excerpt from the fourth RED MIST GIRL book

Here’s another excerpt from the novel in progress, tentatively titled DELL’S DEATH. Keep in mind the work is in progress and there is no guarantee this piece will not morph somewhat in the final version. Just saying…


Gray rattle-can primer coated the Mustang’s front and rear fenders where a previous owner had repaired a few dents, but otherwise the car seemed solid and started right up.

The current owner, a Mister Farley, purchased it two years ago for his son. But the young man promptly married a woman who did not want to be saddled with such an old and impractical vehicle. So, they took off on their honeymoon in her new Volvo XC60.

The convertible sat in storage, according to Farley, for a year and a half before he decided to sell it. “And I have no problem, Deputy, with letting you take it for a couple days to get it checked out.”

Thrilled by her success, Dell mentally danced a jig. Her first car!

The top looked to be in good shape, but she would keep it down when she could. She fondly recalled how great it felt last summer when riding her favorite stallion, Jonny, as they cantered in the warm sun, the wind tugging at her hair.

After returning the rental, Dell caught a cab back to the Mustang, made the preliminary arrangements, and thanked Mister Farley effusively. Then she started up toward the Parker Ranch. She’d ask Marty to take a look at the car and crossed fingers on both hands, hoping he would give it a nod.

She didn’t expect trouble along the way, since whoever might be keeping tabs on her would not catch on to this new ride for a day or two, at least. But habitual awareness of her surroundings had been pounded into her early on, and she could not relax while coaxing the Ford up the rutted ranch road, each bump and flickering shadow tightening her shoulders a tad more.

At the house, blooming yellow roses lining the porch exuded a familiar perfume. Memories arose of that first spring Francie had brought her here, promising a meal to this half-starved wanderer. She smiled at the thought—so worldly, yet so naïve at the time.

As she topped the stairs, anticipating a warm greeting, the front door flew open revealing a man she didn’t recognize. In his hand, a dark, angular object—a gun, which he raised to point at her face.

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