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Protected Secrets - A Whispering Pines Mystery, Book 10 (PAPERBACK)

Protected Secrets - A Whispering Pines Mystery, Book 10 (PAPERBACK)

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Springtime in the village means colored eggs, hot crossed buns, and a corpse.

As the vernal equinox brings welcome warmth and the promise of the coming tourist season to Wisconsin's Northwoods, it also brings an invading Wiccan coven. Sheriff Jayne O’Shea isn’t worried about the witches. It’s the fact that her mother is coming for her first visit in nearly twenty years that has her on edge. Their reunion goes well, better than expected, and then a coven member disappears.

The other members don't seem concerned. In fact, they're so indifferent to the disappearance, Jayne is sure she's searching for a body, not a missing person. The possibility of another death in the village is bad enough, but this one could mean the end for Whispering Pines. If Jayne can't get her mom to see the lakeside community's charming appeal, it will go up for sale.


PROTECTED SECRETS is the tenth 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
After only five minutes of this, I had worked up a sweat and needed to peel off my fleece jacket.
Scoop. Lift. Dump.
Scoop. Lift. Dump.
After another five minutes, it was clear I would regret volunteering for this job tomorrow. This stuff was heavy. My arms were already yelling at me.
Still, I continued lifting, dropping shovelfuls of snow over the side where they landed on the thawing lake with a solid wet thump. This was good for me. Not only the physical exertion of pushing and removing snow from the boathouse deck but also the emotional exertion of preparing the small boathouse apartment for someone else to stay in it. I was being a bit dramatic about this. I knew that. It’s just, this was the first place I’d ever lived by myself. I’d gone from my parents’ home to sharing a dorm room with my college roommate to an apartment with my then boyfriend. This apartment, approximately the length of a school bus and twice the width, was the place where I’d become independent. Emotionally, at least.
Once I’d completed my task, except for a couple stubborn stuck-on spots that would have to melt on their own, I leaned against the railing and took in the sight before me. The first warm day of the year in Whispering Pines was glorious. According to the calendar, and the even more reliable local Wiccan population, it wouldn’t officially be spring for three more days, but it sure didn’t look like winter to me. I breathed in the smell of wet sun-warmed pine and smiled. Across the vast forest that surrounded both the lake and the village, any snow left from the storm that hit two days ago was melting quickly, dripping like rain from the boughs. Little plip, plop, plip sounds came from everywhere as the drips formed small puddles on the ground. Any animals wandering through the woods today were in for a shower.
“Here you are.”
I turned to see my boyfriend and business partner, Tripp Bennett, cresting the stairs along the side of the boathouse. I pointed at the dozen or so fishing huts dotting the lake.
“Don’t you think the owners should pull those in now? Look at all the puddles forming on the surface.” As if backing me up, sunbeams glinted off a few. “Isn’t that a sign that it’s time?”
“The villagers know the lake pretty well. I wouldn’t worry about it.”
“It’s been warm for March, though. If it was me, I’d haul them in.”
“What are you doing up here? Other than worrying about fishing shanties.”
“I came to help Holly clean the apartment.”
He took in my leaning against the railing stance and teased, “You appear to be doing a fine job.”
“She kicked me out.” I flexed my hands up and pressed them against the rail to stretch my tight forearms. “I shoveled the snow off the stairs and deck instead.”

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