In this sun-soaked mystery set in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Sabrina Salter traded a high-pressure job as a Boston meteorologist for life as an innkeeper on St. John. But storm clouds roll in when Sabrina finds Carter Johnson, her most attractive guest, tucked up in a hammock way past check-out time... and he’s not just dead to the world, he’s just plain dead, with a bullet hole in his chest.

This isn’t the first time Sabrina has seen a dead body, and the island police are well aware of that. Thanks to her checkered history, not to mention the fact that she was the last person who saw Carter alive and far from entirely clothed, she finds herself marked as the prime suspect.

The Virgin Islands may be the sort of place where even defense attorneys wear flip-flops, but the laid-back life is over for Sabrina unless she can clear her name. So, she sets out to solve the crime, only to find herself caught in a tidal wave of adultery, kidnapping, identity fraud and murder in No Virgin Island, C. Michele Dorsey’s outstanding mystery debut.


Reviews

“The key to C. Michele Dorsey’s writing is her knack for blending light, breezy (but not insubstantial), fast-paced reading with a bit of grit and real drama. Dark meets Light but the winner is the reader...

- (Read full review) Noir Journal -

“Dorsey’s fun first novel... readers will look forward to Sabrina’s future adventures ”

- (Read full review) Publishers Weekly -

“This is a fun read and Sabrina is a great character...you feel transported to the islands.”

- Crimespree Magazine -

“Sabrina is a complex character, damaged by her past experiences, but looking to start a new life in a richly described tropical paradise. A series to watch.”

- Booklist -

“I'm sure Sabrina will be back, and I'll be watching...”

- (Read full review) Jo Ann Hakola, The Book Faerie -

“This is a good story that one hopes will turn into a series by C. Michele Dorsey very soon.”

- Read the full review -

“This fast-paced and action-packed drama quickly became a page-turner... From the beginning to the end, this book captured my attention and I look forward to more island adventures in​... this terrific series.”

- (Read full review) Dru's Book Musing -

“I enjoyed this story, found it to be a quick read, and recommend it to other mystery lovers.”

- (Read full review) Inside of a Dog -

“If you are looking for a mystery title perfect for summer and/or holiday reading, No Virgin Island may be just the ticket.”

- (Read full review) Fab Books Reviews -

“A vulnerable, tough woman makes a difference in troubled lives. Fast-paced, gripping, terrific.”

- Carolyn Hart, New York Times bestselling author of Don’t Go Home -

“C. Michele Dorsey’s debut novel, No Virgin Island, takes Nantucket refugee Sabrina Salter to a gloriously rendered Caribbean island for an emotional journey, littered with echoes of a past she tried to leave behind. A fast-paced, engaging story with an endearing main character who can’t help but be her own worst enemy.”

- Hallie Ephron, New York Times bestselling author of Night Night, Sleep Tight -

“Charming, beguiling, and full of surprises. Sabrina Salter is terrific—a smart, endearing and determined heroine who will be your new best friend.”

- Hank Phillippi Ryan -

“No Virgin Island kept me turning pages right to the end — and wishing I could book a trip to St. John!”

- Rebecca M. Hale, New York Times bestselling author of Adrift on St. John. -

Chapter One

Sabrina Salter was a woman who didn’t like surprises, even nice ones. Surprises were set-ups at best and almost always meant to benefit the donor. Finding the villa guest had not departed was not a nice surprise.

He should have been long gone. Check out was at 10:00 a.m. That was the rule. It was already 10:35. But why should she expect him to follow the rules. Rule breakers were drawn to St. John, including her.

She pulled her ridiculous Gecko green colored jeep behind his Black Forest green jeep, the color Sabrina had argued they should buy for the business, and decided not to bring in her cleaning bucket just yet. She got out, noticing at least his duffle bag was in the back seat. But there was no sight of the large camera bag or backpack he had with him when she had picked him up on arrival. Maybe he was getting a couple of last shots.

She hesitated, then approached the gate to Villa Mascarpone, braced for a fight she didn’t want to have. Sabrina hated conflict. But she had new guests arriving later that afternoon and plenty to do to get the house ready for them.

“Inside,” she called, using the island greeting to let him know she was entering.

No response. She tried again. Nothing. She pressed the latch to the periwinkle blue gate and pushed it open.

Sabrina knew the man in the hammock was dead because Sabrina Salter knew what dead looks like. The bull’s eye red stain in the middle of his tee shirt from Skinny Legs was a give-away, not to mention the insects swirling around his sagging body. He was lying crooked, his sunglasses half slung off his eyes, as if he had been blasted by force back onto the hammock. As if he had been surprised by the gunshot she suspected had killed him. He looked nothing like the rugged, handsome bearded man who had booked an entire villa just for himself at the last minute.

 Sabrina felt her spine arch as she looked to the left of the pool area where the hammock hung between two pillars which were part of a pergola, designed to offer shade from the blast of heat the tropical sun delivered each day. Seagulls and frigates hovered above the pergola, which protected the corpse like an open-air mausoleum. Standing just inside the gate to the pool area, her flip-flops glued to the tile, Sabrina’s eyes darted over to the other side of the pool where sliding glass doors opening to the villa were locked with a padlock, just as she instructed all guests to do upon departure. She doubted anyone was in the house because it was built into a steep cliff as most houses in St. John are and the only entrance was through the sliders. There was no escape down the side of the cliff where only goats could navigate the vertical slopes. The only sound came from the surf crashing below.

Sabrina refused to move any closer to the body. He was dead and there was nothing she could do for him, poor soul. She had learned her lesson the last time she had attempted to tend to a dead body on St. John, which resulted in acute aggravation and near incarceration.

In the sliver of an instant, Sabrina knew her life had changed forever simply because she had the shit-luck to find the dead body of a murder victim. Damn, this was so unfair. She had just begun to feel like she had a life in St John and was even beginning to make friends, which she hadn’t dreamed possible after Nantucket. Hell, she’d even been invited to join a book club and actually accepted the invitation. Now, that was all slipping away with the spirit of the dead man on the hammock.

READ MORE

Sabrina realized she should call the police immediately but the thought of dialing 911 frightened her more than the prospect that the killer might still be present, which she doubted. She knew one short telephone call would end the new life she had struggled so hard to create. It wasn’t a lavish life, why couldn’t she just be left alone? All she had wanted to do was to clean Villa Mascarpone, one of ten villas she managed on the smallest of the three U.S. Virgin Islands.

Her partner, Henry, had implored her, as only Henry can implore, to take this villa cleanup from his schedule because he happened to “get lucky” and had a hot date last night which he was certain would last through this morning. Henry and Sabrina had both been banished recently from Boston for very different reasons. She was pleased he had started dating again, something she had vowed never to do. She was content to live a simple, solitary life on a tropical island only three miles by nine without a single traffic light.

Even though she had nothing to do with the death of the villa guest, the cops would want to connect her to this mess. They hated her being on their island. Sabrina wasn’t welcome in St. John after what happened in Nantucket. After Faith Chase had seen to that. But she knew she had no choice, that if she left and waited for someone else to find the body, it would look even worse. She dialed 911 from her cell phone upon which the gods of the Caribbean deigned to provide reception for once. A dispatcher named Lucy Detree informed her the call was being recorded.

“I’m up at Villa Mascarpone in Fish Bay,” Sabrina said.

“What do you want, ma'am?” the female dispatcher asked, sounding bored by the call. Sabrina hated being called ma’am.

“I’ve found a dead body. He’s lying in a hammock. He’s got blood on his shirt,” she said.

“Are you sure he’s dead?” Detree interrupted.

Was she sure he was dead? He looked as dead as her late husband had the night a bullet blasted through his belly.

 “I’m pretty sure. Do you want me to get closer to check?” Sabrina asked, knowing she could not bear to do so. “I know you guys don’t like people getting too close to the scene of a crime,” she added, desperate not to piss the cops off. She still wanted to be the good girl, the one who played by the rules and didn’t upset people, which had never really worked. Whether she aimed for perfect or invisible, she still managed to be in the way.

“Why do you think he’s dead?” the dispatcher asked.

Sabrina described the amount of blood, the insects and mentioned that a couple of seagulls and frigates had begun swirling above the man.

“Okay, he sounds dead. What’s your name?”

“Sabrina Salter.”  Silence lingered in the air.

“You stay there. Do not leave the scene. Do not touch anything, anything at all. You understand me Ms. Salter? I have my men on their way, you get this?” the dispatcher asked.

“Yes, yes, I follow you,” Sabrina said, looking over at the gulls laughing at the prospect of lunch in a hammock, wondering if she could just turn the clock back and pretend this wasn’t happening.

“You still got a lawyer on island, Ms. Salter? From the last time? You might want to give him a head’s up,” Officer Detree said.

Instead, Sabrina called her partner.

“Why are you calling me? You said you’d cover,” Henry said, mumbling into the speaker, which Sabrina pictured lying on a pillow, barely aimed at his pouting mouth.

“Yeah, I said I’d cover for you and clean this place for the next set of guests coming this afternoon. I didn’t say I’d cover for you and discover the last guest had been murdered here,” Sabrina said, feeling angry with Henry for something she knew wasn’t his fault. She didn’t care. This wasn’t her fault either but she knew it wouldn’t matter after the cops and the Goddess of Trash TV were done with her. Faith Chase would have her all over tabloid television again in a sound bite.

“Murdered?” Henry said, now sounding alert.

“Henry, get up here quick. Please, the cops are on their way. I don’t want to be here with them on my own,” she said, hearing her voice sound like the little girl she had been some forty years before.

“I’m on my way, honey. Don’t let them bully you, if they beat me there. Don’t say anything,” Henry said. Sabrina could hear clothing rustling and him whispering goodbye to whoever the lucky guy with him had been.

“I won’t,” she said, then added “Thanks” through the lump in her throat.

“Just tell me so I know what we’re dealing with, sweetie, did you do it?”

Get it at your favorite bookseller!

© 2017 C. Michele Dorsey
Author Website Design