Turns out he's famed ProRodeo bull-riding champion Quint Matthews. He whisks Allison off to dinner, but it's not Quint who captures her interest—it's his old friend, rodeo bull fighter Tag Freeman.
But Quint's got something—or rather, someone, more on his mind than Allison—because the very next day he's off to visit Debbie Sue Overstreet. Debbie Sue was once taken in by Quint's sky-blue eyes and tight jeans, but that was before she remarried the best-looking man in Texas, Buddy Overstreet. When Quint turns up at Debbie Sue's door begging for help, she can't turn him down. Seems that Quint has finally gotten his comeuppance—his identity has been stolen, by a woman no less, one he met through an online dating service.
The Equalizers take the case—after all, Quint is an "old friend" and, even better, he can pay! But no one would ever have guessed that the investigation would lead to murder . . . or that gender-confused Eugene/Janine—whom the Equalizers have tangled with before—would return to stir the stew. Or that there would be mixed messages and broken hearts all over the place.
Of course, as Edwina has often said, there's nothin' that a pitcher of strong margaritas and some serious snooping can't cure . . . but not until Debbie Sue and Edwina go on a crazy ride across West Texas!
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
I Gave You My Heart, but You Sold It Online
By Dixie Cash
William MorrowCopyright © 2006 Dixie Cash
All right reserved.
Chapter OneOn a sunny October afternoon, Quint Matthews's red Ford truck roared along the endless gray highway that stretched through the wide-open spaces of far West Texas. As he sped past tumbleweed forests, sparse mesquite trees stunted from lack of moisture, and scattered pumpjacks laboring against the horizon, Quint returned his cell phone to its cradle on his dash and cussed again. This was getting old, damned old.
The Visa customer-ser-vice representative had been polite, even sympathetic, just as she had been every time he had called and reported unauthorized charges on his credit card. His credit limit was "no limit" and the girls in his office always paid his bills on time. Canceling his card altogether was something the bank had already proved it was not eager to do. "Don't worry, sir," the customer-ser-vice rep said. "We'll cancel this card and issue another."
When he asked for help in identifying the unauthorized user, she suggested he speak to the bank's fraud and abuse department. Quint had talked to the fraud and abuse department a dozen times and gotten nothing but absurd excuses about how the charges hadn't been large enough to set off alarms and cause automatic action.
The credit-card abuse was aggravating enough, but the real blow was that deep down in his heart and ego, Quint believed he knew the abuser. Monica Hunter. It had to be her. The pieces healready knew about fit the borders of the jigsaw. What was missing was the rest of the puzzle.
Monica had entered his life like a tsunami swamping a sleeping sunbather. Just when he had been playing it safe, too.
And just when he had been vulnerable and recovering from an experience so horrible he couldn't bear to speak of it. He might not talk about it, he might try not to think about it, but he would never forget how a good-looking redhead had perpetrated an outrageous deception, fooled him completely, and publicly humiliated him. For months, tabloid newspapers and magazines blaring about the scandal had appeared beside the cash registers of every grocery store in Texas. And who knew where else?
Since that nightmare, Quint had limited his social life to hooking up with women through an exclusive-and expensive-Internet dating site that thoroughly screened all of its members. His relationships with the women he met on the Internet had amounted to nothing more than casual dinners and one-night stands. Then one eve-ning as he surfed the Net, Monica had come online and hit him harder than a rodeo arena floor. Up to then, he had been seeking nothing serious with the fairer sex. Monica had turned his world upside down. For ninety blissful days and nine ideal eve-nings, he had entertained the notion that he had found The One.
Then she disappeared.
What had appeared, on the other hand, and in a matter of hours, really, were myriad baffling charges on his Visa.
Well, he had no intention of shrugging it off and moving on. No intention whatsoever. He was no ordinary lovesick fool. What Monica didn't know, couldn't possibly know, was just how royally she had screwed up. In the world Quint Matthews had carefully carved for himself in years of living in the rough-and-tumble world of ProRodeo, he was the King. And everybody knew, you don't shit on the King. Nosiree, baby. You don't squat wearing spurs and you don't shit on Quint Matthews.
He picked up the phone again and keyed in another number that had been programmed into it for several years. On the third ring, he got an answer. He recognized the hello and a sense of relief flowed through him. The voice on the phone was the one he shouldn't have let get away. "Debbie Sue?" he said with a grin. "Hey, darlin', this is Quint. How you doin', sweetheart?"
"Why, Quint. What a surprise."
Debbie Sue Pratt was the only human alive he trusted to help him solve his current problem. "I've been thinking about you, darlin'. When I need somebody good-looking and clever, I always think of Debbie Sue Pratt."
"Why, thank you, Quint, but you know my name isn't Pratt anymore."
Shit. He did know that. He just didn't like to think of her being married to Buddy Overstreet. Buddy, who used to be the sheriff in Cabell County, had always looked at him with a jaundiced eye. These days the guy was a Texas state trooper, working toward becoming a Texas Ranger. Big deal.
"Sure, darlin'," he told the one who made him feel more alive than any woman he had ever known. "I heard you and Buddy got together again. But just because you got married, you wouldn't high-hat an old friend, would you?"
"Nope. Not for a minute."
"You and your pal up for taking on a new customer?"
She laughed. "You need a detective?"
Quint laughed, too. He loved the way nothing got past her.
When Debbie Sue and her partner, Edwina, had solved the mystery of Pearl Ann Carruthers's murder, a reputation for being experts at crime solving descended upon them. Quint had even read about them in Texas Monthly.
Debbie Sue had taken advantage of the publicity. Dragging her partner along, probably kicking and screaming, she had opened sort of a private investigation agency in one end of her beauty shop. The Domestic Equalizers, she had bragged in the article, specialized in spoiling the fun of philandering spouses and significant others.
Quint had neither, but when it came to his love life, he might be better off if he did.
Excerpted from I Gave You My Heart, but You Sold It Online by Dixie Cash Copyright © 2006 by Dixie Cash. 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.