About the Book
Aspiring mystery author Emma Banefield and travel writer Nicole Earp are excited to attend a writers’ conference during their latest sisters’ getaway. Nic’s birthday should be all about relaxation, writing, and a chocolate martini to toast another trip around the sun, but the climate at the gathering rumbles like a sudden desert thunderstorm.
When sparks fly between the keynote speaker and her timid assistant over a handsome mystery author, the subtitle on this anticipated tranquil weekend spells drama. If a heated love triangle, bruised egos, and betrayal aren’t enough to upset the atmosphere, the conference banquet erupts into a drunken brawl and sends the place spinning. After a body is discovered, Nic and Em do what they do best—snoop—and become embroiled in a mystery that jumps off the pages of a true-crime bestseller.
With more than enough suspects and little time, the amateur sleuths have their hands full finding the killer. But can the competitive Chocolate Martini Sisters solve the crime before the prickly chief detective does, or will a murderer outwit them all?
“Here comes Lola.”
The romance novelist sashayed toward her former lover, her body language confident and reminiscent of a supple, dangerous coyote sensing vulnerability in a tiny isolated kitten.
“This ought to be interesting.” In unison, the sisters inched forward and hid behind a triangle of men hot in conversation about NFL rankings.
“Eric.” Lola’s high, clear tone soared above the din, making his head whip in her direction.
Seeing her, his gaze narrowed with scorn. A scowl twisted his mouth.
“Is something the matter with Misty?” Puzzlement furrowed her pale brow. In one hand, she held a vodka martini with a tiny green saber stabbed through an olive. She offered him a fetching smile an instant before her facial expression wrenched with concern.
“What a fake,” Emma murmured under her breath.
“I saw her leave.” The drama queen pressed the palm of her free hand to her rather ample, shapely bosom. “Quite frankly, she had such an angry, ugly look. Should I go after her, do you think?”
“You? Go after Misty?”
Though he didn’t laugh, she didn’t need to be a scientist to conclude he found the suggestion ridiculous.
He shoved a thick, wavy strand of hair from his smooth forehead. “Since when do you care what Misty thinks or feels?”
Next to her, Nic jerked but not nearly as much as Lola whose shocked eyes expanded like balloons hooked to a helium pump. In the next moment, her lower lip jutted, the corners of her mouth drooping as if hurt. Emma saw the act as disingenuous and unconvincing. Beyond the façade, just below the surface of Lola’s fine, delicate features, a flicker of joy resonated in her barely suppressed smile. “How you love to wound me, Eric, and paint me as the monster.”
“If the shoe fits.”
She threw back her head and laughed, a bell-like trill rolling off her hot-pink painted lips. “Clichés, Eric? Surely, you’re a much better wordsmith. You used to be so clever-witted and fresh…” She batted thick lashes. “Really, Eric. You and Misty? The girl hardly seems your type and not much of a challenge.”
Corded muscles stood out in his neck. “What do you want?”
Cunning and foxy, she sidled closer, devilish with flirtation. “I do care what happens to Misty. She’s a dear girl and quite devoted. I don’t want to see her get hurt.”
His mouth pinched with irritation. “I’m not a monster either. I would never hurt her.”
“Oh?” Head tilted, she assessed him with a hand planted on a hip. “Have you changed your ways?”
His nostrils flared. A bloom mottled his neck.
“Cat got you tongue, sweetie?” Gently, enticingly, she squeezed his forearm.
He stiffened and stared at her hand, so proprietary and bone-white against the navy blue of his sport jacket.
“We used to be so good together. Close. You loved me. You told me so. Remember all the endearments you whispered when—”
His harsh, barking laugh triggered a surprising flash of panic across her face. “You don’t want me, Lola. You only want what you can’t have. And when you get it, it’s never enough.”
Her plush lips pouted. “You’re so cruel.” A talon-like grip dug into his arm wrinkling the fabric. Was her purpose to cause him physical pain or simply cling, pathetic in her neediness?
Baring his teeth, he flung her hand aside and trudged away without a backward glance.
There wasn’t a writer in the world skilled enough to put a positive spin on this public humiliation. As much as she’d begun to dislike Lola, she couldn’t help but feel for her position.
About the Authors
Joyce Proell is the award-winning author of Amaryllis, Eliza and the Cady Delafield mysteries: A Deadly Truth, A Burning Truth and A Wicked Truth. Along with her husband and little dog, Nellie, she lives in Minnesota in her very own little house on the prairie. She loves to hear from readers.
Brenda Whiteside is the award-winning author of romantic suspense, romance, and cozy mystery. After living in six states and two countries—so far—she and her husband have settled in Central Arizona. They admit to being gypsies at heart and won't discount the possibility of another move. They share their home with a rescue dog named Amigo. While FDW fishes, Brenda writes.
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