c c hunter
Christie Craig's Texas Justice Series

christie craig's Trouble in Tumbleweed Series

Christie Craig's Trouble with Exes (Trouble in Tumbleweed Series)

Christie Craig's The Trouble with Exes THE TROUBLE WITH EXES
Trouble in Tumbleweed series

by Christie Craig
Release date: Releasing August 30th

Click here for purchase links!
Read the first chapter of THE TROUBLE WITH EXES here!

Everything happens for a reason, but sometimes that reason is that you're daft and make dumb decisions.

When it comes to men, Cassie McGee is a champion at picking losers. Hence, Cassie is in Tumbleweed, Texas, hiding from an abusive ex-husband. Life gets hairy when an ex-boyfriend, now a private detective, learns Cassie is in danger. He and his flatulent, dishonorably-discharged K-9 show up to play knight in shining armor. Ahh, but Cassie's done being a damsel in distress.

On the scumbag Richter scale, Pierce Jacobs doesn't compare to Cassie's ex-husband, but his mistake sure managed to hurt her. When it becomes clear someone in Tumbleweed is conspiring with her scoundrel ex-husband, Pierce is determined to smoke out the culprit. Between setting smoke bombs, dodging bullets, and investigating wacky Tumbleweeders, can he keep them alive long enough to convince Cassie he deserves a second chance?


christie craig available at


Enjoy the entire Trouble in Tumbleweed series!

Four authors. Four stories. One Town. And a whole lot of trouble ...

This small west Texas town might sit in the remote desert, but it can't hide from trouble. Someone's always trying to kill someone else for one darn reason or another, and things get as tangled and twisted as a tumbleweed. The Trouble in Tumbleweed series is an entertaining and interrelated collection of mystery novellas from some of the genre's most popular and bestselling authors including Melissa Bourbon, Christie Craig, Diane Kelly, and Lawrence Kelter.


the trouble with hope and glory
Trouble in Tumbleweed series
by Melissa Bourbon
Release date: Releasing August 30th

Hope and Glory McIntyre are about as different as sisters can be. Glory is the quintessential Texas beauty queen, while Hope wants nothing more than to dismantle Tumbleweed's beauty queen scene with the mighty stroke of her journalist pen. Glory's dreams of becoming Mrs. Tumbleweed might be over when her rival is found dead, and while they might be as different as water and Texas oil, Hope won't rest until she clears sister of wrongdoing and gets to the truth.

christie craig available at


the trouble with digging too deep
Trouble in Tumbleweed series

by Diane Kelly
Release date: Releasing August 30th

CPA Debra Ott finds herself suddenly single after catching her dentist husband "drilling" a patient. Good thing she's too busy with her audit of Tumbleweed Pawn & Pistols to dwell on her heartbreak. When an elusive gun supplier fails to confirm his account, Deb has to dig for answers. But the more she digs, the more danger comes her way. Could digging too deep mean she's digging her own grave?

christie craig available at


the trouble with tumbleweed twister
Trouble in Tumbleweed series

by Christie Craig
Release date: Releasing August 30th

Tough times have put the squeeze on auto mechanic Smoky Rolle. Forced with losing his home, Smoky accepts an easy money side job from his cousin Travis. What should've been a quick fix goes sideways when Travis is abducted at gunpoint leaving Smoky to wonder if Tumbleweed is the sleepy little West Texas town he believed it to be or if something nefarious is bubbling beneath the surface. Secrets lead to lies and lies to larceny in this pulse-pounding smalltown mystery.


christie craig available at



christie craig's THE TROUBLE WITH EXES excerpt

christie craig's The Trouble with Exes

Chapter One

Casandra Susie McGee, known to the locals as Cassie Dixon, had been summoned to the Cowboy Coffee Shop by Mikenna, the shop's manager. The rich hearty scent of freshly ground beans greeted Cassie upon the first step inside.

Mikenna, wearing a victory smile, sat at the wooden counter flanking the glass front window and overlooking the town square. "Finally." Mikenna waved Cassie over. "I had Norm make you a vanilla latte."

"Thank you." Cassie sat on the stool beside Mikenna. "What's up?"

"Don't look scared. This is good news. Sandra Fleming wants to interview you."

"Sandra who?" Cassie asked.

"Fleming. She's a reporter. Her pieces appear in Tumbleweed Today, but also in like ten different online travel and food magazines. Hope McIntyre came in, the new editor of the paper. You know her?"

"Yeah." Almost everybody knew everybody in Tumbleweed.

"Well, Hope brought Sandy in here yesterday. She said she almost orgasmed when she tasted your blueberry muffin. Hope told her about your Slap Your Mama and Better than Sex pies that Tookie sells at her diner. And now Sandra wants to do a feature on you and your scrumptious baked goods. I told her I'd set it up. We could do photos here and-"

"Whoa." Cassie picked up the latte. "I don't think so." Hot coffee stung her lips—as did the thought of disappointing Mikenna.

"What?" Mikenna's eyes rounded. "Why? I… I'd kill to have her do a piece on the shop. Unlike your muffins, this place isn't newsworthy enough, but if she featured you and took the photos here—"

"Yeah…but… Sorry," Cassie said. "I'm just… No."

"Think what it could do for you," Mikenna said.

"I am." More than you can imagine. "That's why I'm not doing it."

"What do you mean?" Mikenna's expressive brows pinched in bafflement.

Cassie sipped the hot sweet brew from her cup again and sought an answer that wouldn't require a shitload of Tums later. Lying always gave her heartburn. "The only reason I'd do the interview would be to get more business. And I don't want more business. Between taking care of Elsie, running the Eliot Community Center, and the orders I have now, I can barely keep up."

"But your muffins and cupcakes are to die for. Let's not even talk about your pies. Last week, Norman had to break up an altercation between Reverend Roach and Mayor Spurr. They nearly came to blows over your last carrot cake muffin. Spurr almost lost his toupee. People are preordering your muffins now."

"I'm honored to have reached preorder, brawl, and orgasm status, and I'm all for Mayor Spurr losing that god-awful toupee, but—"

"You could hire someone. You could open a bakery. Katie's Cakes doesn't hold a candle to your products. This could be big."

"I don't want big." She wanted small. She wanted invisible.

Puffing out her cheeks, Mikenna waved a hand back toward Norman, her surly barista. "Transplants. I don't understand you out-of-towners."

"Please," Cassie said. "You can't compare me to Norman. I specialize in muffins and cupcakes, and rumor has it before he specialized in vanilla lattes and insulting people, his expertise lay in making cement shoes." When Mikenna appeared confused, Cassie elaborated. "You know everyone swears he's in the witness protection program and is ex-mob."

christie craig's The Trouble with Exes

"That's bullshit. And besides, like your muffins, people drive for miles to read his T-shirts and to be insulted by him."

Cassie glanced over at Norman, who wiped down the front counter with such gusto she felt certain the counter had somehow insulted him. "What's on his shirt today?"

Mikenna turned and gave her blond ponytail a tug and read his shirt. "Don't be offended. I don't even like bacon."

With hopes of taking the spotlight off herself, Cassie added, "It wouldn't be so funny if it wasn't true. He's crankier than a toothless vampire."

"Don't poke at him too hard. You're just as perplexing."


"You don't want to increase your business. And…I've bought muffins from you for two years, and all I know about you is that you grew up in Dallas, your parents died in a car wreck, and old people love you."

"What is it you want to know?" The question had hardly spilled off her lips before she wished she could snatch it back. She'd known letting herself become friends with Mikenna would make things harder. Sometimes it sucked being right. But while she cherished her friendship with Elsie, Burnett, and all the other senior Tumbleweeders, she'd needed someone to talk to whose daily bowel movements didn't enter the conversation.

Mikenna continued, "Last week when we went out for my birthday, I told you about my marital mishap, and you were so good at listening that it wasn't until later that I realized you never told me about your romantic history. You could be gay for all I know. Not that I'd care."

"Seriously? Did we not have an hour-long conversation about Channing Tatum's ass?"

"Okay, so you're not gay, but why didn't you share? Why don't you date? Why are you so mysterious?"

"I'm not…" Cassie did another fast and furious search for an acceptable answer. Something that gave a little but not too much. "I suck at picking out men. If I'm even the least bit attracted to a guy, he ends up either being on the top-ten FBI wanted list or he lives in his mama's basement with his pet Iguana." Ahh, but lately she'd been giving more and more. That's what happened when you got close to people. "I didn't say anything because I didn't want to get into the my-exes-are-worse-than-your-exes competition. You'd have lost big time."

"I doubt that." Mikenna picked up her coffee, then set it back down. "Exes? You've been married more than once?"

"Just once. But you don't have to be married to someone for them to cut your heart out and feed it to the pit bulls."

"What happened?"

"They chewed on it for several hours, then devoured it. I'm heartless."

"I'm serious," Mikenna said. "Why—?"

"Let's just say, I suck at picking out men. And please, don't make me drudge up more bad shit." Cassie's answer included some vagueness but more of the truth than she normally gave.

Mikenna studied her hard. "Fine. Remain an enigma."

"Sorry," Cassie said and meant it all the way down to her pink-painted toenails.

The apology must have rung true because Mikenna's smirk faded. "Sorry for what? Not sharing?"

Yeah. "For not doing the interview." Cassie pulled her phone out to check the time. "Yikes, I gotta go. We're playing horseshoes at the center this afternoon, and I'm bringing the cupcakes. I still need to bake another batch."

"I thought Thursday was your day off?"

"It is. Burnett asked me to be his horseshoe partner. If we win, he promised to go back and see Dr. Hanson."

"Only you'd give up your day off to make sure an old man didn't miss his annual checkup."

A frown tugged at Cassie's lips. "It's not just… I think his cancer's back. He's been coughing."

"Oh, shit. Sorry."

christie craig's The Trouble with Exes

"Me, too. He's been visiting Elsie twice a week. This morning I saw him leaving at the crack of dawn."

Mikenna's eyes widened. "Are they…hitting the sheets?"

"I don't know, but Elsie's been really peppy lately."

"Go Elsie," Mikenna said. "Though it's sad that a woman over twice our age is getting more than we are."

"True." Cassie laughed.

"However." Mikenna twisted on the stool. "I have a date Saturday night."

"With the firefighter?"

"Yes. And it's our third date. You know what that means?"

"Ooh la la!" Cassie grinned.

"That, and I'll see if the glue gun worked."

"Glue gun?"

"What I used to piece my heart back together. It's always at the ooh-la-la stage that I find a reason to duck and run."

"Have faith in your glue gun." Cassie took one last sip of her coffee and stood. "Gotta go."

"Me, too," Mikenna said. "I'm driving to Austin and having dinner with my cousin."

"You staying the night?"

"No, I have to open tomorrow. I won't be home until after midnight, but Norman's got something to do. He never asks for any time off, so I can't say no."

"Maybe he's got some concrete shoes to make."

"Stop," Mikenna said. "He comes off gruff, but he's a teddy bear."

"Right." Cassie glanced over her shoulder. "Later, Norman." She received the expected grunt. Even the man's grumble came out with a Brooklyn accent. Not that she honestly believed he was ex-mob. But no doubt, that teddy bear had his secrets.

Didn't everyone?

As Cassie moved across the square to her car, she got that spidery feeling on the back of her neck. And wasn't that reason enough not to drudge up the past? Remembering made her paranoid. But she wasn't the same person she'd been three years ago. To prove it, she turned and gave the street, any onlookers, and the Ranger Spurr statue a don't-screw-with-me look.

No one stared back. Then she saw him. Standing outside the coffee shop was flat-footed, barrel-bodied, no-neck Norman. The moment he spotted her spotting him, he shot back inside.

"Just Norman, the teddy bear," she muttered and got in her car.


Pierce Jacobs parked in front of his office twenty minutes late. Sundance, his golden lab, sat in the back seat, impatient for the treat that waited for him inside.

Not so long ago, arriving early had been the norm. Owning his own PI office had been his dream, and now… Now, three and a half years in, he wasn't sure if it was the dream that had gone wrong, or him. The fact that in six months he'd have to renew his lease on his office and Bee—his one employee—was considering a move… Well, that might have something to do with it.

christie craig's The Trouble with Exes

Did he still want this? And if not, what changed?

Perhaps too many cases of cheating spouses. Yet hadn't he known that'd be the bulk of his business? He reached down to disconnect his phone from the charger and wished he could simply plug himself in for a recharge.

But wasn't that what he was doing? Tomorrow at noon, he'd board a plane heading to Cancún with Tracy. Tequila shots and sex on the beach should put him right. Sundance poked his nose between the seats and whined. "Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let's go."

Getting out of his silver Malibu, he and his tail-wagging dog strolled into his office.

"Morning, sunshine." Bee, at her desk, tossed Sundance his treat.

"Hey." Pierce offered his office manager/investigator his best effort at a smile.

Bee, soft, pudgy, and sixty-three, looked like a grandma—and she was—but not your typical grandma.

In the beginning, Pierce had hired someone young, blond, and perky—real eye candy—but he quickly learned that brains should have gotten priority over boobs. He needed someone who could help with the cases. Bee helped.

She could read people better than he could, she had a nose for picking up leads, and the gun she had tucked in the elastic waist of her high-waisted jeans wasn't just for show. She'd been his training officer at the Abilene P.D. thirteen years ago.

She could probably still outshoot him, too.

Bee locked eyes on him as she petted Sundance. "Who shit in your peanut butter Captain Crunch?"

The only thing non-grandmotherly-like about Bee was her mouth. Well, that and her Glock. "I don't know. It was a shit and run."

Her hazel eyes brightened with a flash of a smile, but faded. That was unusual. She liked his humor.

"What's up?"

"We got a message."


"Better if you hear it yourself."

"If it's a new case, it best be something you can handle, because I can already hear the mariachi music."

"Just listen." She dialed in for the messages and put it on speaker.

Pierce waited as the line remained silent for too many seconds as if someone debated what to say or if to say anything at all. Words finally sounded. "I know you were looking for Casandra McGee a while back." The voice was deep, distorted, and no doubt disguised.

"What the fuck?" Pierce dropped down in the chair.

"Well, she's alive and well," the message continued, "but she's been made. You know what Mark Duncan is capable of, right? Casandra's in Tumbleweed, Texas. If you care, get here. Fast."

"Shit," Pierce said.

"They used a voice changer," Bee said. "Who's Casandra McGee?"

Pierce ran a hand down his face. "When did this call come in?"

"Last night around midnight."

"Do we have a return number?"

"Yeah, but I dialed it and got nothing. It's probably a burner." Bee frowned. "Who's this Casandra woman?"

"One of the biggest mistakes I ever made."

"A real bitch, huh?"

"No," Pierce said. "I was the bastard. Young and stupid. I screwed up. Not her."

"Why does her name sound familiar? Like I've seen it before."

"You probably saw an old file. She was like my third case after opening the agency."

"Then you weren't that young." Bee wasn't one to let you off the hook easy. If you deserved shit, she'd shovel it for you.

"No. I was in college when I screwed up. Casandra went missing three and a half years ago. Someone hired me to help find her."

"You found her?"

"No. I discovered she wasn't missing. She was hiding. From an abusive ex. Mark Duncan, a Dallas cop. Then I learned the person who hired me had ties to him. I tried to find Casandra, to warn her, but the leads dried up." He moaned. "According to her friends, Duncan's a real asshole. Even one of his fellow officers called him a dick."

christie craig's The Trouble with Exes

Bee picked up a paper clip and twisted it. "So, what now?"

Pierce slumped back in the chair. "I'm not going to get laid on the beach."

"Just as well." Bee sighed. "Sand gets in places it shouldn't."

christie craig available at