by Carolyn Arnold
Published by: Hibbert & Stiles Publishing Inc.
ISBN (e-book): 978-1-988064-37-6
ISBN (print): 978-1-988064-49-9
Black Friday should be all about shopping and discounts, but Sean and Sara get more than they bargained for. When they only have a few more items left to buy, screams fill the mall—and for good reason. A man has fallen to his death from the second level.
But what exactly happened isn’t that straightforward, and normally, Sean and Sara would leave this matter to the police, but the widow was a childhood friend of Sara’s. While the police are leaning toward the belief the man intentionally took the leap, the widow is adamant her husband would never jump and asks Sara for her help.
Despite the fact there is an unresolved past between the friends—in which Sara feels she let her down—Sara can’t turn her back on her now. Fueled by guilt and the need to find answers, Sara convinces Sean they should look into the man’s death.
But the answers aren’t all coming quickly. Mall security has dropped the ball and there’s no seeming motive for murder. To find out the truth will take unconventional means, a little undercover work, and the help of their friend Jimmy. And if it all comes together, they just might have this case wrapped up in time for the holidays. Maybe even with a pretty little bow.
SHOPPING ’TIL IT HURTS
SARA LOVED THE HOLIDAYS, but she was one “Silent Night” away from running out of the mall in search of a glass of cognac. She glanced over at Sean. He was weighed down with their spoils and trailed along beside her—bags over both shoulders, boxes perched precariously under his arms.
The odd capture of his facial expression, including the pressed-on smile, made it clear that he was beyond ready to call it a day. He was pushing through for her. Maybe it wouldn’t have been such a bad idea to forego the deals of Black Friday. After all, it’s not like money was a concern.
Sean had tried to reason with her about the crowds, but she refused to listen. He even suggested hiring someone to take care of the shopping. She hadn’t considered his suggestion, opting for the personal touch of buying the gifts for family and friends themselves.
“That’s not something you delegate.” The statement was meant in sincerity—at the time. Now she was asking herself what she’d been thinking, and it was obvious she hadn’t been.
“Just one more stop, darling,” she said to reassure him the retail torture was almost over.
“Isn’t that what you said a few ago now?”
“I know, darling, but it’s important to me.” She led him into a lingerie shop.
“And to think, I was going to say one more store, I might kill myself.” He smiled at her as she dropped the packages she carried and reached for a silk number on a storefront display rack.
Sara let the strap of the negligee slip from her fingers. “You would think, of all places, you’d be happy in here.”
“That’s why I said Iwas goingto say.” He came up close behind her, his warm breath cascading across her neck. “Why are we doing all of this today anyway? We’ve been at it for hours already.”
“I just want to get everything in one swoop.”
“Christmas gifts for your family, our friends at PD, Jimmy, Adam. You plan on buying for everyone today?” He adjusted the bags he held.
“Don’t forget the new friends we met in Europe.”
“Ah, yes, how could I forget Leo and Valerie?”
“And Pierre.” She offered a smile.
Leo and Valerie ran a bed and breakfast in France called La Villa Château. They’d met them on a day trip into the countryside when they’d happened into the quaint B&B.
Pierre was the couple’s quirky friend who had shown up years ago and never left. They had ended up hiring him and never looked back. He was an excellent chef and had proven to be a tremendous asset to their marketing campaign.
Pierre had given Sara recipes and pointers to take back home with her. She had tried a couple, but they never turned out the way they had when she worked by Pierre’s side. She wondered if Sean would dare gift her cooking lessons—she’d never seemed to arrange for any herself.
She smiled over at him.
“It’s just that you’re being so good about all of this.”
He blinked and turned his head to the right, his jaw angled slightly upward. He was trying to hide his guilt, but she could see through it. “Yes, I know you’ve been whining.”
“Me? Whining? No—”
Horrific screams reached into the store, drowning out the holiday merriment spreading over the speakers.
Sara raced out of the store, knowing from her days as a cop they could only mean one thing—someone was dead.
CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.
Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.
Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.
She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.
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