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Trade Ellis is a dirty-shirt cowgirl—part Apache, part rancher, and all private eye. Unfortunately, there’s not much call for investigators on horseback. But as her 25th high school reunion approaches, someone starts thinning the ranks of the old cheerleading squad. Trade has enough suspects to fill a yearbook: the fading beauty, the rich girl, the loser, the nerd. Because someone wants her to join the cheerleading squad—in the morgue.
Dying to earn her spurs…
Even in sweltering June, there’s plenty of work for Trade Ellis on her Arizona ranch, but right now her part-time P.I. practice is as dry as the desert—until bull rider J. B. Calendar marries a candy heiress who’s crazy to turn cowgirl.
Abigail Van Thiessen, nipped and tucked into great shape, has thirty-two years—and a few hundred million dollars—on her husband. So when she meets her untimely death on a romantic horseback trip with her newlywed stud, the cops suspect foul play. And J.B. hires Trade to prove him innocent.
While plenty of people stood to gain from Abby’s death—the ex-football-star preacher she bankrolled, a half brother with his own millions, and a topless dancer with a grudge, just for starters—no suspect looks better than J.B., a boozing tomcatter who’s lucky with the ladies. Until Trade learns about another murder in town the same night Abby died…a development that may bring the investigation—and Trade—to the very deadest of ends.
One man’s sport is another man’s murder….
Private eye Trade Ellis, part cowgirl, part Apache, has her hands full running her Arizona ranch. But when Victoria Carpenter, the famous romance writer, shows up with gruesome stories about repressed childhood memories, all going back over thirty years, Trade jumps at the chance to take the case.
Victoria’s flashbacks include her father’s so-called Sporting Club and its not-so-innocent picnics, where the wives talked, the children played…and the husbands made a brutal sport of hate and death. She’s convinced that her father and his hunting buddies were racist killers. But how do you investigate decades-old crimes? Especially with no bodies, no police reports, and the only accuser a woman who makes up stories for a living. When the threatening phone calls begin and a cross is set ablaze on Trade’s ranch, it soon appears there will be at least two more bodies they won’t have to dig out of the past-Victoria’s and Trade’s.