Police Psychic Silvestra Coeltrain comes to Renewal, OK to visit with old friends and to heal. After a year in which she was tested physically, mentally, and psychically, all she wants to do is sleep, fish, and bask in the tranquility of the sleepy town.
Sheriff Caleb Blackbear doesn’t understand the feelings he’s quickly developing for Renewal’s newest visitor. She responds to his kisses with a passion that equals his own. But she’s an enigma, filled with secrets and evasions, and he’s a suspicious man.
When several of the local ranches begin losing cattle to a mysterious illness, it’s Silvestra who claims the animals are being methodically targeted and killed. As Cal’s investigation zeros in on who and what could be slaying the animals, the murder of a prominent rancher’s daughter – and Cal’s former lover – complicates things. With Silvestra’s life now in danger, Cal is determined to keep her safe at any cost.
I’m Millie Wentworth and I never thought I’d be involved in another murder, but here I am smack dab in the middle of a crime wave at the swanky resort where I’m Assistant General Manager. It started with a major diamond heist and ended with a dead body on the beach.
When one of my grandmother Lulu’s group of fun-loving septuagenarian friends is a prime suspect it’s time for Lulu’s Crew, Spud the corgi, and me, to get sleuthing and uncover the real criminals.
And because dodging mobsters, international jewel thieves, and solving crimes isn’t stressful enough, my hypercritical parents are in town too. My mother doesn’t approve of Lulu and me in the best of times, and these are decidedly not the best of times. Plus she’s already planning my imaginary wedding to my kinda-sorta boyfriend Scott.
All I need to do is catch a murderer plus a jewel thief and survive my parents’ visit. No problem, right?
Everyone spoke in hushed tones, but suddenly Hannah’s distinctive New York accent sounded loud and clear throughout the ballroom. “No, I technically didn’t have an invitation to this event, so what?”
I sat up straight, and slipped my feet back into the camel-colored pumps I’d worn with my teal blue dress tonight. “Uh oh. I better get over there and mediate before Hannah rips the FBI agent a new one and gets hauled off to jail.”
Ronald and Jennifer both laughed, but I was serious. None of Lulu’s Crew had very much respect for authority, and they all marched to the beat of their own drummer. My feet throbbed at being confined in the high heels again, but I hobbled as fast as I could over to Hannah’s side.
Agent Lewis ran his hand through his hair, and it stood up on end. He quickly smoothed it back in place and glared at me. “Yes, Ms. Wentworth?”
“Hiya, Millie,” Hannah said at the same time with a cheeky grin.
“You two know each other?” Lewis pointed between us.
“Hannah is a dear friend of my grandmother, and a retired jeweler. She wanted to see her old friends tonight.”
“Yeah, what she said.” Hannah jerked her thumb at me.
“Without an invitation or paying to attend?” Lewis huffed out a breath and shook his head.
Huh. It had taken a couple of days before Detective Green had gotten this fed up with me on the last case. And why was I thinking of this as another case? After someone had tried to kill me––twice––when I was investigating the murder, I didn’t intend to ever get involved in solving another crime again.
She waved her hands. “Nah. I just popped in to see everybody, and get a load of the Rose Duchess.”
“So you admit you crashed the party in order to surveil the Rose Duchess?”
Hannah took a breath to respond, and I hurried to speak first, before she could dig herself into an even deeper hole. “To see the Rose Duchess. Not to steal it. Mrs. Goldberg is a long-standing, much beloved member of the Port Sunset community.”
Lewis looked Hannah up and down. “So, if I were to run a check on Mrs. Goldberg here, nothing would come up?”
Hannah’s cheeks flushed as pink as the Rose Duchess. “Maybe not nothing, but certainly not jewel theft.”
I closed my eyes and my head rolled back on my neck. Honestly, why do I even bother to help Lulu’s Crew?
Even Lewis looked a little surprised at her sheepish pronouncement. He raised his eyebrows. “And just what precisely would I find on you?”
“Nothing major. Maybe jaywalking.”
Okay. Jaywalking wasn’t bad. We could work with jaywalking.
Hannah cleared her throat. “And possibly, drunk and disorderly.”
Situation getting worse.
Lewis paused for a beat and then asked, “Is that all? I have the feeling there’s something you’re not telling me, Mrs. Goldberg.”
She heaved a sigh, glanced at me, and shrugged. “Maybe, just maybe, there was a public nudity charge.”
“Public nudity?” I shrieked.
“Lulu and I were playing Truth or Dare with some cute tourists. It was my turn and I chose the dare. I only ran down the beach at the Tipsy Turtle for a couple of minutes, and then dunked right into the water. But people can be so puritanical and someone called the cops. Can you believe it?”
Agent Lewis covered his mouth with his hand, and I detected a twinkle in his eyes.
“Yes, well, if that’s all, Agent Lewis, I can see Hannah home now,” I said.
He inhaled deeply. “I think that’s all for tonight. But, don’t leave town, Mrs. Goldberg.”
“Where would I go?” Hannah asked with a disinterested shrug.
“After our conversation tonight, I can’t even begin to imagine where you would go, ma’am,” Lewis said with a bemused shake of his head.
Louise Stevens is the pen name of contemporary romance author Donna Simonetta. A lover of mysteries since her discovery of Nancy Drew many years ago, she is thrilled to be writing cozy mysteries now. Being the author of the Port Sunset Mysteries series is the fulfillment of a childhood dream.
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