USA Today Bestselling Author
Riches to rags …
Finally it’s calm …
At least for the moment …
If she’s lucky …
Needing a break from all the murder and mayhem, Doreen and Mack plan an outing to see the local orchid show. Some of the displays are in the community center, but the more prized specimens of this genus require a visit to some of the gardeners’ homes, a rare opportunity not afforded to everyone.
This trip, not quite a date, affords Doreen a chance to enjoy not only the company of Mack but to get to know a few more of the colorful locals. But, when one of these locals ends up dead just after their visit, the dark underbelly of orchid growing is exposed and, with it, an old murder, … not to mention another new one.
Doreen and Mack just can’t catch a break. But can they catch a killer before he kills again?
I love this series so much. As this book opens Doreen and Mack finally go on a date and of course all her animals go with them. I love Goliath, Thaddeaus, and Mugs they are so much a part of every one of these stories as they repeatedly come to Doreen’s aid.
Their date is an Orchid tour, a flower that Doreen is familiar with yet hasn’t ever attempted to grow on her own. It appears this flower has quite the cutthroat competition especially when creating a new variation.
There are several interesting characters we meet that will be become important later. I do love this date and every interaction between Doreen and Mack.
A favorite scene is dinner.
“You can start by telling me if you like fish-and-chips.” Mack glanced at her and then focused on the road.
“Yes,” she said, “I do. But I have the animals, and no way we can go inside a restaurant with them.”
He chuckled. “I’ve got that covered.”
She watched with interest as he pulled off the highway and into the long strip mall. Off to one side was a fish-and-chips place.
He said, “Stay here, and I’ll be right back.”
She watched as he hopped out and strode into the restaurant. Mugs started barking, as if he knew that food was imminent. Goliath’s tail twitched faster and faster, as if completely pissed off that they were delayed getting home. Thaddeus had returned to her shoulder and was curled up, as if he was tired.
“I’m tired too, guys,” she murmured. “I wouldn’t mind just going straight home. But, if this is something we can pick up and take out, now that’s a different story.” Because that would mean food as soon as they got home, and they were only about ten minutes away. And yet it was still ten minutes, and, when you were tired, even ten minutes seemed like a heck of a lot.
She watched the traffic around her. It was late on a Saturday but still not late as far as evenings went. People were still out shopping at the local grocery store right beside her. She wasn’t familiar with this area because she never really spent any time in this corner of town, but it seemed to get steady traffic and to stay busy. For that, she was grateful. Nobody needed to be out of work in this day and age, and she should know.
t sucked trying to get a job, and, for all her best efforts, she was still not getting very far with that. And that just brought her back to the whole lawyer thing. On a whim, she pulled out her phone and sent Nick a text, asking for an update. She got a response almost immediately, saying he didn’t have one. She frowned at that, as she pocketed her phone. Just then Mack came flying out of the restaurant, a big bag in his arms. She looked at him in surprise. “Did you get something already?”
He nodded. “I did.”
“Are we taking that home?” she asked hopefully.
He said, “Well, we could. Otherwise we can take it down to the beach.”
“Beach,” she said immediately.
He chuckled, as he moved the large bag onto her lap, brushing Mugs a bit off to the side. Mugs immediately caught the scent of the food and shoved his nose into the side of the bag, putting a great big dent in it.
She told him to get over. “They’re hungry too.”
“Well, that would be one vote for going home. Unless you think they might have enough to keep them busy at the beach that they’d be okay for a little while.”
“They’ll be okay for a bit,” she said, “but not too much longer.”
“Still, they should be doing what we say, not us doing what they say,” he said, with a laugh.
“Yeah, that’s the theory,” she said. As it was, he drove in the direction of home, then took a couple corners away and down to a spot where he parked. “The beach is right here. It’s a private little spot.”
Curious, she hopped out because she hadn’t seen too many beach access areas on the lake. As a matter of fact, she could really use a few more places she could walk to. Then she stepped out with all the animals gathering around, almost tripping her up.
Mack hurried to her side and snatched the food. He waited for her to untangle herself. “You ready?”
She nodded and then followed him down the path, where the beach opened up suddenly. “Wow,” she said. “This is beautiful.”
“It’s not too far from you,” he said. “I thought you would enjoy it.”
“Absolutely,” she said.
Several big logs were off to one side, so he moved to that area. “Are you okay if we sit here, or do you want to sit on the beach itself?”
She looked blissfully at the water. “I’m really hungry, and I would love to walk in the water, but after we eat.” She sat down on the log, straddling it, as he did the same, placing the bag on the log between them. “I’m surprised you could get it so fast.”
“They do an awful lot of takeout there,” he said, “and they’re used to people running in and picking up stuff.”
“Well, that was running in and picking up all right,” she murmured.
“You looked like you were too tired to deal with the thought of figuring out food or sitting in a restaurant.”
“I am,” she said. “Something was just so very wrong about Stranden.”
“It’s definitely a curiosity,” he murmured.
“I’m not sure that’s the right word. He seemed pretty adamant that Gloria’s son had stolen the orchid from him.”
“And yet I’ve known Gloria for many years,” he said. “I can’t imagine it.”
“Maybe it wasn’t Gloria. Maybe Stranden was right, and it was the son,” she said. “Did you know him?”
He shook his head. “No, I didn’t. But I do know her, and I can’t imagine that the son would be any different.”
“I can,” she said immediately. “We’ve seen it time and time again, where some people are strong upstanding citizens, who wouldn’t do anything wrong and who would bend over backward to help somebody. But then you get somebody else in the family, often a child who’s been enabled a bit too much,” she said gently. “They turn around and make everything bad and ugly for the family because they have a very different perception of what they should get in life. Especially without having to work for it.”
“Well, we can’t find out anything right now,” he said. “So let’s eat.” He opened up this huge bundle wrapped in newspaper, filled with pieces of fish and another one full of fries.
She immediately snatched up a fry and popped it into her mouth. “Oh, they’re still hot.”
He nodded. “Another reason why I wanted to go somewhere close, so we could eat a hot meal.”
She picked up a ketchup packet and raised an eyebrow in question. When he nodded, she immediately ripped it open and dumped ketchup on one corner and then repeated it with several other packets. And, while she busily doctored the fries, he split up the fish. But even with four pieces on her side, a pile was still left.
“Wow,” she marveled. “How much did you get?”
“Enough that we don’t have to worry about being hungry.” He smiled. “It’s reasonably cheap.”
When he told her how much it was, she stared. “For all of this?” He nodded. “Wow,” she repeated, looking down at it. “If there was a way to warm it up, I mean, just one of these meals would give me food for several days.”
“I hadn’t thought of it that way,” he said, “but you’re right. An air fryer would do the job nicely. We’ll have to keep an eye out for a cheap used one for you.”
She was quite amazed that, even after she had her four pieces, and he had several more, still more fish was left over. “I’m impressed,” she said, finally full. “That is a really good value for the money.”
“It certainly is, even for takeout. If you go into the restaurant, it’s an all-you-can-eat deal.”
“I always wonder about those,” she said, “because, when I’m really hungry, I could probably eat more. But, if this is what you get on a normal serving, it’s of no advantage because I can’t eat more than this anyway.”
“And this way you get to take it home,” he reminded her.
She beamed. “And I have become a huge fan of leftovers.”
Dale Mayer. Offed in the Orchids (Kindle Locations 956-1017). Valley Publishing.
It’s a good thing they finished eating and had a bit of a walk before Mack gets called in to work.
We see a lot of Nan in this one too, always the instigator.
I really can’t wait for Doreen’s divorce to be resolved, that will be an interesting book.
In the mean time finding the murder and solving the cold case involved is plenty of fun and intrigue.
I really can’t wait for the next book in this series.
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!
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.