|Book Hooks--excerpts from novels|
Book Hooks Blog Hop #MFRWHooks
Lauren Staab knew there would be dead bodies around when she returned home. After all, her family is in the funeral business, Staab and Blood Funeral Home. Still, finding an extra body on the floor of the garage between the hearse and the flower car shocked her. Lauren’s plan to return to her hometown to help care for her mother and keep the books for the funeral home suddenly turns upside down in a struggle to prove she and her family are not guilty of murdering the man. But will the real killer return for her, her dad, her brother? Her mother’s secrets, a killer, a handsome policeman and a shadow man muddle up her intention to have a simple life. Welcome home, Lauren!
What you need to know--The excerpt begins after Lauren ushered the "loved one's" family out the door after the visitation that evening. After they left, Gary, the police officer who was her childhood friend, shows up to check the house to be sure no bad guy sneaked in during the visitation for the public. Henry is the shadow man who seems to show up at the wrong times. Lauren's mother is in the memory care unit in the nursing home.
"You don’t need to prove how brave you are or offer any opportunity for someone to take advantage of a situation. You could be in extreme danger.”
“That’s what I thought we had you guys for, to protect us.” She folded her arms across her chest.
Locking his gaze on her, he said, “We can’t always be in the right place at the right time. So don’t give the bad guys any openings, okay?”
“Duly noted, Officer.” She could hear the concern in his voice, and she liked it. “Got time for a cup of coffee? I’ll make some fresh while you check out the house.”
“That sounds good. Let me take a look around.”
“Great. I’ll meet you in the family room. That’s where the coffee pot is.” He walked through the living room, checking for some creepy guy hiding behind the curtains she supposed.
Lauren hummed as she made yet another pot of coffee, but this time it was for her and Gary. She was looking forward to chatting with him and catching up. As she measured the water into the carafe, the temperature in the room dropped, and she sneezed three times, a sure sign Henry was lurking nearby.
“Hi Henry.” She never turned away from the counter. “Nice of you to wait till the family left for the evening. But Gary’s here now. No need for you to stay around, right?” Lauren caught his shadow out of the corner of her eye.
“I guess you’re right. Bad timing on my part. I don’t want to interrupt your rendezvous with your old sweetheart.” Henry bowed low, then stood and leaned on his umbrella. Lauren chuckled as she faced Henry straight on.
“Gary’s not an old sweetheart. He was a good friend in high school though. We were very close especially since he could work out those trig problems for me.”
“Oh, I guess I was mistaken. I thought you two were a couple.”
“Say what?” She wrinkled her nose at the thought. She and Gary, a couple? She put her finger to her chin to think about that. Well, he does look pretty sharp in his uniform, broad shoulders, and those eyes. Somehow the nerdy boy with the big glasses and zitty face had evolved into a muscular cop.
Henry interrupted her thoughts. “How was your mother today?”
“About the same. Still confused. But she remembers me, Henry. I’m hanging on to that. She still remembers me, but she doesn’t remember that Dad goes every day to visit her. I wonder if she doesn’t know him.”
“Oh, sorry, Lauren.” Was that Gary’s voice? Lauren spun around to see him standing in the doorway. As he walked into the room, he said, “I heard you talking to someone, so I thought I’d better check in.”
He looked around and returned her gaze with questions in his eyes. Her face flushed with embarrassment.
“Oh, uh, no. Nobody’s here. Just me talking to myself, I guess.” She searched Gary’s face to see if he bought it. Definitely a better explanation than telling him she was talking to a shadow.
“Come on in. The coffee should be ready in a minute.” Lauren motioned Gary to have a seat on the couch in the family room.
“I’ll be back after I check out the garage.” Gary smiled. “I take it black.”
“Oh, yeah, ok, the coffee.”
Her palm smacked her forehead with the knowledge Gary must have heard her talking to Henry. She glanced at the shadow and smiled back at him through clenched teeth.
Gary turned his back and headed down the hallway to the garage.
She felt as if Henry could see the steam escaping from her ears. She was so angry at that cocky shadow for staying to watch and see how she was going to explain her talking to him.
“Talking to yourself. That was good.” Henry stood up straight. “You’re pretty quick on your feet.”
“Henry,” she hissed in a whisper. “Go away. I don’t need you around here tonight. I have company,”
“I guess it’s a bad time for us to have a talk now that Lover Boy is here.”
Lauren bit her lip so she couldn’t yell at the annoying Henry. She certainly didn’t want Gary to hear her give that shadow a piece of her mind or he’d be back in a second with more questions.
Squeezing her eyes tightly closed, she said, “You’d better be gone when I open my eyes.” Not that she could do anything if he didn’t leave. Lauren squinted through her right eye. Not seeing the shadow, she opened both eyes wide and swept the room, sighing with relief. At that moment the basket full of sugar packets flew off the table onto the floor.
“Henry!” She couldn’t stop herself from yelling his name out loud. He didn’t respond. He had slipped through the slice of time into another dimension.
Click the link below to download your copy of Deadly Undertaking from your favorite online bookseller.
Dear Friends, I am taking a break this week, but I will catch up with you this weekend! Have a great blog hop!! J
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