It wasn’t my fault—I swear!

All I’d wanted was a whole new me and, well, things didn’t turn out exactly as I’d planned.

I get that a lot.

To look at me you might think that I, Haley Randolph, with my red-carpet-worthy dark hair, my enviable five-foot-nine-inch height, and my too-bad-but-they’re-mostly-recessive beauty-queen genes, had it made. I mean, after all, I’m 24 years old, I have a totally hot boyfriend, some awesome BFFs, and a cooler than cool apartment near Los Angeles.

It’s the job thing that keeps tripping me up. So far I’ve worked as a receptionist, file clerk, and a life guard—oh, yeah, and two weeks at a pet store—don’t ask. Then I got this awesome job last year in the accounting department of the Pike Warner law firm where I met smoking hot Jack Bishop, a private detective. But then there was that whole administrative-leave-investigation-pending thing and well, let me just say that I don’t work there anymore.

The only job I’ve been able to hold onto is my part-time sales clerk job at Holt’s Department Store. The job—and the store—are both totally crappy, but I have to hang in there until my new job starts tomorrow.

Honestly, I don’t really know what the new job will be like. It’s at some place called Dempsey Rowland on Figueroa Street in downtown L.A. I have no idea what they do there—or what they’ll expect me to do.

See, there was this little mix up—which wasn’t my fault! Like I said, I wanted a whole new me so I enrolled at UM, the University of Mixology—bartending school. I got a really cool certificate and everything.

Then my awesome boyfriend, Ty Cameron, thought that UM was really the University of Michigan and that I’d finally gotten my Bachelor’s Degree through their online program. I couldn’t tell him the truth—not with all those people standing around us.

Besides, Ty said he wanted me to come work with him at the corporate office of the department store chain he—and the five previous generations of his family—owned, which would have been way cool. Then this other girl, Sarah Covington—I hate her—talked him out of it and arranged for me to get the job at Dempsey Rowland.

So I’m starting there tomorrow. The only thing that can possibly make this situation better is if I can get my hands on the Temptress tote—the “it” bag of the season. I freely admit to being a complete handbag nut.

Yeah, okay, I’ve had a few problems at my jobs—mostly finding dead bodies—but I know nothing like that will happen tomorrow at Dempsey Rowland. No way will I walk into that office complex, find my new supervisor’s office and discover a dead body lying behind her desk. No way will all the employees—and the cops—think I killed her. No way will I get involved in yet another murder investigation, try to find my mom’s missing housekeeper, deal with a stalker, try to figure out if one of my co-workers is really leading a double life and why another one makes so many secretive trips out of the country, or need smoking hot Jack Bishop to solve the murder—all of this on the heels of Ty suddenly moving in with me.

And if any of that stuff happens—it’s not my fault. I swear!


Dorothy celebrates the launch of each mystery with a contest and gives away a designer handbag. This year’s contest begins on June 1st. Readers can enter for their chance to win on her web site.

Meet the author
Dorothy Howell has sold 31 novels to three major New York publishing houses. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages with sales approaching 4 million copies worldwide. She currently writes for two publishing houses, in two genres, under two names.

Dorothy writes the hilarious fashion sleuth Haley Randolph mystery series. Foreign rights to the series have sold in the U.K., France, Poland and Thailand. The books are available in hardcover, paperback, large print and e-book formats. Her current release is TOTE BAGS AND TOE TAGS, available in hardcover from Kensington Books.

Dorothy also writes historical romance novels under the pen name Judith Stacy. Her titles include the line’s Top Seller for the Year, a No.1 on the Barnes & Noble Historical List, and a RITA Award Finalist. They are available in paperback and e-book formats. Her upcoming release is a novella in ALL A COWBOY WANTS FOR CHRISTMAS, available from Harlequin Historicals in October. Dorothy is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America.

Visit www.DorothyHowellNovels.com and www.JudithStacy.com. “Like” Dorothy on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter. Check out her Happy You, Happy Life blog www.dorothyhowell.blogspot.com

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