Did you miss part one of Chapter One?
From Dying for Gold
Chapter One Continued
Oh, good. She could go bug Wendy about getting pregnant soon
and that would get me off the hook for the moment.
“Over there,” I said, pointing toward Wendy’s slender form. “No
baby bump yet . . .”
Wendy turned toward me as if she’d sensed we were talking about
her. I winked and wiggled my eyebrows, indicating that Mrs. DeLeon
was about to descend on her.
She gave me her best “you’ll pay for this” look, then smiled as Mrs.
I took the opportunity to slip to the back and dial my boyfriend,
Jason. We’d been dating for almost a year, and he’d recently been
hinting around the idea of marriage, asking my ring size and whether
I preferred white gold or yellow.
Which actually was a silly question for a gold heiress. While gold
could be many colors, including black or purple, nothing compared to
those flakes colored like the sun. But hey, if being agreeable to pink or
red gold would get a ring on my finger, I was all for it.
In fact, Jason had been mysterious about this evening. He’d
mentioned a romantic dinner and a surprise.
I dialed his number and waited for him to answer. It rang four
times, and then his voicemail kicked on.
Where was he?
It wasn’t like him not to pick up.
Maybe he’s shopping.
I imagined him haggling with a jeweler across the glass counter.
No, that wasn’t likely. Surely if Jason was getting ready to propose,
he’d have asked Ginger to design the ring. And yet, she hadn’t
mentioned a thing.
Footsteps approached, and I tried to hide the smile that was
Wendy appeared before me. “What are you grinning at? Siccing
Mrs. DeLeon on me?”
I laughed. “Oh, Wendy. Sorry. I couldn’t resist, plus she was
pestering me about when Jason is going to pop the question.”
“It better be soon. He’d be an idiot to let you go.” Wendy suddenly
took a step back and evaluated me. “What style dress do you want?”
I inwardly cringed. Wendy’s new hobby was sewing, and she
fancied herself a dress designer, but the truth was she barely knew the
difference between a straight stitch and a whip stitch.
She grabbed the fabric measuring tape that was constantly slung
around her neck these days and moved toward my waist.
I stepped back. “Wait, wait. Let’s not jinx anything. It just that he’s
been hinting around and he’s making me dinner and tonight—”
Wendy squealed and wrapped her arms around my neck. “OMG!
You’d better call me first thing.”
The sound of high heels clicked on the tile floor. “Call you first
about what?” Ginger asked.
“She’ll call me first after the proposal,” Wendy said.
Ginger and Wendy were on-and-off-again friends and sometimes
got a little competitive when it came to attention from me. I suddenly
found myself in a tug of war between the two.
“She’ll call me first!” Ginger said. She quirked an eyebrow at me
and said, “Right? I’m her best friend.”
Wendy stepped in and put an arm around my shoulder. “Well, I’m
her sister-in-law. Family trumps friends; everyone knows that.”
Ginger grabbed my other arm. “No. Not true— ”
I wrapped an arm around each of their shoulders. “Okay, as soon
as he asks, I’ll conference you both or”—I laughed—“send you a group
Dad popped his head into the back room. “Good God! What are
the lot of you doing back here? I have biddies bidding on baubles,
ready to overpay and rip each other’s gizzards out over these trinkets.
Now get out there and close those sales!”
“Great pep talk, Dad,” I said.
He ignored our laughter and began to usher us toward the sales
floor. “Hurry now, Mrs. Harvey needs to be rung up for the nugget I
just sold her.”
Ginger looked offended. “But I thought she was interested in the
emerald tennis bracelet I designed for her.” She scurried off
Wendy and I followed, but she hung back a bit and said to me, “I
got a text from Ben.” She rolled her eyes. “You’ll never believe it, but
more changes for Living History Day.”
Living History Day was an annual event where the entire town
dressed up in 1850s garb that Wendy helped sew. It was a huge fair
complete with sawmill demonstrations, tours of famous gold mines,
historic reenactments, and gold panning. And, of course, lots of
tourist memorabilia and junk food, topped off with a healthy dose of
Our mutual friend, Ben, and his band Oro Ignited played every year.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
Mrs. Jeffries, still clutching the diamond-encrusted gold nugget,
spotted me and waved frantically at the glass counter. “Frannie! Show
me those gold coin earrings! I think they’d make quite a match with
this knickknack.” She wiggled her wrist so the nugget moved back
and forth hypnotist-style.
I moved across the sales floor and behind the counter as Wendy
“His band’s been canceled,” Wendy said.
I pulled the earrings for Mrs. Jeffries, who was now absorbed in
Mrs. Jeffries pursed her lips. “More problems with Living History
“Problems with Dale Myers more specifically,” Wendy answered.
Dale Myers was the new chairman for Living History Day.
“Dale Myers!” Mrs. Jeffries spat. “That man is making so many
enemies. Why, I wouldn’t be surprised if he winds up murdered! Did
you know that my dear Mr. Jeffries and I were all set to sing for the
“Were?” I repeated.
Mrs. Jeffries nodded, her expression changing to resemble that of
a moping child. “Dale said that there were already too many acts
scheduled and that he’d have to bump Edmond and me off the list.
Can you imagine? We’ve been singing on Living History Day for
twenty-five years.” She crossed her arms with a huff. “Not a very nice
thing to do to us when we’ve just reached our quarter-of-a-century
Wendy shook her head. “It’s downright cruel if you ask me. Such a
The Jeffries were by no means an act that would make it on Broad‐
way. But they had a familiar, hometown sound and I couldn’t imagine
Living History Day without it.
“That’s strange he would say that there are too many performers,” I
remarked. “I mean, if you two got bumped off the program and now
Ben’s band too, we won’t have any entertainment.”
Mrs. Jeffries looked down at the earrings Wendy had just handed
her. “You’re exactly right.” She released a long-suffering sigh as she
held the earrings up so that they sparkled in the sunlight streaming
through the window. “I came in here to forget about all this. But Dale
Meyers’s doom and gloom managed to follow me here too.”
Wendy offered a sympathetic smile. “I’m sorry about that. But
don’t you love those earrings? They’re just the thing to cheer you up.”
Mrs. Jeffries’ face brightened considerably. “Yes.. . . . yes, I think
you’re right. I’ll take them, Wendy!”
I barely hid my laughter at how quickly Mrs. Jeffries was consoled
by the purchase. I supposed that it didn’t matter what sold Ginger’s
jewelry so long as the afternoon was a success. Still, Dale Meyers had
cast quite a shadow, and it seemed Ben wasn’t the only one who was
unhappy about it.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”I couldn’t stop reading!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Fast-paced and fun. I love these mysteires!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Diana Orgain is my new favorite author!”
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