Who does a shrink turn to when she has personal problems? Her best friend, of course. For Los Angeles psychologist Liz Cooper that friend would be me, Robin Bloom—widowed mom, executive assistant to a high-powered Beverly Hills music agent, and Liz’s BFF since grade school. Our similarities (same sense of humor; same taste in shoes, guys, movies, design, local politics, people) outweigh our differences (I’m blonde; she’s brunette. I have a high school education; Liz has a PhD. I enjoy cooking; Liz doesn’t. I’m fascinated by the supernatural; Liz scorns anything mystical from superstitions to voodoo.)

Wait. The very last line isn’t exactly true—Liz doesn’t shun everything about the occult. Last year she developed a fancy for a certain professor/occult expert with a killer pair of brown eyes. I’m hoping Nick will open Liz’s mind. He knows things, spooky things. Trust me, if I were dating a guy who looks like he does, I’d believe anything he told me.

I swore off dabbling in the supernatural (at least for a little while) after Liz saved my reputation and my derriere in a mess we fondly refer to as Who Do, Voodoo? Out of gratitude and a slight fancy for media exposure, I offered to update you on the latest mess Liz manages to embroil herself in: BRUJA BROUHAHA.

Of course Liz doesn’t go out looking for trouble. Quite the opposite. At the request of family friend Dr. Carmen Perez, Liz forms a Saturday Wellness Group at Park Clinic, the health facility Carmen operates in the multi-cultural neighborhood surrounding MacArthur Park. Liz, compassionate and civic-minded gal that she is, welcomes the opportunity because in addition to helping women in crisis and working with her mentor, Park Clinic is the focus of an upcoming fundraiser Liz’s mom helped organize to raise money to build showers for the homeless at the clinic.

Another bonus? Park Clinic’s mid-town location offers a Liz chance to spend more time with Paco and Lucia Rojas, an elderly couple Liz and Nick befriended recently. Paco and Lucia’s Botanica Rojas, an occult shop located across the street from the clinic, is filled with herbs, charms, and spiritual items used in the practice of Santeria—the Cuban version of voodoo.

In the short time Liz and Nick have known the couple, the Rojases embraced them as family. Grandmotherly Lucia took on the challenge of teaching Liz to cook (good luck with that—I tried and failed). Nick became fascinated by the couple’s knowledge of Santeria, and Paco’s interest in local politics.

During a celebration Liz and Nick attend for the Rojases’ sixtieth wedding anniversary, an innocent Santeria fortunetelling game before dinner predicts trouble. The heartbreaking aftermath wraps my friends in mystery—senseless crimes, a puzzling disappearance, and a neighborhood terrorized by a hex. Add in an unforeseen snarl on Liz’s home front plus an ethical quandary, and soon level headed Liz finds herself taking risks that could jeopardize her career and her relationship with Nick.

Me? I stay close at hand and by the phone to offer Liz advice or a sympathetic ear, as needed. Sorting out this brouhaha challenges everyone involved, but Liz and I discover that happy endings lie closer to home than expected.

Liz and I became friends in grade school the year Cyndi Lauper taught us “Girls Just Want To Have Fun.” What about you? Not counting relatives, how long have you known your very, very best friend?

** Thanks to the publisher, I have one (1) copy of BRUJA BROUHAHA to give away. Contest open to residents of the US only. Contest ends August 18. Leave a valid-email address with your comment. The book will be shipped directly from the publisher. **

Meet the author
Rochelle Staab, a former award-winning radio programmer and music industry marketing executive, blends her fascination with the supernatural and her love for mystery in her bestselling Mind for Murder Mystery series (Berkley Prime Crime). Her first novel, Who Do Voodoo? was nominated for Anthony, Agatha, Eureka!, and Golden Heart awards. BRUJA BROUHAHA, the second novel in the series was released on August 7. You can contact Rochelle on Facebook or at www.rochellestaab.com.

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

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