Broken TrustHow lovely of you to drop by. I get so few opportunities to entertain these days. I do miss luncheons and cocktail parties. But Flagstaff has its own charm, I suppose. Please sit down and I’ll make us some tea. Or would you prefer a glass of Chardonnay?

I have to apologize. It isn’t the same quality I used to serve. I’m sure you understand. I’ve had to tighten my belt since I lost my fortune in that tragic Ponzi scheme a few years ago. But that’s water under the bridge. Spilled, sour milk.

Don’t get me wrong. As much as I miss the finer things I’d grown accustomed to while I was married to my third and late husband, I am wildly happy with my fourth—and final—love, Charlie Podanski.

I gladly relinquished all my luxuries to move into Charlie’s cabin on a mountain outside of Flagstaff. It hasn’t always been easy, but love conquers all. Love is the egg in the cake of life that binds everything together. (Oh, that’s good. I’m taking an online poetry class. You’d be surprised at the way poetry springs to your mind when you’re trained.)

My daughter, Nora, doesn’t understand the necessity of love in her life. She’s got this wonderful man, Cole, who is completely smitten with her. And what does she do? She won’t have any contact with him, whatsoever. I don’t intend to let her get away with that nonsense.

I understood she needed some time after her husband died. I probably shouldn’t say, but he was a scoundrel and she’d have had to leave him soon, anyway. He’s been gone over a year now and it’s time for her to join the living.

But she’s all wrapped up in saving the environment. I know she wants to make amends to Mother Earth, or whatever she calls it, for trying to make snow on the sacred peaks here in Flagstaff. Which is just so ridiculous. She’s got an amazing brain and organizational skills oozing from her pores. She should be in high finance. She could easily be pulling down six figures.

But no. She took a job with an environmental trust in Boulder, Colorado. She starts work tomorrow. Can you believe it? She’s throwing her life away. Tossing her chance at success and happiness into the dark cloud of failure. (Pardon me while I jot that down.)

But that’s just Nora. She is expert at finding the cloud in the silver lining.

An environmental trust, for heaven’s sake. Those non-profits are known for their corruption. The people at the top take the donations of hardworking, misguided people and funnel it into their own pockets, while paying their staff pennies. Those well-meaning staff members are willing to live in poverty because they truly believe in the cause. I know how these things work. I’ve served on several charitable boards of directors and have ferreted out cheaters. But Nora wants so desperately to improve the planet, she’s unlikely to be discerning of the management and board.

Are you sure you don’t want another glass of wine? Though I can’t blame you. It’s hard to get a good bottle in this provincial town. And especially on my budget. I am so pleased you came to my humble cabin for a visit. No one has been here since I had the floors redone and the windows replaced. I planned a nice cocktail party for the neighbors when the fireplace rebricking was completed in July, so I went ahead replaced all the appliances then. The old place needs so much TLC and, frankly, I’m the woman to do it.

Please do stop in again. Our conversation has made me realize just how neglectful I’ve been of Nora these last months. It is glaringly obvious I need to take drastic measures to bring her back to the world of the living. Immediately, if not sooner.

You can read more about Abigail in Broken Trust, the second book in the “Nora Abbott” mystery series, published by Midnight Ink. The first book in the series is Tainted Mountain. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

Blurb for Broken Trust:
Nora moves to Boulder and lands a job as at an environmental non-profit. But the trust is rife with deceit and corruption. Nearly half a million dollars is missing and one person has already been killed for knowing too much. Complicating matters are Nora’s uninvited visitors: her mother, Cole Huntsman, and a Hopi kachina that technically doesn’t exist. As the body count climbs, Nora races to stop a deadly plot to decimate one of the planet’s greatest natural resources.

GIVEAWAY: Comment on this post by 6pm EST on March 23, and you will be entered for a chance to win a copy of Broken Trust. One winner will be chosen at random. Unless specified, U.S. entries only.

Meet the author
Shannon Baker writes the Nora Abbott Mystery Series, a fast-paced mix of murder, environmental issues and Hopi Indians published by Midnight Ink. Broken Trust, published in March 2014, takes place in Boulder, CO. Tainted Mountain, the first in the series is set in Flagstaff, AZ and is a New Mexico / Arizona Book Awards finalist. She serves on the board of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and is a member of SinC and MWA. Visit Shannon at

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