Sampler: Innocent as Sin by C.A. Asbrey

The Innocents and Abigail MacKay must work together to solve the murder case, but they’re still enemies in an emotional standoff,

Nat Quinn and Jake Conroy are just doing their job—robbing a bank! But when Nat sees Pinkerton agent Abigail MacKay is already there, he knows something isn’t right. Is she on the trail of The Innocents again, or has she turned up in Everlasting, Wyoming, by coincidence?

Abi can’t believe her bad luck! Nat and Jake are about to make her true identity known, and botch the undercover job she has carefully prepared for—a job she’s been working on for months. When Jake discovers she’s cooperating with a sadistic bounty hunter who never brings in his prisoners alive, he suspects Nat might be the next target. How could Abi betray them like this?

On top of everything else, someone has dumped a frozen corpse after disguising it as a tramp. The town is snowed in and the killer isn’t going anywhere, but can Abigail’s forensic skills solve the murder before anyone else is killed? Abi and Nat manage to admit their feelings for one another, but will that be enough to overcome the fact that they’re on opposite sides of the law?

The Innocents and Abigail MacKay must work together to solve the murder case, but they’re still best enemies. It’s an emotional standoff, and they’re all INNOCENT AS SIN…

C.A. Asbrey

Sampler: Innocent as Sin

“What’s goin’ on in here?” A burly man with extravagant gray muttonchops and a silver star on his jacket filled the door.

The doctor paused in his examination. “Sam’s getting rid of the boy, Ben. He fancies himself as a bit of medical genius and was meddling with the evidence.”

The lawman raised a thick brow. “You want to end up in my cells, boy?”

“No, sir.” Abigail dropped her head and pouted in an adolescent manner as everyone released her. “I’m sorry.”

“So you should be.” He gestured with his head. “Now, git.”

She stepped away from the caretaker and walked over to the door, followed by Nat and Jake. The men shared a glance; they could see she was ready to burst the way her shoulders heaved and tightened.

She reached the door and swirled around, yelling at the top of her voice. “There’s something else. He’s been redressed after his death and they’re not his clothes. They’re trying to hide his real identity by leaving him here looking like a tramp.”

She jumped aside to escape Sam’s booted kick before Jake stepped in front of the caretaker, staring him down with an arctic glower.

“Wait.” The doctor frowned. “Why do you say that, boy?”

“A few things. There’s no puncture wound in any of those clothes, or blood. He was dressed after he stopped bleeding. The clothes almost fit him, but not quite. That’s not so surprising in a tramp as they often wear second-hand, but those clothes are covered in brick dust. He has soft hands, and neatly-cut nails. He’s never done manual work in his life. His callous on the left hand shows he writes a lot and he’s left-handed. The wear on those clothes shows a right-handed pattern of use in the cuffs, and on the fabric, in general.” She paused, glancing nervously at the doctor and the sheriff. “And the trousers are far too short, but the ends are worn. How can you wear out the fabric if it’s flapping around your ankles and not rubbing on anything?”

The doctor stared at the slip of a boy in disbelief. “What age are you boy?”

“Fifteen,” Abigail said, inserting a voice-breaking trill.

“He told the caretaker the body had been dead for over twelve hours and had been moved before he told him to get you and the sheriff,” Nat said. “He’s a real smart kid. He knew about that red mark. He doesn’t deserve to be pushed about for trying to help.”

“You look younger than fifteen.” The doctor frowned. “What’s your name?”

“Albert,” Abigail said, staring at her booted feet. “I’ve never been big for my age.”

“Yeah,” the sheriff said. “Real girly, but It’s a man’s brain you got there.”

“Are you apprenticed to anyone?” asked the doctor. “I’ve studied under Doctor MacIvor in Chicago. He qualified as a physician in Edinburgh, and wants me to go to university to study.” She thought on her feet to explain her presence here. “My uncles are helping me to find work to raise the money.”

“Edinburgh, huh?” The young doctor scratched his cheek. “One of the best in the world. Impressive. Sam, let him in. He might be some use, after all. My name is Doctor Fox. Where can I contact this Doctor MacIvor?”

Abigail walked tentatively forward. “He has a practice in Hyde Park, Chicago, and does work for the Pinkertons, too.” She paused. “But the telegraph wires were brought down by the snow. You can’t contact him, can you?”

“He don’t miss a trick, this one, does he?” chortled the sheriff.

“No, he doesn’t,” the doctor answered. “Have you ever helped with an autopsy, Albert?”

She shook her head. “I’ve seen a few. I’ve never helped.” She bit into her lip. “And Doctor MacIvor always calls them post-mortem examinations. He says autopsy comes from ‘auto’ in Greek and means ‘self’. You can’t examine yourself after you’re dead, can you?”

A smile twitched at the doctor’s lips. “Yeah, I can see Doc MacIvor’s real particular. What university does he want you to go to?”

“Lind University in Chicago.” Dr. Fox turned to the sheriff. “He checks out. If you’re all right with it, I’ll use him as an assistant. He’s been trained to notice things I haven’t.”

“He’s fifteen.” The sheriff’s gaze hardened in protest.

“That’s the age apprenticeships start for doctors.” Dr. Fox shrugged. “They start doing menial work, but Albert’s obviously bright. I can use him.”

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