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Monday, October 29, 2012

Interview with Lauren Carr, Author of the Mac Faraday Series and review of Old Loves Die Hard

Amazon's Lauren Carr Page

Lauren Carr:

Lauren Carr fell in love with mysteries when her mother read Perry Mason to her at bedtime. The first installment in the Joshua Thornton mysteries, A Small Case of Murder was a finalist for the Independent Publisher Book Award. A Reunion to Die For was released in hardback in June 2007. Both of these books are in re-release.


Lauren is also the author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. The first two books in her series, It’s Murder, My Son and Old Loves Die Hard have been getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers. The next book in this series, Shades of Murder, will be released May 2012. This will be Lauren’s fifth mystery.


Lauren’s sixth book, Dead on Ice, will be released in Fall 2012. Dead on Ice will introduce a new series entitled Lovers in Crime, in which Joshua Thornton will join forces with homicide detective Cameron Gates.


The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This spring, two books written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services.


Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.


She lives with her husband, son, and two dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.


Visit Lauren’s websites and blog at:


Product Details


Old Loves Die Hard…and in the worst places.


In Old Loves Die Hard, Lauren Carr continues the rags-to-riches story of Mac Faraday, an underpaid homicide detective who inherits two-hundred-and-seventy million dollars and an estate on Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, from his birth mother on the day his divorce becomes final.


Mac is settling nicely into his new life at Spencer Manor when his ex-wife Christine shows up—and she wants him back! Before Mac can send her packing, Christine and her estranged lover are murdered in Mac’s private penthouse suite at the Spencer Inn, the five-star resort built by his ancestors.


The investigation leads to the discovery of cases files for some of Mac’s murder cases in the room of the man responsible for destroying his marriage. Why would his ex-wife’s lover come to Spencer to dig into Mac’s old cases?


With the help of his new friends on Deep Creek Lake, Mac must use all of his detective skills to clear his name and the Spencer Inn’s reputation, before its five-stars—and more bodies—start dropping!



Georgetown, District of Columbia—Three Years Ago

Does heavy rain affect the murder rate the same way a full moon does?
Squinting through the rain flowing down his windshield like a waterfall, Lieutenant Mac Faraday pondered this ques-tion while easing his sedan around the emergency vehicles surrounding an SUV in the downtown parking lot.
Mac hoped the patrolman in the yellow rain parka flagging him down wouldn’t comment on his car’s grinding brakes. Payday was Friday. Then, he could replace the brake pads. With his luck, the pads would wear down to the rotors first.
What’ve we got?” Mac blinked against the raindrops splashing onto his face and into his blue eyes while calling out the window.
Looks like a robbery gone bad, Lieutenant,” the officer reported. “One shot behind the ear through the driver’s side window. Wallet and watch are missing.”
M.E. here yet?”
Not yet,” the officer said. “Everyone is taking their sweet time hoping the rain will stop.”

Either that or they know something we don’t and are gathering the animals.”
Before Mac could wind up his window, the officer cleared his throat. “Uh, Lieutenant?”
You should get your brakes checked. They’re grinding.”
I’ll do that,” the detective replied. “Thanks for telling me.”
After parking between two patrol cars, Mac climbed out of his car and pulled the collar of his raincoat tight around his neck a moment too late. His auburn hair clung to his scalp while cold heavy raindrops formed a watery path down the sides of his head and the back of his neck to send a shiver down his spine.
The forensics team parted when Mac jogged up to where they were searching the inside of a dark blue SUV that looked black under the storm clouds. The only one who didn’t move out of his way was the lifeless body slumped over the center console. The shattered glass from the window resembled a sequined baby blanket where it covered his black trench coat.
Except for the stream of blood that flowed from the hole behind his left ear, Mac guessed that in life, he had been a good-looking fellow. His black hair had been neatly trimmed. Judging from his buffed fingernails, he had been meticulous about his grooming.
The parking lot belonged to a six-story red brick office building. In a previous life, it had been an eighty-year-old ten-ement. After forcing the neighborhood unfortunates out, a group of entrepreneurs renovated the building to house judges and lawyers in posh office suites.
Mac asked, “Anybody know who he is?”
Dylan Booth.” From behind his back, Mac heard one of the uniformed officers who had been the first on the scene answer. “He worked for Judge Randolph Daniels on the top floor. He was an intern.”
He was going to graduate from law school this spring,” another voice came from behind the officer. Drenched to the bones by the storm, a gray-haired man with a worn wrinkled face stepped up to the detective. He wore a light jacket over his security guard’s uniform.
Searching for reasons someone would want to kill the
law student, Mac asked, “Would I be correct in assuming he wasn’t working on any criminal cases?”
Nah,” the guard responded. “He did mostly research and stuff for Judge Daniels, and he worked hard.” Noting
that it was Saturday, he went on, “He came in bright and early this morning. Left about two o’clock. He signed out at one-fifty-eight. He said he was going to finish up at home.”
From where he stood, the guard glanced into the back of the vehicle. “Did you all find a box?”
Box?” Mac glanced over his shoulder at the forensics officers to see that they were also puzzled by the question.
A document box.” The guard held out his hands a couple of feet apart. “You know. The kind you carry file folders in. When he left he was carrying one. I could tell by the way he was carrying it that it was heavy. He must have had it full.”
The uniformed officers and forensics team responded in unison with shakes of their heads to the inquiry about the box.
Do you have any idea what he had in it?” Mac asked.
It was the guard’s turn to shake his head. “I assumed case files, being that he worked for the judge and all. What about his computer case?”
No laptop or case,” an officer within hearing distance reported.
Mac summarized, “Looks like we have a missing laptop, watch, wallet, and mystery box. Very interesting.”
He turned to the officers inside the SUV. “Did the killer leave anything behind?”
He missed his cell phone.” Like a prize, a young officer held up the phone encased in a plastic bag.
Mac examined the instrument, which contained so many features that he had trouble determining which button to push in order to find the call log. Seeing his problem, one of the forensics officers took it and pressed a couple of the buttons until he found the log.
What’s the last call he made?” asked Mac.
The officer read off the number. “He made the call this afternoon at one-fifty-two. Didn’t the guard say he signed out at one-fifty-eight?”
Mac noted, “Then he made this last call right before he left.”
And he was shot shortly after two.”
While the number was being read off, Mac had dialed it into his cell phone. “Let’s see who the last person he spoke to happens to be.”
He pressed the phone to his ear. After four rings, a voice mail system picked up: “You have reached the office of Assistant U. S. Attorney Stephen Maguire…”

Chapter One

Spencer Manor, Spencer, Maryland—Present Day

Are you ready for a break?” Mac Faraday heard Archie call out before she came into view. The multi-colored leaves of the trees off Spencer Manor’s deck concealed her approach.
A half-dozen lake houses growing in size and grandeur rested along Spencer Court, which ran the length of Spencer Point. The court ended at the stone pillars marking the entrance to Mac Faraday’s multi-million dollar estate on Deep Creek Lake.
Six months earlier, Mac had inherited the stone and cedar home from Robin Spencer. The world-famous mystery writer’s sudden death from a brain aneurism had revealed the secret that forty-seven years earlier, as a teenager, she had given birth to a baby who had been put up for adoption. Her baby boy grew up to become a homicide detective named Mac Faraday.
Marking his place with his forefinger before closing the book he was reading, Mac welcomed the opportunity for a cocktail before dinner. When he saw Archie jog up the steps leading down to her cottage tucked in the corner of the rose garden, he realized that he had been waiting for her all afternoon.
Archie Monday was in faded jeans and a rose-colored cashmere sweater that fit her slender figure like a glove. With her short blond hair and bare feet with nails painted in rose-colored polish, she looked like a sensuous fairy dispatched
to spread red, yellow, and gold pixie dust on the leaves sur-rounding the manor.
Mac had felt like the luckiest man in the world when he had discovered that his inheritance included a beautiful woman living in the stone cottage at the end of his back deck.
Archie had been Robin Spencer’s editor, researcher, and personal assistant for over ten years. When the author passed away, she had left Archie the guest cottage to live in for as long as she wanted. The cottage and a generous allowance from a trust fund afforded Archie the freedom to take on freelance editorial assignments at her choosing. With a decade of being the right-hand lady to one of the world’s most successful novelists on her resume, she had her pick of only the juiciest assignments.
This week, she was editing and proofing the last install-ment of a popular thriller trilogy. The second book in the series, which had been released the month before, ended in a cliffhanger. Now the public was clamoring for the conclusion. With the author and her agent breathing down the editor’s neck to meet the publisher’s deadline, and hackers lurking on the Internet to find out who had the final manuscript in order to leak the ending, Archie had been locked up in her cottage, glued to her laptop, eighteen hours a day.
I need air and an exquisite glass of wine.” She dropped down into the chaise across from him.
I have just the thing for you.” Trying not to look like he had been waiting for her, Mac casually strolled inside to the kitchen where he had been chilling a bottle of wine that matched her order and had a serving tray with glasses and shrimp cocktails waiting. “Do you think you’re going to meet your deadline?”
I always meet my deadlines,” she called back. “That’s why everyone loves me.”
Her face lit up when he came out carrying the tray loaded with everything she wanted for her break, only for her expression to change to horror when Gnarly, the hundred-pound German shepherd that was another part of Mac’s inheritance, tore around the corner of the house and raced for the open door.
The dog cut so close to Mac’s legs while darting inside that it was only due to some fancy footwork that he kept from dropping everything onto the deck.
What was that all about?” Recalling that she had seen a large bone sticking out of Gnarly’s mouth, she asked, “Where did he get that bone?”
Too preoccupied with not spilling the pinot grigio to notice anything other than a furry blur that almost clipped
his legs, Mac set the tray on the table. “I’m afraid to find out.”
Where has he been all day?”
I don’t know,” he replied. “It’s impossible to contain that dog. He’s smart. He’s determined and innovative. I have actually seen him studying me to determine how best to get around me.” He pulled the cork out of the bottle and poured her a taste of the wine. “It’s downright creepy.”
She went over to the door and looked for where Gnarly had gone inside. She saw him burying something under the cushion on the love seat in the living room. “Mac, we don’t want the neighbors to get mad at us again.”
I’m trying to keep him entertained. I walk him twice a day.” Offering a glass of the white wine, he went over to her.
Why did he look so guilty when he went running into the house to hide?”
If we’re lucky, we’ll never find out.” They clinked their glasses together in a toast just as Spencer’s chief of police, David O’Callaghan, turned the corner to come around from the front of the manor.
After giving birth to her son, Mac’s teenaged mother had been sent off to college to end her relationship with Patrick O’Callaghan. By the time she had returned to Spencer, Mac’s birth father had married and had a son.
David followed in his late father’s footsteps to become the chief of police. Mac had learned from his mother’s journal that over the years, Robin had come to love David like a son, to the point of providing a trust fund to care for his elderly mother, the woman who happened to marry the love of her life.
Well, if it isn’t Spencer’s finest,” Mac called out.
Without a word, Archie fetched a third wine glass.
David’s attention wasn’t on Mac and his greeting so much as it was on Gnarly, who was bellying out onto the deck to hide behind Mac’s legs. “There you are, you canine thief.”
What did he do?” Mac wanted to know.
I got a call from the market in town.”
What town?” The closet market Mac knew of was across the bridge in McHenry, which was over three miles away.
McHenry,” David answered. “Forty-five minutes ago, someone walked into the market, went to the pet department, selected a large rawhide bone valued at eight dollars, and walked out the front door without paying for it.”
Aware of the wet snout pressed against his ankle, Mac pointed out, “McHenry isn’t your jurisdiction.”
But our perp lives in my jurisdiction,” David argued. “Three and a half feet tall. One hundred pounds. Black, brown, and bronze hair. Brown eyes, and of German descent. We have three eyewitnesses who swear they’ll be able to pick Gnarly out of a line-up.”
Archie was doubtful. “He walked in, took a bone, and walked back out with it.”
How?” Mac asked.
David answered, “Automatic doors.”
Mac pointed out, “But the pet department is all the way in the back.”
Yeah. They said he actually nosed through the inventory to pick just the one he wanted.”
Why didn’t anyone stop him?”
By the time the manager and clerks got over their stunned disbelief, Gnarly was long gone.” David pointed his finger at the shepherd hiding his face against the back of Mac’s legs. “You need to do something about your klepto dog.”
Before Mac could respond Gnarly jumped to his feet, went on point, and barked to signal the arrival of a visitor. As if on cue, the doorbell sounded.
We have visitors,” Archie said.
Probably the FBI to pick up Gnarly for robbing the Bank of America,” David said.
Grateful for the interruption, Mac went inside. From the back deck, he had to cross the dining room, up three steps and across the living area to the front foyer. Months after his windfall, he still had to get used to the vastness of his inheritance. The granite floors, antiques passed down through generations, authentic paintings including a Monet, leather furniture, stone fireplaces in each room, they were all his.
He was still in awe of the painting above the fireplace mantle of Mickey Forsythe, Robin Spencer’s chief detective. The image was that of a man, dressed in stylishly casual clothes, sitting in a wing-backed leather chair. Gray touched the temples of his auburn hair. His facial features included chiseled cheekbones and a strong jaw. His blue eyes seemed to jump out of the painting. Mickey’s German shepherd sat at attention by his side.
Mac wasn’t the only one who had noticed the similarities between Robin Spencer’s fictional detective and her long-lost son. Like Mac, Mickey was a homicide detective when he came into a multi-million dollar inheritance. Retired from police work, he spent his time solving murder mysteries with Diablo, his faithful canine companion.
Sometimes the painting over the fireplace would make the hair on the back of Mac’s neck stand up. So much so that he had considered sending it up to the Spencer Inn on the top of Spencer Mountain to hang in the lobby across from Robin’s portrait.
Mac sensed that Gnarly followed him more in need of his protection from the authorities than to protect his master from any potential danger that might be waiting on the other side of the door. As they passed the love seat in the living room, Gnarly, who had taken ownership of the chair, jumped up and peered over the back of it to the foyer.
Through the beveled cut glass in the door, Mac could make out a woman smoothing her hair and straightening her clothes in anticipation of his greeting her.
A forced grin filled her face as soon as her eyes met his. “Mac!” she sang out as if no time had passed since their last meeting in divorce court when the judge had ended their twenty-year marriage with the single pound of a gavel. The year before that, she had thrown him out of their home.
Feeling as stunned as the market manager when Gnarly walked in and walked out with his stolen goodie, Mac uttered her name in two disjointed squawks. “Chris—tine?” After staring at her long enough to determine that her presence on his doorstep wasn’t a nightmare from his imagination, he asked, “What are you doing here?”
I decided to come out for a visit.” When she craned her neck to see beyond him into the manor, he caught a whiff of the alcohol on her breath. She was wrapped in her decade-old blue trench coat. Under that, Mac saw she wore blue jeans over white athletic shoes.
She had to be curious about what he had inherited on the day their divorce had become final. Out of spite, he wanted to tell her to ask their two children, both college students who had inherited large trust funds from their grandmother for their education. Since the home she had won in their divorce was over three hours away, she had to have driven quite a way to see what would have been hers if she had only stayed married to him for just a little while longer.
Mac gave in to his manners. “Do you want to come in?”
As if she feared he would change his mind, she hurried across the threshold into the foyer. “You look good. You’re tanner than usual. Have you been using a tanning booth or some of those lotions?”

Showing her into the living room, Mac replied that he had spent a lot of time outside.
Tennis. I play twice a week.” He wondered if he should return her compliment by saying how good she looked. Catching his reflection in the mirror in the corner curio containing glass artifacts Robin had purchased during a trip to China, he had to admit that he did look good. The regular tennis games with Garrett County’s prosecuting attorney Ben Fleming kept him trim and fit even if he did lose the majority of their matches.
She wasn’t paying much attention to him. Her blue eyes, rimmed in red and framed with dark swollen circles, gazed up at the beams in the two-story foyer and living room. Her mouth hung in awe at the discovery of each new treasure that she had missed out on.
What are you doing here, Christine?” He decided to skip the vacant compliment about her looking good to go straight for the heart.
Her eyes filled with tears and spilled down her cheeks. “I screwed up.”
I know,” Mac said. “You didn’t need to drive all the way out here to Spencer to tell me that.”
Wailing, she buried her face in her hands.
Behind her, Gnarly watched while sitting up in the love seat with his front paws resting on top of the back. When her cry rose to a loud shriek, he buried his face in his paws.
Mac, what’s going on?” Archie rushed in from the back deck with David close behind her.
The two women met each other’s gaze.
Christine asked first, “Is this Archie?”
As if she didn’t know the answer, Archie looked at Mac.
Yes.” Standing up straight, Mac crossed over to stand next to her. “This is R.C. Monday. She lives in the guest cottage.” He went on to introduce David. “David O’Callaghan is our chief of police. He’s a good friend of mine. He came to

ask for my help in solving a robbery that happened in town today.”
Our children told me a lot about you,” she told them. “I’m Christine. I’m sure Mac told you a lot about me.”
Not really,” Archie replied quickly.
As if to remind Mac that he had forgotten someone during his introductions, Gnarly let out a loud whine.
Startled by the noise behind her, Christine whirled around. Spying the German shepherd filling the love seat and almost at eye level with her, she announced, “That’s a dog.”
That’s Gnarly,” Mac said.
Eying Gnarly with a mixture of fear and curiosity, Christine stayed rooted in the middle of the living room without moving toward him. Gnarly was equally ambivalent about her.
Did you drive out here alone?” Mac wondered how she had managed to drive in her inebriated condition without being pulled over by the police.
Yes,” she mumbled.
Where’s Stephen?”
At the mention of the name of the man for whom she had divorced him, she burst into hysterical cries again. “I’m so sorry, Mac. Please forgive me. Please let me have another chance. After all we had been through together—” Suddenly, she was on her knees with both arms wrapped around his legs while sobbing into his thighs.
David snatched his keys from his pocket. Announcing that he had reports to finish at the police station, he hurried past them.
But what about the robbery at the market?” Mac called out.
I’ll pay off the manager.” David was out the door and gone.
Mac didn’t know whether to ask Archie for help or not. She answered for him. “I have a tight deadline.” She galloped out to the deck to head down to her cottage.

When Christine began choking on her sobs, Gnarly dug his stolen bone out from under the cushion and leapt over the back of the love seat to follow after Archie.
Get up, Christine.” Mac pulled her up to her feet by her armpits and dragged her over to the sofa.
Her tears had glued strands of her golden blond hair to her wet cheeks. Mac recalled a time, as recently as the day that he had come home to find his belongings packed up in the garage, when she would never have left home without each hair being in place.
Stephen left you, didn’t he?”
We did have a good marriage,” she choked out. “If I hadn’t made that one mistake—” Clasping her arms around his neck she tried to kiss him.
While diving backwards to dodge her lips, he released her hold on his neck. “You threw me out of my own home.” He folded her hands in her lap.
You were always such a good gentle man.” Each word came out slowly and deliberately in her effort to appear in control.
Funny,” Mac said, “that’s not what your lawyer told the judge.”
Stephen told him to say that.” Her tears fell anew. “If he hadn’t seduced me—he made me all these promises and told me how you didn’t treat me right and how I deserved so much better than our little house in the suburbs with its little lawn and…He said that I deserved so much more and that he could give it all to me because I deserved more.” Batting her tears out of her eyes, she waved her hands and glanced at the elegance surrounding her in the manor. “Like this.”
Maguire certainly thought what we had was good enough to take away from me and move into,” Mac noted. “What about your job?”
You want to rub my nose in it, don’t you?” she spat out. “Tristan told you.” She guessed which of their two children had spilled the beans about her losing her job due to her alcoholic state.
You got laid off,” Mac stated.
She corrected him. “Fired.”
You’d been with Robertson and Sons for over fifteen years,” Mac said. “You were head of the paralegal team. What happened?”
It was political.”
What did they say?”
The complaint was absenteeism.” She rushed on, “I had leave saved up. And then they started complaining because I’d have a few drinks at lunch. Like I’m the only one to have two-martini lunches.”
Mac asked her, “How much have you had to drink today?”
She glanced over his shoulder at the bottle of wine on the back deck. “You first.”
That was my first drink of the day and I didn’t drive over the mountains after drinking it.” He asked her again, “How many glasses of wine did you have before you decided to come out here looking for me?”
Everyone needs some liquid courage before begging for mercy.” She reached for his hands. “Forgive me.”
I forgive you.” Mac pulled his hands away. “I can do that. I’ve moved on. If you need my forgiveness in order to move on with your life after all that’s happened, then I can give it to you.”
She tried to make her smile as becoming as possible in her condition. “What about us?”
There is no us, Christine.”
You can’t abandon me like this, Mac,” she cried. “I’ve lost everything. I’ve got nothing. When Stephen left…” she broke into heavy sobs. “Oh, Mac…” She collapsed into his lap.





Product Details


"With it's tight plot, well-crafted and believable characters, and complex mystery, It's Murder, My Son is a thoroughly enjoyable read. I look forward to many more Mac Faraday mysteries."  John J. Lamb, author of the Bear Collector Mysteries


"A most unusual and surprising plot, intriguing characters, snappy dialogue, great settings and a dog named Gnarly are the prime ingredients in Lauren Carr's terrific new mystery, It's Murder, My Son." F.M. Meredith, author of An Axe to Grind


What started out as the worst day of Mac Faraday's life would end up being a new beginning. After a messy divorce hearing, the last person that Mac wanted to see was another lawyer. Yet, this lawyer wore the expression of a child bursting to tell his secret. This secret would reveal Mac as heir to undreamed of fortunes, and lead him to the birthplace of America's Queen of Mystery and an investigation that will unfold like one of her famous mystery novels.


Soon after she moves to her new lakefront home in Spencer, Maryland, multi-millionaire Katrina Singleton learns that life in an exclusive community is not all good. For some unknown reason, a strange man calling himself "Pay Back" begins stalking her. When Katrina is found strangled all evidence points to her terrorist, who is nowhere to be found.


Excerpt Attached.


Deep Creek Lake in Spencer, Maryland

The sitcom was senseless. That didn’t matter. Katrina was too tense to handle anything with depth. The hot bath and martini had failed to soothe her nerves. She ran the water until steam filled the master bathroom.
The weather channel had predicted that the severe winter storm would hit around midnight and continue through the next day. Spotting storm clouds on the horizon, Katrina anti-cipated waking to white-out conditions. Buried in a thick white blanket would be her last memory of Deep Creek Lake.
After a long soak in the tub, Katrina slipped into her red silk bathrobe and combed out her long black hair. Tenderly, she rubbed the most expensive anti-aging moisturizer over each inch of her olive flesh.
Her beauty had earned her millions. That made it worth preserving at all costs.
Time for a third martini before bed. She wondered if she would hear from her husband before she fell asleep. He had told her that he would be working late in the city.
Like I don’t know what you’ve been working late on. Go ahead. Get snowed in with Rachel for Valentine’s Day. Enjoy it while you can.
After completing her nightly beauty routine, she returned downstairs to the home theater where she got sucked into a verbal exchange between a husband and wife about their teen-age son’s sexy girlfriend.
A noise outside made her jump out of the recliner.
She glanced at the clock.
Almost nine. Could Chad have decided to come out when I mentioned my appointment with the divorce lawyer? Maybe he does love my money more than he loves Rachel.
She listened. Nothing except the wind signaling the blizzard’s approach.
Maybe I should call David? No. It wouldn’t look good if Chad found him here. He’s already suspicious.
The German shepherd began scratching at the back door.
Not again, you damn dog! When you aren’t wanting out or in, you’re digging up the back yard.
With a groan, she pulled herself out of the recliner and let the dog out onto the patio. As long as she was up, she poured herself another martini and admired her reflection in the mirror behind the bar before returning to her seat for another sitcom.
Her mind sucked in by the television, Katrina was un-prepared to fight when her killer attacked and pinned her down by her throat.
Did you really think I was going to let you leave?” she heard through the roar in her ears while gasping her last breath.

Chapter One

Three Months Later

The Valentine’s Day blizzard that had paralyzed the East Coast for almost a week was only a memory when Mac Faraday drove between the stone pillars marking the entrance to Spencer Manor.
In the heart of Maryland, the cedar and stone home rested at the end of the most expensive piece of real estate on Deep Creek Lake. The peninsula housed a half-dozen lake houses that grew in size and grandeur along the stretch of Spencer Court. The road ended at the stone pillars marking the multi-million dollar estate that had been the birthplace and home of the late Robin Spencer, one of the world’s most famous authors.
While packing up his handful of belongings in his two-bedroom, third-floor walk-up in Georgetown, Mac Faraday envisioned his arrival into high society:
He would pull up to the front door of Spencer Manor in his red Dodge Viper. Then, the front doors would open and Ed Willingham, the senior partner of Willingham and Associates, would welcome him into his new home. Ed was the first attorney Mac liked. He sensed it had something to do with Ed working for him.
Everything happened as Mac had envisioned until Ed opened the front door and released a hundred pounds of fur and teeth that shot like a bullet aimed at the man in the roadster.
No! Come back here! Stay!” the lawyer seemed to beg the German shepherd, which landed in the front passenger seat of Mac’s convertible in a single bound.
Mac felt the beast’s hot breath on his cheek while they spilled into the stone driveway. He shoved against the canine straddling his chest to keep him from ripping his throat open.
In a flash, his thoughts raced back to the event that had brought him to this moment.
Mac’s twenty-year marriage had ended with the single pound of a judge’s gavel. Even though his wife had left him for another man, the judge had awarded their home and everything of value to her. Mac had received the credit card debt that she had racked up after tossing him out of their home. After the hearing, Mac had made an appointment to meet with his lawyer to arrange for the next legal proceeding: bankruptcy.
Ed Willingham had cornered Mac on his way out of the courtroom. Assuming that the silver-haired gentleman had been sent by his now ex-wife’s lover to deliver another round of legal torture, Mac Faraday had escaped and hurried away.
After jogging three city blocks in Washington, DC traffic, Mac had felt sorry for the sweaty little man chasing after him. When he had turned around to face him, Mac had noticed that this lawyer wore the expression of a child bursting to tell his secret, which would change his life forever.
The teenage girl who had given him up for adoption forty-five years earlier had grown up to become Robin Spencer. Upon her death weeks earlier, America’s Queen of Mystery had left her vast fortune to her illegitimate son, an underpaid homicide detective named Mac Faraday.
Nobody had told him that a man-eating dog was part of that inheritance.
A high-pitched whistle broke through his screaming and the shepherd’s barking.
The canine froze.
Gnarly, get off him!” Mac heard yelled in a feminine, but firm, tone.
The German shepherd paused.
Yes, I’m talking to you.” She seemed to respond to the dog’s nonverbal question.
As if weighing his options, Gnarly glared down at his quarry.
Through his fear, Mac noticed that the dog’s brown face was trimmed in silver. His fingers dug into Gnarly’s thick golden mane. He would have thought Gnarly was a beautiful animal if he wasn’t trying to mutilate him.
Mac is your new master,” the woman back on the porch told the dog. “What have I told you about biting the hand that feeds you?”
The dog uttered a noise that sounded like “Humph!” before climbing off Mac’s chest and disappearing around the front of the roadster.
Sighing with relief, Mac pushed himself up onto his elbows.
Keeping as far from the beast as possible, Ed Willingham rushed around the rear of the car to help him climb to his feet. “Mac, I am so sorry. I never expected Gnarly to react like that. Your mother always called him a pussy cat.”
That was no pussy cat.” Mac clutched his chest where Gnarly’s paws had threatened to crush his ribs. He glanced around for the woman who had saved his life. “Who called him off me?”
That’s Archie.” Ed led him by the elbow up the porch steps and into the foyer of the manor. “She comes with the house.”

Product Details


Question: What do you get the man with everything?

Answer: When that man is the heir of the late mystery writer Robin Spencer, retired homicide detective Mac Faraday, you get him cold case to solve.

In Shades of Murder, Mac Faraday is once again the heir to an unbelievable fortune. This time the benefactor is a stolen art collector. But this isn’t just any stolen work-of-art—it’s a masterpiece with a murder attached to it.

Ilysa Ramsay was in the midst of taking the art world by storm with her artistic genius. Hours after unveiling her latest masterpiece—she is found dead in her Deep Creek Lake studio—and her painting is nowhere to be found.

Almost a decade later, the long lost Ilysa Ramsay masterpiece has found its way into Mac Faraday’s hands and he can’t resist the urge to delve into the case.

A world away, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; former JAG lawyer Joshua Thornton agrees to do a favor for the last person he would ever expect to do a favor—a convicted serial killer.

The Favor: Solve the one murder wrongly attributed to him.

 Joshua finds an unexpected ally in Cameron Gates, a spunky detective who has reason to believe the young woman known to the media only as Jane Doe, Victim Number Four, was the victim of a copycat. Together, Joshua and Cameron set out to light a flame under the cold case only to find that someone behind the scenes wants the case to remain cold, and is willing to kill to keep it that way.

Little do these detectives know that the paths of their respective cases are on a collision course when they follow the clues to bring them together in a showdown with a killer who’s got a talent for murder!


Excerpt Attached.

Chapter One
Deep Creek Lake - Present Day

Okay, Reggie, our next delivery is One Spencer Court. That’s the stone and cedar place at the end of the point. ” Kevin chuckled when he read the address off the clipboard.
First day on the job and he’s got a delivery on Spencer Court. Hey, you gotta learn sometime.
What’s so funny?” The pimply-faced trainee glanced over at his supervisor, who was in the van’s passenger seat.
With a smile, Kevin pointed up ahead. “Take the next right and cross the toll bridge over the cove. That’ll take you onto Spencer Point”
Toll bridge?”
You’ll see.”

Reggie eased the van onto the narrow bridge to cross over the cove. The shoreline in this corner of Deep Creek Lake was the residence of some of the most luxurious homes in the area. The houses along the peninsula increased in grandeur up to the cedar and stone mansion that occupied the tip of Spencer Point. “Wow,” he breathed.
Stop!” Kevin shouted.
Reggie hit the brakes. The van stopped so fast that the packages in the back spilled off their shelves. The only one that stayed put was the six-by-five foot flat box out for delivery to Spencer Manor.
Watch where you’re going, kid.”
Motionless, like a sentry on duty, a German Shepherd blocked the center of the road on the bridge. His gaze was
directed at them.
What’s he doing?” Reggie whispered.
Kevin cleared his throat. “Looks like he’s sitting to me.”
The young man looked on either side of the dog to judge if there was enough space to drive around him. There wasn’t.
What’re you going to do?” the trainer asked.
Honk my horn? That’ll make him move.” After Kevin shrugged his shoulders, the driver tapped the horn.
Without so much as a blink of his eyes, the dog didn’t move in response to the blast. When the driver hit the horn
repeatedly, the German Shepherd remained frozen in his spot in the road. Reggie pressed his palm to the horn and kept it there.
Hey, cut it out!” an old man with a fishing pole yelled from a dock. “You’re scaring the fish.”

Reggie turned back to the canine cocking his head at him. The delivery man could swear he saw the dog’s lips curl in a smirk. “I’m driving through. He’ll jump out of the way.”
What if he doesn’t?” asked Kevin.
His fault if he’s too dumb to jump out of the way of a moving vehicle.”
That’s Gnarly,” the trainer warned him. “He’s a lot of things, but dumb isn’t one of them. He’s Mac Faraday’s dog.”
Mac Faraday owns Spencer Manor.” Kevin pointed to the end of the Point. “Nice guy, but I guarantee you, you run over his dog, and Faraday complains to the home office; then you’ll be delivering packages to Pakistan.”
What am I supposed to do?”
Make him to move.”
Reggie threw open the door and walked over to the dog blocking the road. “Move it.” He waved his arms. “Get out of here. Go home.”
The shepherd remained rooted in the spot.
The skinny delivery man called back to his trainer. “He didn’t even blink.”
Chuckling at the sight, Kevin climbed out of the van. “He doesn’t.”
Reggie asked, “Does he bite?”
He’ll kill you if he has to.”
Reggie peered down at the dog that he guessed to be the largest German Shepherd he had ever seen up close. His brown face was trimmed in silver. The thick fur that made up his mane was sable. His tall ears stood erect. If he wasn’t such a nuisance, Reggie would think he was a beautiful animal. “You wouldn’t bite me.” He reached out to grab his collar. With a growl, Gnarly bared his teeth. Reggie jumped back.
Told you he’d kill you if he had to.” Kevin laughed.
Then you make him move.”
The trainer slipped a hand into his breast pocket. Stepping up to the dog, he held out his open palm to display a dog biscuit. “There you go, Gnarl.”
After taking the biscuit, the German Shepherd trotted off the bridge and up a path leading into the woods.
With a laugh, Kevin turned to his trainee. “I told you it was a toll bridge.” He climbed back into the van. “Let’s go. We need to get this package to Mac Faraday.”
The late Robin Spencer loved her gardening as much as she loved murder mysteries. The grounds of her homestead, known as Spencer Manor, displayed her green thumb in multi-colored glory.
While Mac Faraday took after his mother in many ways, gardening wasn’t one of them. He didn’t know the difference
between a petunia and a dandelion; nor would he notice the rhododendron bushes calling out for food and water after a
couple of days without rain.
It wasn’t that Mac was a neglectful homeowner. He was diligent about giving Gnarly his six o’clock biscuit. He wasn’t quite so conscientious when it came to tending to his late mother’s gardens. He would be if the rhododendron bush jumped up and down on his chest at the morning’s first light.
For that reason, Archie Monday had made it her personal mission to keep Robin Spencer’s beloved gardens flourishing.
It had been a busy spring for the editor and research
assistant. When she wasn’t cooped up inside her stone cottage
working on an upcoming release from a hot new writer, she was up to her armpits in mulch and plant soil.
It seemed as if God sensed that she needed a break. The day after she had sent off the book, the sun had risen to shine on Spencer Manor’s gardens in full bloom. The estate resembled a floral rainbow of blues and reds and yellows.
In the guest cottage, Archie checked her reflection in the mirror and applied one more layer of blush to her cheeks. After combing every hair in her blond pixie cut in place, she covered it with a new hat.
She had compared notes with her best friend, Catherine Fleming, about the proper attire for the garden club luncheon at the Spencer Inn. This would be Archie’s first meeting as a bona fide member of the same exclusive garden club, founded by Robin’s grandmother. Archie wanted to make a good impression.
Spencer’s own honest to goodness social debutante,
Catherine Fleming had suggested a Chanel suit. She also
recommended a hat to match. This season, hats were very in. In the sunshine yellow suit with a matching hat, Archie felt like a bumble bee.
I’m a cute one at least.
After grabbing her matching yellow clutch bag, she locked the door to the guest cottage where she made her home and
trotted up the stone path through the rose garden. She was climbing the steps to the manor’s back deck when she heard the delivery truck roll through the stone entrance. Expecting the
arrival of her new smart phone, she clasped the hat down tight
on her head with her hand to keep it from flying off, and broke into a run to meet the truck.
There was no need to hurry. The delivery men were
taking their time admiring the twenty-three foot spectacle
occupying the far side of the circular driveway. Blue and white,
the Cobalt speed boat rested on its trailer, while waiting for its new owner to launch her for her maiden voyage.
Sweet,” Kevin said while circling the boat. “Must be nice.”
Boys and their toys.” Archie reached out to sign the tablet tucked under his elbow.
Kevin held the tablet out of her reach. “Sorry, Ms. Monday, but today we need the man’s signature himself.” He showed her an envelope that he had tucked underneath the tablet. “There’s a letter for him, too. He’s to sign for both of them.”
Archie’s face screwed up in puzzlement when she saw
Reggie pulling the large package from the back of the truck. “I take it that’s not my new phone.” She hurried up the steps and went inside the mansion.
Kevin assisted his trainee in lifting the box from the back of the truck and carrying it up to the porch. “Do you remember Robin Spencer?”
The writer? I remember us having to read some of her short stories in school. We saw a play that she wrote, too.”
She’s the one that wrote all those books about the millionaire playboy named Mickey Forsythe—”
I loved those Mickey Forsythe movies,” Reggie said. “I didn’t know they wrote books about him.”
Kevin explained, “Mickey Forsythe was a cop who inherited millions of dollars. So he leaves the police force and goes around solving murders for kicks.”
While they carried the box across the stone walk, the older man gestured with the toss of his head at the mansion. “After Robin Spencer died last year, they found out that when she was a teenager, she had a baby out of wedlock. She left everything to
him. That baby had grown up to be a big time homicide detective. Get it? Mac Faraday is the same guy his birth mother wrote about.”
At the top step, the door opened. “I’m nothing like
Mickey Forsythe.” In contrast to the dark-haired super detective in leather jackets and dark glasses from Reggie’s youth, the true life version of Mickey Forsythe wore jean cut offs, a faded blue shirt, and flip-flops on his feet.
Yeah, right,” Kevin chuckled. “And Gnarly is nothing like Diablo, Mickey Forsythe’s German Shepherd.”
Are you talking about the dog that held us up at the bridge?” Reggie asked on their way across the threshold.
Is Gnarly doing that again?” Archie directed them to
carry the package down the three stone steps into the drop-down dining room on the other side of the living room.
Enthralled with being so close to one of his movie heroes, Reggie ignored the question. “I love Diablo.” He handed the letter and tablet to Mac. “In that last movie, the bad guy tried to escape from Mickey by climbing up a ladder to the roof and Diablo actually climbed up the ladder and nailed the sucker.”
That’s Gnarly all right.” The older delivery man was
laughing on his way back to the van. “There’s nothing that dog can’t do.”
What did you order?” Shaking her head, Archie stood in front of the package propped up against the backs of the dining room chairs. “Maybe it’s a mattress.”
Receiving no answer, she turned around to see that the front door was open. Perturbed that she would have to wait to find out what was in the box, she went outside in time to see Mac
tearing out of the garage in his red Dodge Viper to follow the delivery van.
As the brown delivery van turned onto the bridge at the end of Spencer Court, Reggie’s foot hit the brake once more when he found a hundred pounds of fur and teeth blocking the road. “Again?”
Kevin held out a dog biscuit to him. “You can’t cross without paying the toll.”
Reggie took the treat. “Wait until I tell my wife that I got held up by Diablo. She’s never going to believe it.” He heard the squeal of brakes behind the truck. While stepping up to the dog, he turned around to see who was waiting behind them. Whoever it is, he’s got a sweet ride in a red convertible.
You’re in big trouble, mister!”
Feeling like his insides had jumped out of his skin, Reggie dropped the biscuit to the ground. Whirling around, he threw
up his arms and fists to defend himself against whoever it was
that had rushed up behind him.
Gnarly scooped up the biscuit.
Mac Faraday was advancing. “Yes, I’m talking to you.” He pointed at the German Shepherd attempting to swallow the spoils of his extortion in one gulp. “What have I told you about playing the troll on the bridge? Bad dog. Get in the car.”
Instead of obeying, the dog barked in protest while standing his ground.
Don’t give me your lip.” Mac pointed at the Viper. “Get in the car.”
The dog replied with a snarling bark.
Get in the car.”
Gnarly’s barks rose in volume.
In the car! Now!”
Hanging his head, Gnarly scampered to the car.
After uttering a heavy sigh, Mac turned to the two delivery men, who had been watching the argument with their mouths hanging open. “I’m sorry, gentlemen. This won’t happen again.” He turned to go back to the sports car. “What are you—Hey! That’s my iPod! Bad dog! Drop it!”
He’s right,” Reggie said after returning to his seat in the van. “They’re nothing like Mickey Forsythe and Diablo.”
Bad dog!” Mac chased Gnarly inside the house. “Up to your room and don’t come out. I want you to think about what you did.”
Instead of galloping up the stairs to the master suite, Gnarly jumped up onto the loveseat in the living room. Like a defiant child, the dog returned his master’s glare.
Do what I say.” Mac pointed up the stairs. “You heard me.”
Still, Gnarly refused to move.
I’ll teach you who’s boss.”
When Mac grabbed him by the collar, Gnarly pulled away. Keeping hold, he wrestled with the dog until he had him in a headlock. The two of them landed on the floor and rolled across the carpet toward the stone fireplace.
Will you stop playing with Gnarly and open this box?” Archie called up to them from the dining room. “I’m dying to know what’s in it.”
Declaring himself the victor, Gnarly jumped up onto the loveseat and plopped down with an “Umph” noise.
Archie slipped the sealed envelope that had come with the package into Mac’s hand.
Who said dogs are man’s best friends?” He frowned when he read the return address on the envelope. It was from a lawyer’s office. He asked the dog on the loveseat, “Are we being sued by another one of your victims?”
Gnarly snorted and shook so hard that the tags on his collar rattled.
Since when do lawyers send huge packages special
delivery to people they’re suing?” Archie waved an arm in the
direction of the box. “You read the letter. I’ll open it to see what’s inside.” Without waiting for permission, she kicked off her shoes and went into the kitchen to retrieve scissors for
cutting the cord and tape sealing it shut.
Gnarly galloped down the steps to sniff at the box that had invaded his home.
Meanwhile, Mac tore at the envelope, which contained a
letter and another envelope. The inside envelope was addressed in blue script to Robin Spencer with the word
PERSONAL printed in capital letters underneath her name.
What does the letter say?” Archie came back in from the kitchen. With the scissors, she broke through the plastic cord wrapped around the box.
Mac was still reading the first letter. “It’s a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo. This guy, Archibald Poole, died. He had left this to Robin Spencer. In the event of her death preceding his, it was to be passed on to her next of kin. Since that’s me, I get it.”
Archie stopped snipping. “Archibald Poole?”
Gnarly stopped sniffing.

Did you know him?” He was breaking through the seal of the white envelope addressed to Robin.
Creepy old man. One of those eccentric rich guys. He didn’t make it all on the up and up. I think Robin remained friends with him because he was good material for her books. He lived in a big mansion up on top of a mountain in southern West Virginia.”
Mac was only half paying attention. “He left Robin a
With one end unsealed, Archie peered inside the box to see that the contents were wrapped in brown paper and padding.
Sitting on the top step leading down into the dining room, Mac read the letter out loud:
Dearest Robin,
If you are reading this, then I’m dead and you are now observing my gift to you. So, what do you leave to the girl who has everything? When that girl is Robin Spencer, it’s a mystery.
You will find that I have left you an Ilysa Ramsay painting. That alone makes it worth a fortune. But, ah, my dear Robin, this is not just any Ilysa Ramsay painting. It is her lost painting.
You will recall that Ilysa Ramsay was brutally
murdered on your own Deep Creek Lake in the early hours of Labor Day in 2004. At the same time, her last painting was stolen from her studio where her dead body was discovered. She had unveiled what she had declared to be her masterpiece to her family and friends the same evening that she was murdered.

Grasping the frame wrapped in packaging, Archie tugged at the painting to pull it out of the box while Mac continued reading:

Everyone in the art world has been searching for Ilysa Ramsay’s last work of art. With only a handful of people having seen it; and no photographs taken of it before its theft; its value is priceless.
As my good luck would have it, a month after her murder, my guy called me. He had been contacted by
a fence representing someone claiming to have the painting and wanting to unload it. Being familiar with Ilysa Ramsay’s work, I was able to authenticate it. Also, I had seen reports from witnesses who had described it as a self-portrait of Ilysa.
As I write this letter, Ilysa’s murder has yet to be solved. Nor do I know who had stolen the painting. It was sold to me by a third party.
And so, my dear lovely Robin, I leave this task to you. Here is the painting that the art world has been searching for, for years, and a mystery of who stole it, along with who killed its lovely artist. Enjoy, as I know you will!
My Love,
Archibald Poole
Her yellow suit droopy, Archie slapped her hat down on the dining room table, and ripped through the padding to
reveal the painting of a red-haired woman lying across a lounge with a red
and green clover pattern. She was dressed in an
emerald gown with a ruby red choker stretched across her throat. Ruby red jewels spilled down her throat toward the bodice.
Gnarly sat on the floor at Mac’s feet to gaze at the painting.
They studied the image together.
Just what I always wanted,” Mac said. “A stolen priceless painting with a dead body attached to it.”

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Halloween Gift Basket to Include:




*Dead On Ice by Lauren Carr

*Lucky Dog Short Story by Lauren Carr

* by Cindy McDonald

*Dangerous Deception by Cindy McDonald (Releases Nov.1)

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Shades of Murder Mug (1 extra, 2 winners – 1 in basket, one not)

4 Extra Ebooks for Night Secrets and 4 Extra Copies of Immortyl Kisses (1 copy each in basket)

Halloween Lip Gloss (1 in basket, 1 extra)

Halloween Sanitizer (1 in basket, 3 extra)

Interview with Lauren Carr

When did you begin your writing career, and what are your inspirations?
I have been writing my whole life. Even before I could read or write, I was making up stories. As for my inspirations, anything can inspire me. A friend can be fifteen minutes late for lunch and by the time she gets there, I’ll have a whole murder mystery running through my mind.
For my Dead on Ice, I was inspired by a documentary I had seen years ago, before the current batch of reality shows about hoarders, about a hoarder house found in New York, in which the homeowner was killed in his own home by an avalanche of newspapers. Seeing this, I thought, “Hmmm, what if while cleaning out that house they found a dead body.” That “what if” launched the whole book of Dead on Ice, in which a body is found in the freezer of a hoarder house. 
Where did you get the idea for the character Mac Faraday?
After my second book, a Joshua Thornton mystery, was released in 2007, my sister-in-law requested that I set a mystery in the small resort town where she has her summer place. I did have an idea for a new book then, but the mystery called for a detective, not a lawyer, as the protagonist.
So, I went to work on creating Mac Faraday. I wanted a detective who did not quite fit into the setting. So I made him a down-to-earth, every man with common sense abruptly thrust into the world of the rich and famous via an unexpected inheritance. Mac is very comfortable with who he is. Therefore, he is not intimidated by the wealth around him. He is amused to discover that the town’s prestigious five-star resort is another part of his inheritance. During his first visit to the restaurant, he notes that a few months before, he could not have afforded to eat there.
Because Mac owns this inn, and is the descendant of the town’s founders, he holds a social and political position that forces town residents, and maybe suspects in murder cases, to tolerate him and his investigations more than a “commoner” who does not hold such a position.
Isn’t this everyone’s fantasy?
Are any of the other characters is this series based on people you know?
Parts of them. I am more likely to make a Frankenstein character who is bits of this person here I have met, but looks like this total stranger that I saw inn a parking lot one day.
For It’s Murder, My Son, I based one of the bad guys in the book on a good friend who had betrayed me. Have you ever had someone who you thought was a close friend turn around and stab you in the back? Well, in the early drafts for It’s Murder, My Son, this villain was based on this ex-friend. Only, in the plot line, I had to change the character from female to male. Then, through rewrites and drafts, and fine tuning the book, the incident and character gradually changed until by the release, this character bore only a shadow of the person I had based him on.
That is very often how it works when I use real people in my books. Now, Gnarly , Mac’s German shepherd, is based on my Australian shepherd, who is extremely intelligent and easily bored, which gets him into trouble.
This series is set in the Deep Creek Lake, MD area, does this area hold any special meaning to you? 
My family and I have vacationed there on a regular basis. It is funny how I ended up using Deep Creek Lake in the Mac Faraday Mysteries. My sister-in-law had asked me to set a murder mystery in the resort town where she summers. This is Pelican Lake, Wisconsin. However, after I had written the first draft for It’s Murder, My Son, and she found out that I placed the murder in HER house, she was not happy. For family harmony, I had to change the location. As luck would have it, we started vacationing in Deep Creek Lake and it was perfect for the setting of the Mac Faraday Mysteries. So I moved it there.
The town of Spencer, set on Deep Creek Lake, is totally fictional. I wanted Mac to live in a more upscale area, and I liked the idea of him being a descendent of the town founders. I couldn’t do that with a real town, so I invented this tiny town on the corner of Deep Creek Lake, with a mountain on top of which is Mac’s resort, the Spencer Inn, directly across from The Wisp, the real ski resort in Deep Creek Lake.
I'm a West Virginia girl too, what do you like best about living in the Mountain State?
The down to earth people. That is why I set my mysteries in the rural areas of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. I also live in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. I don’t what it is, but when you cross the Appalachian Trail into West Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley, people here are warmer, more down to earth, pleasant, and caring. It’s almost heaven!
My Review of Old Loves Die Hard
This mystery kept me completely enthralled the whole time.  It kept me guessing till the end, though I did suspect the killer a couple of times, at least one of them anyway.  This mystery had a lot of twists and turns to keep you guessing and as I alluded to, there was really more than one killer revealed.  I really liked the characters.  What I especially like the most, was the setting.  I don't live to far from Deep Creek Lake, MD and have visited this area several times.  I also relate to Lauren, because like me, she is a WV girl.  This was the first book by Lauren that I have read, but it definitley won't be the last!  Great job Lauren keep up the good work.