USA Today Bestselling Author
Riches to rags. …
Chaos again. …
Winning is important,
… at least for some!
Doreen is overwhelmed with joy when she sees all the volunteers who show up to help get her deck addition built. Most of the men are cops, friends of Corporal Mack Moreau’s, and are happy to help Mack’s special friend and the lady who has helped solve so many crimes for them with a spot of home renovation.
But before the deck improvement can be finished, duty calls, and the cops are called away on a case. Another gray-haired lady has dropped dead. Yet another heart attack victim is added to the long line of previous ones. And, of course, neither of these recently deceased women had a heart condition that would explain their sudden demise.
With her animals at her side, Doreen is determined to figure out what the ladies had in common, plus why and how kiwis keep popping up in this case. As she digs into the ladies’ lives, the things Doreen discover are shocking, … but not as shocking as the answer is to this riddle …
I started laughing almost from the start of this book when Doreen challenges Mack to figure out his case in forty eight hours before she sticks her nose into it. Of course she’s going to need a cold case to tie into it.
The deck becomes a project in this one and Doreen realizes she’s got a lot of supporters, not only in Mack’s co-workers and friends but also in others that would be supplying things for the deck.
This is a favorite scene.
“Oh my,” she said. There was a bit of a ping, but the roof itself didn’t budge. She shook her head. “I wouldn’t even have thought of that.”
“Maybe not. None of this is salvageable. The wood’s done,” he said, showing her the cracks in the wood.
She nodded. “So, does all this railing and stuff go?”
“It all has to go,” he said. “I thought we’d make a pile on the far side by the fence where the other materials are, but separate, so we can haul it out later.”
She frowned as she thought about it and then pointed over by the shed. “But won’t it have nails and stuff? If so, then let’s put it over there, away from the driveway and the people traffic.”
He nodded and said, “Good enough.” And then he started grabbing wood and moving the old stuff over.
She stood and stared. “Am I supposed to knock this down then?” she asked.
“Sure.” He came back with a sledgehammer in his hand and with two very light taps, the entire railing appeared to disintegrate. “Let’s move this first,” he said. “Then we’ll start taking off the floorboards.”
She quickly jumped in to grab little bits of railing, some of it still attached to the top of the railing, and the others basically dangling, and got it all carried over to the side. All three of the animals were outside with them, sitting close by and watching. When they returned to her deck, he said, “Now the steps.”
She groaned and said, “I was hoping we could leave that to get in and out.”
“Nope, not happening,” he said. And, in two swipes, the steps were gone.
he stared and gasped. “Wow,” she said. “What was holding all this together?”
“A prayer,” he said jokingly. “It’s a damn good thing we’re doing it this weekend, as the bottom of the boards are all completely rotten.”
“I could have fallen through at any time.”
“Absolutely,” he said. And, within half an hour, the entire deck structure and steps had all been hauled off to the side of her shed. She stood at the open space from the ground to her open kitchen door and smiled. “I can’t quite jump up there,” she said.
“You shouldn’t try either,” he said. He brought over three of the cinder blocks and plunked them down, one single one on its long side, then two atop each other behind that first one, so she could use those as temporary steps.
She smiled and said, “I can almost make that.”
Just then a shout came from the front.
“Is that for me or for you?”
“Well, in this instance, I’d say both,” he said with a big grin.
She raised her eyebrows. “What are you up to you?”
He shook his head and said, “You’ll see.”
She waited, and, all of a sudden, a group of men came around the corner. Arnold and Chester, Dan, Tommy, and even the captain. She stared at Mack in surprise. “Hey,” she said. “Are you guys here to help?” she asked hopefully.
They all had big grins on their faces. “We figured we might owe you a little bit of assistance,” the captain said, rubbing his hands together. “So, what are we building?”
After that, the entire group became this big happy family, but she hated to say it, with her on the outside. Still. Since she didn’t know how to build a deck or what the procedure was or how to start, she kept finding herself in the way. Finally Mack, at one point in time, picked her up and plunked her on the cinder blocks at the doorstep and said, “Sit.” She dropped her butt onto the kitchen threshold and glared at him. He smiled and said, “Let us figure this out first.”
And, sure enough, all the other cinder blocks were set down in the backyard. They were having lots of discussions about how to measure and lay them, with Mack even changing a few of his plans, with the other guys making suggestions about how to maximize the boards if they made the deck a little bit longer and wider. And then not all the boards would have to be cut. She loved that idea, and they had ten-footers and eight-footers and, if they just rotated them, then maybe they wouldn’t waste any of the wood.
But what surprised her was the time frame required to get those cinder blocks down into the ground and then level. They had all kinds of stuff, from shovels to rakes, but nobody had mentioned the tarps.
“Mack?” she called out.
Distracted, he looked up to her and asked, “What?”
“Remember the tarps?” she asked anxiously.
He looked at her, down on the ground, and then nodded. “Where are they?”
She scrambled to her feet, then dashed inside to the kitchen and headed through to the garage. She returned a moment later with the two big tarps and handed them off. Mack grabbed them and opened them up, then gave her the packaging. And, with the men’s help, they opened the tarps, spread them down, and used the corners of the cinder blocks to keep the edges anchored.
The guys heartily approved. “What’s the matter? Don’t you weed down here?” one of them teased.
“Not really,” she said drily. “This will help slow them down a little bit.”
“But you also have to consider,” the captain said in that deep voice of his, “that these tarps will stop the rain from going into the ground.”
She frowned at that. “So I’m not sure what’s the best thing to do then,” she said.
“Well, the tarp is great if you had a way for the water to go through it. But, if you don’t, we’ll need to punch some holes because you don’t want the water sitting here and getting stagnant,” he said.
“Agreed,” she said, still frowning. “So let’s figure this out.”
“We could if we had some coffee,” Mack said.
She glared at him. “Is that your way of telling me to leave you alone?”
He chuckled, his laughter infectious, bright, and loud. Everybody stopped and stared at him.
Doreen figured it was to see how she took being laughed at. Mack was always teasing her. It was just not evident to these guys yet.
Mack shook his head. “If I thought getting you to make coffee would keep you out of trouble,” he said, “we would have cheerfully delivered you coffee every day to have you butt out of our lives.”
She promptly put her hands on her hips, then glared at him and said, “Mack Moreau. You behave yourself. I’ve been a big help.”
“You have, indeed,” he said. “You’ve also been a big pain in the butt.”
At that, all the men laughed. She nodded and said, “Okay, you’ve got me there. Because of that, I’ll go put on coffee.”
Dale Mayer. Killer in the Kiwis (Kindle Locations 567-620). Valley Publishing.
It’s her Nan who manages to get Doreen involved in Mack’s current case. Mainly because the victim is her friend. Although conflicted Doreen and her pets find their way to where the guys are investigating.
Not quite as many pet antics in this one although they are most definitely present and accounted for. Mugs, Goliath, and Thaddeus are a lot of fun. I really loved when Doreen calls Mack to task when Thaddeus starts swearing a blue streak.
In spite of the mystery Doreen takes on, this book is full of laughter, tears, friends and that ever growing relationship with Mack.
I really can’t wait for the next book in this series, the lead in left me speechless.
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
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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.