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Harman Mysteries

Welcome to the Louderback Series

by Arlene Harman

PLEASE NOTE: All characters and events portrayed in this series are the product of the author's imagination and any resemblance to actual persons or events in strictly accidental. This series is for entertainment purposes only. This is the adventures of a fictional woman who struggles to make a life for herself while becoming involved in several local mysteries. There are several stories and every two weeks a new episode will be posted for your enjoyment. If you missed an earlier episode you can pick it up by scrolling to the bottom of the current posting.


June’s Revenge


Episode One

Hazel Pentagast drew her sweater snugly against her body in a vain attempt to east the chill coming from the depths of her being. For over thirty years the view from her deck had been a source of solace. The gentle lapping of the ocean waves and the refreshing salt scent laid upon the breeze had always soothed her. But no more. George was gone. Was it only a year? It seemed a lifetime ago.


The day had started off quite normal. A typical Wednesday. George rose early, gathered his clubs and slipped out of the house without disturbing Hazel. He like to hit the links midweek when there were few people playing. The Club would let him play the round by himself, slowly, without a cart. The walking gave him time to take in the countryside and to think. He used to joke that he solved all the world's problems on these solitary rounds.


Hazel had barely finished her shower when the doorbell rang. She remembers grabbing her robe on the way past her bed, quickly wrapping it around heraded toward the front door. The faced of the two officers framed in the doorway were burned into her memory. They didn't need to say a word. She knew her George was gone.


He was a cold case file now, reduced to a case number and a file, a file filled with pictures of a man shot to death on the seventh hole with a .45 caliber handgun. A file filled with page after page of meaningless words, words that were supposed to be facts. Bud didn't facts have value? Shouldn't they lead to his killer? Shouldn't they lead to the person who destroyed her life?


This house that she'd come to as a bride was no longer her home. It was no longer her haven from the world. It was now a torture chamber, every inch of it reminding her of the life she'd had. Their love had been the kind that simply didn't happen twice in a lifetime.


Hazel sighed and went into the house. She knelt by the cedar chest she'd left open earlier this morning. It was filled with projects of all types. Sewing, crewel work, embroidery, knitting, crocheting, wood burning, you name it, each were in various stages of completion. That seemed to sum up her life. She had a history of incomplete projects. Now her life with George had been added to the list of incomplete projects.


But that was about to change. She had embarked on a project shortly after George died and it was one she was going to complete. Nearly all the information was gathered, neatly organized and in a safe place. She knew the whole truth. There was only one piece of evidence missing and she knew how to get that. The groundwork had been laid, the trap was set. Once it was sprung, they would pay. Those who had destroyed her life would have their lives destroyed. A grim smile pressed her lips as she firmly, resolutely, closed the cedar chest lid.


* * * * *


JJ took one last look around, satisfying herself that everything was in place. Nothing had been forgotten, nothing left to chance. She stepped out into the brisk March air and quietly pulled the door shut behind her. There was no way to link her with this place or these events. Goodbye Hazel Pentagast. And good riddance.


* * * * *


It was five in the morning and the air was filled with the special scent known only to those who rose early. It was crisp and clear, a typical early April morning in Louderback, California, the kind of morning that was full of promise.


The view from June Jessup's porch was panoramic. The one-hundred-year-old ranch house was set on a low mesa as close to the middle of its two hundred acres of land as possible, giving its occupant a 360 degree view. The front porch faced west. June, JJ to her friends, loved to sit there in the early morning and watch the shadows slowly shrink toward the porch as the sun rose higher in the sky.


Her boot-clad feet were propped on the railing that still served as a hitching post. She took a sip of her freshly-brewed coffee and smiled as she look out over the expanse that had been hers for nearly a year. She loved everything about it. She loved horseback riding across the rolling hills and up the low mesas, or louderbacks, common to southeastern California. She loved her Alpacas, and she loved her life and there was no way she was going to allow anyone or anything to ruin it for her.


She looked down at the newspaper draped across her lap. The face of one Hazel Pentagast smiled up at her. It was one of those glamour photos, touched up to make even fifty-two-year-old bleached blonds look young and sexy. It seems Mrs. Hazel Pentagast went on a cruise and disappeared. The prevailing view was that the dear lady fell overboard sometime during the first day or two on board. JJ gently caressed the picture with her left hand, smiled, then folded the paper and rose, sipping the last of her coffee as she did so. It was time for work. After all, JJ's Alpaca Ranch couldn't run by itself.


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The next episode of June's Revenge will be posted during the week of December 29, 2014. It is our hope that many new visitors will come to the newly redesigned Harman Mysteries site and we felt that the majority of our new friends would enjoy the Louderback series more fully if they had the background information that the earlier episodes provide.


For those who have already read these episodes, we hope that you will patiently wait for the new episodes or refresh your memnories by starting over. As a thank you for your patience we will happily send you the episode of your choice in .pdf format free of charge. They are:


1) The Theft

2) Veiled Pasts

3) Sunset Ridge

4)Shayna's Pond


To receive an episode, please email arlene@harmanmysteries.com and put Louderback in the Subject line. In the body type your name, email address, and the episode you would like to receive free of charge. Since this is designed for those who have been loyal readers in the past we request that you answer one quiz question. What happens to JJ when she confronts the villain.?


This offer will be available until January 30, 2015.


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We welcome comments from all of our visitors. Please use the email address listed above to express your opinions.