Murder Is To Die For
Diehard Dames Amateur Detective Series
A new cozy mystery boxed set
from the Author's Billboard!
Diehard Dames don’t give up!
These ladies are smart. They’re clever. And
they never give up.
Whether on a quest to solve a murder or to right a wrong, they’re tough and determined, ready to step forward when needed.
Join these daring and tenacious amateur sleuths as they solve crime in this collection of ALL NEW Whodunits. Special new release price, too!
Just because they’re amateurs doesn’t mean these ladies can’t get the job done. A few foils, fumbles, and missteps taken only make their tasks more challenging and interesting. Enjoy a few giggles as crime-solving takes on a bright new glow in these light-hearted international mysteries byNew York Times and USA Today Bestselling Authors.
ALL NEW STORIES!
Mimi Barbour: Murder in the Mall: The proprietor of a bakery finds the owner of the shoe store murdered.
All the mall owners have reasons for this horrendous deed, but who is the
culprit? In this small town full of upstanding, warm-hearted people, who can
possibly be the cold-blooded killer? New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author.
Denise Devine: Dark Fortune – “Your life is in danger, watch out for the stranger.” Fortune telling was just bunk, right? Stephanie hoped so. USA Today Bestselling Author
Dani Haviland: Crazy Ladies in Capes Debut - Louie witnessed a murder… Or did he? Midtown Anchorage is overrun by crime and this group of little old lady activists is ready to do something about it! USA Today Bestselling Author.
Nancy Radke: Any Lucky Dog Can Follow a Trail of Blood – When Sheriff Craig leaves the city and arrives in the rural county of West Falls, he is soon dealing with the murder of a man everyone wanted dead. So, who wanted him dead the most? He finds that when switching from pavement to mountain trails, a dog with a good nose is a necessity. So, is a pretty woman. USA Today Bestselling Author.
Snuggle up and grab the first ever Cozy Mystery Box Set from THE AUTHORS’ BILLBOARD. MURDER IS TO DIE FOR, DIEHARD DAMES, AMATEUR DETECTIVE SERIES.
Short Excerpt of
Dark Fortune by Denise Devine
a death occurred before morning.
Your life is in danger, watch out for the stranger,
dark days ahead are dawning…”
I’m done, Stephanie thought wearily as she trooped out the back door. I can’t talk about Jock’s murder anymore.
Watering her garden was a calming exercise. After a few minutes, the task always seemed to clear her mind and shift her mood into a feeling of peace, a change she desperately needed today. She exhaled a deep breath, the tension in her shoulders loosening as she turned the fan sprayer on her tall phlox, careful not to bother the bees diligently buzzing from bloom to bloom. The lavender, white and pink plants grew nearly four feet high and created a natural buffer between her yard and the house on the west side of her that belonged to Valerie Hale. Valerie’s sprawling rambler took up nearly all of her corner lot.
An odd feeling prompted her to look up. Stephanie glanced toward Valerie’s house and stared through the large windows that wrapped around the three sides of the front living room. The tall, exquisite blonde stood nose to nose with her ex-husband, Stuart, embroiled in a discussion. Stephanie knew she shouldn’t spy on them, but the curtains were open and curiosity got the best of her.
Valerie, a former model, stood nearly as tall as her ex-husband as she glared into his eyes, her face crimson with smoldering emotion. Since their divorce, she had retired from her career and instead lived off her monthly alimony check. Her ex, Stuart Hale, was a CPA who owned his own firm. He made buckets of money, but he was cheaper than Scrooge. Valerie, on the other hand, was a shopaholic. It didn’t take a genius to figure out what they were so worked up about.
I’m so glad I don’t have an ex to deal with anymore, Stephanie mused cynically as she redirected the fan sprayer toward a clump of white coneflowers.
Guilt and sadness suddenly overwhelmed her as she realized what had just crossed her mind. She didn’t wish for Jock to be dead. The thought broke her heart. She squeezed her eyes shut and willed herself to think of something else.
“You’ve gotten all you’re going to get out of me! Understand? The house, the car—it’s more than you deserve!”
The loud, acrimonious voice startled her. She moved toward the corner of the house and saw Stuart standing on Valerie’s front steps wearing a dark green shirt, the tail hanging out of his jeans. His dark hair, peppered with strands of gray, looked mussed, as though he’d just rolled out of bed. He scowled at her with narrowed eyes.
Valerie pounded her finger in the center of his chest. “I deserve better than this dump, but you don’t pay me enough to afford a decent house!”
“Any other woman could afford Buckingham Palace on what you get.” He shoved her hand away. “Learn to live on a budget like everyone else!”
He spun away and stomped down the steps.
Valerie followed him to the end of the sidewalk. “We’re not finished with this conversation, Stu. You’ll be hearing from my lawyer!”
He dismissed her with a wave of his hand as he stormed to his car and jumped in, slamming the door. His vehicle roared to life and sped away.
Stephanie quickly walked back to her garden and continued to water her plants, pretending she hadn’t heard a thing—and hoping Valerie was so preoccupied she didn’t notice anything else. Within a few moments, however, the familiar swish-swish of a woman’s footsteps tripping through the grass indicated Valerie was heading her way.
“He makes me so mad!” Valerie proclaimed loudly as she approached. “Did you hear what that jerk said to me?”
There goes my temporary escape from reality, Stephanie thought dismally. She slowly pivoted. Valerie wore an aqua knit top and a pair of white chinos. The tapered, ankle-length pants accentuated her tall, slender figure. The low-cut top barely covered her ample bosom. “Hi, Val.”
“He thinks I should be grateful for that paltry allowance he dols out every month,” Valerie spouted as her full lips formed a well-rehearsed pout. Her shoulder-length hair had been hastily swept to the crown of her head in a messy bun. She folded her arms into a tight bow. “When my lawyer gets him in court, he’ll wish he’d played nice with me!”
Hobbit barked and did his usual happy dance to see her. “Behave yourself,” Valerie scolded him and waved her hand to shoo him away. “You’re going to get mud on my clothes.”
Stephanie ignored Hobbit’s bad manners and went back to tending to her flowers, hoping Valerie would get a clue that she didn’t want company and go home.
“I saw the report about Jock on the news,” Valerie said, taking a softer tone. “How are you doing?”
Stephanie winced at the question but replied, “I’m okay. I just need some quiet time to deal with the shock.” Hint, hint.
“It’s too bad he wasn’t the marrying kind of guy,” Valerie stated boldly. “You’d be sitting pretty right now.”
Leave it to Valerie to think about Jock’s net worth at a time like this!
“I have everything I need,” Stephanie stated, her patience wearing thin. “Right now, I’m more concerned with why he died than who is inheriting his estate.”
“Is this new?” Valerie pointed toward a shallow bowl of pebbles hanging by three slim chains from a black metal shepherd’s hook.
“No, I’ve had it since last spring,” Stephanie replied, happy to change the subject. “Jock gave it to me for my birthday. It’s been hanging there in my flowerbed all summer.”
Valerie curiously picked one of the multi-colored pebbles out of the bowl and examined it. “What is it for?”
“It’s a bee bowl.”
Valerie laughed. “A what?”
“It’s a bowl for bees and butterflies to drink water. It comes as a kit. Jock set it up for me.” Stephanie pointed toward the blue ceramic dish. “You cover the bottom with pebbles and fill it with an inch of fresh water. The bees and butterflies can sit on the rocks and safely get a drink without drowning.”
“How ironic,” Valerie said in a droll voice as she examined the small nugget in her palm. “The man is rolling in precious stones and he gives you this…”
Stephanie shrugged. “It’s what I wanted.” She refreshed the dish with a small amount of clean water. “I have enough diamonds.”
Valerie snorted with incredulity. “Honey, a girl never has enough diamonds.”
“Jock knew how much my garden means to me,” Stephanie said with a sniff. “He wanted to get me something special so he asked me to pick out my favorite things at the garden center. Sometimes he could be really sweet. At other times…”
Valerie frowned at the light pink pebble and tossed it back into the bowl. “Sometimes I regret introducing you to him.”
Stephanie gasped, taken aback by Valerie’s directness. “Why would you say such a thing?”
Valerie placed her hand on Stephanie’s arm, her face reflecting concern. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but Jock wasn’t right for you.”
“What do you mean?”
“He cheated on you every chance he got,” Valerie said solemnly. “It was obvious he never loved you.”
Deep down, Stephanie had always known the truth, but to hear Valerie say it out loud pierced like a shard of glass through her heart. She turned away to conceal her tears and in the process her foot caught on the hose, pitching her forward. The fan sprayer flew out of her hand.
“Ah-h-h!” Valerie screamed as cold water sprayed across the front of her body, drenching her from head to toe. “Stephanie! What are you doing?” She backed up, furiously trying to shake the water from her eyes. “Oh, my gosh—I’m soaked. What if someone sees me like this!”
“I’m sorry, Val,” Stephanie called out. “It was an accident!”
Either Valerie hadn’t heard her or she’d refused to answer as she stomped back home.
Every time I get stressed out, I trip on something, Stephanie thought miserably. Deciding she’d had enough gardening for one day, her feet automatically headed for the outdoor faucet. It’s been that way all my life, she complained silently to herself. The handle squeaked as she turned off the water. How am I going to make it through Jock’s funeral in one piece?
She shuddered at the thought. The last thing she needed was to crash and burn in the funeral home and wipe out Jock’s memorial in front of God and everybody…
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