Title: The Contessa's Brooch
Author: P.J. MacLayne
Genre: Mystery-Female Sleuth
A firebug is stalking Oak Grove and internet researcher Harmony Duprie is on the case. It starts as a simple data analysis project for Police Chief Sorenson, but things get personal when the house she renovated is targeted.
The arsonist is in it for the glory, posting videos of his exploits on social media. So, Harmony calls for backup from her favorite computer hackers, Eli, Lando, and Scotty. Complications arise when Fiesker, a fire investigator with a chip on his shoulder, is brought in to unmask the culprit and put an end to the fires. Then there’s the mysterious emails being sent to the town’s firefighters. And who is leaving a trail of Celtic brooches behind?
Harmony finally gets a break when Jake, her ex, stumbles across information that might lead to the guilty party.
Can Eli, Lando and Scotty help Harmony track down the pyromaniac before someone gets hurt? Or, worse yet, killed?
The Contessa's Brooch is the fourth book in the Harmony Duprie Mysteries.
I didn't push Eli until after Sarah and Freddie had left. “Can you track down the users without a warrant?”
“Legally, no. The only way to do it is to hack into the cable company's records. And that may not be possible, even illegally. I won't ask Scotty and Lando to try.”
“I hate this. You got us so close. It seems wrong to have to stop now.”
He grinned as he helped me to carry the dirty glasses to the kitchen. “Who said anything about stopping? There are a couple of other ways to track down who's posting the videos. We're still working on it.”
I wrapped my arms around him and snuggled against his back. “You know how much I appreciate you doing this? But you should stop now. I don't want you to risk your reputation by doing anything that's against the law.”
He chuckled. “I haven't been caught yet.” He suddenly swung around so we stood face to face, chest to chest. “But,” he said as he leaned in to gently touch his lips to mine, “I promise I'll stick to strictly legal means of tracking the culprit, even if it's harder that way.”
Something else was harder, too. But he'd have to wait. We had more kissing to do. I didn’t have to worry about anyone overhearing us, and I planned to make the night worth our while.
We moved from breathtaking kisses to territory a little lower when my home phone rang. I stopped long enough to let out a deep sigh. Eli shook his head and I decided to ignore it. If it was important, the caller would leave a message.
A minute or two later, my cell phone buzzed. I forgot to turn it off before accosting Eli. With a grimace, I reached into my pocket and pulled it out. Keeping my eyes locked on Eli's, I turned down the volume and tossed it onto the counter behind us.
My reward came in the form of Eli paying additional attention to that particular spot on my neck. Things were moving along nicely when his phone rang.
I started to worry. It didn't feel like a coincidence. But he didn't let it interrupt the moment. His phone ended up silenced next to mine.
We were in the slow process of heading towards the bedroom, with frequent stops along the way, when a loud knock distracted us. In unison, we groaned. “If we pretend that we aren't here, will they go away?” I whispered into Eli's ear.
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Born and raised among the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania, P.J. MacLayne still finds inspiration for her books in that landscape. She is a computer geek by day and a writer by night who currently lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. When she's not in front of a computer screen, she might be found exploring the back roads of the nearby national forests and parks. In addition to the Harmony Duprie Mysteries, she is also the author of the Free Wolves adventures.
P.J. MacLayne can be reached on: