Sneak Peek | Diana Orgain - Part 2

4 Sleuths & A Bachelorette ~ A Killer Foursome Mystery ~ Preview of Chapter Four Continued!

From 4 Sleuths & a Bachelorette  Did you miss Chapter One? Did you miss Chapter Two? Did you miss Chapter Three? Did you miss part one of Chapter Four? Chapter Four Continued…      “Too bad. With your Sophia Loren looks and height, I could make you a star—your very own baloney commercial.”      “Baloney?” Rock boomed before I had time to process the processed meat offer. “You been holding out on me, Zelda?”      “Like I told you, Rock, the Oscar Mayer gig doesn’t showcase all of your talents.”      “Does too. I went to Higgly Piggly and saw Babette passing out wieners with her hands.”      “Sure, and those wieners are heated. You wanna get a burn?” She blew out a mouthful of smoke to emphasize her point.      Rock retracted his hands in horror, then slipped his glove back on.      Zelda pointed her cigarette at him. “I didn’t think so. Now, I didn’t tell you this before because I didn’t want to get your hopes up, but I’m trying to negotiate you a deal with Ball Park Franks. They sell ’em cold in the package, so there’s no risk to your hands. And the best part is, you can flex your biceps when you tell customers the slogan about how they plump when you cook ’em.”      Rock’s eyes gleamed like the sheen on a hot dog fresh off the grill. “Heeeyyy, I see where you’re going with this. I could piggyback off the franks deal to break into bicep modeling.”      I smirked. Based on Rock’s...

4 Sleuths & A Bachelorette ~ A Killer Foursome Mystery ~ Preview of Chapter Four!

From 4 Sleuths & a Bachelorette  Did you miss Chapter One? Did you miss Chapter Two? Did you miss part one of Chapter Three? Chapter Four Franki      “Here we are, lady.” The cab driver eyed me in the rearview mirror. “It ain’t the Ritz.”      I could see that. The hotel was maybe a half a Trip Advisor star above the level of rooms by the hour. I climbed from the backseat with my charcoal overnight bag and handed the driver two twenties. “Keep the change.”      “Thanks.” He removed the cigar from his mouth. “Now I got a tip for you—don’t spend the night in this dump.” The tires squealed as he peeled out of the lot.      “And people say New Yorkers aren’t friendly.” I pulled up the handle of my bag and wheeled it into the lobby, which reeked of cheap cologne and pepperoni. As I approached the reception desk, a fifty-something male with thinning hair and a name tag that said Mo put a half-eaten Hot Pocket on the counter and wiped tomato sauce on his gray uniform.      “I’m Franki Amato. I’ve got a reservation for the weekend.”      He eyed the computer. “I don’t got anyone by that name. You sure you’re in the right place?”      I’d been asking myself that very thing since the cab sped off. “Our research assistant at Private Chicks made the reservation, so it could be under my full name, Francesca Lucia Amato.”      “Private Chicks?” His gaze meandered from my face to my chest. “That a men’s...

4 Sleuths & A Bachelorette ~ A Killer Foursome Mystery ~ Preview of Chapter Three Continued!

From 4 Sleuths & a Bachelorette  Did you miss Chapter One? Did you miss Chapter Two? Did you miss part one of Chapter Three? Chapter Three Continued…      “Anyway…” Chelsea ignored my question. It was very difficult having a conversation where you were being ignored. “Take a look at the food. The cake is a scream. Babette will love it,” she said in a voice that implied that she didn’t love it. “And those balloons are so…so fun.”      I spoke up in support of whoever brought them because they seemed like a kindred spirit. “I like the balloons and cake.”      The woman continued to act as if I hadn’t spoken. “I’m sure you all did the best you could on such short notice.” She patted my arm. “Anyway, Charlie…the groom, is around here somewhere. I should introduce you to my family to make you feel more welcome.” She stared into the dim recesses and pointed out a woman reading. “That’s my sister.”      The woman seemed to know we were talking about her and looked up in annoyance. She had thick, black-framed glasses and a hairstyle that screamed Velma from Scooby-Doo. An angry Velma, it appeared, as she scowled before turning back to the book. Now I knew the names of three people—Chelsea, Charlie, and their sister, Charlene—whose name I recalled from the guest list. It seemed like a win, but I kept it to myself.      “And who are the others…” I looked around, but Chelsea had left me for the bar.      What just happened? Chelsea had passive-aggressive down...

4 Sleuths & A Bachelorette ~ A Killer Foursome Mystery ~ Preview of Chapter Three!

From 4 Sleuths & a Bachelorette  Did you miss Chapter One? Did you miss Chapter Two? Chapter Three Merry      I’d seen nicer places in third-world countries. The hotel’s party room looked like it was designed by an unhinged decorator who thought despair was a solid color scheme for a room that hosted happy events like wedding receptions.      The biggest difference between this place and the Chechen dive I frequented back in my spy days was that the furniture was largely intact, and it wasn’t being run by goats. Although I must say that I did know one or two competent goats back in the day, including Baaaaart, who could make a pretty mean mai tai—as long as you didn’t mind that instead of the usual umbrella with a cherry, you got a spent bullet casing on a twig.      I was still wandering around the dim, smelly room, repeatedly adjusting a fake fireplace that sagged against a wall and consulting my clipboard with the guest list without the faintest idea what I was supposed to be doing.      Why was I handling the guest list? I should’ve been the last person to pick. Even I wouldn’t have picked me. I could organize a camping checklist and, back in the day, a spreadsheet of hidden nukes in Moldova. But a list of women I’d never met for a bachelorette party where I had a passing friendship with the bride-to-be?      Okay, I did know her a bit better than that. Babette and I had worked together. My name is Merry Wrath, and I’m...

4 Sleuths & A Bachelorette ~ A Killer Foursome Mystery ~ Preview of Chapter Two Continued!

From 4 Sleuths & a Bachelorette  Did you miss Chapter One? Did you miss part one of Chapter Two? Chapter Two Continued…      “Oh, thank you,” I said. “I think I can manage getting to my room on my own. I just need to put my feet up for a minute before Babette arrives.” He nodded but proceeded to follow me down the corridor anyway. “You flew in from Cincinnati?” he asked. “San Francisco,” I corrected. “Ah, right. That’s what I meant. Babette’s told me so much about you. You knew her from beauty school.” I frowned. “College,” I said. “We went to university together.” Babette had never gone to beauty school. What was he going on about? He laughed overly loud. “Ha! I knew that. I’m just kidding. I always tell Babette she’s such a beauty she must’ve gone to school for it.” He waved his pointer fingers in the air as if making a silent drum roll. I arrived at my hotel room door and couldn’t get the key card into the slot fast enough. Poor Charlie. He was probably just nervous to meet Babette’s friends, but I felt the distinct and very real need to end our conversation. “It was so nice meeting you.” I pushed open the door to my room. “I need to make a few calls and check in at home.” He rested his hand on the doorframe and leaned in, as if waiting to be invited into my room. What the…? He drummed his fingers on the frame. “Did uh…did Babette mention anything to you about what time she was arriving?”...

4 Sleuths & A Bachelorette ~ A Killer Foursome Mystery ~ Preview of Chapter Two!

From 4 Sleuths & a Bachelorette  Did you miss Chapter One? Chapter Two Kate To Do:     Figure out food for Babette’s bachelorette party.     Call home.     See Niagara Falls.     Try not to miss Laurie and Jim too much.     Does this hotel have a spa? “Would you mind excusing me for a second?” I asked Valentine. “My feet are killing me.” I rubbed my protruding belly. Being six months pregnant with twins is no walk in the park. “I think I have a few minutes before Babette gets here. Plus, I’m dying to call home,” I said. “Of course,” Valentine said. “Don’t give it a second thought. I’ll put the cake on the table with the rest of the food.” I nodded my thanks and wiggled my fingers at her, then turned and crossed the dank party room. Seriously, the hotel needed a little TLC.      What had Babette been thinking?      Maybe she didn’t know how rundown the hotel had become. My invitation had come from a Merry Wrath, whom I hadn’t met yet. Probably the party was a surprise to Babette. But she’d smile and play along. Babette was a trouper. I was excited to see her. We’d been friends since college, and I hadn’t seen her since my own bachelorette party, which my best friend Paula had arranged on a Napa Valley Wine Train tour. But my poor feet had swelled on the plane and I needed to get them propped up stat, or I’d be reduced to wearing the non-slip socks they’d given me during...