mystery | Diana Orgain

Double Trouble (Maternal Instincts Mystery Series: Book Twelve) Sneak Peek – Chapter One

From Double Trouble  Chapter One Chapter One To-Do: Throw Laurie’s birthday party. Organize pantry. Repack hospital bag more efficiently. Clean bathroom. Fix crooked poster in nursery. Vacuum everything. Vacuum everything again. Find a case? No, not this month. No time.   “Girl’s day!” shrieked my best friend Paula, clinking an imaginary champagne glass as the automatic doors opened in front of us. “Time for a shopping spree!” I tugged at a red shopping cart nested inside another cart. “Well, the budget is exactly two hundred dollars, so I’m not sure how much room that’s going to leave for spreeing.” The shopping cart didn’t budge. I grimaced and pulled harder. Paula threw out her arms, looking far too fashionable in her belted teal shirtdress and brown ankle boots. “Conveniently, my friend, you happen to know an event planner extraordinaire. I can throw the world’s best first birthday party on even the most shoestring of budgets.” Shoestring budget? I jerked, startled. It’s Laurie’s first birthday party, not the Met Gala. Shouldn’t two hundred dollars be enough? Am I . . . shortchanging my baby girl? Someone tapped my shoulder, and I waddle-pivoted to find an elderly Hispanic gentleman offering me a cart. “Here, señora,” he said in a thick accent, his gaze flicking to my heavily pregnant belly. “For you.” I let out a little sigh of gratitude and accepted the cart. “Thank you.” I was almost thirty-six weeks pregnant with the twins, and a lot of everyday tasks weren’t coming as easily as they used to. Gripping the handle, I leaned forward to let the cart bear the brunt of my extra...

Double Trouble (Maternal Instincts Mystery Series: Book Twelve) Sneak Peek – Chapter Three pt.2

Did you miss Chapter One? Did you miss Chapter Two? Did you miss Chapter Three part One? From Double Trouble  Chapter Three “You good, Connolly?” McNearny asked. Was that concern on his face? I cracked a grin. “Feeling great,” I replied. “Well, as great as anyone feels while this pregnant.” “Can’t be that great, then,” deadpanned Deb, raising her can of beer in the air. Nick’s wife Denise sat on the couch next to me. “Can I get you anything?” she asked. “You guys are so sweet,” I said. “But really, I’m fine. I promise.” The door opened, and my mom hurried in, carrying two pink gift bags. “I’m baaaaack!” she sang. “I didn’t miss the cake-cutting, did I?” “You did not!” I said. “Shall we sing happy birthday?” She held up the bags. “I just ran out to Baby Emporium to pick up a couple little gifts for the twins!” My mouth fell open, and I stared at her. But Mom continued on, seeming not to notice my abrupt shift in mood. “It’s not every day you find out your daughter is having twin girls!” “This is supposed to be Laurie’s party,” I said, “can we set the baby gifts aside to open later?” Paula darted around the corner, waving a hand wildly. “Oh, good! Vera’s here! Everyone come into the kitchen! I have Laurie’s cake set up! We need to hurry!” Denise helped me to my feet, and I followed everyone into the kitchen. My jaw dropped. Laurie’s high chair sat by the kitchen counter, next to the fanciest birthday cake I’d ever seen. Paula had outdone...

Double Trouble (Maternal Instincts Mystery Series: Book Twelve) Sneak Peek – Chapter Three

Did you miss Chapter One? Did you miss Chapter Two? From Double Trouble  Chapter Three The hot water felt absolutely heavenly on my pounding head. Jim had chosen the guest bathroom, leaving the larger shower in our master for me. I took my time scrubbing away the remnants of the sticky frosting, secure in the knowledge that Paula would pull out all the stops to play hostess to our guests. Another pang ricocheted through my abdomen, the sickening, tightening sensation hitting me like a piano falling out of the sky. I slammed one hand against the wall and grabbed at the shower curtain with the other. The fabric jolted, a ripping sound telling me I’d pulled the curtain halfway off the hooks. I staggered to keep my balance, leaning forward with both my palms pressed against the fiberglass. Breathe in. Breathe out. Just a Braxton Hicks. The seconds dragged on and on and on. Finally, the tightening sensation eased. I stood up straight, took a slow breath, and turned the knob to send a stream of cool water washing over me. I couldn’t be starting labor already, could I? But I dismissed the treacherous thought by pure force of will. The twins might come early, but not this early. We just have to get through this party and Laurie’s birthday, and then the twins can make their debut anytime. Squinting at the drooping curtain, I half-considered trying to reattach it to the hooks, but decided against it. I need to get back to Laurie’s party. Jim will fix it later. I shoved aside folds of fabric, toweled off, and...

Double Trouble (Maternal Instincts Mystery Series: Book Twelve) Sneak Peek – Chapter Two pt.2

Did you miss Chapter One? Did you miss Chapter Two part One? From Double Trouble  Chapter Two Continued… By instinct, I leaned forward, covering Laurie, protecting her from the oncoming frosting missiles. “Nooooooo!” my sweet husband called, lunging toward us, arms outstretched. He made contact with one of the cakes face-first, knocking it off course. A light shower of pink crumbs rained down around me. A girl . . . Then the second cake hit my head, rattling my skull. Laurie’s whimpering sobs heightened to a shriek. I blinked, shaking off the cake, inspecting Laurie for injuries. “Are you okay?” I asked in a soothing voice. Much to my relief, Laurie was fine—a few flecks of frosting dotted her party dress, and one of her shoes was covered in pink crumbs, but she’d mostly avoided the disaster. My head pounded, and I reached up to touch my hair. I was covered in cake. I pulled my hand away, staring blankly at the white frosting and pink crumbs on my fingers. Pink. Again. Two pink cakes. I blinked a few times, trying to process what had just happened. “Two girls!” cried Jim. I glanced from person to person. Jim was fist-pumping the air, a mask of cake coating his face and the front of his button-up shirt. Everyone else in the room was deathly silent and wide-eyed, every mouth covered by a hand. I shifted Laurie onto my hip and reached up toward Jim. He leaned over and helped me to my feet. Laurie’s shrieks returned to soft whimpers, and she reached for her daddy with a choked sob. “Are you all right,...

Double Trouble (Maternal Instincts Mystery Series: Book Twelve) Sneak Peek – Chapter Two

Did you miss Chapter One? From Double Trouble  Chapter Two “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls!” called Paula, standing on an upside-down bucket in my living room. “In five minutes, we’re going to have the gender reveal for the twins! Everyone start thinking about making their way into the kitchen. David is arriving with the cakes any moment.” She placed her hand dramatically over her chest. “I was starting to worry the bakery wasn’t going to finish them in time!” From across the room, I made mournful eye contact with Jim. Paula’s idea for a gender reveal was a pair of cakes—cupcake-sized, I hoped—that she wanted Jim and I to smash into each other’s faces like an enthusiastic bride and groom at a wedding reception. The idea didn’t thrill me . . . but Paula had been so enthusiastic, and it seemed easier to play along. I was too pregnant to argue. Our house was packed out with friends and family. My mom and her boyfriend Galigani sat on the couch in conversation with Jim’s brother, George, and George’s wife, Kiku, who was holding her little one. My dad and stepmom stood near the doorway to the kitchen with Deb, my policewoman friend. Laurie shuffled across the floor, chasing Paula’s toddler son, and our poor cat Whiskers hid under one of the couches evading Paula’s nine-month-old-daughter Chloe. A knock sounded at the door, and I opened it to find my friend and rival PI, Vicente Domingo and his cousin Baramendi, with Sergeant McNearny a step behind them. “Sorry we’re late!” Baramendi said. “We were just wrapping up a few loose ends...