Murder Most Deserving

Murder Most Deserving Cover art
Part of the Lacetown Murder Mysteries series:

An acoustic music festival comes to Lacetown, and with it, another dead body—this one found at Fleishman’s Funeral Home. Michael recuses himself from the autopsy, handing the job over to his arch-nemesis from a neighboring county.

Luckily Michael and local hairstylist Jazz are closer than ever. Between a trio of funerals, a blowout BBQ, and a couple of trips on Beulah, Jazz’s beloved scooter, Michael and Jazz do some sleuthing of their own. With the first gruesome murder still fresh in their memories, they can’t help but wonder if notorious murderer and famous author Russell Withingham might be targeting them from jail, where he’s awaiting trial.

The festival, however, brings in a veritable lineup of potential killers, including a familiar—and most unwelcome—figure from their past. As the murderer circles ever closer to Jazz and Michael, Sheriff Musgrave is quick to remind them that everyone’s a suspect until Sheriff Musgrave says they’re not!

Dread of Night

Something big is prowling the woods around Parson’s Hollow, and Demetrius Singleton is afraid it’s another wolfman. The sudden arrival of Cody’s niece, Summer, and the strange behavior of Demetrius’ Aunt Amelia distract the two newlyweds from investigating until they learn some people have gone missing and others have been violently murdered. Demetrius and Cody now realize they are the only two with enough experience to stop whatever lurks in the woods.

Refusing to believe in a paranormal entity, Deputy Lucia Durant calls in a State Police sergeant, and Cody and Demetrius are surprised to find it’s Hap Blanchard, an officer they’ve worked with before who’s more open to paranormal possibilities. Soon, Demetrius, Cody, Lucia, and Hap are joined by a number of familiar friends who help them race the countdown to the next full moon and solve their most deadly and personal case yet.

Excerpt:

“Okay, so we have a lot to do, and we’re going to need some fuel to do it," Demetrius said. "What’d you two find for dinner?”

Cody exchanged a look with Summer. “Ketchup surprise.”

“Didn’t you two just go shopping?” Demmy said.

“You guys eat out a lot,” Summer said. “Do you ever cook?”

“Sometimes,” Cody said. “When we’re not hunting monsters.” He stood up and said, “Let’s get our fancy clothes on and go to Antonio’s.”

“What?” Demmy looked surprised. “Did you win the lottery or something?”

“Nope. Just think we should treat ourselves once in a while.”

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“Is it like Margie’s?” Summer asked, looking at him suspiciously. “Is Antonio Margie’s brother or something?”

“Antonio’s is the nicest restaurant in town,” Demmy said.

“Tablecloths and cloth napkins and glass goblets for water.”

“Won’t Margie miss you?”

“If you want, we could stay here and you could make us all dinner,” Cody said.

“Antonio’s sounds nice.”

“I thought you might see it that way.”

“Back to Parson’s Pines afterward?” Demmy asked. “Check on Felicia?”

Summer got up from the table and ran toward the guest room. “I’ll get changed! Do I need to wear long pants for such a fancy restaurant?”

“We’ve created a monster hunting monster,” Cody said.

“Let’s hope she doesn’t get a taste for it,” Demmy said, giving him a quick kiss before walking to the bedroom to change.

A note taped on the inside of Antonio’s glass door read: Sorry, closed due to family emergency.

“That sounds ominous,” Demmy said.

Cody had been thinking along the same lines. “How old is good ol’ Antonio?”

Demmy shrugged. “Not sure. We don’t eat here often enough to really know him.”

“Correction,” Cody said, “we don’t make enough money to be able to eat here often enough to really know him.”

Demmy grinned. “I stand corrected.”

That grin helped Cody feel a bit better in spite of everything. It let him know things probably weren’t as bad as they seemed. Yet.

He turned away from Antonio’s door and stopped at the sight of Summer standing just behind him with her arms crossed and a sulky expression.

“I take it we’re going to Margie’s again?” she said.

“In case you hadn’t noticed, there aren’t a lot of options here in town,” Cody said.

“Have you considered going to another town?”

Cody frowned. “Why would we do that?”

“Ugh.” Summer turned toward Margie’s Diner, several storefronts away. “I put on long pants for this.”

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Murder Most Lovely

Lacetown Murder Mysteries: Case One

Book Cover: Murder Most Lovely
Part of the Lacetown Murder Mysteries series:

A killer at a small-town literary festival. Bumbling drug dealers. A kidnapped cat. Starting a romance among all this chaos might be the death of them.

Michael Fleishman is excited to meet his favorite mystery writer, Russell Withingham, at Lacetown’s Literary Fest. He is not expecting to cross paths with sexy hairdresser Jasper “Jazz” Dilworth—or become embroiled in a real-life mystery. As Lacetown’s only mortician and the county coroner, Michael is called to his first murder scene and is shocked to recognize the victim—Russell’s young lover.

Jazz only wanted to confront his ex, Russell, over his cheating. Instead, he meets the adorably awkward Michael and becomes a murder suspect. Soon Jazz is teaming up with Michael to clear his name. Along the way, they are helped and hindered by Michael’s sassy assistant, Kitty, the grumpy Sheriff Musgrave, Russell’s creepy PR rep, Norbert, and Michael’s lothario grandfather, who likes his manhattans strong and his women saucy. And of course, Mr. Pickles Furryton the Third….

Excerpt:

Michael adjusted his bag on his shoulder and tried to keep his umbrella from poking the lady’s in front of him. Fleishman Funeral Home only had gigantic golf umbrellas for services, and he was glad for it when the rain picked up and a gust blew mist onto his glasses. He shoved them into his front shirt pocket, knowing there would be no use keeping them clean until he was inside.

“Shit, I thought this rain was supposed to let up this afternoon,” a deep masculine voice from behind him said.

Michael turned and drew up short.

“Whoa there, pal. You could take an eye out with that thing.”

For a heartbeat Michael froze and stared. The man had a long face and wheat-colored hair swept back from a low brow and into a ponytail. Eyes the color of cognac had just enough sparkle to make Michael smile and conjure thoughts of mischief and long summer romances.

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And you’re staring at him like a ninny!

Michael hastily stepped back to avoid poking the gorgeous man in the eye with his umbrella. “Oh, I’m sorry.”

“Hey, watch it,” the lady in front of him snapped. “You’re soaking me!”

Michael jumped when he realized his big umbrella had slipped beneath hers and was funneling water right onto her.

“Oh, I’m terribly sorry,” he said at once, stepping back the other way.

“Whoa, whoa,” Ponytail Guy said again, reaching up to take hold of the eye-level pin on Michael’s umbrella. “How about I just join you?” And then he stepped under the huge umbrella with Michael.

“Oh, yeah, sure,” Michael managed, squirming a little. “There’s plenty of room.”

The man used both hands to brush a few wayward strands of blond hair off his face, his tanned skin glistening from the rain. He wore a ring on a long well-manicured index finger. Smiling, he held out a hand. “I’m Jazz Dilworth.”

What a strange name. Sounds like something in a mystery novel.

He quickly shook the proffered hand. “Michael Fleishman.”

Jazz flipped a thumb behind him. “I work across the street at Misty’s Makeover Palace.” He furrowed tidy brows. “Fleishman, like the funeral parlor?”

“Yes, the same.”

“Eew,” the lady in front of him said with a distinct Valley girl attitude.

Michael maintained his polite mortician smile. Sadly, he was used to the reaction. Hence his lackluster love life.

Expecting Jazz to make some equally grossed-out remark and leave the shelter of the umbrella, Michael looked back at him.

But Jazz was smiling, his white teeth radiant and even. “That explains the planet-sized umbrella. Only ever see those at funerals and on golf courses.”

Michael’s facial muscles softened, and the smile he gave Jazz was more genuine, relaxed. “Yes, they come in handy.”

Jazz grinned. “I bet they do.”

This man was gorgeous. He had to be younger than Michael. But more importantly, he had the potential for being gay since he was a hairdresser. Well aware of his stereotyping, Michael was nonetheless hopeful. He wasn’t the best flirt, but sharing an umbrella with an attractive man in front of a bar acting as a makeshift bookstore felt like the opening of a romcom, so he was ready to give it the ol’ college try.

“Are you a fan of the Brock Hammer novels too?” he asked, glad his glasses were in his pocket. Jazz stood so close, Michael didn’t even need them to clearly see his handsome face.

Jazz scoffed. “Used to be.”

“Oh.” Michael’s heart fell. So much for common interests. “Did you know this line is to meet the author?”

“I know, all right. The fucker’s been ducking my calls for weeks.”

Michael flinched at the man’s crass remark. “You know Russell Withingham?”

“Married to him,” Jazz said. “Separated.”

So he is gay…. Michael shook his head. “Wait, what?”

Those warm brown eyes met his, and Jazz smiled. “Separated,” he said again. “Permanently. He’s supposed to still be making my car payment, and I just got a call from the bank. He hasn’t made the last two payments.”

Michael didn’t know if he was more disappointed to find out his favorite author was a jerk, or excited to know the man under his umbrella was gay and single.

Well, possibly single.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Michael offered.

Jazz shrugged. “Nothing for you to be sorry for,” he quipped. “In fact, I should be thanking you for sharing your umbrella with me. Nothing worse than running into an ex with your hair all soaking wet, looking like a hot mess. I wanna be a vision when I tell him off. You know, make him regret losing me.”

Michael couldn’t help his involuntary head-to-toe sweep of Jazz’s body. He was a vision. Jazz carried some extra weight on him, but Michael liked men of a husky build. They seemed more solid and down-to-earth. Any man who would give up all the hunkiness Jazz had to offer had to be nuts.

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Wetlands

A Salacious Single

When Gordon Westbrick learns the park he jogs through is being considered for the site of a new shopping mall, he joins a group intent on putting a stop to it. He volunteers to spend a night in the park to insure the corporation does not conduct any unseemly acts, and is assigned to partner up with Ivan, one of the conservation group founders. Gordon expects Ivan to be much older, he is a group founder after all, but when he arrives at the park on his assigned night, Gordon is pleasantly surprised to find that Ivan is a hot stud his own age, who not only enjoys nature, but doing what comes naturally when out in the wilds.

Finding North

A Salacious Single

Lance and Eric get separated from their co-workers during a team building event in the woods of Michigan. Forced to camp on their own overnight, the two realize a mutual attraction and set about building some intimate trust of their own under the stars.

Horror at Hideaway Cove

Critter Catchers Book Six

Cody and Demetrius are getting married! Along with the usual wedding details—venue, flowers, catering—they also deal with a sneaky otter and a growing guest list. The big day goes off without a hitch, and Cody whisks Demetrius away on the honeymoon he planned all on his own. When they arrive at the town of Hempstead, Cody is dismayed to discover the small town gets much of its tourism from the legend of Esther, a Loch Ness type monster rumored to live in the depths of Heaversford Lake.

At first the secluded cabin on an island in the middle of a large lake is the perfect setting for a romantic honeymoon. But then the power goes out, and after that they discover large wads of sticky, smelly plastic trash during their morning hikes. When a local resident drowns under mysterious circumstances, Demetrius and Cody realize that no matter how reluctant they might be, their experience with unusual creatures could help these town people solve the mystery of Esther once and for all. If it doesn't kill them first.

Excerpt:

The butterflies in Cody's belly had mutated into a flock of pterodactyls. He shifted his weight and cracked his knuckles, then tugged at the collar of his heavily starched white shirt. Sweat had slicked the skin of his back. How fucking hot was it inside this building? Did someone crank up the heater?

"You okay?"

Cody looked at the man standing to his right. He knew it was one of his brothers, but for a few terrifying seconds he couldn't think of his name.

Dave. It was Dave, his younger brother and best man. And he was keeping Cody company while he waited to walk down the center aisle of the chairs filled with their friends and family inside the Parson's Pines Optimum Life Community Center. The ceremony was being held in the Wickersham Room, while the reception would be across the hall in the Langley Room. 
"Huh? Me? Yeah. I'm fine."

"You're a little pale."

"It's the tuxedo. It's washing out my complexion."

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Dave chuckled. "Yeah, I don't think a white tuxedo is going to make you look quite this pale. You look like you're going to throw up."

Cody shook his head. "No. Just a little nervous."

"About getting married?"

Cody held his hand up and waggled it back and forth. "Sort of. Mostly just talking in front of everyone."

"Dude, you talk with all of us all the time."

"Yeah, with all of you, not in front of all of you."

"You'll do great. Just focus on Demetrius."

Cody glanced toward the black screen Amelia had asked Otis to put together. It blocked his view of Demetrius who stood at the opposite side of the room. Because they didn't want to assign any kind of gender roles, they had discussed with Amelia how to handle the wedding processional. After some long conversation, she had finally suggested Cody and Demmy enter from opposite sides of the space, to the left and right of the guests. The wedding party would walk down the center aisle, but a screen would be set up to keep Cody and Demmy from seeing each other until it was time. They would walk in at the same time and come down the far aisles, turn at the front and approach each other until they stood together before Amelia.

It had all sounded great and easy and swell when they had been talking about it, but now that it was almost time, Cody was afraid he was going to trip or stumble or fart or belch or throw up or pass out, or any number of other embarrassing things.

The low and calming music faded out, and Cody's heart pounded. His mouth felt dry, and his tongue seemed to have grown to the size of his forearm, complete with hair.

Dave pulled him into a tight hug. "I love you, big brother. And I'm really, really happy for you. You're my best friend, and I wish you and Demetrius every happiness."

"Gark," Cody managed to say in reply.

Dave stepped back, winked, then turned away and lined up behind Jugs and Demetrius's roommate from college, Trent Warburton, who had agreed to be his groomsman. All four men wore black tuxedos, including Demmy's best man, Oliver, who also happened to be his ex-boyfriend. Cody had only griped a little bit when Demmy had told him who he'd wanted to ask to be his best man. The truth was, Cody had gotten to like Ollie over the years, even though he pretended he wasn't very fond of him.

Still, he didn't think he'd want Demmy and Ollie running off on a road trip any time soon.

Now that the music had faded out, Cody could hear the quiet whispering and shifting of their guests. There weren't that many people, he tried to comfort himself. Just everyone they knew.

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