Sampler: A Good Girl by Mary Anne Edwards
January 21, 2021
A heart-tugging thriller that’s laced with suspense, mystery, and romance all packed into the chaos surrounding small-town murder.
What would you do if murder showed up for your family reunion?
For Charlie McClung, going home to Virginia with Marian was supposed to be a joyous occasion, but upon arrival at his childhood home, he’s met with a note instead of his family.
“Don’t worry, Love, we’re all okay. Come to the shop. A dead girl was found in an armoire delivered just now. Huggies, Ma,”
Charlie is quickly recruited to help solve the murder of a young girl who was on the path to becoming a nun. The suspects mount as Charlie delves deep into the girl’s life, revealing a sordid and ugly side of the town’s good girl.
Will the killer go after the next good girl in town, Charlie’s new love, Marian?
Sampler: A Good Girl
Purvis opened the heavy door. Bright sunlight flooded the storage room, along with the sounds of the small mob that had gathered to witness the police investigation.
A cheer erupted when Charlie stepped outside. “There he is, Ma. It’s Charlie.”
Three officers held back the McClung clan gathered just beyond the crime scene. “Stand back. Don’t go tramping on evidence. Back up! Stay behind the tape.”
“Oh, glory be, there she is!” exclaimed a mature lady with flaming red hair. She leaned against the bright yellow tape, motioning for Marian to come over.
Charlie whispered in Marian’s ear. “That’s Ma and the family. We better go over before the officers have to handcuff her.”
Marian hesitated, looked into his eyes, and murmured, “But I thought you were going to let me be a part of this?” Her head tilted toward the armoire that stood five feet away in the parking lot. “So, I understand your work?”
Charlie kissed her forehead. “Family first.” He guided her around the armoire toward his family. They went under the tape and into his mother’s wide-open arms.
Marian felt as if all the arms that surrounded her would crush her. She looked for Charlie and saw him standing behind his mother. He laughed, mouthing, “They love you.”
“All right now. Move back so I can get a good look at her.” The crowd parted at Ma’s command. “Ah, look at ya now. You’re a pretty young thing. Isn’t she, Da?”
An older version of Charlie appeared next to Ma. “Aye, she’s a fine-lookin’ lass, that she is,” Da agreed as he stood with his arms crossed as he looked her up and down.
Their lilting Irish accents made Marian smile.
Charlie wrapped his arm around Marian. “This is my mother, Mary Kathleen, and my father, John Patrick. Ma, Da, Marian.”
The whole family embraced her again. Each one introduced themselves to her, welcoming her into their clan. Their outpouring of love overwhelmed Marian. Immediately, she felt like a part of them, as if she was their long-lost daughter.
“Hey! We’ve got a murder over here, Detective McClung. I could use your help,” snarled a tall man in a dark business suit leaning against the armoire with his arms and ankles crossed.
Charlie smiled when he saw his baby sister’s husband. Rachel had followed in Ma’s footsteps and married a copper – an Irish one at that, Luke O’Sullivan. He clasped his brother-in-law’s hand. “How are you doing, Luke? I heard you made detective.”
Luke shrugged and motioned for him to follow. “I was doing okay until Rach called me all in a tizzy.” He stopped just before rounding the armoire. Scratching his narrow chin, he cocked his head toward Charlie. “Gotta be honest with you; this is my first homicide. Things like this don’t happen in Mercy City, you know.”
Luke swallowed the nervous lump caught in his throat.
“So, what do you have?” When they rounded the antique armoire, Charlie shook his head and grimaced at the dreadful sight of a young girl’s body. She looked familiar. “Who is she?” he asked as he squatted to get a better look.
She was tiny, about 5 feet tall and maybe 100 pounds. Her black hair was tangled in a slender red cord wound tightly around her swan-like neck. The cord was nothing extraordinary, red with tassels on each end. Cranberry red rosary beads were dangling from her bluish lips. Her thickly lashed brown eyes would have been beautiful if not clouded and frozen open in death.
“She’s Jason and Becky Rogers’ girl, Darla Jean. They reported her missing early this morning.” Luke rubbed his face with both hands. “That’s what makes it even tougher. I know them. My boy, Jack, went to school with her. Criminy, how am I going to tell them their only child is dead?”
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