Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Sneak Peek at THUG GUARD, Book One of My New, Cozy Cash Mysteries
Happy Tuesday, D. D. Scott-ville!
Wow...are we super-close to release day for THUG GUARD, Book One of my new, Cozy Cash Mysteries, featuring all your fave Bootscootin' Books Characters gettin' "cozy"...as in Cozy Mystery cozy.
Rumor has it...THUG GUARD might arrive a wee bit ahead of its May 16th Release Date too...so stay-tuned for more announcements.
But, in the mean time, here's a treat for you...a Sneak Peek at THUG GUARD Chapter One...
I walked into the Jiffy Mart at the corner of Pike’s Place and Sweenie Avenue. All I wanted was a bottle of my wheat grass-included, all-things-green Naked Juice. What I got was a dead man – yeah, as in who knows how he got that way but he sooo was – a dead man in the passenger seat of the Range Rover parked next to me.
This guy wasn’t just merely dead, he was most sincerely dead. And no, I’m not the Munchkin Land Coroner. I’m Zoey Witherspoon, just another wanna-be Stephanie Plum about to call for back-up.
My back-up, Roman Bellesconi - my very own Walker, Texas Ranger - was not gonna like this at all.
Thinking the dead guy situation probably deserved my more immediate attention, I coached my sugar-deprived body to hold tight for its much-needed burst of Naked Juice.
Calling Roman’s cell, I waited for his rugged-rough, this-had-better-be-good voicemail greeting, wishing just once he’d think I was important enough to answer the damn phone.
“Yep. You know the drill. Leave a message,” his voice mail not-so-warmly invited me to do.
“Roman. It’s me. Pick-up if you’re there,” I said, taking a yoga-deep breath, knowing just as I was about to cuss a blue streak, then make a second attempt at maintaining my never quite calm demeanor, he’d answer.
“What’s up, Zoey? Or do I even want to know?”
Roman’s way sexy, ultra deep voice - a cross between Stallone and Pacino’s Italian, drool-worthy accents – cut-off his voicemail prompt.
The clank of his barbell echoed through his Blue Tooth after what was sure to have been one helluvan impressive bench press.
I mean really. Who answers the phone while bench pressing 325 pounds?
Roman does. And I’ve seen him do it. He actually has enough extra muscle gravitating to his shoulders that he can move those wads of steel against his Blue Tooth’s answer switch. Yeah. Incredible, right?
Honestly...who could even talk period while lifting that much weight?
I rolled my eyes, which I tend to do a lot when thinking about Roman’s antics.
Although, I may have been secretly contemplating what else he could do with those kinda muscles. But a woman doesn’t have to share all her secrets...so I’m savoring the detail of that one for a bit...and just tossing it out there for a conversation-building “what if”.
And speaking of conversing, hell, I do well to walk and talk at the same time.
Some days, in the kinds of shoes my real job demands, that feat, in and of itself is damn near impossible. Today’s gorgeous, buff-colored Louboutin platform pumps...yeah, well, you get the toe-breaking, heels-wobbling picture.
But not my Roman in his Italian, hand-crafted loafers. He’s the super-shoed and super-fit, hot Sicilian version of a kick ass Christopher Chance of Human Target fame, although with the height and killer body of international cover model Jimmy Thomas.
My Roman isn’t exactly like my Jimmy, who I’d recently used in a couple of my New York Fashion Week Runway Shows, and who, by the way, has the personality of a big and brawny teddy bear. Oh no. Sooo not Roman-esque.
Roman Bellesconi has something dark, very dark, deep inside his super beefed-up torso. Totally, the Sicilian Christopher Chance through-and-through...just add more beef.
I hadn’t figured out what that dark something was or how it got there or why it was hanging around. But I’m hell-bent on getting to the bottom of all that beef, just give me a couple more cases to work with him, and I’ll have some answers.
“You still there, Witherspoon?” Roman asked.
His voice indicated my ability to zone in and out of conversations amused rather than irritated him. At least for the moment.
“Oh sure. Yeah. Sorry. I haven’t had my Naked Juice yet, so I’m not quite up to speed,” I said, knowing I could no longer avoid sharing this soon to be breaking news.
Plus, if I gave Roman the slightest chance to catch his breath, post bench press, he was sure to pop-off with some smart ass comment about my need for Naked Juice speed.
“So I’m here at the Jiffy Mart. You know, the whole swamp juice thing. And there’s this Range Rover parked next to me,” I said, looking through my latest couture sunnies straight into the eyes of the dead man.
“I’m not real interested in this story yet, Witherspoon. You got anything else?” Roman asked as he hit the button on his blender, making his own swamp juice.
“Oh, you’re gonna be interested. There’s a dead man in this Range Rover,” I baited him, noticing that his blender was no longer blending.
“You’ve got my undivided attention now, Plum Puddin’.”
Hearing the smart ass but kinda hot way he pronounced the pet name he’d recently christened me with, I could feel heat flush my cheeks.
“Unfortunately for you, perhaps, I’ll have your attention for awhile longer, Italian Stallion. As in...our first official case longer,” I said, so hoping he’d let me tag along for this investigation.
“I’ll be the judge of when and if you work another case for us,” Roman said.
Lucky for me, I could still hear amusement in his tone so I figured I’d better keep striking while the time seemed sort of right to maintain my spot on the U.S. Marshal’s and SEC’s payroll.
“I think the dead man in the Range Rover,” I said, looking over the crisp lavender edges of my Louis Vuitton sunglasses one more time, just to make sure I’d made the proper identification of our vic, “is none other than Ludwig Kohn.”
I heard Roman take a deep, very calculated and measured breath, never uttering a word. The precise thing he did when that dark side of his was about to take control.
“Ludwig Kohn, as in Sonja Medici’s henchman.”
“I know who Ludwig is, Witherspoon,” Roman said, his Dark Knight-ness now clearly taking over his voice.
“So I take it he survived his little run-in with Alexandra, me and her minivan?” I asked, still pissed Roman and his Marshal Monkeys refused to tell me what exactly had become of Ludwig after he’d been run over by Alexandra and me in the Hobby Lobby parking lot.
“He didn’t survive for long did he?” Roman asked, an icy edge to his question.
“No, I suppose not. But I do assume you now get that I will be on this case with you? Our first official job as a dynamic duo.”
Even saying that made me feel giddier than going to any of the London, Milan or Paris Fashion Week’s coming soon.
“You know the assume adage, don’t you, Witherspoon?”
Yeah, I did. But I wasn’t letting him off the hook that easy, even if he was back in his cranky pants, dark-guy mode.
“What I know is that you can’t make any bigger ass outta me than I can make outta myself, if that’s what you’re referring to,” I said, tickled with my own witty response.
“That’s what I’m afraid of,” he said, punching the high-speed option on his blender.
What a chicken shit, I thought. He didn’t have the balls to listen to my comeback on that one, so he’d chosen his blender instead.
But I swore I heard him say something to the effect that he’d be right there so for me to just sit tight.
Like what was I gonna do? Just leave poor Ludwig stiff in his seat?
I may have pretty much fallen into my last gig with Roman. But I’d earned the right to work this one. I’d found my first dead man. So until Ludwig was stuffed into a body bag, I wasn’t goin’ anywhere.
I was officially on this case. Well, sort of officially.
But I’d built my fashion empire by creating buzz, buzz based on me sort-of, already being in demand by potential, high-powered clients. I’d always acted “as if” I’d already made it. And that approach had more than served me well.
So why change tactics now?
People want what they think others already have. So you’ve got to make sure they know what they’re more-than-likely missing.
Although, I was freaking out a bit that Ludwig here was now missing a life force, and I was definitely holding out hope I’d soon be free from my first dead body. Because why? Keeping with my philosophy, I wanted what others already had...my God damn Naked Juice.
My sugar was already plummeting dangerously low. And seeing Ludwig out-for-the-count sure hadn’t raised my blood sugar levels. My adrenaline yeah, which meant I now needed even more sugar I didn’t have.
But sugar levels aside, this new kinda rush, based on discovering bodies, was quite intriguing.
Maybe I was finally in the right career field. Talk about a calling. How many people could just find a dead body? And a dead body they could identify no less?
When Roman had been protecting my dear friend and client Alexandra McCall – yes that Alexandra McCall, the daughter of jailed Ponzi-scheme King Bernard McCall - I’d been, at first, nothing more than the McCall family’s stylist.
But I’d soon gotten involved in Roman’s case, as an intelligence officer of sorts.
Okay, so maybe I was just a well-respected inside informant. As in a wealth-of-information source. Simply because I knew more about Alexandra and her family than Roman possibly ever could.
Cut to the fantabulous chase, I’d plucked my golden apple when it fell from its money tree then gone-on to prove my worthiness to the Fed’s entire Cozy Cash Operation.
Yeah. That was the code-word for the Marshal Monkey’s McCall Operation...Cozy Cash. Clever. And catchy too.
But this time, there’d be no little ‘ole me just falling into a crime-busting gig.
Since Roman and I’s last partnership, I’d done the time. Well, not time as in jail time. Hello? I’m on the good team. I’d done time by studying my ass off and earning my P.I.’s license.
Now...I could officially play with the big boys.
I held up my badge, declaring my name and my new part-time gig – in a rather poorly done and cheesy-font monogramming. But regardless, I still love how the brilliant sunshine gleams off the cheap metal.
The badge is nothing like the radiance I’m accustomed to from the high-end, one-of-a-kind jewels I frequently pick-up from designers who loan their pieces to my clients. But I love my new badge, and what it stands for, more than the biggest and best of borrowed, Cartier diamonds.
Thanks to Ludwig Kohn’s well-dressed corpse, I, Zoey Witherspoon, P.I. – oh, and still a Stylist to the Stars and Fashion Designer too – was back in business.
But now, it had nothing to do with what people were wearing.
No more Red Carpet Events. Or Runway Show Spectaculars. Rather, at this unique stage in my life, it was all about who would rather bury my clients beneath the carpet.
Well, in theory, but I’d still promised to stay in Music City long enough to take care of one last client, which was another one of the reasons, besides my whole borderline diabetic issue, that I had to get my hands on that Naked Juice.
My last client was a real pistol. One of those bitches who made you not only wanna buy a pistol, but then also learn how to shoot the damn thing too. I needed all the extra nourishment I could get to deal with this diva.
I peeked in at my first dead body one last time before Roman’s circus started. Once he and all his Marshal Monkeys arrived, I probably wouldn’t get another shot at the body.
The whole eyes rolling back in the head was a very strong clue I was definitely calling this right. Plus, there was that surprised open mouth thing, but you get the picture. I reaffirmed my initial decision that Ludwig really was more than quite deceased.
He was no longer on Earth anyway. Perhaps in Purgatory. Trying to cross the River Styx. Or maybe already in Hell. Ludwig Kohn was a bad dude. A really, really bad dude. Straight to Hell was probably a fairly good guess as to his current whereabouts.
Remembering my new training required I always be aware of my surroundings, I looked around the parking lot. So as to be more discreet, I kept my Louis’s in place.
Frankly though, I must already be quite proficient at the whole surroundings awareness bit, since I’d only had my P.I. license a week and already discovered my first dead body.
Not seeing any other Jiffy Mart customers in the area, and thinking, since I was the car parked next to Ludwig, that no one else would have any need to be between my door and his, I figured I could probably make it both into the store then out, with my Naked Juice, well before Roman and his Monkey Squad arrived.
Damn, I needed that juice.
It wasn’t every day that a girl in Vuitton, Armani and Louboutin, on her way to style the soon-to-be divorced wench-of-a-wife of a superstar comedian, got held up at a Jiffy Mart, by a dead man in a Range Rover.
How fun is that?!
THUG GUARD is all about...
Hollywood Stylist to The Stars Zoey Witherspoon is a wanna-be Stephanie Plum, and to that end, she’s now moonlighting as a badge-toting P.I. But on her way to style one of her infamously diva-esque clients, she discovers her first Dead Guy in a Range Rover parked next to her. And this isn’t just any dead guy. It’s the guy with a Russian mob connection, who her former client, Ponzi-scheming King Bernard McCall, hired to knock her off.
Bond, James Bond-style Double Agent Roman Bellesconi is hell-bent on bringing down Ponzi-scheming King Bernard McCall. Why? Because (1) that’s his job. But also because (2) he’s got a lot more at stake than job security. If he doesn’t bring down Bernie, his family’s monarchy will be destroyed.
As the dead guys keep piling-up around ‘em, Zoey may be damn sick of Roman’s deep and very dark secrets, but, she’s also convinced that perhaps, like Roman’s been reiterating, it’s only because he’s keeping those secrets, they’re both still alive. But is there a way for their cover to be blown, Roman’s secrets thus revealed, and each of ‘em live to tell about it?
Think The Rachel Zoe Project meets Bond, James Bond and a Madoff-style, Ponzi-scheming King.
And all the quirky-crazy, Cozy Cash Mystery madness is comin' your way in just a couple days!!!
Sexy Sassy Smart Cozy Cash Mysteries Wishes --- D. D. Scott
Labels: Sneak Peek Samples, The Cozy Cash Mysteries, Thug Guard
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