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She was tall, with a long black wavy mane that came most the way down her back.

While her tight black leather jeans almost came up to meet, except for a narrow band of pure ivory skin. Those, plus a cropped knit top and an opened short jacket, drew all eyes to her in the backwoods bar.

Only the jukebox continued any noise, beating out a worn country music classic.

She had come to see me. Perhaps to help with my simple request. Because I needed assistance for an appointment after hers. For a mystery I wasn't sure I could solve on my own.

As she strode over in her high-heeled Timberline boots, she smiled. In another age, her smile would have launched a thousand ships.

Right now, she was here just for me.

A slight wave of her hand and the crowd resumed whatever they had been doing before. She liked a grand entrance, but only so much.

She again turned back to me, and our eyes locked. I returned her smile.

As ever, this was going to be fun...


It looked to be just another "red-neck" bar. And I was drinking tea. Not that anyone minded. This place had more customers coming for their barbecued tenderloin sandwiches than their draft beer or hard liquor.

But the music, the atmosphere – that was pure Midwestern, traditional. Classic Western ballads in the jukebox. Broad shoulders on men, tight jeans on women. And smiles for everyone, but your hands are for your drink and your food. Lot's of self-respect around, which comes from respecting others first.

American values, passed on and validated with each new generation. And places like this dotted most of America and were more common than any corporate-run diners or coffee-houses. Because they were an outgrowth of the community, they weren't there to "make a lot of money", although they did that, too.

This wasn't one of my usual haunts as a mystery writer. But this also wasn't one of my usual mysteries to solve.

I was relaxing at a table near the front. Waiting to meet someone – a certain someone who could help me with my problem. That situation was more than just an unresolved mystery. And if you know me, leaving some mystery unresolved in my life gets irritating. Like a single grain of sand inside a mussel's shell.

The front door opened and I recognized that young woman standing tall in its frame. She took a single stride in and stood there. With her heeled boots, she looked a long glass poured full of pure femininity. Her Timberline boots slipped into the tight pant-legs of her black leather jeans, which went on up to described every curve and dimple of her smooth legs beneath, from her knees right up to her hips, and to the very limit of those jeans' low-cut waist.

There, a thin band of ivory-white midriff took over before being itself covered by a snug, black and very defining knit v-top. An open black leather bolero jacket swept up from that midriff area to slide itself beneath a thick mane of wavy back hair. A cascade down her shoulders from its provocative part on one side of its crest.

Underneath those long tresses were dark brows, dark eyes, and dark lips that completed a goth approach to stunning beauty.

As she came up to my table, I could smell wild rose and lilac from her hair, on top of the leather scent.

It was going to be one interesting afternoon...

Anthology containing:
One More For the Road by J. R. Kruze, S. H. MarpelCassie 2.0b by S. H. Marpel, J. R. KruzeShoemaker by S. H. MarpelThe Return of Walkaway Mary by S. H. Marpel
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Crime & Thrillers
20 November
Living Sensical Press

More Books by S. H. Marpel & J. R. Kruze