After months of marital bliss, Jessica Faraday and Murphy Thornton are still discovering and adjusting to their life together. Settled in their new home, everything appears to be perfect … except in the middle of the night when, in darkest shadows of her subconscious, a deep secret from Jessica’s past creeps to the surface to make her strike out at Murphy.
When investigative journalist Dallas Walker tells the couple about her latest case, known as the Pine Bridge Massacre, they realize Jessica may have witnessed the murder of a family living near a winery owned by distant relatives she was visiting and suppressed the memory.
Determined to uncover the truth and find justice for the murder victims, Jessica and Murphy return to the scene of the crime with Dallas Walker, a spunky bull-headed Texan. Can this family reunion bring closure for a community touched by tragedy or will this prickly get-together bring an end to the Thorny Rose couple?
The Thorny Rose Detectives— Imperfect Perfect Couple
By Lauren Carr
Have you ever met the perfect couple? You know the type. The man is eye candy to the ladies. The woman has a perfect figure and a fabulous wardrobe.
Not only that, but they actually sync with each other. They are able to communicate without words. They each know what the other is thinking and are in complete agreement.
In other words, they never argue.
They complement each other. Where he is weak, she is strong.
I’m talking about the type of couples that make you look at your own spouse and think, “Cupid had to have been SUI (Shooting Under the Influence) when he shot those arrows to bring us together.”
The reality is this—there’s no such thing as a perfect couple. That’s okay.
Imperfect couples have more fun—especially when they are in the early phases of learning about each other. Some of my husband’s and my funnest moments have been when we were learning amazing and scary things about each other. After twenty-seven years of marriage, our fondest memories are of those less-than-perfect moments where we would discover something new, exciting, and Oh-My-Gosh-Are-You-Kidding-Me? about each other.
One fight that I still love to tell people about today occurred on our first anniversary.
My mother had rented a beach house on the Outer Banks for us to vacation at for a week. In October, the weather was still warm enough to lay out on the beach. Yet, it was off season, so we pretty much had the place to ourselves.
This was when I discovered that my husband does not like laying out on the beach doing nothing! Before we left to go on our vacation to relax, my husband had made a list of everything we were going to do during our week long getaway. By day four, we had completed everything on his list. Yet, we still had three days left to our seven day rental—which was all paid for by my mother!
“Okay, so we completed everything on our list. Now we can lay on the beach and relax,” I replied when my hubby said he was ready to go home.
Showing me his written list, he said, “We did that on Saturday. Time to go home.”
Yep, sure enough, there was a check mark next to “Lay on the Beach.”
“Then let’s do it again,” I said.
“You mean lay on the beach all day, every day, for the rest of our vacation … doing nothing?”
You would have thought I had suggested robbing a bank—naked!
That was when I discovered, one year after we were married, that my husband will never make a good beach bum. If I want to do nothing on my vacation, I need to do it alone or take one of my less energetic friends along.
This is the case for Lieutenant Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday, my newlywed detectives of the Thorny Rose Mysteries. They are not in perfect sync with each other. A graduate of the Naval Academy, Murphy is an officer who prides himself of being in perfect control—especially when it comes to his diet. He is a pescatarian. He eats fish, but no other meat. He believes in clean eating, staying away from diary, refined sugar, and other goodies. Meanwhile, Jessica enjoys steak, baked potato slathered in butter and sour cream and a terribly expensive champagne.
Married only ten months, they are just about at the point where they have just about adjusted to each other’s differences, but still too polite to be frank about each other’s eccentricities. However, when the stress of their latest case gets to them in A Fine Year for Murder, then the gloves come off, as you can see in the excerpt below:
“Have I mentioned that I don’t like your family?”
Murphy’s low voice caught Jessica off guard. One of the things she loved about him was his ability to see the positive side of every person and situation.
At the moment, that was quite difficult. In less than twenty-four hours, she’d tried to strangle him in his sleep, he’d been burned by boiling-hot water deliberately dumped into his lap, and he’d almost been shot.
The sirens almost drowned out her response. “They’re not my family. Dad was adopted.”
“Thank you, God. Our children will be safe from their gene pool.”
Whirling away from the window through which she’d been watching Sheriff Taylor speak to Leonardo, Jessica sputtered and tried to counter his claim. “Your dad carries a grenade launcher in his SUV!”
“Your brother has a pet tarantula! What kind of grown man has a tarantula for a pet?”
“Well, at least Monique doesn’t stamp her feet at me when she wants to be fed!”
“I never stamp my feet at you!”
“I’m talking about the forty-five-pound couch potato you call a dog!”
“Excuse me!” Sheriff Taylor said loudly. Apparently, he had let himself in. “I hate to interrupt this moment of marital bliss, but I have a dead body down in the parking lot, and witnesses are telling me that the shooter is in this room.”
Murphy raised his hand as though he were a student trying to get the teacher’s attention. “That would be me.”
Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!
Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.
Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.
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