Monday, April 25, 2011
Today's excerpt is from The Witness Wore Blood Bay by LC Evans. If you love humorous mysteries, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this one! I read it several months ago and absolutely loved it then immediately bought the other book in the series, The Talented Horsewoman. Currently, you can purchase The Witness Wore Blood Bay for only .99 cents, but the price goes back up on May 1st to $2.99.
In Talented Horsewoman, the first book of the Leigh McRae horse mystery series, main character Leigh McRae discovers a body. She also ends up solving a murder. Along the way she helps her cousin Sammi, who is dating a burglar, and she manages to get out from under the control of her overbearing ex-husband.
Now Leigh's friend Candy, a fellow horsewoman, finds herself accused of murder. Who else would she turn to for help except Leigh? After all, everyone in small town Del Canto knows Leigh has body-discovering experience. Never mind that Leigh is busy finding out who's poisoning dogs in Sammi's neighborhood and she's trying to renovate her home without going broke. Or that her ex-husband Kenneth and former ranchhand Doug Reilly have become roommates in Leigh's guest house.
There's a murder to solve. And her friend won't take no for an answer.
Readers are saying:
"I would put LC Evans in the category of my other favorite mystery writers, Margaret Maron and Janet Evonovich. The Leigh McRae series are set in Florida and revolve around horses, something I know nothing about, but the reader doesn't need to be an equine enthusist to enjoy these books. Ms. Evan explains it all so it is an integral part of the setting, but not required to enjoy the mystery!" - M. Baldwin, Amazon Reader
And now for an excerpt from CHAPTER TWO:
Mark’s hand shook when he picked up his glass. Clearly, his whole world had fallen apart with the arrest of his wife for killing his Army buddy.
“Do you need help taking care of Benji?” I didn’t know what I could do when it came to a special needs child like Benji Lowell. Not only was I pretty booked up with my job and my life, but I knew the boy needed care I wasn’t qualified to give. Still, even spending a few hours with Benji would be helpful to a man suddenly without his wife.
Mark frowned. After a moment he said, “No, but thanks for the offer. As you can imagine, Benji is really in a turmoil. It’s tough on him when his routine is interrupted. He’s staying with my parents in Fort Myers right now.”
“Be sure to let me know if there’s anything at all I can do.”
“Me, too,” Sammi added, leaning forward and smiling kindly.
“Thanks. But I…” Mark put down his drink and got to his feet. He paced to the TV and back. “I don’t know what I’m going to do. Candy hardly knew Richard. At least that’s what I thought. Now I don’t know. I mean, why would she kill him if she didn’t know him? There has to be motive, doesn’t there? Maybe she knew him a lot better than I thought. She did take Benji and leave and she had blood on her clothes when they found her.”
Sammi and I exchanged startled glances. A shiver crept up the back of my neck. Mark believed Candy had committed the murder. He’d as much as said so.
“What evidence do the police have?” I asked. Darn it. I’d said I wasn’t getting involved and here I was asking questions. Hey, not my fault. Mark had brought the subject up.
“I don’t know. We called them right away—Francine and I. They showed up a few minutes after we found Richard’s body in the stable. Of course, I was pretty worried about Candy and Benji since they were missing, but it didn’t take the police long to find them. They brought Benji home and they told me Candy was at the station to answer questions. The police aren’t stupid. They wouldn’t have kept her there unless they found evidence. Or she confessed.”
He made another circuit of the room and ended up back at the couch where he sat and picked up his drink, pausing to stare at the glass before he brought it to his lips. He finally took a long gulp and then set the glass down with a clunk. I wondered if he even knew what he was drinking.
“She needs to lawyer up.” Sammi flipped her hair back over her shoulders and it whipped the side of my face like a horse's tail, so I discreetly slapped her hand. “You don’t know exactly what she did or why, but maybe it was self-defense and if it was, she needs counsel before she incriminates herself even more. Trust me. I read a ton of books and I love watching crime shows, so I’ve seen it all. Plus, I used to date a guy who turned out to be a burglar.”
I rolled my eyes. Only Sammi would think that dating a burglar for a few weeks would qualify a person to give legal advice.
“Did you know,” she went on, “some people are perfectly innocent and they get so tired after a couple of days of questioning by relays of cops that they confess to crimes they never even thought of committing? What chance does your wife have, if she blabs to the cops without her lawyer there to keep her quiet over whatever she might have done?”
Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? It sounded like Sammi had gone over to the dark side—those who’d already condemned Candy Lowell. Even after listening to Mark's version of events I couldn't make myself believe she'd done it.
“Sammi’s right about the lawyer, Mark. Whatever happened in that stable, Candy deserves a chance to defend herself in court.” I would have suggested my ex sister-in-law Kendra, the only attorney I knew, except that A) she wasn’t a criminal defense attorney and B) I didn’t like her.
“I don’t agree. That bitch killed my husband and I want her to fry!”
Sammi stifled a yelp and I jumped to my feet, almost spilling what was left of my tea. Francine Swale stood in the doorway between the living room and the dining room, her hands on her curvy hips.
I couldn't help staring at what I judged to be a surgically enhanced chest. The woman could have modeled for Playboy if she were fifteen years younger, and if her face weren’t all blotchy from rage. Or from crying—I couldn’t tell which.
“Ladies, this is Francine Swale. She works with me selling cars.” Mark cleared his throat a couple of times.
Yeah, and she was also the murder victim's widow. It didn’t take a genius to figure out he’d much rather we hadn't found out she was in the house and had obviously been there the whole time, lurking out of sight and probably listening.
“Francine, ah, didn’t feel well enough to go home, so she’s been resting in the guest room. Francine, Leigh McRae and her cousin, Sammi Hollister.”
“Hello, Francine.” I didn’t bother to remind her I’d met her before and I’d seen her last night at the horse club meeting—arguing with her husband, who was now dead. “Sorry for your loss.”
Francine’s dark eyes snapped. “So am I. But the police know Candy did it and she’s going to pay one way or the other. I hope she fries like breakfast bacon.” She strode across the room and dropped onto the couch next to Mark, crossing her long legs and not bothering to tug her micro skirt down over her shapely thighs.
I pasted on the stupidest of smiles for lack of anything useful to say or do. I mean, how do you agree with a remark like that without coming across like a vigilante?
There, there, Francine. If the justice system doesn’t do its job, we’ll bring the firewood and some lighter fluid and help you take care of the problem.
And if I didn’t agree, I might send this woman into orbit. Judging by the way she’d spoken and the look in her eyes, I definitely didn’t want to be on Francine Swale’s “People Not to Like List.”
L.C. Evans—Linda to the people who know her, has always wanted to own a stagecoach. Sadly, she has had to settle for the occasional photo op at tourist attractions.
L.C. says she only recently figured out that the main characters in her books are nurturers. Leigh McRae, her bumbling amateur sleuth slash animal lover, and Susan Caraway, divorcee with needy family, are compelled to open their arms and their hearts to every stray who shows up.
"Whoops," L.C. says. "I do that, too. Sort of. Everyone thinks I'm their mom. I've finally learned to say no. Most of the time. By the way, do you need anything? Food, drink? A place to stay?"
Fortunately, she's free to indulge her over-developed nurturing gene with her characters. Leigh McRae has more animals in her barn than she can keep track of and even her ex-husband and the local slacker end up living on her property. Somehow Leigh still carves out time to find bodies and "investigate" murders.
Susan Caraway has to learn to stop being everyone's doormat and finally go on a date that doesn't get interrupted by Mama's hysterics or DeLorean's spoiled younger sister antics. But that doesn't mean Susan is an overnight success. She still has to battle with herself to keep from backsliding. In the upcoming second book of the series, We Interrupt This Wedding, Susan has to find a way to get her mother to the altar with Rhett and to make her own wedding happen.
When not writing, L.C. likes to spend time with her family. She loves being at home with her husband and their grandson, The Boy, and their Chihuahuas. She loves to read and take walks with the dogs. She will also tell you she likes to garden, but that's not really true. L.C. likes to have a nice garden, but she doesn't like to weed or dig holes, or deal with insects, and though she tries to extend her nurturing urges to her plants, she has not exactly been successful. Her blueberry bushes don't bear berries, her azaleas don't bloom, and her rose bushes look sullen. But she loves them anyway.
.99 cents until May 1st!
Other books by LC Evans: