Book #5 in the Painted Lady Inn Mysteries Series comes out march 24th
Can a girls’ weekend at The Painted Lady Inn with backstabbing sorority sisters ever end well? Add in a murder mystery game complete with costumes, a demanding diva, and a mysterious midnight visitor.
Strained relationships, lurkers in the dark, open windows in the dead of winter and séance gone wrong is only the beginning. Too bad, the help has gone south leaving Donna dependent on her overzealous mother and a questionable fan.
It’s enough to kill a person.
A siren shrieked as the police car raced through the dark neighborhood. Donna muttered as she clenched her fists. “Too late, too late.”
In the shadows of the nearest building, a man lurked. The street light caught the satisfied gleam in his eyes and evil smile.
Her top teeth clamped down on her bottom lip as the words TO BE CONTINUED scrolled across the screen.
“Seriously.” Donna slapped the arm of the chair. A throat clearing caught her attention. She turned her head to notice Tennyson standing in the second parlor door frame. Her college-aged employee had awkward stamped all over him. He knew she valued her free time, especially when she indulged in catching up on the murder mysteries and police dramas she’d recorded during the week.
“Ah,” he stalled and looked back over his shoulder.
“Out with it.”
“One of your guests is on the phone. She wants to talk to Maria.”
“Okay.” She reached for the remote and clicked off the television. Her mind was still dissecting the show she had just watched as she stood and passed Tennyson. “I don’t know what it is with those television writers, but they keep making the police so stupid. I knew who the killer was within five minutes of the show.”
Donna picked up the hall phone. “Donna Tollhouse speaking.”
“I specifically asked to speak to Maria.” Irritation bled through the distinctively enunciated words.
“She’s gone. I’m the owner of The Painted Lady Inn. What can I do for you?”
“I’m checking to make sure everything is in place for the knockout girls’ weekend I planned.”
“Of course. Anything else I can do for you?” Donna did wonder what the specific plans were but didn’t want to ask. Maybe Maria had made notes or Tennyson knew. The latter possibility was doubtful.
“No. I’ll be arriving shortly.” The guest terminated the conversation before Donna had a chance to ask for a name.
Maybe Donna should have automatically known as if she were talking to the Queen of England. Come to think of it, she didn’t know what the queen sounded like.
A girls’ weekend had been Maria’s brainchild. She’d come up with the idea and helped Donna shake down local merchants and restaurants for two-for-one coupons to stick in the participants’ goodie bags, along with chocolate, hand cream, and individual size bottles of wine.
Mainly, it was Maria’s, since Donna hadn’t perfected her welcoming innkeeper banter yet. The same time her first fully booked girls’ weekend was about to happen, her brother decided to whisk her pregnant sister-in-law away for a romantic trip before the two became three. Most people might call it thoughtful. Her eyes narrowed as she realized she might have even suggested it.
Still, did he have to pick this weekend when Donna desperately needed help? Worse, they left on a Thursday morning when the guests were expected Thursday evening. An extra-long shift at the hospital cut out any discussion time about the plans.
Coming soon in Large Print and Audible