A Heritage of Death
(A Reverend Cici Gurule Mystery #2)
By Alexa Padgett
Publication date: October 23rd 2018
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Thriller
An unconventional pastor. A brutal murder. To solve the case, one reverend will look for help from beyond the grave…
Reverend Cecelia “Cici” Gurule dreams of a bruised and bloodied woman who looks alarmingly like Cici. She’d like to pretend the dream is a nightmare and nothing more, but there are too many coincidences in her waking life to write it off. Like the baby that turns up on her porch–a baby that disappeared weeks before.
Cici and Detective Sam Chastain race to find the woman, but the killer finds her first. As the trail grows cold, Cici’s only chance to solve the mystery before she becomes the next target may be a clue left by her ghostly twin.
A Heritage of Death is the second novel in a compelling female sleuth mystery series for fans of Ruth Ware and Gilly MacMillan. If you like convention-shattering heroines, vivid Southwest settings, and a touch of the paranormal, then you’ll love Alexa Padgett’s twisty mystery.
Buy A Heritage of Death and hold on tight for a white-knuckle thrill ride today!
“I . . . I think it’s like that again. That’s why I had this dream about this family . . . I know it sounds ridiculous, but . . . well, why not? Aci knew that Isabel would come to my house. Like she wanted me to be prepared. To let me know this was bigger than just . . . well, a whopping lie about a baby being abducted.”
Cici shuddered, wrapping her arms around herself to hold in her body heat.
“Who does that?” she murmured.
“Someone who’s desperate,” Sam said, his gaze drifting back to the room where Henry sat with Isabel, his frown intensifying.
Cici’s mouth twisted. “You think Grace was so anxious to be with her daughter? No, you think Grace was frantic to get away from Henry so she kidnapped her own baby?” Cici allowed her words to drip with scorn.
Sam grimaced, his gaze drifting back to the door when Henry hugged his baby, his heartache clear for them all to see.
“I get you’re pissed at me and at the system,” Sam said, his voice hardened with resolve. “That you think it’s unfair to separate the two of them. But I don’t know what to think yet. I’m heading up to Taos,” Sam said. “I’ll talk to Grace. That’s top priority.” Sam muttered to himself, like he was making a list. “I’ll need to talk to my counterparts, check into the family’s background, find friends to interview.”
“Which means you don’t believe what I told you. Not really.”
Sam blinked at her but didn’t answer, giving Cici the response that set her belly full of fire.
“You know what, do what you gotta do. But in the meantime, can we make sure Isabel’s with someone good over at CYFD?” Cici pleaded, understanding she wasn’t going to get more from Sam concerning Henry’s plight. “I just . . . she’s been through a lot and so has Henry.”
Sam dipped his head. “She’ll go to emergency foster. Unless they don’t have one, then it may be a staff member. They’ve all had their background checks.”
“Not good enough. I want someone watching her that cares about her, Sam. Already. Who has a stake.”
Sam clenched his jaw but he asked, “Who do you want me to talk to?”
Cici recognized this as an olive branch, and she appreciated the effort Sam chose to make with her. “Becky Gutierrez,” Cici said. “She’s always been on top of her work there.”
No, her reason for asking for Becky was much more personal: Cici didn’t think Sam would find her and this was her way to prove the point.
Sam tugged on his lip but he nodded. “You know I can’t do that. Becky knows Grace. Henry said so.”
Cici rolled her eyes as she exhaled. There were moments, like this, when being in a small city made everyone’s life harder. “But I asked you to find her. She’ll be able to help navigate the system and get Isabel into the best hands . . . after her father’s.”
“Cici—” Sam said, his voice dipping in warning.
Cici crossed her arms over her chest and glared up at Sam. “Isabel’s been through trauma, and whether you like hearing so or not, your stupid protocol is going to increase it.”
“I’ll see what I can do,” Sam muttered, his expression unhappy. “But you have to understand—again, this is for the child’s safety. If Becky and Grace are related, Becky won’t be able to oversee this case.” Sam raised his hand as if to ward off Cici’s next words. “Still, I’ll call her to give her a heads up. That’ll help establish a paper trail for Isabel. And, maybe, if Becky is as close to Grace Bruin as Henry said, we can get some insight into what happened last week.”
Cici unclenched her fists, but her anger didn’t abate. “If you find Becky.”
Sam opened his mouth, but Cici held up her hand. “Go investigate. Do your thing. I’ll do mine. But I want it on the record right now that I thoroughly and deeply oppose this decision.”
“All right. Just . . . be careful.” He raised his hand, palm out. He hesitated a moment, then said, “Call me when you leave here. I want to know where you go today.”
Cici tamped down her irritation with a struggle. “Why?”
Sam stepped away, pulling out his notebook. He would focus on the case and do what needed doing to ensure justice.
“Because I want you to be safe,” he muttered.
“Funny,” Cici snapped, arms crossed over her chest. “I want the same thing for that baby in there—the one whose safety you’re putting at risk.”
Sam grimaced. Cici rarely picked a fight and she felt bad taking out her spiking anger on him. Still, in this, he was wrong.
“I’m off to Taos to find out why Grace Bruin won’t return our calls.” He spun on his heel and strode down the corridor.
But Cici already knew—and so did Sam, the stubborn goat.
“Remember what the note said,” Cici called.
He glanced back and something lit in his eyes. “I’ll be careful. And I promise not to trust anyone.”
Cici frowned, wondering if he meant her.
With a degree in international marketing and a varied career path that includes content management for a web firm, marketing direction for a high-profile sports agency, and a two-year stint with a renowned literary agency, award-winning author Alexa Padgett has returned to her first love: writing fiction.
Alexa spent a good part of her youth traveling. From Budapest to Belize, Calgary to Coober Pedy, she soaked in the myriad smells, sounds, and feels of these gorgeous places, wishing she could live in them all—at least for a while. And she does in her books.
She lives in New Mexico with her husband, children, and Great Pyrenees pup, Ash. When not writing, schlepping, or volunteering, she can be found in her tiny kitchen, channeling her inner Barefoot Contessa.
From one bookaholic to another, I hope I’ve helped you find your next fix.
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