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When Kurt Bludgeoned Rusty by @Beth__Henderson is a New Year New Books Fete pick #cozymystery #pnr
Title: WHEN KURT BLUDGEONED RUSTY
Author: Beth Henderson
Genre: Paranormal Lite Cozy Mystery Comedy Romance
KILLAMAN FALLS is living up to its name – unfortunately.
When you don’t want something to come to pass—like a doctor’s gloved hand getting overly friendly with private areas during an exam—that’s when time rushes toward that undesired event like a runaway carriage on a downhill slope.
Okay, not a 21st century comparison, but as I’m a 19th century sorta of fellow, having been born in 1851, I think I’m entitled to use it anyway.
In any case, I knew the time was growing near when Emmalyst Whichur would say hasta la vista to Killaman Falls, New Hampshire, because she’d left no doubt that the vista of the north woods was not her preferred landscape. A concrete montage featuring the cacophony of the city and the scent of exhaust fumes said Nirvana to her.
I was the wilderness guy, but then, I had to be. When a man’s tried to the cycles of the moon and is forced to mutate into a wolf every twenty-eight days, Mother Nature supplies plenty of remote spots to hide out during those dog days.
We were fast approaching another of the forced shapeshifts, this one nearly coinciding with Halloween, so the town had decided to encourage costumes and provide even more food than usual for the monthly Full Moon Protection festivities. I’d been roped into helping with the decorations by Lana Higson, one of the forest ranger wives.
Besides, she promised me a dozen German chocolate cupcakes in payment for tending the herd of kids.
I set up “shop” on the folding picnic tables in front of the Falls’ lone tavern and was surrounded by kids nearly as decorated as the pumpkins serving as their canvases.
Considering we live in a forest, carving jack-o’-lanterns into candle holders was deemed as teasing Fate rather than merely tempting it.
“How’s this, Sheriff Wolfe?” six-year-old charmer Shirley Ann Higson asked. She’d twisted in her seat and swung her paint brush a bit too close to her little brother’s head, leaving him with a streak of red in his hair from brow back to the unruly plume that rose from his crown. Once he saw the enhancement in a mirror, my guess was he’d think it was “cool”. Mostly because it looked like blood to him. To me it was quite a few shades shy of that, but then I’ve seen a lot of blood over time. Far too much, actually.
And not because I’m a sheriff. I’m not an official one. The real sheriff in the county simply handed me a laminated card with my picture and name on it and his signature claiming I was a representative of his office in our town. I think he lifted the photo from the driver’s license a hacker had slipped into the state system for me when I changed my name to Connor Wolfe. Not changed officially, of course. Werewolves who are 170 years old, need to keep reinventing themselves without involving governmental offices.
It wasn’t like the position of mock sheriff paid well. Actually, it paid zip. Until the flurry of murders this past month—okay, it was just three—the community service position did nothing other than make me sound authoritative. At least to the kids. To everyone of drinking age, I was simply Connor.
Shirley Ann’s head was cocked to the side, waiting for my evaluation of her pumpkin decorating talents.
This Jack’s grinning mouth was a very gaping maw. Large enough to house a forest of white stalactites. “Why’s he got long pointy teeth? I thought jack-o’-lanterns had just a few sorta blockish ones,” I said, hunkering down next to her seat at the table.
“Because he’s not that kind of pumpkin,” she insisted. “He was bitten by a vampire and after that a werewolf bit him.”
“I’ve never heard of that happening before, Shirl. How’d he get so unlucky?”
“He got drunk by drinking too much cider.”
“And the vampire watched him hitting the apple juice, waiting for an opportune time to snack on him?”
“The vampire was buying it for him.”
I raised my eyebrows in mock shock. “So Jack was set up!”
She shook her head. “His name isn’t Jack. It’s Chaz.”
Which was the name of the boy in her class who won the first grade’s spelling bee. Shirley had been awarded second place. As she was already a female who held grudges, she’d likely end up marrying Chaz in another fourteen or so years just to get even with him.
“Huh,” I murmured then pointed to the red dots she’d dabbed at the bottom of every long tooth in sight. “What’s this supposed to be?”
She frowned at me. “Blood.”
“But I thought vampires only had two teeth they bit their victims with.” Two puncture marks to the neck if we went by the movies and TV shows. Considering I’d never run across a vampire, it was all I had to go on. Of course, vampires don’t really exist. Or don’t outside of Transylvania.
“They are only if they’re just a vampire. Since he’s also a werewolf, he has more teeth to suck blood through.”
“I didn’t know werewolves did that,” I said. You’d think I merited recognition as an authority on that, but of course, none of the locals knew what I was. It’s not something to brag about, ya know?
“Yep. They suck it up just like the vampires do through their straw teeth.” As if to demonstrate, she grabbed the drink cup, a plastic straw protruding from the slit in the top. She sucked on it hard. The straw let her know it was off the job by making a weird gurgling noise.
“Thanks for sharing that detail with me, Ms. Higson. It was not in the file Sheriff Honeycutt gave me about either vampire or werewolf infiltrators. You need a refill on your drink?”
In answer, she thrust the empty cup at me.
“What are you drinkin’, sugar?”
“Blood,” she told me.
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It’s a brand-new year, full of possibilities. Did you make any resolutions/goals for 2022? If so, please share one.
One of the items on my New Year’s Resolutions is to not dream up any new story ideas because I’ve already got more than enough to deal with writing this year. You might think that’s easy to do – I mean, NOT dream up anything new. But that’s not the way the muse with offices in my head thinks. He (and it’s always been a he who was my muse…he tends to look like the hero of the moment, too) can’t seem to turn off the idea generator. You’d think it would overheat of something. Anyway, I am resolved to say “NO!” to him in 2022 when it comes to new ideas and force him to work on the avalanche we already have on the drawing table.
Why is your featured book a must-read in 2022?
WHEN KURT BLUDGEONED RUSTY is the 4th and final book in my Whichur-Wolfe Detection series. It’s also the longest book in the collection because there were so many things to wrap up. But it has been a delight to spend the past seven months writing these tales one after another. Partly because I love hanging out with my dapper, gentlemanly werewolf hero and my feisty, witch in denial heroine as they solve crimes in an amazingly short length of time…and interview dogs which not every sleuth can manage to do. If you are looking for something that is paranormal lite, has amateur sleuths, snarky delivery, comedic situations, and…well, all those dogs PLUS some romance, this is well worth your time. Or so reviewers are saying, and they can’t be wrong, right?
One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon US or Canada gift card
Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon CA account to win.
Runs January 1 – 31, 2022.
Drawing will be held on February 1, 2022.
BETH HENDERSON has a lot of romantic comedy, romantic suspense, and historical romantic mystery book titles with her name on the covers, but when the temptation to do a “proper” Rapid Release series, she went for something entirely different. If you picture a very large bowl, probably a caldron, then toss in elements like paranormal, cozy mystery, snarky delivery, and comedic situations, as well as murder, well, it was quite a stew that simmered, keeping her chained to the computer for seven months in 2021. Fortunately, the reviews are showing readers have really liked this wild ride in genre niche land.
Social Media Links:
Visit her at www.4TaleTellers.com, on Facebook.com/BethHendersonAuthor, or @Beth__Henderson on Twitter.