A Killing Among Friends
by Toni Morrow Wyatt
Published by: Limitless Publishing
Publication date: August 10, 2015
Genres: Mystery, Thriller,
Sennie Lacefield has always felt safe at her family’s peaceful mountain lodge . . .
The only break in her tranquil life was the death of her boyfriend Patrick Devon, which left her heartbroken and unable to understand Patrick’s sullen, withdrawn brother Lonnie. But when her best friend Reatha Alcoker disappears, her sense of security is shattered. With the help of Reatha’s boyfriend Milo Durham, she launches a search for her friend.
More girls disappear, and bodies begin turning up . . .
When one of the missing girls is found dead in a swamp with a symbol burned into her forehead, Sennie focuses on her growing list of suspects. She can’t count on help from the lazy, lecherous Sheriff Warford Cackley. She also has suspicions the sheriff’s son Rex and his nasty friend Ottis know more than they’re willing to share.
Someone is watching Sennie’s every move . . .
Refusing to believe Reatha is dead, Sennie and Milo continue their frantic search, and Sennie is plagued with threatening messages. When another girl’s body is discovered, she and Milo visit the site and find evidence that Reatha has also been there. Some aerial photographs might hold a vital clue . . . if they can find them in time.
As Sennie unravels a tangled web of secrets, arson, burglary, and murder, could it be that a desire to help Sennie has warped the mind of a murderer?
Anxiety ran its swift edge through her stomach without warning as she turned to gaze across the lake and into the surrounding dense forest.
Someone is watching me. I wish I could see through the trees. They could be anywhere.
She rubbed her hand down the length of her arm. There was no movement, except for the gentle swaying of the trees as the early dawn breeze rustled their needles and thick, green leaves. She turned forward, but the uneasy feeling didn’t pass. Someone was watching her. The chestnut brown hairs on the back of her neck, just under her long ponytail, prickled.
Evil is on the prowl, waiting for the right moment to pounce on me.
Bringing her knees to her chest, a ripple of fear dotted her spine, making her skin crawl. The first time she had experienced this feeling was in May, the week school had ended for summer break. The rumors about two girls who had gone missing stayed in the back of her mind. It wasn’t unusual for girls to run off from the small town of Mayrose, Arkansas. They would most likely be found in Little Rock, sad and miserable because city life hadn’t turned out the way they had thought it would. But so far, no one had been able to track down the two latest missing girls. That was unusual.
My name is Sennie Lacefield. My family owns the Lacefield Mountain Lodge.
Photo Courtesy of architecturaldesigns.com
My favorite place is the swing on the front porch. It’s the only place where I can have time to myself. Time to think.
I need that time, especially since my best friend, Reatha Alcoker disappeared.
One minute we were watching fireworks, and the next minute she was gone.
Another girl went missing. Two boys found her floating in Craneneck Slough, a swampy, snake infested area.
I didn’t want to believe it. Why would anyone want to kill someone as sweet as Sue Stimes?
What does this mean for Reatha?
Milo Durham called me. He is Reatha’s boyfriend. He wants to team up, track down the person who took Reatha, and bring her home.
There is nothing I want more.
I’ve searched the town of Mayrose. I made a list of suspects. If Reatha is still alive, we WILL find her.
There are some people that I don’t trust . . . could never trust.
#1 is Rex Cackley. His father is the sheriff of Mayrose, making him think that he is above the law.
I’d love to wipe that smirky grin off his face.
His best friend is Ottis Ferris. That boy is so disgusting. He has a long face with rotten horse teeth. He leers at me as if he could eat me alive.
I wouldn’t put anything past those two.
There are others that I don’t trust.
#2 Sheriff Cackley
He might be the sheriff, but he’s so lazy and uncaring that Sue’s death and Reatha’s disappearance were just a couple of inconveniences for him.
Whenever I meet him on the street, he licks his fat lips and practically drools. No, Sheriff Cackley cannot be trusted.
There are others in town on the suspect list.
#3 Fred Heller
Fred and his wife run the café. He’s got a temper, making him questionable.
#4 Dr. Phillips, the town dentist.
Anyone who enjoys yanking out people’s teeth as much as Dr. Phillips does has got a few screws loose.
#5 The three McKillips’ brothers
Gus, Ralph, and Kerry work at the gas station. Kerry is wild. He flirts with all the girls.
#6 The Kaplans
They work at the lumberyard and spend their time whistling and shouting lewd things at the girls on the school tennis courts.
Any one of these people could have taken Reatha.
I miss her so much.
I’ve had too much loss in my life lately. Patrick Devon, the boy I loved, was killed in a car accident while he was away at college.
His brother, Lonnie, has grown reclusive. I tried to reach out to him, but we got into a fight at Patrick’s funeral, and he hasn’t really spoken to me since.
Miss Pearleen Alcoker, Reatha’s grandmother, and I have bonded over our loss. She bakes me cookies, and we talk about Reatha. We are never going to give up hope.
She even gave me the recipe of her famous Cocoa Chocolate cookies.
3 tablespoons Cocoa
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
2 ¼ cups flour
½ cup oatmeal – ground in a food processor
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup butter – softened
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Mix it together. Bake at 350 degrees for 17 minutes.
When I find Reatha, we’ll bake a batch of these.
That day can’t come soon enough.
Toni Morrow Wyatt ~ Author
Late at night, the clicking of the typewriter often lulled me to sleep. My mother would sit at a window in her bedroom typing out stories until sleep overcame her.
This was how she got me interested in writing. Her stories wove themselves in and out of my dreams. When I would awaken, my mother would give me the story and ask me to add to it. We wrote many stories and even began to work on various novels, as I grew older. My mother not only shared her love of writing, she also shared her love of reading. Books, books, and more books. I can never get enough.
I spent many happy hours creating stories and songs. Throughout my school years, I concentrated my creative energy into singing for school plays, Master Choir, Keynotes (swing choir), and Great Expectations (a swing choir sponsored by a local park district). The friendships I made during that time have lasted more than three decades.
But, I never forgot my love for weaving stories. After the death of my mother, I did not write for nearly three years. One day, I sat down at the computer and pulled up a file I had started working on in my late twenties. It was called, Return to Rocky Gap.
I finished that manuscript, found a publisher, and danced with joy the day I held it in my hands. It was bittersweet to know that I had done all of this alone, but I knew my mother was with me, encouraging me, and pushing me forward. Since then, I haven’t stopped writing. I know my mother is with me through every word, every paragraph, and every page along the way.
As a child, my family spent nearly every summer visiting relatives in a small, rural community in Arkansas. Finding magic in this place, it is the setting for many of my novels. My love for southern fiction led to the writing of A Killing Among Friends, and also, Return to Rocky Gap. My work has appeared in From the Depths Literary Journal and Belle Reve Literary Journal. I write an eclectic blog titled, A Pinch of Me, on Tumblr. I was previously an independent bookseller, owning and operating Kindred Books for seven years.
My love for reading takes me to places far and wide, which is something I will always strive to do for my readers.
I am happily married with two children.
You can connect with Toni here:
Don’t forget her historical novel
Return to Rocky Gap
***Important Note*** All pictures herein are strictly images representing the author’s imaginings of the characters and places from A Killing Among Friends
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