No Gravestone Left Unturned (A Jane Ladling Mystery #2) Read Online Gena Showalter

Categories Genre: Romance Tags Authors: Series: A Jane Ladling Mystery Series by Gena Showalter
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Total pages in book: 69
Estimated words: 64025 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 320(@200wpm)___ 256(@250wpm)___ 213(@300wpm)
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Read Online Books/Novels:

No Gravestone Left Unturned (A Jane Ladling Mystery #2)

Author/Writer of Book/Novel:

Gena Showalter

Language:
English
ISBN/ ASIN:
B09KPZHRT2
Book Information:

She suspects everyone of everything. Now, everyone suspects her.

For cemetery owner and world’s best fur-mom Jane Ladling, death is her business, romance is her misfortune and suspicion is her passion. When she discovers a fresh body on her porch, she calls Special Agent Conrad Ryan, her smoke-show of a boyfriend. Who isn’t actually her boyfriend. Whatever. It’s complicated, especially now that she’s being framed for the murder of the only “hard-hitting” journalist in the small town of Aurelian Hills, Georgia.

Determined to clear her good name, Jane dives headlong into following the clues––with best friends Fiona and Beau at her side. But can she identify the killer before she goes to jail? Or worse…there’s another victim?
Books in Series:

A Jane Ladling Mystery Series by Gena Showalter

Books by Author:

Gena Showalter



PROLOGUE

As the flesh melted off her bones, Jane Ladling didn’t allow herself to whimper…more than a dozen times. Like everyone else born and raised in Aurelian Hills, Georgia, she knew how to thrive amid each of the twelve seasons. Yes, twelve. The town had just escaped the Pollenating and Definitely Probably Spring to enter Summer’s First Kiss, a time when cool mornings mutated into sizzling afternoons. Unfortunately, today’s sizzling afternoon came with intermittent, tornado-level gusts of wind.

After collecting and disposing of a piece of trash, she blew her bangs out of her eyes. Or tried to. Sweat soaked her brow, making dark hanks of hair adhere to her skin. Didn’t help that she wore a thousand pounds of dirt and protective clothing for gardening. Long-sleeved shirt. Overalls. Apron. Gloves. Rubber boots. A backpack of supplies. And a sunhat.

Every day, Jane worked tirelessly to ensure every plot, stone and blade of grass looked its best. As the sole owner and operator of the landlocked Garden of Memories Cemetery, she carried the full weight of responsibility for its maintenance. A thankless job, considering most of the residents had been dead for decades or centuries, but she relished every second. Well, maybe not every second.

With only a meager budget supplied by the cemetery’s trust, she had to choose between food and proper equipment. Food won, ensuring weed-whacking Wednesday got completed with a pair of shears, a tiny shovel, and a positive attitude.

Massaging her aching lower back, she headed to the final area in need of attention. A spot at the farthest edge of the property known as the Valley of Dolls. She frowned when a flash of white caught the afternoon sun. Was that…?

Oh, no, no, no. She stalked across the distance at a faster clip, closing in on a thick-stemmed, three-foot plant. A gasp caught in her throat. It was—and there wasn’t just one stalk but many, some already heavy with spiked yellow pods. Why, the area fairly teemed with the stuff.

Her heart sank. Thorn apple. Aka a gardener’s worst nightmare, according to her Grandma Lily, God rest her soul. Others sometimes referred to this horror of nature as jimsonweed, the devil’s snare, and moonflower. But whatever the name, it was a triple threat: invasive, poisonous, and as rank as stinky feet.

Why hadn’t she noticed this infestation yesterday? Or the day before? She’d been fully attentive during her morning rounds. Mostly attentive. Okay, so she’d been a wee bit distracted lately. Not her fault. There was kinda sorta a new man in her life, and he tended to consume her thoughts.

An image of Special Agent Conrad Ryan flashed through her mind. Tall and broad shouldered, with well-defined strength in every part of his body. Thick black hair. Dreamy amber eyes. The best part, all that masculine goodness came with a big, hard, imposing…badge. But she wasn’t going to think about him right now. Nope. She had some damage control to do. Exactly how long had the creeping vine grown without her notice?

Nose wrinkling, she withdrew a cell from a pocket of her apron to study this week’s security feed of the area. Wait. None of the cameras reached this far out. Dang it!

Grandma Lily’s voice suddenly filled her head. If ever you see this garbage shrub, you gear up and go to war without delay, young lady. You hear me? Thorn apple is a curse. A plague! A disaster in the making.

Before the dear woman died of cancer a few years back, she’d created a journal filled with notes Jane had photographed and now carried in her phone. She keyed up the one dedicated to thorn apple, written after the eradication of an infestation, and read over the highlighted passages.

Invasive. Highly aggressive. Must be uprooted ASAP or it will overtake the entire 75-acre property. Toxic to animals and people. If seeds are consumed, expect a racing heartbeat, incontinence, hallucinations, and unwarranted hostility. If you survive, that is.

The “toxic to animals” part cinched the deal. There wasn’t a more dedicated fur-mom than Jane, who had the honor and privilege of raising Rolex, the world’s sweetest cat. The precious darling usually perched at her side while she gardened; thanks to the high velocity of the wind, she’d left him tucked safely inside their cottage.

So. There was no better time to gather and torch this 4x4 patch of thorn apple, sending it back to its maker down below.

Already geared up, Jane grabbed a thick, black trash bag from her backpack. Since this was to be her last weed whacking battle of the day—and the most important—she decided to part with her dwindling supply of water.

She used her canteen to drench the soil, then settled on her knees, wrapped gloved hands around a thick purple stem, and tugged. To her surprise, the roots hadn’t yet gripped; they slid free with great ease. Onto the next.


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