Tag Archive | Book Giveaway

Cozy Prizes Friday: Murder of a Good Man Tour Day 1

Ready to go blog hopping? My tour starts today with a visit to Laura’s Interests!  Time to hop in the car, and don’t worry, we won’t be staying at Hickelby’s Motor Lodge. We’re heading for the Tunie Hotel in beautiful downtown Piney Woods.

 

Okay, maybe we won’t have this dude standing around, but you get the idea.  Here is the rest of the schedule if you want to hop along. Be sure to enter my giveaway and leave a comment so I know you stopped by!

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 19 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

January 19 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

January 20 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

January 20 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

January 21 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 21 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

January 22 – My Reading Journeys –  REVIEW, INTERVIEW

January 22 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

January 23 – The Self-Rescue Princess – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 23 – Books Direct – GUEST POST

January 24 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – REVIEW

January 24 – The Montana Bookaholic – SPOTLIGHT

January 25 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

January 25 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 26 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

 

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

 

A Very Cozy Christmas to You

Things are slowing down here at the blog for a couple of weeks while my last minute holiday crazies speed up.  This has been a wonderful year. I’m thankful for all of the kind and talented authors who have visited and especially the readers who stopped by.

Wishing you a very cozy Christmas  ~  Teresa

Wait a minute…do you hear that? It’s the Prize Guy with his reindeer on the roof!  Don’t forget to enter my December Giveaway! If you are already on my mailing list you can still enter!

Merry Christmas 2017

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Enter for your chance to win an ecopy of Till Dirt Do Us Part!  Join Betsy as she competes in the Pecan Bayou Gardening Contest and digs up more than weeds.  Recipes and Helpful Hints included!  You will be added to Teresa's monthly newsletter featuring updates on Teresa and a calendar of visiting authors and cozy mystery prizes. Already on the mailing list? Don't worry! You can enter this contest.    

This contest is no longer accepting entries.

Cozy Prizes Friday: Honey Baked Homicide

Let’s head down South for a new installment in the Down South Cafe Series! Gayle Leeson has stopped by to talk to us about her latest book, Honey Baked Homicide.  It sounds delightful!

Of course, there is a giveaway with this book so buzz on down and find the Prize Guy!

How did you come up with an idea for your book?

I love honey bees and was saddened by their plight, so I began to research bees and honey. I didn’t realize how crucial bees are to our food supply, nor was I aware of all the benefits of honey. I decided Stu Landon and his honey farm would be a great addition to Amy’s world.

What scene do you hope your readers enjoy the most?

The dinner party scene. I loved writing the dialogue for all the different characters, particularly, Aunt Bess.

What other things have you written or what projects might we see in the future?

This is the third book in the Down South Café series, although it can certainly be read as a standalone. The other two books are The Calamity Café and Silence of the Jams. I also have a couple of new series in the works, and readers are still asking for books from my previous series. I have plenty to keep me busy! 😊

If you could write any other genre what would that be?

I enjoy psychological thrillers.

Is there a giveaway or promotion for this book?

There are several. Some are included in this blog tour, and some will be on my Facebook page. So keep an eye out!

Where can readers leave reviews of your book?

Amazon, Books-A-Million, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

 

About the Book

 

The owner of a delightful Southern café tastes the sharp sting of suspicion in this delectable comfort food mystery . . .

It’s fall in Winter Garden, Virginia, and business at Amy Flowers’ Down South Café has never been better. So when struggling beekeeper Stuart Landon asks Amy to sell some of his honey, she’s happy to help. The jars of honey are a sweet success, but their partnership is cut short when Amy discovers Landon’s body outside the café early one morning.

As Amy tries to figure out who could possibly have wanted to harm the unassuming beekeeper, she discovers an ever-expanding list of suspects—and they’re all buzzing mad. She’ll have to use all of her skills—and her Southern charm—to find her way out of this sticky situation…

 

 

 

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. I also write as Amanda Lee. As Gayle Trent, I write the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery series. As Amanda Lee, I write the Embroidery Mystery series.

The cake decorating series features a heroine who is starting her life over in Southwest Virginia after a nasty divorce. The heroine, Daphne, has returned to her hometown of Brea Ridge to open a cake baking and decorating business and is wrestling with the question of whether or not one can go home again. She enjoys spending time with her sister, nephew, and niece, but she and her mother have a complicated relationship that isn’t always pleasant. Daphne has also reconnected with her high school sweetheart and is pursuing a rekindled romance while desperately trying to put her past behind her.

Kerry Vincent, Hall of Fame Sugar Artist, Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show Director, and Television Personality says the series is “a must read for cake bakers and anyone who has ever spent creative time in the kitchen!”

Says Dean Koontz, #1 New York Times bestselling author, “One day I found myself happily reading . . . mysteries by Gayle Trent. If she can win me over . . . she’s got a great future.”

The Embroidery Mystery series features a heroine who recently moved to the Oregon coast to open an embroidery specialty shop. Marcy Singer left her home in San Francisco, along with the humiliation of being left at the altar, in order to move to Tallulah Falls and realize her dream of owning her own shop. She takes along her faithful companion, a one-year-old Irish wolfhound named Angus O’Ruff. She makes many new friends in Tallulah Falls, but she also makes a few enemies. Thankfully, her best friend Sadie MacKenzie and her husband Blake run the coffeehouse right down the street from Marcy’s shop, the Seven-Year Stitch; and Detective Ted Nash always has her back.

Publishers Weekly says, “Fans of the genre will take kindly to Marcy, her Irish wolfhound, Angus O’Ruff, and Tallulah Falls. This is a fast, pleasant read with prose full of pop culture references and, of course, sharp needlework puns.”

Pat Cooper of RT Book Reviews says, “If her debut here is any indication, Lee’s new series is going to be fun, spunky and educational. She smoothly interweaves plot with her character’s personality and charm, while dropping tantalizing hints of stitching projects and their history. Marcy Singer is young, fun, sharp and likable. Readers will be looking forward to her future adventures.” (RT Book Reviews nominated The Quick and the Thread for a 2010 Book Reviewers’ Choice Award in the Amateur Sleuth category)

I live in Virginia with my family, which includes her own “Angus” who is not an Irish wolfhound but a Great Pyrenees who provides plenty of inspiration for the character of Mr. O’Ruff. I’m having a blast writing this new series!

Webpage: http://www.gayleleeson.com http://www.gayletrent.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GayleTrentandAmandaLee/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GayleTrent

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/gayletrent/pins/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gayletrentleeson/

Book Blast Tuesday: A Tangled Web

It’s Book Blast Tuesday and today we are showcasing Mike Martin’s A Tangled Web.  This is the sixth book in this series and we are hot on the trail with Sgt. Windflower. I love finding cozies from different places, so today let’s travel to Newfoundland!

Be sure to look for the Prize Guy. Mike’s giveaway is an e-copy of A Tangled Web and he’s giving away one for each blog.

About the Book

Life is good for Sgt. Wind¬flower in Grand Bank, Newfoundland. But something’s missing from the Mountie’s life. Actually, a lot of things go missing, including a little girl and supplies from the new factory. It’s Windflower’s job to unravel the tangled web of murder, deceit and an accidental kidnapping that threatens to engulf this sleepy little town and destroy those closest to him. But there’s always good food, good friends and the love of a great woman to make everything better in the end.

A Tangled Web
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series

 

 

 

Read an Excerpt of A Tangled Web

“Life doesn’t get much better than this,” said Winston Windflower. The Mountie looked over at his collie, Lady, who wagged her tail at the sound of his voice. If dogs could smile, she smiled back. His world was almost perfect. He had the love of a great woman and a good job as a Sergeant in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police patrolling one of the lowest crime regions in the country. Plus, the weather had been mild so far, at least for Newfoundland in early December, and that meant no snowstorms with forced overnighters at the detachment. Life was very good indeed.
He had good friends, including Lady, who was amongst the best of them. And he had a child on the way. His wife, Sheila Hillier, was pregnant and at the clinic for her three-month checkup. He was waiting to hear how both Sheila and the baby were doing. His Auntie Marie had told him the baby was a girl, and if anyone knew about these things, it was his Auntie. She was a dream weaver, an interpreter of not just dreams but of messages from the spirit world. Windflower had recently spent a week with her and his Uncle Frank, another dream weaver, to learn more about the dream world.
Interpreting dreams was part of his family’s tradition. But it was an imperfect tool that gave information, not always answers. Perhaps the most important thing he learned was that dreams do not predict the future. Instead, as his Auntie told him, “Dreams tell us about our past, what has already happened. They also point to actions we should take if we want to get the right result in the future and to the signs all around us that we need to follow.”
Windflower was contemplating that piece of wisdom when he noticed a very distraught woman get out of her car outside the RCMP detachment in Grand Bank. She ran towards the front door. He walked out to meet her, but the administrative assistant, Betsy Molloy, beat him to it.
“There, there now, Molly. What’s goin’ on?” asked Betsy as she put her arms around the other woman and guided her to a seat in the reception area.
“It’s Sarah, she’s gone,” said the other woman between sobs. “I told her to stay close by the house where I could see her. I went out back to put the wash on the line. When I came in, she was gone.”
“Okay, Mrs. Quinlan,” said Windflower as he knelt down beside the two women. “How old is Sarah?” He didn’t really need to know how old the girl was. He wanted to help the mother calm down so she could give them as much information as possible.
“She’s going to be six next month,” said Molly Quinlan. “She’s growing up so fast. But she’s still such a little girl. And now I’ve lost her. Brent is going to kill me.” She started sobbing again.
“What was she wearing so that we can help find her?” asked Windflower, trying to get information but also trying to help Molly Quinlan feel useful.
The woman stopped crying and said her daughter was wearing jeans and a favourite t-shirt. “It was pink and had sparkles. She said it made her feel like she was a princess. And she had her light blue jacket on with a hood.”
Windflower smiled. “I’m sure she’ll show up soon. But let’s go over to where you last saw her, and we’ll start looking. She can’t have gone far. Leave your car here, and come with me. I’ll drive you over.” The woman smiled weakly at Windflower through her tears and allowed him to take her arm and guide her to his Jeep outside the door.
He returned inside to give directions to Betsy. “Get Constable Smithson in here. I’ll call Frost and get him to come in from his rounds.”
Betsy nodded her agreement, and Windflower went outside to drive Molly Quinlan home.
Meanwhile, it turns out, Sarah Quinlan was fine, perfectly fine. She had wandered a little way from home in the centre of town. She was going to go down to the nearby brook to feed the ducks. She knew better than to go into the water, but she couldn’t see any reason why she couldn’t just look. She’d done it before, and nobody seemed to mind. As long as she didn’t stay away too long, everything was okay.
Sarah had that great fearless attitude of a child who grew up in a small and very safe community. She knew most of her neighbours, and they all watched out for her. She also had the natural curiosity of little children, especially when she saw something new. The truck parked on the roadway above the brook was new, so Sarah went to take a closer look. Even better, the back door of the truck was open, and there was a ramp leading inside. This was certainly worth a closer inspection.
Sarah Quinlan was having fun exploring the back of the large truck when she heard a loud, rumbling noise. She didn’t know it, but the driver had started the engine. It was so loud, and Sarah was so frightened by it, she froze. The next thing she remembered was everything going almost completely black and the back door of the truck slamming shut. She cried out, but by then it was too late. Seconds later she, the truck and the unsuspecting driver were barrelling out of town and onto the highway.
Windflower drove Molly Quinlan to her house and got her to show him where Sarah had been playing. Together they walked through the house to see if the little girl had come home and hidden there. But no such luck. While they were searching the house, they were joined by two of Quinlan’s neighbours who took over Molly’s care and made her a cup of tea. Soon afterwards Constable Harry Frost arrived from his highway patrol.
Windflower gave him a quick update and directed him to go to one end of town to start the search. He would begin the house-to-house search through the neighbourhood when Smithson showed up.
He first checked out back and looked in the storage shed, a favourite hiding place of every little kid and probably where Windflower himself would have taken refuge. But Sarah was not there. As he went to the front of the house, Constable Rick Smithson showed up.
“Afternoon, Boss,” said Smithson. “Any sign of her yet?”
Windflower shook his head. “Frost is doing the big circle search. You and I will start the door-to-door. Ask them if they saw the girl this afternoon. I’ll start from here. You go down to the brook, and work your way up.”
Smithson returned to his cruiser and sped off. Windflower wasn’t worried. Yet. But he knew that the first few hours were crucial in finding a missing child. If they didn’t, then it was almost always something more serious. Not time to panic, but no time to waste. He walked up to the first door and knocked.

About the Author

Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a longtime freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand. He is the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People and has written a number of short stories that have published in various publications including Canadian Stories and Downhome magazine.

The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. Other books in the series include The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, A Twist of Fortune and A Long Ways from Home.

A Long Ways from Home was shortlisted for the 2017 Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award as the best light mystery of the year. A Tangled Web is the newest book in the series.

 

A Tangled Web Giveaway

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Enter Here for your chance at Mike's giveaway. A Kindle copy of A Tangled Web.

This contest is no longer accepting entries.

December Giveaway: Win a Free Copy of Till Dirt Do Us Part!

Don’t you love giveaways? This month I’m giving away an e-copy of Till Dirt Do Us Part when you sign up for my mailing list. If you are already on it, enter anyway! One entry per person, please.

Merry Christmas 2017

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Enter for your chance to win an ecopy of Till Dirt Do Us Part!  Join Betsy as she competes in the Pecan Bayou Gardening Contest and digs up more than weeds.  Recipes and Helpful Hints included!  You will be added to Teresa's monthly newsletter featuring updates on Teresa and a calendar of visiting authors and cozy mystery prizes. Already on the mailing list? Don't worry! You can enter this contest.    

This contest is no longer accepting entries.

 

Cozy Prizes Friday: Altered to Death

Welcome to Cozy Prizes Friday where we learn that scrapbookers seem to have a lot of tiny paper skeletons in their closets! I love the inspiration Christina Freeburn used to write her latest mystery Altered to Death. How much family history do you really include in those scrapbooks? Which reminds me–time to heavily edit that Christmas letter…

Don’t forget to look for the Prize Guy. Today he is offering a chance at a print copy of Altered To Death (A Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery).  It would make a terrific Christmas gift!

 

Secrets: What Needs to be Told

Guest Post by Christina Freeburn

The idea for Altered to Death came from a discussion I read on a scrapbooking message board about if it was wrong for family historians (the person who does the memory keeping) to omit some of the details about family life. It was a tossup with half the responders saying it was dishonest not to include everything that happened during the year (vacation, event, etc.), and others who said they felt no need to document the sad or ugly times in their life. Their families cherished the albums and the memory keeper doesn’t want to include things that would make others feel bad or show them in a negative light.

It had me wondering if we have a right to know everything about our relatives and/or about the people we know in life. Are they lying if they keep some of their past to themselves? Are they required to tell all? And then I started to wonder if how we see someone is the actual truth or is our viewed skewed (either good or bad) by our life experiences and what they show to us and not others? I know I’ve been conversations with people about an event and we each have such different views of it, or in the case of an argument who was the one at fault. What happens if we were to learn what we believed the truth actually was not?

I took those what-ifs and had two mysteries about two disappearances—one of the founding family of the town and the other about a dead-beat father—and created the plot for Altered to Death. This book was a little harder for me to write as the questions I was addressing seemed to not have an answer. It is a complicated matter—what needs to be told and what does no one else have a right to be told.

 

About the Book

Looking for a craft cozy so memorable you’ll stay up late scrapping about it? Well, welcome to the town of Eden.

Faith Hunter, who is supposed to be planning her wedding, instead finds herself distracted by the town scrapbook she was commissioned to create. Eden’s oldest mystery, the founding family’s exodus nearly a hundred years ago, remains unsolved.

A search through the family’s abandoned mansion leads to the uncovering of bones on that very property. And then ex-boyfriend Steve Davis announces a surprise heir has staked a claim.

How can Faith not be distracted? Now she’s determined to dig up the truth left behind.

Because scrappers are multi-taskers extraordinaire, Faith can’t say no when family friend Wyatt Buford asks her to look into his deadbeat father’s disappearing act and his connection to the murder.

Her quest for answers unearths secrets past and present that some would prefer stay buried at any cost. Faith’s resolve to present the facts and nothing but about Eden’s history could lead to her own future being cut short.

See what I mean about memorable? Delve in to Eden and you’ll find a cozy you won’t soon forget.

Altered To Death (A Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Henery Press (November 28, 2017)
Paperback: 276 pages

 

 Enter Below for Your Chance to Win a Print Copy of ALTERED TO DEATH

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About the Author

The Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery series brings together Christina Freeburn’s love of mysteries, scrapbooking, and West Virginia. When not writing or reading, she can be found in her scrapbook room or at a crop. Alas, none of the real-life crops have had a sexy male prosecutor or a handsome police officer attending.

Christina served in the JAG Corps of the US Army and also worked as a paralegal, librarian, and church secretary. She lives in West Virginia with her husband, children, a dog, and a rarely seen cat except by those who are afraid or allergic to felines.

Author Links:

Webpage: www.christinafreeburn.com

Blog: www.theselfrescueprincess.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Christina-Freeburn-Author/245592138834150

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChristinaFreeb1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/ChristinaFreeburn

Cozy Prizes Friday: Killer Holiday

How is that leftover turkey going? Well, drop that drumstick and get ready for Killer Holiday.   Amy Korman was kind of enough to answer some questions about her latest installment in the Killer Wasps Series.  You know, I think I had an Aunt Eula somewhere down the line. Great character name!

Be sure to look for the Prize Guy for your chance at an e-copy of Killer Punch, another great book in the Killer Wasp Series!

And now our visit with Amy Korman:

How did you come with an idea for your book?

Killer Holiday is the fourth book in the Killer Wasps series, which are lighthearted, modern mysteries in the Agatha Christie village murder genre—with antiques, a basset hound, a country club, and cocktails! The series is centered around antique dealer Kristin Clark, who’s got a group of friends including gossipy Bootsie, stylish Holly, and decorator Joe, and they’re soon joined by Jersey-born Sophie and her personal trainer, the stern Gerda, who’s rarely seen out of workout clothes and does not do makeup. Crime seems to crop up frequently in their quiet town outside Philadelphia.

My idea came from the timeless Miss Marple and Poirot books, my love for antiques stores, and a fondness for books in which small towns are filled with oddball characters both loveable and endearingly annoying. I think I secretly wish for a Gerda in my life who’d force me to lift weights and run 5Ks!

What scene do you hope your readers enjoy the most?

Kristin and her friends have a high-school nemesis, Eula Morris, who won a Powerball jackpot in the series’s third book, Killer Punch, and Eula’s that love-to-hate-her character that every mystery needs. One of my favorite scenes is when Eula comes back to town, looking fabulous after a long vacation and with a new boyfriend in tow—who turns out to be Scooter Simmons, a shady lawyer the group tangled with in Killer Getaway. When Joe and Bootsie insist on following Eula and Scooter on a date at the town’s fanciest restaurant, the group crashes Eula’s romantic dinner, drink too much, and offer Eula a lot of unsolicited advice on fashion and her love life.

If you were going to cast an actor in the part of one or more of your characters, who would that be?

Reese Witherspoon could be Eula!

I’d love to see Reese Witherspoon as Eula! The actress is so likeable that it’s always so much fun to see her playing someone mean.

What other things have you written or what projects might we see in the future?

The Killer Wasps series is now on its fourth book with Killer Holiday. I’m hard at work on my new mystery which is lighthearted and centered around a tiki bar in Florida.

If you could write any other genre what would that be?

I love books that delve into the history of a city, or even the story of how a significant piece of artwork a building, or a ship was created, and all that’s happened inside it, a la Dead Wake and Havana Nocturne, an intriguing history of how the Mafia ran Havana in the days before Fidel Castro.

Where can readers leave reviews of your book?

Amazon and Goodreads reviews are greatly appreciated.

 

Thank you! Amy Korman (amykorman.com)

https://www.facebook.com/killerWASPsseries/

Twitter: @killermysteries

Click Here to Enter Amy’s Giveaway and get another Killer Wasp Book: Killer Punch! 3 Ebooks means 3 WINNERS!

 

 

Killer Holiday

by Amy Korman

on Tour October 23 – November 30, 2017

Synopsis:

Killer Holiday by Amy Korman

Kristin Clark and her offbeat crew of Bryn Mawr socialites are ready for a fun and festive winter holiday—one that involves sipping martinis by a crackling yule log, hot guys beneath the mistletoe, and Gucci under the Christmas tree. But this year, Old Saint Nick has something more dangerous in store. A stranger dressed in a Santa suit has Kristin’s friends on his naughty list. First, Sophie’s favorite handbag is blasted by a bullet. Then, Father Christmas shatters her brother Chip’s car window with a golf club and leaves a threatening note demanding fifty grand. Both are convinced it has to be a mistake. But when Chip goes missing, the stakes become deadly. Eula Morris is also back in town for the holidays, more bossy and boastful than ever after winning a mega-jackpot in the lottery. She’s returned from a luxury cruise around the world with a handsome new boyfriend (who looks oddly familiar…) and a Samsonite suitcase filled with gold bars. When the suitcase is snatched, Eula implores Kristin and the team to track it down. Where is Chip? Why is a vengeful Santa targeting the gang? Who stole Eula’s suitcase? And how are these events linked? The WASPs and Kristen’s basset hound Waffles are on the case—before this white Christmas turns even darker…

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: October 24th 2017 by Witness Impulse
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 0062431366 (ISBN13: 9780062431363)
Series: A Killer WASPs Mystery, #4
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

Bootsie McElvoy burst through the front door of The Striped Awning, a bag of ice in her right hand and the biggest bottle of Maker’s Mark bourbon I’ve ever seen in her left. She dug into her L.L. Bean tote for a bottle of red wine, a shaker of nutmeg, and a bag of fun-size candy canes, all of which she deposited next to a display of 1940s barware near the front of my antiques store.

“Kristin, it’s December fifteenth, which means it’s time for you to start offering shoppers a specialty cocktail the minute they set foot inside your store,” Bootsie told me. “I’m going to mix up a batch of the Delaney family Christmas drink, the Bourbon Blitzen, which never fails to produce a White Christmas vibe. One sip and you’ll feel like you’re singing and dancing with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye at a snowy Vermont inn. This should double your sales totals for the month.”

“Thanks!” I said gratefully, since Bootsie’s family’s boozy drinks are known throughout our village of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, for their potency and tendency to produce unwise purchases.

“The drinks sound good, but you’re also going to need about four thousand more of these pinecones, triple the greenery, and eight hundred additional strands of lights,” Joe Delafield informed me; he’d arrived twenty minutes earlier to help me decorate my store for the Christmas rush.

To lure in passing foot traffic, I’d brought in armloads of holly and spruce branches from my backyard (cost: free, thankfully), spray-painted pinecones silver (the paint was only $5.28 at the hardware store), and added some cheerful-looking blinking white lights. This would probably bring tons of holiday shoppers through my front door!

Joe paused, eyeing the room with his signature critical stare. “The effect I’m going for is that a bunch of HGTV-crazed elves with subscriptions to Veranda magazine snuck in and decorated for four straight days. Gerda, we’re going to need the blinking lights to stop blinking, pronto. Pull the plug, please.”

Joe’s assistant for the day was the eponymous owner of Gerda’s Bust Your Ass Gym, which is housed inside the beauty salon across the street. Since Gerda stands a lofty six feet tall in flats (or sneakers, which is her usual footwear, since fancy shoes aren’t her style), she’d agreed to hang ornaments, bringing her signature grim attitude to the proceedings.

“Cute idea,” Bootsie observed, casting a dubious stare at my front window, which was filled with antique silver-plated candlesticks, flatware, and wineglasses. “Is that your holiday inventory?”

“Nobody going to want that stuff,” said Gerda, who moved here from her native Austria a few years back. Gerda, who’s incredibly muscular and brings in sell-out crowds at her Pilates classes, isn’t the most tactful person in the world. “People want, like, scarves and Fitbits and iPhones.”

I sighed, knowing Gerda was right. Those were the gifts on most holiday wish lists.

“Luckily, I’ve solved all your problems,” Bootsie told me. “I ran into Eddie from the Pub this morning, and he needs a place to hold some late-night poker tournaments this month, so I brokered a deal for The Striped Awning. You’ll be hosting twice-weekly games from 10 p.m. till 1 a.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays till Valentine’s Day.”

“What!” I erupted, alarmed by this idea. “First of all, that doesn’t sound legal.”

“It’s fine,” she told me, waving away my concerns. “I mean, it’s not like it will be a professional betting operation. Eddie’s limiting each night to ten players and three hours. Some cards, a few drinks, a few small wagers. What could go wrong?”

“A lot!” I said. “They’ll blow cigar smoke and drop Dorito crumbs everywhere. Not to mention get arrested for operating a casino without a license. A lot could go wrong!”

“You worry too much,” Bootsie informed me dismissively. “Plus, he’ll pay you two hundred dollars a night.”

I opened my mouth to respond, but no words came out. Bootsie knew she had me—there’s no way I can refuse an extra four hundred dollars a week, even if it puts me on the wrong side of the state gaming commission.

Just then, though, the front door was thrown open by one Sophie Shields, a tiny blonde who at the moment was looking slightly wild-eyed.

“Ya won’t believe what just happened!” shrieked Sophie. “The Colketts were helping me put up curtains in my new dining room, since Joe here never finished decorating my place—and the curtains are orange silk, by the way, they’re totally Elle Decor meets a J. Lo red-carpet gown. So Tim and Tom Colkett were talking paint colors when I heard a horn honking, so I opened the front door, thinking it was the delivery boy from the Hoagie House. I figured I’d go out and pay the driver, when boom!

“A guy dressed as Santa leaned out of the driver’s seat of a black SUV that had pulled right up in my driveway and aimed a gun at me and the Colketts!” The Colketts are the town’s leading landscape designers, who’ve lately turned their talents to party planning and interior design.

“Then the guy yelled, ‘Hey, Sophie, this one’s from your ex, Barclay!’ and shot my favorite handbag!” Sophie finished. “I was reaching into it to pay for the hoagies, thank goodness, so it acted as a protective shield. Also, I think maybe this Santa guy doesn’t have great aim.”

We all stared at her for a moment.

“Are you sure, Sophie?” said Bootsie finally. “Because this sounds like BS.”

“Yeah, Sophie, maybe you been hitting the wine bottle today,” seconded Gerda. “I know the Colketts are day drinkers. Maybe you been guzzling alcohol, too.”

“It’s true!” Sophie bleated. “Just look at this Ferragamo satchel! If it hadn’t had gold hardware to block the trajectory of the bullet, me and the Colketts would have been toast!”

***

Excerpt from Killer Holiday by Amy Korman. Copyright © 2017 by Amy Korman. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. All rights reserved.

 

Amy Korman

Author Bio:

Amy Korman is a former senior editor and staff writer for Philadelphia Magazine, and author of Frommer’s Guide to Philadelphia. She has written for Town & Country, House Beautiful, Men’s Health, and Cosmopolitan. Killer WASPS is her first novel.

Catch Up With Ms. Korman On: amykorman.com 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!