It wasn’t that Carmela didn’t like Mardi Gras. Heck, she liked it just fine. She lived in New Orleans after all. And her scrapbook shop, Memory Mine, was located square in the middle of the French Quarter. And when those monster-sized floats came rumbling down the avenue, festooned with glittering lights and crazy, costumed krewe members tossing out colored beads, silver coins, and ladies panties, it really was quite a scene.
But it wasn’t always Carmela’s scene. Sometimes the hoopla was enough to drive her crazy. Champagne corks popping, zydeco music blasting, thousands of folks in witch, vampire, and Medieval costumes carrying plastic cups filled with Hurricanes (the alcoholic version) and jostling like crazy.
Like right now. At this particular party. Carmela was feeling a little bit . . . not shy . . . but maybe bouleverse, which was the Cajun word for overwhelmed. Glancing into an antique mirror, she caught sight of her wavering reflection among the swirl of dancing revelers. Blue-gray eyes, check. Creamy complexion that was enhanced by the natural hydration properties of Louisiana’s industrial-strength humidity, oh yes. Chunked and skunked hair. Well, maybe it was time for a change.
Carmela gazed across the top of her chalice-sized glass filled with Purple Haze and noticed that Ava Gruiex, her very best friend in the entire world, was huddled in a corner, gesturing theatrically and talking to a most interesting looking man. Of course, Ava was gorgeous, predatory, and amazingly forward. While she, Carmela, was still trying to puzzle out the etiquette of how to put a discreet move on someone of the male persuasion. Though her divorce from Shamus Meechum (also known as the rat) wasn’t yet final, was dragging on like a bad third act in a tawdry melodrama, Carmela thought it might be rather nice to have a boyfriend again. Finally. Before she hit thirty and the old tick-tock came into play.
Taking a fortifying sip of her vodka and cranberry juice concoction, Carmela took a deep breath, smiled, tilted her head back, and strode across the room. Decided to rush in where angels feared to tread. Then again, wasn’t that the story of her life?
You can read more about Carmela in Gilt Trip, the 11th book in the “Scrapbooking” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is Keepsake Crimes. Gilt Trip, the newest Scrapbook Mystery from Laura Childs, was just released October 1 in hardcover. Postcards From The Dead was just released in paperback.
Laura is giving away two (2) signed copies of GILT TRIP. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. Contest ends October 12; US entries only.
Meet the author
Laura Childs is the author of the Scrapbook Mysteries, Tea Shop Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries, and has published 28 books to date. Her books have been named to the USA Today and The New York Times Bestseller Lists, and have been featured selections in the Literary Guild’s Mystery Book Club. In her past life, she was the CEO/Creative Director of Mission Critical Marketing and a Cleo Award winner.
Books are available at retail and online booksellers