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Sex, Murder and a Double Latte [Secure eReader]
eBook by Kyra Davis

eBook Category: Mainstream/Mystery/Crime
eBook Description: When a mystery writer cries bloody murder, everyone blames her overactive imagination? Thriller scribe Sophie Katz is as hard-boiled as a woman who drinks Grande Caramel Brownie Frappuccinos can be. So Sophie knows it's not paranoia or post-divorce, living-alone-again jitters, when she becomes convinced that a crazed reader is sneaking into her apartment to reenact scenes from her books. The police, however, can't tell a good plot from an unmarked grave. When a filmmaker friend is brutally murdered in the manner of a death scene in one of his movies, Sophie becomes convinced that a copycat killer is on the loose ?and that she's the next target. If she doesn't solve the mystery, her own bestseller will spell out her doom. Cursing her grisly imagination (why, oh, why did she have to pick the ax?), Sophie engages in some real-life gumshoe tactics. The man who swoops in to save her in dark alleys is mysterious new love interest Anatoly Darinsky. Of course, if this were fiction, Anatoly would be her prime suspect.

eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Red Dress Ink
Fictionwise Release Date: May 2006

5 Reader Ratings:
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"If Alicia Bright had learned one lesson in life it was that the more settled things seemed to be, the more likely they were to get messed up."

Sex, Drugs, and Murder

The downside of writing sex scenes is that my mother reads my books.

Until I die I will be haunted by the memory of my mother confronting me after reading my first novel. She stood in the living room of my San Francisco apartment with one slightly arthritic hand resting on her robust hip and the other waving my book in front of my face. "I ask you," she said, "how can a nice Jewish girl write such a thing? It's not bad enough you should give me ulcers with all this talk of killing, but now you have to write about naked people too? I thought only shiksas wrote such things."

I somehow resisted the impulse to run and made the stupid mistake of trying to reason with her. "No, Mama," I said, "smut is nondenominational." But my mother wasn't satisfied with that, so she highlighted the scenes, took the book to her rabbi and asked him for his opinion of her daughter, the sex fiend. The rabbi, who in all likelihood was just slightly less mortified than I was, assured her that writing about sex between two consenting adults within a loving, albeit edgy relationship was in no way a violation of the Torah. After that my mother approached almost every member of the congregation, proudly showed them my book and said things like, "Can you believe this? My daughter the author. And you should read the sex scenes. Now if she would just do some of the things she writes about, I could be a grandmother already."

I don't go to that synagogue anymore.

Finding a new congregation was really the only way to avoid embarrassment, since blending into the background was not an option for me. With the exception of my father, I am the only black temple member that Sinai has ever had, which makes me pretty easy to spot. My nationality is an endless source of entertainment for the public. My skin is the color of a well-brewed latte (double shot), and while the mass of textured hair that hangs to my shoulders is frizzy, it's not exactly 'fro material, so people are constantly mistaking me for Brazilian, Hispanic, Puerto Rican, Egyptian, Israeli—you name it. I am spokeswoman for all people. Or at least all people with a slutty imagination.

I finished typing the details of my hero's and heroine's erogenous zones and switched scenes to the apartment of the gourmet chef who was about to be bludgeoned to death with a large toaster oven. How long would it take him to die? Ten minutes, fifteen…

I started at the sound of my buzzer going off and checked the time on the bottom right of my computer screen. Shit. My hands balled up into two tight fists. There's nothing worse than walking away from a keyboard while on a roll. I tapped ctrl S and walked to the entryway to buzz in my guests. I listened as the sound of heavy heels trailed by rubber soles pounded up three stories' worth of stairs.

"How are you holding up?" Dena gave my arm a quick squeeze before peeling off her leather blazer and draping it over a dining chair.

Mary Ann followed her into the apartment and threw her arms around my neck before I had a chance to respond. "Oh my God, Sophie, I'm so sorry! I've never known anyone who's done anything like that. I think I would just be a wreck if I were in your shoes."

I pulled away from the stranglehold and searched Mary Ann's blue eyes for some clue as to what she was talking about. "Okay, I give. Were you speaking in code or am I just so sleep deprived that the English language no longer makes sense to me?"

Dena raised a thick Sicilian eyebrow and seated herself on the armrest of my sofa. "You haven't turned on the TV news today, have you?"

"Well, I read the morning paper, but no, I didn't see the news shows. You know me, when I'm writing I sometimes tune out—"

"Tolsky killed himself, Sophie. They found him last night."

Okay, I was definitely sleep deprived, because there was no way that Dena had just said what I thought she said. "I can't imagine how this could possibly be funny, but I'm waiting for the punch line."

Mary Ann was on her feet. "Oh my God, I'm so sorry! I just thought you knew!"

I could hear the distant sounds of a siren screeching its warning. This was wrong. It was a misunderstanding of some kind. "I just talked to Tolsky two weeks ago." I enunciated the words carefully as if by doing so I could help Dena and Mary Ann realize their mistake. "He said he couldn't wait to see my screenplay. He told me where he was going to film the movie. He told me where he was going to be next week. He told me which actors he was going to approach. Do you see where I'm heading with this? Tolsky was going to do a lot of stuff. He had plans. I may only have spoken to him a few times, but I know this was not a man who was planning on taking his own life."

"Well, he may not have been planning it two weeks ago, but he sure as hell did it last night." Dena nodded to Mary Ann, and continued, "I saw an Examiner downstairs in the lobby, it's probably in there."

Mary Ann tugged nervously on a chestnut-brown curl before hurrying out to retrieve the afternoon publication.

"You weren't close to him, right?" Dena asked. "You just met him that one time?"

"Yeah, just the one time he came up to talk to me about the possibility of turning Sex, Drugs and Murder into a movie. We talked about it on the phone a few times afterward. He seemed like a nice enough guy, maybe a little larger than life, but nothing that you wouldn't expect from a Hollywood producer…. Dena are you sure about this?"

Copyright © 2005 by Kyra Davis

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