Publication date: February 13th 2018
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Despite being chronically late, occasionally disheveled and a tad disorganized, Dixie Knight is one of the top private investigators in the country, and when a young woman goes missing in the small, Southern town of Devil’s Den, Dixie takes the case. She expected it to be another ordinary missing person case—until Lizzie Meyers is found naked and beaten to death at a local, seedy motel.
While visiting relatives on his two-week leave, Marine Liam Cash bumps into Dixie at the local bar, and his attraction to her is immediate. When Liam connects Dixie’s current case to two unsolved murders in his hometown, he steps in to help find the killer, and keep her safe, whether Dixie wants him to or not.
After another woman is found brutally beaten, Dixie turns the town upside down trying to solve the mystery—could it be the rumored witch that lives in the mountains; the rich, neurotic doctor’s wife; or the perky, blonde receptionist at the local medical clinic?
Time is running out and Dixie knows she has to put the pieces of the puzzle together before another body turns cold in Devil’s Den.
THE SILVER GLOW of the moon lit her way as she slipped silently through the woods, her eyes locked on the silhouette a few yards in front of her. A gust of ice-cold wind whistled through the tall pine trees above her, breaking the eerie silence of midnight.
Dixie peered through the binoculars and watched the tall, bulky man step behind a tree, his gaze fixed on the rickety log cabin just ahead of him—the home of her client, Beverly Clemens, who was terrified that her crazy ex-boyfriend, Emmett, was stalking her.
And it appeared that Beverly was right.
She pulled the night vision camera from her bag--click, click, click. She switched angles--click, click, click.
“I’ve got you now,” she muttered under her breath. Just a few more pictures—preferably with a full-face shot—and her client should have no problem getting a restraining order against her obsessed ex.
She slid the camera into her pocket and glanced at the house. A dim light shone through a back window, its orange beam spilling onto the ground, illuminating the fresh dusting of snow.
It was a cold, quiet night—the calm before the snow that was promised to be on its way.
She wiggled the stiffness from her toes, yanked up the collar of her trench coat, and kicked herself for not grabbing a hat on the way out of the house. Although, at the time, she sure as hell hadn’t realized that an evening of casual surveillance would turn into a bone-chilling hike through the mountains, in the middle of the damn night.
She narrowed her eyes and watched him. Watched him, watching her client.
Emmett was a big guy—she guessed over six feet, two-twenty, at least. Not someone she’d want stalking her, that’s for sure. So far, this case had been the typical ex who couldn’t let go, but there was something about tonight; something about the way Emmett had tromped through the woods, with purpose, with a sense of urgency, that had Dixie on edge.
Her sixth sense—her gut instinct—was telling her to stick around, and to keep her head on a swivel.
She reached into her bag, grabbed her thermos, sipped, and immediately wrinkled her nose—nothing like tepid coffee to take the fun out of a stakeout. She shoved the drink back into her bag and felt around for anything to give her a boost of energy. Bingo—a half-eaten Snickers bar. She took a bite, savoring the tingle of sweetness on her tongue, and slid the wrapper into her pocket.
The blustery wind whipped through her long, dark hair, as dead leaves spun up from the ground. She wrapped her coat tighter, crossed her arms over her chest and leaned against the tree to take the weight off of her aching feet.
Suddenly, she heard a rustling noise behind her.
She tensed from head to toe—it was a good bet she wasn’t the only thing stalking something else in the woods. Her hand slowly slid to the handle of her gun—the gun her father had taught her to use decades ago; the gun that she always kept with her.
As she slowly turned, a bat zipped past her, just inches from her face. Fear shot like lightning up her spine, and she released a muffled yelp, biting back a scream.
Damn you, little devil bird.
She swallowed the knot in her throat and took a deep breath. Her eyes darted around the dense woods that surrounded her. Dark shadows from the full moon danced along the forest floor, creepily swaying back and forth, playing tricks on her—The Great Shadow Mountains were certainly living up to their name tonight.
To some people, the light of the moon washing over the trees might look enchanting, magical, safe. But Dixie knew better than that. She knew that the Great Shadow Mountains were home to thousands of creatures, including bears, mountain lions, snakes, coyotes and more bats than Dixie cared to think about. The miles and miles of woods were speckled with deep valleys and caves, which provided shelter to all the things living in the mountains, and plenty of places to hide. According to the legends, the mountains were haunted—full of ghosts and evil spirits. But perhaps most notably, was the legend of Krestel, a witch who lived deep in the mountains, casting spells on anyone who was unfortunate enough to cross her path.
Like most small, Southern towns, Devil’s Den had its fair share of folktales; but Dixie didn’t believe in Krestel, or the stories that the old cowboys told after too many whiskey drinks at the local watering hole. No, Dixie wasn’t scared of ghosts or witches—just bats.
She released the grip on her gun, turned back around, and focused again on Emmett, still standing motionless behind a tree.
What the hell was he planning to do? Just stand there and watch the house all night?
She blew out a breath and glanced at her watch—just after midnight.
Minutes ticked by.
An owl hooted in the distance.
Suddenly Emmett reached into his pocket, and a flash caught her eye—a glint of moonlight sparkling off the tip of a blade.
Amanda McKinney, author of Sexy, Suspenseful Mysteries wrote her debut novel, LETHAL LEGACY, after walking away from her career to become a writer and stay-at-home mom. When Amanda isn’t tending to her two beautiful boys, she’s hidden behind her computer screen crafting page-turning murder mysteries, peppered with titillating love scenes. Having been born and raised in the south, Amanda’s books are set in small, country towns and reflect southern culture at its finest.
Amanda’s debut novel, LETHAL LEGACY, was released in January 2017, followed by the first two books in the BERRY SPRINGS SERIES, THE WOODS and THE LAKE. The third book in the series, THE STORM is scheduled to be released in the Winter of 2017.
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