Did you miss part one of Chapter One?
From Rockabye Murder
Chapter One Continued…
“Watch Laurie!” I yelled as I slammed the door and turned on the
Fifteen minutes later, I emerged from the bathroom with damp
hair and a fresh change of clothes, feeling a bit more like myself. I
found Jim and Laurie sitting on the living room couch, reading a
book, and I gave Jim a real kiss.
“I’m sorry about that,” I said, letting out a giggle as I thought back
over the absurdity of the situation. “I was trying to bake and . . .”
“Decided to pioneer a hot new hair trend?” he asked with a
“Definitely,” I said, putting my hand on my hip and affecting the
mannerisms of my always-fashionable best friend, Paula. “It’s all the
rage in Paris, you know.”
“Seemed pretty sexy to me,” he said, shooting me a wink. “But
you’re sexy no matter how you do your hair.”
I rolled my eyes, but sank onto the couch and cuddled into his
side. “You’re silly.”
He held up his free hand in mock affront. “I speak nothing but the
“I need to start a prenatal exercise class.” I glanced down at my
baby bump. “I never got back into shape after Laurie, and I don’t
know how I’m going to reclaim my figure after having twins. And if
you make one crack about cutting out baking and brownies, I’ll knock
you out flat.”
Jim snorted. “Are you kidding? I value my life.”
“Anyway, you don’t need to worry about that unless you want to. I
love you the way you are. You’re the momma!” he said firmly, putting
down Laurie and pulling me into him for a bear hug. Laurie suddenly
pressed the button on the infernal chipmunk bus
“A is for apple,” screeched the bus.
“May I have this dance?” Jim asked, extending his hand to me.
Now it was my turn to burst out laughing. “What are you talking
about?” I asked as I let him pull me to my feet and spin me around the
“I just got off the phone with Dave. You know he and his brothers
bought that dance studio three or four years back?”
I nodded as Jim twirled me. “Yeah, I remember. What about it?”
Dave had been Jim’s best man at our wedding, and I’d always liked
him and his brothers, Jack and Eddie. We hadn’t seen them since
much since Laurie was born—they’d been focused on running their
business, and we’d been more than a little busy with Laurie and a
string of homicide investigations I’d solved in my first months as a
“Well”—we collapsed on the couch just as the chipmunk bus
finished its song—“the studio’s having some financial difficulty, and
Dave called to invite us to attend a fundraiser. A public dance, you
know, that they’re hoping will bring in some money.”
“Hold up! I’m four months pregnant and haven’t danced in years.”
“Come on,” he said.
There was a knock, and before we could react, a key slipped into
the latch and the door opened. My mom poked her head in. “Knock,
knock!” she called.
“Hey!” said Jim.
Mom bounced into the room, holding up a shopping bag in
triumph. No doubt something for Laurie that I’d absolutely hate. As
long as it wasn’t a clown, I’d tolerate it—I hoped Mom was past her
“You have a theater degree,” continued Jim. “It won’t be hard to
pick dancing back up. It’s like riding a bike. Besides, I think we should
take a set of dance lessons first. I’m sure they could use another
couple of students. Help keep them afloat, you know?”
“Dance lessons?” cried Mom. She looked from Jim to me and back
again with a huge smile on her face.
I groaned. I knew that look. It meant she was excited—and was
about to make sure she got her way.
She scooped Laurie into her arms and spun her around the room.
“We should all take dance lessons! You and Jim, and Galigani and me.”
“It will be so much fun!” she cried. “Besides, you need to get your
exercise in, and it’s not like you’re about to pick jogging back up while
you’re pregnant with twins.”
I bit my lip. She was right. Dancing was fun—certainly a lot more
fun than squats, or whatever else they had pregnant moms do in
prenatal fitness classes. And I wasn’t as tired anymore now that I was
in my second trimester. But I’d had such a complicated pregnancy,
between being poisoned and in accidents and landing in the hospital. I
wanted to keep the twins extra safe. “I don’t know if I should be
swung around that much,” I said.
Mom waved away my objection. “Well, talk to Dr. Greene, of
course. If she says you shouldn’t do it, that’s one thing. But you can’t
dismiss the idea without even asking her.”
“Besides,” said Jim “there’s one other thing I haven’t told you yet.”
“What?” I asked, crossing my arms.
“Dave said there have been some weird things happening at the
studio. Someone cut a hole in the roof in the middle of the night, and
it sounded like a few things have gone missing. Plus, a dead bird
showed up on the dance floor right before a group class was about to
start. Weird, right?”
Now that was interesting. I leaned forward. “What sorts of things
Jim grinned. He knew me too well—at the mention of something
mysterious, I was hooked. “He didn’t say, exactly. And maybe it’s all a
coincidence, but I know I’m married to San Francisco’s most attrac‐
tive and most talented private investigator, and I thought you might
want to poke around a little. See if there’s anyone who might be trying
to sabotage my best friend’s business. What do you say? Can I hire
you? Where do I sign?”
I slouched back against the couch cushions and held up my hands
in surrender. “Fine, we can take dance lessons. I don’t have a client
right now, and I could use a little mystery. It’ll keep me from trying to
bake again, at least.”
Mom squealed in delight, dancing Laurie around the room again.
“I’ll call and get the lesson set up,” Jim said, jumping up. “We’ll take
the lessons slow, I promise. And maybe we can help them throw the
“Sure,” I answered. “Let me call Dr. Greene to ask if the lessons are
safe, but let’s definitely help Dave throw the fundraiser. That’ll give
me a good excuse to spend time at the studio looking for anything
suspicious. Maybe Paula will help too. I’ll text her. Oh, and the
contractor said something came up. He’s coming tomorrow to look at
With the price of real estate in San Francisco, we’d decided to
convert our garage into a bedroom for the twins, rather than look for
a house that would accommodate our growing family. And I couldn’t
wait to get started.
I reached for my phone to dial Dr. Greene just as a streak of white
and orange barreled out from under the couch, leaving a trail of flour
in its wake.
“Whiskers!” I bolted to my feet and chased after the kitten. “Get
your tail back here!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”I couldn’t stop reading!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Fast-paced and fun. I love these mysteires!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Diana Orgain is my new favorite author!”
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