Saturday, September 17, 2011

#SampleSunday The Witness Wore Blood Bay

The Witness Wore Blood Bay is the second in my Leigh McRae horse mystery series.

In this excerpt, Leigh goes undercover to help her cousin Sammi find out who's poisoning the neighborhood dogs. Leigh pretends to be a former resident of the home occupied by suspect Eloise Barker.

“Hi, I’m Sarah Goddard.” I smiled so big my mouth hurt.
Sammi had used her usual stunning logic to select my faux name. She thought Sarah sounded sweet and Goddard reminded her of God. And “no one would ever suspect God of lying and tricking people, would they, babe?”

“Is there something I can help you with?” Her narrowed eyes showed her total suspicion.

Okay, Sammi had warned me the Barkers weren’t the most sociable of people. If I were lucky, Mrs. Barker would be too cautious to fall for my story and I could leave. I was already regretting my part in Sammi’s scheme to get into the Barker home. The theory had sounded a lot better than the actuality.

“Goodness, I hope I don’t sound silly or anything.” All unbidden my voice had morphed into the squeaky, overly-optimistic tones of a junior high cheerleader. “My family used to live here years ago when I was a child. I wondered if you’d mind terribly showing me the house. You know how it is, you can’t help but get nostalgic about old times.”

“Do you live here in Del Canto?” Her expression would have done credit to a stone.

“No, ma’am. I mean, not yet, we’re just visiting, but we might relocate from Georgia. We’re thinking of moving over there.” I waved my hand to include the whole western side of town, which would include the harbor and yacht basin as well as a number of quaint shoppes.

“Goddard, you said your name is? Is that your married name, because I don’t recall seeing that name on any of the paperwork for the house. There were two owners before us.” By now her eyes were so narrowed down they looked like coin slits in a piggy bank.

“Married name. Yes, I’m a Goddard now.” I hid my ringless left hand in a fold of my dress and grinned like I was auditioning for a teeth-whitening commercial. I hoped like mad she wouldn’t ask my maiden name because I did not know either of the previous two owners.

“And your maiden name was...”

Damn it. What a suspicious b–I mean, woman.

“Harper,” I blurted. Dummy. Why did I choose Brenda’s name?

Eloise’s mouth twisted sideways. “I don’t recognize the name Harper.”

“I was raised by relatives and my last name was different from theirs.” I was tempted to pile on details, maybe claim my parents had been lost at sea or sent to prison for grand theft auto. Sammi had told me once she read in a psychology book that people would be more likely to believe lies if the liar added lots of realistic-sounding detail to their tall tales. But I didn’t think the bit about the parents was all that realistic, so I stifled the impulse and tried to look honest, yet somewhat traumatized by my difficult childhood. “I understand if it’s not convenient for me have a look inside.” I took a step backward and almost fell off the porch. “I’m so sorry I bothered you.”

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