Title: Death Southern Style
Author: Beverley Bateman
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Born and raised in New Orleans Julie Ann Dupré senses things other people don’t. She’s living in New York when she’s told her mother has been killed in an attempted robbery, which is odd because Perrine didn’t have anything valuable to steal. Julie Ann comes home to find the truth and discovers there’s a family secret, hidden for years. She searches to find the real reason for her mother’s death. Now someone is trying to kill her. Will her psychic senses, a little dog and a detective keep her safe?
Detective Connor O’Reilly, a native of New Orleans and comes from a family of police. He’s an honest cop but realizes there is corruption in the division. He meets Julie Ann at her mother’s house and is immediately attracted to her. After telling her about the attempted robbery he checks into the case and finds no one is investigating the death. Julie Ann deserves the truth and he wants to know what really happened. He starts a thorough investigation. He’s warned off the case and then he receives a death threat.
Julie Ann and Connor work together to unravel the real reason behind Perrine Dupré’s murder, Julie Ann’s mysterious past, and why people want her dead, while developing their challenging relationship. Can they both survive? And what about their relationship?
Her mind flashed back to last night.
Was it a dream? Did I really see my mother?
Most people would say she’d dreamed the whole thing, but Julie Ann believed her mother was watching out for her. Somehow, she had managed to come back to her, even briefly.
Sleep had no intention of returning. She should get up and see if there were any signs from her mom in the courtyard. Maybe she’d left the brown envelop there. She gave up, tossed the covers to the bottom of the bed and dragged herself to the shower.
Showered and dressed Julie Ann tromped downstairs to the kitchen. Things had been moved and changed since her last visit. The coffeemaker was new, and the toaster was wide enough for bagels.
There was a fine dust on counters and doorknobs from the forensics team. She’d clean it up later.
After programming the coffeemaker, she popped a slice of bread in the toaster. When the percolating stopped, she poured a cup of strong, black coffee, buttered the toast and carried both outside to the courtyard.
In broad daylight it looked like it always had when she had come out here. Her mother loved the courtyard. She remembered thinking about how they had spent many a pleasant hour chatting away while digging in the dirt, planting bulbs and enjoying the color of the flowers and the deep scent of the begonias. She took a deep breath. She remembered there had been the scent of begonias in the air last night, right before her mother showed up.
She put the plate on the rock ledge, sat down with her mug in both hands and took a sip of steaming coffee. She stared at the place where mom had appeared. The clouds were gone, sun was starting to warm up the air.
Would she show up again? Maybe she had been dreaming. No, mom had been there. Julie Ann breathed in the scent of the begonias and felt a hand on her shoulder.
A sharp bark broke through her reverie. She lowered her coffee mug. A small, brown, mixed breed dog sat a few feet away. It barked again.
“Well, hi there, fella. Where did you come from?” Julie Ann dropped one hand from her mug and wiggled her fingers. The mongrel jumped up and moved closer so Julie Ann could scratch behind the dog’s ears.
A smile played with her lips while Julie Ann rubbed his or her head and scratched under its chin. “Good boy, good doggie. How did you get back here?”
She looked around, wondering if there was a hole in the wall somewhere. The only way into the courtyard was through the house or the walkway between her house and Martha’s. But there was a wrought-iron gate that blocked the entrance to the courtyard. She could see the gate was closed.
“So how did you get in here?” She rubbed the dog’s head. “It wasn’t through the house and you may be skinny but not skinny enough to slip through the wrought-iron. Did someone drop you over the wall?”
The dog growled in pleasure and rolled over to have its belly rubbed.
“So, you’re a girl. I guess us girls need to stick together. I wish mom was here, too. I thought I felt her again, for just a second. I can’t believe how empty my life is and will be without her.”
The furry mongrel raised her head, crooked an eyebrow and looked at her.
“Oh god, I miss her.” Julie Ann bent down and wrapped her arms around the dog. The tears over flowed and she wept into the dog’s neck. “I, I really ... really miss her. She taught me how to live life to the fullest and how to be happy. She taught me to stand on my own two feet and to trust my instincts.”
The dog sat patiently while Julie sobbed. Gradually the sobs quieted. Julie Ann finally released her hold on the dog’s neck and sat back.
The dog put one paw up on Julie Ann’s leg.
Julie Ann gave the dog a hug.
“Mom, where are you? Why did you leave me last night? I need you to tell me who is after us and why.” Julie Ann wiped her face and bent down to pat the dog. “You think I’m crazy – right? But she really was special. She came back last night to warn me. I just wish she’d told me what to watch out for.”
The dog sat up on her hind legs and rested her head on Julie Ann’s knee.
“You are kind of cute, you know. I can’t figure out how you got in here. Are you lost? Maybe I should put an ad in the paper. Do you want something to drink?”
The dog looked up at her and whined, then rolled over to have her tummy scratched again.
“Okay, girl, let’s get you some water. Have you got a name?”
Julie Ann searched for a collar but didn’t find one.
“No? Maybe I’ll call you Marie, Marie Laveau. They say she was my great, great grandmother you know. Not really on my side, but on Perrine’s. Maybe she sent you here to protect me, except Perrine wasn’t my birth mother so I’m not sure how that works. I know it’s just a made-up story, but Marie helped the sick and the poor, and you helped me cry again and move ahead with my grieving. So okay Marie L., let’s go get some breakfast.”
The dog followed her obediently into the kitchen, her short stubby tail wagging in the air.
Julie Ann glanced down at the animal.
“It’s probably coincidence, isn’t it, you showing up in the courtyard right after Mom appeared, and in the courtyard? And yes, I know I’m being silly. You’re a stray dog who probably dug your way into the courtyard.”
What makes your featured book a must-read?
If you like a romantic suspense, Death Southern Style is set in New Orleans, amid jazz, ghosts a corrupt justice system and with a paranormal twist. A special dog, visions, and voodoo help the heroine survive death threats and solve a murder, with the help of a sexy cop. It’s definitely must-read.
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Beverley Bateman now lives in Medicine Hat, Alberta. She recently moved from the Okanagan Valley in BC, Canada. Instead of vineyards, orchards, lakes, and mountains she has ranches, farmers and a close community. She lives there with her husband and her Bichon-poodle rescue dog. During the cold Alberta winters, she snowbirds to Arizona and does glass fusion, watercolor painting and plays the ukulele besides working on her latest romantic suspense. Hunted, Missing and Targeted are part of her Montana series. She also has her Holly Devine series; A Cruise to Remember, and a Murder to Forget. Don’t Go is her darker romantic suspense.
Social Media Links:
Website – https://www.beverleybateman.com
Facebook Authorpage - http://www.facebook.com/AuthorBeverleyBateman?ref=hl
Amazon author page http://www.amazon.com/Beverley-Bateman/e/B008M01F5E