Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Once Upon a Crime

By Evelyn Cullet
Romantic Mystery, 397 pages
Cover art finishes by Pat Evans
Original design by Evelyn Cullet
Purchase Link

Fleeing her life for a short break, Charlotte Ross, along with her best friend Jane Marshall, find themselves at her aunt’s home in the sleepy town of Raven’s Caw, Michigan. Charlotte hopes to recover from a breakup with her fiancé, and her friend Jane, a new mystery writer, is looking forward to somewhere relaxing. But life has different plans for the two friends and they find themselves swept up in a whirlwind of romance, mystery and murder. Excerpt:
Jane had no appetite for dinner, but she forced herself to eat Nettie’s leftover vegetarian chili. After she’d eaten, she paced the kitchen floor while Nettie brewed tea.

“There’s nothing like dandelion root tea to clear the toxins out of your liver,” Nettie said.

“Right,” Jane answered, not really listening. She stopped pacing when Nettie handed her a cup.

“I’m kind of glad Charlotte’s on another date with Rex.” Nettie sipped her tea. “It’ll help her get over her broken engagement.”

Jane put on a weak smile. She had to tell Nettie something. If she confessed Charlotte was taken by those two thugs, Nettie would freak out and call Charlotte’s parents, the FBI and God only knew who else. Since she was sure Rex would save Charlotte, like he always had in the past, why put everyone through all the needless worry.

Jane sat at the table and sipped her tea. I can’t stand just waiting around. I should be out there searching or doing something to help.

Jane’s cell phone vibrated. She gratefully answered it.

“Hi, beautiful,” Kenny said smoothly, and Jane fought the blush that was threatening to stain her cheeks. “If you’re with my mother, don’t say anything. Just make some excuse to leave the house. I’ve got news about Charlotte. I’ll meet you at the gas station in town.”

“Okay.” Jane got up from the table. “Uh, that was…that was the sheriff. He needs me to, to come to the police station for more questioning.” Jane went for her coat. “This shouldn’t take long.”

“Too bad,” Nettie said. “I was hoping you would come to the Non-Denominational Church in Redville with me. It’s Bingo night.”

“I’m not really a Bingo player, but thanks for the invitation anyway.” Jane waved goodbye and sprinted to Charlotte’s car.

She drove into the gas station parking lot ten minutes later. Kenny was inside buying a sandwich and a cup of coffee, so she pulled up to the gas pump, used her credit card to pay and filled the tank. Then she got in the car and waited for Kenny to come out. He finally headed toward the car.

Kenny slipped into the seat and leaned forward. Had his wounds gotten worse?

“How’s your back?”

“It’s better today, thanks.”

She let out a breath. “When you called, you said you had news.”

“I found Charlotte.”

“That’s great!” She waited for him to tell her where, but he didn’t. “Well, let’s go get her.”

“It’s not that simple. Those two guys are with her, and I’m sure one of them has a gun.”

“What! Are you crazy? You left her there with a couple of thugs who have a gun? I’m calling Rex, and you can tell him where she is.”

Kenny took a sip of coffee. “I have a feeling Rex already knows where she is.”

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