Guest Blog Post – One Question for Three Sisters of the Olive Grove Mystery Series By Kelly Lane



9780425277249Celebrating the 2018 release of DIPPED TO DEATH, the third book in the Olive Grove Mystery Series, I thought it would be fun to interview the three Knox sisters from the series.

First is Daphne. She’s the oldest. Svelte, fortysomething and a divorced mother of five, Daphne’s an entrepreneur, social butterfly, and Southern belle extraordinaire — ad nauseam!

Next is middle sister Pep. Petite and curvy, not to mention a bit outspoken and “outside the box” in her ways, our popular, high-spirited, Goth-loving barkeep has a knack for men, motors, and all-things mechanical.  Not to mention skulls, fishnet stockings, and leather.

And finally, youngest sibling Eva — brainy, athletic, and young-at-heart, this thirtysomething PR maven is also an anxiety-ridden insomniac who boasts a litany of broken relationships with men. And still, despite her reservations and protestations regarding the opposite sex, the men — good and bad — keep coming back for Eva.

So I asked the sisters, “if you could have a “do-over” in life, what would it be?”

DAPHNE: Do over? Gracious, me. Y’all needn’t be so silly. Why everything in my life has been ab-so-lute-ly perfect.

EVA: Daph, you and your ex went through the most public, antagonistic, sensational divorce in Georgia history. Considering all the spiteful stuff he said about you, how could you not be mortified? Public disgrace qualifies for a do-over, right Pep?

PEP: Righto, sis.

DAPHNE: Ah well, Eva. <flaps hand dismissively>  That’s what I get for foolishly marrying a philandering pro-ball player. Of course, Big Boomer was vicious during the divorce because I caught him with his hand in the cookie jar. His tabloid rants just made the judge more sympathetic to me. The humiliation I endured was worth it for the payout. Still, Eva, you’re hardly the one to throw stones at someone for making a public spectacle. Talk about airing dirty laundry in public. <sips olive leaf tea> You, my dear Eva, are the Queen of Public Spectacles.

EVA: Agreed. I’ve mortified myself to the hundredth power. Honestly, I can think of a lifetime of “do overs.” <groans>

PEP: Shall I start naming them? Zack Black, Dex Codman …

EVA: Stop, Pep. Don’t remind me.

DAPHNE: Well, in my case, the notoriety is small potatoes compared to the five angelic children I now have, courtesy of their father, Big Boomer.

PEP: With a name like “Big Boomer” you should’ve expected a fiasco.

DAPHNE: Well, our marriage certainly ended up being a fiasco for him. <titters> He paid dearly for his dalliances, ensuring a comfortable lifestyle for me and the children … forever. Plus, he provided me with the capital for my many burgeoning businesses.

PEP: Burgeoning businesses? Daphne, who talks like that?

DAPHNE: An erudite, sophisticated woman of the world. <sniffs indignantly> Back to the original question. Do overs? Regrets? Me? Never. I’m pleased as punch with my life. And, y’all know that I can get a new man any time I desire one. I’ve not yet reached my sexual peak I’m sure. And just in case y’all didn’t know it, I’m quite satisfied now.

EVA: Pep, Daph’s been reading Kitty Kipple books.

PEP: Oh yeah? The seamy sex stories based on fairytales and nursery rhymes? Talk about living in a fantasy world! <snorts>

DAPHNE: Oh puh-leese, Pepper Leigh. The stories are quite … creative. Eva, dear, you might try reading one or two. Maybe you’d be inspired to find yourself a man.

EVA: <laughs> Thanks but no thanks, Daph. I’m good.

PEP: Right. We’re both good.

DAPHNE: Really? From where I’m settin’, it looks like there’s plenty y’all should like to “do over.” Shall we start with that deadbeat husband of yours, Pepper-Leigh? Where is he these days? Has he run off again?

PEP: Okay. I’ll give you that one, Daph, Mind y’all, I’m not normally a person with regrets. However, I do wish I’d never laid eyes on Billy. He spent all our money — my money — drinking and gambling. Then he totally humiliated me …

DAPHNE: Running around with that tart in town.

PEP: Yes, well, her too.

DAPHNE: He could’ve at least been discreet.

PEP: She can have him. Y’all know the saying: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. No ifs ands or buts … Billy is my “do over.”

DAPHNE: Is that it?

PEP: What d’ya mean, “is that it?”

DAPHNE: Well, I was hoping you might want to “do over” those frightful black clothes you wear. <shudders>  And that purple lipstick.

EVA: Spoken like a true diva.

PEP: Ha! <kisses sister Daphne on the cheek, leaving perfect purple lip marks>

DAPHNE: Pepper-Leigh! <scowls, takes out white hankie and wipes cheek> And while we’re on the subject, you could use a few fashion “do overs” yourself, Eva.

EVA: Omigosh. <slaps hand on forehead> If it will end this ridiculous ”do over” conversation, I’ll concede: I wish I’d never dated nearly every man I’ve ever dated.

PEP: Except Buck, of course …

EVA: Stop!

PEP: Well, you did say “nearly every man.”

DAPHNE: All I’m saying is that I wish you could find yourself a nice fellow, Eva. Someone with money. And pedigree.

PEP: <snorts> Like Ian Collier, next door?

DAHNE: Exactly. <Pauses> Well no. Not exactly. He’s too worldly and mature for Eva.

PEP: Hmm, something stinks in here, don’t you think, Eva?

EVA: You mean, Daph, that Ian is “too worldly” for me, yet I bet in your mind that he’s just “worldly enough” for you.  And he happens to be just about your age. How convenient …

DAPHNE: <gasps>

PEP: <snorts and giggles>

INTERVIEWER: That’s all the time we have today. Thank you Knox sisters for your insights. Most enlightening. <grin>


Kelly Lane lives on a farm near Charlottesville, Virginia. In addition to her work as editor and “slush pile reader” for a prominent literary agent, she has penned as a copywriter, journalist, and worked as a business writer, editor, and public relations consultant for Fortune 500 companies. Set on an olive plantation in Southern Georgia, ONE FOOT IN THE GROVE, COLD PRESSED MURDER, and DIPPED TO DEATH are the three books in Kelly Lane’s OLIVE GROVE MYSTERY series published by Berkley Prime Crime. Each book includes original recipes inspired by dishes in the story.

 Visit Kelly Lane:

Twitter: @KellyLaneWrites


Instagram: @kellylanewrites



New Title: Plum Tea Crazy By Laura Childs




Theodosia Browning investigates a Charleston steeped in tradition and treachery in the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

While viewing the harbor’s Gaslights and Galleons Parade from the widow’s walk of Timothy Neville’s Charleston mansion, local banker Carson Lanier seemingly tumbles over a narrow railing, then plunges three stories to his death. But a tragic accident becomes something much more sinister when it’s discovered that the victim was first shot with a bolt from a crossbow.

At the request of the mansion owner, Theodosia investigates the tragedy and is soon neck deep in suspects. An almost ex-wife, a coworker, a real estate partner–all had motives for killing the luckless banker, but one resorted to murder to settle accounts.


Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, the Scrapbooking Mysteries, and the Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO of her own marketing firm, authored several screenplays, and produced a reality TV show…. More about Laura Childs


GWN 3 day blog tour spot screen save

Book Review – Every Dog Has His Day




Book Review – Every Dog Has His Day

By Jenn McKinlay

A Bluff Point Romance #3

A Jove Book

Jan. 2, 2018


$7.99 US

Netgalley request


An orange tabby kitten stuck on a neighbor’s porch roof brings together a local brewer and a single mom with two adorable daughters in Jenn McKinlay’s “Every Dog Has His Day.”

Zach is not one to commit to a relationship, but fate loves to deliver surprises.  Zach and his dog, Rufus, sleep over Jessie’s house during a snowstorm in order to make sure she, Maddie and Gracie are okay. Soon, he realizes that he wants to be more involved in their lives. That he’s fallen in love with Jessie and the girls and her house feels like a real home. With that realization comes his inner need to distance her from other men. He’s never felt that way about any woman and perhaps it’s time for him to settle down.

For Jessie, being part of a caring group of friends is not something she’s accustomed to. Her life revolves around her daughters. She’s a wonderful mother. Their father is a different story. He has nothing to do with them and is off in some other country having the time of his life.

Here is a mom always trying to do right for her kids, but she’s also a woman attracted to Zach. Soon their equal attraction can’t be denied. They dive into a relationship, careful to not be found together in bed. Which isn’t easy when the kids are in the same house. They are also being coached, encouraged, and cheered on by Zach’s brew crew. This is one close and very open family when it comes to saying how they feel.

There is a conflict and that’s Jessie’s former father-in-law who is determined to play a major role in their girls’ lives.

What I loved about the book…That a bachelor who was raised with sisters cared to make a difference in the lives of the girls. They needed a male role model and chose Zach from the very beginning. Zach also chose them. He had a lot of love and patience. Even though intimacy with Jessie played a major role, it was more than just a one-night stand for Zach. It was Jessie who found it difficult to accept this was a lasting love.

This fast and fun read is on my A list. Plenty happening here. Adorable scenes, cheeky characters, and it has you believing that friends can be family.

Jenn is one busy author. She writes the Bluff Point Romantic Comedy series (Every Dog Has His Day #3), Library Lover’s Mysteries (Death in the Stacks #8), Cupcake Mysteries (Wedding Cake Crumble #10), London Hat Shop Mysteries (Assault and Beret #5), Good Buy Girls Mysteries writing as Josie Belle (All Sales Final #5 – A review of  Marked Down for Murder is here) and Decoupage Mysteries, writing as Lucy Lawrence (Sealed with a Kill #3).

Four curious kitties out of five

February 25, 2018

Denise Fleischer

New Title – The Sometimes Sisters By Carolyn Brown


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Carolyn Brown
 RELEASE DATE: February 27, 2018

A bittersweet inheritance reunites three estranged sisters in a novel of family, trust, and forgiveness from New York Times bestselling author Carolyn Brown.

When they were growing up, Dana, Harper, and Tawny thought of themselves as “sometimes sisters.” They connected only during the summer month they’d all spend at their grandmother’s rustic lakeside resort in north Texas. But secrets started building, and ten years have passed since they’ve all been together—in fact, they’ve rarely spoken, and it broke their grandmother’s heart.

Now she’s gone, leaving Annie’s Place to her granddaughters—twelve cabins, a small house, a café, a convenience store, and a lot of family memories. It’s where Dana, Harper, and Tawny once shared so many good times. They’ve returned, sharing only hidden regrets, a guarded mistrust, and haunting guilt. But now, in this healing summer place, the secrets that once drove them apart could bring them back together—especially when they discover that their grandmother may have been hiding something, too…

To overcome the past and find future happiness, these “sometimes sisters” have one more chance to realize they are always family.


author-carolyn-brownNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author Carolyn Brown was born in Texas and raised in southern Oklahoma. These days she and her husband make their home in Davis, Oklahoma, a small town of less than three thousand people where everyone knows everyone, knows what they are doing and with whom, and read the weekly newspaper to see who got caught.

A plaque hangs on her office wall that says I know the voices are not real but they have such great ideas. That is her motto and muse as she goes through the days with quirky characters in her head, telling their stories, one by one, and loving her job.

She has been married almost half a century to a retired English teacher that she calls Mr. B and he does not read her books before they are published because she cannot afford a divorce. They have three grown children and enough grandchildren to keep them busy and young.

When Carolyn is not writing she likes to sit in the back yard and watch the two tom cats protect the yard from all kinds of wicked varmints like crickets, other cats, spiders and blue jays.

—in cooperation with Rockstarlit

Book Review – The Secret, Book & Scone Society By Ellery Adams


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The Secret, Book &amp;n Scone Society 1

Book Review

The Secret, Book & Scone Society

By Ellery Adams

Book 1  in a new mystery series

Kensington Publishing


Oct. 31, 2017


Setting: Miracle Springs, North Carolina


A life changing accident altered Nora Pennington’s life. She went from being a married librarian to a woman who feels flawed by her physical scars.

A chance meeting with a stranger at a nearby park might be the last comforting moment the man experiences. Shortly after, his life ends on the railroad tracks. The tragedy stuns Nora and she is determined to form an alliance of women to help solve what she believes is murder.

Nora is the owner of Miracles Books. As a bibliotherapist, she learns what troubles a person and suggests a book to help them best understand and cope with their situation. The other women compliment Nora’s natural gift with their own skills and knowledge. Hester owns the Gingerbread House, Estella a salon and spa, and June works at the local thermal pool. Together, they make up the Secret, Book and Scone Society. They are real women with real issues.

Having spoken with Neil Parrish, the man who died on the tracks, Nora knew that he came to Miracle Springs ahead of his partners to resolve issues before they reoccur. She informs the sheriff that she knew he was a troubled soul but didn’t think he ended his own life. The sheriff believed differently.

Not accepting that belief, the women begin an investigation of their own. They focus on Pine Ridge Properties and learn more about his involvement in the firm and their current project and that’s when things get interesting. Through internet research and going through the motions of being a prospective new homeowner, they are able to gather the facts. Though they place themselves in great danger as its impossible to tell who killed Neil.

I chose to review this book because the cover drew me in. It’s dark and mysterious and written by Ellery Adams. And while it is impossible to read every novel written by a cozy author, she was on top of my TBR list. It is a true challenge to go beyond introducing characters and developing a storyline to actually dig deeper to allow the internal conflicts and past experiences to surface. Ellery did a great job in this new series revealing past situations and emotional wounds. The women knew they had to share the truth about their lives before they could truly be friends.  As for Neil, I think he reached out to another soul because he knew what was going on, what he was part of, was wrong. He needed help. We meet people for a reason.

Five new houses out of five

Denise Fleischer

February 25, 2018





Guest Blog Post: Old Sins by Miranda James




Claws for Concern By Miranda James, part of the Cat in the Stacks Mysteries, hardcover, Feb. 20, 2018, 288 pages.

I don’t really know where my nearly lifelong interest in history started. I do remember that, when I got my first library card at the age of eight, the first book I checked out was a juvenile biography of Abraham Lincoln. I went on to read many, many more of those juvenile biographies, and then I moved on to Greek and Roman mythology. Later on, as a teenager, I began reading historical fiction of various flavors – everything from historical romances to romantic suspense and straight historical fiction. If it was set in the past – and particularly if it was set in England – I would give it a try. In college, I majored in history and even went on to get both a master’s degree and a Ph.D., emphasis on medieval history.

I think one of the main reasons I’m so fascinated by history is knowing that there are connections from the past to the present. Some are more clear-cut than others, but the connections are always there. There are connections on a grand scale as well as connections on a more intimate, definitely personal scale, like tracing one’s ancestors to see from whence you came.

These same connections are, for me, what makes a mystery plot interesting. What actions in the past are connected to events in the present? Did one event, an action by a single person, set the course that ended in a murder? Or perhaps several murders?

These are the questions at the root of every story in the “Cat in the Stacks” series. In the latest book, Claws for Concern, those actions lie twenty years in the past. Four people, two adults and two children, were killed on a farm. The murderer was never brought to justice. Will Charlie and Diesel be able to identify the killer after all these years?

Guest Blog Post – Creative Thrifting by Sofie Ryan




In the Second Chance Cat mysteries Sarah Grayson runs Second Chance, a repurpose shop. She sells furniture, dishes, quilts, pillows, books and more. Many of the items have been restored or refurbished.

I love stores like Second Chance. Thrift shops, second hand stores, flea markets, they’re all great places to find material for my creative work. As a collage artist I’m captivated by magazines, maps and sheet music, photographs, books and costume jewelry. I admit to doing a little happy dance in the aisle at one of my local thrift stores when I found a pure wool blanket, perfect for cutting up to use when I’m drying handmade paper, for only $5.99.

On one hand, these kinds of stores are full of endless ideas for artistic endeavors. A box of buttons. A stack of postcards. On the other hand, the urge to buy all the things can result in a work space in which there’s so much stuff there’s nowhere to work. Over the years these are the guidelines I’ve found that work for me.

  1. Is it on my list?

At any given time there are specific things I’m looking for. Right now on my list you’d find cheap brushes, the kind that come with children’s paint sets, I like them for gluing; a book on fish, inspiration for a collage piece I’m planning; and green fabric. Coming home with a bag of sponges, a book of sheet music and a square of flaming orange fabric could lead to all sorts of fun projects but they won’t help me finish the ones that I’m already working on.

  1. Will I use this in the next couple of months?

I live in a small house and have an even smaller office. I have one cupboard for art supplies. And I’m a bit of a neat freak. That means I have to think long and hard before I buy something. So “yes” to the box of buttons and the wool blanket but “no” to the former classroom map of North America.

  1. Will I use all the parts?

Just about everything I buy for a collage piece gets cut up or taken apart. Bracelets are disassembled. Maps are cut into pieces. Shanks are snapped off of buttons. Recently I was taken with the flat, black medallion on a chunky beaded necklace. It looked like an over-size washer. But I couldn’t think of anything I’d do with all those chunky, angular beads. So, reluctantly I left the necklace behind.

  1. Is it in my budget?

I have a budget for art supplies. (It makes my little math geek heart happy.) No credit. No debit. Cash only. It forces me to think twice about buying things like that big parrot poster. I’ve never been sorry about not overspending.

  1. Can I be flexible sometimes?

This rule is why I have two boxes of buttons in my supply cupboard and that piece of flaming orange fabric I mentioned earlier. Because once in while it’s okay not to follow the rules. Sometimes you just have to yield to inspiration. And really, can you have too many buttons?




Read an excerpt: click here

author’s website: click here


Book Review – Death Comes To The School


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9781496702081Book Review – Death Comes To The School

By Catherine Lloyd

A Kurland St. Mary Mystery #5



Cozy Historical (1820 England)

Dec. 2017, $25.00

273 pages

author’s website:     

Catherine Lloyd’s fifth Kurland St. Mary Mystery opens with Lady Lucy Kurland accustomed to Sir Robert, her husband, ignoring her, yet holding on to his goal of becoming a member of Parliament. Though she continued to lack an appetite and felt tired after two miscarriages, Lucy managed to attend to her responsibilities of her high social rank in the small community. Added to her unease and gray mood is the arrival of a post wishing her future to be bleak and childless.

When visiting the local school, which her husband is responsible for, she witnesses the school mistresses heavy hand when interacting with the children. Lucy knew that they worked and went to school often tired and hungry. There was no reason to treat them so cruelly. She clearly did not approve of Miss Broomfield’s behavior.

When Mrs. Jenkins and the Greenwells visit, Lucy learns that she wasn’t singled out when it came to receiving a terribly rude letter. Mrs. Jenkins also received one. The offending remark stated that her grandson was a libertine and thief.

Adding to the growing unrest, Lucy is concerned about her husband having a proper heir to his estate. To make their lives even more difficult there’s a ball and village party to plan and someone’s gone and killed the school mistress.

Though it is Sir Robert’s responsibility to investigate the gruesome murder, Lucy veils her own investigation in an effort to find the killer, the author of the letters and what made Miss Broomfield such as mean-spirited young woman.

I liked this book on so many levels. One being that it was a historical and that allows you to walk through a visual door to observe a society in the past. I liked that Lady Kurland wasn’t a snob, that she genuinely cared for both the townsfolk and the ladies of the upper tier of society. Also, that she and Sir Robert saw to the education of the town’s youth. Adding to the storyline and Lady Kurland’s support is Sir Robert’s Aunt Rose. Loved her personality and the fact that she wasn’t going to settle for loneliness. As for the plot and the author’s ability to carry it to resolution, she did it cleverly. I thought the guilty party was someone else. Looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Four quill pens out of five

Denise Fleischer

February 10, 2018




Blog Tour – Beyond Danger Excerpt



Image 1-16-18 at 8.08 PM



Beyond Danger is Beau’s story.  Mega-rich, black-haired, and blue-eyed, Beau is gorgeous to look at, and flashy.  He was an amateur race car driver, sort of a Texas Paul Newman, before he left the racing circuit.  Beau loves fast cars and fast women.

He is also wanted for murder.

That’s where private investigator, Cassidy Jones, comes in.  She’s smart and she’s no pushover, exactly the woman for Beau.  Best of all, she’s determined to prove his innocence.


Beyond Danger

Pleasant Hill, Texas

Beau could hardly believe it.  His father was sixty years old!  The girl sitting across from him in a booth at the Pleasant Hill Café looked like a teenager.  A very pregnant teenager.

“Everything’s going to be okay, Missy,” Beau Reese said.  “You don’t have to worry about anything from now on.  I’ll make sure everything is taken care of from here on out.”

“He bought me presents,” the girl said, dabbing a Kleenex against the tears in her blue eyes.  “He told me how pretty I was, how much he liked being with me.  I thought he loved me.”

Fat chance of that, Beau thought.  His dad had never loved anyone but himself.  True, his father, a former Texas state senator, was still a handsome man, one who stayed in shape and looked twenty years younger.  Didn’t make the situation any better.

“How old are you, Missy?”


At least she was over the age of consent.  That was something, not much.

Beau shoved a hand through his wavy black hair and took a steadying breath.  He thought of the DNA test folded up and tucked into the pocket of his shirt.  He had always wanted a baby brother or sister.  Now at the age of thirty five, he was finally going to have one.

Beau felt a surge of protectiveness toward the young woman carrying his father’s child.

He looked over to where she sat hunched over next to her mother on the opposite side of the pink vinyl booth.  “Everybody makes mistakes, Missy.  You picked the wrong guy, that’s all.  Doesn’t mean you won’t have a great kid.”

For the first time since he’d arrived, Missy managed a tentative smile.  “Thank you for saying that.”

Beau returned the smile.  “I’m going to have a baby sister.  I promise she won’t have to worry about a thing from the day she’s born into this world.”  Hell, he was worth more than half a billion dollars.  He would see the child had everything she ever wanted.

When Missy’s lips trembled, her mother scooted out of the booth.  “I think she’s had enough for today.  This is all very hard on her and I don’t want her getting overly tired.”  Josie reached for her daughter’s hand.  “Let’s go home, honey.  You’ll feel better after a nap.”

Beau got up, too, leaned over and brushed a kiss on Missy’s cheek.  “You both have my number.  If you need anything, call me.  Okay?”

Missy swallowed.  “Okay.”

“Thank you, Beau,” Josie said.  “I should have called you sooner.  I should have known you’d help us.”

“I’ll have my assistant send you a check right away.  You’ll have money to take care of expenses and buy the things you need.  After that, I’ll have a draft sent to Missy every month.”

Josie’s eyes teared up.  “I didn’t know how I was going to manage the bills all by myself.  Thank you again, Beau.”

He just nodded.  “Keep me up to date on her condition.”

“I will,” Josie said.

Beau watched the women head for the door, the bell ringing as Josie shoved it open and she and Missy walked out of the café.

Leaving money on the table for his coffee, he followed the women out the door, his temper slowing climbing toward the boiling point, as it had been after he’d first received Josie’s call.

His father should be the one handling Missy’s pregnancy.  He’d had months to step up and do the right thing.  Beau figured he never would.

As he crossed the sidewalk and opened the door of his dark blue Ferrari, his temper cranked up another notch.  By the time the car was roaring along the road to his father’s house, his fury was simmering, bubbling just below the surface.

Unconsciously his foot pressed harder on the gas, urging the car down the two-lane road at well over eighty miles an hour.  With too many tickets in Howler County already, he forced himself to slow down.

Making the turn into Country Club Estates, he jammed on the brakes and the car slid to a stop in front of the house.  The white, two-story home he’d been raised in oozed Southern charm, the row of columns out front mimicking an old-style plantation.

Climbing out of the Ferrari, one of his favorite vehicles, he pounded up the front steps and crossed the porch.  The housekeeper had Mondays and Tuesdays off so he used his key to let himself into the entry.

On this chilly, end-of-January day, the ceiling fans, usually rotating throughout the five-thousand square-foot residence, hadn’t been turned on, leaving the interior strangely silent, the air oddly dense.  The ticking of the ornate grandfather clock in the living room seemed louder than it usually did.

“Dad!  It’s Beau!  Where are you?”  When he didn’t get an answer, he strode down the hall toward the study.  He had phoned his father on the way over.  Though he’d done his best to keep the anger out of his voice, he wasn’t sure he had succeeded.   Maybe his father had left to avoid him.

“Dad!”  Still no answer.  Beau continued down the hall, his footsteps echoing in the quiet.  As he reached the study, he noticed the door standing slightly ajar.  Steeling himself for the confrontation ahead, he clamped down on his temper, rapped firmly, then shoved the door open.

His father wasn’t sitting at the big rosewood desk or in his favorite overstuffed chair next to the fireplace.  Beau started to turn away when an odd gurgling sound sent the hairs up on the back of his neck.

“Dad!”  At the opposite end of the desk, Beau spotted a prone figure lying on the floor in a spreading pool of blood.  “Dad!”  His father’s eyes were closed, his face as gray as ash.  The handle of a letter opener protruded from the middle of his chest.

Beau raced to his father’s side.  “Dad!”  Blood oozed from the wound in his chest and streamed onto the hardwood floor.  He had to stop the bleeding and he had to do it now!

He hesitated, praying he wouldn’t make it worse, then with no other option, grabbed the handle of the letter opener, jerked it out, gripped the front of his dad’s white shirt and ripped it open.

“Oh, my God!  What are you–”

Beau glanced up.  “Call 9-1-1!  Hurry, he’s been stabbed!  Hurry!”

The woman, a shapely brunette named Cassidy Jones, his father’s recently hired personal assistant, didn’t pause, just pulled her cell out of her pocket and hurriedly punched in the number.  He heard her rattle off the address, give the dispatcher the name of the victim and said he had been stabbed.

Beau’s hand shook as he checked for a pulse, found none.  The wound was catastrophic, a stab wound straight to the heart.  No way could his father survive it.

Cassidy ended the call, ran over and knelt on the floor beside him.

“Here, use this to seal the hole.”  She seemed amazingly in control as she handed him a credit card then ran to the wet bar and grabbed a towel, folded it into a pad, rushed back and handed it over.  Beau pressed the towel over the credit card on top of the hole, all the while knowing his father was already dead or within moments of dying.

He checked again for a pulse.  Shook his head, feeling an unexpected rush of grief.  “His heart isn’t beating.  Whoever stabbed him knew exactly where to bury the blade.”  And compressions would only make it worse.

Cassidy reached down to check for herself, pressing her fingers in exactly the right spot on the side of his father’s neck.  She had to know it was hopeless, just as he did, must have known Stewart Reese was dead.

“I’m sorry,” she said.

Beau studied his father’s face.  Pain had turned his usually handsome features haggard and slack, nothing like the athletic older man who kept himself so fit and trim.

Sorrow slid through him, making his chest clamp down.  Or maybe it was sadness for the kind of man his father was, the kind who had wound up the victim of a killer.

“Just hold on,” Cassidy said to him.  “The ambulance should be here any minute.”

His mind went blank until the sound of a siren sliced into his conscious.  Cassidy hurried off to let the EMTs into the house and a few moments later they appeared in the study.

“You need to give us some room, Mr. Reese,” one of them said gently, a skinny kid who looked like he knew what he was doing.

Beau backed away and Cassidy followed.  He felt her eyes on him, assessing him with speculation–or was it suspicion?

It didn’t take long for the EMTs to have his father loaded onto a gurney and rolling down the hall, back outside to the ambulance.  Beau strode along behind them, Cassidy trailing in his wake.

It occurred to him that she could be the killer.  But somehow the timing seemed wrong and her reaction seemed genuine.  The thought slid away.

As he climbed into the ambulance and sat down beside his dad, he flicked a last glance at the house.  If Cassidy Jones hadn’t done it, who had?  Had the killer still been inside when Beau arrived?  How had he escaped?  What was his motive?

The ambulance roared down the road, sirens wailing, blowing through intersections, weaving in and out between cars, careening around corners.  All the way to the hospital Beau held his father’s hand.  It was the closest he had ever felt to his dad.

The ambulance turned again and Pleasant Hill Memorial loomed ahead.  The vehicle slammed to a stop in front of the emergency entrance and the back doors banged open.

After what seemed an eternity but was only a very few minutes, Beau’s father, Stewart Beaumont Reese, was pronounced Dead On Arrival.

Beau’s throat closed up.  There were times as a boy he had wished his father dead, but that had been years ago.

Now his dad was gone and Beau wanted answers.  He vowed whatever it took, for no matter how long, he wouldn’t stop until he found the man who had murdered his father.

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Mystical Musings By Cass Donovan




Clairvoyant and Present Danger by Lena Gregory. Part of A Bay Island Psychic Mystery Series. Category: Cozy Mysteries. Mass Market Paperback. Feb 06, 2018 | 293 Pages

I’m Cass Donovan, and I own Mystical Musings, a psychic shop on Bay Island, a small island between the north and south forks of Long Island, New York. Though Bay Island is booming during the summer months, when tourists flock to the island beaches, climb to the tops of the lighthouses, and meander through the shops along the boardwalk, business tends to slow down come fall and doesn’t start to pick up again until spring. During the winter, the island is downright deserted, except for the locals. That being the case, I can’t only cater to the tourists.

Most of my business involves doing readings, both individual and group. My group readings have become so popular, among locals and tourists, I’ve decided to finish a room upstairs to allow room for more tables. But not everyone on Bay Island is receptive to interacting with the dearly departed, so I also stock a large inventory of crystals, essential oils, and even some small souvenirs.

My best-selling souvenirs, though, are the ones I make myself, and they cost almost nothing to make. They are easy enough that anyone can make them, and yet, sometimes I can’t keep up with the demand. I don’t often reveal my secrets—it certainly wouldn’t help my business for people to realize they could easily create beautiful centerpieces on their own—but I’ll make an exception today.

Mystical Musings sits on one end of the boardwalk. The front of the shop faces the boardwalk, while the back faces the beach, offering a gorgeous view of the bay and the lighthouse from the wide, wrap-around porch. My house is a fairly short walk down the beach from the shop, which is perfect.

I often grab a bucket and walk along the beach from home to the shop. I collect anything I find that catches my interest; beach glass, seashells, small rocks, twigs, beach grass, driftwood, even a length of old fishing net. Once in a while, I make a trip over to Long Island and hit up the antique shops, or even the dollar stores, and pick up glass containers, mason jars, and small candles.

Then I sift through whatever interesting things I found on the beach and sort them into jars. Some jars get candles in the center—of course, I’m careful not to put anything flammable in those. Others get beach grass or twigs sticking out the top. If the jars have no fun decorations on them, I often tie a ribbon or a leather cord around them. I sometimes arrange a small bit of fishing net on the table beneath the jars, set out a few strategically placed pieces of driftwood, and that’s it. You have a beautiful centerpiece at very little cost that takes minutes to make.

I often place them on the tables during my group readings and almost always sell out afterward. If you decide to give it a try, be sure to post pictures. I’d love to see what you come up with!

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