Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
This year I have lots to be thankful for, not the least of which is the publication of my novel PRETTY LITTLE HORSES, an Abby Maxon mystery. Woot! PRETTY LITTLE HORSES is currently available at Amazon and Smashwords, and will be available shortly at B&N and the Apple iBookstore.
As a special treat to celebrate, this week’s free story is all about Abby’s very first investigation. I hope you enjoy THIEF.
Published by Thunder Valley Press
Copyright 2011 by Annie Reed
Cover Art Copyright Esterio | Dreamstime.com
The Frisbee missed the top of Abby Preston’s head by a mere inch, if that. She ducked, even though by the time her head moved, the Frisbee was already skimming the green grass of the quad behind where she sat trying to concentrate on her Sociology 101 assignment.
“Hey!” She looked up at Ryan in mock annoyance. “Watch where you’re throwing that thing.”
Ryan leaned down and kissed the top of Abby’s head. “That’s not what you said last night,” he murmured just loud enough for her to hear.
Abby felt the heat rise in her cheeks. She’d only been dating Ryan for a month and sleeping with him for two weeks, and she wasn’t quite comfortable yet with the newness of their relationship. College life was tough enough without complicating it by throwing a boyfriend into the mix. Then, of course, there was the whole “don’t worry, dear, you’ll find someone to settle down with in college” thing from her mother. That, more than anything else, was why she’d resisted Ryan Maxon’s attempts to flirt with her for as long as she had. The last thing Abby wanted to do was fulfill her mother’s expectations.
“Are you going to make out with your girlfriend or play Frisbee?”
The question came from Jimmy Fisher, Ryan’s best friend. Abby’s cheeks grew warmer. That was another thing. Dating Ryan didn’t mean just hanging out with Ryan. It meant tagging along with Ryan and Jimmy while they did their ex-high school jock thing. In their case, it meant watching them try to beat each other in whatever sport happened to catch their fancy. Today it was tossing a Frisbee around the University of Nevada – Reno quad. The afternoon before, it had been killer tennis on the university courts. The day before that, touch football with some guys from one of the frats.
“Both, of course,” Ryan said. He kissed Abby again, this time on the lips, then jogged over to pick up the Frisbee. “See if you can catch this one,” he said to Jimmy.
Abby tried to refocus on her textbook. Her Sociology text was thick and boring as hell, and she had sixty pages to read by tomorrow. She should have stayed in her dorm room, but the first warm snap of early spring had drawn her outside along with what looked like half the student body. The quad was loaded with students sprawled out on blankets or simply sprawled out on the grass, backpacks overloaded with books by their sides, out enjoying the bright northern Nevada sunshine. It was a wonder that Ryan and Jimmy weren’t tripping over people and books with every throw of the Frisbee. Lucky for both of them, they had the kind of natural charm that together with their competitive natures and striking good looks equaled charisma out the wazoo. Why someone like Ryan would be interested in someone like Abby was beyond her. She knew she wasn’t ugly, although like most of the women in her dorm, she would have changed parts of her body in an instant if she could. She’d just never dated anyone like Ryan before, and he really seemed to like her. They had a spark, or a connection, or whatever you wanted to call it, but it was something special. Abby didn’t want to mess whatever it was up before it got a real chance to grow, so when Ryan suggested she take her studying outside, she said yes.
Only Sociology wasn’t nearly as fun as watching Ryan enjoying himself.
Abby closed her book and crossed her legs, yoga style, and let herself enjoy watching her boyfriend.
She never even saw the guy who lifted her purse from the blanket behind her until he was halfway down the sidewalk leading to the engineering building.
(read the rest of the story here)