Leaving her hectic job as a news producer in Washington, D.C., was never part of Randi Brooks’ plan, but when she learns of her parents’ tragic deaths, she has no choice but to rush home to Boca Raton, Florida. When she finds out their deaths weren’t accidental, things take a turn toward the dangerous. Toss in a fire and theft at the family-owned fabric store and upholstery shop and an unscrupulous real estate developer willing to do whatever it takes to get her property, and things become deadly.
To complicate matters more, a mysterious but handsome man living in the guest house and an attractive detective harboring a high school crush are both vying for Randi’s affection.
While Randi struggles to make some difficult decisions regarding her parents’ business, her job in D.C., and her conflicting feelings toward both men, the three of them must find out who murdered Randi’s parents before the killer strikes again.
Targeted Age Group:: All audiences
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 3 – PG-13
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I love mysteries and Florida and wanted to include local venues and history to add intrigue.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
A female protagonist was primary supported by an interesting and diverse group of characters. Some are a composite of people I've known and some are purely imaginary.
In the morning, I opened the front door only to find my car hemmed in by an assortment of garden equipment–several ladders in front, a wheelbarrow, and two garbage cans behind. Connor stood by the driver's door, hands on his hips, blocking any hope of my getting into the car. Dark circles under his eyes indicated a severe lack of sleep.
"I need to get to the store," I said, stepping off the stoop. "Please remove that stuff from the driveway." I flicked one hand toward the ladders while reaching into my purse with the other for my phone.
"Not until I get an explanation," Connor countered. "Why did you leave last night so brusquely? And why didn't you answer my calls or texts? Friends don't treat each other that way."
I stopped abruptly; his words stung. "Look, Connor, there's no reason to play dumb with me. I saw the invoice for the repairs on your truck."
"So now you're going through my personal belongings? Landlords may have some privileges, but that's not one of them." His eyes flashed with anger.
"Seth said a red pickup pushed my parents' car into the canal. Your truck is red and repaired the day after the incident. I have proof." I held up my phone. "If you don't get those things out of my way, I'll call the police."
"So, you believe some hotshot detective who thinks I may be the one who pushed your parents into the canal? Unbelievable!" Connor lowered his head, shaking it.
"What am I supposed to think?"
"Did you bother to notice the location of the repair shop? Obviously not, Miss Detective, because if you had, you'd have seen the repairs were made in Maine. Maine! That's a long way from Florida, sweetie. That's where I went climbing with one of the premier climbers in the US, Freddie Williamson. You can call him if you like. Here, let me text you his phone number." Connor yanked out his phone and tapped several buttons. "Someone backed into me in a parking lot up there, damaging the grille and smashing the truck's headlights. I couldn't drive back to Florida at night without lights, could I? Besides, the truck that rammed your parents' car wasn't red. It was grey. Don't believe me? Check the report."
I stood there, dumbfounded.
Grey? Why had Seth told me it was red?
"Look here, I'm going to follow through on my commitment to bring in the forensic accountant, and I'm going to help you find your parents' killer. It won't be because of you, though. It'll be because of your father and how kind he was to me. I owe it to him. After that, I'm out of here." Connor moved the ladders from in front of the car and stomped toward the backyard, pushing the wheelbarrow.
I turned to find Leslie staring at me. Bigfoot sat next to her, swishing his tail and looking as perplexed as I felt.
"How long have you been there?"
"Long enough to get the gist of that conversation," she said, walking toward me.
"I think I made a terrible mistake." A ribbon of heat crept up the back of my neck.
"Isn't your first. Won't be your last. Come on, Tootsie, let's go inside. I think you need time to calm down before you go to the store."
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