When a man is murdered in the back yard of the old Victorian house she is remodeling, Harmony is determined to locate his next-of-kin so he can be put to rest properly. But with her ex-boyfriend Jake out of prison, back in town and one of the suspects in the murder, she takes on the challenge of solving the crime.
With Eli, her current love interest, in Florida and Jake close by, old emotions come back to haunt her. Can Harmony clear Jake's name and solve the mystery of her own heart?
Although each book in the series is a complete mystery, (no cliffhangers) the books should be read in order. The first book, the Marquesa's Necklace, is currently on sale for 99¢
My first clue that something was about to happen was the snowplow driving down the street. Oak Grove does a fairly good job of clearing the streets, but naturally, they take care of the main streets first. The fact that Luke and Joe's house sits away from any main traffic route is one of the things that attracted me. So I shouldn't have been surprised when shortly afterward, I spotted a red Mustang headed our way.
I stuck my shovel into a snow pile and went over to greet Freddie. The grim look on his face told me this was an official visit.
“Take a deep breath,” I told him. “Jake hasn't done anything wrong.”
“I'll be the judge of that,” he growled.
When I turned, I saw Jake watching us. When he started to move, I wondered if he planned to run.
Instead, Jake carefully placed the shovel on the sidewalk and held his open hands out to his sides. “Hello, Detective,” he said. “How have you been?”
“Move away from the shovel,” Freddie ordered.
I held my breath.
“Of course. Do you want me to step closer to you or backwards?”
Freddie’s eyes widened at Jake's easy acquiescence. “Towards me is fine.”
Jake took three steps and stopped. “Good?”
“You got paperwork to show you're out legally?”
“Yes. Not on me, but I have it. It's stored in a locker over at the Salvation Army.”
“I’ve got a call in to check your status, so you'd better not be lying.”
“I understand.” Jake’s shoulders twitched. “Is it okay if I put my arms down now? They're getting tired. Or would you like to search me first?”
I exhaled loudly and noticed the neighbors across the street watching the spectacle. “Can we move this inside, Freddie? We're drawing a crowd.” He nodded. On an impulse, I walked over and picked up the shovel Jake had dropped, and wrapped my free arm around his waist. Even through the several layers of sweaters I’d made him wear, I felt him shaking.
“What are you doing?” he asked in a whisper.
“Proving a point. I don’t like bullies,” I whispered back.
Luke, Joe, and Freddie were all fuming, but there wasn’t anything they could do. When our procession reached the bottom of my stairs, I hesitated as I considered my options. If we went to my place it would be crowded, which might be uncomfortable for Jake. On the other hand, it was familiar ground to him. And it was my territory and they would be my guests, which would put all four of them under an obligation to behave themselves.
My decision made, I leaned the shovel against the fence and asked Jake loudly, “You don’t suppose that coffee you made earlier is still hot, do you?”
His eyes searched my face. “I hope so. I’m freezing.”
I grabbed his hand. “Only one way to find out.”
After climbing a few steps, I plastered a bigger smile on my face as I swiveled to face the others. “Are y’all coming?”
Born and raised among the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania, P.J. MacLayne still finds inspiration for her books in that landscape. She is a computer geek by day and a writer by night who currently lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. When she's not in front of a computer screen, she might be found exploring the back roads of the nearby national forests and parks.
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