Title: Heart of the Matter
Author: Ruth A. Casie
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Contemporary Woman’s Fiction, Women’s Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense fiction, Women’s Romance Fiction
Digging into the past can be murder.
Addison Moore, a well-known psychiatrist is having difficulty coming to terms with the death of her grandmother Cookie. The woman was everything to her after her parents died in the plane crash over Lockerbie, Scotland. Little did Addy know that an old picture, tucked away in the family bible of Cookie with a handsome stranger would lead her to a discovery for which she is little prepared.
Ethan Taylor is an art historian. He’s lived with his Great Uncle Ben for a long time and would do anything for him. He never anticipated that Ben’s dying wish would introduce him to Ben’s biggest sacrifice.
Neither Addy nor Ethan are prepared for the lengths at which their families went through to keep Cookie and Ben apart. As they try to put the pieces together they uncover a decade’s old unsolved murder implicating Cookie and Ben. Will Addy and Ethan’s blossoming love be able to stand the strain of finding the truth? Will they be able to face the heart of the matter? their own happily ever after?
Cookie’s family had no clue about Ben. Before he asked permission to spread Ben’s ashes, he needed to know what happened to George Anderson. One step at a time. He let out a breath, then scraped his fork across the salad plate gathering the last bits.
“I complain, but I miss Havenport when I’m not here.”
He knew how she felt, being a part of something and missing it when not there.
“What type of doctor are you Ph.D.? MD?” He would never have guessed, although confident, intelligent, and serene hit a lot of the doctor-type marks.
“I’m a psychiatrist. I followed in Cookie’s footsteps except my practice is in New York City. I’m one of five doctors in a group. I also donate time to the women’s shelter and work with the police department when they need an expert opinion.”
And he hoped for some bedside manner. Jeez, boy, pull your mind out of the gutter. Sure, she’s stunning and smart and magical, but quiet those hormones. Now is not the time or the place.
“Why do you like psychiatry? What drives you?”
A busboy silently removed empty dishes while the waiter set down the entree—Beef Wellington with mushroom duxelles, bacon wrapped asparagus, oven roasted tomatoes, and mashed potato puffs.
“Bon appétit,” the waiter said, and vanished into the kitchen.
“This restaurant is recognized in the area for their delicious Wellington,” she said. “To answer your question, helping people find the answer to their problem. Find their truth. That’s why I’m a psychiatrist.”
“You don’t give them the answer?” His fork poised in the air.
“No. Patients have to understand what they are searching for, figure out how to get what they want, then make a plan on how to achieve their goal and follow through. No one can do it for them. All I can do is steer them in a direction that will help them discover their own truth, what they need, and how to obtain it.”
“Your process sounds more lasting. Teach them the process, not give the answer.”
“What is one of your odder diagnoses? No names, of course.”
“Of course.” She thought for a moment. “A woman who keeps seeing and speaking to a deceased family member. The patient won’t let the person go even though she knows she really must.”
She scrutinized her plate and avoided his eyes.
The misty expression on her face and the yearning tone in her voice gave her away. He understood her loss having been in the same place only a few months earlier. Loss. Nothing with death was easy.
“And you? What do you do?” She peeked at his plate. “Did you try the asparagus?”
“Dinner is delicious. I don’t think I ever had asparagus wrapped with bacon. As for me, I appraise personal property and private collections for estates, documentary film, fine art, historical documents, and archives. I advise and consult with universities and charities regarding non-cash donations of fine art objects. I also work with ARCA, the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art.”
“How did you become interested in art crimes?”
“Through an introduction to an art professor at Oxford who mentioned ARCA needed a researcher with an art history background. I volunteered and worked on a case in Germany. The thief started forging Picasso’s pictures at the age of fourteen. I met up with him eight years ago. At fifty, he had forged over 2,500 well-known pieces of art. There is justice, though. His scam was simple. He bought an original and made a copy, then sold the copy with forged papers appearing to be valid to someone in Asia. At the same time, he sold the original with its real documents to a gallery here in the US. His scam caught up with him when the same picture went up for auction at two different galleries at the same time.” He took the wine bottle, filled her glass, and emptied the rest into his own.
“Crime doesn’t pay.” They toasted with raised glasses.
“I enjoy research, the people you meet, and like you, finding the truth.” He put his napkin on the table. “Delicious. I can’t eat another bite.”
“We could walk a little if you like.” She put her napkin aside, too.
“You like to dance? I couldn’t believe my eyes when we passed the tavern. West Coast Swing.”
“I haven’t danced in a long time.”
“Not a good excuse.” He motioned to the waiter for the check.
“Okay. I dance, but West Coast Swing isn’t a dance I know.”
“West Coast Swing is easy. Come on.” He paid the check over Addy’s objection. “Get your cowgirl on. I’ll teach you.”
“Do you always do things on the spur of the moment?”
He noticed her flushed cheeks and smiled, enjoying her excitement. His heart pounded as if he was going to his first social.
“The last place I would expect a West Coast Swing event is in Havenport, Rhode Island. This is an opportunity begging to be taken advantage of. We both had hard days and a nice dinner. I think you’ll enjoy dancing, so why not? Worse case, we leave. Nothing to lose but a few dollars and a bit of time.”
She smiled and shook her head. “All right, but I warned you.”
They left the restaurant and walked to Royce’s Tavern.
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RUTH A. CASIE is a USA Today bestselling author of historical swashbuckling action-adventures and contemporary romance with enough action to keep you turning pages. Her stories feature strong women and the men who deserve them, endearing flaws and all. She lives in New Jersey with her hero, three empty bedrooms and a growing number of incomplete counted cross-stitch projects. Before she found her voice, she was a speech therapist (pun intended), client liaison for a corrugated manufacturer, and vice president at an international bank where she was a product/ marketing manager, but her favorite job is the one she’s doing now—writing romance. She hopes her stories become your favorite adventures. For more information, please visit RuthACasie.com or visit her on Facebook, @RuthACasie, Twitter, @RuthACasie, Instagram RuthACasie, or Pinterest RuthACasie.
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