Who killed her boss?
Local police had tagged single mom Becky Dennison as their prime suspect. But she'd only been in the wrong place at the wrong time...admittedly, with her boss's lifeless body. Sure, it looked bad, but Becky had no motive for killing the man--even if she had opportunity. Then, Scott Lewis, handsome assistant manager of a nearby horse farm, entered Becky's life. Soon the amateur detectives were hot on the trail of the murderer...even as their feelings for each other deepened. And for Becky and Scott, this race on the Kentucky tracks had the greatest stakes of all: life or death.
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December 03, 2007
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Excerpt from Bluegrass Peril by Virginia Smith
"Mommy, can we go to work with you and see the horses today?"
Becky Dennison licked a finger and smoothed an errant strand of Tyler's hair. "No, sweetheart. You have kindergarten today."
"Aw, man!" Tyler twisted in the high-backed chair and jerked away from her hand. "Do I hafta go? I got the meanest teacher in the whole world."
Becky carried her cereal bowl to the sink. She rinsed it and set it in the dishwasher, then returned to the small kitchen table where the twins sat finishing their breakfast.
"Miss Mallory is not mean." She gave Tyler a stern look. "You hurt her feelings when you told her she looked fat in those pants."
"But she did!"
Becky put her hands on her hips. "You don't say that to a lady. It's rude."
Across the table, Jamie's dark eyes, full of questions, looked up into hers. "You ask me and Tyler if you look fat all the time."
He looked so serious Becky worked hard to hide her smile. "That's different. I'm your mom. And Miss Mallory didn't ask." She turned back to Tyler. "She's a nice lady and a good teacher. If you would behave yourself like the gentleman I know you can be, you wouldn't get into trouble so often."
Tyler slumped in his chair, pouting. "Why can't I have Miss Peters? Jamie never gets yelled at."
Becky's gaze shifted toward the other twin. One of Jamie's hands busily played with a colorful action figure in a cape, the latest addition to his enormous collection of "men," as he called them. He fished the last bite of floating cereal out of his bowl with the spoon clutched in the other hand, and swallowed it with a loud gulp.
"Jamie, chew your food," she said automatically. Tyler was right. Jamie never got into trouble at school. In fact, Miss Peters regularly sent home notes full of praise for his polite manners and excellent study habits. Notes from Miss Mallory set her teeth on edge. How could two boys who looked so much alike have such different personalities? Because they each took after a different parent.
Becky picked up Jamie's empty bowl and turned toward the sink, her back to the boys so they wouldn't see her grimace. Jamie was like her, quiet and introspective, except when his brother involved him in mischief. On the other hand, from birth Tyler had proven himself to be so much like his father it was almost frightening. He came into the world yelling and fighting, as though angry at his brother for being born first. From that moment, he seemed determined not to settle for second place ever again, and greedily demanded more than his fair share of everything--attention, milk, even space in the bassinet.
Becky set Jamie's bowl in the top rack beside her own and blew out a deep breath. She would not ruin this beautiful April day with thoughts of her ex-husband.
"You can't have Miss Peters because you have Miss Mallory," she told her youngest son. "Make the best of it."
Tyler folded his arms across his chest and slid farther down in the chair, his dark eyebrows drawn into a scowl. A typical Christopher expression. The resemblance between father and son struck her anew. In fact, both boys looked like their father, with his dark hair and eyes, his strong chin and chiseled nose. They were both good athletes, too, with tall, slender bodies that shed all traces of baby fat by their third year. Taking after Christopher in that respect was probably a good thing. She wouldn't wish her short, plump body and heart-shaped face on anyone.
Across the table, Jamie lifted his chin and smirked at his brother. "My teacher rocks."
"Jamie, don't be annoying," she scolded. He might be quiet at school, but Jamie wasn't a wimp. He could hold his own with his rowdy twin. "All right, boys, brush your teeth and get your backpacks. It's almost time to leave. Jamie, leave the men at home."
Chairs scraped across the floor as the boys tumbled out of them. They ran from the room, and Becky swiped the table with a dishcloth, mentally planning her route to work. She had a couple of errands to do on the way this morning. She needed to stop for gasoline, and yesterday her boss, Neal, asked her to pick up some carrots. They had a tour scheduled at eleven o'clock, and the horses expected lots of carrots while the tourists gawked at them.
* * *
Forty minutes later, Becky turned from a two-lane country road onto the paved driveway of the old converted farmhouse where she worked. She noted with satisfaction the freshly painted letters of the wooden sign in the front yard: Out to Pasture, A Thoroughbred Retirement Farm. That faded sign had bugged her for the two months since she came to work here, and she finally took matters into her own hands and re-painted it a few days ago. It looked much better, nice, even. At the rear of the house she parked beside the boss's pickup, in front of the small barn where they stored supplies for their fifteen retired Thoroughbred champions.