Freezer Bernie – New Cozy Mystery Release from Sam Cheever


3 Winter chickens against a cadre of thugs? Yeah, the bad guys are definitely in trouble!

When a dead guy turns up in the freezer of Flo and Agnes’s favorite Italian restaurant, the ladies quickly discover the corpse had connections to one of their friends. Celia Angonetti’s husband owns Gioppino’s Italian Restaurant, as well as the gun lying next the frozen body with bullet holes in his chest. What he doesn’t own, according to Celia, is responsibility for the kill. Against their better judgement, the ladies get pulled into the mystery of how the dead guy got dead in the freezer…why he’d been killed with Massimo Angonetti’s gun…and how Celia came to the unlikely conclusion that her thug of a hubby was innocent of the crime. Some might think it was an impossible task.

Some probably haven’t met Flo and Agnes.

5 stars

Flo rounded a long, stainless steel counter and found Celia and Agnes staring down at something on the floor. Expecting to see a man’s body, she blinked in surprise at the long sheets of brown paper with blood seeping out from underneath. “Is that butcher paper?” she asked softly.

Celia looked up, her mouth puckered worriedly. “It was all I could think of to cover him with.” She shrugged, her frown deepening.

Flo stopped beside Agnes and stared down at the paper, willing it to rise and fall in breaths that wouldn’t come judging by the amount of blood on the floor. “Do you know who he is?”

Celia didn’t respond. Flo glanced quickly up. “Celia?”

“Yes.” She sighed. “His name’s Bernie. He sold Mass a car last week.”

Agnes wandered away from the corpse and stepped into the freezer, eyeing the series of holes in the door. “Why would Mass kill a car salesman?”

Celia snorted. “Why wouldn’t he?” She shook her head. “Besides, he didn’t kill this man, Agnes. Mass wouldn’t kill anybody.”

Flo’s eyebrows climbed north but she didn’t say anything. From what she’d heard about Massimo Angonetti’s temperament and business dealings, he had no trouble at all killing things.

Agnes shrugged, stepping more deeply into the freezer.

Watching her friend’s movements, Flo felt the need to give a warning. “Don’t touch anything Agnes, the police will be fingerprinting everything.”

Agnes’s head popped around the door. “Even the gelato?”

Flo shook her head. “How did he die?”

Celia twitched a hand toward the butcher paper. “You should uncover him and look.”

Flo’s mouth came open. “Whatever for?”

“To look for clues of course.”

Flo shook her head. “I’d have no idea what to look for.”

Celia sobbed.

Flo immediately felt bad. “Okay. Don’t cry. I’ll see what I can…um…see.” Flo carefully lifted the paper and peeked underneath. The man’s face was a strange blue color and his eyes were wide. They were cloudy from death and Flo shuddered. His mouth was open wide as if he’d been shouting something when he died.

“There’s no foam around his mouth.”

Agnes’s heavy footsteps came from inside the freezer. “You and your foaming mouth.”

Flo didn’t look up. “No petechial hemorrhaging.”

Agnes snorted.

“Petechial what?” Celia asked.

Warming to her examination, Flo peeled the paper back more. It stuck to his chest and she grimaced as she realized it was glued to his shirt by drying blood. “Broken blood vessels in the eyes from strangulation.”

“Ah,” Celia said. “See, Flo, I knew you were the right person to call. You know all about this stuff.”

Agnes snorted out a laugh. “She knows those two things and that’s all.”

Flo glanced angrily at her friend. “Says the person not helping…” Her voice trailed off in horror. “Please tell me you’re not eating gelato at the crime scene?”

Agnes looked down at the small carton of lemon gelato. Then she shrugged, sticking the flat, wooden spoon back into the frozen dessert. “Flo, I’m not eating gelato at the crime scene.”

Celia looked horrified. “How can you possibly eat with a dead body right in front of you?”

Agnes shrugged again. “I have a very strong constitution.”

“Yeah,” Flo stood, “that’s one way to refer to it.” She looked at Celia. “Do you have the weapon he…erm…the killer used?”

“No,” she said much too quickly.

Flo crossed her arms. “Celia.”

Celia flushed guiltily, then folded like yesterday’s laundry underneath Flo’s substitute school teacher glare. “Okay.” She marched over to a big, stainless steel pot on the stove and pulled off the lid, reaching inside.

“Wait!” Agnes screamed, starting forward as Celia jumped and her arm hit the side of the pot, sending it clanging to the floor. A big, black gun flew out of the pot and skidded toward the body, landing right next to Bernie as if the killer had dropped it there.

Flo’s heart was pounding in her chest. “Good Lord in Heaven, Agnes. What are you screaming about?”

Agnes strode over to the gun and inserted the wooden spoon under the trigger, pulling it off the floor with a grin. “No fingerprints. Pretty smart, huh?” A glob of gelato fell off the spoon and landed on the body.

“Very smart, fool. If only you hadn’t thrown your stolen gelato at poor Bernie in the process.”

Celia and Agnes looked where Flo was looking and Agnes frowned.

The shiny glob of frozen sweetness was perched on Bernie’s bloody shirt, in the vicinity of the three tightly packed bullet holes.

“Oh my,” Celia said. “Should we try to clean it out?”

Agnes took a giant step backward, which put her back inside the walk-in freezer. “I’m not touching him.”

Glaring at her friend, Flo nodded curtly. “The last time you touched a corpse he ended up with a broken wrist and a lampshade on his head.”


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Brand New Paranormal Release by Sam Cheever — Only 99 Cents for a LIMITED time!

Only $0.99 for a LIMITED Time!


She’s trying hard to be virtuous, but evil keeps nuzzling her. And the nuzzling feels sooooo delicious!

I used to be someone who was in control of her life. I was an adult. Responsible and mature. But then I took over the Angel Network, my sister’s demon quashing business, and my life just went to hell…literally!

Part of the problem is, of course, my new partner, Slayer. He’s cocky and opinionated and just so…male. Forget that when he’s nearby my body just about melts with desire. Forget that it’s nearly impossible for us to work together. Forget that dealing with dark worlders on a daily basis is death to my better nature. I just want to prove to Astra that I can run her business as well or even better than she did.

But I can’t catch a break.

What are the chances that one of my first clients would be the Queen of the Hellhounds and that she would drag me to Hell, get me entangled with my dangerously unstable ex-boyfriend, or set me on a path that would nearly kill me a hundred ways to Sunday?

There have to be easier ways to make a living than this.

5 stars

Lots of humor and adventure: 

“This is the second book I’ve read by this author, the first being the first in this series, Bedeviled & Beguiled. Both of which I enjoyed very much. At first I was concerned I would be lost since I hadn’t read the rest of the series, but you can jump right in on this one since it focuses on Darma. I can’t say enough how much I’ve enjoyed these books. Once I started reading I found I didn’t want to put it down.”

Great read. Wonderful:

“Great read!! Wonderful I laugh, cried and couldn’t wait to see what happens. Once you start the book you want to keep reading till the end. Can’t wait till the next one.”


I dropped my air booger down at the Phelps Castle and sat for a moment, eyes closed, trying to contain a rage that felt bigger than I was. If it was the last thing I ever did, I was gonna get my revenge on the contemptible Slayer for what he’d done.

I shifted against the seat, grimacing as a heavy wetness caused a giant sucking sound on the seat. A sour, butcher shop smell wafted upward and I clenched my fists, which I was holding away from my body because I didn’t want to touch the chunks of gore covering my fine, leather outfit. A bloody string of something I refused to identify trailed from my hair. My cheeks were stiff under a drying coat of blood.

“Open door.”

The booger’s elderly electronic brain hesitated for a beat, a confused whirring sound preceding a final click before the door lifted upward. I very carefully shifted my legs outside and straightened away from the car, shuddering when a heavy chunk of something slimy plopped onto the seat behind me.

“I’m going to kill him slowly, one hateful cell at a time.”

“Seal and sanitize,” I told the booger. The door jumped downward and stuck, rising again with a clank, and then finally eased shut. The interior glowed green as the booger struggled to incinerate the goop and gore I’d deposited inside. I didn’t even want to think about what the process would leave behind. If I was lucky it would just be a fine residue of gray ash. If I suffered my usual luck, or lack there-of, I’d be forced to remove a charred hunk of demon flesh from my seat in the morning. I shoved the horrid thought away and buried it under soothing thoughts of my revenge against Slayer.

Sloshing toward the large, arched doorway in the back wall of the castle, I scanned the heights of the dark stone edifice. By habit, I looked for signs that my father, James Phelps, Seraphim in the Angelic choir and God’s right hand man, was home. The façade was dark, the windows like black, unblinking eyes unfavorably judging me as I approached.

I realized as I reached the door that I’d have to touch the handle to open it. My hands were painted in green demon blood with strings of blackened flesh clinging to them. Touching stuff wasn’t an option. Rage flared again and it ignited my last nerve. I’d have to space shift into my room. I hated to do it, but the alternative was coating everything I touched with disgusting refuse and then having to clean it all up. Besides, my father would know what I’d been up to if I left the demon’s magic signature all over the place. I didn’t think I was up to receiving his knowing looks.

Space shift it was.

Picturing an open area of my bed chamber, I closed my eyes and envisioned my body disintegrating on the air, moving through space to that exact spot, and reintegrating there.

The total silence as I entered my shift was disconcerting. I kept my eyes closed because I still wasn’t used to the lack of movement, or the swirling silver sparkles as the magic altered physical properties and changed their location.

It was a great relief when my feet touched the soft rug of my room and the familiar, sweet scent of Lunar Roses dispelled some of my stink.

I opened my eyes and found that I’d landed exactly where I’d planned. Despite myself I smiled. I was a classic overachiever and nobody was as hard on me as I was when I didn’t live up to expectation.

Heading for the cleansing tube, I gave some thought to removing my clothes first and then decided against it. There was no way I was going to try to peel slimy, wet leather off my body while it was covered in chunks. I stepped into the tube and said, “Pulse on full, soap thirty percent, temp one hundred and four degrees.”

Hot, soapy water rained down on me, hard enough to loosen the chunks and scour off the dried demon blood. I stayed under there for long enough to deplete the hot water supply and then exchanged the water for hot air. By the time my below-the-shoulder length hair was close to dry, my televisual was dinging for my attention.

I thought about ignoring it but, being a bit anal about doing the right thing, a complimentary personality trait to go with the over-achiever in my nature, I headed toward the device with a sigh. “Answer call.”

My sister’s pretty face swam online and I mentally prepared for one of our “conversations”.

Astra’s long auburn hair curled wildly around her face, her green gaze widening as she took me in. “Tough day at the office?”

I frowned. “Why do you ask?”

“You have a large, blue eyeball stuck to the top of your head.”

I gave an embarrassing girly scream and reached up to knock the eyeball loose. Unfortunately, it didn’t budge. It seemed to be molded to the strands of my hair like it had been glued there. “Arghhhh! Ish!!”

Astra twisted her lips, obviously trying not to laugh. “You’ll probably need to cut that out of your hair. Demon parts are like chewing gum. They stick hard.”

I barely squelched the desire to growl. “I’m gonna kill Slayer.”

Both of Astra’s slender auburn eyebrows lifted. “What did he do now?”

“He talked me into blasting a Super Demon but he didn’t mention it would implode all over me.”

Astra gave in to the desire to smile. “Let me guess, he was somewhere far behind you when it happened, not a hair out of place?”

I let the growl loose. I figured my sister would understand.

She chuckled happily.

“I’m really glad you’re entertained.”

She flipped a hand upward. “Remind me to tell you about my visit to a dragon roost with the sexy Slayer sometime. Believe me when I tell you I completely understand.”

Though her words mollified me a tiny bit, I was careful not to let her know. “I doubt you know what it’s like to have an eyeball stuck to your hair.”

She cocked her head, narrowing her gaze. “You’re right. But that finger that’s sticking out of your collar, I’m pretty sure that’s happened to me before.”

I shrieked again, smacking at the cold flesh that was stuck to the collar of my leather jacket and dancing around like a Venutian elephant in a room full of mice. “Get it off!”

Giggling emerged from the televisual.

“I swear to god, Astra. You’re second in line for murdering after Slayer.”

“Don’t get your panties in a twist, Darma. Just take the jacket off and dump it in the chute.”

“Throw away my Lara Croft original hunting jacket? I think not.”

Shortly after I’d started helping Astra at the Angel Network, I’d discovered the ancient human heroine, Lara Croft Tomb Raider and decided I wanted to be just like her. I promptly got myself some sexy and indestructible leather clothing and started modeling my hunting persona after the feisty female. I was pretty sure Lara wouldn’t throw away a perfectly good jacket just because it had part of a demon stuck to it.

Astra shrugged. “Well, you could always put a sparkly ring on the digit and paint the fingernail a happy pink color.”

I closed my eyes, intending to count to a hundred so I didn’t shriek foul words at the televisual. I think I made it to ten…


“End call.”

Astra blinked away and I felt instantly better. “If God loved me he would have made me an only child.”



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A Tense New Mystery by Sam Cheever


*A Note from the Author:

The Smart Investigations, Inc. series is not your typical mystery series. There are two things you might like to know about it. First, the pace is fast, like a great suspense novel, and the mood is tense…a bit darker than your average cozy mystery but not too dark. The romance in the books is sweet, with sensual overtones, like an old time murder mystery from film noire days. And of course there’s a cute little dog named Max, a dachshund, who pees on bad guys because…well…he can! And because he’s a dachshund and they always have an opinion.

And secondly, you’ll notice a second author’s name on the cover. Edric Honeybun is one of the brothers from my popular Honeybun Heat series. In the Heat, Edric is a thriller/suspense writer and the Smart Investigations, Inc. series was originally his before I stole it. So I thought it was only fair to give him some credit. Thus the co-authorship.

 Read the reviews, check out the blurb and if it sounds like something you might enjoy, I hope you’ll give this exciting new series a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

Fractured love, treachery and cold-blooded murder…

A nightmarish new case plunges Alex and Matthew into personal and professional chaos as they pursue a killer who traffics in the most vile of human traits. They quickly learn that the current killings are somehow tied to a decades old murder, which comes with a hefty mix of suspects. As they begin to dig into the cold case, they start to realize that one of their suspects is hiding an evil so horrific it can barely stand the light of day.

Unfortunately, the evil they stalk is only one side of a multi-sided problem. Twisted around old loves and never forgotten treacheries, the case threatens their growing feelings for each other and dangerously undermines their professional relationship, while pitting them against a killer more deadly than any they’ve faced. Can they survive the dual threat? Will they reach for each other when things get rough? Or will they let misunderstanding and menace kill the future they’ve started building together?


Tandy Smart clicked blood-red nails on top of Alex’s desk and tugged on a shiny blonde curl as she talked into her pink phone. Alex watched Matthew’s twenty-something sister with a mixture of awe and disbelief. She, Alex, had never been the flirty girl sort. She’d always been driven by the need to learn and, as such, had somehow threatened the tender psyches of any men she might have formed attachments with.

Before Matthew, there had been only one other man who’d seen past Alex’s brains and acerbic sense of humor to the slightly insecure, loving woman beneath. But, watching Tandy do her thing, Alex realized the younger woman’s modus operandi was a mature one, no doubt built over years of flinging out test bubbles to see what worked and then adjusting strategy to get what she wanted. That was where the awe came in. Tandy Smart was as good as her last name. She was no ditzy blonde, though she carefully crafted that persona when interacting with her victims. She was every bit as smart as her sexy brother, even if their methods were as different as night and day. Alex saw what none of the young girl’s brothers seemed to see. Tandy Smart was as savvy as the most dogged femme fatale. And every bit as dangerous because of her ability to hide it.

“Would you do that for me? Aw, that’s so sweet. You’re just the best. Thanks, Roger. I’ll owe ya one.” Tandy hung up the phone and threw Alex a smug grin. “Dandy Joes at two o’clock Wednesday. Back booth as requested.”

Alex shook her head. “You’re amazing.”

“Thanks.” Tandy surged from her chair, seemingly already focused on her next task. Her quick changes of mood and high energy were only two of the things that made Tandy exhausting to be around. “I’m meeting some friends for lunch. Can I bring you something back?”

“No thanks. I brought my lunch.”

Tandy grabbed a cute little clutch and headed for the door.

Alex eyed both the purse and the tiny behind swaying away from her, thinking she’d give anything to have a butt or a purse that small. But then she realized she’d have to give up carbs and store her gun in her bra. Nope, not worth it. “Enjoy your lunch.”

Tandy stopped at the door, turning back with a frown. “You know, my brother is an idiot.”

Alex felt the statement like a physical blow. Blood crawled into her face and turned her cheeks hot. She shook her head, unable to respond. Heading for her desk, she flung a hand dismissingly over her shoulder. “Have a nice lunch, hun.”

The door closed and Alex took a deep breath, her gaze sliding to the closed door of Matthew’s office. Sadness tugged at the sight, regret flared. Alex looked determinedly away, refusing to give in to the despair threatening to drag her down. She’d made a good run at it all. The relationship. The job. The last few months with Matthew, working at his side and sharing his life, had been the best days of her life.

But she’d made a decision and she was determined to live with it.

The office door reopened and Alex spoke without looking up. “Forget your lipstick again?” When Tandy didn’t respond, Alex glanced up from her computer. Her world tilted. Her lungs seized. She stood too quickly and thought she might faint as stars burst before her eyes. “Ben.” Her gaze slipped over him. Over the blood-shot blue eyes and the rumpled clothing. His face was whiter than the t-shirt he wore under the filthy hoodie. His baggie trousers were wet, the knees black with filth. But it was the trail of dried blood on his face that had her rushing forward. “Oh my god. What happened?”

The man she used to love more than anything let her take his arm and walk him toward a chair. His legs buckled out from under him more than once during the short trip. He groaned, clasping his head as Alex grabbed her client chair and pulled it over to the sound of wood screeching against wood.

When he was seated, Alex crouched before him, her hands over his on the arms of the chair. “Who did this to you?”

He frowned down at her, his sexy blue gaze filled with confusion and pain. “I…I don’t know exactly.”

Max yipped behind the closed door, his nails clicking across the floor in Matthew’s office. A beat later he was throwing his tiny body against the scarred wood, whining plaintively. Alex skimmed a quick glance in that direction before returning her gaze to Ben. Something inside her rebelled at the idea of asking Matthew for help with the man she’d once thought she’d marry.

“Ali, I think I’m in trouble.”

She sucked in a small gasp at the sound of that name. No one but Ben had ever called her Ali, and it had usually been in the most intimate of situations. Panicking at the flood of disconcerting memories, she stood up and moved away from him. Alex perched on the edge of her desk and crossed her arms. She knew even as she did it that the distance and the crossing of arms were both protective, shielding mechanisms, but she didn’t care. If there was anyone Alex needed to protect herself from it was the man sitting a few feet away from her. “Tell me what happened.”

His story was fractured, with small blank spaces his injured brain couldn’t fill in. But the gist of it was that Ben had been trying to help what he’d assumed was a homeless guy and had gotten himself caught in the crosshairs of the person who’d attacked him. “Have you gone to the police?” she asked him.

“No.” He shook his head and grimaced, his blood-covered hand flying to his head. “I can’t.”

“Why not?”

He lowered his hand and looked at it, seeming to see it for the first time. He didn’t speak for long enough to make Alex think he hadn’t heard her question. “Alex? Why haven’t you gone to the police? The man who hurt that homeless guy and you is still out there. He might hurt someone else.”

“The police already have their suspect.” Ben’s gaze slid to hers and darkened with fear. “It’s me, Ali. They think I killed that man.”

Though her stomach twisted painfully at the news, Alex made a dismissive sound. “That’s ridiculous, Ben. Why would they think that? Because you tried to save him and couldn’t? Ben, was that what happened? If so, we can help you.” She realized the word “we” had flown out of her mouth all too easily and, truth be told, she wasn’t entirely sure it was a true statement anymore. It was highly likely Alex was no longer a “we”. So she quickly amended her words. “I can help you.”

Ben Phillips continued to stare at his bloodied hand, his face the very picture of confusion. “No. You can’t.” He lifted a terrified gaze to her. “Because I’m afraid I did kill that man.”

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Fun New Romantic Suspense by Sam Cheever – Aloha Honeybun


In a battle between evil and Honeybun, tall red and sexy will always win.

Alfric and Pleasance are getting married on the romantic and beautiful island of O’ahu! Or are they? Violence in the rainforest has a way of upsetting even the best laid plans. And when that violence comes a little too close to home…the brothers might need to exchange their lei for a slightly more deadly form of body ornament. Invasion, war and centuries of the best and worst nature can hand them…Hawaii’s overcome it all. But the people of the beautiful islands have never experienced the Honeybuns. That’s a whole new kind of natural event!

5 stars

Reader review: “Sam Cheever’s ability to create an exciting, page-turning, action, mystery and suspense romance is second to none. This book immediately draws you in and you will be totally captivated until the last page.




If they stood very still, the sounds of the rainforest were like a soundtrack. Nature’s music swelled and faded around them, filled with the chorus of life that throbbed just beneath the surface everywhere they walked. It would have been easy to lose the song in the chaos of astounding visuals, but Alf Honeybun was determined to not only hear its magical tune, but to infuse it into his cells. Never to be forgotten.

“This probably isn’t the first jungle-type place you’ve been in,” Pleasance said with a grin.

“No. But it feels like the first. I never really experienced the last one, what with all the shooting and blood curdling screams of agony.”

They stood at the top of a rocky bluff, looking out over the dense green of an O’ahu rainforest. Behind them, the narrow path they’d hiked to gain the top wound back down, an unwelcome reminder that they couldn’t stay there forever.

“It’s so impossibly beautiful up here.” Pleasance frowned. “I should have brought my sketch book.”

Alf wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her close, nuzzling her thick fall of black hair. She smelled like the fresh flowers in her lei. Since they’d arrived on the island, he’d bought her a new one every morning. Once they were married and went back home, Alf was determined to have a lei made up for every anniversary. To bring back a taste of the pre-wedding honeymoon they’d been enjoying. “We’ll come back tomorrow. You can draw for as long as you want.”

She turned as he kissed her cheek. “What will you do while I sketch?”

“Navel gaze. I suspect there are many mysteries and conundrums in my navel. I’ve never had time to consider them all. It’ll be cathartic.”

She laughed, a throaty sound that made Alf’s body tighten with need. “So much drama in something so small.”

He winced. “Ouch! Be careful what you’re callin’ small, woman.”

She leaned into him, sliding her long fingers through his auburn hair. He’d let it grow over the last weeks and found himself enjoying the change. For one thing, Pleasance ran her fingers through it more often, and, coupled with the sand, sun and beauty of Hawaii, it made him free and happy in a way he hadn’t been since he was a kid.

The thoughts flitted through Alf’s mind in a flash. But all reflection disappeared as Pleasance’s soft lips found his. Heat flared from the spot where they touched and spiraled downward, swamping him with instant need. Alf wrapped himself around her and deepened the kiss, letting his tongue slide through to tangle with hers.

Pleasance’s soft body molded to his. Her delectable scent encompassed him, driving desire a notch higher. When she made a soft sound of pleasure, need flashed into lust like a spark to a flame. Alf pressed her backward, intending to ease her down onto the blanket and transform their kiss into something much deeper.

He never got the chance. In the distance, a blood curdling scream disturbed the natural peace, ripping them brutally from the moment.



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Get Your Dose of Fun Today! Dose Vidanya


Silver Hills Senior and Singles Residence isn’t exactly a boring place. Home to a death predicting cat named Tolstoy, a night manager who may or may not suck blood and float above the floor, a cook with mad voodoo and pie baking powers, and a trio of nosy sleuths who are determined to get to the bottom of the corpse in the library (maybe literally)…some might say things couldn’t get any weirder.

Some would be wrong.

5 starsReader Review: “OMG this book was laugh out loud tears in your eyes funny!!! You will never look at retirement communities or Yoga classes the same!!!! The book is full of humor, mystery, and a bit of romance. Highly recommended and safe for all ages who want to read a murder mystery.”


“You’re being ridiculous, Flo.”

Florence Bee cast her friend Agnes Willard a withering look. “I’m not going anywhere near that cat. I know you love him but he’s the Grim Reaper.”

Agnes snorted. “That’s just superstition. Tolstoy cannot predict death.”

The two women peered around the corner again. The huge orange striped cat sat licking his paws in a ray of sunlight that painted the mauve colored carpet. He stopped suddenly, as if sensing their presence and lifted his round green gaze in their direction.

Florence jerked backward, dragging Agnes with her. “There are ten dead people who might argue with you about that.”

Her friend removed Florence’s bony fingers from her shirt. “He’s my cat. I don’t need to hide from him.”

“Yes you do. If he sees you he’ll come over here.”

“And?” Agnes lifted a heavy brown eyebrow and placed her hands on wide hips.

“And I’m not going to find out what happens next. We don’t know if he kills with a look or if he has to sit on you.”

Agnes blew a raspberry. “Flo, I live with Tolstoy. He looks at me all the time. He sits on my chest when I’m sleeping…”

Flo gasped, grabbing Agnes’s wrist and looking at her watch.

“What are you doing, fool?”

“I’m checking your pulse.”

Agnes yanked her arm away as a door down the hall opened and a familiar voice spoke to Tolstoy.

“Good afternoon, boy.”

Tolstoy yowled a greeting and dove through the stairwell door before it closed.

Florence expelled a breath. “Good. We can go now.”

Shaking her head, Agnes stepped around the corner. She hotfooted it toward Richard Attles, a flirtatious smile on her wide face. “Richard! Hello.”

Flo rolled her eyes and followed, hoping to avert disaster.

Agnes had been nursing a serious crush on the man since the first day she’d arrived at the residence and had made a fool of herself more times than Flo could count over it.

The day manager of Silver Hills looked up as Agnes plowed toward him, her broad flank swinging energetically as she cut the distance between them.

Judging by the widening of the man’s eyes and the way his head swung from side to side looking for an escape route, Richard Attles was about to do something desperate. When his gaze swung toward the second floor window at the end of the hall Flo decided aggressive maneuvers were called for. She pitched sideways with a cry and folded carefully to the ground. As Agnes turned around, Flo grabbed her ankle.

Agnes rushed in her direction and Richard Attles saluted Flo as he dove back into the stairwell.

“Are you all right?” Agnes put her big hands under Flo’s arms and hefted her off the ground. Flo gave a startled chirp as her feet left the carpet. Agnes rarely knew her own strength.

“I’m fine I think. I just twisted my ankle.” She took a step, feigning a limp, and then straightened. “There, good as new. Let’s go or we’ll be late to the reading.”

Agnes narrowed her gaze at Flo and held her ground. “Just like that, your ankle’s better?”

Flo took off toward the elevator. “I’m a quick healer.” She pressed the Up button and the doors slid open with a whir. The two women climbed on board and Agnes stabbed a thick digit at the number three button.

“Hold the elevator!”

Agnes pressed Hold and peered around the open door to the young woman running lightly down the hall toward them, pressing a paperback to her stomach as she ran. The newcomer tugged a strand of mahogany hair off her face and smiled as she slipped into the elevator. “Thanks, ladies. Are you coming to the reading?”

Flo nodded. “We are. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I think I’ve figured out who killed Professor Pelt in the sun room.”

The doors slid shut and Agnes leaned against the wall at her back, eyeing the green-eyed beauty across from her. “I’m waiting for the sex scene. When are we getting to that, TC?”

Trisha Colombo shook her head. “There’s no sex, Agnes. But there is a sweet romance.”

Agnes blew a raspberry. “You need to write something steamier, TC. I’m getting diabetes from all that sweetness.”

The younger woman’s eyes widened as the doors slid open. “Shhhh! I don’t want Richard to know about the writing. It’s against my contract to have a second job.”

Agnes frowned. “It’s not like writing a book is a job, TC.”

TC lifted carefully shaped brows. “Have you ever tried it?”

“Agnes can’t even write a grocery list without breaking every grammar rule in the book,” Flo offered. She peered at her friend. “Besides, if you’re getting diabetes it’s from all those glazed donuts you eat.” Flo punched Agnes on a beefy arm. It was like a tick hitting a rhinoceros, barely even registering.

Agnes glanced at Flo when she rubbed her fist.

“I hope you hurt yourself.” She gave Flo a mean smile. “Good thing you’re a fast healer.”

“You two are incorrigible,” TC told them. “I hope I’m not going to have to separate you again.”

“If you do,” Flo said while glaring at her friend, “don’t put her near the coffee and cookies. The last time she ate everything but the ones with raisins.” Flo bunched her face with distaste. “I hate raisins.”

“Raisins are Satan’s boogers,” Agnes agreed.

TC grimaced. “Good Lord.”

“Don’t bring him into this,” Flo said with a grin.

Agnes laughed with her. “Yeah, he had nothing to do with raisins. He’s chocolate all the way.”

The elevator door opened and they stepped out, heading for the Silver Hills library. It was an open, inviting spot settled into a corner of the third floor. Two of the room’s walls consisted of floor to ceiling shelves made from dark wood, and every inch of the shelving was filled with books. The outside perimeter was open to the hallways and overlooked the large entrance and dining room two floors below.

Flo loved the library. It was her favorite spot at Silver Hills and she spent as much time there as possible. In fact, it had been her idea for TC, who was the resident activities director, to do the weekly readings. She hadn’t even known at the time that TC actually authored the cozy mysteries she read to about a dozen of the residents at Silver Hills. She’d just known they shared a love of reading.

They were a few minutes early to the reading and only one of the comfortable upholstered chairs was occupied when they approached. “Somebody beat us,” Flo observed as she eyed the stooped form with his back to them. She didn’t recognize the man from previous readings. “Who is that?”

TC shrugged. “Maybe it’s somebody new.”

Agnes picked up the pace. “He’s sitting next to the cookies. He’d better not have eaten all the chocolate chip ones.”

Flo rolled her eyes at TC and the younger woman smiled. “If he did I’ll call Cook and order us some more.”

Agnes slowed down from a near sprint and nodded. “Good. I need my daily sugar or I’ll drop into a diabetic coma.”

“You’re no more diabetic than I am,” Flo argued.

“Says you.”

They entered the cool, quiet space and a sense of peace slipped over Flo. She headed for her favorite chair just down from the newcomer, stepping over his very large shoes. “Excuse me.” The man in the chair didn’t look up from his magazine. Flo eyed the shaggy fringe of dark hair falling over his brow and frowned. Something about the man was familiar. And he appeared to be asleep.

Voices down the hall spurred Flo into action. She quickly forgot the magazine reading newcomer and hurried to her chair before old Mrs. Peoples stole it out from under her. Their feud over the slightly lumpy armchair had started months earlier, when Flo got up to go to the bathroom and came back to find the nasty old woman sitting like a queen in her chair. Mrs. Peoples had refused to leave, declaring the worn and lumpy chair the finest in the room and since she was the oldest, she proclaimed it should be hers.

Florence hadn’t taken it well and had set out, from that day on, to get to the readings before everyone else and claim the chair. She’d managed to snag the seat away from the crotchety old ninety-year-old woman several times in a row, only missing it the day the woman brought her lunch of prunes and sunflower seeds to the library and stayed until the reading just to rain on Flo’s parade. The cantankerous old woman had to have a bladder the size of her head.


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Bubba’s Back in the Continuing Adventures of Miss Chance meets Miss Fortune



Trouble carves a spot out of the Bayou and threatens to sink Swamp Team 3 plus 1 into its murky depths.

Bubba―a.k.a. Felonius Chance―calls Felicity when one of the Brothers at the monastery goes missing. The monks believe Brother Mike was pulled into the Bayou by Aristotle, their pet gator. But Felonius doesn’t believe Brother Mike was killed by the gator. He thinks his friend got on the wrong side of a whole different kind of predator. And he’s hoping Felly and the intrepid Cal–with the help of Swamp Team 3–can find him before he ends up feeding the fishes in the muddy waters of the Bayou.


Mary Magdalene stood guard over the choir dais, her benevolent gaze focused down on the singers and her hands outstretched as if to say, “What? No Jazz?”

Ida Belle stopped underneath the intricately carved figurine, which hung from the wall between two round-topped windows filled with multi-colored glass. She reached up and ran a finger lovingly over Mary’s hem, her expression rapt. “I remember when they requisitioned this. Of course Celia was in charge of the committee.” Ida Belle shook her head. “I don’t know where she got the money to hire Charlie Spift. We would have killed to have one of his pieces at the Baptist church.”

“I take it he’s expensive?” I asked.

“He’s world famous for his religious statuary,” Gertie agreed. “He even has pieces at the Vatican.”

My eyes widened. “Really? Is this a local guy?”

“He supposedly lives outside of Mudbug,” Ida Belle confirmed. “But nobody’s exactly sure where. He’s kind of a recluse.” She frowned. “I’m not sure what we’re looking for but, whatever it is I sure don’t see it from down here.”

I climbed up onto a pew and did a quick, visual scan over the seven foot tall figurine. “I can’t see much either.”

“Hold on,” Gertie said. She strode away from us, toward the choir dais, heading for the podium that stood in front of the elevated rows of chairs.

“What are you doing?” Fortune asked.

Gertie grabbed the podium and started tugging it. “Help me move this, will you?”

Fortune and I went to help Gertie with the heavy wood podium, carrying it to a spot just beneath the figurine.

“Now what?” Ida Belle asked, looking skeptical.

“I’ll go up.” Fortune lifted her skirts, exposing yoga pants and white sneakers She climbed up onto the end of a pew, stretched a leg toward the podium, and stepped onto its tilted top. Fortune wavered there, the starched butterfly on her head waving its wings as the podium wobbled beneath her.

“I don’t know if that’s going to hold,” I said.

Fortune glared down at me. “I haven’t gained that much weight since coming to Sinful.”

Shrugging, I grabbed one of her flailing hands and Ida Belle grabbed the other. With our steadying grip Fortune was able to swing her other leg up and put her weight on the wobbly lectern.

Fortune stilled as the wood creaked ominously. But it held and, a beat later she was running her hands over the figurine and wrenching around to peer behind it. “Nothing. Wait…there’s a piece of paper stuck to the back.” She slipped two fingers past Mary’s virginal behind and grimaced. “It’s really stuck on there. I’ve almost got it…”

The front door slammed shut and we all jerked guiltily. I whipped around as Celia’s shrill voice called out and inadvertently tugged Fortune off balance. She started to go down but Ida Belle grabbed hold of Fortune’s habit with both hands and Gertie threw herself forward to grab Fortune’s leg.


The glass in the stained glass windows rattled under Celia’s dulcet tones. I jerked my head around as Fortune gasped. Her habit was breaking away at the seams and she was slowly falling toward me. In desperation, I reached up and pressed my hands against her side, shoving with all my strength. For a beat she seemed to steady, but then the podium began to tilt and her eyes widened as it started to roll out from under her feet.

Fast, heavy footsteps sounded in the foyer. “Sisters? Where are you?”

The podium crashed sideways, toppling Gertie to the ground. Ida Belle barely jumped out of the way in time and I fell forward as Fortune leapt straight up, her weight disappearing.

I sprawled over the fallen lectern, eliciting a deep grunt of pain from Gertie as I smashed it into her ribs. Rolling to my back, I rubbed my stomach and looked up into a pair of flailing sneakers.

Fortune had both arms wrapped around Mother Mary’s skirts and was slipping. Judging by the look on Ida Belle’s face, she and I realized at the same exact moment that Fortune’s trajectory would drop her directly onto Ida Belle’s head.

I reached out and grabbed Ida Belle’s wrist, yanking her sideways. Adrenaline had me tugging too hard and both of us went down, landing in a pile of starch and skirts between two pews.

Above us, something groaned and Mary wrenched downward.

The door to the nave slammed open.

Fortune expelled air like a punctured balloon and let go of the figurine, hitting the ground and rolling as Celia burst into the room like a virus filled sneeze.


We all hugged the ground and prayed she didn’t spot us. Squashed beneath me, Ida Belle was breathing fast and hard. I tried to take some of my weight off her and she pulled air into her lungs. Turning my head, I could just make out Gertie’s strange red shoes twitching beneath the podium. Unbidden, the munchkin song from the Wizard of Oz filtered through my brain and got stuck there. Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch! Ding Dong! The Wicked Witch is dead.

“Hello?” Muffled footsteps pounded up the aisle, drumming against my bones as Celia thundered toward us.

Closing my eyes, I said a prayer, hoping my temporary sistah status would buy me a break from the big guy I pretty much ignored for the rest of the year. I glanced at Ida Belle and realized her lips were moving. She was either gasping her last breath or saying her own set of prayers. I shoved against the floor to ensure I wasn’t killing her, confident that Ida Belle’s prayers would be better received than mine. Hopefully if mine tanked hers would buy us a break from the tsunami heading our way.

Mother Mary groaned softly above us, her hem skewing slightly sideways. In a moment of horrifying clarity I realized she was coming down and Fortune and Gertie were sprawled directly beneath her.

I had to do something or my friends would be killed by the virgin Mary. My mind raced. My eyes danced from Gertie’s twitching red shoes to the aisle, where Celia had grown suspiciously quiet after Mary groaned.
Ida Belle must have read my intentions in my face. She grabbed my arm and gave a little shake of her head, frowning.

I jerked my head toward Mary, whose hem had twitched another notch lower.

Suddenly Celia shrieked.

We all jumped and I scampered backward as footsteps once again pounded down the aisle.

I shoved to my feet and looked toward the door, my mouth opening to give Celia a line of bull pucky to distract her. But all I saw was Celia’s wide backside disappearing through the door her arms flailing over her head. She was screaming Carter’s name at dolphin pitch.

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Smart Alex – Elegant Mystery Fiction with Sweet Romance


A killer finds himself behind the curvy on getting what he wants.

Matthew Smart has lost his Assistant, Cameron, in a brutal killing. Devastated, Matthew has to find out who murdered his employee while interviewing potential replacements. Strangely, the applicants all seem to be blowing off their interviews. So when a bold, softly curved beauty named Alexis McFadden shows up in his office looking to fill the position, he’s tempted to hire her just because she’s the only one who wants the job, although he doesn’t believe she’s a good fit. Lucky for Alex, a tricky new case convinces Matthew that he can really use her help. But what if Alex is smart enough to get herself hired against all odds, while in the eyes of a cold-blooded killer, she’s too smart by half?