by Terri L. Austin, Larissa Reinhart, and LynDee Walker
Hey y’all. I’m Man-Margret, seven feet of awesomeness with a bouffant that can scrape the ceiling on my good days. Honey, stop staring at my neck and feast your eyes on my broken heart charm bracelet. Fabulous, no? Since y’all have stopped in at the Heartache Motel here in south metro-Memphis, you probably guessed that this is the place to be if you are a female impersonator with a penchant for the King. Don’t mind the graffiti, boarded windows, or our Christmas tree still standing since 1978. The owners are in the process of renovating this vintage motel. By renovating, I hope they mean tear down and rebuild. And by vintage, I mean they’ve barely replaced a lightbulb since 1982.
Still, for someone of my persuasion and inclination to dress like my favorite Elvis gal, Ann Margret, I fit right in. Just take a gander over at our specialized acts in the Suspicious Minds Lounge, enjoy a Rock-A-Hula cocktail, and rest your weary head in one of our themed rooms. I wouldn’t rest too long, though. Those mattresses will kill your back. Towels are extra, so make sure you pay for them at the front desk. And I don’t recommend using the elevator. But the stairs are standing and we girls could all use a little workout, right?
We also had an unfortunate event right around the holidays. Please don’t think dead bodies are a common occurrence at the Heartache. Accidental deaths, possibly, but not murder. This blonde girl, Rose Strickland, and her adorable blue-haired friend who had the sassiest clothes–I envied those pink lace up boots, something fierce–anyway, they were running around, asking all sorts of questions about it. I shouldn’t say anymore. Management frowns on that type of thing.
We don’t often get honeymoon couples at the Heartache, and when we do they are usually a sorry sight. Just pitiful to think that the happiest night of your life should be spent in the Blue Hawaii suite. I always recommend drinking the complimentary All Shook Up sparkling wine before entering the room. Makes it easier when you take in the de-luxe bathroom with shower. And what might or might not be growing on the shower walls.
Anyway, I was surprised when the most adorable couple showed for the weekend. Little blonde spitfire artist named Cherry Tucker (how could you forget a name like that?) towing a beautiful, Viking-sized poker whiz whose IQ might hover near a coffee table’s, but God love him, who cares? That man could melt the panties off an eskimo. So this Cherry and Todd are on their way to Vegas, but stopping at the Heartache to meet Todd’s cousin who was scammed by some poker pros. Cherry and Todd claim it’s a quicky stopover, but I’ve a feeling they’re looking to win the cousin’s money back. And maybe get even. And by the way he’s looking at her, maybe they’ll want that suite for a honeymoon after all.
I see you brought a dog. Dogs are my new favorite guests, just between us girls. There was a reporter here earlier this week. Brought the most adorable little loud-mouthed pup with her. She got locked in Graceland for the day—the reporter, not the dog. Somebody stole a piece of the King’s heritage. Can you believe that? What is the matter with folks? Anyhoo, this reporter, Nichelle Clarke, chased down her story, but she left the dog upstairs in her room. Pooch kicked up all kinds of fuss. This phone was ringing off the hook with folks complaining. I went up to check it out and brought her back down to entertain her. At the customer’s request, of course. Adorable little thing. Welcome back here anytime. That’s the kind of full service we offer our guests here at the Heartache.
So listen, sugar, are you staying? It’s Christmas Eve, and our Santa Elvis musical revue is the highlight of the whole year. I want a seat down front. You just fill out this card and then take this key on up to the Roustabout suite. But don’t miss the show—it’s a killer.
HEARTACHE MOTEL: Three Interconnected Mystery Novellas
Elvis has left the building, but he’s forever memorialized at the Heartache Motel. Filled with drag queens, Rock-a-Hula cocktails, and a vibrating velveteen bed, these three novellas tell the tales of three amateur sleuths who spend their holidays at the King’s beloved home.
- Diners Keepers, Losers Weepers by Terri L. Austin
A Rose Strickland Mystery Novella (follows Diner Impossible)
When Rose and the gang head to Graceland right before Christmas, they get all shook up: the motel is a seedy dump and an Elvis impersonator turns up dead. Rose discovers missing jewels tie into the death and her suspicious mind flips into overdrive, questioning her fellow guests, the staff, and even a cute impersonator who keeps popping up. Will Rose be able to find the murderer and get home by Christmas day? It’s now or never.
- Quick Sketch by Larissa Reinhart
A Cherry Tucker Mystery Novella (prequel to Portrait Of A Dead Guy)
Sassy Southern artist Cherry Tucker and her poker-loving boyfriend, Todd, pop into Memphis to help Todd’s cousin who’s been hustled out of his savings, right before Christmas. Staying at the shady Heartache Motel, Cherry can’t tell a shill from a mark and fears everyone is playing them for chumps. Cherry and Todd quickly find themselves in a dangerous sting that could send them to the slammer or mark them as pigeons from cons looking for an even bigger score.
- Dateline Memphis by LynDee Walker
A Headlines in High Heels Mystery Novella (follows Buried Leads)
Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke thinks she’s going home for Christmas. But a quick stop at Graceland proves news breaks in the strangest places. When the King’s home gets locked down with Nichelle inside, she chases this headline into the national spotlight—and the thief’s crosshairs. Christmas dreams of blue suede Manolos fade, and all Nichelle wants from Santa is to land the story before the thief cuts off her news feed for good.
Terri, Larissa and LynDee are giving away one (1) digital copy from each of their series for Kindle or Nook only. That’s three lucky winners! Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. Contest ends December 27.
Meet the authors
After seeing Paper Moon as a child, Larissa Reinhart fell in love with stories about confidence capers. QUICK SKETCH is the Cherry Tucker prequel to PORTRAIT in the mystery anthology THE HEARTACHE MOTEL (December 2013). HIJACK IN ABSTRACT (November 2013) is the third in the Cherry Tucker Mystery Series from Henery Press, following STILL LIFE IN BRUNSWICK STEW (May 2013) and PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY, a 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist. She lives near Atlanta with her minions and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit. Visit her website or find her at on Facebook.
As a girl, Terri L. Austin thought she’d outgrow dreaming up stories and creating imaginary friends. Instead, she’s made a career of it. She met her own Prince Charming and together they live in Missouri. She loves to hear from readers! Terri writes the Rose Strickland Mysteries including DINERS, DIVES, AND DEAD ENDS, LAST DINER STANDING, and DINER IMPOSSIBLE. Visit Terri at her website or on Facebook
LynDee Walker grew up in the land of stifling heat and amazing food most people call Texas, and wanted to be Lois Lane from the time she could say the words “press conference.” An award-winning journalist, she traded cops and deadlines for burp cloths and onesies when her oldest child was born. Writing the Headlines in Heels mysteries gives her the best of both worlds. LynDee adores her family, her readers, and enchiladas. She often works out tricky plot points while walking off the enchiladas. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she is working on her next novel. Visit LynDee at her website or on Facebook