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Stormy Weather

The Wild Rose Press

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Word Count: 66,500
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When the body of Travis Lambert, senior meteorologist, is found buried in a shallow grave next to the house of Stormy McCloud, junior meteorologist, things look bad.

The station hires Chance Malone to investigate the murder, but her situation doesn't improve. Malone is attractive, charming, and funny, all qualities that her past experience with men has led her to avoid. It doesn't help that Stormy has little interest in religion, while Malone is the unusual detective that keeps a Bible in his desk drawer instead of a bottle of scotch.

When Stormy's estranged mother appears on the scene, things become even more complicated. As they discover more about the dark secrets of Travis's life, Stormy is forced to reconsider her view of men, her mother, and her future.

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“There’s something you have to see,” he said

He turned and got down off the porch. I remained in the doorway, certain there was nothing that this guy could show me so essential to my wellbeing that I had to trot outside before finishing breakfast. The guy must have sensed I wasn’t following because his ponderous body swung back to face me.

“You really do want to see this.”

Reluctantly, I climbed down from the porch and followed as he lumbered around the side of the house. Fortunately, the April morning was fairly warm since all I had on were a sweater and jeans, but I could already feel my sandaled feet getting cold and wet from the heavy dew. A small man sat on top of the backhoe, staring at the ground in front of the machine. He leapt off the equipment and ran toward me.

“You’ve got to see this,” he said, dancing from foot to foot with excitement. That seemed to be the message of the day.

Over the years, I’ve come to doubt people when they tell me that. I remembered Bobby Miller saying exactly the same thing to me when I was eight, then waggling the largest dead rat I had ever seen in front of my face. Some things stay with you. This guy even reminded me a bit of Bobby, having the same ferrety grin.

I hung back as the two men walked up to the trench they had started to dig not ten feet from my kitchen wall. They both stood on the edge of the hole staring at something. Reluctantly, I joined them and took a quick glance. The body was face down in the dirt, which, for one crazy moment, made him seem even deader. I caught my breath and glanced away, absorbing what I had seen. A second later, I found my courage and looked back at the body.

“The ground was a little sunken,” the small man was saying. “Somebody hadn’t tried real hard to put the dirt back. So I knew there must have been some digging here recently. But I never expected to find a body.”

“I wouldn’t think so,” I said.

I found that focusing on the conversation made me calmer. I’ve always prided myself on being analytical, not giving in easily to my emotions.

“What’s that?” the big guy asked. He grabbed a long branch and reached in the hole, turning over a dirty object near the body’s head.

“A shame. He was a fan,” the man said, as we all recognized the muddy Red Sox logo on the cap.

“Why don’t we roll him over and see who he is?” the little guy said, almost jumping up and down with eagerness.

“I think we should wait—” I might as well have been humming Mozart, as the munchkin jumped into the hole to follow his own suggestion.

The body rolled over and stared at the sky.

“Don’t know him,” the big guy said.

“Neither do I,” his friend added.

“I do,” I said through clenched teeth, looking into the dead eyes of Travis Lambert.