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Twice Dead

More than thirty years ago, a minister named Ralph Posey absconded with the church funds, abandoning his wife and daughter.

At least, that's what everyone in Perdue thought, until a startling discovery makes it obvious that he never left town at all--he was murdered, and all evidence implicates his wife as the killer. Bonita Posey admittedly detested her husband, but she denies taking his life.

Can Taylor uncover the truth in time to keep her octogenarian friend out of prison?

EPIC eBook Award Winner

Book 2 of the Taylor Madison series

A Hard Shell Word Factory Release

Coming Soon...

Elizabeth Dearl

Elizabeth Dearl is a former Texas police officer who also owned a small bookstore for several years. Her short mysteries have appeared in Woman's World, Mystery Net, Mystery Time, Blue Murder, Futures, Britain's Fiction Feast and many other magazines.


"Twice Dead sees the return of writer Taylor Madison and her pet ferret Hazel who debuted in Diamondback. Taylor has moved into the previous sheriff's old house in the small town of Perdue, Texas and her boyfriend is the gorgeous acting sheriff, Cal Arnette. This is one of my favourite scenarios, where events in the past are revealed and old mysteries solved and it is told well in Twice Dead. The main characters are delightful and a few new ones are introduced such as Bonita's daughter and granddaughter. The small town setting is perfect and the tale is so full of twists and turns that I kept changing my mind about the identity of the murderer. I love this series, more please and soon!"

Karen Meek -- Over My Dead Body Reviews

"Elizabeth Dearl's Twice Dead explores both the sunny side of small-town life and the shady parts of the human soul with equal aplomb. A missing evangelist, a mother-daughter feud with no known cause, a skeleton that drops from a chimney, a cunning frame--Twice Dead takes more turns than a Texas twister. It'll keep you guessing."

Kris Neri author of Dem Bones' Revenge

"Twice Dead is a gem of a mystery, and Taylor Madison grows ever more loveable as she stumbles over and through a mountain of evidence as she tries to find the killer. She jumps to many wrong conclusions before she finally reaches the right one. This is a quick read, so you might not have to put it down if you start early enough! I enjoyed this one thoroughly and look forward to the next Taylor Madison caper."

Jo Rogers -- My Shelf Reviews

Chapter One

A SLIVER OF dawn peeked through the gap in my bedroom curtains. As it fell across my closed eyelids, attempting to coax me from contented slumber, I buried my face in the pillow and snuggled deeper into the covers. After spending the majority of my twenty-eight years in Houston's near-tropical climate, I still wasn't accustomed to the chill of a West Texas autumn and struggled with the adjustment to weather that actually changed with the seasons. Though I looked forward to witnessing Perdue's first snowfall, I was less enthused at the notion of learning to drive in the slick white stuff.

The man beside me stirred, pulled me to him. I nuzzled his neck sleepily, reveling in his warmth.

Warmth. Man. Man in my bed. Dawn.

I sat bolt upright. "Oh, shit, Cal, we fell asleep! Get up. Hurry, it's morning!"

He grinned, reaching for me. "Bribe me."

I pushed him away and scrambled out of the bed, grabbing my robe. "Stop joking, damn it."

"Who's joking? C'mere." He held out inviting arms and I nearly weakened. But only nearly.

"Get up," I insisted. "Half the town is awake and having breakfast by now. Do you want to get caught?"

He sat up and rubbed his face. "Taylor, I wish you wouldn't phrase it like that. Neither of us is sneaking around on a spouse, we're both of legal age, and we're even of opposite sexes."

"None of which would prevent this from becoming a town scandal if it got out," I reminded him as I snatched up my brush and began tugging tangles from my hair. "The sheriff's election is less than a month away. Do you really think the puritans of Perdue, Texas will vote for someone openly indulging in sex without benefit of wedlock?"

He shrugged, the muscles in his shoulders rippling seductively. I turned away before the sight could tempt me, but I couldn't escape his voice.

"I guess we could get married, just to make them happy," he said.

I clenched my teeth. "We don't have time for jokes. You know very well that every tongue in town will be wagging by noon if you're seen leaving my house at this time of day."

"So it seems to me the problem will be solved if I don't leave."

"Cal Arnette, if you're not out of that bed in ten seconds…"

"You'll come in and get me?" he suggested hopefully.

I stalked out of the room and into the kitchen, where I expended a little frustration on the old, tin coffeepot. It made satisfying clanging noises against the sink as I slammed it down to fill it with water. I longed to replace it with a Mr. Coffee drip machine, but it still seemed somehow disrespectful to get rid of the late sheriff's personal belongings. The thought irritated me. This was, after all, my house now.

And I had been the one to solve the murder of Sheriff Miles Crawford—had, in fact, been the only one convinced that his death had been something other than an accidental snakebite. His killer was dead, Crawford's death revenged. There was no reason for his ghost to linger—unless you counted the fact that he had been my biological father. I had not learned that myself until after his death. Perhaps he was trying to get to know me.

"If that's the case," I said aloud, striking a wooden match to light a burner on the ancient gas stove, "you might as well find out I happen to enjoy modern conveniences."

"Who are you talking to?"

I turned, burning my fingers on the match. Cal watched me from the doorway, his eyebrows cocked quizzically. He was still in his underwear, the white cotton boxers contrasting nicely with bronze skin. Cal's mother was of Mexican descent, his father French, and the combination of their genes had produced a lovely hunk of man.