Mac glances over her shoulder at the retreating cab with longing.
Lyn passes out sequined domino masks. “According to Duffy, it’s definitely haunted. Why do you think she chose this place to celebrate her new release, Iced Chiffon?”
“An October mystery book release party at a haunted house.” Mary grins. “What could be better?”
Mac groans and slips on her mask. Patsy grabs her hand to drag her along. “Face it, Mac. Savanna is America’s most haunted city. No matter where the party is held, there are bound to be some spooky attendees.”
Mary winks down at Nibbie, trotting at her side. Cuddles, Hampy and Foster cling to her collar, riding silently on her back. “At least the sidekicks will behave themselves tonight. There’s nothing like the chance of a two hundred year-old specter appearing in the middle of the party to keep their mischief in check.”
“Chin up, Mac. Oliver will protect you.” Patsy snorts a laugh. “Look. He’s waiting with your favorite drink. There's Witch's Brew, Zombie, Vampire Kiss, Green ghoul, Margarita Ghost Buster or Bloody Eyeball Martini.
Mac gratefully accepts the glass he holds out to her. She brings it to her lips and shrieks, “Is that an eyeball?”
“That’s not funny, Lyn.”
“Yes, it is,” Lyn, Mary and Patsy say in unison and laugh.
A towering, devil’s food, Grave-Digger’s Dirt Cake shares a smaller table with several Boo-Berry pies.
Mary’s stomach growls just as Duffy, looking gorgeous in a long, black gown appears at the top of the staircase.
“Welcome everyone. I’m so glad you could come.” She descends the stairs to appreciative applause and makes her way to the hostess’ side. “Isn’t this place fabulous?”
Before anyone can answer, the lights flicker and fade, leaving the guests gasping and shuffling in the dark.
Mary squeals as Nibbie shoves up against her thigh and little feet scurry up her leg and over her dress to dive beneath the material of her low cut bodice. Mac yelps as a large foot steps on the toe of her high heel. “Is that you, Patsy?” she whispers and reaches out but her fingers find no body to blame for her aching toes.
“Is that me, what?”
Mac spins around when Patsy answers from several feet behind her. “I told you this was a bad idea.”
Soft laughter meets their ears. “Okay, Foster. I think we’ve scared them enough.” Light floods the house once again and the hostesses turn to find Duffy grinning, Cuddles and Hampy pop their heads out of Mary's cleavage and Duffy laughs. “Don’t blame me. It was his idea.”
They all turn to watch Foster perform an extravagant bow before sliding down the banister to land gracefully at their feet.
Mac turns a glare on Foster who shakes his head adamantly.
“Oh, hell. Drink up, ladies.” Lyn tosses back her glass and laughs. “It looks like it’s going to be a bumpy night.”
Duffy Brown loves anything with a mystery. While others girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, Duffy longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. She has two cats, Spooky and Dr. Watson, and conjures up who-done-it stories of her very own for Berkley Prime Crime. Iced Chiffon, out October, 2012, is the first in the Consignment Shop Mystery series. Duffy writes romance as Dianne Castell and is a USA Today bestselling author.
Berkley Prime Crime
Consignment: Murder series
-Iced Chiffon Oct, '12
To pay for rehabbing the dilapidated Victorian house she loves, Reagan Summerside opens the Prissy Fox Consignment Shop and gets involved in the lives of her Savannah customers, neighbors, ex husband and the attorney who screwed her over in the divorce.
At the consignment shop, it’s murder and mayhem for the ex, his Cupcake and the badass attorney.
Auntie KiKi scurried out the front door waving her hands in the air. “Where in the world have you been?” she panted, leaning in through the open car window. “When I got home, there were three people waiting on your porch ready to shop! They said they got one of those tweets.” She tisked, the universal sound of exasperated Southern women everywhere.
“Whatever happened to the days when you got a nice phone call from a friend telling you what was what?” she lamented. “You have customers in your dining room looking for bargains, and I have a waltz lesson with Bernard in ten minutes.” She heaved a weary sigh.
Bernard Thayer was seventy, had no rhythm, less coordination, been Mr. Weather on Savannah TV for thirty years and he was determined to wind up on Dancing with the Stars.
KiKi thrust a wad of bills at me. “I went and got stuff from my own closet to sell to spruce up your inventory and what in the world are you doing with the Lexus?”
“I sold that fountain in the back yard to Raylene Carter for a small fortune. Now I have to deliver it as well as get the car back before Hollis knows I took it. I sort of didn’t tell him.”
“Oh, honey, Grand Theft Auto, your mamma will be so proud.”
I ignored the possibility that my scum-bucket ex would call the cops and I popped the trunk. “Take a look-see at how much room we have. Hollis stores his real estate junk in there.”
I grabbed my purse and rummaged for keys to the shed as I headed for the back yard. “I’ve got a cart. We can haul the fountain and--”
“Sweet Jesus in heaven! Uh, Reagan, honey,” KiKi called, her finger crooked at me in a come-here gesture. “We have junk, a great big pile of it.”
“Dump it on the lawn,” I said hurrying back to the car to help unload. “If I have to hire movers I won’t make any money and I have an electric bill due and-- Holy mother of God!” My gaze landed on Cupcake, eyes wide open, and dead as Lincoln right there in Hollis’s trunk.
KiKi and I stared, neither of us breathing. KiKi finally whispered, “She doesn’t look nearly as good in the pink chiffon as you do.”
“Maybe because she has blood in her hair and is rolled up in plastic like a hotdog in a bun.” I made the sign of the cross for disrespecting the dead.
“There is that.” KiKi sounded faint and slowly slumped to the curb. “You wouldn’t happen to have a martini in that purse of yours, would you?”
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