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Stella Hardesty Crime Series

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A Bad Day for Sorry

First Stella Hardesty Novel

Stella Hardesty dispatched her abusive husband with a wrench shortly before her fiftieth birthday. A few years later, she’s so busy delivering home-style justice, helping other women deal with their own abusive husbands and boyfriends, that she’s barely got time to run her sewing shop. Since Stella works outside of the law, she’s free to do whatever it takes to be convincing—as long as she keeps her distance from the handsome devil of a local sheriff, Goat Jones.

When young mother Chrissy Shaw asks Stella for help with her no-good, husband Roy Dean, it looks like just another standard job. But then Chrissy’s two-year-old son is taken, and Stella finds herself up against a much more formidable enemy.

Winner of the Anthony Award

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A Bad Day for Pretty

Second Stella Hardesty Novel

Stella Hardesty, avenger of wronged women, is getting cozy with Sheriff “Goat” Jones when a tornado blows none other than Goat’s scheming ex-wife, Brandy, through the front door. Adding to the chaos, the tornado destroys the snack shack at the demolition derby track, pulling up the concrete foundation and unearthing a woman’s body. The main suspect in the woman’s murder is Neb Donovan—he laid the foundation, and there’s some pretty hard evidence pointing to his guilt. Years ago, Neb’s wife asked Stella for help getting him sober. Stella doesn’t believe the gentle man could kill anyone, and she promises his frantic wife she’ll look into it.

Former client Chrissy Shaw is now employed at Stella’s sewing shop and she helps with the snooping as Stella negotiates the unpredictable Brandy and the dangerously magnetic sheriff.

A New York Times Notable Book

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A Bad Day for Scandal

Third Stella Hardesty Novel

When Prosper homegirl turned big-city businesswoman Priss Porter returns to town with a body in her trunk, she calls Stella Hardesty to dispose of it. Her uppity ways don’t convince Stella to take the job, and Priss attempts to blackmail her with a snapshot of Stella doing what she does best: curing woman-beaters by the use of force.

Stella refuses to cooperate and goes home, only to hear later that Priss and her brother, Liman, have gone missing after calling in a disturbance. Stella is implicated when Sheriff “Goat” Jones discovers the scarf she left behind at the house. He warns her to stay local but Stella and her partner, Chrissy Shaw, go looking for Priss in Kansas City, where they discover that she runs an unusual business. When Priss herself—along with two other bodies—turns up in a pond belonging to one of Stella’s ex-clients, Stella must investigate a host of suspects, including a crooked but libidinous female judge, a coterie of jealous male escorts, and a Marxist ex-professor.

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A Bad Day for Mercy

Fourth Stella Hardesty Novel

A call from Stella’s little sister brings the news that Stella’s step-nephew, Chip, has been threatened with serious bodily harm if he doesn’t settle his unpaid gambling debts. So Stella makes the drive to Chip’s home in Wisconsin, only to walk in on a wee-hours dismemberment. Chip and his girlfriend, Natalya, insist the man was left, already dead, on their porch. Suspicious but compelled to help family, Stella tracks down other suspects, including the deceased’s business partner, a purveyor of black-market Botox, and a jilted violist. Matters are complicated by the unexpected arrival of BJ Broderson, who has picked the worst possible time to pursue his amorous intentions toward Stella. Meanwhile, thoughts of Sheriff “Goat” Jones make her blush and wonder where, and with whom, Stella will spend her fifty-first birthday.

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A Bad Day for Romance

Fifth Stella Hardesty Novel

Two days before her best friend gets married, Stella Hardesty has nothing more pressing on her mind than fitting into her fluffy pink bridesmaid gown, mixing her next cocktail, and enjoying a romantic weekend with her sometimes beau, BJ Brodersen. Just as she’s headed to the bridal shower, word comes that BJ and smokin’ hot sheriff Goat Jones have gotten into a dustup over Stella’s affections.

Before Stella can recover from this startling development, more bad news comes along. The minister’s niece, the hard-to-love pageant princess Divinity Flycock, has been arrested for the murder of her fiancé. The bride begs Stella to clear Divinity’s name so that her minister will be able to perform the nuptials. When Stella starts digging into the case, however, she uncovers a world of jealous nightclub singers, firearms dealers, and the ugly underbelly of reality TV. Hot on the trail of the truth, she’s distracted by the arrival of the sheriff, who finally seems ready to make a claim for her affections.

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