Sleuthing for a livingPeople always want to know what it’s like to have a cool mom. Not one of those, I’m trying to be a cool mom because I’m really not cool but I want everyone to think I am type of moms. No, I have an actual cool mom. The sort a teenage girl likes to hang out with and watch movies, eat pizza and b.s. The kind who pretty much lets me be me.

I always tell people. “It’s great.” Most of the time, it’s even true.

My name is Mac. Well actually, it’s Mackenzie Elizabeth Taylor the second. Do girls actually get to be the second or third when they are named after someone? Since I’ve never met another female second—never mind third—I really don’t know. The story behind how I got my name is lame, but I’m going to tell you anyway, because otherwise you’d be wondering. Everyone does.

In truth, my mother, Mackenzie Elizabeth Taylor 1.0, was still whacked out on Demerol when she filled out the birth certificate. She saw name and wrote her name. Twice. My father’s name isn’t on my birth certificate, that spot is blank. Mom doesn’t like to talk about him and I respect her enough not to ask, even though some days it feels like the curiosity will gnaw a hole right through me. I know she was knocked up at sixteen, the same age I am now. And I know what she fears most in the world is the same thing happening to me. She doesn’t need to worry, I’m a pale shadow of a Mackenzie. None of the guys I like ever like me back. The ones that do like me, like my hacker buddy Pete the Pervert, aren’t really my type. I like Pete as a friend but he’s got serious hormone issues and I’m one of the only girls who will actually give him the time of day. He’s my partner-in-crime when it comes to hacking and other clandestine cyber operations but thinking about kissing him makes me throw up in my mouth a little. Kissing him would be like having a live eel in my mouth. So yeah, Mom doesn’t spend too much time worrying about me. That’s what happens when you’re a 2.0, you’re always not living up to someone else’s street cred.

I do spend plenty of time worrying about her. Sometimes I think my mom is kind of living for me. We’re best friends which is great, but I’m going to be in college in a few years. And when I’m gone, what will she have left? Half of the rundown villa she inherited from her uncle that we are about to move into. No job, no relationship that lasts longer than a month and a designer knock-off boot collection from her days in retail. I wish she’d find her calling, in something other than me.

Mom pops her head around the corner. “Got any more boxes?”

There’s a stack on the bed. All of my stuff is boxed and ready for tomorrow’s move. “Take what you need.”

She frowns at my neat pile of possessions. “You’re done already?”

I shrug. “I told you, you have too much baggage.”

She takes this in the spirit it is intended and pulls her brilliant red hair up into a ponytail. “Traveling light is so last decade.”

“You’re a hoarder in the making,” I warn her.

“Packing sucks.” She shoves the neat stack of boxes off my bed and flops down on her back. “Let’s go to a movie.”

I glance at the clock. It’s almost nine P.M. “We’re moving in like eight hours. And call me crazy but I wanted to sleep tonight.”

Her bare feet pop up in the air as she rolls over. “Come help me then.”

“No.”

“I’ll give you a dollar,” she offers in a sing-song voice.

I gasp theatrically. “A whole dollar just for me?”

“Yup, you can take it down to Redbox and get us a movie to watch while we pack.”

“No dice. If I get a movie, you’ll be too busy asking questions and pointing out things you want me to see to pack then I’ll end up doing it all.”

“You hungry?” She slithers off the bed and retrenches. “I could go for some Chinese.”

I shake my head. “I’ll help you, but we’re packing. Just packing. Got it?”

She stands at full attention and gives me a salute. As a former military brat, she has the posture down pat. “Sir, yes sir.”

“You’re exhausting, you know that? No wonder you can’t keep a man.”

She does an eye roll. “You sound just like my mother.”

I laugh. “I guess I was channeling Grams for a minute there.”

Mom grins. “Besides, it’s other way around, sweets. Men can’t keep me because they can’t keep up. Good thing I have you.”

“Good thing,” I mumble and follow her into her room to pack.


Sleuthing for A Living is the first book in the NEW Mackenzie and Mackenzie P.I. mystery series, published by Gemma Halliday Publishing, June 2016.

As a young single parent, Mackenzie Elizabeth Taylor has struggled to provide for her teenage daughter. She finally catches a break when she inherits half of an apartment building in Boston from her uncle Al. . .along with his P.I. business. So what if she doesn’t know the first thing about investigation or if their hot-but-crabby downstairs tenant is a police detective who’s looking for any excuse to handcuff her? Her daughter, Mac the computer whiz, has her back. And these two girls don’t know the meaning of the word quit—not even when their first case takes an unexpected turn.

The man Mackenzie’s been hired to follow in a custody case seems to have upset more than just her client when she spies another person tailing him—a mysterious man Mackenzie would bet is up to no good. But when her mark suddenly winds up dead, and her first and only client is accused of his murder, Mackenzie vows to find the truth. Only one problem: she doesn’t know where to start. . .or when to draw the line. Who is the mysterious man she spotted tailing the victim? Is he the killer? Is she in over her head, or will she uncover the secrets someone killed to keep hidden? Mackenzie and Mackenzie are on the case, and the world of private investigation will never be the same.

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About the author
Jennifer L. Hart knows that surviving as military spouse takes persistence, comfort food and a stellar sense of humor. Her books often focus on people who’ve lived the military lifestyle and zany antics of neurotic heroines, who like to eat, drink and have fun. Her works include the Misadventures of the Laundry Hag mystery series, the Damaged Goods mystery series and the Southern Pasta Shop mysteries. Follow her online using the hashtag #mysterieswithhart on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter or visit Jenn online at jenniferlhart.com or laundryhag.com.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a Mackenzie & Mackenzie P.I. swag pack. It includes a bookmark, a pad of sticky notes, a pen and coffee flavored candies. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end June 27, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

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