Signed Copy of Wedding Bell Blues, 5 eBooks!
Lizzie Hart’s crazy love life has been leading up this moment…when she finally gets to marry Blake Morgan. But with their luck, will they make it to ’til death do us part before the wedding even starts?
It’s June in the small town of Liberty, and that means it’s wedding season. Faster than you can say “I do,” the social height of the year turns deadly as a sadistic killer begins targeting couples on what should be their happiest day.
The terror begins as a groom keels over before he can get through his vows. The clever killer frames Bethany McCool, the dead groom’s ex, for the murder. Lizzie knows her friend Bethany is innocent, so she enlists the help of her fiancé, Blake, and sets out to find the real killer. But as the mayhem intensifies, the duo realizes they’re going to have to partner up with the police this time instead of trying to do all the sleuthing on their own.
As if they don’t have enough to do, Lizzie and Blake’s big day is fast approaching, and neither of them can wait to tie the knot. Lizzie’s domineering mother has taken over the planning for the wedding, but even she can’t hold everything together as one by one the florist, the baker, and the caterer start pulling out over safety concerns. With the string of violence threatening to ruin their happily ever after, Lizzie and Blake must rush to find the killer before they become the next victims.
I plop down at my desk, so not ready to do any actual work.
Hank says, “’Sup, Lizzie?”
“Nothing much. Got my daily slap on the wrist from the boss. Found a dead body this weekend. You know—same old, same old.”
“I heard. You okay?” he asks uneasily.
“Yeah.” I shake my head, trying to get the image out of my thoughts. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
Before he can reply, we hear a loud stomping and bumping noise from the stairwell. Oh, great. It’s probably my co-worker Alan with one of his infamous meltdowns. Alan found a dead body on the roof of our office building nearly two years ago, and he still has a PTSD issue because of it. About twice a month he’ll come barreling down the stairs and reprise his performance from the day he found the body, and he won’t shut up about it or go away until one of us goes upstairs with him and assures him that there’s nothing wrong. None of us wants to do it, so we take turns, or more commonly try to trick each other into doing it.
Alan jumps into the room, panting and screaming like usual. “You guys! You guys! Upstairs! On the roof!” I can practically say his lines with him at this point.
“What’s today’s dilemma?” Hank asks in a monotone.
His face white and sweaty, Alan swallows audibly. “I think he might be…dead.”
Hank rolls his eyes. “Is it another bird, Alan?”
Alan starts to shake all over. “No…a man! I…I don’t know who…or if he’s…dead. A man…lying upstairs on the patio.”
“Lizzie, this one’s yours,” Hank says.
I grunt indignantly. “Why me? I’m still traumatized from the wedding.”
“But you’re used to finding dead bodies.”
I narrow my eyes at him. “I don’t think one can ever get used to finding dead bodies.”
Alan clears his throat. “Guys? The roof?”
Hank ignores him. “I would think nothing would scare you after what you’ve seen.”
“Right…” I reply uncertainly. I guess technically I am the most logical choice. I don’t believe for a moment that there’s a dead guy on the roof, so there’s probably no harm in going up there. I play along. “Okay, Alan. Let’s go see your guy.”
We trot upstairs and out onto the rooftop patio. I look around, but don’t see a body.
“Well, did he get up and walk away?” I ask.
“No,” Alan says, hurrying over to the corner by the air conditioning units. He points to the small space behind them. “There.”
I follow him and peer behind the units, and damned if there isn’t a man lying back there. And he’s not moving. Seriously? I so don’t have the energy for this.
“Hey, give that guy a nudge with your foot.”
Alan looks at me, wild-eyed. “You want me to do WHAT?”
“Just nudge him. Maybe he’s sleeping.”
“I don’t want to!”
“Sack up, Alan.”
“Are you sure we should do this?”
If he’s dead, I’m sure I don’t want my DNA on him. “Yeah. The police would appreciate it if we didn’t call them out over a false alarm.”
“Okay…I’ll…I’ll do it.” Alan slides his foot behind the air conditioning units and nudges the guy on the arm. No response. Damn.
“Nudge him again.”
Alan looks appalled. “I don’t want to nudge a dead person.”
“If he is in fact dead, he won’t feel it.”
Shuddering, Alan reaches his foot out to nudge the man again, but this time, the man’s hand clamps onto Alan’s ankle and Alan starts screaming like a little girl.
“Whoa!” I yell. “Everyone stay calm. Hey, you,” I say to the man, “let go of his ankle!”
A nasally voice whines, “What the hell do you think you’re doing, man? I was just minding my own business, and you come and stick your nasty foot in my face!”
The voice is coming from the not-so-dead man, who has let go of Alan and is starting to get up. Wait. I know that voice.
“Paul?” I ask tentatively.
Paul Jackson, a former fellow Chronicle employee, squints at me. “Lizzie. I heard you nearly died.”
I blow out a breath. It’s sad I have to wonder which time he’s talking about. “Yes. Um, Paul, what are you doing up here?”
“I was sleeping until this guy—” He angrily points at Alan, but after he squints again, his face breaks into a smile. “Oh, hey, Alan. Long time no see.”
“H-h-hey, Paul. You look different. You scared me, buddy.” The two men perform some weird handshake thing. It’s a nerd reunion.
Now that I take a good look at Paul, I see that he does look completely different. He has a shaved head, numerous piercings, and his neck and arms are covered in tattoos. Wow. Talk about a makeover. His new self, although possibly a little scary if you were to meet him in a dark alley, is actually a huge improvement over his old geeky one.
“So how is the music career going?” I ask. Paul is a great musician, and he ran away to LA to make it as a rocker.
Paul shrugs. “My band broke up over creative differences, and I kind of ran out of money. I moved back a few months ago.”
“Don’t tell me you’ve been living up here all that time,” I say, appalled.
“No, I was living with my girlfriend, but she kicked me out last night because I haven’t got a job yet.”
Alan’s face lights up. “Dude, you have a girlfriend? High five!”
Paul hesitates, but politely high-fives Alan. It’s really sad when Paul the Picker is cooler than you.
Alan continues, “Hey, you can come and crash at my mom’s house with me.”
Alan’s invitation gets him a half-hearted smile from Paul.
Alan beams, clapping Paul on the back. “Come on in, buddy. I’ll show you some pictures of the neighborhood watch group I’m starting. I have two members so far…”
Poor Paul. I think he’s getting a bit more than he bargained for. I follow them back into the building and head for my desk.
Not looking up from his computer, Hank asks, “So was it another dead body?”
“Nope, a live one. Paul’s back.”
He gives me a confused look. “Paul…the Picker?” Hank gave him that nickname after a very public bit of nose picking.
“The one and only, but he looks way different now. He’s butched up. You might not want to call him Paul the Picker anymore. He might cut you.”
Hank still seems perplexed. “What was he doing on the roof?”
He shakes his head, way too confused and not nearly interested enough to continue this conversation.
Caroline Fardig is the author of the Java Jive Mysteries series and the Lizzie Hart Mysteries series. Fardig’s Bad Medicine was named one of the Best Books of 2015 by Suspense Magazine. She worked as a schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, and stay-at-home mom before she realized that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Born and raised in a small town in Indiana, Fardig still lives in that same town with an understanding husband, two sweet kids, two energetic dogs, and one malevolent cat.
Read more: http://www.carolinefardig.com/media/