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Kept Secrets - A Whispering Pines Mystery, Book 2 (EBOOK)

Kept Secrets - A Whispering Pines Mystery, Book 2 (EBOOK)

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Tucked next to a pristine lake, the part-Medieval Europe, part-Renaissance Faire hamlet of Whispering Pines is a utopia... except for the recent murders.

One month after arriving in the Northwoods, former detective Jayne O'Shea has settled comfortably into small-town life and is making good progress with her task of getting her grandparents' house ready for sale.

Then the shocking death of one of the carnies rocks the community, and the villagers look to Jayne for help, placing her in an impossible middle ground of not wanting to get involved and needing to ensure justice is served. When a second carney turns up dead, and the newly hired sheriff--more concerned with ticketing tourists than catching the killer--dismisses the death as an accident, Jayne has no choice but to step in. Can she uncover the truth before the murderer strikes again?

KEPT SECRETS is the second book in the Whispering Pines mystery series about a woman determined to return her grandmother's village to the idyllic haven it used to be ... before all the secrets started rising to the surface.

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Chapter 1
AS THE MID-JUNE SKY TURNED from dusk to dark, I smiled, amused by the nine-foot-tall clown wandering from pine tree to pine tree, switching on the solar lanterns that hung from random limbs. A dude on stilts; that answered my question as to how they powered up the lanterns. Some that automatically turned on as the light started to fade would be more practical, but this was far more entertaining.
For nearly a month I’d heard about the Whispering Pines circus. Today, I finally got to experience it for myself, alongside my friend Tripp Bennett.
“Do you want to ride the carousel next,” Tripp asked, “or get caramel corn?”
This carousel was the most amazing I’d ever seen. The double-decker beauty had two rows of animals on the bottom, one on top. Like nearly any other merry-go-round there were horses, but this one also had rabbits, reindeer, camels, lions, cats, giraffes, frogs, and goats. For those who couldn’t climb up on an animal, there was a swan-shaped bench and a submarine that looked like it had come straight out of a Dr. Seuss undersea fantasy.
“No question, the carousel.” I pointed to the upper deck. “I’ve been eyeing that zebra every time we pass by.”
“Zebra it is.” He pointed out the iridescent animal just behind my intended transport. “I’m going to ride that purple-blue-green seahorse-dragon thing.”
While we waited for both of our preferred creatures to be free at the same time, we watched the sideshow acts scattered along the midway. No one could miss the tall woman, she had to stand at least seven feet with red hair that hung almost to her knees. She was dressed like a puppeteer, holding strings attached to a one-armed little boy who pretended to be her marionette. They were absolutely charming.
A few yards away, a man balanced on a large ball while juggling flaming torches. Wary parents maintained a wide perimeter, encouraging the juggler while holding their children back to avoid any fire mishaps.
“I can’t believe he’s blind,” a teenage girl said as she and her family wandered past.
“The juggler?” I asked.
“The juggler,” the father said. “Isn’t that incredible?”
It was, but no more so than anything else around here.
Across the red-brick-paved midway from the juggler, a woman hung by one leg from a hoop that was suspended between two large pine trees. She spun so fast she was a blur, and then in a blink of an eye, she was spinning by one hand. And then by only the back of her head. She mesmerized me with all the contortions she put her body through. As her routine came to the end, her spotter lowered her to the ground where she waved and bowed to the crowd. Then her spotter approached her with a wheelchair we hadn’t even noticed.
“Look at her,” I said as she positioned her right leg on the footrest. “She can only use her left leg. I couldn’t have done what she just did if I had four superhuman legs.”
“We’re up.” Tripp took my hand and led me up one short staircase to the carousel platform and then to another that led to the top deck.

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