How about a little taste of Dear Philomena: Love, Lust & Murder on Chincoteague Island?
Something crashed in the woods. Was it a deer? Or something more dangerous? Dagne didn’t care; she just kept running…
Chincoteague is one of a pair of barrier islands off the coast of Virginia. Its eastern sister, Assateague, is the actual home of the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and of the ponies made famous in Marguerite Henry’s children’s books (remember Misty of Chincoteague?). The refuge sits on the Atlantic flyway, so in spring and fall it is inundated with migrating birds—thousands of ducks and geese descend on the flats—and so too do birdwatchers. Unfortunately for Dagne Lonegan, the flocks of bird watchers hadn’t yet arrived when she took a walk on a deserted trail in the refuge. Alone in the dark, she feels suddenly, unaccountably, frightened. She learns later that her fear may have been justified when the police find a dead body on the trail.
|Someone shoots at Dagne near here|
I Heart Book Publishing, October 12, 2015
eBook, 72,000 words, Print 209 pp
Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romantic Suspense, Mystery Romance
Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romantic Suspense, Mystery Romance
M/F, 3 flames
Dagne Lonegan, aka Dear Philomena, advice columnist, hoped that spending a year on the Eastern Shore island of Chincoteague would extinguish any feelings she had left for Jack Andrews, erstwhile lover and long-time jerk. It’s just her luck that in her first week on the island she’s entangled in a murder. Only she doesn’t know it. Unfortunately, the murderer doesn’t know she doesn’t know. Strange and dangerous things begin happening to her, disrupting her new romance with Aidan Ellis, the handsome manager of the National Wildlife Refuge. As if that weren’t enough, Jack arrives to take charge of the murder investigation.
Will Dagne stick with the tall, cool glass of a Ranger or risk falling back into the arms of the man who broke her heart?
Jack stared at the floor and played with his hat. Dagne tried to take a sip of iced tea but her throat constricted with sudden alarm. “You think the murderer killed her on Friday night, don’t you? Maybe even when I was hurtling down the path, scared out of my wits.” Is that where the panic came from? Did I feel her terror? Did I sense the presence of evil only a few yards away?
“No, not at all!” Jack patted her hand in a clumsy masculine attempt to reassure her. It didn’t help. “We’re pretty sure the murder took place somewhere else. The County CIS folks found traces of motor oil on her clothes. The lab is still analyzing them. The current theory is that the murderer originally hid the body somewhere either too exposed or too easily associated with him. She was reported missing three days before her body was discovered. I’m guessing he waited for the hue and cry over her disappearance to subside, and then moved her to the dumpster. The coroner estimated time of death at least two days earlier. Her body had already begun decomposing by the time the K9 unit discovered it.”
The memory of a rancid smell assaulted Dagne’s nostrils. “I remember an awful stench coming from the dumpster when I got back to my car.” She gazed at him, doubtful. “I don’t think I smelled anything when I first parked there.”
“Aha!” Jack threw the now completely disfigured hat on the sofa, and jumped up. “That’s why it’s so crucial that you remember everything you saw or heard that night.”
“But nothing happened!” she wailed. “I didn’t hear anything but deer. If someone else were on the path I would have seen them. Or at least heard them.”
He held out a hand and Dagne slowly took it. He pulled her down on the sofa next to him. “Don’t worry, Dagne. It’s more than likely the killer threw Terri in the dumpster before you even got to the trail and you just didn’t notice the smell. Or he might have been hiding in the brush waiting for you to leave, and what you smelled was ordinary garbage.”
She thought about her irrational terror on the trail, of the comforting sound of an engine, and then the letdown at the sight of the empty parking lot. She gulped. “No, I’m sure I didn’t see anything important. Just deer.”
Jack’s arm went round her shoulders. “That’s all right. We’ve got plenty of leads.” Her head rested on his shoulder. Sure, okay, I’ll let him hold me. For a minute. I can think better this way.
And a thought did come. “Wait, Jack. When I came out of the woods, I only saw my car, but Terri must have come in one, or her killer brought her in one. I did think I heard a car engine.”
Jack squeezed her shoulder eagerly. “In the parking lot?”
“No.” No reason to treat it as more important than it was. “Farther away—I think out on the beach road. Could’ve been anybody at that hour. It wasn’t that late after all.”
“Never mind, you’ve still got a point. We haven’t located the actual site of the murder yet, but we know it wasn’t the dumpster. Someone had to have transported the body there.”
“And it had to be a car. I can’t see the murderer balancing his victim on the handlebars of a bike.” Dagne’s titter hovered just shy of hysteria.
Jack didn’t laugh. “Yes, and that means someone drove it away.”
“Does anyone know who she’d been with the day she disappeared?”
Jack’s hand rubbed her neck, then moved down the arm. His breath smelled tangy, like fresh grapefruit. “That’s the trouble. It could have been one of any number of people. Like I said, Terri didn’t lack for male companionship.”
Dagne tried to stand up but Jack’s face barred the way. “Dagne, have you been thinking about us?”
She thought to push him away, but instead drew him close. His lips hovered near hers, inviting, warm. Oh, what the hell.
A few minutes later, she exhaled raggedly and opened her eyes. “Jack! How…what…?” Jack didn’t answer. She looked down at her naked body and up into his hungry eyes. Carpet scratched her shoulder blades. We must have fallen off the sofa. Ignoring the unforgiving floor, she pulled her arm from around his neck. On its own volition, her hand snaked up between Jack’s legs, unbuttoned the jeans, reached in and grabbed the only thing harder than his thigh muscles. His eyes opened in surprise, then closed, and a wry smile touched the edges of his mouth.
“You always knew how to please me, babe.”
Dagne held on tight and began massaging. Jack’s breathing grew unsteady. Up and down, up and down, gently squeeze, tickle that little sensitive vee with the tip of her index finger. She felt his penis stiffen, saw his chest contract, and heard the slight sigh as he gave in to her. “Oh, Dagne.” He fell to one side, the smile a little broader.
“Oh no, Mister. You ain’t done yet.” She straddled him, hanging over him, and wiggled sensually. Her breasts swayed before his face, inviting attention. Swiftly, he raised his head and caught one nipple in his mouth, sucking and drawing the rest of her down. He let go the breast and took her mouth, his tongue exploring. Their bodies ground together in a slow circular motion, breast to chest, belly to belly. She could feel him harden and grow again, pressing against her, forcing her thighs open.
Passion held her in its grip. She remembered, oh how she remembered, that feeling of helplessness, of desire unloosed. The times when she lost control, when her brain shut down and her synapses flashed with heat and the only thing she wanted was for it to go on and on forever. Always with Jack. Only when she was with Jack. Always, and only, with him. A memory toggled on. That’s how he could hurt you. He knows how vulnerable you are. He’ll hurt you again, Dagne. He’ll break your heart again. Don’t give in to the passion. Stop while you still can.
She sat up and twisted away from him. “No, wait, Jack, that’s enough.”
Dagne swallowed hard, willing the hot lust to cool. “Why are you here, Jack? What do you want of me?”
Jack closed his eyes, his features twisted with frustration. “Can’t we talk about this later?”
“I don’t know whether there will be a later.” Her breath came in heavy gusts. Talk me into it anyway, please Jack, please. Jack’s big callused fingers took a handful of her red-gold hair and twirled it gently. He looked into her eyes. He almost looked sincere. She tried to concentrate on his stubbly chin, but her eyes rose inevitably to his mouth, to those lips. It’s no use. I want him.
“Dagne?” His fingers trailed down her back, then cupped her bottom, tickling and rubbing. It was all she could do not to melt into a little pool of bubbling desire. “Let me satisfy you first. I want to make you very happy. After that, you can break my balls. Deal?”
Don’t laugh. Don’t…laugh. A giggle escaped her best intentions, and the hard knot of pain that had risen between them unraveled. She pulled him to her and said, her lips muffled against his softly furred chest, “Deal.”
And the first of three incredible orgasms began to build.
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dear-philomena-ms-spencer/1122797778