Maternal Instincts Mysteries | Diana Orgain - Part 2

Prams and Poison (Maternal Instincts Mystery Series: Book Nine) Sneak Peek – Chapter Three

From Prams and Poison  Chapter Three Despite the slight chill in the air, it was a glorious day. The sky was the perfect crystal blue you only find in California, and even Paula’s spirits seemed to soar as we hurried past the packed out dog park at Alamo Square Park. “You brought Paws here yet?” I asked, gesturing toward the running dogs. “Just once,” she said, “but I need to come back. He had so much fun meeting the other dogs. That’s actually how I met Glenn and struck up the conversation about the upcoming renovation. He was waiting for his bus, and I was out with Paws.” We reached Postcard Row on Steiner Street, and Paula laughed giddily. “I just can’t believe I was even considered for one of these jobs,” she said as we took in the Victorian architecture and bright colors—buttercream yellow, light and dark blue, bright red and faded burgundy, mint green. She motioned toward one of the houses, where a light-haired man paced in front of a garage. “That’s Glenn, with the black sweater.” She waved as we approached, and he raised an eyebrow at her as if daring her to explain the delay. “I was beginning to worry you weren’t coming,” he called as we crossed the street, threading our way through the multitude of tourists and locals who had come to gander at Postcard Row on such a beautiful day. But Paula maintained perfect poise and professionalism. “I wasn’t coming,” she said, “until you texted. I thought Carrie had canceled the meeting, but once I got your message, I figured I’d better...

Prams and Poison (Maternal Instincts Mystery Series: Book Nine) Sneak Peek – Chapter One

From Prams and Poison  Chapter One To Do: 1. Take Laurie to puppet time at the library. 2. Furnish twins’ new nursery! 3. Interview prospective nannies. 4. Dinner Saturday with Nick and his wife. 5. Buy larger maternity clothes! 6. Land new paying client. 7. Find out if Hank’s poker night is on the up and up. “Paula!” I held out my arms to welcome my best friend to my recently beautified backyard. My wonderful husband Jim had worked with Jojo—the contractor doing our garage-turned-nursery renova‐ tion—to turn the raggedy, neglected space into an oasis. Even in the middle of the day, when the string lights draped between the house and the pergola didn’t cast their fairy-tale glow on everything, I loved it. Paula’s jaw dropped as she pushed the pram through the gate and over the rippling grass. “You weren’t kidding! Jim did such a great job on this.” Baby Chloe’s tiny face peeked out of the pram from amid a sea of polka-dotted blankets, and Paula’s two-year-old Danny trailed behind them, zooming his toy through the air while making a high-pitched whirring noise. Laurie flailed in my arms at the sight of her little friends and managed to land a painful kick on my growing baby bump. “Hey!” I said, resting my free hand on my abdomen. “Be nice to your little siblings, peanut.” She just wiggled some more. Paula pulled the pram to a halt beneath the pergola, and Danny leaped from the stroller, holding his Spider-Man action figure high in the air. “I’m Pie-da-Man!” he yelled, throwing out his hand like he was shooting a...

Prams and Poison (Maternal Instincts Mystery Series: Book Nine) Sneak Peek – Chapter Three Continued

From Prams and Poison  Chapter Three Continued “And there’s quite a permitting process,” she said, “but we’ll want to work with an architect to make sure we’re preserving the structural integrity. I know just the woman for the job. She’s a whiz at getting permits. I think she must know someone at the city, or something.” I snorted and left them behind to peek into the dining room. There was a round oak table inside, covered with books. Must belong to the tenant. I skimmed over the books—a number of older novels: Jane Eyre, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Hound of the Baskervilles. And then there was nonfiction: a few productivity-type books, but also a lot of heavy philosophy. It was mostly from the nine‐ teenth century, but a few volumes were more recent—I groaned when I saw a thick volume of the work of Derrida and Saussure. I’d spent a solid week of freshman philosophy class in college muttering, “I cannot Derrida.” I peeked through the bay window blinds at the slivers of Alamo Square Park visible through the leafy greenery of the tree planted out front. Paula and Glenn came into the room, and Paula gestured to the bay window. “We’ll want to restore that for sure. Perhaps with some white trim and a beautiful white window seat beneath?” We walked together into the kitchen. Now this room was an unmitigated disaster. Paula whistled. “Who on earth had the audacity to cover up these beautiful wood floors with linoleum?” “People did crazy things in the 1960s,” I said, tracing a finger over the hideous plastic-looking countertop....

Prams and Poison (Maternal Instincts Mystery Series: Book Nine) Sneak Peek – Chapter Two Continued

Did you miss Chapter One? Did you miss part one of Chapter Two? From Prams and Poison  Chapter Two Continued Paula pulled her phone out of her pocket and glanced at the screen. Her eyes widened, and her shoulders slumped. “No!” she cried. “What is it?” I asked, alarmed. “It’s from Carrie.” Disappointment laced her voice. “The client.” “Oh no. They’re not . . .” She looked up and nodded, tears brimming in her eyes. “They’re canceling.” “Canceling the meeting today, or the whole job?” I asked with a little gasp. “The whole job.” Her chin quivered, though I could tell she was trying to hold herself together. “I’m so sorry, hon,” I said, hurrying over to her and wrapping an arm around her shoulder. She tilted her chin upward. “It’ll be fine. I’d just let myself get really excited about the job.” “Hey, look at me. You’re going to build the city’s premier interior design firm, with or without this job.” She bit hard on her lip and nodded. “Just a setback,” she croaked. “Well, what did the message say?” Mom asked, peering over Paula’s shoulder. Paula turned the screen back on and showed it to us. Tenant rejected offer. We won’t need your services. Sorry. “Ooooh,” I said through my teeth. “They’re buying out a tenant?” She nodded glumly. “They said that negotiations were pretty much done, though, and that it was a sure thing. But I guess these things are never sure until the ink has dried on the contract, huh?” “Really, not until the tenant has moved out and handed over the key,” said Mom....

Prams and Poison (Maternal Instincts Mystery Series: Book Nine) Sneak Peek – Chapter Two

Did you miss Chapter One? From Prams and Poison  Chapter Two The next day, Mom was practically glowing when she arrived for babysitting duty. She hung her purse on a hook on the wall and danced to the couch to take Laurie from me. When Mom was this excited about something, it usually meant trouble—that she’d bought something for Laurie that she loved but knew I would secretly hate, or that she’d gotten deeply invested in another one of her projects, which almost always involved meddling with something. I eyed her suspiciously. “What are you so excited about?” She planted a big kiss on Laurie’s chubby cheek. “Oh, I just had a perfectly lovely date with Hank yesterday. We went to Pier 39 to watch the sea lions!” Yup. Trouble. But I kept my face pleasantly neutral and started picking up the toys strewn around the living room. “That sounds like fun.” I didn’t even know where to start with my mom’s love life. She’d been dating two men, who were both crazy about her. They knew about each other—she hadn’t kept it a secret or anything—but it was quickly becoming clear that she was going to have to pick one to settle down with. It was like she was running her own personal finale of The Bache‐ lorette. Hank, an adventurous pharmacist who’d struck it rich on the stock market—Mom had no idea how rich—seemed nice enough. Though I did need to check into an odd claim another PI had made about him that he was part of a nefarious underground gambling ring and had exhibited a violent...

Prams and Poison (Maternal Instincts Mystery Series: Book Nine) Sneak Peek – Chapter One Continued

Did you miss part one of Chapter One? From Prams and Poison  Chapter One Continued “It’s a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she raved. “A chance to leave my mark on a unique piece of classic San Francisco. I just hope I can do it justice. I’m meeting with the clients tomorrow to look at the house.” “You deserve every bit of this success,” I said firmly. Paws zipped across the dirt patch, kicking a cloud of dust up into my face. A ticklish sensation in my nose overpowered me, and I sneezed. The four-legged troublemaker turned around and jumped up on me, his paws connecting with my shoulders and knocking me off balance. “Paws!” scolded Paula. But I just laughed and sat back up, brushing myself off. “Maybe we should dampen the dirt a little so there’s not so much dust. We’ve got a mister attachment on the hose that should do the job nicely.” Paula made a face but picked her way to the side of the house and gingerly picked up the hose. “Twist it to the left,” I called. She turned on the hose and raced over to the garden, waving the hose in the general direction of the dirt patch. Too late, I realized the mister attachment was lying in the dirt at the side of the house. A stream of water burst from the end of the hose just as I pulled Laurie and Danny away. Paws charged straight for the onslaught of water and tore head‐ first into the mud. Paula shrieked and dropped the hose. “Oh no! Wet dog!” she wailed, running back to...