"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The countdown has started

Next Wednesday, my new book, MURDER ON THE HOOF, will be released on ebook for Kindle. It's a departure for me, with new characters in a new venue, doing things a little differently than Skip and Peri. For one thing, my main character is an amateur sleuth, forced to investigate a murder because she is the primary suspect. As you can imagine, no one wants to cooperate with her, especially the police.

And no, her BFF isn't a coroner. She's a horse trainer.

For all you Benny lovers out there, I'm sorry there is no Dino-worshipping in this book. There are a couple of actors, both of TV and movies, who appear. I'm not giving them real names, but perhaps you'll be able to connect the dots.

Here's the jacket copy, and an excerpt:

* * * * *

She was looking for a horse. What she found was romance. And danger.

Willie Adams is at the L.A. Equestrian Center shopping for her first horse. A young widow struggling with the idea of dating again, she never expected that a gorgeous trainer like Tyler Ransome would notice her. But he did.

He wasn’t the only one, either. Bobby Fermino is not as handsome, nor as pleasant. After attacking Willie he ends up dead in her tack room, leaving her the most likely suspect.

Willie has to convince Detective Lucas Macy that she’s innocent, but her physical attraction to him isn’t making the task easy.

With growing evidence pointing to her, and two famous actors drawing attention to the investigation, Willie decides to take the reins. She must find the murderer before they find her, but will she survive opening her heart to someone new?

* * * * *

It wasn’t the first time a handsome man looked through her, and she figured it wouldn’t be the last. It was, however, the first time a pair of blue eyes made Willie want to turn and run. Their glacial hue popped from the dark lashes and eyebrows, punctuating a face of such angular ruggedness and spectacular beauty, she suppressed a gasp.

Her heart balked, but she planted her feet.

“Tyler Ransome?” She extended her hand. “I’m Willie Adams. My trainer, Emily Jungers, is meeting me here to look at one of your horses.”

He remained in his seat and stretched his hand to meet hers—a slow, deliberate move, as if he was considering whether to shake her hand or not. His palm felt firm and dry, one pump of a shake, then withdrawn.

“Nice to meet you.”

Willie glanced into the stall used as a makeshift tack room. A rack holding saddles and blankets was visible in the shadows. She could still see a corner of the large red sign hung on the front of the barn aisle, proclaiming “Tyler Ransome Performance Horses” in large black letters. Two canvas-backed folding chairs sat, unopened, against the chipped, faded beige wood.

She gripped the travel mug of coffee in her hands, and found herself taking small, nervous sips to fill the silence. The warm aroma of hazelnut caffeine was chased by the smell of hay and horses and leather.

“Seems a little cooler this morning.” Her soft voice jarred against the quiet, but she felt the need to conquer her uneasiness.

He nodded, the brim of his faded blue baseball cap shading his eyes from the July sun.

So much for the weather, she thought. Perhaps I could ask him how he likes the Dodgers. Of course, it would help if I knew something about baseball.

A rattle of spurs made her look up, thankful for the distraction. Emily Jungers, a tall, lithe redhead, strode toward them and held out her hand. “Tyler, good to see you.”

“Hey, Em, how are you?” The cowboy unfolded his long limbs from the chair and stood, offering his hand in return. “You wanted to see the little mare?” He pointed down the barn aisle and strolled away with Emily.

Willie took a step to follow, then looked down at the mug in her hands. Once a comfort, it now felt awkward. She glanced around. There was no table outside to leave it on, so she went to the tack room and stuck it inside the door, then hurried after the two trainers.

Emily’s long steps were easily keeping up with Tyler. The only way to catch up to them would involve running. Willie decided to get there when she got there.

Damned long-legged people, she thought. Would it kill them to wait for me?

The stalls on both sides of the barn aisle had horses in them, all hanging their heads over the Dutch doors. She looked at her watch. It was a little past ten, so they were probably waiting on a mid-morning snack. The air was warming toward its goal in the high eighties, a typical summer day in southern California. She savored the beauty of each horse as she walked by, then observed the people walking in front of her.

The girls at her stable were right. When she had mentioned him, Elliot’s owner Barbara had said, “Ooh, Tyler Ransome, rhymes with handsome.” He was easily a head taller than Emily, broad-shouldered and lean under his tan T-shirt. Of course, she couldn’t see much of his face from her current position, but the view was still mesmerizing.

What’s wrong with me? I’m way too old to be gasping at a pretty boy. And what would I want with him anyway? We have nothing in common. A face like that, he’s got to be a player. He’s not like my Hank at all.

Hank had been gone for three years now, leaving her a widow at barely thirty. The good news was there were no children to raise without him. The bad news was she would have adored raising his children. Photographs and videos couldn’t be hugged in the middle of a bad night, and her memories of their carefree marriage did not feel like much of a legacy.

* * * * *

There's more to come...

1 comment:

August McLaughlin said...

Congrats! Love the excerpt. :)

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