About your Book:
#2 in the Dead Red Series:
Lalla, once high fashion NY model, and now aero-ag pilot, certainly doesn’t need any more distractions during the long hot summers in the San Joaquin Valley of California; but being the exasperating, pushy, tenacious gal she is, Lalla believes the dead man deserves a better homicide investigation than that of the creepy Modesto detective who seems to slither across her path every chance he gets.
Then too, her tightwad, widowed father is now a born-again ladies’ man, a disreputable crop-dusting competitor threatens her business, and last but not least, she worries whether the sultry redhead in the local police department is taking more than a professional interest in her honey, Sheriff Caleb Stone.
With nothing but the vaguest of clues to go on, Lalla has decided that if nothing else, someone needs to be on the side of this misunderstood vet, and that person will be the exasperating, pushy, tenacious, Ms. Lalla Bains.
Targeted Age Group: 18+
Genre: Mystery, women sleuth, humor
The Book Excerpt:
When my widowed father announced that he was up for a triple bypass, and would I mind taking a few days to come home and help him settle his effects, since he probably wasn’t going to live much longer, I packed a bag and flew home from New York City leaving behind a wobbly career as a runway model, and a disastrous divorce from a philandering Puerto Rican baseball player. That was four years ago, and since then my hypochondriac parent has decided he’s going to live after all. I stayed, and now run what’s left of my dad’s crop dusting—make that Aero-Ag, to be PC—business. Unfortunately, all of it is now in free fall what with environmental issues, pest control issues, and all the housing developments blotting out the farmland that used to be the mainstay of our business.
Others may have something to say about a childless, twice divorced, forty-year-old ex-New York model hiding out in Modesto, California. But except for the new school that may or may not be built at the end of our runway, life is pretty good. Or it was, until I tried to talk some sense into Billy Wayne Dobson.
The porch and hallway lights were on, and lights flickered from under the door of the TV room where my dad and his arthritic Chihuahua, Spike, have bunked since the fire last year singed his eyebrows, most of the interior, and definitely the last of my patience.
Spike trotted to the foyer to greet me with a tail wag and a snarl, showing me a few teeth.
“What’re you doing up this late? Oh, you wanted to show me your teeth need cleaning again? I’ll speak to him for you.”
He took my comment with his usual disdain, saluted me with a squeaky fart, and limped down the hall for the TV room.
“Don’t stay up because of me,” I muttered, following after him. I didn’t intend to do anything other than open the TV room door wide enough for Spike to slip through and close it again. No sense in waking up my dad just to go over today’s debacle. Besides, any time I can procrastinate on a much deserved lecture works for me.
In the dim overhead light of the hallway, I peered at what I thought was a note my dad left for me. Tomorrow’s work? I looked closer. Tacked to the door, were three hand printed letters. Done with a fine point Sharpie, I supposed. Nice and black. It said, DOA.
I read it again. DOA. Something to do with the dog? Dog on…? Done? Arrival? The only DOA I knew of was… D-O-A. as in Dead On Arrival.
A chill ran through me. I reached out to turn the knob, and giving the door a violent shove, slammed the heavy oak against the wall.
The TV was on, his feet in white socks dangling over the edge of his Barca lounger, his eyes closed, head lolling to one side.
“Dad?” I stood at the threshold, waiting for some sign that he was okay.
“Dad?” I breathed the word again, then barked, “Dad!”
With no response, I charged into the room, turned on the lamp next to his chair and lifted his limp wrist to feel for a pulse. He was warm, his pulse strong, and steady. I gathered his thin frame into my arms, crying, “Oh, thank God! Daddy, wake up.”
And he did, grumbling and sputtering, “What the hell’s going on? Is the house on fire again?”
I squatted down next to him, wiping at my tears and laughing. “I thought…. Oh Dad, I’m sorry I woke you, but I have to go call Caleb, and then we need to talk.”