Woohoo!! The fourth book in the Redneck P.I. Twila Taunton Series is almost ready for publication. Dedicated to anyone who has ever been called 'fat' -- you really do rock!!
Here's the cover and a short piece from the first chapter:
The rumble of Harleys died. I caught a glimpse of the riders through the screen door as they dismounted and parked their bikes outside the Hogs Waller Saloon. I shaded my eyes against the bright security light as Big Bart stomped his feet on the mat and strode in with his two dogs, Sadie and Benjamin, at his heels. His leathers creaked, and a long braid hung down his back from the red, white and blue bandanna tied around his head. His biker boots made a loud clopping sound on the old wooden floors, which dipped under his weight with every step.
Members of his gang trudged in behind him, 'Justice Enforcers' inscribed in red on the backs of their leather jackets. They nodded at us and headed for the bar, the smell of cigarette smoke and engine oil following them.
My dog Scratch stood up from under my legs, and stretched.
Bart stopped at our table. "Well, if it ain't the fat girls' club," he bellowed. He clamped an oversized hand on my shoulder and I stared at the cut-off black leather glove before I looked up and glared at him through narrowed eyes.
"Who are you calling fat? I'm not fat, and neither is LaMercy or Ena." I turned my gaze to each of my companions and nodded. They both nodded back. Fat was a word that's always pissed me off, but this was a delicate situation. You don't want to get on the wrong side of Bart Drummond.
He held up his hands in front of him, palms facing me, and my eyes followed the inked wolves climbing up his muscled arms to his shoulders. "Oh, no. Don’t get me wrong, Twila. Fat is good. What man doesn't like a little padding? I meant it in a good way." His gaze strayed bald-facedly from my boobs, to Ena's and then to LaMercy's. "You ladies all got curves where women are supposed to have 'em," he growled in his deep baritone voice. "Fat girls rock, man."
I was at a loss for words, which is unusual for me. Luckily, Scratch grabbed the limelight when Sadie growled and snapped at him. "Yeah, good girl. You don’t need no-one sticking their cold nose there, do you?" Bart rasped. He turned towards the bar. "What's a man got to do to get a drink around here?" he said.
"Coming right up!" Gasser, an annoying grin on his face, slid a 24oz glass of draft beer across the pitted wooden counter top. Bart crossed the room in three strides, grabbed it and swallowed half of it down in one gulp. He swiped a hand through his beard and licked the foam from his moustache.
Despite the open ducting in the high roof, the Hogs Waller Saloon had a cozy feel about it. Stuffed animal heads and deer antlers hung on the walls, together with old photographs of Quisby, home-made wooden plaques with redneck words of wisdom on them, a couple of old guns, and other unrecognizable objects. The dusty bottles on the shelves almost hid the mirror behind the bar, and glasses hanging from their racks reflected the yellow beams from the low lights. Frying smells from the kitchen hung in the air, and the old air conditioner rasped and groaned as it struggled to cool the room in the still sweltering Alabama summer night.
As usual, Jimmie Lewis, the town's most dedicated drunk, slouched in the corner on a bar stool, and coyote ugly Lilly Belle Groat, the town's most recognizable working girl, stood beside him, hoping for some action.
LaMercy, Ena and I were parked at a table in the restaurant side of the wide room, our drinks in front of us on the red and white checked plastic tablecloth. We hadn't ordered dinner yet, because we were waiting for Aunt Essie.
"Maybe we have put on some pounds," LaMercy, always the practical one said. I didn't like the way she was gawping at me.
"Maybe one or two," I conceded. "But no more than that." I frowned and looked down. My baggy navy blue T-shirt still fit comfortably, although I had to admit to myself it had been a struggle to get into some of my jeans and shorts recently. In fact, now that I thought about it, the jeans I had on were hurting my stomach. I figured they had shrunk in the wash.
I checked out LaMercy. Had she put on weight? I always thought her face was more angular, but with her big Afro hair it was difficult to be sure. She almost always wore dresses, as she was doing now, so a little extra padding wouldn't be so easy to see.
"Yeah, but fat. That's a big word," Ena said. Her boobs had definitely gotten bigger. How come I hadn't noticed that before? They bulged out of the sides of her pink tank top. Was that all boob or could it really be fat rolls? I remember thinking she was buying her shorts a size too small, but I couldn't confirm that while she was sitting down.
We all stared at Bart's definitely-not-fat ass as he ambled across the room to join the others in the smoky haze that hung over the pool tables. No one was supposed to smoke in the bar, but who was gonna tell one of them to go stand outside with the humidity and bugs? It sounded like it was drizzling out there now, anyhow. Someone had closed the solid wooden door, but I could hear the clank of raindrops hitting the metal roof over the buzz of conversation.
"That is one heck of a man," Ena, the only one of us who was truly single said. "No fat there. It's all solid muscle. He is built."
I knew LaMercy was thinking it too, and so was I. He surely was a delectable mountain of maleness. "Why don't you go make a play for him?" I said to Ena. When I say Ena is 'truly' single, I mean although I am not married, and have no plans to ever marry, Harland O'Connor is my man. He has a special place in my heart—and other parts of me that I will not mention here. Just thinking about him makes things happen to those parts.
Ena's eyes went wide and she fanned herself with a napkin. "I am in the market for a man. I'm totally, epically ready, and just thinking about doing it with him is making me all hot and bothered. Do you think he's as big there as everywhere else?"
Available soon on Amazon. Meanwhile, check out the others in the series: