Everything old is new again in love and murder.
Work together, live together, and play together is the name of the game for Royce Locke and Sawyer Key. But one of those things changes when Chief Mendoza taps Sawyer to lead the newly formed cold case unit. His first task: solve the Magnolia Murders that spanned three decades and suddenly stopped in 2000.
Chaos ensues when a fourth Magnolia Queen contender is murdered during a preliminary round. With the pageant’s one hundredth anniversary looming, the pressure is on to produce results. Royce and Sawyer, along with their new partners, have to team up to solve the Magnolia Murders—old and new.
As the investigation continues, a surprise visitor and an unexpected phone call force the men to face painful things from their pasts. The future Royce and Sawyer dream of is within their grasp, but first, they’ll need to uproot the seeds of discontent they’ve buried deep.
The Magnolia Murders is the first book in the Matrimony and Mayhem trilogy, the second story arc for Royce Locke and Sawyer Key. ** New readers should start with the Zero Hour trilogy before reading Matrimony and Mayhem. ** The Magnolia Murders is a continuation of Royce and Sawyer’s happily ever after as they move into the next phase of their lives—professionally and personally. Though some storylines span the trilogy, this book does not end in a cliffhanger. Heat, humor, heart, and homicide abound. You have been warned. 18+
Tara’s right brow arched, and her mouth quirked into a smirk. “You think I’m some player, huh?”
Royce offered an easy smile before returning his attention to the traffic light. “No, I don’t, but you have a lady-killer reputation. I think still waters run deep, and there’s a lot I don’t know about you.”
Tara chuckled. “It really kept our unit on their toes, yeah? They were hiding their wives from both of us.”
Royce laughed too. “Have you met Ashcroft’s wife yet?”
“Nope,” Tara replied. “You?”
“Yeah. He introduced us once I came out,” Royce said.
The memory of kissing Sawyer in front of their unit at Joe’s still heated his blood and made him smile. They’d been there to celebrate Royce’s promotion to sergeant, and he hadn’t liked the way Diego Fuentes, who’d been a patrolman at the time, kept flirting with his man. The kiss had started out as a chest-thumping gesture but had become so much more.
Sawyer hadn’t pressured Royce to come out, but he’d existed in the shadows long enough, always living vicariously through others. Sawyer made Royce want more out of life than just existing, so that press of lips in a crowded bar had been his phoenix rising. And for three years, what they’d had together was enough. Royce had known Sawyer was ready for matrimony and babies, but he hadn’t pushed. Not even when invitations to weddings and baby showers for their friends arrived in the mail. Sawyer just patiently waited until Royce was ready.
And like the ginormous turkeys Evangeline roasted for Thanksgiving, Royce’s internal thermometer had popped, yet he continued baking in his fears of inadequacy. If he weren’t careful, he’d end up like the husk of a turkey on National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, the only Christmas movie worth watching besides Die Hard and Lethal Weapon.
Ever since she was a little girl, Aimee Nicole Walker entertained herself with stories that popped into her head. Now she gets paid to tell those stories to other people. She wears many titles—wife, mom, and animal lover are just a few of them. Her absolute favorite title is champion of the happily ever after. Love inspires everything she does, music keeps her sane, and coffee is the magic elixir that fuels her day.
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