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In a Stalker’s Sights…unless they can stop him.

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A delightful story of a love that defies time

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He’s a murderer and believes he’s the most evil creature on earth.

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A Valentine’s Day promise sixteen years in the making…

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An outcast finds a dying man who changes her life.

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He’s already lost one woman he loved…he’s not about to lose another.

Excerpt of Maid of Murder by Amanda Flower


India Hayes
Five Star
June 2010
On Sale: June 16, 2010
Featuring: India Hayes
282 pages
ISBN: 1594148643
EAN: 9781594148644
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Also by Amanda Flower:

In Farm's Way, March 2023
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book / audiobook
Honeymoons Can Be Hazardous, January 2023
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Crimes and Covers, January 2023
Trade Paperback / e-Book
Frozen Detective, December 2022
Paperback / e-Book
Peanut Butter Panic, September 2022
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Because I Could Not Stop for Death, September 2022
Trade Size / e-Book
Hotel California, May 2022
Hardcover / e-Book
Put Out to Pasture, March 2022
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book / audiobook
Crimes and Covers, January 2022
Hardcover / e-Book
Marriage Can Be Mischief, December 2021
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Lemon Drop Dead, May 2021
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Farm To Trouble, March 2021
Paperback / e-Book
Courting Can Be Killer, December 2020
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Candy Cane Crime, October 2020
Dead End Detective, September 2020
Trade Size / e-Book
Mums and Mayhem, August 2020
Hardcover / e-Book
Marshmallow Malice, June 2020
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Botched Butterscotch, May 2020
e-Book / audiobook
Matchmaking Can Be Murder, January 2020
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Toxic Toffee, July 2019
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Murders and Metaphors, February 2019
Hardcover / e-Book
Death and Daisies, November 2018
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
Death and Daisies, November 2018
Hardcover / e-Book
Flowers and Foul Play, October 2018
Trade Size / e-Book
Premeditated Peppermint, October 2018
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Flowers and Foul Play, May 2018
Hardcover / e-Book
Lethal Licorice, March 2018
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Assaulted Caramel, September 2017
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Prose and Cons, December 2016
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Crime and Poetry, April 2016
Paperback / e-Book
Andi Unstoppable, October 2015
The Final Reveille, May 2015
Andi Under Pressure, October 2014
Hardcover / e-Book
A Plain Scandal, February 2013
Paperback / e-Book
A Plain Death, July 2012
Trade Size / e-Book
Murder In A Basket, February 2012
Paperback / e-Book
Maid of Murder, June 2010

Excerpt of Maid of Murder by Amanda Flower

Chapter One

As a child, I dreaded the Fourth of July despite the fireworks, the barbecue, and the general flag flapping. The holiday signaled that summer was half over. And though my mother chided me about my attitude, called me her pint-sized pessimist, and told me to see the "glass half full," I moped through the holiday. I knew—come the next day—the discount store and supercenters would have fresh back-to-school displays of yellow number two pencils and college-ruled notebook paper. I was a fair student and mid- list popular, but I never wanted to go back to school. As an adult, when I actually had to work every day, my attitude toward Independence Day changed. To me, any day that starts as a paid holiday is a good one.

But that Independence Day morning, my brother called.

When the telephone jangled near my sleeping head, I sat bolt upright and sent my cat Templeton flying across the room in a hissing cloud of black fur.

Who died? was my first thought, followed closely by, who’s about to die? for waking me.

I groped for my glasses, shoved them on my face, and looked at the clock. It read four minutes after six in electric blue numerals. The phone rang again. I snatched it up.

"India?" My brother’s voice, hyped up on caffeinated pop and mathematical theorems, zipped out over the line "Could you look up Yang-Mills Theory for me at the library today? I think I’m really onto something. I’d do it myself, you know, but I’m hitting a wall here with work. And the library’s slow, right, because it’s summer—"

"Mark." I interrupted.


"The library’s closed today." I swatted a hank of long, dark hair out of my face and tucked it behind my ear.

"It’s closed? But why?" He sounded shocked.

"It’s the Fourth of July. You know, Happy Independence Day and all that." I glared at the clock. "It’s also six-oh-five in the morning on a day I don’t have to work," I added in case he was having trouble grasping the point, which Mark often did.

"It is?"

"Where are you?" I asked while rubbing my gray eyes, which were gritty from sleep.

"In my office?"

"You don’t sound very sure of that."

There was a pause. "Definitely my office. I’m working on this really great theorem. I think I have it now, India. My dissertation—"

"I understand," I stepped in before he could enter another long-winded explanation about The Dissertation. He’d worked on it for half a decade. It’d become a bit of a swear word in my parents’ house.

"Well, Mark, I better let you get back to it. Call me at the library tomorrow, and I’ll see if I have time to look up that Yohoo-Miller thing for you."

"Yang-Mills. It’s a partial differential equation that—"

"Whatever." I moved to hang up, but his lingering silence was palpable. I sighed. "Was that all?"

Mark swallowed hard. "I know she’s getting married."

Geez. I knew he’d eventually find out one way or another, but I wished it had been after the ceremony.

"Mark, I—"

"Don’t lie to me; I saw it in the paper. She’s getting married next weekend. You knew. I can’t believe you didn’t know."

"Uh." What could I say? I did know. Mark would be devastated when he found out how well I knew. I tucked that thought away to deal with later.

"Why didn’t you tell me? It’s not like I’d care or anything."

Sure, I thought, and my watercolors would make me millions of dollars someday. I took a deep breath. "I didn’t know how to tell you, and Olivia didn’t want to hurt you, either."

"Thanks, anyway," he whispered and hung up.

I stared at the receiver, then knocked it against my forehead a few times before dropping it back in its cradle.

After fifteen minutes, I threw off the sheet and stomped to the bathroom. "Next time he has a day off, I’m calling at three in the morning. That little . . ."

After a shower and breakfast, I no longer felt so hateful toward Mark. I knew I should have told him that Olivia was getting married. I should have told him months ago when I learned about it, but there never seemed to be a good time. And the way marriages go these days, I thought, it would be much easier to announce that Olivia was getting a divorce in a couple of years.

I clicked on the TV.

"It’s going to be a beautiful Independence Day, folks," the weather girl from the Cleveland station said. "We might break some records. Temperatures in the upper nineties and ninety percent humidity, Remember, don’t mow your lawn until after sundown. There’s an Ozone alert— "

I clicked off the screen.

By nine that morning, I was sprawled across a sheet I used to cover my poorly chosen couch in order to avoid touching the hot, itchy fabric. It was beautifully upholstered in royal purple velvet. I had found it at an estate sale in Chicago. It had cost a mint to have it shipped to Stripling, and, not until it was safely stowed in my apartment did I learn that it was uncomfortable in the summertime and a magnet for black cat hair. My long legs hung over its end, and Templeton lay in the same position next to me on the floor. I periodically spritzed him, then myself, with ice water from a spray bottle that I normally used to wet down my unruly hair. Templeton shook his head like a dog every time he was hit with a spray of water but didn’t move out of its reach. Even an aquaphobic feline welcomed the cool mist in my air conditioning–deprived apartment. While Templeton shook his head for a fourth time, I tried to build up the courage to call my brother back and tell him the truth—that I did know that Olivia was to be married this weekend in Stripling and that I, India Hayes, who had sworn after the last wedding that I would never be in a bridal party again, am to be one of Olivia’s doting bridesmaids.

The phone rang.

I told Templeton, "I’ll get it, but tomorrow I’m teaching you to answer the phone."

He didn’t respond.

"India?" It was a voice easily as perky as the weathergirl’s.

I swallowed hard. I knew that voice. "Hi, Olivia. You aren’t in town, are you?"

Templeton gave me a look that to me said, "Spritz me, baby." I obliged.

"Just arrived. We’re at my mother’s now. Stripling is just how I remember it. It’s so cute. The perfect place for a wedding, don’t you think?"

"Really darling."

She missed the sarcasm. "As you know, it’s a holiday."

"I heard something about that." I spritzed myself in the face.

"Very funny. Anyway, my mother is having a little Independence Day gathering at two in honor of my return, and I am inviting you to come."

"Well, I was planning—"

"Please, India? I haven’t seen you in forever, and I want you to meet Kirk. You can bring a date if you want."

I snorted, but after ten more minutes of listening to Olivia’s pleas, I finally agreed. As bridesmaid-in-waiting, I had an obligation.

After she hung up, I pulled the sheet over my head with a moan and asked Templeton to put me out of my misery. I peeked out from the sheet when he didn’t respond. He looked like an overbroiled chicken splayed on the hardwood floor. "If you are not going to help me out, I’ll just have to call Bobby, won’t I?"

Templeton blinked at me. I picked up the phone and hit speed dial. When Bobby McNally answered, I said, "I need a favor."

"It’ll cost you," a churlish and groggy Bobby answered.

"How much?"

"How do you like children?"

I groaned.

Excerpt from Maid of Murder by Amanda Flower
All rights reserved by publisher and author

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