Miranda Vaughn Mystery #1
By Ellie Ashe
Miranda Vaughn has spent the last year and a half fighting for her freedom. Arrested for a fraud scheme involving her supervisors, she's lost her job at a prestigious investment firm, her fiancé, and her reputation. She walks out of the courtroom a free woman, only to find that life has a few more curve balls to throw her way. The jury may have found her not guilty, but Miranda is broke, in debt to her beloved aunt, and can't find a job because of the cloud of suspicion still swirling around her.
She's not going to be able to move forward with her life until she finds out who set her up. Buried in the evidence against her, Miranda finds a larger scheme, one involving far more money than the $37 million her boss fleeced from unsuspecting investors. Determined to uncover the truth, Miranda begins her own investigation—leading her to Macau and Belize, and into the arms of one sexy FBI agent, who has his own agenda.
When the danger heats up, Miranda finds herself in a race against time to find the person behind it all. Before he finds her…
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I held my breath and looked skyward, as if God would help me in my predicament. As I did, I saw something on the underside of the desk, way back from the opening I’d crawled through. I reached up and touched the packing tape that secured a flash drive to the wood. My fingernail found the edge of the tape and I slowly tugged, but the crinkling of the cellophane tape was louder than I expected. I froze and then slowly drew my hand back, closed my eyes, and prayed that the man in the room hadn’t heard me.
He stood and nearly filled the space. If he reached up, he could easily touch the low, sloped ceiling.
His shoulders were broad and his arms bulged under the think fabric of his T-shirt. I found my eyes on the muscles, my thoughts wandering to how they’d feel. I had a strong urge to poke one with my finger, to see if it was as hard as it looked. I resisted.
The bike leapt forward and I looked behind us, unsure of what I was supposed to watch for. There was heavy traffic, but nothing that looked like a car full of private security officers hired by an investment bank.
If there was a threat out there, I didn’t see it.
Unless it was the one I was snuggled up against on a bike racing through Macau.
I had no idea where I was. I didn’t speak the language, and I had no clue who was chasing me. I may not trust him, but at that moment, Jake Barnes was my life line.
The sharp crack of a handgun echoed off the concrete walls. I kept running.
The thin soles of my sneakers slapped against the uneven pavement and I heard the next shot hit metal, probably the trash bin, but I wasn’t about to turn and look.
“Look here, Ms. Vaughn. You’re trespassing in a closed office. In a foreign country. You really want to explain that to the local authorities? Or the security personnel working for your former employer?”
He had some good points, but I wasn’t convinced that it was a better idea to go off with an FBI agent who had already arrested me once.
How much can you love a new series you weren't all that certain you'd like? A whole bunch apparently. Ellie Ashe has created something special with her Miranda Vaughn Mysteries. They are a little like Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books but totally not. A little like Charlaine Harris's Aurora Teagarden series but not really. She creates something unique and quite captivating if you give her a couple chapters to get rolling. It's more like Romancing the Stone with it's connect-the-dots-and-find-your-answers mystery and it's awesome.
Miranda Vaughn is a pretty complex character - she isn't really madcap or zany, doesn't try to kick ass and take names - mostly she wants to clear her once good name, ensure her Aunt doesn't lose the bakery and return the $37 Million owed to the investors fleeced by her work colleagues. She's been humiliated and is near desperation but stays clever and uses her brain, traits that I admire in a heroine. Jake Barnes, sexy FBI guy, is a jerk, who doesn't trust her and who'd as likely try to scare up dirt on her all the while joining forces when her investigations collide with his. There is a fair amount of action, with lots of gun fire, plot twists and some very nicely paced sexual tension that fuels the storyline and helps the characters connect along the breakneck travels from Macao to Belize during one wild week.
Teri Schnaubelt does an excellent job with the narration. Bringing multiple characters to life with pitch perfect story telling and spot on pace. There are books out there that require the speed to be increased just to keep it moving - this is not one. The humor, tension, romance and action packed drama are all easily relateable and I didn't get lost from scene to scene which can happen in an action filled story at times.
Thankfully, I had the second installment ready for playback as soon as the credits rolled on Book 1. I highly encourage readers to read in order and to have that next installment ready in this fun, well written and well read new series.
I give Chasing the Dollar, (Miranda Vaughn Mysteries, Book 1), 5 Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries. This book was given to us by The Audiobookworm for an honest review.