Book Title: FAMILY IS MURDER
Author: Carolyn Arnold
Series: McKinley Mysteries, Book 5
Published by: Hibbert & Stiles Publishing Inc.
ISBN (e-book): 978-1-988064-58-1
ISBN (paperback 4 x 6): 978-1-988353-29-6
ISBN (paperback 5 x 8): 978-1-988064-47-5
If only there were someone to clean up this mess…
Sean and Sara McKinley put out an ad for a maid, but they never expected Sara’s birth mother to apply—or at least that’s who the woman is claiming she is. While Sean is suspicious of her true identity and motive, Sara opens her heart to the woman. But when a dead body turns up soon after Sara’s supposed mother takes off without so much as a good-bye, they both start to question the truth.
Could they have welcomed a killer into their home and not even known it?
Links & Goodreads:
What to expect from the McKinley Mysteries:
Romance. Humor. Murder. Are you looking for a murder mystery without all the graphic violence and foul language? Something that you can enjoy in an afternoon and walk away feeling good about afterward? How about a dash of humor and romance? If so, meet former detectives Sean and Sara McKinley. When a billionaire leaves them all his money, they no longer have to work, but they find themselves sticking to what they’re good at—solving murders. Undercover, off the books, and around the world, they’ll get to the bottom of things…and romance it up along the way.
This is the perfect book series for fans of Hart to Hart, Castle, Colombo, Monk, Rockford Files, Psych, and Magnum PI.
Read in any order or follow the series from the beginning.
Excerpt from chapter 3 of Family is Murder (McKinley Mysteries)
SEAN KNEW SARA’S HEART WAS jumping in before she listened to the warnings that would be going off in her head. But that was his Sara—always taking a leap before assessing the fall. He wasn’t just going to stand by and watch the woman he loved get hurt, though. The chances of this being her mother, after all these years, was hard to believe. Why resurface now if it wasn’t for the money? It seemed easier to accept that she was a fake, playing a role in staking a claim in their fortune.
While the DNA tests would confirm or deny whether she was, in fact, Sara’s biological mother, until then how much drama would Sara live through? Whether she verbalized it or not, he could tell by the subtle twist of her lips, the way she looked on this woman, that she wanted to believe this was her real mom. There was also a mess in Sara’s eyes, a swirl that, to him, spoke to guilt.
Sara hadn’t stopped moving since they got back to the house. She was hurrying around tidying up and preparing the meal.
On her way by this time, he took her hand to slow her stride, and he drew her in to him. “You can relax, darling. It will all work out.”
“I just want everything to be perfect.” Her eyes scanned his.
“And it will be.” He led her to a sofa in their sitting room. “Please, darling, sit and let’s talk.”
Her eyes sparked. “I know what you’re going to say.”
He tapped the tip of her nose. “You’ve always been sort of a mind reader, but—”
“You’re going to tell me to keep my head about me, to not rush to accept this woman as my mother.”
The way she stared into his eyes made him feel like he was the enemy. “I just don’t want you to get hurt.”
“And I appreciate that.” Her raised shoulders relaxed slightly, and her tone softened when she continued. “I know that you had a rough life, Sean. You lost your mother when you were nine, your father when you were a young adult. But I’ve never known my real parents.” She paused, and there was that flicker of guilt dancing across her eyes. “Jeannie and Leon are the world to me. They were there for me from the beginning and will always be Mom and Dad. But, if this woman is who she claims to be, well, this may sound silly, but I’ll feel I belong in this world.”
He wasn’t prepared for those words and they attacked him as if a thrown fist, hitting him dead in the heart.
She put her hand on his leg. “Darling, please, know that I love you with all my heart and soul.”
He nodded. No words would form.
“And that didn’t come out right. I know I belong because of you, because of Jeannie and Leon, but this is my chance to know where I came from. I have never had a blood relative all my life.”
The way her eyes misted as she spoke chipped away at the gnawing pain in his chest, somehow making his life experience seem less significant. Still, losing his mother had impacted him as a boy. He remembered the isolation, the separation from others his age when there were school outings. Even watching his friends unpack their boxed lunches, he knew their mothers had taken extra care. His dad had tried, bless his soul, but he was a man. He didn’t put the little cards in his lunch box telling him to smile or reminding him that he was loved. While the boys who received these would blush from embarrassment, Sean would have traded spots with them in a heartbeat.
Yes, he knew grief, he knew heartache, he knew what it was like to be left in the world without a blood relative—but the latter not fully. He had his dad until he was nineteen and, to this day, he had his uncle Ray, although he lived in North Carolina.
He wanted to warn her to guard her heart, but seeing the look in her eyes, he couldn’t speak those words. “I’m happy for you.”
She leaned in and kissed him, then pulled back slowly. “I love you for that.”
He nodded and smiled. She had stolen his heart two years ago when he’d first met her, and with their spoken vows that bond had only solidified into concrete.
Sara tapped the couch and went to get up. “I better get that roast in the oven.”
One of her brows arched slightly higher than the other, a smirk on her lips. “Yes, and I am fully capable of cooking it, you know.”
He raised his hands in surrender. “Hey, I never said that you weren’t.”
“Uh-huh.” She laughed as she pranced back to the kitchen.
Sean stayed on the couch, his heart wanting to accept Leslie, but his mind warring against the request. He would try to open up, for Sara’s sake, but there was a little voice inside his head that cautioned him to stay vigilant.
CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.
Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.
Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.
She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime.
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