USA Today Bestselling Author
Hearts start to heal. …
Friendships start to grow, …
just not for everyone!
Doreen knows her relationship with the police captain has always been on thin ground. She has helped them solve a lot of cases, but she’s quadrupled their work and constantly gets in their way. So no one is more surprised than Doreen when the captain stops by and asks for a personal favor, concerning a cold case from his own childhood.
Slowly recovering from his injury, Corporal Mack Moreau learns that the captain has stopped by Doreen’s house, asking for a moment of her time. Curious, Mack’s even more stunned to hear the details about his captain’s visit. Mack wants to help, but investigating a case from forty years ago doesn’t leave much behind to go on.
Doreen knows that failing to solve a case has to happen sometime. But she’d do a lot to not have that happen here, not when the captain had personally asked for her help. So, with her critters in tow, Doreen is off and running, … leaving Mack watching—and worrying—in her wake.
Mack is healing and ready back to work on light duty, his brother Nick is still working on Doreen’s divorce, and they’ve all been hanging out together. They’re talking about how Thaddeous, Goliath and Mugs all defend her when Mack’s captain shows up.
With all the cases Doreen has solved she’s caused the department a lot of extra work, but you really can’t ignore her success rate. The captain has a request to make of Doreen, it’s personal to him. His cousin was murdered, and he was injured decades ago, and it’s never been solved. He doesn’t know if Doreen can solve it, but he’s going to give her the chance.
Before she gets started on that cold case, she goes paddleboarding with Mack, his brother and of course the animals.
This is just one of my favorite scenes.
She burst out laughing. “See? You guys have a great sense of humor.”
“Why can’t I find any women like that?” Nick asked his brother.
“You’re looking in the wrong place maybe?” he suggested.
“Maybe they’re not looking for you,” Doreen suggested.
“It’s not really as if I’m looking either. It’s just, you know, it’s people that I kind of cross.”
Mack tsked-tsked and called out, “Children, children, play nice.”
The two of them settled down until they got to the beach. She stared out at the open water. “See? It looks beautiful.” She pointed to other paddleboarders. “And they look incredibly graceful, like they’re one with the water. It’s just such an awesome thing to see, but, when I’m out there, that’s a different story.”
Nick frowned at her. “Do you really think your paddleboarding is that bad?”
“I can’t hold my balance,” she explained. “It just reminds me of all the things that I can’t do, and this became yet another told you so.”
“It’s not that you can’t do it,” Mack corrected. “You just need to practice.”
“Easy for you to say.” She glared at him. “That’s because you do it effortlessly. Now the trick will be whether your brother can do it quite the same.”
Nick shrugged. “I used to paddleboard all the time,” he noted apologetically. “So I’m really not expecting it to be hard.”
Immediately her shoulders slumped. “Darn. … I was hoping you’d be as bad as I am.”
He grinned at her. “Come on. Buck up,” Nick replied. “Just think. It can’t be as bad this time.”
“Yeah? You know what? I’ve heard that a time or two,” she noted in dark tones. “I think people lie.”
But gamely she grabbed her board, and, with the animals in tow, she walked down to the water’s edge. As soon as Goliath realized where they were going, he immediately turned on her and walked back up to the grass. “Even Goliath has deserted me,” she announced.
Mack laughed. “What about the other two?”
“Well, they don’t want to swim with me,” she noted, “so they’ll have to go with you.’
He called Mugs over. Mugs immediately hopped onto the board, walked to the far end, and lay down. He was no lightweight, so the board tipped ever-so-slightly.
At that, Nick looked at her and asked, “The animals go out on the boards?”
“They do with Mack because they trust that they won’t end up in the water.”
Nick burst out laughing again, and the grin stayed on his face, as he hopped onto his board, and, from a standing position, pushed himself off the shore.
She stared at him. “You can do that?”
He looked at her. “Do what?”
“Start from here on the beach instead of starting out there from the water.”
“Well, it can be hard to get on out there.” Nick turned toward his brother. “Didn’t you think so, Mack?”
“Maybe.” Mack faced Doreen, who looked out at the water. “Why don’t you try it?”
“Is there a reason why you didn’t give me that suggestion earlier?”
He nodded slowly. “Yeah, there is.”
“And what’s that?”
He explained, “Because, when you fall closer to the shore, your chances of feeling the fall are much greater than if you fall while you’re farther out where the water can cushion you. If you land here, you’ll hit this rocky shoreline.”
She frowned, stared at the rocks, and then replied, “Good enough.” And, with that, she knelt on the board and proceeded to paddle her way out into the water.
When Thaddeus— sitting on her shoulder— realized she was now on the water, he squawked, “Help! Help! Help!”
She straightened up, still kneeling, and looked at him. “Really? Really?” she cried out. “That’s not fair.”
She heard the two brothers laughing, and very quickly Mack came up beside her and held out an arm.
Thaddeus, looking as if jumping on a life raft, hopped onto Mack’s arm and then walked up to his shoulder. As he landed there, he spread his wings, fluffed them, and announced, “Thaddeus is here. Thaddeus is here.” As if he were some reigning champion.
She glared at him. “Loser.”
Immediately Thaddeus cocked his head, looked at her, and repeated, “Loser. Loser. Loser.” And the men burst out laughing.
Glaring at the bird, Doreen slowly managed to stand on her board, using her arms to help balance her. And, this time, Nick stayed close by and gave her some tips. She looked over at him and asked, “Has Mack done very much of this?”
Nick shrugged. “Not as much as I have. My friends were all into this when I was growing up.”
She nodded. “And is this like the bicycle thing? Once you learn how to do it, you will always remember?”
“I think after a few times, yes,” Nick confirmed. “Something about the whole balancing act makes it the hardest. Once you get a handle of how to stand and how to hold yourself,” he explained, “I think you’ll find it much easier.”
“Maybe,” she muttered.
As they moved on ever-so-slowly, she did find it a lot easier.
About thirty minutes later, when she was still standing and hadn’t wiped out, she turned to Mack and said, “It’s much better today.”
He nodded. “But watch out for that wave coming up.”
As she turned back to look, she lost her balance, and down she went. As soon as she broke the surface, she glared at him. “You know that I’d have been fine, if you hadn’t said that.”
He just smiled at her, but Thaddeus was laughing at her in his big raucous cackle.
“You better stop that,” she warned the bird. “Otherwise no treats for you.”
And surely it was coincidence, but he immediately shut up and looked at her, with a side glance. She sighed.
“That bird understands words way too much,” Mack noted.
“He really does, doesn’t he?” Nick asked in astonishment. “It’s freakishly amazing.”
“I think he does,” she agreed. “Just not enough to always be nice about it.”
Mack chuckled. “And I shouldn’t laugh at you. You’ve been doing fantastic.”
She snorted. “Sure, as long as you didn’t want to get anywhere today.”
“I’m not going anywhere,” Mack noted. “I’m just out here, spending time with my brother.”
“And me,” she added immediately.
He smiled at her gently. “That goes without saying.”
Dale Mayer. Silenced in the Sunflowers (Kindle Locations 201-257). Valley Publishing Ltd..
With her usual flare Doreen, slowly back tracks the case to start with the key players and move on from there.
As always there’s a bit of help from her Nan and grumbling from Mack.
It never ceases to amaze me how Doreen extracts information.
Plenty of intrigue as the threads of this case unravel, and Mack and Doreen’s relationship moves a little further along.
I can’t wait for the next book in this series.
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
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Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).
She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!
To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.