Good morning and happy November.
As we move toward the end of this year, the weather is still crazy. Let’s hope for better things to come. Thanks to the lovely Angelia Dawson for making this weekly blog possible. If you’re a writer and would like to join us, message me for the linky link!
This morning, I will give you another peek at the opening scene from Murder & Mistletoe, my new Christmas Romance Suspense.
Going home for Christmas can be deadly.
Candy Kayne agrees to go to Black Oaks, the Georgia plantation her ancestor reluctantly left after the Civil War, to meet the family she’s never known and help Steve set a trap for his wife’s killer. Even the wildest tales have a kernel of truth in them and as she learns more about the family’s history, she realizes that coming here may have been the biggest mistake of her life.
Losing Amy almost destroyed Steve Anderson, but when Candy steps into his life, her sweetness chases the dark gloom away. But when he realizes the man who murdered his wife may have set his sights on Candy, he’ll do whatever he has to in order to keep her safe.
Here’s this week’s tease.
Claiming the house had an outstanding bone structure and swearing she could see the beauty and majesty of its heyday, Amy had put her heart and soul into this project—her labor of love. Pain stabbed so deep that he expected to see blood gushing from his chest. How was he going to tell his six-year-old son that his mother was dead?
“I told Uncle Luke restoring this place was a mistake, but he was hellbent on preserving the family history as if the thing deserved it.” Jeremy, the most superstitious and outspoken of the cousins, gritted his teeth. “The family abandoned it for a reason. The damn house is cursed and no amount of dancing around the issue and pretending it doesn’t exist is going to change that. We’ve all seen the lights bobbing in the windows late at night. How many accidents have you had on the worksite since you started the project? Three? Four?—and now this. We should’ve taken the damn thing down years ago and carted away every last brick and board. If Stowe had set her book at Black Oaks, Simon Legree would’ve been a choir boy compared to the plantation’s owner. Old Tobias is probably sitting at Satan’s right hand, gloating. If Uncle Luke thinks he can make up for all those atrocities by donating to every charity that knocks on the Kayne Foundation’s door, he’s got another think coming.” He shook his head, his fists clenched at his side. “I know you love the old man, but damn it. His single-minded obsession has cost you your wife and daughter. I won’t let it cost me mine. Let the accursed building burn until there’s nothing left of it. Maybe the tortured souls in there can finally rest in peace.”
Before Steve could answer, the fire chief stepped over to him. The man removed his helmet and licked his lips.
“Mr. Anderson, I understand your wife was inside the building. Was she alone?”
Steve shook his head. “I don’t know. I think so … She shouldn’t have been here at all, but…” He couldn’t finish the sentence.
The man nodded. “Where might she have been? It’ll give us a place to start looking.”
Rubbing the back of his neck, Steve frowned. Amy had been more excited about this restoration than anything else she’d ever worked on, but as much as she’d loved the work, she’d joked about the heebie-jeebies the place sometimes gave her when there was no one else around, as if every now and then, someone was looking over her shoulder. Why had she stayed late tonight?
“If something kept her, she would’ve been in her office—it’s on the ground floor near the front of the house, in the old dining room next to the library,” he answered, the words fighting their way out of his clogged throat as he sought to organize his jumbled thoughts.
“Did your wife often stay at the construction site alone?”
“I don’t like your implication,” his brother spoke before Steve could. “Amy was the architect in charge of this project for Anderson Restoration. Despite what you may be thinking, there’s nothing suspicious about her being here.”
“I didn’t mean to imply there was, Michael,” the chief’s voice betrayed his sympathy. He and his brother went way back to the days they’d played football together in high school. “I was just wondering whether or not there might be more bodies in there. We’ll save most of the original house—the fire seems to be contained in one area, but the addition at the back is gone.” He shook himself. “A couple of trees out there should probably come down, too.” Donning his helmet, he smiled, but there was no joy in it. “I’m sorry for your loss.” He touched the brim of his helmet in salute, and walked back to his men.
Within minutes, four firefighters, oxygen masks in place, climbed the front steps and disappeared inside.
Steve watched and waited, hoping against hope that she wouldn’t be in there, that she was at Mistletoe Manor sound asleep, but the pain burning deeper and deeper with each beat of his heart told a different story.
Had time stopped?
When two fireman came out, a body on a stretcher between them, his keening cry rivaled that of a banshee as he collapsed to the mud-soaked ground.
Murder & Mistletoe is available for pre-order with November 21 as the release date.