Susan Y. Tanner
REENACTORS, VINTAGE WEAPONS,
and TWO DEAD BODIES!
Kylah West has faith in her horses and her skill to ride them in a reenactment of the Civil War battle of Albrecht Creek. Still suffering from her husband’s suicide, Kylah’s only focus is work. But her concentration is broken when she meets U.S. Marshal Wolf Stockton and the body of a young reenactor is found, shot through the heart with a vintage rifle.
Is it revenge, an accidental shooting, or a hint that opposing forces in the community are boiling over? Those questions turn personal for Wolf and Kylah when her life is endangered. Into the exciting world of stunt riders, tension between the university sponsoring the reenactment and a Cherokee nation tired of being wrongly blamed for everything, strolls Trouble, black cat detective.
Trouble attaches to Kylah when he realizes her vulnerability. He works with Wolf to determine who is behind the murders—and who is attempting to ambush Kylah and her horses as she gives the key performance of the reenactment. As the feline races the clock to keep Kylah safe, he also realizes the two bipeds have another deep need—for each other. He must help solve the mystery while showing his humans the path to true love.
Kylah is in town for the Civil War reenactment. On her first night she goes out on the town where she meets Wolf. Well sort of, she’s drunk and he secures her back in her hotel.
Trouble is actually with his bi-ped Tammy Lynn, she’s attending a book conference and out and about with authors and friends. When he gets bored he decides to follow Kaylah, just to be sure she stays safe. Tammy Lynn knows he’ll be back so doesn’t worry.
Now Wolf is a Deputy with the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service, and the morning that little escapade he’s called in to a murder scene. The victim was found by one of the tribe’s children. The unfortunate thing is the murder is on the grounds where the reenactment is scheduled.
This is a favorite scene when they meet face to face again.
“Either Jake or myself must be close to the horses at all times. He sleeps in that trailer so I’m not moving it.”
“I’ve laid things out very orderly so as to avoid clutter and chaos around the fairgrounds. I’m afraid I’ll have to require you to move.”
Kylah looked at Jake. “Hook up and we’ll load up. With luck, we can be home by dark.”
“What – no – you can’t.” Edmunds was brick red now. “I’ll sue for breach. We have a contract.”
She smiled. “Actually, we don’t. I brought it with me and it’s going to leave with me in that trailer I’m about to get moved for you.”
Edmunds hesitated before asking, “Can we speak in private, Ms. West?”
“Sure.” She glanced around. There was no one within hearing distance except Jake and a well-built guy in tee shirt and jeans, wearing dark, dark sunshades. Muscles without bulk, a strong jaw, high cheekbones, and a blade-thin nose. Once upon a time, the description sexy would have popped into her mind. But that was then and this was now. He didn’t look interested in their exchange, probably one of the organizers waiting to speak with the dean. “We can step into the living quarters of my trailer. Excuse us, Jake.”
The dean – and the cat – followed her into the trailer where she gestured toward the bench seat. “You may as well sit down or you’ll end up hitting your head.” She slid her sunglasses to the top of her head, the better to see in the dim interior, and propped one hip against the counter.
He took her suggestion and sat but launched right into his argument. “I’m sure you can understand the need for close attention to detail in an effort this large.”
“I can understand your nervousness about it,” she conceded. “I believe this is your first reenactment. Or at least the first for your college.”
“My wife and I are ardent reenactors and have been for some years. Those experiences as a participant have been invaluable in helping me … us … plan for this event. I can’t have everyone parking wherever they please. We worked weeks on our logistics plan.”
Since he hadn’t asked a question, she didn’t offer anything in response. He frowned at the brief silence. Like so many people, it seemed he didn’t like a vacuum and couldn’t avoid filling it. That almost always worked in her favor.
“I’m paying you a small fortune,” he reminded her.
“You offered me one but then my horses are worth that. And so am I.” When he met her comment with silence, she pushed away from the counter and reached for the door. “Seems we’re not going to move past this impasse. I’m sure you have better things to do and so do I.”
“Wait! Wait,” he repeated the word more quietly. He let out long breath. “Okay.”
“Okay?” She lifted a brow.
“The trailer can stay where it is. But I want that contract in my hand today.”
“I can work with that.” She held out one hand and ignored the reluctance with which he shook it. Some people, men more often than women in her experience, didn’t take defeat with a good nature. Then again, some men didn’t like shaking hands with women, as if that acknowledged them on equal footing. Which they already were.
She opened the trailer door, waiting until he and the cat stepped out before she followed. “So, any particular reason we’re surrounded by law enforcement?” She’d noted a mix of vehicles which appeared to represent everyone from city police to sheriff deputies to university officers. A mix she found very odd.
“There was an unfortunate incident in the area this morning, sometime around daylight.”
“A death. Accidental, I’m sure,” he added hastily. “And, even if it proves otherwise, it didn’t occur on the fairgrounds proper. I’m sure you’ll all be safe enough here. But doubtless the authorities will be poking about and interviewing everyone who might have been in the area at the time, including your help and you, Ms. West.”
Before she could speak, a movement to one side of her trailer caught her attention. The man she’d noticed earlier stepped close, coming face to face with the dean. Even from behind the dark shades he wore, she could feel his gaze sweep over her. But it was to Dean Grant Edmunds that he spoke.
“It won’t be necessary for anyone to question Ms. West.” His words dropped into the sudden silence. “I’ll speak with the sheriff.”
“Wolf,” the dean said, “I didn’t realize you were here.”
Kylah closed her eyes as the two talked quietly for a moment. The face hadn’t been familiar but the voice was unmistakably that from the recorded message on the number she’d called earlier. If you’re gonna be dumb, she reminded herself as she opened her eyes and slid her sunglasses back in place. She didn’t finish the thought. She didn’t need to.
She couldn’t have cared less about the curious glance the dean sent her way as he was leaving but she did care about Jake’s lengthier perusal as he stepped to one side to wait for her. Jake kept up with dates, had known that yesterday was tough for her. She didn’t need him fretting about why a man he’d never seen thought he could speak on Kylah’s behalf.
Forcing a light tone to her voice, she smiled at the stranger. “I guess you’ve come for your cat.”
He smiled faintly. “That’s something we’ll need to talk about. He’s not my cat.”
“What do you mean he’s not your cat?”
Wolf suspected she was glaring at him behind those dark shades but there wasn’t much else he could say so he repeated the words. “He’s not my cat.”
She lowered her voice. “Then how did he get in my room?”
“The same way he got in my truck when I took you back to your room.”
She blew out a breath. “I do appreciate you getting me off the streets. Drinking isn’t my thing so I’m sure I made a fool of myself.”
“Not unless you count putting two jack-asses in their place – on the dance floor.”
He could tell his comment gave her pause but when she slid those sunglasses to the top of her head, her action gave him pause. More than that, he took a punch to the gut. In the dark of the bar, he’d thought her eyes were blue or even gray. They were neither. Or both.
For the first time, he could tell she wasn’t as young as he’d thought. Last night, he’d judged her to be early twenties which put her squarely off limits to him. Now he thought early to mid-thirties. Neon had given her beauty a touch of delicacy. Sunlight revealed the strength in high cheekbones and a strong jaw. Still beautiful but far from delicate. And not off limits.
Susan Y. Tanner. Trouble in Action (Kindle Locations 329-382). Kalioka Press. Kindle Edition.
Lots of suspense with Trouble sniffing out clues. I like that Wolf doesn’t doubt his sleuthing abilities.
Kylah’s horses are just as amazing as her riding abilities, I loved the interactions with her foreman and how she doesn’t back down from anyone.
Lots of fun as Wolf sneaks his way into her heart and Trouble solves the mystery all while keeping Kylah safe.
5 Contented Purrs for Susan!
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Susan Yawn Tanner continues to blend her passion for horses with her passion for writing.
In Trouble in Summer Valley, she introduced readers to the rescue horses of Summer Valley Ranch where they prove their worth in the world of therapeutic riding. In Turning for Trouble, her own rodeo experience brings that rough and tumble world to life. Her third romantic mystery, Trouble in Action, showcases the risky world of stunt riding while giving a glimpse into historical reenactments. Published as Susan Y. Tanner and released by KaliOka Press, these books are part of the Familiar Legacy series written in concert with some very talented authors.
Two of her historical romances, Fire Across Texas and Winds Across Texas, have been rereleased by Secret Staircase Books, an imprint of Columbine Publishing. Soon to follow will be A Warm Southern Christmas, Highland Captive, Captive To A Dream, and Exiled Heart. All were previously published by Leisure Books. Her historical romances will all be rereleased as Susan Yawn Tanner.