A series of peculiar and highly suspicious accidents threaten the life of the Loud Mouth of the South. Can Olive and Lizzy find the predator before their friend becomes the victim at her own Murder Mystery Party? Help the Cold Cream gals solve the mystery of the corpse and the canapés. Mirth and murder in Book 4 of the Cold Cream Murders.
COLD CREAM MURDERS – series
When Olive Peroni put out her family therapy sign, she never thought her top client would be the retired head of a New York crime family. When Olive’s Nonna dies leaving her a condo in Florida and a secret recipe for miracle cold cream, Olive grabs the chance at a new life in Starfish Cove, Florida, making designer creams for ladies who spend far too much time at the beach.
But when the quiet little community on the Gulf of Mexico soon begins to compete with a certain notorious coastal village in Maine, Olive finds herself solving odd-ball murders as often as she soothes wrinkles.
Clean, wholesome, and loaded with laughs!
Each book contains a recipe for homemade cosmetics!
Excerpt from Sun Scream
I ran up the steps two at a time and rang the doorbell. “Jaimie, it’s Olive.”
Soft beeps signaled she had deactivated the intrusion alarm. When the door swung open a ghostly Jaimie with an ashen complexion, haunted eyes, and wearing white satin pajamas, robe and slippers greeted me. She reached out and pulled me in almost jerking me off my feet.
“I swear I heard somebody thumping around. They even banged on the bedroom windows! They must have been on the balcony.” She collapsed on the sofa, a crystal glass full of clear liquid that wasn’t water sat on the end table. It was half empty.
“Banging on the windows is a good sign. If anyone wanted to hurt you they wouldn’t be making noise.” I wasn’t sure she truly heard any banging but then again, I wasn’t sure she didn’t. I drew on my psychology training. “It sounds more like an attempt to frighten you. Maybe neighborhood kids?”
“The bedroom windows are accessible from the deck. They’d have to climb up the beach stairs. That’s more than kids playing a prank. That’s pretty brazen trespassing.”
The only way to get Jaimie over her fear was to face it. “Let’s see what’s out there. Not to worry. I’m armed.” I patted my hairspray-laden purse. She might have assumed it was something more deadly.
She grabbed an unopened bottle of vodka from the sideboard. She held it by the neck and raised it like a club. “Now I’m armed too.”
“We’ll circle the house. Set the alarm and lock the door behind us so no one can sneak in.”
We stepped outside. I watched Jaimie secure the house with shaking hands.
“The only thing you have to fear is fear itself.” I said, unable to think of anything more reassuring.
“Fear itself and every person on earth I’ve ever insulted.” Jaimie peered into the shadowy shrubbery and called out. “Stalker, if you’re hearing this, I’m sorry for hurting your feelings—whoever you are. I’ll never do it again!”
Not so boldly, we marched down the stairs. Starting on the side furthest from the garage, we circled the building. Jaimie clung to my back, the fingers of one hand digging into the flesh on my upper arm. I surreptitiously slipped the can of hairspray from my purse—a tricky maneuver with the flashlight in my hand.
Something rustled in the bushes. I jumped. Jaimie tightened her grip on me and raised her bottle-club nearly beaning me.
I exhaled. It was the same adversary I encountered earlier. “Lower the vodka. It’s just a raccoon.”
She gasped. “Look! Out on the water!”
I turned my head so fast my neck cracked. Night clouds covered the moon, which cast an eerie glow over the silhouette of a cabin cruiser moored in the Gulf just beyond the breakers.
“What’s that doing there?” Jaimie said, tightening her grip on my arm to tourniquet level. “Their lights are off. That’s illegal.” She trembled. “That’s my stalker! He’s come by sea to get at me!”
“It could be tourists who don’t know the rules.” It was a dumb remark. Anyone who pilots a boat knows the basics of keeping a light on at night. The breakers weren’t exactly a calm place to anchor either. Suspicious but unlikely to be connected to Jaimie.
“We’ll call the Coasties after we finish checking out your property.” Scofflaw boaters were not priority. I wrested Jaimie’s fingers from my arm before I lost feeling in my fingers.
We finished the beachside of the house and turned the corner.
“Wait!” Once again Jaimie’s nails dug in my arm. “I hear a car running in the garage! Maybe Chip’s home?”
“Think! That makes no sense. Why would Chip come home in the middle of the night and start his T-bird? And we didn’t hear a limo or see lights. Chip’s probably sleeping in his hotel room in Atlanta.”
“There’s no way the car would start running on its own. Is there?” Jaimie advanced a few steps. “Maybe there’s a wiring short or something like that—things guys know about—and it did start on its own. I can’t let anything happen to that car. It’s Chip’s second love after me.”
This from the woman who filed for divorce a year ago.
Tugging free I turned to face her. “I’m no car expert but I don’t think cars can spontaneously start. Let’s see if the garage door is open.”
That was as dumb as what I said about the boat light. The door was as apt to go to the moon as ride up on bent rails with all that plywood nailed to it. But we had to see. Strange things happen—like the T-bird’s engine running.
I settled my finger on the button of my hairspray and Jaimie raised her bottle-club. We tiptoed along the side of the garage. A car engine was running.
Jaimie melted down. She yelped and dashed around the front of the garage, pounded on the plywood, then ran towards the stairs. “Chip loves that car!” She shrieked.
Her burst surprised me. I charged after her but was only at the bottom of the stairs when she reached the top. I’d be able to catch her when she unlocked the door.
“Skathers!” she screamed. With one hand she yanked open the door while swinging the vodka bottle over her head.
A half dozen steps behind her I knew we were headed for trouble. I watched her lock the door when we left. It wasn’t locked now.
“Jaimie! Stop!” I yelled.
She didn’t respond but tore through the kitchen and down the stairs. When she opened the door to the garage, fumes rolled out. I followed her in, choking on a thick fog of exhaust.
Jaimie launched herself at the driver’s door. She couldn’t open it. Gasping and coughing she ran to the passenger side. She couldn’t open that door either. “Locked,” she said as she fell to her knees.
With love & laughter!