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Donna H. Parker
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Constancy Grace Stafford, fed up with murder, dreams of living a normal, peaceful life. But death at a music show, the clammy darkness of an unmapped Ozarks cave system, and a desperate fiddler's lament threaten to destroy that dream--and the two most precious people in her life.
We eased our way through the overgrown brush until we could see straight into the barn through its broken main doors. Danny motioned me toward the cover of a sturdy tree trunk then called out. “Anybody there? You in the barn, come out and talk with us.”
No answer. No sound of another human. “We may as well see what’s inside,” he said to me. “Let me go first.”
He did his usual careful entry. “All right. Come on. Nobody’s in sight. If he wasn’t wanting to talk with us, he’s probably flitted out the back.”
The barn felt like a sketchy, faded memory of the living, working barns I knew—the Mackinnon barn, for instance, and the one I’d played in as a child at my friend’s farm. This one was dark and dusty and dead. Even the normal scents I always associated with barns were nearly gone. The only thing I could smell, besides dust, was a very faint whiff of old hay, slightly spiced with a touch of mouse.
The barn, along with the accompanying village store, had been abandoned for decades before Ralph and Madge acquired it. Obviously, the barn had housed no domestic livestock in ages. The only things using it now would be small rodents and reptiles, with maybe an owl or two roosting in the hayloft, or a few bats among the rafters.
The ground floor of the barn was laid out in the usual way with stalls on either side of a wide center aisle. Even though we hadn’t seen any sign of another human, Danny moved slowly and cautiously through the space, zigzagging back and forth between stalls, pausing to look closely into every one. I stayed what I hoped he would consider to be a safe distance behind him, following as quietly as I could.
Sunshine, finding its way through cracks age had created in the wooden walls, laid thin, frail bars of light across the junk-cluttered, sagging floor. The clouds of dust motes we stirred up as we moved shone momentarily bright and sparkly as they struck the light then swirled away again and were lost in the dimmer air.
Danny silently pointed out a jagged hole about the size of a dinner plate in the floor. Eaten away by termites, maybe, or just rotted from old age and all the rain the battered roof could no longer keep at bay. From then on, he went even more carefully, testing each step to make sure the floor wouldn’t give way when we put our weight on it.
Looking up, I could see straight to the peak of the high roof, but on each side, over the stalls, the barn’s builder had put haylofts, which were open and didn’t even have a railing. Danny and I had once had a near-deadly encounter with that kind of loft. Please God, we wouldn’t have to go into this one.
The loft still housed a few ragged, rectangular bales of ancient hay. Surely, if they were as precariously perched as they looked, they would have fallen before now. Even so, I couldn’t quite convince myself that standing under them was wise. I moved on to a spot that didn’t seem so dangerous.
Danny suddenly stopped, stood statue-still, listening for the slightest movement anywhere in the barn, for a sound of breathing other than our own, for any noise at all that might mean we had company. I held my breath until he moved on and into the last stall on our right.
I stayed where I was. I could see him fine and it seemed safer not to run that gauntlet of possibly hazardous hay bales if I could avoid it. Besides, the less I moved, the less chance I had to stumble over something and create an enormous, unwelcome racket.
Danny paused again, squatted down to look more closely at the floor in a far corner. I was aching to ask him what he’d found, but I knew better than to open my mouth and break his concentration. Explanations could wait until he was finished with his survey.
He finally stood up in his corner and started back toward me.
From somewhere above us, I heard a skitter like little mouse feet then a great swoosh.
Not safe after all—
Donna Parker was born in the rural Missouri Ozarks during an ice storm. Despite some circumstantial evidence to the contrary, she did not grow up in the 1800s. The most important things in her life are her Christianity and her family. She loves books, both reading and writing them; old things and their histories; and music, especially Celtic and bluegrass fiddle music. She and her husband of over three decades currently live in Alabama. They have two adult sons.
“Donna H. Parker, mystery writer extraordinaire, does it again with this very complex backwoods story, Donovan’s Dream. She magically fiddles her way right into your heart with this spellbinding tale of fairy fiddles from the Ozarks, and their tantalizing, mesmerizing folklore. She’ll have you believing in ghosts and enchanted fiddles. I highly recommend this book. It is a definite keeper.” Five cups, JoEllen Conger, Conger Books Review
Constancy's Waltz: Donna Parker introduces you to her main character, Constancy, an unassuming elementary school teacher, who quite accidentally falls into things she never expected, like mystery, intrigue, and romance. Donna weaves Christian principles throughout Constancy’s Waltz. Once I started reading, I could not put it down. If you want a clean, yet captivating and entertaining book of romance, Constancy’s Waltz is perfect reading! -- Teresa Hampton, author, Leading Ladies, Come to the Garden, http://www.publishingdesigns.com
Constancy's Waltz: “This is a relatively gentle mystery, and I am loving it. The main characters are dears, and there is enough suspense to make this one hard to put down.” --Radine Trees Nehring, author, http://www.RadinesBooks.com
Constancy's Waltz: “Mystery lovers and romance lovers alike will fall in love with CONSTANCY’S WALTZ. It’s a book for the keeper shelf.” --Laura V. Hilton, author, http://www.shoutlife.com/laurahilton
Song Of Healing: An intriguing journey into the legends of Scotland and the Selkies, the mystery of a prophecy, and the dangers from the ones who would seek The Keeper of The Key for their own personal gain.
With an enjoyable cast of characters, a tender love story, and a strong blending of the paranormal, Song of Healing brings to life the legends of old, with the strong accent of the Olde Country and beliefs of another time. A fascinating read for anyone who loves a bit of everything! —Angela Verdenius, Soul of the Forgotten
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 332
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