A Valentine’s Day Treat!

Thanks to a lost little pup and a little clever amateur sleuthing, two lonely people will solve a mystery and find each other. Don’t miss this sweet Pajaro Bay short story.

My Funny Valentine is one of the stories available exclusively to newsletter subscribers. New subscribers to my email list receive the collection instantly when they sign up here.

First look at Maggie and the Hidden Homicide, available for pre-order now:

Maggie faces her most confusing case yet when she finds a treasured beaded knife–in someone’s back! Can she figure out what happened before anyone else ends up dead? And when her buddy, movie star Reese Stevens, tries to make a fresh start after falling off the wagon, can Maggie keep him from going off-track?

You can learn more about Maggie and the Hidden Homicide here.

And here’s your first sneak peek. (Poor Maggie; it looks like she’s in trouble again!):

Maggie thought she could see something on the floor inside. Leave, her mind told her. Leave this place. You don’t want to see.

She closed her eyes, and felt along the wall of the trailer for a light switch. Found it. Heard it click on.

She stood there for what must have been a solid minute, with the light on and her eyes closed, not wanting to see.

The breeze pushed the door against her back and made her open her eyes, startled. And then there was no unseeing what was in the room.

Her instinct had been right. And wrong. Relief and horror battled in her mind, and all she wanted to do was get out of there. The person she was searching for wasn’t there.

But someone else was.

She could turn around. She could walk away. She could go back to the party and try to forget the image that had been instantly and forever etched into her brain when she’d opened her eyes.

But of course she couldn’t. She took a step into the room, then stopped, realizing there was evidence all over the floor and she had to stay back to preserve it.

Evidence of murder….

Alone at a lighthouse with a sweet, handsome… killer? She’d better figure out what he’s hiding before they both end up as shark bait:

Left arm, right arm, turn head, breathe.

Matt DiPietro ignored the fact that he could no longer feel his left leg, that it dragged uselessly behind him while his other leg did its best to propel his body through the sea.

Left arm, right arm, turn head, breathe.

He ignored the fact that the waters of Pajaro Bay were their usual numbing 52 degrees, the same temperature as the pelting rain that threatened to drown him every time he lifted his head above the waterline for a breath of air.

Left arm, right arm, turn head, breathe.

And most of all he ignored the fact that the flash from the lighthouse on Pajaro Isle had gotten farther away in the time he’d been swimming toward it, because if he thought about that too much he might start listening to the little voice warning him that the tide was carrying him out into the Pacific Ocean, where his body wouldn’t touch land until it hit Hawaii….

You can learn more about Lighthouse Cottage here.

A very inconvenient corpse!

Maggie and her collie Jasper are searching a dead man’s house when something comes barrelling out of the darkness and knocks her down. She’s lucky her friend, movie star Reese Stevens, insisted on coming along on the investigation:

“Are you okay?”

Reese was pulling Maggie to her feet in the darkness.

“Something hit me,” she mumbled, feeling for her chest, where the wind had been knocked out of her.

“But you’re not hurt?” he asked quickly.

“No. Not hurt.”

He was only a silhouette in the shadows of the empty house.

Maggie realized Jasper’s bark was coming from far away. “Where is he?”

“Who?” Reese asked, still holding her arm to support her.

But she wiggled away from him. “Jasper!” The dog’s bark was coming from the back of the house. She could hear the echo of it off the hardscape in the yard. “We have to stop him, Reese! He’s chasing the killer!”

“Stay here,” Reese said firmly….

You can learn more about Maggie and the Inconvenient Corpse here.

You’re invited to a winter wedding!

But this isn’t going to be the typical well-planned event. This wedding will have to be arranged in one day, and everyone in the village will need to help if there’s any chance at all to pull off A Winter Wedding in Pajaro Bay:

“The road out of town is closed, Hector. We’re stuck here in Pajaro Bay.”

“I know,” he said. Those wide, guileless brown eyes stared back at her. “But we’ll just get married when it opens again. We agreed to elope to Vegas. I don’t know why you’re crying.”

“You don’t understand!” She was really trying not to be a hysterical bridezilla about this. But he really didn’t get it. He knew all she’d ever wanted for her wedding day was to get married on the winter solstice, the shortest and most sacred day of the year. Didn’t he understand what it meant to her?

That was her fantasy wedding, unlike her college friends who’d all gotten married in over-the-top designer gowns dripping with satin and Swarovski crystals, and who had topped their ceremonies off with meticulously planned receptions in ballrooms with coordinated color schemes and matching forks for the seven-course meals.

She’d always walked her own path through life, and she had believed for years that she would get married in the middle of a fairy ring in a redwood forest, with the sun beaming down on the winter woods, surrounded by the glory of nature.

She’d given up her fairy forest dreams for a kitschy Vegas wedding chapel, but now even that was out of reach….

A Winter Wedding in Pajaro Bay is one of the stories available exclusively to newsletter subscribers. New subscribers to my email list receive the collection instantly when they sign up here.