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Excerpt: First Gear by Patricia C. Lee

Recently divorced, petite and feisty Texan, Sadie Hawkins, struggles to get her newly established logistics business off the ground and when the opportunity to haul antiquities, including a mummy, drops into her lap, she jumps at the chance. But when her cargo gets stolen and a fresh corpse mysteriously replaces the mummy, Sadie is arrested for theft and suspicion of murder.

Out on recognizance thanks to her lawyer ex-husband and not willing to watch her business sink farther in debt while the police search for clues, Sadie yanks up her cowboy boots and does some investigative work on her own. Stymied by her lack of success, she reluctantly enlists a few members with specific skills from Streetsmart, an organization made up of rehabilitated young adult offenders.

While taking whatever moving job she can to keep her business from going under, Sadie endeavors to uncover the truth, the whole time wondering if this crime is some form of retribution for an incident in her past. But when things spiral out of control and Sadie is caught in the killer’s crosshairs, it appears not even her accomplices in Streetsmart will be able to save her

5 Star Review from K.C. Finn of Reader’s Favorite: Author Patricia C. Lee has crafted a truly charming and suspenseful novel for fans of cozy mystery fiction who still like a little grit and realism in their reading material. Sadie Hawkins is an enigmatic protagonist who is admirable but far from perfect, and we as readers can follow her ups and downs with empathy and root for her from cover to cover. Lee’s intimate narration style gives us insight into the character and the world as she sees it, and there’s plenty of empowering moments and Southern grit to keep the mood of the novel uplifted. What results is a well-paced mystery plot unfolding around charming characters who react realistically to their settings, making for a truly entertaining read. Overall, I would certainly recommend First Gear to fans of mystery fiction who want a novel that delivers on all levels.

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It took me a while before I finally connected with the owner of my uncle’s former moving company. I didn’t have enough money to buy the business and the proprietor wouldn’t take installments to pay for the purchase. He did, however, love to gamble and agreed to a poker game. It was poetic justice that Stan’s passion for playing cards, which he taught me, was the catalyst that gave me back the family business the same way in which he had lost it. I’d had to wait to reopen the business though, because at the time I was married to Clayton and again didn’t have the money to keep it operational. A tiny voice whispered to me that I could win at poker to get the cash I needed but seeing what it had done to Uncle Stan, what he had become, scared me into not crossing that line – that lure of possibly winning a bigger pot. Some of the funds from my divorce had gone into getting the business open again. Hawkins Freight was the only connection I had left of my dad’s family.

Jackson’s voice brought me back to the present. “So, what now darlin’? You going to stay up for the next few hours with me?”

I literally bit my tongue so as not to blurt out what I’d love to do for a few hours with this man. Instead I tempered my answer with a hint of flirtatiousness. “As appealing as that sounds, I should hang up and try and get some sleep.”

“Well, I’m sure my listeners won’t mind if I play something different, especially if it’s for a good cause.” I could hear his smile across the line. “Maybe something soft and low.”

Don’t tempt me.

“That would be mighty nice of you.”

“If I’m going to send it out, I need your name.”

His voice level deepened. This guy took flirting to a whole new level.

For a second, I could have sworn I caught movement in my side mirror. I strained, peering into the darkness by the bushes but saw nothing. My tired eyes were playing tricks on me.

“Hello? You still there?”

“Oh, sorry. Thought I saw something in the shadows but nothing is there. My name is Sadie.”

“Okay, Sadie, I’ll see what—”

An awful screeching yowl of a cat nearby made me yelp, making me drop the phone and it clattered under my seat. Heart clamoring against my ribs I mentally cursed the feline. That was probably the shadow I had seen and scrambled down to search for my cell, desperately hoping Jackson was still on the line so I could at least thank him for the dedication. His voice lured me to my device and just as I reached for it, the driver’s door sprang open. On instinct my fingers brushed past the phone, kept moving until they reached the baseball bat I always had beneath my seat and then I was yanked out the door, pulling the bat with me.


I landed on my ass and came up in full swing with the twenty-five ounces of sanded and polished wood, aiming it at whatever or whoever was within range. The thirty inches of solid ash I held felt like an extension of my arm. I had played ball for most of my life, making it to one of Texas’ Single A fastball leagues before I got married, becoming the top female batting champ in the state and second best overall in the league. Although my small stature gave me the advantage of being a fast runner, it was swinging line drives for double hits where I really shone.

And right now whoever had yanked me out of my van was going to get a taste of my 40/400 average.

The sound of bone exploding on impact with a sickening crunch came before a roar of pain ripped through the air. I dodged to the side, ready for another swing but before I could make it more than half way around, something that felt like a Mac truck slammed into the back of my head and the world turned to darkness.

About the Author

Pat is a playwright and award winning author who has had a love affair with the written word since childhood, many times immersing herself in the stories of Enid Blyton and Carolyn Keene. An active imagination gave inspiration to short stories and her first play as a teen. Her full-length play The Truth About Lies was staged at a regional theatrical competition in 2006.

She was selected in the “One of 50 Authors You Should Be Reading” contest in 2012. One of her novels achieved a finalist slot in the 2013 International Book Award Contest – fantasy category. The Daughters of the Crescent Moon Trilogy garnered 2nd place for best series in the 2016 Paranormal Romance Guild’s Reviewer’s Choice Award. She was also one of the winners of the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Story Competition for “A Holy Night”.

Although still in pursuit of a place truly called home, Pat shares her life with her husband and three cats, all of which claim rule over the house at one point or another. Besides dreaming up her next novel, Pat enjoys traveling, baking, camping, wine and or course reading – not necessarily in that order.

5 thoughts on “Excerpt: First Gear by Patricia C. Lee

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  1. Thank you so much for posting this, Bob! And if you think having the protagonist named Sadie Hawkins is fun Tammy and Waytoofantasy, you should see the trouble she gets into lol!!


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