Grave Wars – A Jane Ladling Mystery Read Online Gena Showalter

Categories Genre: Alpha Male, Suspense Tags Authors:

Total pages in book: 54
Estimated words: 50823 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 254(@200wpm)___ 203(@250wpm)___ 169(@300wpm)

Jane Ladling presents the perfect fail-proof “Don’t Fall Deeper In Love With Your Boyfriend” Checklist!

Remember the family curse—check (ish)
Keep your mind focused on his bid for sheriff—check
Never find his competition dead in their home—check mate?

For too long, Jane has lived in fear of a generational curse. Fall in love, lose the guy; marry him and watch him die. Finally, this quirky ray of sunshine is determined to experience all life offers. With the help of the world’s most amazing guardcat, she preserves Garden of Memories, a landlocked cemetery and heaven on earth. At her side is the best ragtag team of friends in history. Plus, she’s dating the tastiest snack in Aurelian Hills, Georgia. Protective grump and future sheriff Conrad Ryan. There’s just one problem: someone murdered Conrad’s only opponent.

Of course, like any expert amateur sleuth, Jane dives heart first into an investigation. Except, the hotter the leads, the colder the case. From feuding neighbors to secret blackmailers and a missing crime boss, reality proves stranger than fiction. As new buddies and old enemies emerge, Jane will stop at nothing to uncover the truth. And maybe, just maybe, she’ll win her own campaign along the way: being crowned Miss Happily Ever After.

*************FULL BOOK START HERE*************


Thou shall not sneak into the home of an opposing candidate, even if the door is unlocked.

–Jane Ladling’s Campaign Companion Code

“I think there’s something wrong with my flyer.” Jane Ladling paused in the middle of the neighborhood sidewalk, frowning at the stack of political flyers in her gloved hands.

Cold wind blew, flapping the pages. The sun shone at full wattage, illuminating the brilliant design—if she did say so herself. However, the beams provided zero heat, allowing the niggle in her mind to keep her frozen in place. What was she missing?

“Looks amazing to me, and I should know,” said the darling woman at Jane’s right. Fiona Lawrence had just celebrated sixty-three years on this Earth, so, yes, she’d obviously seen enough advertisements to qualify as an expert judge. “Critiquing other people’s work is my superpower.”

Jane wasn’t one to doubt her best friend. And the flyer was amazing. But… Her frown deepened as she read the text more closely. Cupcakes with Conrad Ryan. Hosted by Jane Ladling. Located at Garden of Memories. February 29th. 12:00-2:00.

Lovely font. An invitation to get to know the new resident ready to serve as the world’s most amazing sheriff. Adorable photo of the usually stoic Conrad smiling. A glorious expression exclusively reserved for Jane. Something she hated to share. Alas. Anything to help the precious man live his dream.

“I love the hugeness of his last name,” Fiona said with something akin to amusement hiding in her tone.

Had Jane made RYAN large enough to cover two lines? Yes. How else was the name supposed to stand out to the good people of Aurelian Hills, Georgia? A small town big in gold, community, and lately, murder. The very reason a special election for sheriff was so urgent. Conrad versus Joshua “Josh” Gunn, a well-respected deputy who’d served her hometown for over fifteen years.

Too bad for Gunn, no better lawman existed than Conrad, Jane’s on-again boyfriend. In the past six months, the smoking hot former special agent had helped her solve a string of homicides. Oh, he might have done the “official” legwork, but Jane had unofficially created theories, questioned mountains of suspects, and provided delicious snacks. Though she owned and operated a landlocked cemetery, she wasn’t exaggerating or bragging when she said she had an incomparable knack for investigating and solving the most complex of crimes; Jane was simply being honest. But making flyers… where had she gone wrong?

She traced a blunt-tipped nail over the text. His name. Hers. The cemetery’s. Hmm. Her gaze zoomed back to her name in particular. Jane Ladling…Ryan. She gasped as a light dawned, the problem suddenly glaringly obvious. Oh. My. Gosh. Once seen, there was no unseeing it.

“No, no, no,” she groaned, hugging the stack to her chest. She rocked from heel to toe in embarrassment. Then she looked at the horror again. No matter what she did—blink, shake her head, will the text to change—the abomination remained the same.

How could she have done this? How had she missed this travesty of an error when she proofed the flyer not once or twice but three times? The way she’d positioned their names… Her stomach rolled. It looked as if she and Conrad had gotten married, and this was how they’d decided to announce it.

“Found the problem, did you?” Fiona asked. Oh yeah. Jane definitely detected amusement.

“Just great! You see it too.” Cheeks heating despite the chill, Jane tapped the paper, pointing to the worst mistake anyone anywhere had ever made in the history of forever. “Be honest. Does it seem like I’m announcing a change in my marital status?”

A smile bloomed over the older woman’s beautiful face. “Are you worried Conrad will think you did it on purpose? As a hint?”

“No! Definitely not.” But maybe? She unleashed the groan brewing at the back of her throat. The guy knew and accepted her refusal to wed. That she was willing to date him was a miracle. And her recent softening toward the idea of love? The biggest miracle of all. But marriage? Never!

The women in her family were cursed. Fall in love and lose the guy. Marry him and watch him die. Although, yes, Jane had recently admitted the curse might possibly be self-inflicted. The reason she’d agreed to finally get serious with her favorite lawman. Like a big girl, she’d decided to stop cheating on her future with her past and running away.

Still, she’d be eternally mortified if he saw this flyer. “I think it goes without saying that we’ll be removing and burning all evidence of my blunder.” Jane whipped out her phone. “I’ll text Beau and tell him to retrace his steps, reclaim every paper he’s hung or passed out, then meet us at the hearse.”

She’d parked the family car at the entrance of The Treasure Trove, the largest neighborhood in Aurelian Hills. From there, she and Fiona had gone right. Beauregard “Beau” Harden, a war vet and her dearest childhood friend, went left with his military bud, Trick. The two darlings had volunteered to help…after demanding payment in the form of casseroles.