Saturday, November 1, 2008

Special Feature!


Newlywed Andi Hartley is not at all sure she’s ready to look like an over-ripe melon. . .
In fact, she’s still getting used to being married. But her husband, Ben, wants to start a family right away. Gulp.

Their family plans are put on hold, however, when Andi’s kitten runs from the house to their watermelon field and digs up a bone attached to the remains of a thirty-year-old skeleton. Buried secrets come to life. . .and then the colorful owner of Greenburg’s best eatery is murdered. As Andi unearths more and more of the suspicious history surrounding the skeleton, she realizes both deaths are related. Is she also about to unearth a murderer?


LYNETTE SOWELL works as a medical transcriptionist for a large HMO. But that's her day job. In her "spare" time, she loves to spin adventures for the characters who emerge from story ideas in her head. She hopes to spread the truth of God's love and person while taking readers on an entertaining journey. Lynette is a Massachusetts transplant, who makes her home in central Texas with her husband, two kids by love and marriage (what's a step-kid?), and five cats who have their humans well-trained. She loves to read, travel, spend time with her family, and is a green-thumb-in-training.

Rain pounded the window of our first-floor bedroom. Thunder had woken me at who knows what insane hour in the middle of the night, and all I could do was watch the show until the storm passed. Lightning illuminated the field of watermelons across the driveway. The vines lit up with the flash, and the watermelons among the leaves remained steadfast against the rain. A sudden movement among the vines made me rise up on one elbow in bed. The movement stopped.

Another flash of lightning, and I glimpsed a bulky figure hunched over the vines. So I hadn't been seeing things. Four miles from town, we didn't have neighbors, and our property was flanked by woods on both sides and by the now-swollen Tennessee River to the rear of the property.

"Ben, someone's in our field!" I jumped up and grabbed my robe from its perch on the exercise bike.

"Hold on, sweetie." Ben was on his feet before I could finish sweeping the cobwebs from my mind. "I'llcheck it out. Though I can't say who'd be plunderin' watermelons this time of night."

He moved down the hallway, and I stayed close behind him. My wedding ring still felt new and shiny on my hand. It and the diamond Ben had given me last July slid round and round as my other hand fumbled with my fingers.

Ben stopped and spun to face me. "Andromeda Hartley, get back in bed."

"No way." I took his hand and squeezed it. "I'm at least goin' to look over your shoulder."

"Those kids better not be out there partyin'. No wonder Mrs. Flanders pulled out her shotgun and chased hooligans off her land. Crazy teenagers."

"In a rainstorm. Right. They'll probably be partying somewhere a lot dryer." I didn't like being woken up in the middle of the night, and Ben's logic escaped me.

He didn't reply but tugged me along with him around the corner then released my hand. A flash of lightning in the kitchen windows made me blink. Ben fumbled with the dead bolt on the kitchen door. Once my eyes readjusted to the darkness, I skidded to a stop on the new tile.

Ben flung open the door and dashed from the back steps, across the covered patio, and into the rain. He paused long enough to grab the baseball bat he'd left on the picnic table after softball practice. I followed. My cheeks stung from the pelting drops, and I fought to see into the grays and blacks of the night. Momma would pitch a fit if she knew I'd run into the rain during a lightning storm. It seems once I got married all my common sense went out the window. Ben and I stumbled through the muddy driveway. He stopped and I slid into him. He pulled me close and I leaned against his warmth, and we waited until the lightning flashed again.

Not thirty yards or so away from us, a figure splashed down our driveway toward a darkened car that waited at the edge of the drive. Lightning illuminated the yard but did little to help us see the stranger.The car's rear tires roared against the mud, and the car turned, headlights now on, and sped away on the rainslicked road.

Drenched to the skin, I glanced at Ben. "He sure picked a great time to steal watermelons. Makes no sense. Alone, too."

Under the yard light, Ben shook his head. "Beats me. C'mon, we oughta get back to sleep. Morning comes early. No harm done, anyway. Not worth calling the police over."

"But if it happens again?" I didn't like the idea of someone trespassing on our property. The idea of a silent lurker made me shiver.

We entered the house, arm in arm. I left a stream of water and wet footprints behind me as I got towels from the hallway linen closet. As I backtracked and wiped up the watery mess with an extra towel, I tried to make sense of what we'd seen. I just couldn't dismiss the event quickly, like Ben had. A stranger prowling in the field during a thunderstorm in the middle of the night didn't make sense. Why would someone go to so much trouble to snag watermelons in a storm? And if it was only watermelons, why keep stealing them after Ben and I had moved onto the property?

As Ben and I trudged back to bed, my foggy brain struggled to make sense of what I'd seen. The last thing I remembered before dropping off to sleep was the image of the hunched-over stranger. . .carrying nothing.

To read more of THE WILES OF WATERMELON be sure to subscibe to:

Heartsong Presents: Mysteries!

Other Heartsong Presents Mysteries by LYNETTE SOWELL

A SUSPICION OF STRAWBERRIES: When Charla Rae Thacker and her bridesmaids show up at Andi's soap shop in Greenburg, Tennessee, for a morning of pre-wedding pampering, Andi bends over backwards to make it a pleasant experience for them all. But then Charla keels over and dies from anaphylactic shock after she uses Andi's personally blended cherries jubilee facial scrub. Andi suspects sabotage and murder when she discovers strawberries - a lethal allergen for Charla - in the scrub. Now, Andi must save her business and her reputation.

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