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The Ranger’s Dog Tags by P.J. MacLayne is a Salute Military Event pick #mystery #salutemilitary #giveaway

Title: The Ranger’s Dog Tags


Author: P.J. MacLayne


Genre: mystery


Book Blurb:

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.




“Where are we going?” Vanessa's voice rose a note or two as we flashed by another exit.


I leaned forward and looked for the sun. “East, apparently. Daytona. Northeast, technically, Dolores needs a workout.”


As my foot fluttered on the gas pedal, I wondered how far Vanessa’s law enforcement powers went. Could she arrest me for a traffic violation? Today wasn't the day to test her tolerance, so I'd stay a mile or two above the speed limit. Most of the time.


The miles flew by, and I switched the station to one that played soundtracks from movies. Not my normal choice, but it filled the void in the conversation. I could out-silence Vanessa any day of the week. She should be glad I didn't torture her by singing along.


As we approached the Deltona exit, about twenty-five miles before Daytona, I decided the fun was over. If we turned around now, I'd still have plenty of time to spend with Eli. The drive had done me good, and I'd almost been able to forget my worries.


I slowed, took the exit, turned under the interstate, and headed up the onramp on the other side. Vanessa didn't question what I was doing, still giving me the silent treatment. It would get uncomfortable if we didn't break the stalemate before we got home.


I'd reached cruising speed when I spotted them. Vanessa saw them, too. On the opposite side of the road. Two black sedans.


“Shit,” she said.


“Who are they?”


She bit her bottom lip.


“So, who am I going to piss off when I remove their tracker?” I asked.


“You won't find a bug.” Her mouth quirked. “No matter how hard you look.”


The mile markers showed our progress, but my mind was going nowhere. The GPS wasn't attached to Dolores, or on me. I'd been extra careful with my purse and checking my clothes each morning. Unless Vanessa sneaked into my room when I wasn't paying attention?




“It's you, isn't it? You're wired. You've been pretending to protect me when what you're doing is trying to find evidence against me.” A sudden rage engulfed me. “I'll move out tonight. Unless you plan to arrest me on some bogus charge first. You can keep the rent.”


I adjusted the rearview mirror to get a better long-range view of the cars behind us. She'd betrayed me when I thought we'd had a chance of being real friends. And she'd done it when I needed a friend the most. “Who are you answering to, Special Agent Salters?”


With a push on the gas pedal, I let Dolores fly. The sooner I retrieved my clothes from her house, the better. There were plenty of hotels to stay at until I found a new place to live.


Vanessa sucked in a breath as we blew past a string of cars in the right lane. “Slow down. I'm not wired. There's a tracker app on my phone. That's all.”


I didn't ease off the pedal. “Who has access to it?”


“My boss.”






“And?” I glanced at her. Under her Florida tan, her face had paled. I pushed Dolores to go faster. “And?”


“Putnam and his agency. Will you slow the fuck down?”


I did better. It was a gift from the heavens. A spot with no traffic. And a paved strip between the two sides of the interstate for law enforcement use only.


I slammed on the brakes—


Feathered the clutch—


Shifted down—


Cranked the steering wheel—


I ended up facing the opposite direction. The perfect bootlegger's 180. My favorite maneuver.


I didn't have time to check Vanessa's reaction. She didn't scream. I gave her points for that. But the soft string of curse words that emanated from her side of the car was the satisfaction I craved. I fed Dolores enough gas to get to the pull-through and watched in my mirror as the black sedans screamed by.


It took thirty seconds until I spotted a break in the traffic and joined the flow at a more leisurely pace. I needed to find a back road for the return to Orlando. The Highway Patrol would be on alert, and I doubted Vanessa could pry me out of the fix I'd gotten myself into. The adrenalin rush was over, and I needed to get back to her house.


“Is this the game you want to play?” I asked her. “Because I have more tricks up my sleeve. Or maybe you and your cohorts can give me some respect.” I didn't hide the edge in my voice.


“You could have killed us,” she hissed. “Along with people who have nothing to do with this.”


“I know my car and her capabilities. And my skill level.” I'd turned into a brick of ice. No feelings. “I studied the variables and made an educated assessment.”


“You're crazy.”


“I can be.”


We'd reached the Deltona exit again, and I took it, but then followed the road towards town. If I remembered correctly, a winding route started at Deltona and ended up north of Orlando. It destroyed my plans for extra time with Eli but kept us off the interstate.


I ignored Vanessa as she punched at the screen of her phone. “If you make a left in about a mile, it'll put us headed south to Sanford,” she said. “We can rejoin the interstate there. I've called off the troops.”


“All of them?” I slowed and watched for the intersection.


“Every last one. Cross my heart. The route will give us time to talk.”


I didn't believe her, but I'd give her a chance to redeem herself. I'd already said everything I wanted to say. I made the turn. “So, talk.”


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What makes your featured book a must-read?


The Ranger’s Dog Tags is the suspenseful conclusion to the Harmony Duprie Mysteries, although it can be read as a standalone story. In typical Harmony fashion, one disaster after another throws the quiet ex-librarian into situations that she must use her wit and unconventional logic to resolve. Only this time, she has to do it without the assistance of Eli Hennessey, her friend, boss, and lover.


Giveaway –


Enter to win a $20 Amazon gift card:



Open Internationally.


Runs May 22 – May 28, 2024.

Winner will be drawn on May 29, 2024.


Author Biography:

After many years, P.J. MacLayne has returned to the rolling hills of Pennsylvania where she grew up, and from which she has drawn inspiration for many of her stories. Now that she has retired, she is devoting her time to gardening, writing, and relaxing. She is the author of The Free Wolves series, the Harmony Duprie Mysteries, and the Jake Hennessey Suspense books. (The Harmony Duprie companion stories.) She is the mother to two amazing adults, wife to a great husband, and lover of nature and the wild.


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2 commentaires

28 mai

Beau Eaton from Hopeless by Elsie Silver is one of mine.


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22 mai

Thank you, P.J., for sharing your book in our Salute Military Bookish Event!

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