Romantic Mystery, 321 pages
Cover art by Pat Evans
Blurb: Charlotte Ross's world is about to crumble. The man she loves has announced his engagement to another woman. Charlotte’s friend, dubious globe-trotter and mystery author, Jane Marshall, is back in town; but when she stumbles upon the gruesome body of the town’s millionaire industrialist, Jane becomes too wrapped up in the murder to help Charlotte in her embarrassing attempts to stop her ex-lover’s wedding. Charlotte is endearingly impractical as her impulsive choices lead her into and out of trouble, only to discover that people are not always who they seem--and a single error in judgment can prove fatal.
Excerpt: Early the next morning, Charlotte sat at her desk and stared meditatively at John's face while he stood in the doorway of his office having a quiet conversation with his fiancée. What could the two of them possibly have in common: the handsome, sophisticated man of my dreams and the trashy, witless girl with whom he claims to be in love? Charlotte's eyes never left him as the couple casually walked past her desk arm in arm.
Susan continued walking, but John stopped abruptly and turned around. He leaned over her desk and spoke in a confidential tone. "Susan told me all about your visit to the shipping office yesterday. Blanchard is extremely upset, to say the least. He thinks I sent you to dig up some dirt on him. What were you really doing down there?"
Do I want to tell him the truth? Absolutely not. "I don't know why he should be upset. I explained that I only went there to get some figures for the annual report. Which I got, and speaking of which, I'm falling behind on." She scooted her chair closer to her computer keyboard and began typing. "If you want this report done by the end of the day, you'll have to excuse me."
John leaned in closer, his warm breath flush with her hair. He lingered there a moment longer than was comfortable. She held still and stared straight ahead as he took in a long, slow breath. "I'm telling you nicely, Charlotte. Don't stick your nose in where it doesn't belong."
If this was his attempt at intimidation, it wasn't working. Charlotte quirked an eyebrow and wrinkled her nose at him.
With a swift jerk, he pulled himself away from the desk and strolled back to his office.
A breath of relief escaped Charlotte's lips as she continued typing. The report was taking more time to complete than it should have. Partly because she hated doing reports and partly because she couldn't keep her mind on her work. How could she concentrate on one thing, when so many others were fighting to occupy the same space?
Bits of conversation she'd had the previous day drifted in and out of her thoughts. Every time she saw John, her heart sank at what might be taking place that night on the shipping dock, or worse, the next morning at the courthouse. She needed to confess what she heard Susan say about him in the shipping office, but would he think she was telling the truth or lying out of jealousy?
It was nearly five when Charlotte finally raised her eyes to check the office clock. How quickly time passed when most of it was spent daydreaming.
As she typed the final words of the report, John poked his head out of his door, "Charlotte, can you come in here, please?"