Thursday, November 20, 2014

Shandra Higheagle Mystery

I have the first book of my new Shandra Higheagle Mystery series, Double Duplicity, up on pre-order at major ebook venues. It will be available in print on the day of the ebook release. The good news for you, the reader, if you purchase the pre-order ebook you will get it for $3 less than when it releases in January. That's a great price to try the new series and see if you like it.

The second book, Tarnished Remains, is finished and being edited as we speak. It will also be up for the $0.99 pre-order in January with a release date of Febrauary 10th.

The third book Deady Aim, is getting stewed and brewed in my head as I work on the house. I'll be ready to hit the keyboard when I finish the house and get that book ready for release March 10th.

For my historical western fans, the third and last Halsey book, Claiming a Heart, will be out the middle of 2015. Though there may be a Christmas novella with Shayla, Colin's sister to let everyone know how Colin and Livie fared in England.

Here is the blurb and an excerpt for Double Duplicity:

On the eve of the biggest art event at Huckleberry Mountain Resort, potter Shandra Higheagle finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. She’s ruled out as a suspect, but now it’s up to her to prove the friend she’d witnessed fleeing the scene was just as innocent. With help from her recently deceased Nez Perce grandmother, Shandra becomes more confused than ever, but just as determined to discover the truth.

Detective Ryan Greer prides himself on solving crimes and refuses to ignore a single clue, including Shandra Higheagle’s visions. While Shandra is hesitant to trust her dreams, Ryan believes in them and believes in her. Together they discover the gallery owner wasn’t the respectable woman she’d portrayed. Can the pair uncover enough clues for Ryan to make an arrest before one of them becomes the next victim?

Chapter One
The Bluetooth in Shandra Higheagle’s Jeep rang, interrupting the memories and drumbeats swirling in her head. She shook the past couple days off and pushed the green phone icon on the radio screen.
“Hi Shandra, this is Paula Doring. I know this is short notice, but I really would like to speak with you if you’re coming down off your mountain today.”
Shandra rolled her eyes. Of all the gallery owners in Huckleberry, Paula was her least favorite. The woman didn’t understand artists and thought only of the dollar.
“I am off my mountain. I should be rolling into Huckleberry in about twenty minutes.”
“Perfect. Could you swing by my gallery? I have a new acquisition, and I think a couple of your vases would look wonderful partnered with it. See you in twenty.” Paula hung up.
“Great! One more thing to interfere with getting my vases to Ted and Naomi.” Ted and Naomi Norton, owners of Dimensions Gallery, were expecting her to deliver more vases for the art event beginning tonight. They were her best supports and showcased her vases in their gallery.
She only had one piece at Paula’s gallery, aptly named after her, Doring Art Gallery. Paula was known to only take in artists she felt would propel her gallery to a status, rather than taking in artists that she liked. But she’d insisted on having at least one piece of Shandra’s art so she could also say she had one thing from all the local artists.
As much as she didn’t care for Paula, who was a backstabber, she did want her pieces seen and having more than one in the Doring Gallery for the upcoming art event that was the most publicized show in the Pacific Northwest was a good move on her part. Her latest gourd-shaped pieces were recently the focus of a story in the Northwest Art Magazine. The exposure had garnered her more sales and attention. While she liked traveling to shows, right now, her heart was at home with her animals and her clay.
The resort village of Huckleberry Mountain sat fifteen miles off Idaho I-90 at the base of the Bitterroot Mountains. Shandra turned onto Huckleberry Highway and soon slowed to turn right toward the town. Turning left would take her to the Ski Lodge. Art collectors who had gathered at the resort for the event would be dining at the Lodge’s five-star restaurant tomorrow night after schmoozing over cocktails and appetizers with the local artists.
Shandra didn’t care for the schmoozing, but the people who bought the high priced art sold in the galleries wanted to be on a first name basis with the artists who envisioned their pieces.
She obeyed the twenty miles per hour signs driving down Huckleberry Street. The speed felt like she was crawling after keeping the cruise on seventy most of the way from Nespelem and her grandmother’s funeral. Driving fast hadn’t dislodged the uneasy feeling her grandmother had requested she attend the seven drum ceremony for a reason. “But what reason?”
Shandra parked the Jeep at the curb across from the Doring Gallery. She caught a glimpse of her friend Naomi, jogging across the side street.
Where could Naomi have been coming from? “The bank, the bakery?” Shandra said out loud as she’d become accustom to talking to herself from hours spent alone with her animals as she crafted her art.
She stepped out of the Jeep, straightened her leopard print, tiered skirt, smoothed a hand over her denim shirt, and shifted the concho belt around so the dangling end was at her right hip. She slung the fringed leather bag over her shoulder and headed across the street, dodging the slow moving traffic. Her cowboy boot heels echoed when she stepped onto the tiled entryway of Doring Gallery. The buzz of her entry died in the stillness.
“Paula? Paula, it’s Shandra.” She continued through the middle of the partitions spattered with various sized paintings and prints, and pedestals honoring handcrafted masterpieces.
“Paula?” It wasn’t like Paula to leave the gallery unmanned, or as the case may be unwomanned. If Paula wasn’t here, where was Juan, her assistant? A shiver slithered up Shandra’s back as she moved deeper into the building.
A display of Native American art caught her attention. Vibrant photos of twenty-first century ceremonial dancers covered one partition while paintings of historical depictions covered the other. The crease in the partition at the apex of the V reminded her of the world she’d just come from at the reservation. Her grandmother’s funeral had been half modern and half the old ways. It had been the ceremony of the old ways that lightened her sad heart.
An abstract horse and rider stood four feet tall in the middle of the V-shaped display while two four-foot tall warriors stood guard on either side. One held a bow, the other a spear. The convergence of the abstract modern piece and the steadfast, solid bronze statues that depicted the way Native Americans are seen in history mirrored her life.
Shandra dismissed the pondering about her roots and pulled her gaze from the bronze six-pack on the warrior with the spear and headed toward the office. She had to give Paula credit; the gallery owner knew how to display art to its fullest advantage.
“Paula?” A light shone around the edges of the partially open office door. Shandra pushed the door open. “Why aren’t you answer—”
Paula’s arms hung splayed away from her body that was cradled in her leather office chair. A large red patch spread across her body and lifeless eyes stared up at the ceiling.
Shandra backed out of the room. She couldn’t swallow for the lump of fear and vileness she’d just witnessed.
“Think… Call the police.” She punched in 9 as sirens shrieked and grew louder. “Maybe they’re coming here.” They had to be coming here. This town is too small for there to be two incidents where the cops are needed at the same time.
She put her phone in her bag and strode toward the front of the building. The door buzzed, and a young officer she’d never seen before burst into the building with his gun held in front of him.
“Stop! Put your hands in the air!” he shouted.
Shandra squeaked and raised her arms.
“Did you call the cops?”
“No. I—”
He advanced on her so fast she didn’t know what was happening until he wrenched her arm behind her back.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m detaining you until I can search the premise.” He cuffed her and started to haul her to the door.
“Oh, no, you don’t. I’m not going into a squad car and looking like a criminal when I’m not. I just arrived and found Paula in the office. I was starting to call nine-one-one when I heard the sirens.” Shandra dug in her boot heels. There was no way she’d have the whole town see her sitting in a cop car. She’d done nothing wrong.
“Who’s Paula?” He tugged on her, but she refused to be humiliated for nothing.
“The owner of the gallery. She’s in her chair in the office. Dead.” That stopped the zealous officer.
“We received a phone call of suspicious activity.” He changed course, pushing her ahead of him to the back of the building and the office.
Shandra complied. She’d rather stand by the office door while he did his thing than be seen in a cop car.
At the office, Blane, his name tag said, stood her next to the door. “Don’t move. You’re still a suspect.”
She nodded. She’d stay here all day if she didn’t have to look at Paula again.
He entered the office. “Holy shit.”
Shandra couldn’t have said it better. She heard him moving around before he came back out. He pushed the button on the radio receiver clipped to his shoulder.
“Dispatch, this is Blane. We’ve got a homicide over at Doring Gallery on Huckleberry Street. I have a suspect in custody.”
“Now wait a minute—”
He silenced her with a swipe of his hand through the air.
“Don’t let anyone else enter and don’t leave the premises until a detective gets there.” The excitement in the dispatcher’s voice reminded Shandra this resort town rarely had excitement of this magnitude.
This was big news for Huckleberry. Sad news, but big news. She didn’t like to think someone from their small town could be a murderer. She knew most of the locals.
She’d purchased the old Whitmire ranch thirty miles north of town two years ago. That was a month after she’d graduated from college and received enough of an inheritance from her maternal grandmother to try her hand at pottery. Her search for a place had taken a while. One of the reasons being she needed land with a certain type of clay soil. She found it on the ranch. The clay was her signature in her pottery.
Officer Blane yanked on her arm. “I’m gonna sit you in the extra chair in the office.”
“Oh no, you’re not. You bring that chair out here. I’m not sitting in there and staring at Paula. The one glimpse I had is enough to haunt me.” She glared at the man, thankful he was only a few years past puberty and she stood several inches taller than him, making it easier to intimidate.
He ducked into the room, pulled the extra chair out, and Shandra gladly sat down. For all the bravado she showed the officer, her knees were knocking together. She was his only suspect for the killing. She was innocent. But growing up, she’d witnessed more than one Native American person be railroaded. It was the reason her mother and stepfather forbid her to talk about her father’s family. They felt she would be persecuted. The small ranch community in Montana where they lived was tolerant of very little.

Pre-order Links 


Karen Duvall said...

Congrats, Paty, on your upcoming new release! Good luck! <3

Paty Jager said...

Thanks, Karen! I'm really excited about this series. I hope it does well.