Sam Cheever has an exciting new Mystery in her Gainfully Employed series!

She’s got a lot more to lose now…and somebody’s determined to make sure she loses it all.

Blaise is at it again. She’s still searching for that perfect job. But even when she thinks she might have found a job that could be more of a career than just a 9 to 5 gig, something always happens to get in her way.

Usually, that something involves a corpse…

But this time, Blaise’s past comes back to haunt her in a big way. She’d thought she put that whole, seeing a murder on the beach thing behind her. But it seems somebody doesn’t want to leave the past where it belongs.

And her past problems are about to become her current nightmare.

She’s just trying to live her life. But someone doesn’t want to let go of the past. And that means not letting go of her!

“Just think of it as a giant party,” Blaise’s friend, Suz Whatsnoggin told her, grinning.

“It will be just like working at the bar,” Dolfe offered, taking a long swig of his icy cold beer.

Tyrese shook his head. “Not really. There are no Bridezillas at the bar.”

Dolfe’s handsome face filled with worry. “Bridezilla? I don’t know what that is but I’m pretty sure I don’t like the sound of it.”

Blaise winced, imploring her friends with her eyes not to inform her sexy fiancé about the horrors of dealing with a nervous bride. It was the last thing Blaise wanted him to think about on the virtual eve of their own wedding.

Well…if you consider “within the next year” the eve.

Fortunately, Suz caught what her friend was throwing. “It’s nothing you need to ever worry about, Honeybun.” She winked at Blaise.

But Dolfe was not a stupid man. In fact, he was probably even smarter than he was good-looking, Blaise thought. And that was a lot of smart. “It’s just a mean term used for brides who get the jitters,” she told him in as offhand a way as she could muster. “Suz is right. You’ll never experience that with me. I’m a rock.”

He grinned. “A rock, huh?” Being the aforementioned smart hottie, Dolfe was wise enough not to venture any further into those tempestuous seas. He simply smiled, shaking his head, and took another sip of his beer.

Tyrese apparently wasn’t smart enough to stay out of the storm. He dove right in, daring the waves to swamp him. “I have no delusions. If Suz and I choose to get married someday, she’ll be the queen of bridezillas. My Suz will own the term.” He shook his head as Suz gave him a quelling look. “I love me some strong woman. I have my own special way of easing her nerves.”

When he waggled his brows, Suz rolled her eyes. “Stupidity, thy name is Tyrese.”

Ty’s leer slid away. “Babe!” He leaned across the table, one long, brown finger tucking up beneath her delicate chin and lifting. “You know you’re cray-cray about me.”

She leaned in too, her lips a mere breath from his as she released the Kraken. “Dude,” Suz said in her sexiest voice. “You know, if we ever did decide to tie the knot, I’d just be marrying you for your last name, right?”

Ty laughed. “What? You don’t want to lumber through life with the name Whatsnoggin anymore?”

Suz smacked him on the arm.

Blaise shook her head. “Please tell me you didn’t just go there,” she said.

Dolfe winced.  “We don’t make fun of a person’s name around here, man. It’s not in good taste,” said the guy named Honeybun.

Ty’s smile withered. “She started it.”

Suz snorted. “Really? That’s what you’re going with? A playground excuse?”

Ty shrugged. “Look, I love your weird name, babe. It’s just one of the many funny little oddities that make you special.”

Dolfe groaned and Blaise sucked in a gasp. “Ty!”

Suz stared at him for a long moment, her pretty face so lacking in expression it was an expression all on its own. It was a face that said, you are so dead, while simultaneously declaring a total lack of concern.

Tyrese slowly lost his swagger and began to wilt, until he became little more than a handsome puddle in the delicate chair. When he was so puddly he looked ready to slither bonelessly off the chair onto the newly carpeted floor, Suz finally gave him a tight smile. “Just for that, if we ever decide to get married, Tyrese Miller, you’re going to take my name.”

Everybody gasped at that, followed by Dolfe’s low chuckle.

“Snap!” Blaise told her friends, knocking dainty knuckles with Suz.

“Come on, girlfriend,” Suz told Blaise. “Help me count the new shipment of linen napkins that just came in?”

Blaise stood, winking at Tyrese. “You’d better pull together your best defrazzling game, son. That’s one ticked off ‘special’ girl right there.” Blaise grinned as she followed Suz’s angrily swaying behind toward the door at the back of the enormous room. Behind her, she heard Dolfe’s deep chuckle as Ty whined at him in a voice that sounded like seagulls on a stormy beach.

Suz stopped at the open storage room door and grinned. “That should keep him on his toes for a while.”

Blaise laughed softly. “Oh yeah.”

Before going inside, the two of them stood in the doorway and looked around at the massive main space. It was a gorgeous room, elegant and clean, with lots of light and clean, simple lines. Blaise was impressed by her friend’s vision and decorating skills.

“It’s really beautiful, Suz.”

Her friend sighed, leaning companionably against Blaise’s shoulder. “It is, isn’t it?”

Blaise nodded. When Suz had first come to her with the idea of a wedding reception barn venue, Blaise had thought Suz had lost her mind. But her friend had quickly sold the plan, backing up her excitement with lots of rock-solid information that supported both the need and profitability of the venture.

With Blaise’s help and Dolfe’s investment in time and effort, Ty and Suz had turned the dream into reality in only a few short months.

They’d found a big, dusty barn out in the country on twenty acres of farmland and woods. The property featured a picturesque creek running along behind the main building, a wide lawn with old growth evergreens, and a lovely bridge over the creek that would make a perfect spot for pictures.

Ty and Suz had turned the interior of the metal-sided barn into a beautiful space, with rustic looking cedar walls, a tall ceiling with the original beams, and cream-colored carpet that Blaise couldn’t help thinking was going to be Hell on Earth to keep clean.

The public portion of the venue mostly consisted of one, giant room, with an alcove for coats and gifts, two bathrooms, and an open-air patio out back that served both as an outdoor kitchen and smoking lounge. The roof of the lounge was outfitted with industrial-sized heaters for cooler nights, and giant ceiling fans for sultry summer nights. The structure was mostly enclosed, with one wall entirely open so that smoke from cigars or the grill could escape harmlessly out into the night.  The view through the open wall included the pretty little creek and bridge, as well as a few acres of grass, flower beds, and evergreen trees.

It was actually a really nice space that Blaise hoped they’d be able to use for future Honeybun parties. It was large enough to accommodate a family as big as the Honeybuns, even as they continued to grow.

The non-public part of the venue consisted of a storage room with a small office at the back, and a caterer’s kitchen with restaurant-grade appliances.

The main room held fifty tables that were big enough to seat eight to ten people each, with chairs that Suz had covered in frilly white covers. Overhead, crystal chandeliers looked both opulent and kitschy against the age-darkened wood and were complimented by yard after yard of gossamer drapings, which hung from the rustic beams.

They’d added a small dance floor on one end, with a raised stage and glossy wood floors.

A swinging metal door in the back corner of the main space led to the caterer’s kitchen, which contained ample refrigeration, a bank of industrial microwaves for reheating food that was brought in for events, and a couple of long, wide, stainless-steel counters for food prep. They’d added the kitchen space on Dolfe’s suggestion, and it had required building a small annex of the main building. But Blaise realized it had absolutely been the right thing to do, and she was happy her friends had listened to her very smart fiancé.

Blaise had been intrigued as the couple turned the ugly building into something straight out of a fairy tale. All her doubts had slowly been swept away as she saw the enormous potential there.

And the last hurdle had been breached when they got their first clients, who were on their way to the venue at that very moment for a walk-thru.

Suz took a deep breath. “This is really going to happen, isn’t it?”

Wrapping an arm around her friend, Blaise nodded, “It really is.”

“I hope this couple isn’t difficult,” Suz said, frowning. She chewed on her bottom lip, clearly affected by the whole bridezilla conversation.

“We’ll deal with whatever happens,” Blaise said soothingly.

Suz nodded, giving Blaise a wide smile. “Have I told you that I’m so happy you’re here to help us get this off the ground?”

“Only five times today,” Blaise said, laughing. “But remember, it’s only for the first few months.” The wedding reception venue concept felt too much like working in a bar for Blaise’s taste. She was happy to help out, but it wasn’t what she wanted to do long-term for a living.

“I know,” her friend said on a sigh. “But a girl can dream, can’t she?”

“She absolutely can.” Blaise swung her arm to encompass the entire space. “Look what happens when she does.”


Grab your copy of Risky Venue at its temporary New Release price!

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Bad HairCult – New Cozy Mystery by Sam Cheever

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If you were a “mature” individual with a mighty fine bouff, would you consider shaving your head to solve a case of possible murder? That’s the million dollar question for Flo and Agnes as they find themselves neck deep in missing Satanists, scheming cultists, and a long string of seriously bad hair days. But what’s a sleuth to do when the queen of the night comes to them pleading…erm…threatening…ahhh…pleatening them for help? If you know Flo and Agnes you already know the answer to that question. They’re goin’ in!

“This novel needs a spew alert on the cover; drinking a beverage while reading is not recommended.”

“The suspense and humor keep the pages turning. I started reading this book the evening I received it and didn’t/couldn’t stop till the end in the late hours. Well worth it. Ready for book 4 !!!”

“OMG Ms. Cheever has done it again. She has written another hilarious book, in her unique style, involving the crazy antics of Flo, Agnes and their friends at the Silver Hills Senior and Singles Residence. I laughed until I had tears rolling and my sides hurt at this zany addition to the Silver Hills Cozy Mysteries series or as I like to call them, the Wacky Adventures of Flo, Agnes and the Gang! 2 Thumbs Up for a highly recommended suspenseful yet funny read!”

Flo pumped her arms and blew air out in a gust as she neared the top of the hill. She had a decidedly unladylike sheen on her face but she was starting to feel like she might actually survive the walk.

Unfortunately, not too far behind her, an exercise failure of epic proportions was happening. In fact, as she threw a look over her shoulder to make sure the sounds she was hearing weren’t actually from a buffalo giving birth to a rhinoceros, she realized the failure had already happened. She stopped and turned back to Agnes, hands on hips. Her friend was draped over the hood of somebody’s car, her round belly heaving and quivering as she tried to force air through her lungs. “Agnes Willard, you’re in terrible shape.”

Agnes didn’t lift her head, but if her neon red face was any indication, she was at the end of her endurance. “I don’t care what the stupid doctor says, I hate walking.”

TC hailed them from a couple blocks up and Flo waved her off, realizing the rest of the group would have to go on without them. “Your blood pressure is too high, Agnes. If you don’t want to stroke out you need to get in shape and bring it down.”

Agnes shoved off the car and bent forward, her skinny legs quivering as she panted for air. “That’s what they make drugs for, isn’t it? I’ll just take bigger pills.”

“Not a good plan, fool.” Flo frowned. She was actually worried about her friend’s health so when TC had suggested they join the thrice weekly walking group she’d jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, she hadn’t counted on her friend’s rabid resistance to the idea. “You lift weights and use the treadmill. I don’t understand why walking is such a chore for you.”

Agnes fixed a bloodshot eye on Flo, her graying brown pageboy sticking up around a wide hairband that was dark with sweat. “Lifting weights only requires muscles. I have those in abundance.” She patted her well-rounded behind as if presenting evidence of muscle. “But these here are fast twitch muscles. They’re for strength more than endurance.”

Flo eyed the “muscles” her friend indicated, one eyebrow creeping skyward with skepticism. “There’s definitely some twitching going on back there, but I’m not sure it’s muscle.”

Agnes blew out a breath and limped toward Flo. “What I’m trying to tell you is that I’m a sprinter rather than an endurance runner. I’m out of my league with this long, drawn-out walking stuff.”

Flo slid her gaze down the street to the Silver Hills Senior and Singles Residence, the other eyebrow creeping northward to join the first one. “You know we’ve only gone a block, right?”

Get your copy here: books2read.com/badhaircult

 

USA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever writes romantic paranormal/fantasy and mystery/suspense, creating stories that celebrate the joy of love in all its forms. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 50+ books and has been writing for over a decade under several noms de plume.

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Freezer Bernie – New Cozy Mystery Release from Sam Cheever

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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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