Savannah was hot as a basted turkey and just as humid as I drove the Lexus to my house. The smell of fine leather and the feel of an electronically cooled seat chilling my derriere made me realize just how much I’d missed this car my ex took in the divorce. Right now I missed any car.

I killed the engine by my gnarled cherry tree in full bloom that gave the house its name. The aroma was incredible, the tree a bouquet of pink and white and half the reason I persuaded Hollis to buy Cherry House years ago.

The other half was that I loved the place since I was a kid, riding my bike by it when visiting Auntie KiKi. I watched it deteriorate bit by bit and I knew I could save it. The fact that I’d never hammered or screwed or sawed a thing in my life didn’t deter my enthusiasm. It should have.

Auntie KiKi scurried out the front door waving her hands in the air. “Where in the world have you been?” she panted, leaning in through the open car window. “When I got home, there were three people waiting on your porch ready to shop! They said they got one of those tweets.”

She tsked, the universal sound of exasperated Southern women everywhere. “Whatever happened to the days when you got a nice phone call from a friend telling you what was what?” she lamented. “You have customers in your dining room looking for consignment shop bargains, and I have a waltz lesson with Bernard in ten minutes.” She heaved a weary sigh.

Bernard Thayer was seventy, had no rhythm, less coordination, been Mr. Weather on Savannah TV for thirty years and he was determined to wind up on Dancing with the Stars.

KiKi thrust a wad of bills at me. “I went and got stuff from my own closet to sell to spruce up your inventory and what in the world are you doing with the Lexus?”

“I sold that fountain in the back yard to Raylene Carter for a small fortune. Now I have to deliver it as well as get the car back before Hollis knows I took it. I sort of didn’t tell him.”

“Oh, honey, Grand Theft Auto, your mamma will be so proud.”

I ignored the possibility that my scum-bucket ex would call the cops and I popped the trunk. “Take a look-see at how much room we have. Hollis stores his real estate junk in there.”

“We?”

I grabbed my purse and rummaged for keys to the shed as I headed for the back yard. “I’ve got a cart. We can haul the fountain and–”

“Sweet Jesus in heaven! Uh, Reagan, honey,” KiKi called, her finger crooked at me in a come-here gesture. “We have junk, a great big pile of it.”

“Dump it on the lawn,” I said hurrying back to the car to help unload. “If I have to hire movers I won’t make any money and I have an electric bill due and– Holy mother of God!” My gaze landed on Cupcake, eyes wide open, and dead as Lincoln right there in Hollis’s trunk.

KiKi and I stared, neither of us breathing. KiKi finally whispered, “She doesn’t look nearly as good in the pink chiffon as you do.”

“Maybe because she has blood in her hair and is rolled up in plastic like a hotdog in a bun.” I made the sign of the cross for disrespecting the dead.

“There is that.” KiKi sounded faint and slowly slumped to the curb. “You wouldn’t happen to have a martini in that purse of yours, would you?”


You can read more about Reagan Summerside in Iced Chiffon, the first book in the new “Consignment Shop” mystery series.

** Thanks to the publisher, I have one (1) copy of ICED CHIFFON to give away. Contest open to US residents only. Contest ends October 5. Leave a comment if you want to be included in the giveaway. The book will be shipped directly from the publisher. **

Bonus: Duffy is also giving away goodie-filled totes to four lucky winners.

Meet the author
Duffy Brown loves anything with a mystery. While others girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, Duffy longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. She has two cats, Spooky and Dr. Watson, and conjures up who-done-it stories of her very own for Berkley Prime Crime. Iced Chiffon, out October, 2012, is the first in the “Consignment Shop Mystery” series. Killer in Crinolines is scheduled May, 2013. Duffy writes romance as Dianne Castell and is a USA Today bestselling author. Visit Duffy at www.duffybrown.com or on Facebook.

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

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