Thursday, August 6, 2020

Inspiration of a Desert Rat

Native Desert Rat. That’s how someone would’ve described me years ago. “You were born here?” The term might still be in use, but I haven’t heard it lately. Although born in Phoenix, in southern Arizona, I never really felt “at home” in the desert. After marriage, we lived all over the place from Germany to California, and I enjoyed the greener areas. But now, back in Arizona, I’ve discovered the central desert…and I love it. 

Central and northern Arizona inspired my five-book series, Love and Murder. Setting is important to me. The first inspiration for my stories is either the characters that find me in any number of ways or the setting. Book one, The Art of Love and Murder started with a character. When I became aware of her, the setting was a natural—Flagstaff, Arizona. I went to college in this quaint town at the base of the snow-capped San Francisco Peaks. 

For several years, we lived on the golden plains just north of Prescott, Arizona. I set book two in my Love and Murder Series, Southwest of Love and Murder, in Chino Valley. There are grassy flatlands and rocky hills with plenty of wide blue skies. It’s where the antelope roam and ranches spread for miles. 

Phoebe, the heroine, leaves the city for a little R and R on the Meadowlark Ranch on the Chino Valley plains. Rancher Mason Meadowlark is more than happy to be the recreation part. But murder follows her. She’s a murder/mystery writer, and I found more than a little inspiration from myself for Phoebe. My characters are often inspired by people I know or have met. Could be one simple character trait or someone’s style. Phoebe comes the closest to me, but I’ll not confess how much of her. Let’s just say it’s more of the love part than the murder angle. 

Speaking of murder, it’s beautiful country around central and northern Arizona, but not much water. My husband would’ve killed for a lake in Chino Valley. Since he’s an avid fisherman, we migrated eastward a couple of years ago to get closer to what little water you can find in this state. 

Now, we live in the basin, only minutes from Roosevelt and Apache Lakes. It’s still the Sonoran Desert, the only desert where the Saguaro Cacti exist, but other native plants and trees are abundant. Springtime can be awe inspiring when everything blooms yellow, purple, orange, and hot pink. 

I continue to be inspired by central Arizona. I’m currently writing a new series set in the Arizona Black Hills, not far from Chino Valley and the Love and Murder Series.

SOUTHWEST OF LOVE AND MURDER, Book Two of the series, is currently on sale for $.99. You don’t have to read the five books in order, so now is a good time to dive in and come to central Arizona for a little love and murder. I’ll bet the setting and Phoebe will inspire you to try the rest of the series. If you’re partial to audiobooks, the first four are available right now and the fifth will release in a month. I’ve given away all of my US codes but I still have some UK codes for free listens. Leave a comment if you’d like a code. 

A PEEK:

Mystery writer, Phoebe Anderson, owes her success to killing her first husband on paper seventeen years earlier. Now, someone has actually done it. When she decides to take a few days away on the ranch of her best friend’s brother-in-law, she doesn’t expect romance to find her...or murder to follow her. 

Mason Meadowlark is happy with his wild cowboy ways, avoiding love since the death of his baby and the end of his marriage twenty years ago. When Phoebe shows up, he fights to control his emotions, but soon wonders if she just might be worth the risk of opening his heart again. 

With an obsessed fan close on her heels, Phoebe is thrown into her own murder mystery…and the next target on his list is Mason. 

BUY LINKS

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Southwest-Love-Murder-Book-ebook/dp/B00QQPMIMQ 

Apple iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/southwest-of-love-and-murder/id965678707?mt=11 

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/southwest-of-love-and-murder-brenda-whiteside/1121003952?ean=2940149945269 

AUDIO BUY LINKS

Audible US: https://www.audible.com/pd/Southwest-of-Love-and-Murder-Audiobook/B07MGZ1GMM 

Audible UK: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Southwest-of-Love-and-Murder-Audiobook/B07M623KW2? 

iTunes Audiobooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/audiobook/southwest-love-murder-love-murder-series-book-2-unabridged/id1448484811 

 

 


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Wickedly Humorous #Vampire for #WickedWednesday by R E Mullins


WICKED WEDNESDAY


You really will get a kick out of this post. Not only did Robin write an amusing and wickedly fun post, but she has something free for you! Be sure to comment and win!
    
Hi! R. E. Mullins here! First of all, I want to give a quick and hearty thanks to Brenda for asking me to guest host on her Discovery Blog today. I’ve written a series of novels and a couple of novellas in the vampire/romance/paranormal genre.

I selected Wicked Wednesday for my spot because the idea of writing about something wicked intrigued me. Then I was stumped. For weeks now I’ve been mentally, reviewing everything I’ve ever written looking for something that fit the bill.

Inspiration finally struck on my mother’s 95th birthday. As my sisters and I sat with her (all appropriately masked and distanced) we shouted at each other so Mom could hear us. She’s a little bit deaf, refuses to wear her hearing aids, and depends A LOT on lip reading. Anyway, we got to talking about motherhood as it’s another bond we all shared.

That’s when it hit me. Although several of my villains certainly qualify as wickedly evil and some of my characters could be considered wickedly handsome/beautiful…or if your sense of humor is slightly off, you might find some of my scenes and characters humorous…

I suddenly knew I had to use an excerpt from my novella, Diaper Duty Vampire. Why? Because I found it so wickedly fun to write. I hope you find it equally fun to read.

In fact, I’m so sure you’ll be able to connect with what John goes through that I’m asking you to leave a comment. Let me know how/if the scene strikes a chord with you or simply give it an ‘ick’ factor. Later, I’ll select a couple of the comments and send them either a copy of the novella or one of my t-shirts featuring my logo or book covers.

Here’s a quick set-up.

In 1864, while serving in the Union army, our fearless soldier, John Alden was turned into a vampire. Though slow to adjust to his new undead life, over time, he’s become a respected and tough Nosferatu Enforcer. Currently, he’s spending the majority of his time fighting off rival vampires from the Toltec faction.
Yet, this often feared vamp finds himself completely unnerved to be suddenly at the mercy of a human toddler. Of course, John’s seen the little critters before, but always from a safe distance.

Cody seems hell-bent on busting John’s overly sensitive vampire eardrums as he screams out his displeasure. He wants his missing mama and there’s no two ways about it. First he head-butts the hapless vampire, and it hurts. Then he swipes a copious amount of yellow snot all over John’s black Enforcement Agency shirt before biting him right through the cloth over his left nipple. Already brought to his knees by the pint-sized sadist, the feared Enforcer is then hit with another challenge—one more dire than any he’s ever faced before.
     
It’s a test he’s not sure he can pass.

He must go inside a Wal-Mart to purchase a carseat. Carrying Cody on his hip, he has no clue he’s holding a ticking stink bomb. No, John never once suspects there’s a reason for the kid’s sudden docility. He’s even naively pleased that the little guy is no longer crying. Then an unspeakably foul odor hits his extra sharp sense of smell. This is quickly followed by a growing sensation of warmth along his side. Easing Cody away from his body, the big vampire involuntary shudders at the sight of a brown spot spreading over his coat. The stench, the sight, and the wet feeling makes his hardened gut roil.

Now rushing through the store, John feels his heart drop as he realizes he’s going to need a lot more than a carseat…

Excerpt from Diaper Duty Vampire

                                                ****

      “Four hundred and fifty-three dollars?” He echoed stupidly.
      The checkout clerk offered a nervous little smile. “And 89 cents. Ye-yes, sir,” she stammered, body cringing involuntarily. Of course, he didn’t know if she was recoiling because she feared he was going to yell or if it was the noxious scent rolling off him and his small associate.
      Regardless, it wasn’t her fault. He was shocked at himself. Frugal by nature, John never suspected he would suddenly develop shopping control issues when confronted by the kiddie department. What the hell had he bought? Bewilderment made his brain sluggish as he beheld all the white bagged items crammed every which way into his cart. He remembered the cool looking steering wheel which could be mounted right on Cody’s new car seat.
      There was also a brightly colored plastic truck, several plush toys—the Tickle Me Elmo was cute as hell. In honor of the now demised kitty blanket, it was also tainted with runny stool and needed to be burnt; he’d picked out a sturdy picture book with fuzzy kittens on the cover.
      Then there’d been that mesmerizing thing that played lullabies while soothing images scrolled across a plexiglass screen. And…and too much more to count.
      But the crowning touch was perched high on top of everything else. In his defense, he didn’t know how anyone could have resisted the almost life-sized pony complete with bridle, saddle, and a walking handle in the back. The brightly colored cardboard tag called it a push-pull-ride toy. Looking at the picture had inspired him to hunt out the obligatory cowboy hat and shiny, silver, star-shaped badge.
      Now Cody would match the kid in the photograph, and, well, because, it seemed stupid to have the horse without the necessary accruements.
      Shutting his mouth which, to his embarrassment, had been stupidly hanging ajar, he quietly stuck his credit card in the reader.
      Back at the SUV, he unloaded everything but Cody. Leaving him in the basket with his foot hooked around the bottom of the cart, he opened boxes and removed tags from the clothing they would use right then. Quickly, he took off his jack and changed his shirt out for another black tee. Stuffing, the soiled items into one of the empty plastic bags. He wanted to shuck his jeans right then and there, but propriety held him back.
      John also understood he was procrastinating. Absolutely no way did he want to undertake the next task. The one last, awful mission that needed to be faced before they could get on the road. Before that stinky little butt could be dressed in a clean outfit and plopped in its brand new car seat, John was going to have to tackle the diaper from hell.
      He wasn’t sure how but it was even worse than he’d imagined, and he’d imagined a lot. Both horrified and impressed in equal measure, all he could do was swear in awe-struck accents, “What the hell have they been feeding you?”
      Watery and chunky all at once, stool smeared up the boy’s back and down both legs right to the soles of his feet. Although John couldn’t have explained why, the sight, somehow, made the smell worse. However, the noxious odor combined with slimy texture caused the hardened vampire’s stomach to heave. For his part, Cody was happily kicking his legs, reveling in his nudity. Then before John knew what he was about, he plunged a hand down into the goop and promptly smeared crap on the side of his head.
      “Good God, kid, don’t do that,” John started to gag. “It’s just wrong. No one should have to deal with this,” he muttered sounding a bit crazed to his own ears. “I deserve combat pay.”     
      Cody waved his hand, flipping a bit of poop on John’s new shirt. “Thit,” he eloquently observed.
                                                       ****
I hope you enjoyed this peek into Diaper Duty Vampire, the novella that comes at the end of my vampire/paranormal/romance series featuring The BlautsuagersofAmber Heights and starts The Vampires of Amber Heights series.

My books can be purchased in paperback, ebook, and audio at Amazon or other online book outlets.

You can also keep in touch with me at my website: remullins Come see what I’m working on, read short stories, and more.

Finally, there are two good reasons to leave a comment about my guest post today. One. It will encourage Brenda to host me again.

And, secondly, don’t forget I will randomly choose a couple of commenters. They will receive a T-shirt—made of comfortable fabric that washes well and retains their shape—or an ebook copy of Diaper Duty Vampire.

Thanks for reading!!
R. E. Mullins





                                                         
         

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Reading and #Reviews (Dean, Hubbard, Garner)


I'm a writer, but I'm also a reader. Each month, I'll share with you what I'm reading and reviews of past reads. My available time to read is limited because I write, but I love to curl up with a book or an eReader at night for the last hour of my day.

I tend to read what I write, but not exclusively. I've just about finished Kiss the Girls by James Patterson. Lovin' it. This is one of those crime books that was made into a movie. I really enjoyed the movie and the book is every bit as good. Besides Crime Novels, I read Romantic Suspense, law novels, WWII historicals, mysteries, and some main stream character driven novels.

Here are some of the books I've read recently or in the not too distant past. Maybe you'll discover a new book or author!

Precarious: Martini Club 4 by Alicia Dean
Romantic Suspense Novelette 
I love all things 1940s so this story attracted me from the beautiful cover to the title. And the read met my expectations of an Alicia Dean story. Iris Taggart is engaged to one of the wealthiest men in Boston…her mother’s dream, not hers. When she reunites with an old friend, a WWII hero and now a detective, her doubts grow stronger. Lucky they find each other again when a killer has Iris on his victim list. It’s a fun romance in the romantic 40s.



Adirondack Mountain Mystery Series by S.W. Hubbard
Mystery 
This is a three book bundled series. The third book is a short story anthology.

Police Chief Frank Bennett patrols the not-so-mean streets of Trout Run, New York, an idyllic town nestled in the rugged Adirondack Mountains. 

The Lure
Police Chief Frank Bennett has his hands full when a group of environmental activists shows up in Trout Run trying to close down Raging Rapids, a popular tourist attraction. But of course there is murder to deal with.

Blood Knot
When a tough-love school for troubled teens opens its doors in Trout Run, Frank Bennett worries about the arrival of so many juvenile delinquents on his turf. Sabotage and murder follow.

Dead Drift
Frank Bennett investigates three puzzling crimes in these short mysteries with big twists.
I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books. Frank Bennett is a homespun character, and I have a little crush on him. He has two sidekicks, a younger man who is in training to be a cop and the older female secretary. It’s small town and delightful. I could see the scenery, got to know the townspeople, and the mystery and suspense kept me going. The short stories were enjoyable although not as good as the full-length stories.


Hunted by Marissa Garner
Romantic Suspense 
Catching bad guys in San Diego's underworld isn't just FBI Special Agent Ben Alfren's job, it's his life. He doesn't have time for a serious relationship, doesn't want one either. So when he meets his sexy new neighbor, Amber Jollett, he has nothing more in mind than unwinding with a glass of wine, a romantic walk on the beach...and maybe a hot fling. Not only do they get caught up in each other, but also a human trafficking ring.

Passion and danger kept me reading this romantic suspense. You’ll love it.

https://www.amazon.com/Hunted-FBI-Heat-Book-1-ebook/dp/B017RQSNXU/

Monday, July 27, 2020

Friends and #Friendship for Muse Monday by CJ Zahner


MUSE MONDAY


If we have one really good friend in life, someone who we can always rely on, and we would walk to the ends of earth for, we can count ourselves really lucky. CJ has a great post today on friendship and real life experience adding to our fiction. Enjoy!

Good friends are blessings. Most women have at least one person they can truly rely on. I call  
these people “comfort” friends. You trust them enough to confess your inner thoughts and secrets to. You’re comfortable with them. Honest. They totally have your back. Admit anything, they won’t judge you.
I am blessed with a supportive circle of friends who have helped me walk every step of the way through life. Being married and raising a family while working full-time was stressful. Having friends who were simply a phone call away, helped me get through some of life’s toughest days.
Hence, I wanted to write a story about friendship.
Friends Who Move Couches was inspired by true-life events in both my life and in my friend’s lives. Yet many aspects are different. First and utmost, because this is fiction, I spiced my life up and married myself off to a man who cheated on me. It is true that I do come from a small family and am frivolously addicted to friendship, but thankfully, I married Jeff Zahner, not Mark Grey (the husband in my book). Throughout my thirty-eight-year marriage to Jeff, I often wondered how many men would so easily smirk and shake their heads at my escapades. But Jeff and I have been faithful to each other since the day we met. (He assures me I can state this. He does not want to end up a character in one of my thrillers.)
All of my novels are somewhat inspired by my life but Friends Who Move Couches is the closest I can come to a memoir. It reflects my experiences with raising three children, dealing with Alzheimer’s, suffering health issues, and the main topic, surviving the loss of friendship. I believe, because so many chapters were based on real-life trials and tribulations of friendship and motherhood, readers resonated with and related to Nikki.
Most of the characters are real. In fact, one of my best friends who is mentioned in the book, Carol Crandall, is the model in my ad Friends Who Move Couches, do we really need them?

Blurb: 
Nikki Grey's idea of living dangerously is not wearing a seatbelt, yet calamity always seems to find her.
Friends Who Move Couches is a laugh-out-loud yet insightful story about life, friendship, quieting your inner critic, and surviving rejection.
Married to a workaholic, mothering three rebellious kids, and feuding with neighborhood friends, Nikki Grey forgets her problems one afternoon by smoking marijuana. That blunder ignites a lifelong yet dormant medical condition, and she loses her driver’s license. Suddenly stranded in her home, she’s forced to stare out the window at women who have ostracized her.
Her true friends encourage her to concentrate on her health, but Nikki is her own nemesis. She embarks on a scheme to win back neighborhood friends and plunges into efforts that only end in muddying her reputation. She becomes the butt of neighborhood jokes.
Foolishly, her ache to mend her broken relationships escalates.
Not until her two-timing husband asks her a question that catapults her frivolous suburban life into a tailspin, is she forced to stop reaching for others, stand on her own, and decide: Who should she keep in her life and who should she kick to the curb?


Excerpt:

Evy opens a folder he’s brought along. “I’ll draw the list of good friends. Those who move bodies.”
He hands me the paper. “You write down friends who stab you in the back, like Ellie, on your list.”
“Why am I a bad friend?” Ellie squeals.
“Because your mouth runneth amok.”
“Nikki, am I a good friend?”
“A very good friend,” I say. I write Friends Who Move Couches on the top of my list and enter Natasha’s name beside the number one.
Evy drops his pen and stares at me.
“What?” I react. “I’m not putting Ellie on the bad list.”
He stands up, points a finger, and taps the top of my paper. “What does this mean? Friends who move couches?”
“That’s the saying. Which kind of friend are you? A friend who moves a couch or a friend who moves a body?”
“My God, save them from themselves. The saying is ‘A good friend will help you move, but a true friend will help you move a body.’ No mention of couches. Has that seizure crashed your memory?”
“What? It’s not friends who move couches?”
“No! No couches.”

Contact Links:

Website:              www.cjzahner.com 
Twitter:                https://twitter.com/TweetyZ
Facebook:           http://bit.ly/FBcjzahner
LinkedIn:             https://www.linkedin.com/in/cyndiezahner/
Goodreads:        http://bit.ly/gProjectDream
BookBub:            http://bit.ly/BBProjectDream

Links for Purchase

                 

Friday, July 24, 2020

Fearless Jump into Family Law by Alana Lorens #FearlessFriday #Lawyers #CareerMode


FEARLESS FRIDAY

What an interesting life Alana Lorens has had to date. Talk about fearless. Enjoy this edition of Fearless Friday.

In the 1980s, I was living a good life as a journalist, reporter and associate editor of The South Dade News Leader in Homestead, Florida. Divorced, I was the custodian of two daughters, ages 4 and 2. One of the cities I covered was Florida City, which is the very last place before the Florida Keys. The city attorney became a good friend, and one day he suggested I attend law school.

I’d been feeling a little frustration in my work, since I could often expose some wrong that needed righting, but I really couldn’t take action. A lawyer can take action, though. So I started thinking about it.

Now you don’t just decide, hey I’m going to law school today and show up. I had to take the LSAT entrance exam. It was tough, and I figured I’d been excluded. But I actually did very well.
So then I applied to the closest school, the University of Miami. I got in. Wow. This was getting serious.

U of M is a private school and pretty expensive, so I figured I probably couldn’t afford to go. Other state law schools existed, but I’d have to move the girls far from their father, and I really didn’t want to do that. So I applied for financial aid and all the trimmings, including something in extremely-limited on-campus housing.

I got it.

At that point, I had to stop and compile the data and choose.

I chose to go. With all these factors coming in hard in my favor, it seemed like the way fate was leading me. I quit my job and went to school full time, since I had the girls—we all went to school/preschool in the day, and studied at night.

Sure, we had to apply for food stamps the first year, since I couldn’t get work-study until second year.
It was hard, being a single parent and competing against a bunch of young kids with too much money and nothing to burden them other than the books. I will never forget the conversation I overheard between two young women wailing over being only able to buy one pair of shoes for $95 on sale. That was our grocery allotment for two weeks! But I made it through—I should say WE made it through.

I practiced family law for 30 years, first in Florida, then in Pennsylvania. Family law is tough work, too, dealing with people going through what is likely the worst time of their life, whether it’s divorce, custody or dealing with Child Services. During the latter half of my practice, I returned to my first love of writing, creating The Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers series of novels, including CONVICTION OF THE HEART, which is the story of a Pittsburgh single-mom lawyer and her two daughters. It’s a book that is close to my heart, because it’s close to my life.

So my scary leap into the unknown is something I’ll never regret. What I learned practicing law about people—that’s what feeds my knowledge to create all the characters I’ve written over the years. I’d probably even do it again—if I had to. J


Family law attorney Suzanne Taylor understands her clients' problems--her own husband left her with two babies to raise alone. Now that they're teenagers, her life is full. The last thing she wants is the romantic attentions of a police lieutenant, no matter how good-looking.

Lt. Nick Sansone is juggling the demands of a new promotion and doesn't need complications either. But when he sends a councilman's battered wife to Suzanne for help, he realizes he wants to connect with the lovely, prickly lawyer on more than a professional level.

They are soon confronted with a different battle when the abused woman's husband threatens retribution. The powerful, well-connected councilman can damage both their careers--not to mention hurt those they love. Can they bend enough to admit they need each other in a time of crisis? Or will a husband's revenge take them down before they ever get a chance?

AMAZON BUY LINK


Even the loneliest heart can't withstand the power of magic.
http://lyndialexander.wordpress.com

Where love and danger intersect....

Monday, July 13, 2020

Yummy Cookie Cozy Mystery by Karen Cino #CozyMystery


MUSE MONDAY

Please welcome Karen Cino to Muse Monday. The only thing better than eating cookies is to read a fun cozy mystery where lots of cookie eating is involved.

Christmas cookies have only been made for Christmas. But in the Cookie Cutter Cozy Mystery Series, amateur sleuth Connie brings those cookies to you all year round. When Connie’s husband gets arrested, she divorces him and goes to live at the fifty-five and older community down at the New Jersey Shore. Fulfilling her childhood dream with best friend, Sara, she starts her own cookie business out of an illegal kitchen they had built in half of a two-car garage. 

The cookies took off, not only in the book, but also in my house. I try once a week to bake a double batch of cookies that I love sharing with my family, friends and neighbors. Everyone loves the fact that they can enjoy those special cookies all year long.

I came up with the idea for this series because of my love of baking. And I thought it would be fun for two senior characters to not only start their own business, but also get involved in solving crimes that take place around the community they are residing in. This came from my years of investigative reporting.

I love writing about the culinary arts and especially about middle-aged women starting over. My characters are quirky, and they will make you not only laugh out loud but make your mouth water with the baked goods.

BLURB Book 5

Connie and Sara are preparing to bring cookie samples for the men's club Thanksgiving dinner. An explosion at the water towers sends the women running to the scene. After visiting Kent and taking his order, Connie and Sara go down to the water tower to see if they can find out what caused the explosion. A few hours later, while Connie and Brett are at dinner, they receive a call that Kent is dead after eating Connie's cookies. It is up to Sara to track down the killer to clear Connie of the murder. Who said that two women sleuths living in a fifty-five and older community can't get into trouble?


CHAPTER ONE

Connie Acosta and Sara Mazza made a mad dash following Police Detectives Warren Crawford and Brett Harper to the water tower where an explosion had rocked the house. Since both men were athletic with long muscular legs, they reached the tower quickly. Being totally out of shape, the women had to stop running to catch their breath. 

“I think you’re right in saying we need to go to the gym,” Sara said, gasping for air.

“I’ve been telling you this since I’ve moved down here. I was never a runner, but I used to walk five miles a day when I lived in Staten Island.”

Sara waved her off. “Everyone is running toward the explosion. Let’s see if anyone is running away from it. Maybe we can find a clue.”

“Oh, no.” Connie waved her finger back and forth. “I’m not going down that road again. We keep getting involved in these investigations, which lead to us always getting ourselves in a dangerous situation. Maybe this time we can pass.”

“Absolutely not.” Sara took hold of her arm and pulled her forward. “I see Warren.” She jumped up and down, waving, trying to catch his attention. “Come on, let’s make our way to the towers.” Sara stepped in water and it splashed all over Connie. “Where the hell did this come from?”

“I have no idea. It’s trickling down the path.”

“Oh shit. Water is gushing faster down the path. What the hell is going on?”

Connie followed Sara as she weeded through the crowd of seniors. She couldn’t believe Sara was dragging her into something else. Taking a quick glance at her watch, time was of the essence as she had a meeting with Kent Steelburg, coordinator of events for the Men’s Club, in less than a half hour.

Fire trucks and three ambulances made their way with their sirens blaring. Connie watched as the people moved to the right, standing in the dirt which had turned to mud, to let the emergency vehicles through. Out of the corner of her eye, Connie saw Sara’s friend Hannah standing in water which covered her ankles. She snickered to herself, not particularly liking Hannah.

“Connie, do you know what’s going on?” Carol called after her.

Connie turned around and watched Carol walk through the water up to her. “Not at all. Sara is probably talking to Warren, finding out what is going on. All I know is that the explosion shook the whole house. Warren and Brett were over and we dashed out the door.”

“So, did I. I left the reception desk and knew I would run into you and Sara. Of course, the usual cast
of characters are here. Funny how the only time they move fast is when there is food and an incident taking place.” Carol slid a cigarette out of her pocket and lit up. “I’m going to head back. Nothing good is going on here except lots of water.”

“I’m waiting for Sara to return so I can go home.”

“If my husband looked anything like Warren with his dreamy olive eyes, I wouldn’t be leaving his side either. I’ll catch you later.”

Connie backed away from the crowd as the water slowed down to a trickle. The crowd thinned out as she spotted Sara coming with Warren and Brett. Meeting Brett had been one of the best things that happened to her. He was so unlike her ex who had turned out to be what she called a “man-ho.” She was still on guard with Brett, and wasn’t ready to give him her whole self. These past months had been spent redefining what she wanted out of life. Going into the cookie/dessert business with Sara had been something she had always wanted to do.

“Hey sweetheart.” Brett wrapped his arm around her shoulder. “Let’s get you home.”

“What happened?”

“Someone blew up the water tanks. The first tank, the water just flushed out and the second one, got a piece of metal stuck in it. The pressure caused the second one to cave.”

“That is our water source,” Sara explained. “Whoever did this has just cut off our water supply.”

“Could it be someone sending a message? Because there was no reason whatsoever to do that,” Connie said.

“Hold on you two,” Warren said, stopping at Sara’s driveway. “Don’t start reading more into this. No one has gotten hurt or killed. Once the water completely stops, the investigators will check out the tanks and find out the cause of the explosion.”

“My intuition tells me someone is ticked off about something and this was their way of paying them back,” Brett said.

“It had to be someone from management or the board of trustees. We keep getting letters in the mail for the stupidest things. We already received the warning letter about putting up Christmas decorations early,” Sara added.

“People are already getting disgusted. What’s the difference if we put up our Christmas tree or lights before Thanksgiving? It’s in our house. And they have the nerve to say if we have our decorations up to keep our blinds closed. That’s such bull.”

“On that note we are leaving you ladies. I have paperwork to do,” Warren explained. “I keep putting it off, but the boss wants it done by the end of my shift. So, let’s hope this is the last call we have to go out on.”

“I have to get ready for my meeting with Kent Steelburg. I have the cookies done. All I have left to do is sprinkle powdered sugar over them.”

“Yummy. What kind of cookies did you make?” Brett asked, licking his lips.

“Linzer tarts. Kent specifically asked for them. He told me he had tasted my other cookies. But for this men’s club event, he wanted to serve something different. He talked about putting the cookies in a pyramid. I don’t think he realizes how many cookies we’re talking about, especially since he wants others too,” Connie explained.

“Good luck. I’ll be back after my shift. I hoped we could grab dinner.”

“Sounds great.” Connie stood on her tippy-toes and gave him a peck on his lips. “I look forward to it.”

Warren stepped up to Sara and hugged her. “I’ll see you later.”
Karen Cino  Bio
Karen Cino is a multi-published author who has been writing since she was fourteen years old. She started her career by writing poetry, short stories and writing articles for her high school newspaper. After reading Jackie Collin’s Lovers and Gamblers and Jacqueline Susann’s, Valley of the Dolls, Karen found her niche. Karen loves writing about local places that people can relate to.
Karen loves the summer, loves the beach. Her previous books were written and took place in various locations in Staten Island. Her Cookie Cutter Cozy Mystery Series takes place at the New Jersey Shore.
Karen is a member of Women’s Fiction Writers Association and Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America. 

Karen Cino Social Media

Website:  http://karencino.com
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