Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **AUTHOR SPECIAL** with LYNDA REES!
Welcome to my Friday bonus feature called Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special**!! Today, in lieu of one of my own recipes, I’m going to introduce you to a new author who will share one of her favorite recipes. Not only will you and I occasionally learn how to make something new and delicious, but we’ll get a chance to check out some wonderful authors. Introducing author, LYNDA REES, and her favorite recipe for DARK CHOCOLATE CHERRY BITES!
HEART OF THE MATTER
Reggie Chronicles Book 2
BY LYNDA REES
FBI Agent Reggie Casse and fiancé, U. S. Marshal Shea Montgomery, want a quiet but memorable wedding. Shea’s WITSEC witness, a corpse with a unique tattoo, a missing baby, and a kidnapping at their reception lead to an international ring selling items money shouldn’t be able to buy and a wedding no one can forget. Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum meets James Patterson’s Alex Cross in rural Kentucky racehorse country.
Heart of the Matter, Reggie Chronicles 2 https://youtu.be/OubgNxU0WZs
Magnolia Blossoms, Reggie Chronicles https://youtu.be/_y0bNTYSfxs
Coming Soon! Reggie Chronicles https://youtu.be/-0hxDIxjM5U
FBI Special Agent Reggie Casse stretched her arms skyward, relishing heat from the bright sun. “I forgot how beautiful the wilderness is. This might be one of the last warm days of fall. It was a great idea to spend it canoeing on the river.”
She playfully whipped the paddle downward, cutting the river’s glistening surface. Splatter strategically landed behind her on the ‘too hot for words’ man paddling from the canoe’s rear. U. S. Marshal Shea Montgomery paused from stroking the ripples with his oar, sitting behind his bikini-clad fiancé in their rented canoe.
Shae shook moisture from his face with a deep chuckle. “Hey, watch it. The bread is back here. I don’t want to eat soggy sandwiches when we stop. Speaking of stopping, I’m starved. You said there was a picnic spot coming up soon.”
It was a treat in more than one way. The twosome rarely got time off work from their perilous jobs.
Laughter jiggled Reggie’s breasts. “Don’t get hangry on me, lover boy. The old boat launching ramp should be around this next curve in the river. No one uses it any longer, but it will make a nice spot to take a break.”
“Sounds good. Much as I enjoy watching your feisty butt wiggle in that seat, I could use a cold beer and some of that ham you baked.”
They paddled swiftly toward the upcoming curve in the waterway. A shrill shriek came from around the bend. A woman’s scream of panic kept sounding over and over. Reggie’s joy dissipated like it was slammed away inside a locked safe. Her mood went instantly into professional gear, and she knew from experience Shea would be doing the same.
Like a well-trained team, Reggie and Shae increased speed, forcing oars into the stream with gusto. Their canoe sped silently ahead and around the curved treeline, in search of the person making the terrifying noise.
A grey-haired couple dressed in jeans and tee-shirts stood gripping each other. The female’s face was buried in the taller, pudgy man’s chest. Her back rose and fell against his navy shirt, and she appeared to be the source of the screaming.
The man’s head lifted attention from the female cradled in his arms as Reggie guided the canoe into a spot beside the broken, concrete boat ramp. Reggie grabbed her bag and secured it around her waist then hopped out of the canoe. She snatched the rope at the bow and secured the boat to a tree. Snatching a pair of shorts from the canoe, she hopped into them and zipped them up, all the while climbing the muddy riverbank. Shea followed onto the shore.
The distressed couple separated, but the man kept a protective arm around the woman’s heaving shoulders. Her face was wet; and she left a dark, soaked splotch on the man’s chest.
Reggie whipped out identification and flashed her badge toward the twosome. “FBI Agent Casse.”
Shae did the same. “U. S. Marshal Montgomery; we were boating and heard you scream. What is the problem?”
The couple appeared in shock. Blinking, the man squeezed the female. “This here is my wife, Helen. I’m Esom Cunningham. We…uh hum…we were fishing.” His twang was native to the area, and he pointed toward the water’s edge. Helen caught that…person.” Helen let out another sob and shuddered. Mr. Cunningham pulled her again into his torso.
Reggie turned toward the shore. “Holy crap,” she breathed. So much for a nice, romantic day with Shea.
Too-blonde-to-be-natural hair floated around a badly decomposed, bloated form tangled in tree roots at the water’s edge. A hand with broken, unpolished nails hung partially submerged. It was impossible to determine sex or height of the cadaver, but bone structure indicated it was likely a petite woman or a teenager. The body appeared nude, from what was visible above the surface.
Shae trailed Reggie to the water’s edge and gave her a weak frown. “We just can’t get a day off. Can we, babe?”
No wonder they hadn’t found time to plan their wedding. Work inevitably intruded on any personal plans they’d made.
“Technically, as Sheriff this one is Wyatt’s. It’s not our jurisdiction.” Reggie groaned, squatting to view the corpse tangled in the brush just inside the water.
Shea knelt beside her. “You want me to call it in?”
Reggie waved toward the locals, stood, pulled her phone. “I’ll do it. You take care of them.” She dialled and walked a few feet away toward a thick, undisturbed cornfield.
The familiar voice of her life-long buddy, Sheriff Wyatt Gordon, came on the line. “Hey, Reggie, what’s up?”
“Much as I’d like to say I’m inviting you and Sage to The Ten Mile House for a cold one, I’m calling on business. Shea and I are at the old, deserted boat ramp. We were canoeing and came upon a couple fishing. They pulled a body up. You’d best get down here.”
“Be there in five.” A click and the line went dead.
Shea talked quietly with the couple, trying to calm Helen down. Esom acted stressed, as much with concern for his wife as for what they’d discovered. Reggie meandered toward the threesome, scanning the area for anything that didn’t appear normal.
She nodded toward the couple’s aged pickup truck. “Maybe you should sit.”
Esom moved his wife toward their vehicle. “Yeah, Helen, let’s get you a cold drink.” The old man pulled a couple bottles of water from a cooler in the truck bed. He hoisted a bottle upward in front of him, as if asking Reggie and Shea if they’d like one.
Reggie shook her head. “No thank you.”
Shea accepted the bottle and opened it. Esom leaned against the frame beside Helen. He cracked a bottle and handed it to her. Helen took it and climbed into the driver’s side, leaving the door open, her legs dangling out.
After a long swig of water, Esom offered Reggie and Shae a half-hearted smile. “We fish this spot considerably, but it’s been a wet few weeks. We haven’t been here for round about a month. This road sometimes floods, and it’s difficult to drive to the river when it’s slippery. The county don’t maintain this lane no longer. It’s still a dandy spot for catfish when it’s dry enough to get here.”
Too bad the cadaver had spoiled the pretty, secluded fishing hole for them.
Reggie frowned. “Probably some youngster getting in a swim before the water’s too cool. These last few days have been unseasonably warm for early fall.”
Esom nodded, as though agreeing. Reggie wondered if the dead girl would prove her right. She’d soon find out.
Sirens blared. Rumble of several vehicles made its way toward them from the dirt and sparsely gravelled trail. It appeared to only be used by the cornfield owner, the occasional fishing enthusiast and probably as a teenaged parking spot. The road was rutted and rough.
Sheriff Gordon’s cruiser pulled to a stop beside the cornfield and behind the Cunninghams’ vehicle. A second cruiser parked behind him.
Wyatt’s long, lean body peeled out of his ride, and he positioned his hat atop his thick, silver hair. Behind him Deputy Leo Sanders and his partner, Deputy Jaiden Coldwater, walked toward the scene.
Like Wyatt, Leo was tall. The younger man in his thirties had sandy blonde hair cropped short, and he sported a row of everlasting freckles across his nose. He reminded her of a blonde, grownup Opie Taylor from the old Andy Griffith Show. His sweet, young boy looks belied his expertise as a lawman. As Wyatt’s deputy for the past ten years, he’d proven himself more than once.
Jaiden was petite, barely five-foot tall and dark skinned. Her part-Irish, part-Choctaw heritage gave her an exotic look and a thick mane of butt-length hair, which she’d corralled into a messy bun at the base of her hat. Jaiden might be tiny, but she was a warrior for the law, having survived a drug lord’s bullet from her days as a Texas Ranger and opting for a tamer job as Wyatt’s deputy in peaceful Sweetwater, Kentucky. Her Texas accent was similar to the locals. With her glowing personality, the seasoned officer had fit in quickly.
The sheriff turned to his deputies, removed his hat, ran a broad hand through his long locks then adjusted it onto his head. “Jaiden, call Water Rescue; we need divers over here. I alerted the coroner when I was on route.”
“Will do.” Jaiden stepped away from the group and put a phone to her ear, speaking quietly into it. After disconnecting, she turned to the group. “They’ll be here in fifteen.”
Sweetwater, Kentucky was a small, rural community. Both the new and old public boat ramps were at the edge of town. Water Rescue worked out of the new facility, and their all-volunteer workers lived nearby.
Wyatt waved a hand around him. “Jaiden, Leo, secure the area. Until we learn otherwise, we will treat this as a crime scene.” The deputies nodded and pulled crime scene tape from their vehicle.
Shea walked to where Wyatt stood sketching the scene. “The victim is in the water.” Then he began helping Leo stretch tape.
Jaiden retrieved a camera and began taking photos. Reggie joined the law enforcement officers as they began taking measurements and combing the area for evidence, should this be something worse than a mere drowning. It was highly likely, considering it wasn’t wise to swim the river alone. If a bunch of teens had been swimming, someone would’ve surely reported a drowning.
Reggie and Shea had worked closely with Wyatt’s team on more than one major crime over the years. Knowing Wyatt wouldn’t see their assistance as interference, they operated as part of his crew.
The Sheriff’s lips pursed, eyes scanning the riverfront. “Esom, Helen, sorry to see you all under these circumstances.”
He apparently knew the Cunningham’s—not surprising. Wyatt and Reggie had grown up together in Sweetwater, where everyone knew everything about each other.
Esom nodded. Helen grimaced with a sniff.
The coroner’s black, utility van rolled to a stop behind the second car. He stepped out, and two blue, coverall-uniformed men climbed from the passenger side. With a nod to the Sheriff, Coroner Baker and his assistants strode to the shore.
Baker studied the body from the bank. The men opened a body bag and made ready for the corpse. After assessing what else they might need, they returned to the van and brought additional equipment.
Wyatt quietly interrogated the Cunninghams, recording the discussion. When he finished gathering what they knew, he patted the older gent’s arm. “I’d appreciate it if you don’t discuss what happened here with anyone, especially the press. I’d like to keep a tight lid on this if I can.”
Esom winced. “Believe me, Sheriff, I’ve got no desire to be in the spotlight or talk about this. I wish I could un-see what we’ve seen here today.” He shook like a shiver had run through him.
“I wish you luck with that. You know the Sweetwater Grapevine. One way or another, news will get out.” Wyatt frowned. The man was right. Town folks felt it their duty to keep up with the goings-on of those around them. It wasn’t a vindictive society, but a means of ensuring their friends and neighbours were doing okay. They weren’t above stepping in without request to bring aide to someone in need, whether it was wanted or not, working on the premise everyone needed a helping hand from time to time.
Esom grimaced and chewed his lip. Helen cried quietly into a handkerchief. “That poor person. Everyone has their time to go, but it looks so—” Mrs. Cunningham seemed to have lost her ability to find the right word.
The sheriff glowered. “Sit quietly for a few minutes and try to get your wits about you. Soon as we clear a few things, you and Helen can go home. You know how to reach me if you recall anything else that might be important.” Wyatt handed Esom a business card.
Within minutes a team of three divers arrived in a small boat. After talking with the coroner and sheriff, they entered the water and began detaching the body from a tree’s partially submerged root system.
Wyatt, Shea, and Reggie gathered near Coroner Baker’s team, watching progress. Before long, divers lifted a cement block with a chain through it. One end secured around and between the figure’s legs.
“Son of a bitch.” Wyatt’s worlds gushed out with a guttural sigh only those standing near him could hear. “I was hoping it wasn’t a homicide. Jaiden, call CSI. Get them over here.” With a nod, Jaiden stepped away to make the call.
Lynda is a multi-award-winning storyteller and Kentucky horse farmer. Born in the Appalachian Mountains the daughter of a coal miner and part-Cherokee Indian, Lynda grew up in northern Kentucky when Newport prospered as a gambling and sin mecca under the Cleveland Mob, which influences her writing. Her fascination with history’s effect on today’s lives works its way into her written pages.
Having traveled the world working with heads of industries, foreign governments, and business leaders during a corporate career in marketing and global transportation, this free-spirited adventurer with workaholic tendencies follows her passion for writing. Winning awards for both debut novels in two genres, Gold Lust Conspiracy was a RITA finalist and plaeed in Pages From The Heart Contest. Her romantic suspense, Parsley, Sage, Rose, Mary & Wine, Book 1 of TheBloodline Series is a Golden Heart Award finalist. Most of Lynda’s books are set in Kentucky horse country near where Lynda lives with Hunky Hubby and a herd of wacky critters. Imaginarium Finalist, Operation Second Chance, is among her other major works. She also writes middle-grade and children’s books, and has published several non-fiction books. Check out Lynda’s works. There are many more on the shelves.
Lynda hopes you enjoy her stories and you become life-long friends. Stay in touch!
Links to Lynda’s website, blog, books, #ad etc.:
Become a VIP https://preview.mailerlite.com/t1a6j6
RITA FINALIST, GOLDEN HEART AWARD
YouTube Channel: https://bit.ly/2HmSA9M
Instagram: https: @lyndareesauthor.com
I hope you enjoy the recipe Lynda is sharing today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy Eating!
P.S. We’re at 591 recipes and counting with this posting. Hope you find some recipes you like. If this is your first visit, please check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right-hand column menu, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, Author Specials, etc.
DARK CHOCOLATE CHERRY BITES
Preparation time: 5 minutes
1 Cup pitted cherries, fresh
10 Pitted dates
2 Cups chopped almonds, raw
¼ Cup mini dark chocolate chips
2 Teaspoons water
Mix ingredients and make balls. These no-bake goodies are sure to delight your whole family.
She also has a deal going on that anyone who purchases either Hart’s Girls or Heart of the Matter in any format and emails her proof of purchase, she will give them a FREE book prize.
Anyone signing up to become a VIP will receive a FREE ebook copy of Leah’s Story, preamble to The Bloodline Series of books set in Kentucky horse country.
Thanks, Lynda, for sharing your story with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!