This product is no longer in stock
Who's littering the park with corpses?
Simon Ribault and Ellie Ironstone are used to dealing with messy campers and ravaging raccoons, but when three bodies wash up on the beach, the two State Park Rangers must mobilize all their powers of deduction. Who are they and how did they get to the shore of Amelia Island? Are they connected to the secretive League of the Green Cross? Or linked to a mysterious Jamaican drug ring?
Ellie, new to Amelia Island, must penetrate a close-knit community if she wants to find answers to the mystery, all while deciding between two rivals for her affection: Thad, the handsome local idol, and Simon, the clever, quirky bookworm.
Simon, for his part, will have to call on his not-so-well-honed romantic prowess to lure Ellie away from Thad and at the same time use his wide-ranging research skills to solve the case.
Page Count: 430
Word Count: 97578
The Corpses Danced at Midnight
Fort Clinch State Park, Sunday, April 15
“Simon, I think you’d better call 9-1-1.”
“Ya think so, Ellie?” Simon dunked his head in the briny water again and shook the drops free like a winter-weary brown bear rising from the icy Yukon River. He loosened the collar of his park ranger uniform and turned his eyes, the thick lashes dripping, on Ellie. “Shouldn’t we just leave the carcass here for the vultures to pick clean? I thought you were soooo into recycling.”
“Your flippancy is totally inappropriate, Simon. If you won’t, I will. I’m calling Mother.”
“Oh, is she on duty?”
“Yes.” Ellie set her campaign hat on a log and pulled out her phone. Simon couldn’t help but admire her slim fingers as she touched three numbers on the keypad. They fit so beautifully at the end of her perfectly shaped arm, which flows ever so gracefully into that ravishing shoulder, currently obscuring those beautiful billowy breasts…Ulp. Where was I?
A voice like a rutting peacock blared. “You’ve reached 9-1-1 Fernandina Beach Dispatch. Please state the nature of the emergency.”
“Mom? It’s me, Ellie.”
The voice came down a notch but took on an ominous growl. “Ellie, you know how I feel about—”
“Mom, it’s an emergency.”
“Oh? Tell me.”
Simon moved a little closer. Just so I can hear better.
Ellie rotated the phone to allow them both to listen. “Simon and I are at the fort. There was an event here last night, and Hosea sent us to check out what, if any, mess the participants left before we reopen to the public tomorrow.”
“Oh, right. Betty Lawrence told me it was some sort of cult initiation—torches and secret handshakes and masks and stuff. I doubt they’d leave anything behind. Wouldn’t want to divulge any clues to their Circean rituals.”
Simon whistled. “Did she just say ‘Circean’? Cool!”
Ellie put a palm over her phone. “What on earth are you talking about?”
“Circe. You know. Greek goddess of sorcery. Well, minor goddess to be precise, but she did land a pretty good gig in The Iliad. When Odysseus and his men…” Simon petered out in response to the look on Ellie’s face.
She took her hand off the phone and spoke into it. “We’re not sure our little emergency has anything to do with the attendees. The inside of the fort was reasonably tidy, but outside the walls—”
“Get on with it, Ellie. You’re just like your father. What have you found?”
Ellie brushed the criticism aside with a wave of her hand. “A bit of unexpected flotsam washed up on the shore.”
“You don’t want to know what it is first?”
“I need coordinates if I’m to send out reinforcements.”
“Okay, the body is on the stretch of sand facing St. Marys River. Northeast of the fort.”
“Body, huh. Dead?”
“I’d probably call it a man if it wasn’t.”
“Good point. Does it look pruny?”
Ellie checked out the corpse, lying supine on the sand. “Not really. So that means he died recently?”
“It means he wasn’t in the water long. Stiff?”
“Stiff, vic, cadaver—whatever you want to call him, he’s dead.”
No customer reviews for the moment.