for the ring.”

“What ring?”

David pulled out a small plastic bag with a ring inside. When he held it up, I gasped. “That’s my great-grandmother’s ring.”

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Monday, February 22, 2016

Monday Excerpt - Dead in a Park: Leah Norwood Mystery #2

This month’s Monday excerpts are from Dead in a Park: Leah Norwood Mystery #2.

“According to my grandfather, who was Albert’s oldest son, Arthur refused to give Albert his share of the money and after Arthur died, Rose took off with it. After Rose disappeared, Albert changed and he refused to discuss the money or Rose ever again.”

“If she took the money, my grandmother never saw it.”

“She didn’t take the money,” Wade said.

“You seem very sure of that.”

“I am. My grandfather died five months ago. He lived in the same house all of his life. It had been Albert’s house as well. When we were cleaning it out, we found a box with a letter from Rose and a sketchbook.”

“Really?” I asked excitedly. My grandmother had often talked about her father’s sketches. She had been nine when he died, but she remembered looking through his books and watching him draw.

Wade nodded. “The letter was dated a month after Rose disappeared. She told Albert that the money was gone, and that she had left the gems where Arthur had hidden them. She said they had caused their family nothing but pain. She begged him to leave them and her alone. With the letter, she sent the sketchbook.”

“When Arthur died, his jewelry was in high demand. Those sketches would have been worth a good deal,” I said. “He never sold them?”

“No,” Wade replied. “As far as I can tell, they’re all still there. The letter and the sketchbook were wrapped in an old cloth and stored in a box. The letter was postmarked Dallas, Texas.”


We were both silent as I took it all in. When I looked back at Wade, he was watching me. I smiled slightly. “He let her go.”

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Friday, February 19, 2016

Monthly Giveaway for February - $10 Amazon Gift Card

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Monday, February 15, 2016

Monday Excerpt - Dead in a Park: Leah Norwood Mystery #2

This month’s Monday excerpts are from Dead in a Park: Leah Norwood Mystery #2.

“Was he murdered?” I asked softly.

“Oh, yes. It was murder,” Griggs replied.

The last time I found a body it had never occurred to me that the police would consider me a suspect. As a law-abiding citizen, I had just assumed that people knew I was innocent. My experience with the police showed me I was wrong. I looked at both Griggs and Reddish.

“Please tell me you don’t think I killed him.”

Griggs snorted. “No, we don’t think you killed him. He was taller than you, and his neck was broken. No way could you have done that.”

“It was fast and neat,” Reddish added and then turned to Griggs. “Probably someone with military or combat training.”

“Someone who knows how to kill with their hands,” Griggs said softly.

I swallowed. Candace had shot and killed two people in December and tried to kill me twice. She had been crazy, her behavior unexpected and unpredictable, which had made the situation scary. This sounded worse. A person who was calm and rational murdering someone with their bare hands was chilling. And I couldn’t forget about the weird shoe thing.

“Did you find his shoes?”

“No,” Griggs replied, turning toward me.

“Why would someone want his shoes?”

“Who knows? There wasn’t much of a struggle, although there were multiple sets of footprints. But all appeared to be made by people wearing shoes.” He turned away from me and back toward Reddish. “Between Leah and her dog stomping around, I doubt we’ll get any viable footprints.”

“Hey,” I said indignantly. Both men ignored me.

“Let’s keep the area secure anyway,” Griggs continued. “Send a team out to see if they can find anything. Maybe the shoes will show up somewhere else in the park.”

“Got it,” Reddish replied as he started to walk away. “See you around, Leah.”

“Bye, David,” I said reluctantly. I didn’t want to be alone with Griggs. It was awkward and unpleasant. I’m not exactly sure why he had kissed me and then disappeared from my life, but I wasn’t going to ask. I hadn’t thought he would be interested in me in the first place. Although not traditionally handsome, Griggs is an extremely attractive and sexy man. After waiting weeks for him to call or come by, I finally chalked it up to a gaffe on his part. Instead of telling me he wasn’t interested, he simply disappeared. If I hadn’t found this body, I probably would have never seen him again except in passing.

We stood there in silence for a few moments before Griggs said, “You can leave now. Thank you for your patience.”

He sounded so formal and polite. I didn’t like it. I gathered Harry’s leash, pulled him up, and started to walk away. “Well, I guess…I guess I’ll see you around.”

Griggs stepped back and let me pass. I hadn’t gotten very far before I heard him call my name. When I turned around, he was standing in the same spot with an odd look on his face. He rubbed his hand across his head and then gave me a slight smile. “It was good to see you, Leah.”


“Uh, yeah, you too,” I stuttered before we both turned and walked away.


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Friday, February 12, 2016

$10 Amazon Gift Card

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Monday Excerpt - Dead in a Park: Leah Norwood Mystery #2

This month’s Monday excerpts are from Dead in a Park: Leah Norwood Mystery #2.

Once again my mind had wandered. I glanced down at Harry. He trotted alongside me, searching the bushes for anything that moved. Harry is still a young dog, not quite a year old. He walks on the leash pretty well but is easily distracted. Usually a quick tug from me brings him back in line, but I had known the day would come when the inevitable would happen. As we neared one of the park benches, I stopped to re-tie my shoe. I must have startled the squirrel because it rushed out from under the bench, ran across the walking path, and ran straight into the wooded area on the other side. My grip on Harry’s leash was not very strong, and he shot away from me and after the squirrel before I even knew what had happened.

“Harry,” I yelled before I ran after him. When I stepped onto the grass on the side of the path, my feet squished. Looking down, I saw the ground was soft and still muddy in places. Just as Sean had warned me, the ground was still wet. I didn’t really have a choice as I could hear Harry barking wildly nearby. It sounded like he was close to the creek. I knew he wouldn’t come to me unless I was in his sight line. Consigning my shoes to their fate, I waded into the brush. Luckily, it was still winter so the woods and brush in the park were thinner than they would be in a few weeks. I didn’t have to go far before I found my dog.

He was standing near the creek bed, barking ferociously at the dead man on the ground. At first, I wasn’t sure he was actually dead, but one step closer showed he was laying perfectly still, head at an odd angle, and face-down in the small creek. He was dressed in what appeared to be a custom-made suit, the white collar of his shirt just showing along the neckline of his jacket and a fedora at his side. The suit reminded me of something from the 1930s with the charcoal color and narrow stripes. I looked at him from head to toe and then stopped.

He was so neatly dressed that I was shocked to see that he wasn’t wearing any shoes. His feet were encased in socks, but his shoes were nowhere in sight. And who wears a fedora? What was a well-dressed mobster doing in Reed Hill City Park? I couldn’t see much of his face, but he looked like a young man. The clothing and hat seemed totally out of place. Harry ran up to me, and I grabbed his leash. Wrapping it tightly around my hand, I pulled him away from the scene and back out to the walking path. I reached in my pocket for my phone. As I dialed 911, I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell happened to his shoes.

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Win a $10 Amazon Gift Card

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Monday, February 1, 2016

February 2016 Giveaway - $10 Amazon Gift Card

Monthly Giveaway


This month's giveaway is a $10 Amazon gift card. You may enter each day, but please note that entering the giveaway will also register you to receive my quarterly newsletter. You may unsubscribe at any time.


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