Gun in the Gardenias – Lovely Lethal Gardens Book 7 by Dale Mayer

Gun in the Gardenias
Lovely Lethal Gardens Book 7
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer



Riches to rags. … Chaos to more chaos. …
Fire destroys evidence. … Or at least most of it!

Flush with success from solving a decade-old kidnapping case, Doreen can’t wait to find out what’s next in her one-woman crusade to clean up Kelowna’s cold crimes. But, before she can unearth another old case to sink her teeth into, she must tie up some loose ends from the last one.

Steve Albright, fixer for the local biker gang, has made it clear that he blames Doreen for sending his friend Penny Jordan to prison. Steve even suggests that Doreen might have set up Penny Jordan. While Doreen wouldn’t do that, she’s afraid that other people might believe Steve. He’s a popular figure in town and has a lot of friends, many of whom Doreen doesn’t want to get any closer to than she must.

At least Steve doesn’t have his gun anymore, having dropped that in Doreen’s neighbor’s gardenia bed while she chased him from her yard. Which makes Doreen think that maybe it’s safe to dig into Steve’s past. Until she uncovers a connection to three arson cases from years ago and is warned off by Corporal Mack Moreau.

But Doreen’s never listened to Mack before, and it has all worked out thus far, so it’s not like she has to listen to him now. Right?


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I am truly loving this series, the antics of Doreen’s pets, Goliath, Mugs and Thaddeus are so much fun even as they demonstrate their loyalty to her. Her grandmother, Nan is a pip, she’s the reason Doreen has a home and all these interesting issues.

At the end of the last book as things are wrapping up, one of Doreen’s neighbors gives Detective Mack a gun he found in his gardenias.

In this one Doreen has finally gotten rid of much clutter that her Nan had collected over the years. She now wants to do a thorough cleaning before considering decorating to her liking. Of course nothing is simple and she merely finds more things to go through and organize.

Doreen has learned to do a lot, like pay the bills related to owning a home. Selling off of things and finding cash in pockets and pinned in clothing, plus working in Mack’s mother’s garden, has made this possible. She’s also learned a bit about cooking thanks to lessons from Mack.

Mack gets so frustrated with her, she seems to find trouble even as she solves cold cases. He thinks he finally has convinced her to take some time to heal and rest when her neighbor hands him a gun.

This is a favorite scene.

Just then one of the neighbors raced toward Mack, allowing Doreen to sidestep Mack’s question. “Hello, hello, police?”

Mack turned to look at him. “Yes, I’m Corporal Mack Moreau. What can I do for you?”

The man held out a paper bag. “You can take this away,” he said. “Just a few days ago, I was working in the garden, and I know it wasn’t there before then. But I did have somebody run through my yard last Friday night or Saturday morning, it was late, but super early, I don’t know … I was asleep and woke up to see him running,” he said, the words spilling out of him so fast he was hard to understand.

Mack held up a hand. “Slow down.”

“I didn’t know what to think of it. I was really nervous.” The neighbor appeared to be in his mid-seventies at least. The small man with a whisper of gray hair on his head scrunched up his face into worry lines. “Here, here, here,” he said, shoving the bag at Mack. “Take it.”

Mack took the bag and looked inside. His eyebrows shot up toward his hairline, and he said, “Where did you find this gun?”

“That’s what I mean. That’s what I mean. I was working in the gardenias, and I know it wasn’t there before then. But, after that man went through my backyard, I went outside to continue my work the next day, and I found it. I didn’t know what to do with it. I thought maybe he would come back and get it again,” the man cried out. “So I left it there. It’s just me at home, and I knew nobody else would come and take it, but then, when I went out this morning, it was still there. I don’t want it. I don’t want it,” he said, backing up. “You take it.”

“Do you have a dark-brown fence?” Doreen asked. “That runs along the creek?”

He turned and looked up. “Yes, yes, that’s my place. I see you sometimes walking there.”

She nodded. “I love that space. It’s a really nice path along the creek.”

“Not anymore,” he said. “Not anymore.” He kept backing away. “Not when people throw guns into my backyard,” he said. “This used to be a nice neighborhood.” Out came his finger, and he poked it in her direction. “You’re the one who keeps bringing all these nasty people here.”

She stared at him in surprise. “How is that possible?” she asked. “I’m the one finding and shining the light on all these nasty people who have been living here long before I arrived.”

He said, “Well then, you need to find one more. You need to find whoever put that gun in my gardenia patch. It’s really not good for the soil.” He shot her a hard look, and then he turned and left.

Doreen looked at Mack and said in a conversational tone, “I know who dropped it.”

He spun ever-so-slowly, looked at her, and said, “What?”

She beamed up at him. “Maybe we’ll have a cup of tea and talk about it on another day. I think I’ve given you enough work for right now.” She motioned toward the chaos. “Definitely another day.” And she turned, called the animals to her, and said, “Don’t forget. We have a cooking lesson coming up in two days. Mind you get all your paperwork done before then so you can enjoy dinner.” With a big smile, she walked inside and closed the door hard.

She leaned against the inside of the door and couldn’t stop smiling. Mugs jumped up on his back legs, his front paws hitting her midthigh, and he woofed at her. She reached down and and petted him. Goliath, not to be outdone, stretched into the exact same position. She slid down the back of the door until both animals could get at her. Thaddeus hopped up her arm to tuck into the crook of her neck. She cuddled them all and said, “Thank you so very much for saving me again today. And for caring about Mack.”

She knew the absolute joy of having all these tomorrows coming to her, even more so now that the animals had saved her life once more. “Treat time,” she said.

The animals went crazy. She jumped to her feet, laughing, and said, “You deserve it today, guys. You definitely deserve it today.”

As she handed out treats, she couldn’t help but think about the gun in the gardenias and the suspicions she had in the back of her mind. “But that’s tomorrow’s case,” she said, chuckling. “Definitely tomorrow’s case.”
Dale Mayer. Gun in the Gardenias (Kindle Locations 57-90). Valley Publishing.

That gun is just another added frustration for Mack as Doreen just leaves him on her porch.

This case intertwines with the last one and there is much suspense as we see Penny’s friend Steve running into Doreen more than just occasionally.

Plenty of discoveries lead to clues and of course plenty of antics from the pets as Doreen tries to find a sense of normalcy. There are also more hints of a possible romance blooming, but the time definitely isn’t right.

This series is delightful and I perk up every time there’s a new addition. I can’t wait for the next one!

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

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Coming Soon!


Dale Mayer

Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).

She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!

To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.

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