Book Showcase: ASSUMED by MHR Geer

ASSUMED by MHR Geer book cover; blue-washed photo with palm tree leaves in the foreground and a yacht on stormy seas in the backgroundAssumed by MHR Geer
ISBN: 9798987115923 (Paperback)
ASIN: B0BLXK18LR (Kindle edition)
Page Count: 296
Release Date: December 2, 2022
Publisher: MG3 Publishing
Genre: Fiction | Thriller

When her friend Sandy asks for help, Anne Wilson leaves her small, lonely life in Miami for the picturesque island of Saint Martin. But as soon as she arrives, Sandy is murdered, and her death exposes lies: an alias, a secret past, stolen money. Suspected of murder and trapped on the island, Anne is shocked when a cryptic message arrives:

Find the money. Take it and run.

She follows Sandy’s trail of obscure clues, desperate for proof of her innocence and must decide if she can trust the two men who offer help-the dark, mysterious Brit or the American with a wide grin and a pickup truck. When memories resurface-dark truths she’d rather leave buried and forgotten, her past becomes intertwined with her present.

Her only way forward is to face her own secrets.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Indiebound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org

Read an Excerpt:

A constant stream of jubilant holiday-goers jostled my suitcase as I paced the arrivals gate, but Sandy’s mobile went to voicemail a fourth time. I hung up without leaving another message and strolled past the baggage carousel. Again.

“Where are you, Sandy?” I muttered under my breath.

A man in a white Panama hat vacated a bench, and I collapsed onto the cold metal and hugged the handle of my suitcase. The other passengers exchanged greetings and gathered their baggage, and the automatic door slid open with a swoosh to receive them. Every time the door opened, humid air blasted my face.

The man in the white hat reappeared but saw me and turned away, presumably to find a bench without a slouching, scowling American. I raised my shoulders from a slump and crossed my legs.

“What now, Anne?” I asked myself, tapping the screen of my phone and resisting the urge to check the time.

A young boy, about five years old, wandered over and climbed onto the bench next to me. We exchanged nervous smiles. Couples and families regrouped near the door, and I watched their faces, expecting someone to claim the boy, but the door opened and closed, over and over, and he remained.

I was just about to ask where the boy’s parents were when a tall woman entered and rushed toward us, shouting in French. Her profile was dark against the bright sunlight outside, and her long hair swirled in the vortex of the doorway. The boy pressed against me, and I almost wrapped my arm around him, but the door closed, and she smoothed her hair back into place.

She pulled the boy from the bench, gripping his arms with long, slender fingers. I couldn’t understand her words, but her reprimand was clear. Her green eyes flashed with fear and anger. She blamed me for his disappearance. I shrugged, trying to remember how to apologize in French. Je suis desole? But I was unsure of the words, so I didn’t say anything, and she didn’t wait for my explanation.

He left with her, his little hand firmly inside hers, and when the door opened and whipped her hair back into the air, the boy turned back to me with a smile. I waved.

And then I was alone again.

I jumped when my phone buzzed.

Sorry, Sandy texted. Can’t make it. Take a taxi to 16 Rue de l’Aile Perdue.

I stared at the text and considered purchasing a ticket for a return flight, but my phone buzzed again with a second text.

Please, Anne.

I squared my shoulders and pulled on my sunglasses. Then I walked through the whoosh of the doorway and into the sunlight.

The taxi line had already thinned; it took only a few minutes before a lively man ushered me into the back of a bright green sedan. The driver offered a brusque “Welcome to Saint Martin,” and turned up her radio. Taxi code for no talking. Fine with me.

We sped through narrow streets, dangerously close to sunburned tourists wandering street markets. Stalls spilled out from under a rainbow of awnings, hawking loud shirts and oversized beach towels. The air was thick with cardamom and curry, mixed with the yeasty smell of a patisserie. My stomach rumbled. In my rush to make the early morning flight, I’d skipped breakfast.

We left town and traveled up and down winding roads that cut into the hillsides. The villas grew larger and farther apart and then disappeared into thick foliage behind security gates. I caught occasional glimpses of dirt lanes and even fewer paved driveways. When the driver pulled off the road, I leaned out the window to watch the tops of towering palm trees lining a long gravel driveway. We stopped on a cobbled motor court in front of a massive house.

I stared up at the imposing facade from within the safety of the taxi before I bravely stepped into the blazing sun. I thought there must be some mistake, but before I could say anything, the taxi drove away. Why had Sandy sent me to a dismal mansion and not to one of the dazzling resorts I’d passed?

Beyond the house, the sea stretched to the horizon. Sunlight reflected off the water, awakening childhood fantasies of pirate ships and mermaid tails. But the hot sun quickly melted the daydream, and I retreated into the shadow of the mansion.

Up close, the house was shabby and weather-beaten. Peeling gray paint revealed a history of more colorful choices. The porch railing leaned at a precarious angle, and as I cautiously climbed the rotting steps, the wood complained but held, and I reached the front door and knocked. The sound echoed within the house, but only silence followed. I knocked again, louder, and waited. Nothing.

“Now what?” I asked the house.

The house ignored me, but a piece of paper stuck between two floorboards fluttered in the ocean breeze. I stepped over and picked it up. She’d left a note—an inconsiderate welcome, even for Sandy. I exhaled loudly and unfolded the scrap of paper.

Excerpt from Assumed by MHR Geer.
Copyright © 2022 by MHR Geer.
Published with permission. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

MHR Geer photo: black and white headshot photograph of a white woman with wavy dark-colored hair
Author – MHR Geer

MHR Geer was born in California but grew up in the Midwest. She attended the University of California, Santa Barbara to study Physics. After school, she moved to Ventura, CA, and started a small bookkeeping business. She lives with her two sons and her unicorn husband (because he’s a magical creature).

Connect with the author via: Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Website

Giveaway

This is a giveaway for one (1) signed ARC copy of Assumed, one (1) branded tote, one (1) branded koozie, one (1) bookmark, AND a $20 bookstore gift card to a winner in the US or Canada courtesy of MHR Geer. This giveaway is limited to residents of the United States and Canada only. All entries by non-US/Canadian residents will be voided. To enter use the Rafflecopter link below or click here.

This giveaway begins at 12:01 AM ET on 01/16/2023 and ends at 11:59 PM ET on 01/22/2023. The winner will be announced by 10:00 AM ET on 01/23/2023. Void where prohibited.

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Book Showcase: MISFIRE by Tammy Euliano

Misfire, Book 2 in the Kate Downey Medical Mystery Series, by Tammy Euliano
ISBN: 9781608095223 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781608095230 (ebook)
ASIN: B09X5ZPQCL (Kindle edition)
Page Count: 368
Release Date: January 23, 2023
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing
Genre: Fiction | Medical Mystery | Thriller

MISFIRE by Tammy Euliano cover featuring a bluish-gray x-ray of a human chest with a defibrillator highlighted

A device that can save a life is also one that can end it

Kadence, a new type of implanted defibrillator, misfires in a patient visiting University Hospital for a routine medical procedure—causing the heart rhythm problem it’s meant to correct. Dr. Kate Downey, an experienced anesthesiologist, resuscitates the patient, but she grows concerned for a loved one who recently received the same device—her beloved Great-Aunt Irm.

When a second device misfires, Kate turns to Nikki Yarborough, her friend and Aunt Irm’s cardiologist. Though Nikki helps protect Kate’s aunt, she is prevented from alerting other patients by the corporate greed of her department chairman. As the inventor of the device and part owner of MDI, the company he formed to commercialize it, he claims that the device misfires are due to a soon-to-be-corrected software bug. Kate learns his claim is false.

The misfires continue as Christian O’Donnell, a friend and lawyer, comes to town to facilitate the sale of MDI. Kate and Nikki are drawn into a race to find the source of the malfunctions, but threats to Nikki and a mysterious murder complicate their progress. Are the seemingly random shocks misfires, or are they attacks?

A jaw-dropping twist causes her to rethink everything she once thought she knew, but Kate will stop at nothing to protect her aunt and the other patients whose life-saving devices could turn on them at any moment.

Perfect for fans of Robin Cook and Tess Gerritsen

While the novels in the Kate Downey Medical Mystery Series stand on their own and can be read in any order, the publication sequence is:

Fatal Intent
Misfire

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Praise for Misfire:

“From surgery to suspense, Tammy Euliano knows the worlds she writes of. Misfire is a first-rate medical thriller—the kind that leaves you thinking that was too close!” —Michael Connelly, New York Times best-selling author

“A medical thriller meets domestic suspense meets serial killer terror all rolled into one page-turning extravaganza. You will read Misfire for the plot, but absolutely stay for the characters. I miss them already.” —Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times best-selling author

“Medical suspense as sharp as it gets. Euliano is off to a good, no, a brilliant start.” —Kathy Reichs, New York Times best-selling author

Read an Excerpt:

“You aren’t gonna let me die this time, are ya, Doc?”

Oh boy.

So started my Wednesday, with about the worst line any anesthesiologist can hear from a patient in preoperative holding.

“This time?” the nurse said.

“Last time my heart decided to dance a little jig instead of pumpin’ my blood.”

Sitting close beside Mr. Abrams, his wife squeezed her eyes closed. “Abe, tell Dr. Downey the whole story.”

“I read about it in your chart last night,” I said. “Last time they tried to fix your hernia, your heart needed a jump start.” To the nurse I added, “V fib,” a chaotic heart rhythm that usually requires electrical shock to convert back to a normal rhythm. “It happened when they were putting you to sleep and they canceled the case.” Instead of a hernia operation, Mr. Abrams ended up with a very different procedure that day—placement of an automated internal cardioverter defibrillator, or AICD. A device implanted in his chest to detect and treat the problem should it recur.

“Your AICD hasn’t fired, right?” The device had been checked by cardiology the day before.

“Right. Rosie watches it like a hawk huntin’ a rodent.” He nodded to his wife, who slipped her phone under the book in her lap.

“I completely understand,” I said to her, nodding at the hidden phone. “My aunt has the same AICD, and I can’t stop checking the app either.” Maybe a downside of the novel AICD, the Kadence communicated through the patient’s phone to the cloud, where I could view status reports on my beloved Aunt Irm’s heart. “I don’t expect any problems this time, but we’re ready if your heart decides on another jig.”

“Dr. Downey, I need to ask a favor.” Mrs. Abrams didn’t look at me, or at anyone. She gripped her paperback as if it would fly open.

“Call me Kate.”

“Come on, Rosie, let the doc do her job,” Mr. Abrams said.

She ignored him. “Dr. Yarborough is his cardiologist. She said if he could keep his phone during the operation, she would be able to watch his AICD.”

I generally like to honor requests. This one required a caveat. “I’ll make a deal with you. We’ll keep the phone close for Dr. Yarborough as long as you promise not to watch the app.”

Her sparse gray eyebrows drew together.

“During surgery, there’s electrical noise that can confuse the AICD. I don’t know what it might report and I don’t want you frightened.” Sometimes we turn off AICDs during surgery, but this operation was far enough away from the device implanted near his left shoulder that the noise shouldn’t cause a problem. What she might see on the app, though, I couldn’t predict.

She nodded uncertainly.

Eric, the anesthesia resident assigned to work with me on the case, arrived with a small syringe of a sedative. “What do you think about some happy juice?”

“I think my wife needs it more than me,” Mr. Abrams said.

Her lipstick appeared to redden as her face paled.

“Unfortunately, it goes in the IV,” Eric said with a kind smile for her. “We’ll take good care of him.”

“You’ll watch his blood sugar,” she said.

“Yes, ma’am.” Eric unlocked the bed.

“And be careful with his AICD.”

“We will.” He unhooked the IV bag from the ceiling-mounted pole and attached it to one on the stretcher.

Tears dampened her eyes as Mrs. Abrams stood and leaned down to kiss her husband’s cheek.

“I’m gonna be fine, Rosie. Don’t you worry. I’ll be huntin’ by the weekend, and we can try out that new squirrel recipe before our anniversary.”

“We are not serving squirrel stew for our fiftieth anniversary,” she said.

Eric and I exchanged a smile.

“Oh now, you wait and see.” Mr. Abrams patted his wife’s hand.

“What’s squirrel taste like?” Eric pushed the bed from the wall.

“Tastes like chicken.” Mr. Abrams laughed loudly. “No, just kiddin’ with ya . . .” As they turned the corner, the voices faded. I stayed behind to reassure Mrs. Abrams.

“I can’t lose him.” Eyes squeezed shut, a sob escaped.

I wrapped an arm around her ample shoulders and waited. I knew that feeling; had lived that feeling; had lost.

“I’m sorry.” She dabbed her eyes with a tissue.

“No need to apologize. Last time scared you. Tell you what, once he’s asleep, I’ll give you a call and let you know it went fine.”

That calmed her. We walked together to the main doors, where I directed her to the waiting room. I turned the opposite direction to not let her husband of fifty years die during a hernia operation. No pressure there.

In the OR, we helped Mr. Abrams move to the operating table. After applying monitors and going through our safety checks, Eric held the clear plastic mask over his face and said, “Pick out a good dream.”

“Oh, I got one.” He winked at me. “I’ll try to behave this time, Doc.”

“I’d appreciate that.” I maintained eye contact and held his hand as I injected the drugs to put him off to sleep. Despite having induced anesthesia thousands of times, I always experience a tense few moments between the time the patient stops breathing and when the breathing tube is confirmed in the windpipe. During those couple of minutes, if we couldn’t breathe for him, there’s a real, if remote, chance the patient could die. Not a failure to save, but, in essence, a kill. Anesthesia is unique in that. We take people who are breathing fine, mess it up, then fix it, so the surgeon can correct the real problem.

When Mr. Abrams’ induction proceeded without incident, I felt an extra sense of relief and was happy to share that with his wife. The operation, too, went well, and an hour later, he awoke from anesthesia, gave a sleepy smile, and said, “How’d it go, Doc?”

“Fine. No more hernia. Are you in any pain?”

He shook his head. “Nope, you done good.”

As Eric gave his transfer-of-care report to the recovery nurse, I helped re-connect the monitors. Mr. Abrams looked great. Whether he’d be hunting squirrel in a few days, I couldn’t say. I headed toward the pre-op area to see our next patient.

“Dr. Downey!”

I spun back to see Mr. Abrams’ head loll to the side, his eyes closed, his hands on his chest. In two steps I was back at his side. “Mr. Abrams?” I placed two fingers to his neck where his pulse should be while the ECG monitor above showed ventricular fibrillation—a randomly bumpy line—and his pulse oximeter, the sticker on his finger that recorded pulse and oxygen, became a flat line. Cardiac arrest.

What the hell?

I forced the image of his wife saying, “I can’t lose him,” from my mind as I lowered the head of the bed and started chest compressions. “Eric, manage the airway.”

He placed a mask over Mr. Abrams’ nose and mouth and started squeezing the breathing bag. “Why isn’t his AICD firing?”

Good question.

The overhead monitor flashed and shrieked an alarm.

The fire-engine red crash cart arrived and a nurse snapped off its plastic lock. As she tore open the foil pack of defibrillation pads from the top of the crash cart, the charge nurse assembled medications. A smoothly running team, each member with his or her own tasks.

The overhead alert began, “Anesthesia and Charge Nurse stat to the PACU.” I tuned it out as a crowd in scrubs assembled around us. The anesthesiologist in charge of the recovery room said, “How can I help?”

“Call Nikki Yarborough in cardiology.” As I continued chest compressions, the nurse reached around my arms to place the large defibrillator pads on Mr. Abrams’ chest. I noticed the small scar where his AICD was implanted and silently ordered the damn thing to fire. The charging defibrillator whined with an increasing and eventually teeth-itching pitch.

Seconds before I yelled, “Clear!” the ECG monitor traced a “square wave”—three sides of a bottomless square, up-across-down. I held my breath, though it was only seconds. Normal sinus rhythm followed. His AICD had finally fired, kick-starting his heart back to normal electrical activity.

I stopped chest compressions and placed my fingers on his neck. Strong pulse. “Mr. Abrams?” I grasped his hand and leaned forward. His head turned toward me. “How do you feel?”

He rubbed his sternum with his other hand. “Chest hurts.”

“Like a heart attack, or like someone pounded on it?”

“Pounded.” He opened one eye.

“Sorry about that.”

“No. Thank you.” The corners of his mouth turned up weakly. “You did good.”

“I’ll have cardiology come check out your AICD and figure out why it took so long to fire.”

He nodded. “Can you tell my wife I’m okay?” It struck me his first thought was for his wife, and that I’d told her everything would be fine. Crap. It also struck me she might have peeked at his app.

The recovery room attending waited for me as I stepped away. “Dr. Yarborough’s in a procedure but will come by as soon as she’s done.”

I thanked him and hurried to the waiting room to check on Mrs. Abrams.

She must have followed directions, because I found her in the back corner of the crowded space, the book unopened in her lap. At my approach, she looked up.

“He’s fine.” Always the best lead, but she didn’t smile. I sat beside her and lowered my voice in an attempt at privacy. “After the surgery, he had a rhythm problem like before.”

She gasped and I placed a hand on her arm.

“We did CPR until his Kadence fired and everything is fine now. He’s awake and he asked me to tell you that.”

Tears filled her eyes.

Though I wasn’t supposed to invite her to the recovery room until the nurse was ready, Mrs. Abrams needed to see for herself. I knew what that felt like. “Would you like to see him?”

She nodded and walked with me in silence.

The very understanding nurse lowered one of the stretcher’s side rails, and Mr. Abrams extended an arm to embrace his wife. “Now, Rosie, I told you I’d be fine.” He looked past her shoulder and winked at me, but his eyes shone as well. Such a beautiful couple. I returned to work before we were all bleary eyed.

Excerpt from Misfire by Tammy Euliano.
Copyright © 2023 by Tammy Euliano.
Published with permission. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

Tammy Euliano author photo showing a smiling white female with brown, shoulder-length hair, wearing a blue-print top and a necklace with a blue stone

Tammy Euliano writes medical thrillers. She’s inspired by her day job as a physician, researcher, and medical educator. She is a tenured professor at the University of Florida, where she’s been honored with numerous teaching awards, nearly 100,000 views of her YouTube teaching videos, and was featured in a calendar of women inventors (copies available wherever you buy your out-of-date calendars).

When she’s not writing or at the hospital, she enjoys traveling with her family, playing sports, cheering on the Gators, and entertaining her two wonderful dogs.

Connect with the author via: Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Website 

Giveaway

This is a giveaway for one (1) print copy of Misfire by Tammy Euliano and a bookmark. This giveaway is limited to residents of the United States only. All entries by non-US residents will be voided. To enter use the Rafflecopter link.

This giveaway begins at 12:01 AM ET on 01/10/2023 and ends at 11:59 PM ET on 01/16/2023. The winner will be announced by 10:00 AM ET on 01/17/2023. Void where prohibited.

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Book Showcase: LITTLE DIRT ROAD and JUICED by Ted Mulcahey

Join the O’Malleys, along with their ever-vigilant German Shepherd, Emma, on Whidbey Island as they take on criminals, embezzlers, drug lords, and murderers, putting themselves right in the center of all the danger. With the help of their friend, Bellevue Detective Bill Owens, will they come out on top?

LITTLE DIRT ROAD by Ted Mulcahey book coverLittle Dirt Road: Bad Men on Whidbey Island, The O’Malley Adventures – Book 3, by Ted Mulcahey
ISBN: 9781735493244 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781735493251 (eBook)
ASIN: B09QFLG6PR (Kindle edition)
Release Date: January 12, 2022
Genre: Fiction | Mystery | Cozy Mystery

The O’Malleys are doing what? How is it possible that dangerous complications arise from their simple vacation in wine country? With their recent move to South Whidbey Island, only the O’Malley’s would stumble upon drug smugglers, embezzlers, and murderers amongst the locals. The quirky, pastoral island, reachable by a less than speedy ferry from Mukilteo or the narrow, deteriorating Deception Pass bridge, is no match for the wicked men about to visit.

A notorious drug lord and a nondescript enforcer with freakish hell-raising skills invade the peaceful Pacific Northwest island—where not even the friendly locales and free-roaming long-eared rabbits can soften his homicidal heart.

Weeding through the facts and surprisingly connected characters with their trusted friend, Bellevue Detective Bill Owens, the narrative swirls from Mexico to Canada and throughout Puget Sound. It’s a heart-racing and outrageously offbeat adventure for two innocent people, proving once again that trouble will find the O’Malleys without the slightest amount of effort on their part.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Indiebound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | B&N NOOK Book | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | !ndigo eBook | Kobo eBook

JUICED by Ted Mulcahey book coverJuiced: Bad Men on Whidbey Island, The O’Malley Adventures – Book 4, by Ted Mulcahey
ISBN: 9781735493268 (paperback)
ASIN: B09VJPNDCF (Kindle edition)
Release Date: March 13, 2022
Genre: Fiction | Mystery | Cozy Mystery

Juiced is a fun, thrilling adventure involving secret, breakthrough research

An invention that can save the planet?

Somehow, someway the O’Malleys have found themselves in the thick of things once again. On peaceful, bucolic Whidbey Island, they become entangled in a corporate plot to stifle a paradigm-shattering discovery, one that promises to upend conventional thinking, topple markets, and create an entirely new industry.

Kevin and Jenne, along with scientists from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, find themselves pitted against a band of bumbling criminals who will stop at nothing to get what they want—including arson and murder.

It’s another rollicking adventure for the retired interior designers ably assisted by their favorite detective, the FBI, and Emma, their ever-vigilant German Shepherd Dog.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Indiebound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org

 

Read an excerpt:

ALERT: Mild Profanity

It was one of those dark, rainy afternoons in the Pacific Northwest. Four-thirty, and already the headlights were bouncing off the slick, shiny freeway.

I was on my way back to Whidbey Island. Playing golf in Seattle in late November was not for the faint of heart. Bundled up with rain gear, umbrella stuck on the push golf cart, wet khakis tucked into even wetter socks, we had slogged through eighteen holes of betting and swearing.

Usually, the Wednesday round was followed by more swearing, drinking wine, and playing gin rummy, but today was different. Today was Jenne’s birthday. It was the big one, double nickels. Well, sort of a big one.

Of course, she told me to stay, have fun and enjoy myself – no big deal. When you’ve been married more than once, you absolutely know for sure that birthdays are a big deal. Unless, that is, you don’t care if your sexual activities are curtailed for, say, a month or two.

Well, not this husband. No sir. I managed to make the 5:30 ferry. And also had the foresight to stop at Walgreens and select a lovely greeting card. From Hallmark. I figured the card with a heartfelt message, along with the bouquet purchased at the Star Store when I drove through Langley, would put me in Jenne’s good graces.

It should have been a wonderful evening.

But it wasn’t.

I made the right onto Little Dirt Road. About five hundred yards up the hill, on the unpaved surface, I turned on the crushed gravel driveway leading to our tidy, shingled home. We live on a bluff that normally overlooks Saratoga Passage. Tonight it was dark and rainy.

And there were no lights on in the house or on the grounds.

This seemed odd. I negotiated the six steps to the porch in the dark. Emma was inside, barking as only a German shepherd can, when anything, and I mean anything, is perceived as a threat.

“Easy girl, easy. It’s me.” She quieted only slightly until I opened the door—it was unlocked—and she calmed down. I flicked the lights on, rubbed behind her ears, and stupidly called out Jenne’s name. She’s not here, you dope. She wouldn’t be sitting in the dark. I walked to the kitchen counter. There was a note in her writing. “Went for a walk in case you get home early. Back around 4:30.” It was followed by a little heart and a smiley face.

What the fuck? It was 6:45. Still not accepting reality, I dialed her cell. The sounds of “The Irish Washerwoman,” her ringtone, came from the little nook with the fireplace, just off the kitchen.

This was strange. Even though she always thought she had forgotten her phone, she seldom did.

I stood there, searching my mind but coming up with nothing. Her car was in the courtyard, her phone in the house. Where the fuck is she?

We didn’t know that many people on the island. We knew our neighbors and a few others, but few were close friends. The only people Jenne was close to lived off-island. And they did not come up in this crappy weather.

One thing was certain, if she left around 3:30, she sure as hell wasn’t still on her walk.

I walked across the dark, grassy area separating us from our neighbors, Tim and Raye. I knocked on the door, perhaps a little too forcefully.

“Kevin. Hi, good to see you.” Tim was a gentle soul and a terrific neighbor, always there if you needed him, and highly considerate in every way.

“Hi, Tim. Have you seen Jenne? When I got home, the house was dark. She left a note saying she’d be back at 4:30. Do you know where she could be?”

“Geez, Kev, no, I don’t. I did see her a little before five. She was headed down the street. I thought it a bit odd because it was getting dark, but that was about it.”

“She was headed south?”

“Yes.”

“She always goes the other way on her walks and finishes by coming up the hill. She says it feels good to stretch out at the end of it.”

“Well, I don’t know about that, but I’m sure she was headed down. Is there anything I can do?”

“Thanks. Not yet. Let me think about it first.”

Tim’s face showed genuine concern. “You know we’re here if you need anything.”

“I do, Tim. Thanks.”

I went back home and stood in the kitchen. “Emma, what do you think? Where the hell is your mom?”

The ninety-pound black and tan animal looked directly at me and twisted her head to the left. “Ah, I wish you could talk, kiddo.”

If Tim saw Jenne go back down the hill, maybe she was going to one of the homes on Saratoga Road. For some reason. To someone’s house, she didn’t know. Sure.

“Emma. Let’s go. Get in the truck.” Before I went entirely off the deep end, I figured a drive around the area might be productive. Maybe Emma could be of some help. Maybe.

We drove slowly down the hill, past Tim and Raye’s house and past the Robinsons, who lived on the opposite corner. Most of the properties were well over an acre. As a result, there weren’t many homes nearby.

After turning right on Saratoga, where there was no traffic, thankfully, we crept as slowly as possible. I rolled down the rear windows in case Emma caught a scent.

We passed three homes. Emma acted as though this was a simple trip to the store. Maybe even treats if she behaved.

On the left was a huge vacant field where sheep occasionally grazed. Beyond that was a long, straight two-track that served as a driveway for a home hidden by tall firs and cedars.

During our walks, we’d always speculate as to who lived there. Occasionally we would see an island car chug and sputter down the drive. Island cars are beaters that nobody would ever take on the ferry. They frequently break down, and hell hath no fury greater than ferry patrons missing the boat because some yahoo couldn’t start their fucking car.

Excerpt from Juiced by Ted Mulcahey.
Copyright © 2022 by Ted Mulcahey.
Printed with permission. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

Ted Mulcahey author photo

Ted Mulcahey has lived throughout the US, for the past 35 years in the Pacific Northwest. He’s an Army vet, sales and marketing VP, entrepreneur, business owner, avid reader, one of nine children, a former caddie, and lover of dogs and golf. The last twenty-five years were spent in partnership with his wife Patte, the owners of a highly respected and published hospitality interior design firm in the Seattle Area. They’re now living on Whidbey Island and enjoying its rural bliss.

Ted writes about things he’s seen and places he’s been. He tries to incorporate the personality traits of people he’s known into his fictional characters, although none of them exist in reality. Many of the locations are real but the names have been changed.

Connect with the author via his website.

 

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