Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Wicked Rides by Marla A. White #WickedWednesday


Please welcome Marla A. White to Discover... I love suspenseful horsey tales. A wicked ride. I have my copy! 

Hey Brenda, thanks so much for letting me take over this Wicked Wednesday to talk about the two different wicked rides in “Cause for Elimination”. One is mechanical, the other equestrian, and each is “wicked” in every sense of the word, depending on your perspective. 

The first wicked ride is Ellie May, a classic 1960s mint green and white pickup truck that remains a bone of contention in the divorce between Emily Conners and her ex-husband Nick. To Emily it’s just a way of getting from point A to point B, while Nick loves the truck so much he named it. Which was primarily the reason it was the only thing she asked for in the divorce. 

For Detective Justin Butler, the ride is wicked as in the worst ride he’s ever taken. Only partially restored, the springs from the seat hit him in all the wrong places. Then again, Emily’s driving is so terrifying to the normally stoic cop he forgets about how uncomfortable he is and merely hopes to survive.  

Ellie May is based on a real truck that belonged to someone who worked in the building next to mine for years. I’d stare out the window of my office and, being a horse person who yearned for their own truck and trailer, I fell in love with it. And the growl of the engine was so wicked! She started as a minor part of the story and, like so many characters in my books, demanded more page time of her own. I never knew it belonged to and always wished I’d gone next door to find out more about it. Lesson learned—grab those chances when they come along! 

The other wicked ride in “Cause” is Reese, the off-off the track Thoroughbred owned by Lottie Gray, the unpredictable, mischievous socialite. After the murder of her trainer, she turns to her friend and assistant trainer to take over the ride. And as anyone who rides knows, some days are fabulous while others are disasters.  

As Emily battles back from a life-altering numbers throughout the book, she has several kinds of rides. One is a romantic, fun adventure getting Justin on a horse and one is a disaster at a clinic with hunky eventing legend Dearg McGregor that breaks open the big man’s heart. Eventually, Emily will be challenged to ride past her fears or risk losing it all. 

Reese is more than a little inspired by my former horse, also named Reese. A sweet, giant goofball with a bigger than life personality, I learned so much from my years owning and riding him. Not as much as Emily does, I was nowhere near her level of rider, but every fence we came to he did everything I asked for. Not that we were successful all the time; when I’d ask, “are you sure we want to go over that?” he’d oblige by answering, “I’m cool with not doing it, I’ve got nothing to prove.”  


"Cause for Elimination" is an award-winning suspense/mystery/romance set in the world of equestrian eventing. Emily Conners finds her boss's dead body in their horse training stables and that's only the start of her problems. Detective Justin Butler is brought in to investigate and Emily is worried that in the process of looking for the killer he'll discover the dark secret she's keeping from everyone, even her best friend. As the search for the murderer heats up, their hearts become entangled and their lives at risk, forcing Emily and Justin to work together to find the killer before they strike again. 

As a once and (hopefully) future eventer, the horse world was a large part of my life and I love introducing horse and non-horse people alike to this arena and colorful cast of characters. 


Lost in her own thoughts, Emily flinched when the detective broke the relative silence of the pickup’s cab, having to raise his voice to be heard over the truck’s throaty engine as they roared down the road. “You do realize I’m a cop, right?”

 She glanced over and saw his white-knuckle grip on the passenger door armrest. “That’s the fourth orange light you’ve run,” he fussed, relaxing his hold to make air quotes around the word orange. “Not to mention the speeding,” he added as they charged up the freeway entrance ramp. 

Who knew detectives were such wusses?

 “Oh, come on, even traffic cops tell you it’s okay to go ten miles over the posted speed limit.” 

“You’re going twenty miles over and that’s an urban myth. Besides, I thought all you horse whisperers were the calm, patient type.” 

He shifted in his seat. When Nick refurbished the truck, he hadn’t gotten around to replacing the bench
seat. Unruly springs tended to poke people in rude places. She was used to the rough ride but considering the cop’s car was so cushy it probably had heated seats, she took pity on him and throttled Ellie May back to a gentle purr, reducing the bouncing to a bare minimum. “You want scary, you should ride with a DQ.” 


“Dressage Queen,” she answered. “Talk about brutal. Besides, I told you before, I’m still pretty new to the horse world.” 

“So, Ms. Conners, what made you want to work in a barn?” 

She narrowed her eyes at him. “Is knowing that relevant to your investigation?” 

“I’m just trying to make polite conversation,” he said with a warm smile. 

It had been a long time since she’d had any type of conversation, polite or otherwise. Pam had a way of asking questions as if she cared but ended up using the information against you. And Emily had learned through skilled practice to figure out the answers her various doctors wanted to hear in order to prescribe more painkillers, but that’s not the same as conversation, is it? Maybe she needed to brush up on her social skills, but the wisdom of starting off with a cop seemed shaky at best.






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  1. Hey Brenda, thanks for hosting me! I remember my very first book that combined my love of horses and murder - "Whip Hand" by the legendary Dick Francis. What's your favorite book that combines a genre with a hobby you love?

    1. Great having you, Marla. Yes...Dick Francis! Never read a book by him I didn't enjoy. I still have all of his novels in paperback. I just can get rid of them. But I can't think of one book that combines a genre with any hobby I have now or in the past.

    2. There's "Death by Dressage" if that's more your speed and a ton of quilting murder mysteries, pulling one of my other hobbies :D

    3. Do you know of any that revolve around fairy gardens? :)