A Teaser for Christmas

DYING OF DESIRE, the fourth book in the McCall-Malone Mystery series will be out in 2015.

Once again McCall and Malone are in jeopardy as they very tentatively explore a relationship. A young man named George Heatherly wants the two Portland, Oregon, private investigators to simply look into the finances of a local charitable organization involving his wife’s family. Meanwhile, a friend of Clint’s asks them to protect a young woman who has escaped the street life and doesn’t want to go back. Both should be simple enough cases…so who is trying to kill Clint and Devon, and why?

Here’s a teaser from the upcoming book:

Merritt the Ferret was sitting by himself, like everyone else in Mary’s Club, at a table in the far corner.

Devon Malone stopped at the bar to order a beer, then walked across the room and took the other chair at the table, across from him. He was dressed in brown and gray as usual, though today his cravat was blue.

Devon launched right in. “Your niece wants an assault rifle for her birthday? How old is she?”

The Ferret snorted. “Hi. How are you? I’m fine. Good to see you.”

“I’m fine, too, but I’m more concerned about your niece.”

“She’s eight and it’s a toy assault rifle she wants, not a real one.” He grinned. “She specified an AK-47, though. Isn’t that something? I think she kind of takes after you.”

“Huh. I don’t think that’s a compliment to either one of us, Merritt. I didn’t have toy guns when I was a little kid.”

“Bet you didn’t have many dolls, either.”

“No, not many, but let’s get down to business. You called me. I can’t help you with your shopping and, honestly, I hope nobody else does. Can you help me with my investigating?”

The little man frowned. “That’s not very nice. Here I offer to help you out….”


“Okay, okay. The thing is, I got curious and asked around some more about this asshole Guth and, I swear to God, it sounds like he thinks he really does love that girl you were talking about before, the one he wants back.”

“You said that wasn’t possible.”

He shrugged. “So I was wrong for the first time in my life. It’s not like ‘whatever you want, dear’ kind of love. It’s more like, ‘I love my car.’ Not that I love mine. It’s a piece of shit….”

“So you’re saying it’s part of his whole control thing.” Devon took the second and last sip of her own. It tasted just like the air smelled. “That’s interesting,” she said. She slipped him two twenties across the table. “Don’t spend it on a goddamned plastic gun. If your niece isn’t a girly-girl, buy her a chemistry set or something.”

The money disappeared into his jacket. “I’ll think about that. She’s not really the scientist type.”

Devon got up, as did the Ferret. “Maybe that’s because nobody ever gave her a chemistry set.”

The headed together toward the front entrance. As they walked along the length of the bar, a man sitting on one of the stools suddenly swung around and grabbed her arm. He was middle-aged, balding, dressed like a day laborer, with a goofy drunken grin and severe halitosis.

“You leavin’, little lady?” he slurred.

Devon looked at him. “I’m not little,” she said just loudly enough to be heard over the music, “I’m not a lady, and if you don’t take your hand off my arm I’ll take it off your arm.”

His hand instantly popped open but for a very long moment it was as if he couldn’t otherwise process what she’d said—until finally the grin faded, to be replaced by resignation. “Ookay,” he responded finally, and woozily swiveled back to the bar.

She urged the Ferret on toward the exit. He nudged her arm. “You really are kind of small,” he said.

“Look who’s talking,” she said, and shoved past him to exit the place first.

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