Buyer BewareSomewhere around the cargo pants I ran out of hangers, which was why I was surrounded with seven pair of pants, or twenty-eight pockets, when reality hit.

Tradava isn’t going to rehire me.

It’s been six months since I gave up a high profile buying job and glamorous apartment in the Big Apple for a slice of life in a small town in Pennsylvania. I landed the a position in the trend division of Tradava, the local department store, packed up my clothes, shoes, and cat, and bought the house I grew up in. I’d wanted to find a way to simplify my life. Instead I found a homicide investigation.

When word of the homicide hit the newsstands, emails from old friends and colleagues filled my inbox. I answered a few, but how do you explain to other people that you got involved in something bigger than yourself, that even though the case is wrapped up, your life is still in limbo? I applied for jobs that I didn’t want, all the while sending emails, letters, and telepathic messages to Tradava, inquiring about the status of my employment. I crossed fingers, lit candles, and held my breath as often as I could without hyperventilating. Whenever people asked, I assured them I was fine. Even Nick Taylor, the shoe designer I’m kind of sort of in a relationship with, doesn’t know the truth. When he left for Italy three weeks ago he told me everything would be okay.

Eventually, the emails subsided. I busied myself with projects like painting the living room (my first choice was to go lilac but there was a significant difference in price between that and the powder blue shade that collected dust on the Home Depot “Oops” rack). I traded hoagies from B&S Sandwiches for ramen noodles from the dollar store. I listed five pair of shoes for sale on eBay. I started wearing sweatpants.

Clearly everything was not okay.

And then I got the letter from Tradava four days ago. I haven’t told anybody about it, not my friend Eddie, who works for the store. Not even Nick. Tradava management thanked me for my interest in employment, but very generically told me that, due to negative publicity, not only were they not going to rehire me, but they were dissolving the whole trend office. I read the letter twice, cried for three hours, got drunk on cheap wine, and let Nick’s call go to voicemail. When I woke up, I unstuck the letter from my cheek, folded it back up and left it on top of the newspaper on the kitchen table. I carried a bag of pretzels upstairs and started reorganizing my closet. I’ve been at it ever since. I’m afraid if I stop to take a shower or change my clothes I’ll realize how not okay things really are.

Only, I know. I’ve known all along. Things are bad. And to make matters worse, I don’t smell so fresh.

After a thirty minute shower (I figure I’ve earned it by conserving over the past few days), I dress in a strapless silver jumpsuit from the early nineties and carry my cat downstairs to the kitchen. I stick the Tradava letter in a drawer and flip through the newspaper to make sure nothing big has happened during the last forty-eight hours. And that’s when I see the ad:

Interested in a Heist?
Ribbon’s hottest new store opens on July 14. Join us for the Pilferer’s Ball to get a sneak preview of our unparalleled assortments at criminally low prices. The daring are challenged to arrive with one of the following items in tow, “borrowed” from their current place of residency. Should you successfully lift said loot without notice, you can win a $10,000 shopping spree at HEIST. Rules and regulations listed below.

A spark of excitement flickers in my chest and radiates through my arms and legs. I can do this. I grab a notebook and start figuring out how to become a thief.


Diane is giving away one (1) copy of BUYER, BEWARE. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. The book will be shipped directly from the author. Contest ends April 25 and US entries only.


You can read more about Samantha in Buyer, Beware, the second book in the “Style & Error” mystery series. The first book in the series is Designer Dirty Laundry.

Synopsis for Buyer Beware:
buyerbewareOut of work fashion expert Samantha Kidd is strapped, until the buyer of handbags for a hot new retailer turns up murdered. When Samantha is recruited for the job, it comes with a caveat: she’s expected to find some answers. The police name a suspect but Samantha’s convinced the label doesn’t fit. With patent determination and a tote bag of tenacity, she turns to a sexy stranger for help. As the walls close around her like a snug satin lining, Samantha must get a handle on the suspects, or risk being caught in the killer’s clutches.


Cozy Mystery Tour is also giving away a copy of Samantha Kidd’s Guide to Sleuthing in Style, a paperback or ebook of Buyer Beware by Diane Vallere or a $25 Book Depository gift card. Click here to enter for this contest.


Meet the author
Diane is a textbook Capricorn who writes mysteries and loves clothes. She launched her own detective agency at ten years old and has maintained a passion for shoes, clues, and clothes ever since. Visit Diane at www.dianevallere.com or on Facebook.

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

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