Halfway to Half Way [NOOK Book]


Halfway to happily ever after...probably.

Hannah Garvey, the resident manager of Valhalla Springs, an exclusive retirement community, thought she had this love thing all sewn up. She's engaged to David Hendrickson, the hunky Kinderhook County sheriff, and thinks the future looks pretty rosy--until one of Sanity, Missouri's most esteemed citizens becomes the county's latest homicide victim.

Meanwhile, Delbert Bisbee and his gang of senior ...

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Halfway to Half Way

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Halfway to happily ever after...probably.

Hannah Garvey, the resident manager of Valhalla Springs, an exclusive retirement community, thought she had this love thing all sewn up. She's engaged to David Hendrickson, the hunky Kinderhook County sheriff, and thinks the future looks pretty rosy--until one of Sanity, Missouri's most esteemed citizens becomes the county's latest homicide victim.

Meanwhile, Delbert Bisbee and his gang of senior gumshoes are driving Hannah nuts, doling out advice, delving into an old missing-persons case and digging dirt where they don't belong. Literally. And no matter what they unearth, there's just no halfway about it...life has a funny way of happening when you're making other plans.

"A crowd-pleasing, lightweight whodunit filled with unabashedly wacky characters...a comic romance mystery that gives equal weight to all three elements and caps it with an ending that doesn't disappoint."
&nbsp--Publishers Weekly on Once a Thief

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781460308806
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 11/15/2012
  • Sold by: HARLEQUIN
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 590,728
  • File size: 599 KB

Meet the Author

Suzann Ledbetter is a sublimely entertaining writer. She was a contributing editor to Family Circle magazine and is the author of twenty previous books, both fiction and nonfiction. A former guest on the Today Show, she lectures nationally on writing, women's history and humorous topics for the Greater Talent Network. Suzann is a graduate of the Springfield Civilian Police Academy and has completed coursework in Criminal Procedure: From Arrest to Appeal. She and her husband share their Nixa, Missouri, home with three retired racing greyhounds and two morbidly obese cats.

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Read an Excerpt

Halfway To Half Way

By Suzann Ledbetter


Copyright © 2007 Suzann Ledbetter
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780778324508

It was shortly after daybreak when Hannah Garvey snuck through Valhalla Springs' brick-and-wroughtiron gates. Actually, she drove through them. It only felt like sneaking. As the retirement community's resident operations manager, Hannah was supposed to be on site and available, 24/7. Although the employment manual didn't expressly forbid sleeping with the sheriff at his house a couple of nights a week, she assumed it was an unwritten rule.

Posted in no uncertain numerals was Valhalla Springs' inchmeal speed limit. Hannah rode the Blazer's brakes up the gentle slope, as if abiding by that rule washed out breaking the big one. Again. And again. And—well, over the past two months, the rough estimate of her serial sneak-outs and sneakbacks was in the low twenties.

Aware that her scruples were as thin as her brake shoes, Hannah steeled herself for the scourge that callous disregard would inevitably wreak on four hundred innocent senior citizens. A fire. A flood. Hordes of locusts, at the very least.

Except once again, the bearded, smite-happy Almighty she'd been terrified of as a child must have been looking elsewhere the past eleven hours or so. A lawnmower's echo was the lone disclaimer to "The closest thing to Paradise" part of Valhalla Springs'advertising slogan.

Dandelions didn't dare sprout in the manicuredacreage tended by an army of groundskeepers. Birds twittered happy songs in the trees and squirrels ran double-helixes around their trunks. Mare's-tail clouds festooned a brilliant blue Ozarks sky, honeysuckle perfumed the air and!

Delbert Bisbee's turquoise '58 Edsel was parked in Hannah's circle driveway.

Compared to a fire, flood or insect swarm, a Delbert drop-in was at most a point-zero-seven on the Divine Retribution Meter. And a nine-point-nine on the God Has a Wicked Sense of Humor scale.

Hannah shut her eyes, counted to one, then opened them. Alas, the vintage Ford with a snazzy Continental kit was not a mirage.

It never had been before. Why would this otherwise splendid mid-July morning be any different?

The first time Delbert and his gang of elderly gumshoes commandeered Hannah's cottage for their headquarters, she'd had the locks changed. Ditto the second time. Before a third set was installed, "Sam Spade" Bisbee had purchased a lock-pick gun from Private Spy Supply.

Since then, neither rain, sleet nor dark of night deterred the retired post office supervisor and his henchpersons from trooping into Hannah's house at will. Even when she was home and definitely not alone. Or dressed to receive visitors, as they said in the good old days before lock-pick guns were invented.

Hannah toyed with the idea of making a U-turn and leaving central Missouri for somewhere remote, such as Nepal, except she wouldn't get far on a quarter tank of gas. Besides, Valhalla Springs'geriatric Mod Squad had several sort-of solved homicides, felonious assaults and a couple of kidnappings to its credit. Tracking down an AWOL resident operations manager before she crossed the Kinderhook County line would be a snap.

After she'd parked her truck, Hannah opened the passenger door and grabbed her purse from the floorboard. The leather overnight bag beside it, she'd carry in after Delbert left. Years of experience had shown that lying about where you'd been had a lot more credibility without luggage, than with it.

"Moomph," said Malcolm, her impatient passenger and eighty-five-pound other love of her life.

The instant she freed him, the giant Airedale-wildebeest went airborne and landed kersplat on the lawn like a belly-down B-52 with fur. From this perspective, it was clear his ancestry included Dalmatian, golden retriever, Irish setter, Russian wolfhound and a wanton fling with a Shetland pony.

While he watered his three favorite trees, Hannah entered the cottage and deposited her purse on the desk. A wooden railing separated the office nook from the spacious great room. Apart from an oak dining set used as a conference table, the cottage was furnished like a private residence. Which it was, when the gumshoes, prospective tenants, current ones, department supervisors, lost tourists and the odd paroled convict weren't cluttering it up.

"Delbert?" she called. "Where are you?"

A cranky, disembodied "Right here" shot her seventeen inches vertically, then into a neat, horizontal half twist. Hand clapped to her chest, she was momentarily blinded by Delbert's madras Bermudas, red-checked gingham shirt and yellow smiley face crew socks—a typical Bisbee ensemble that was probably visible from one of Pluto's moons.

"Damn you, Delbert," she wheezed. "You scared the living crap out of me."

The snowy-haired home invader was standing on a metal toolbox, poking a screwdriver into her thermostat's exposed innards. "Didn't you see my car out front?"

"Yes, but—"

"Then you knew I was here when you came in—"

"Yes, but—"

"—from wherever you'd gallivanted off to." He gave Hannah a withering paternal up-and-down.

"And I guess I don't have to ask where that was."

Delbert in protective father-figure mode was annoying and endearing. Delbert with a screwdriver in his fist kindled memories of perfectly functional appliances being reduced to rubble.

First things first. "I guess not," she said. "You know I can't start on the payroll without picking up the time sheets from the department supervisors."

This was true. It had no bearing on his remark, but Hannah's twenty-five years in the advertising industry qualified as a Ph.D. in the ol' bait and switch.

"Oh. Well." He sawed a finger under his nose. "Now that you mention it, ladybug, I reckon this is the second Tuesday of the month."

The pet name sufficed as an apology for implying she'd spent the night having mind-blowing sex with Sheriff David Hendrickson. Just because the human love of her life had left to respond to a meth lab explosion before they'd had a chance to get naked didn't make her feel any better about deceiving Delbert.

Guilt from being caught doing something you shouldn't paled in comparison to getting away with it and feeling like a two-faced slimeball. Hannah's confession was in the composition stage when she heard a distinct zzzt.

The screwdriver sailed past her left ear. A puff of smoke shot toward the ceiling. Sparks showered downward like tiny meteorites. Delbert yelled, "Battle stations! Mayday! Get the fire extinguisher! Quick!"

Minutes later, the wall beside the breakfast room doorway was a seething blotch of powdery yellow residue several shades brighter than Mr. Fix-It's socks. His complexion pretty much matched his shirt and the fire extinguisher's red-enameled barrel. He handed it back to her with a quiet, but sincere "Oops."

It's said you can choose your friends, but not your family. Delbert and the gumshoe gang had become both. As with her real family—long gone to that single-wide trailer park in the sky—the urge to strangle him, or the other four, on a fairly frequent basis went with the territory.

Hannah inquired, "Are you sure the fire's out?" "Ya gotta have flames to have a fire." Delbert straightened to a full five foot three, which put the top of his head level with her chin. "Leave it to a woman to make Mount Rushmore out of a molehill."

Misogyny was his premier line of defense. Objecting to it was, in the immortal words of her greatuncle Mort, like teaching a pig to sing. Hannah set down the fire extinguisher and made a mental note to have it recharged. And buy a backup. Maybe two.

"Next question," she said. "Why were you ramming a screwdriver into my thermostat?"

"Because every window in the ding-danged house was open when I pulled up out front."

She cocked her head, gnawed her lower lip, then finally had to admit she had no clue what the hell he was talking about.

"It hit eighty-eight degrees yesterday afternoon," Delbert said, as though addressing a toddler, or a lunatic. "It's supposed to be over ninety today. Not bad for July, but when I saw your windows open, I figured the central air was on the fritz."

Hannah eyed the mustardy mess with a rectangular lump in the middle, formerly known as a climatecontrol device. "I'll bet it is now."

He nodded, then hung his head. "I was just trying to help, ladybug."

Valhalla Springs had a full-time maintenance department. Reminding Delbert of it was akin to telling Malcolm to recite the Analects of Confucius in Mandarin.

Hannah hugged Delbert's sparrow shoulders. "My windows were open because I like real air. And fans. Especially at night." She planted a smooch on his sweet Old-Spice-scented cheek. "We didn't have airconditioning when I was a kid, then I spent two-thirds of my life in a hermetically sealed condo in Chicago. Listening to a fan and the crickets are like revisiting my childhood. The good parts."

Shrewd, milky-blue eyes rose to her brown ones, and the corners of Delbert's mouth quirked into a smile. In a tone both affectionate and crabby, he said,fruitcake factory?"

"Uh-huh." Hannah laughed. "But you haven't for quite a while."

"I would have, if I'd known you were such a nature freak." He squatted to retrieve the screwdriver and chucked it in the toolbox. "Real air, my sweet aspidistra. Next you'll trade in that feminazi mobile for an ox team and a wagon."

He pondered the sunlight streaming through the French doors to the deck. "It's not as hot in here as you'd expect, though. Must be the shade—trees keep it cooler longer."

That and relative isolation. A stocked, spring-fed lake and the adjacent community center separated the manager's cottage from the residential area and Main Street's commercial district. Across Valhalla Springs Boulevard and a jog east was an eighteenhole championship golf course. Any whisper of a breeze from any direction was Hannah's to enjoy.


Excerpted from Halfway To Half Way by Suzann Ledbetter Copyright © 2007 by Suzann Ledbetter. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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    Hey im here

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A charmer

    In Missouri, Valhalla Springs Retirement Community resident operations manager Hannah Garvey knows she should be looking forward to her marriage to her beloved Kinderhook County Sheriff David Hendrickson. However, although she loves the law enforcement official and sneaks off the premises to sleep with him, Hannah has some doubts about quitting her job to move in with David.-------------- David is busy investigating the murder of Sanity well-regarded resident Beverly Beauford. Thus he fails to notice that his fiancée is suffering from cold feet. Meanwhile, as everyone is stunned by the murder, Delbert Bisbee and his geriatric sleuths search for a missing husband that even the wife ignores his vanishing. Life is normal at the retirement home.----------- As always with this wonderful lighthearted romantic mystery series, the cast is over the top so that the readers obtain an amusing tale filled with twists and turns. Fans will enjoy the latest caper of the senior sleuths that drives Hannah crazy as she tries to keep Delbert and the posse out of trouble. Readers of the series will enjoy Suzann Ledbetter¿s peculiar bran of humor that is just on this side of sanity.------------ Harriet Klausner

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    Posted May 24, 2013

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