Saturday, November 22, 2008

Special Feature!!


The whole family held their breath while the wheel ticked around and around—or rather while the lawyer opened the envelope. Then they all heaved a sigh of relief when the wheel stopped on Carrie Evans’s name. Carrie the heiress. Great. Clean up the house. Clean up the yard. Clean up Great-Grandma’s rap sheet. Carrie hates mice and loves the big city. So why is she living in a huge mouse-infested house in her dinky hometown? The dead guy in her pantry closet is the most interesting thing that’s happened since she came home. Of course, the carpenter who’s helping her trap her mice and solve the crime is pretty interesting, too.


Mary Connealy is the author of Petticoat Ranch, Calico Canyon and the soon-to-be-released Gingham Mountain. She has recently signed an exclusive contract to write for Barbour Publishing for the next three years. And yes, the ink was dry on that contract before she let them see her whacky cozy mysteries.
Of Mice. . .and Murder is coming in November from Heartsong Presents Mysteries, the first in a three book series about romance, murder, comedy and really big mice in small town Nebraska. Pride and Pestilence is book #2 and The Miceman Cometh is book #3.
Mary’s dream is to tell love stories that make people laugh. She lives on a farm in Nebraska with her husband, Ivan. She is the mother of four beautiful daughters Josie, married to Matt, Wendy, Shelly, married to Aaron and Katy. She’s got one granddaughter on the way. And later, if it turns out the doctor was wrong about Josie’s baby being a girl, we will look at this bio and laugh.
For more information about MARY CONNEALY

Being named in Great-Grandma's will was like hitting Bankrupt on Wheel of Fortune. The whole family held their breath while the wheel ticked around and around-or rather, while the lawyer opened the envelope. Then they all heaved a sigh of relief when the wheel stopped on Carrie's name.

Carrie the heiress.


Clean up the house.

Clean up the yard.

Clean up Great-Grandma's rap sheet.

"I don't know why it has to be me," Carrie grumbled.

The empty kitchen-empty except for the garbage that Great-Grandma Bea had been amassing all her one hundred and three years-mocked her with its silence.

Silence except for the hammering on the porch, which stopped when Carrie started talking to herself. Carrie froze, hoping the carpenter hadn't heard her.

Spooky old house, spooky new resident.

The banging resumed. Now that her great-grandma wasn't around to drive off the hired help, the work would finally get done-except, of course, Carrie had no money.

She'd have to break that to the carpenter pretty soon.

And while he pounded away, Carrie could break her back by cleaning up this old wreck. What a waste of a beautiful, brisk, fall afternoon. She had to figure out how to get out of Melnik before she went nuts. But first she would-

A mouse dashed out of the kitchen pantry twenty feet away.

"EEEEE!" Carrie shrieked.

The mouse skittered toward her. Carrie ran the opposite direction and collided with the carpenter, who was dashing through the door, clutching his hammer.

"What happened?"

The mouse skidded to a halt under the table and squeaked.

Carrie squeaked even louder and jumped toward the carpenter. He caught her against his chest, hooking one arm under her legs and the other behind her back.

It was nice of a stranger to come to the rescue. He was the kind of man who could do the whole "white knight" thing, with his lovely height and broad shoulders. The hammer he held-in the hand now under her knees-would make a fair lance, too.

"Forgive me." Carrie barely moved her lips.

"For what?" The carpenter's whisper pulled her attention away from the mouse.

Carrie noted the tidy logo of his company on the pocket of his shirt where a little polo player ought to be. OC with the word O'Connor arced above and Construction in a half circle below. Both of the placket buttons were neatly closed, and his hair was combed and gelled as if he were afraid it would break out and go its own way. His eyes glowed with humor and kindness, though.

"Oh, you weren't supposed to hear that. I was praying for forgiveness."

Their eyes locked. His were dark blue, a rich color that begged for a closer look. Hers were blue, too, but washed out like her white-blond hair, the wimpy coloring of a pure Swede, not strong and clear like his.

After way too long, he smiled and whispered again, "For what?"

"Huh?" Her brain functioned slowly, somewhat like Jell-O.

"What do you want God to forgive you for? Jumping into my arms?" His smile faded as if that hurt his feelings.

"Oh, no."

The smile returned. "Good."

"It's something I do when a mouse scares me."


"Because it's a sin to be afraid of a mouse."

A dimple appeared in each cheek as he smiled wider. "Is not. Where in the Bible does it say, 'Thou shalt not run and scream when you see a rodent'?"

Carrie switched from studying his eyes to studying his dimples. Really, a woman could keep busy forever watching him. "It should be. It's a sin to be this stupid about a tiny little creature obviously put on the earth by God to feed cats. Cats need to eat."

"Oh, well then, because cats need to eat, you've sinned for sure. And what does that have to do with you jumping into my arms?"

"There's a mouse." She glanced back at the floor.

The knight eased her back on her feet. "Mouse, huh?" He gave her an I'm-not-rolling-my-eyeballs-throughsheer-willpower look that tarnished his shining armor.

"It's more afraid of you than. . ."

"Than I am of it. I know." And hadn't Carrie heard that a hundred thousand times before in her life? Hadn't helped then, didn't help now. Carrie saw the mouse turn and streak back under the closed pantry door. She grabbed a handful of the carpenter's shirtfront. He steadied her with a strong arm.

"Yeah, right, it's more afraid of me. Not even. Does that mouse lay awake nights fretting, 'What if a woman runs up my leg?' I don't think so."

"Uh, have you got a trap?"

Carrie turned back to the knight. "My hero." The words sounded reverent. "In that sack on the table. Thanks." She was just inches from him, and since she was there anyway, she let herself get lost in his eyes again. This close, she could smell his warm, clean scent.

"I'll see what I can do." He seemed even closer. "By the way, I'm Nick O'Connor. My hired man and I are repairing your porch."

"Hired man?"

"Wilkie Melnik."

Carrie gasped and backed off. "You hired Wilkie Melnik?"

The corners of Nick's mouth turned down, and the smile wrinkles on the corners of his eyes disappeared along with his dimples. Carrie regretted seeing them go, but it helped her mind work.

Nick smoothed the fist wrinkles she'd made in his shirt. "Yeah, he's not working out too well. He didn't show up yesterday or the day before, and he hasn't come today, either."

"That sounds like Wilkie."

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