Stranger in My House

Stranger in My House

by Mari Manning

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Overview

When Kirby Swallow assumes her half sister’s identity to help figure out who's threatening her, she finds herself in way over her head. On the remote Texas ranch her sister calls home, she confronts a growing list of suspects and a rising body count—all while wearing her sister's 4-inch heels. The only problem is the sexy ranch manager, Seth Maguire, is starting to catch on to the charade. The attraction between them is undeniable—and soon, what starts out as just a one-night stand, turns into something much deeper. But someone on the ranch is out for blood…and Kirby's next.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633756700
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 06/13/2016
Series: A Murder In Texas , #2
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 374
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Mari Manning is the author of six contemporary romances. Two of her books, Holding Out for a Hero and Angel Without Wings were published in 2012 and 2013 respectively by Crimson Romance. Her most recent novels, Stranger at My Door and Stranger in the House are romantic suspense stories set in the Texas hill country. Mari is currently working on her third book in the “Stranger” series. In 2010, Mari was one of ten aspiring authors selected for RT’s “Writing with the Stars” feature. In 2011 she finaled in the Celtic Hearts Romance Writers’ “Gold Claddagh” contest. In 2013, Stranger at My Door was a finalist in the RWA Valley of the Sun’s “Hot Prospects” contest. Mari is a member of Romance Writers of America and the RWA Chicago North Chapter for which she serves on the Board. She resides in the Chicago area with her husband and has two grown children. Visit her website/blog at www.marimanning.com.

Read an Excerpt

Stranger in my House

A Murder in Texas Novel


By Mari Manning, Alycia Tornetta, Jenn Mishler

Entangled Publishing, LLC

Copyright © 2016 Mary Doherty
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-63375-670-0


CHAPTER 1

Kirby Swallow wanted to kick herself. No, 10-22 that — surveying her heavy makeup and green contacts in the rearview mirror, she admitted the truth to herself. She wanted to turn the car around and drive home as fast as the speed limit allowed.

Her mouth curled into a rueful smile. At least she felt alive again. Since her half sister, Frankie, came back into her life two days ago, the numbness smothering Kirby after her grandfather's death had lifted. So had her loneliness. That Frankie had shown up distraught, bruised, and begging for help took some of the pleasure out of the reunion. But at least she'd turned to Kirby for help. It was a start.

As for Frankie's mess of troubles, not to mention the wild scheme she'd concocted, that was another matter. Just driving down here with the intent to conceal her identity and conduct a warrantless search could cost Kirby her badge and end her career as a Tulsa cop. If anyone but Frankie had asked, Kirby would never have broken her oath of honor. But Frankie was family. The only family Kirby had left. So she'd agreed to masquerade as her nearly identical half sister.

Just to take a look around. If she found anything, she'd turn it over to the local cops. Then Frankie could go home again and not feel the shadow of a killer at her back. A killer who appeared to eliminating heirs to the fifty-thousand-acre Shaw Valley Ranch.

A half mile ahead, the gates to the ranch rose above the Texas brush. Kirby steered the car beneath a wrought-iron arch entwined with the initials SV and bumped along a coarse gravel road that snaked between hillocks and small groves of honey locust and black cherry. The early-summer sun had begun to slip behind the rolling Texas hills, throwing long shadows across the narrow lane. At least she'd timed her arrival well. She might need the cloak of dusk to get past the front door.

The Mercedes — Frankie's, of course — purred as it took a sharp bend, skirting a patch of trees and underbrush. As Kirby cleared the last grove, a monstrous Victorian mansion rose up before her. The heart-stopping moment of uncertainty that slammed into her caught her by surprise. Just a few minutes ago she'd been mostly okay. A little nervous about the charade, but ready to take a chance for her sister. But searching this behemoth without backup? Was she ready for that?

The main part of the house — three stories, square roofed and covered with fussy fretwork — thrust boldly forward. Two wings angled back, giving the impression of a bird in the midst of flight. From the roof at the center of the sprawl, a cupola rose as if in a grandiose, futile attempt to touch the flat Texas sky. It was both more and less than Frankie had described. More imposing and more intimidating, to be sure. But faded and in disrepair, too. As if its best days were long past.

Through the dead bugs littering her windshield, Kirby caught a movement on the far side of the yard. A man strode purposefully and angrily in her direction. He was tall, broad shouldered, and wore the rancher's uniform — jeans, boots, long-sleeve shirt, and on his head a white Stetson.

Kirby stepped out of the car, shimmying Frankie's tight dress down her thighs. Then she slipped her hand into the Hermès bag Frankie had lent her and released the safety on her Glock pistol.

Not because this was her first go at being Frankie, and if she was caught ... well, folks could get ugly if they thought you were messing with them. But because someone on this ranch, or at least someone with access to the house, had abducted Frankie's momma Charleen, a week back, then two nights ago come for Frankie, too. Frankie had fought off the attempt, but now she was running scared.

As the man came up on her, the pungent scent of horse and hay filled Kirby's nostrils. His full lower lip curved sensually, and his long nose was slightly off-kilter. Probably broken. Beneath the brim of his sweat-stained hat, hair black as midnight curled at his neck. A spark of intelligence gleamed in his blue eyes.

She'd seen a fuzzy photo of him on Frankie's cell. Seth Maguire. The local Casanova. The housemaid, a bevy of gals in town, and even Frankie herself were hot for him. Kirby could see why, although he was definitely not her type. His gaze met hers a bit too speculatively, and his body pushed into her personal space. A man too sure of his own attraction for her taste.

"What the hell, Frankie?"

His aggression took her by surprise. She reared back.

He moved closer. "I — we spent the past two days looking for you."

"You shouldn't have bothered, since, as you can see, I'm fine." She released the pistol and took her hand out of her purse. He wasn't carrying, and she could handle him if he got physical.

He gritted his teeth and growled. "Is this because of what happened?"

Because of what happened? "You mean with my momma and me?"

"I mean with you and me."

What was he talking about? Frankie hadn't said anything about Maguire except to go on about how hot he was. Of course with Frankie, encouraging male attention was second nature. But not to Kirby. "I appreciate your concern. I was visiting friends." Hopefully that hit a note somewhere between "come and get me, big guy" and "I'm a cop investigating a crime, so stay back."

He relaxed. "I hope you've cooled down."

His voice was soft and his tone intimate. He bent his neck and studied her face closely. A smudge of dirt outlined the ridge of his cheekbone. The shadow of beard revealed itself as dark stubble. Sweat-scented heat rose off his body and pressed against her. For a moment she thought he might try to kiss her, and she wondered what she'd do. Her heart began to pound. Then he pulled back.

"Answer me, Frankie," he said.

What was his question? Suddenly she couldn't remember. "Pardon me?"

"You heard me. Have you cooled down?"

"Sort of." Beads of sweat gathered above her lips. She tried batting her eyelids Frankie-style but managed only a nervous flutter.

"Look ..." He paused and glanced over his shoulder at the house. "I'm trying to get on here. I told you that. I can't afford to get thrown off this ranch because ... because of this damn nonsense. Please, Frankie. Just say yes, and mean it. That's all I'm asking here." The cords of his neck strained.

"Can I think about it?" Whatever it was. She'd call Frankie as soon as she got in the house. If she made it that far.

"Think about it? Think about what?"

Above her head, the first bat of the evening squeaked and circled. She backed farther away from him. "Sun's setting. I best be getting inside before the mosquitoes ring the dinner bell."

"No. Not until this is settled." His hand shot out and gripped her upper arm. Not hard, but his fingers were solid against her muscle.

For a moment she couldn't think. The gesture felt casual and ordinary, as if he'd touched Frankie a thousand times before. And maybe he had. But he wasn't touching Frankie, and if this was where Kirby was supposed to issue a Frankie-like invitation for more, the charade was over. She jerked her arm from his grasp and backed away.

He frowned. "What the hell's going on?"

"T-tonight's not a good night. I'm a little out of sorts."

"Out of sorts?"

Change the fricking subject. "My momma is missing. Remember?"

Maguire had the temerity to guffaw. "Your momma goes off all the time, and it's never bothered you before."

Clearly he didn't know about the note left in Frankie's room. Still, it irritated her. His lack of compassion. "Does it bother you? When she goes off, I mean?"

"Me?"

He laughed again, then turned away and surveyed the splash of crimson above a distant ridge. When he looked at her again, his brows were knitted, his forehead creased by thought. He leaned into her and met her eyes. The intelligence was back, and Kirby felt her measure being taken.

She dropped her gaze to avoid his scrutiny. Frankie's red stilettos glittered up at her, a reminder of where she was and what she was supposed to be doing. You are confident with men. You are an heiress to a Texas ranch. You are Frankie Swallow.

"What's going on?" he asked. "You seem different."

It was impossible to argue his point, since he was right. She raised her head and tried a spoonful of truth on him. "Maybe I'm upset. Seems like someone might be trying to get rid of me, too."

He nodded, not the least bit surprised. "I suppose it's possible, although I don't know why that's suddenly news."

"You don't thinking that's just a bit alarming?" She tried to rein in her outrage.

He met outrage for outrage. "Sure thing, Miss Frankie. I do find it just a little alarming. But you know what I find a lot alarming? That a bunch of people ..." He broke off and waved an arm at the house. "That a bunch of people around here wouldn't shed a tear if you disappeared for good."

His words were sympathetic, but his tone was not. So did he like Frankie or didn't he? Would he shed a tear if she was gone? Kirby narrowed her gaze, trying to read his expression, but the deepening gloom obscured it.

"You know what I mean, right?" He made it sound more like a plea for understanding than a question.

Was he talking about the ranch? Charleen, then Frankie would inherit it someday. But who would the childless and elderly Charles Ender Shaw III — Frankie's cousin Eenie — leave his estate to if they were gone? Probably someone nearby. Maybe someone in that behemoth of a house. Maybe even Maguire himself.

"I know exactly what you mean," she said, gritting her teeth and thrusting the words at him as if they were written on a criminal citation.

His jaw dropped.

Was it him? Had he taken Charleen, and when Frankie fought him off, did he slip the note into her room? Got Charleen. You're next. But why? Had Maguire somehow insinuated himself with Shaw?

The heavy squeal of rusted hinges vibrated over the yard. Kirby twisted her head. The front door had opened, and a shaft of light cut through the yard, framing a plump young woman with pale braids hanging over her shoulders. The housemaid, Brittany.

"Who's here, Seth?"

He grimaced. "It's Miss Frankie. You go on and finish your chores. I'll get her inside."

Kirby felt her malevolent gaze. Then the door swung shut with a deep thud, casting the yard back into semidarkness.

"I'll see myself into the house. I wager you have lots of important stuff to do," she said, turning away from Maguire and swinging open the Mercedes's back door. She hoisted Frankie's Louis Vuitton bag from the seat.

He held out his hand. "Give me that."

She didn't trust him. But Frankie did. And for now, she was Frankie. She handed him the bag.

He jiggled it speculatively, testing its weight. "What're you toting in here? Rocks?"

Just a few to balance the weight of a big-ass flashlight, a Taser, handcuffs, ID, and badge all wrapped up in bedsheets to keep the rattling down. She thrust her arm out and tried to snatch the bag back. "I can manage."

He did a neat sidestep. "Lead the way."

The path, steep and uneven, was as welcoming as the house. The front porch as wide and empty as the Texas plain stretching to the horizon. The heavy door thick and weather-beaten. Maguire, still hauling her weapons, stayed right behind Kirby all the way to the front door. She'd hoped to go into the house alone. Get past any surprises flighty Frankie might have forgotten to mention.

"Thanks. I can take it from here." She held out a hand for the bag.

"Wouldn't hear of it. 'Course, if you could see your way to opening the door, I'd be much obliged."

The tarnished brass handle resisted the twist of her wrist.

"Come on, Frankie. In you go."

She gave it some muscle. The latch snapped back. The door creaked open.

Her heels clicked on pink marble, a pale sea between front parlor and dining room. Dust covered massive pieces of Victorian furniture, its upholstery faded to watery claret. Paneled walls and a carved oak ceiling enclosed the room in casket-like darkness. A forest of ferns sprouted from tarnished brass pots. A portrait hung over the deep fireplace — a pale man with even paler eyes watched her with a glint of menace.

Straddling the hall and living room, a carved oak stand held a golden birdcage. Behind gilded wires, a red and blue macaw with a curved beak tilted its head at her. "She's here, she's here," it screeched. "Hurry, he's this way."

"Hell's bells!" The words rolled off Kirby's tongue before she could bite them back. Frankie hadn't mentioned a bird. She hoped it was the only thing Frankie forgot.

"Something wrong?" Maguire stepped into the house.

A shadow with a bushy tail leaped over Kirby's head. She ducked and dug her hand in her purse for her pistol before she remembered — Mr. Shaw had a penchant for critters. Still, it was one thing to hear about a pet squirrel wandering the house. It was another when it flew over you.

Maguire lifted his elbow. "Come here, Bobby. Don't be pestering Frankie." A black squirrel with a gold chain circling its neck jumped to Maguire's raised arm.

Kirby straightened and pulled her hand out of her purse. The macaw cackled again. "She's here." The high, inhuman voice vibrated through Kirby like a warning. She shuddered.

"Are you okay?" Maguire asked.

"I suppose."

He eyed her cautiously. "Guess he hears that a lot around here."

Apparently "she's here" referred to Frankie, and just as apparent was the fact that Frankie would know what it meant and why Maguire seemed almost embarrassed. "Guess so," she said, but narrowed her eyes and gave him the once-over, because it's what Frankie did when she was displeased.

Bobby studied her from Maguire's well-defined bicep, white teeth worrying his paws, black eyes glittering, the tiny bell on a silver collar dinging.

Maguire dug into his pocket. "Here you go." He handed the squirrel a peanut.

Bobby pushed the peanut into his cheeks and jumped from Maguire's arm to Kirby's shoulder. Tiny claws tickled her bare skin. You could say it nice as pie or you could sling it like mud, but the truth was the truth. Frankie wasn't the wild kingdom type. If a squirrel jumped on her shoulder, even a tame one, she'd have a little meltdown.

"Get him off me," Kirby said. She could have flicked the critter away with a jerk of her hand, but she didn't want to hurt him and she didn't want to lift him off, because in the way of horses and dogs, Bobby might know she was a fake by her touch.

Maguire frowned. "Weird."

"What?"

"He's never gone to you before."

"It's dark in here. He probably thought I was, uh, Cousin Eenie."

"Probably." But it was clear from the way Maguire said it that he didn't believe Bobby had mistaken her for Mr. Shaw.

A woman appeared at the top of the wide staircase that rose from the far end of the hall. "What are you doing with Bobby?"

The macaw fluttered and screeched against the bars of its cage. Bobby leaped to a nearby ficus and skittered away. The rawboned woman charged down the stairs, aiming for Kirby. Her loose, gray flannel slacks hung over ample hips, and a high-collared blouse flapped against narrow shoulders and long, bony arms. Gray hair secured into a tight bun framed her gaunt face and a thin, high-bridged nose not unlike the macaw's beak. Deep black eyes brimmed with hatred. Miss Bea Vine, the housekeeper. Frankie's nickname for her — the she-hawk — seemed fitting.

Up close, the woman reeked of disinfectant and fear. She stretched her hands toward Kirby, gnarled fingers curled into claws. But she stopped short of touching her. "You have no business with Bobby."

Kirby ran an assessing eye over the woman. A few inches taller, but at least twenty years older. According to Frankie, Miss Bea had been at the ranch forever. An obvious exaggeration. But she'd been here for a while, and she'd devoted herself to taking care of Mr. Shaw. Had she been jealous when Mr. Shaw's lawyers identified Charleen and Frankie as next of kin? Had Mr. Shaw already promised her the ranch or a large sum of money when he died? Kirby glanced down at Miss Bea's fingernails. Neat and trimmed short, but long enough to make the nasty scratch on Frankie's forearm.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Stranger in my House by Mari Manning, Alycia Tornetta, Jenn Mishler. Copyright © 2016 Mary Doherty. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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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Stranger In My House 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
aprilrenee1976 More than 1 year ago
Romance with a suspenseful twist Stranger in my House' by Mari Manning is book two in the "A Murder in Texas" series and is the story of Kirby Swallow and Seth Maguire . Kirby is a Cop but not local and Frankie is her sister . They tended to look a lot of alike, like twin sisters. Frankie is one of the heirs to a lot of money along with a ranch. Frankie comes to Kirby asking for her help, after someone tries to kill her. Kirby goes in her place to get the lay of the land so to speak and to find out who is trying to kill her sister. Kirby goes in there undercover as Frankie and while there , she meets Seth and while she is so very attracted to him, she cannot act on it because she is trying to follow all the clues and keep her eyes open for anything important that could say Frankie. Seth knows that something is different with 'Frankie' after she returns from being missing for about two days but he isn’t sure what is different. There are so many twists and turns in this story and the ending..ahh the ending. Do they or don’t they? You have to read to find out that answer. My rating: 4.3 stars *** **I was given an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review***
KaraS More than 1 year ago
Romance, suspense, intrigue This is an Entangled: Select Suspense story which is a new Entangled genre for me. It is another Murder in Texas story from Mari Manning, but they are each stand-alones. There is romance, suspense and intrigue. Kirby Swallow is a Tulsa cop who assumes her half-sister’s identity to figure out who is threatening her. She tries to stay away from the sexy ranch manager, Seth Maguire, but that turns out much harder to do. It took me a while to get into this book, but once it got going the story took a few turns and keeps you guessing until the end. Even if you think you know the ending – it still throws a few final twists at you. The cast of characters is very eclectic – you’ll appreciate the furred and feathered ones too. Seth discovers the charade that Kirby is pulling and almost immediately knows she isn’t her half-sister, Frankie. He isn’t this attracted to Frankie after all. But Kirby has more secrets that are slowly revealed. The heat factor was good and the suspense was engaging and I always enjoy when I can’t exactly guess the ending. If you enjoy this genre – you definitely want to check these out! Received a copy from the Publisher via Net Galley
gigiluvsbooks More than 1 year ago
When Kirby Swallow assumes her half sister’s identity to help figure out who's threatening her, she finds herself in way over her head. On the remote Texas ranch her sister calls home, she confronts a growing list of suspects and a rising body count—all while wearing her sister's 4-inch heels. The only problem is the sexy ranch manager, Seth Maguire, is starting to catch on to the charade. The attraction between them is undeniable—and soon, what starts out as just a one-night stand, turns into something much deeper. But someone on the ranch is out for blood…and Kirby's next. Review: I really liked that I kept guessing who was behind all the happenings and killings in the book. I hate plots being spoiled so I will try to give a good review without giving away everything. The book had a cast of quirky and not all that they seemed in the book. They are not being who they seem lead to that should they be trusted or not. I thought at points Kirby was being too kind, I know she is pretending to be her sister, but people were just plain mean to her and I would have given it right back. Seth is moody and sexy, and is bad and good for Kirby. I liked the tension and the will they? won't they? act on their attraction for each other. When they finally do act out on their feelings there is just the right amount of heat for the story. Also, I liked that Seth got personal stuff resolved in the story too. This is the second book in the series and other than being set in the same small Texas town I cannot see how it would hurt reading them out of order. I give kudos to the Author, she writes a good romantic mystery that I did not figure out until all was revealed at the end. 4Stars *I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.*
InspirationalAngel531 More than 1 year ago
Title: Stranger In My House - A Murder in Texas 2 Author: Mari Manning Published: 6-13-2016 Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC / Select Suspense Pages: 302 Genre: Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense Sub Genre: Romance ISBN: 9781633756700 ASIN: B01G1K38HY Reviewer: DelAnne Reviewed For: NetGalley Rating: 4 1/2 . Kirby Swallow is at home believing all is well with her mother and half-sister Frankie's world, when suddenly Frankie shows up on Kirby's doorstep to tell her their mother has been kidnapped and now someone is after Frankie. Kirby decides to go undercover assuming her Frankie's identity. After all she is a cop she should have no problem pretending to be Frankie as they are so alike even their mother sometimes has trouble telling them apart at a glance. That's only one of Kirby's miscalculations, another is having to where Frankie's four inch heels. Then there is the fact that it seems the entire holds Frankie in contempt with her better than thou attitude. Add a much to observant ranch manager by the name of Seth Maguire that lights Kirby's fires and doesn't much care for Frankie and you have a fun time on the ole ranch tonight. This is one amazing read. It is fun, humorous and filled with an eclectic cast of characters that will keep you captivated to the story from the beginning to the end. The plot is seamless and flows smoothly from scene to scene. Stanger in my house will keep you on edge all through the twist and turns just as you will laugh at a few of the scenes. My rating is 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.
Cheryl-S More than 1 year ago
Let's start with the cover. AMAZINGLY SEXY!!! Now, the story line. It was great! It was set up well and some of the characters played their part well. Miss Bea, Mr. Shaw, Susanna and Frankie were great! Kirby, Seth, Manny and Brittany were not so great. Kirby should have been smart. She's an officer of the law. She was extremely naive and I failed to see intelligence, especially where Frankie was concerned. The way she let others speak to or yell at her was just too much. Extremely degrading. The only thing I'll say about Seth is, WHAT COWBOY WEARS KHAKIS AND TOP SIDERS? No, just, NO! The story would have been awesome if the characters matched the story line. The last chapter was the best as all the characters behaved like normal human beings. The last chapter is the only place I saw any hint of a real romance throughout the entire book. I'm sorry if my review sounds harsh. I didn't mean it that way but I failed to see what others saw in this book. Received a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed is my own.
HumorMyWay More than 1 year ago
Kirby has lost everyone in her family but her estranged half sister. When she gets a call from her in a panic saying someone was trying to killer her. No one the wiser they could be twins she takes on her sister’s identity to help find the people after her sister. There are always two sides to every story as she finds out on reaching the ranch that things are not quite as her sister Frankie said. The list is long of those that aren’t crazy about Frankie this should be a cut and dry case she is a cop and solving mysteries is her job. There are some twists and turns you don’t see coming, I thought this as a fun and intense read. It was well written with some great characters. You have a little of very things here from romance, hot men, family feuds, some things could have been timed better for this group of delightful characters. With all the facts laid out whom will the finger point to or could it all be in Frankie’s mind? I really enjoyed the even pace book that had no trouble holding my attention. I know most will find this as delightful as I have. This is the first I have read by this author but it won’t be the last.
mamalovestoread22 More than 1 year ago
Assuming her sister's identity isn't an ideal situation, but it's really the only way Kirby Swallow can sneak under the radar and investigate all the mysterious happenings on the ranch her sister currently lives on. Her sister wholeheartedly believes her life is in danger, and she is surrounded by people who would rather see her dead than alive, so the list of suspects is mighty high, and Kirby knows she has her work cut out for her, but her longing for family connection has her saying yes without much thought. All she needs to do is change her eye color, grow accustom to waltzing around in four inch heels, and everything else with take care of itself, she is a cop after all, and this was what she was trained to do. But soon after she arrives, she learns that she may just have signed herself up for far more than she bargained for... especially when she meets sexy ranch manager Seth Maguire. After a few heated moments together she knows she is going to have to amp up her game or her little investigation will be blown before she gets the chance to find her perpetrator! This was my first time reading something from this author and I have to say she totally won me over with this sexy spine-tingling little tale!! It captured my attention right from the start and held on tight until the very end!! It was packed with edge or your seat intensity, heated passion, steamy romance, thrilling mystery, and took me on one spectacular literary ride!! It truly had it all and was the perfect blend of suspense and romance and I loved every minute of it!! Definitely one of the best NetGalley finds that I have stumbled onto in quite a while, and also the introduction to a truly gifted storyteller, I look forward to more reads from her!! Highly recommend this one, it's sure to keep you on the edge of your seat the whole way through!! ARC requested through NetGalley, and kindly provided by Entangled Publishing, LLC - Select Susupense in exchange for a honest and unbiased review.
n7kk7br00ks More than 1 year ago
Kirby Swallow has lost her entire family, except for her estranged half-sister. When Frankie calls her in a panic stating that people are trying to kill her, Kirby lets her hide out in her home and she becomes her near identical sister to track down the bad guys. When she arrives on the ranch that her sister will one day inherit she finds things not quite as cut and dried as Frankie made out. Seth Maguire is the ranch manager with ambition, Ms Bea seems to have an almighty hate for Frankie and cousin Eenie seems to be teetering on the brink on ill-health. Could any of these people actually be willing to hurt Frankie? Were they responsible for the disappearance of Frankie's mother? Well written and exciting read. Will family feuds, mis-represented facts and an ill-timed attraction with the main suspect!!! Lots of twists and turns and I loved the heat between Kirby and Seth
FizzaYounis More than 1 year ago
I loved it! Characters are amazing and so well-written. I enjoyed the mystery, the romance, and unexpected ending. It is a delightful read, a must for all book lovers. When Kirby's half-sister arrives at her doorstep unexpectedly she thinks of it as good sign. But all is not well in the world of Frankie. Apparently someone has kidnapped her mother and is now after her. As both sisters look exactly alike, it is decided that Kirby will go to the ranch in stead of Frankie and investigate the disappearance of her mother. Kirby is a cop. She thinks she will be able to handle the kidnapper and find out exactly what is going on at the ranch, which Frankie is going to inherit one day. When she arrives at the ranch things are different from what Frankie has explained. Everyone seems to hate her. It looks like the whole town could be a suspect. Frankie hasn't been good. In all the craziness that follows Seth is an ally. Even though Frankie warned her about him it seems that she cannot resist him after all. Soon she find herself falling for the sexy ranch manager who is too intelligent to keep buying her charade for long. She wonders what is to come out of all this mess.... I enjoyed reading this book. It is one of the best mystery novels I have read this year.
repsgoddess More than 1 year ago
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. A wonderfully done romantic mystery, Stranger in my House by Mari Manning is Book 2 of the A Murder in Texas series. The author has put together great characters, a captivating storyline and a surprise twist ending that you won’t see coming. My only issue was some of the reactions of the characters; they didn’t always fall in line in a convincing way and at times even conflicted in how they should have reacted. That being said, if you are looking for a well-paced romantic suspense with plenty of twists and turns then you will enjoy this one.
Sissymae1 More than 1 year ago
I received an eARC, from NetGalley and the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. 3.5 Stars 'Stranger in my House' by Mari Manning is book two in the "A Murder in Texas" series. This is the story of Kirby Swallow and Seth Maguire Kirby is a Cop but not a local on in Texas where she is going undercover to try and help her sister Frankie. Frankie is one of the heirs to a great deal of money and a ranch. Frankie comes to Kirby asking for her help after someone tries to kill her. Kirby looks a lot like her half sister so she goes undercover pretending to be Frankie to try to solve what is going on. Kirby meets Seth there and even though she is attracted to him she is keep her eye on him for a possible person of interest. Seth knows that something is different with 'Frankie' after she returns from being missing for about two days. This book does a good job of keeping the mystery going along with the love story.
Linda__ More than 1 year ago
LOVED this book! Kirby, a police officer, assumes her sister's identity to figure out what happened to her mother. As soon as Kirby arrives, she is treated with disdain, has her car keys taken away, and has her activities closing monitored. This is a quickly moving tale that romantic suspense fans will love. I never saw the villain coming - it kept me guessing until the very end. Add in a very sexy ranch manager and this story is hot! This is a must read for fans of the genre. This author is on my must read authors' list.
Bette313 More than 1 year ago
An excellent romantic suspense that had my attention from the very first page. Kirby is a great character and she's willing to do anything for her half sister. The only real family she has left. So going to her sister's ranch and posing as Frankie seems easy enough. While she may fool most of the people, ranch manager Seth Maguire knows something is most definitely different with Frankie. He's never had this intense attraction before and he means to get to the bottom of what's going on. While Kirby might find Seth intriguing she can't let herself get distracted. She needs to find out who is trying to hurt Frankie. There seems to be more secrets and strange goings on at the ranch than there are horses. This one is full of twists and turns as the story progresses. Definitely an exciting read and one I would highly recommend.
Splashesintobooks1 More than 1 year ago
This is a suspense filled murder mystery - with danger lurking everywhere! Kirby Swallow has been brought up by her Grandfather and is feeling somewhat alone after his recent demise. When her near identical half sister, Frances (better known as Frankie) comes calling, battered and bruised asking for her help, Kirby will put her own life on the line to help her. Kirby is a hard working, considerate and lonely cop whilst Frankie is a spoilt, selfish brat with very loose morals but now seems genuinely scared and very concerned after the disappearance of her mother and being attacked herself. Kirby can’t resist and agrees to wear green contact lenses to hide her brown eyes - the only physical difference between the sisters - and to go undercover as Frankie on the isolated ranch where she lives. Trying to act like Frankie, wearing her ridiculously high heels and striving to uncover the truth is going to be a real challenge for Kirby. What will make it harder is the attitude of others on the ranch to Frankie - no one seems to like or trust her. With so many potential suspects, her aunt still missing and more mysteries to resolve life is taking a definite change for Kirby - and the attractive ranch manager, Seth Maguire, could just be one challenge too many for her to ignore! With family feuds, everyone in the household apparently hating Frankie, the ranch going downhill fast after all the cattle and most of the horses have been sold, nothing is as Kirby had assumed. Get ready to meet some great characters - human and animal! There are so many secrets, motives and conflicts abounding that this is an exciting read with so many twists and turns it will keep you guessing till near the end! This is a great romantic mystery to escape into and I have no hesitation in highly recommending it to lovers of this genre. Thanks to the author, publishers and NetGalley, too, for letting me read this in exchange for my honest review.