This Time It’s —
Latest Thorny Rose Mystery Now Available for Pre-order!
It’s thriller, cold case, mystery suspense, and police procedural, all rolled into one exciting novel. Set amidst the political drama that comes with
Washington DC and the Pentagon, a current multiple murder becomes a search years in the past. With a young, hot lieutenant assigned to NCIS, and his beautiful new wife, you have all the makings of a bestseller.”
– Reviewer: Merry Citarella, Mystery Suspense Reviews
Three years ago, the nation gasped in horror when the President of the United States barely escaped an assassination attempt that left two dead—the vice president’s wife and the attempted assassin. Even after numerous investigations proved otherwise, conspiracy theorists argue that the assassin was acting on orders from the CIA, FBI, and every federal agency within a hundred miles of the capital.
Aspiring Author Dean Conway is the last person Lieutenant Commander Murphy Thornton wants to spend his Saturday afternoon when they end up at the same wedding reception table. While their wives tend to bridesmaid duties, Murphy is trapped listening to Dean’s latest work-in-project—completing the manuscript of an investigative journalist who’d disappeared months earlier.
“She was number twelve,” Dean says.
“Twelve?” Murphy asks.
“Twelve witnesses connected to or investigating The Nutcracker shooting have died either in an accident or suicide.”
Two days later, Dean dies suddenly―but not before sending a text message to Murphy: “13”
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Scheduled release date is Jan 30, 2020!
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Book Excerpt –
The garbage can at the end of the driveway came into view when Amy turned the corner into the cul-de-sac. The throbbing in her broken arm intensified. She sensed it was the heat from her blood boiling.
He doesn’t cook. He doesn’t clean. Employment is beneath him. The slug can’t even lower himself to bring in the garbage cans—even after I broke my arm driving his SUV!
She punched the button on the remote to open the garage door and turned into the driveway. While waiting for the door to open, she noticed Dean’s silhouette in the study window. Playroom was a better description for it. He played at being an author. Surfed the internet. Played on social media. No actual writing.
A box rested on the front doormat of the ranch-style house.
What’d he buy now?
She pulled the SUV into the garage. With a sigh, she unbuckled her seatbelt, climbed out, and trekked to the end of the driveway to fetch the garbage can.
Across the cul-de-sac, George Phillips watched her from his seat on his front porch. A retired army captain, the president of the home-owners association believed everything in the subdivision fell under his jurisdiction—especially the hedges and bushes. More than once, George AKA the Hedge Nazi had slapped the Conways with a fine after Dean had failed to trim the hedge.
Don’t you even think of it, Amy thought when she saw George set down his beer, stand up, and hitch his plaid shorts up over his plump belly. She cringed when she saw the straggly tops sticking up out of the hedge. As she neared the garbage can resting at the end of the driveway, she pretended not to notice George marching across the cul-de-sac toward her.
“Where’s your recycling bin?” he demanded to know while closing the space between them.
George squinted at her from under his bushy gray eyebrows and pointed at the tall trash can. “That’s for regular trash. You’re supposed to have a separate bin for recyclables—plastic and glass. Where is it?”
“Since when is my trash your business?” Amy asked.
“Since your trash is killing my planet!” George launched into a loud sermon about how her un-recycled garbage was creating a massive carbon footprint and ruining the entire subdivision’s reputation. That was why the home-owners association had instituted a new rule that required every homeowner to separate their trash for recycling.
He ended his lecture by digging his arthritic fingers into the breast pocket of his shirt to extract his ticket pad. A second notepad remained in the pocket. With shaking hands, he wrote out a citation and slapped Amy with a seventy-dollar fine.
“When did this start?” Amy stared at the orange slip of paper George shoved into her hand.
“First of June.”
“Nobody told me.”
“You would have known if you and that husband of yours were neighborly enough to attend the meetings.” George sniffed.
“Some of us have real lives,” she said. “We have more important things to do than measure their neighbors’ hedges and worry about whether they’re recycling or not.”
“Your trash is killing my planet. We only have ten years left!”
“What’s it matter to you? At your age, you’re going to be dead by then anyway!”
George’s eyes bulged. He yanked his ticket pad out of his pocket again and proceeded to write another ticket. “I was going to be nice. I was going to cut you a break on account of that broken arm of yours. But since you’re so nasty, I’m going to fine you forty dollars for not keeping that hedge trimmed.” He slapped the second ticket into her hand. “Your hedge is bringing down my property value.”
“And your nose up my butt is a giant pain in the ass!”
“You always were the worst neighbors in the entire subdivision!” George shouted at her as she made her way back to the garage with the garbage bin rolling behind her.
Dean watched her through the living room’s bay window.
“The groceries are in the car,” she called to him.
He didn’t move.
She suspected Dean had witnessed the verbal assault from the HOA dictator without taking any action to defend her. “Lazy good for nothing…” Her voice trailed off into a mutter.
Amy gathered six bags of food, pried the side door open with the pinkie finger of her broken arm, and carried the groceries into the kitchen. As she tossed the bags onto the counter, she twisted her broken arm to send a pain shooting up to her shoulder causing her to grimace.
“What’s for dinner?”
Amy held open the freezer door in which she was depositing three bags of frozen vegetables and peered inside. Yep, there was a frozen pizza on the shelf.
“Frozen pizza.” She left the door open to toss in a box of frozen waffles. “You’re on your own tonight. I’m going over to Jessica’s. She’s donating some of her old clothes to charity and asked me to help her pick out what to give away.”
She held her breath while praying he didn’t offer to go along. If so, she was prepared with the lie that Murphy wouldn’t be there. Therefore, Dean would end up spending the evening watching two women go through Jessica’s wardrobe.
To her relief, Dean didn’t respond. Instead, he gestured toward the front door with his phone. “UPS left a package. Must be for you. I didn’t order anything.”
She tossed the empty shopping bags into the trash and tore open a bag of fresh coffee beans. “I’m not expecting any packages.”
“I guess it came to the wrong address.”
“Why don’t you go look at the label to see?” she said in a tone heavily laced with animosity while filling the bin with the fresh coffee beans. After she finished with the coffee, she turned around to find him staring at her.
“It could be a present from your family,” he said. “Your mother’s always sending you junk from all over the world while traveling on those juggernauts with your dad.”
“At least he does something.”
“I do stuff.”
“What stuff did you do today?” With a scoff, Amy opened the dishwasher to discover that he had not unloaded it. “You didn’t unload the dishwasher.”
“I’ve been getting threatening texts and phone calls.”
“You have to do something to give someone a reason to threaten you,” she said with a laugh.
“I’m going to expose the biggest government conspiracy that our nation has ever seen—a conspiracy to kill the president of the United States! Twelve people have been killed investigating The Nutcracker conspiracy. I may be next.” He pointed at the front door, on the other side of which rested the unopened package. “The CIA probably sent me a package containing a horse head.”
“It’s the mob that sends horse heads,” Amy said with a roll of her eyes.
“What does the CIA send?”
“I have no idea.” Amy waved two wine goblets, one in each hand, while transporting them from the dishwasher to the wine glass holder. She slipped them into the holder and pointed toward the front door. “But if it is a death threat from the CIA, then that means it’s your package, so you need to bring it inside. I’d hate to think that an assassin went to all the work of building and sending a bomb to warn you off investigating his government conspiracy only to have it rot on our front stoop because you’re too lazy to bring it inside.”
“I am not lazy! I’ve been working hard.”
“When my book comes out, I’m going to be proclaimed a hero to our democracy! They’re going to give me a Pulitzer!”
“And that’s why you couldn’t bring in the garbage can?” She laughed. “Because you were busy writing your acceptance speech for the Pulitzer?”
“You laugh now, but you’ll be crying when you see my face on the front cover of Time!”
“You proclaim all these great things that you’re going to do when you can’t even handle picking up a package from the front porch and bringing it inside.” She slammed the dishwasher door shut. “You’re so pathetic.”
“I am not pathetic!”
Amy’s hands landed on her hips. “You are the most pathetic man I’ve ever met!”
“Prove it!” She pointed at the front door. “Go get that package like a big boy.”
“Okay! I will!” Dean spun around and marched across the living room.
“About time you did something around here,” Amy muttered.
Dean yanked open the front door and stepped outside. The screen door rested against his hip as he lifted the package from its place on the doormat.
“Oh no!” was the last thing Amy heard before the blast from the explosion threw her to the other side of the kitchen.
About the Author:
Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Chris Matheson
Cold Case, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty-five titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!
Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.
A popular speaker, Lauren is also the owner of Acorn Book Service, the umbrella under which falls iRead Book Tours. She lives with her husband and two spoiled rotten German Shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.
|Follow Lauren Carr and The Nutcracker Conspiracy on tour. Reviews, Guest Posts. Author Interviews. Giveaway & more! Click here for the latest schedule.|