Title: The Ranger's Dog Tags
Author: P.J. MacLayne
Genre: Female Sleuth
Eli Hennessey has vanished.
His house in Oak Grove is in flames, his cell phone is out of commission, and friends in Florida can't find him. It's up to Harmony Duprie to track down her missing lover before her life shatters and his ends.
Harmony's first discovery: Eli tricked her into signing paperwork putting her in charge of his company. Had he planned his disappearance?
The answers won't be found in Oak Grove. Harmony hightails it to Florida in search of Eli and the truth.
Back at the hotel but before I emptied my bags, I turned on the television for background noise. It was set to a local news channel, and I didn't bother changing it. I never watched TV, except for the weather.
As I fixed my hair and washed my face, I half listened to the newscaster drone on about local items: the new Disney prices, the rush hour traffic, the crashed car mired in the underbrush near the Saint Johns River that had been spotted by a fisherman. There was also a new shelter for the homeless.
It took too long for my stressed brain to process what I'd heard. I rushed back to stare at the screen. They'd moved on to the stock market report. But if it was on the news, it was on the web.
I paced by the desk while waiting for my laptop to load. I should have taken Eli's advice and bought a faster one. As I logged in through several layers of security, I choked back a sob.
I had to dig for the hotel paperwork with the WiFi password. Then click through the hotel policies. And the welcoming website. Then wait while the search engine hunted for the news channel's home page.
When there was a knock on the door, I didn't look out the peephole to see who was there, expecting Lando and Scotty. I thought they were the only ones who knew where I was. Rookie mistake.
I didn't anticipate being greeted by a brick wall of a man with deep brown skin when I opened the door. If I wasn't mistaken, that was a gun in a holster under his left arm. And a police badge attached to his belt.
“Miss Harmony Duprie?” he asked with a voice as mellow as a ray of springtime sunshine.
“Do you sing?” I blurted. It was the first thing that came to mind.
A slow smile spread across his face. “Not in public, ma'am. You are Harmony Duprie, right?”
“Yes. And you are, Detective ...?” I let my voice trail off.
The smile got bigger. “Horace. Detective Timothy Horace. Orlando Police Department.”
I stepped aside to give him room to get by. He needed a lot of room. “You're out of your jurisdiction, aren't you, Detective?”
“We have a mutual aid agreement with the locals.” I didn't think his smile could get any bigger, but it did. “Although it's pretty one-sided.”
I could imagine. “I'd offer you something to drink, but I'm not set up for guests.”
“No worries, Miss Duprie, I won't be staying long.”
“Are you the official welcoming committee? Or the bearer of bad news? What do you know about Eli? Was he in that car they found this afternoon? Is he all right?” The words poured out of me, along with my fears.
He held up a hand. “Whoa. Slow down. I was asked to introduce myself because I'll be your liaison while you're here. I don't fully understand why, but your Chief Sorenson contacted my chief and convinced him you needed one. I don't have all the details, but what's this about a car?”
Liaison, right. More like my handler, I expected. “How did you find me? I didn't tell anyone where I was going to stay.” I sat at the desk and refreshed the news channel's website.
He peered over my shoulder. “Pure luck. I was on my way to the police station here in North Crystal and spotted your car. That's part of the limited information I received. I took a chance. And the gentleman at the front desk gave me your room number.”
“Scared him, did you?” I asked as I scrolled through the latest news reports.
“Maybe. But not you.”
I had bigger things to worry about. “What do you know about the car found on the bank of the Saint Johns this afternoon?”
“Nothing. Not my jurisdiction. Why?”
“You were told why I'm here, right? He's missing. Eli Hennessey. My boss. Lover. Boyfriend. Partner. Whatever words you want to toss around. It's been three days since someone tried to blow up his house in Oak Grove. Three days since anyone has heard from him. And I don't believe in coincidence, Detective.” Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub): Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B092YTWBX1
What makes your featured book a must-read?
Harmony Duprie is faced with her greatest challenge ever. When Eli Hennessey, her lover, disappears, she is desperate to find him while keeping his company running. At the same time, she's got to deal with an attempted hostile takeover of the company and the search for a missing top-secret government document. Add in the possibility that an old enemy is seeking revenge, and she's in deep trouble.
Although this is the sixth book in the Harmony Duprie Mysteries, it can be read as a stand-alone
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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. She writes the Harmony Duprie Mysteries (not-quite-cozy) and the Free Wolves Adventures. (urban fantasy/paranormal)
Social Media Links: Website: https://pjmaclayne.com