Toes Up In The Tulips – Lovely Lethal Gardens Book 20 by Dale Mayer

Toes Up in the Tulips
Lovely Lethal Gardens Book 20
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer


Riches to rags.
… Time heals all wounds,
… but old deeds still haunt,
… even for the innocent!

After helping the captain solve his long overdue case, Doreen’s reputation is well and truly cemented in Kelowna. That’s proven out when a young woman is murdered in her own apartment, and the police start looking at the boyfriend. With the town on edge, this young man seeks out Doreen’s help to prove his innocence.

Corporal Mack Moreau is back to light duty work—mostly keeping an eye on Doreen, if the captain has any say in it. It’s hardly a hardship, as he loves being around her, when she’s not dipping her toes in his active cases. And yet somehow she manages to find old cases that dovetail with his ongoing ones, giving her an exaggerated opinion of where her boundaries are.

What seems simple on the surface goes back into history to a case that was done and dusted, with the killer now out free, looking for revenge. But, of course, it’s not that simple or that easy; and, by the time Doreen and her animal crew are done, the world has shifted for more than just one person in this case.

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I got quite the kick out of the beginning of this book as Doreen claims Toes Up in the Tulips as her new case, even though it’s the latest case on Mack’s plate.

In an interesting twist, a young man, Joseph Moody approaches her for help. It appears he’s the boyfriend of the deceased in Mack’s latest case and want her help proving he’s innocent. Knowing Mack would be upset she calls him, but he has to call her back, and when she hesitates, he announces he’s coming over.

To top it off, she calls back an unknown number, only to find it’s her ex. So, she has to call Nick.

This is a favorite scene.

Doreen quickly phoned Nick and told him what she’d done. “Could you please stop answering the phone— unless it’s me calling?” He groaned.

“Yeah, wouldn’t that be nice? I didn’t recognize the number. It didn’t come up on my screen,” she began, and then she explained what Mathew wanted.

“I hope you told him that you wanted the jewelry.”

“I did, and he wanted to come up and deliver it himself.” At that came a surprised silence on the other end. “I told him that I think that had to go through the lawyers.”

“Good,” Nick replied. “That is very good.”

“He told me to try and keep my pain-in-the-backside lawyer out of his … away from us. He told me how you were becoming quite a pain in his backside.”

At that, Nick laughed. “Yeah, we’re not done yet either,” he replied cheerfully. “If he calls again, just hang up. I will now send him an email requesting all the jewelry. You did give me quite a list.”

“Yeah, a lot of birthdays happened during that marriage,” she noted. “I know this probably sounds like I’m being really, really greedy, and I’m not trying to be, but …”

“What?” he asked curiously.

“He had fakes made of all of them.”

At that, he started to laugh. “Don’t tell me. That’s what you got to wear in public?”

“Exactly. I highly suspect that’s what he’ll try and hand over to you.”

“Oh no, he won’t. Now that you’ve told me that, we’ll make sure that we get the originals.”

She smiled. “I’m really not a vengeful person, but, at this moment, just the thought of you being a thorn in his side is making me so happy.”

“Good to hear. I’ll let you know what he says.”

And, with that, they disconnected, and she turned around to see Mack standing there, glaring at her.

“Who was that?”

“That was your brother.” She glared at him right back. “Why are you in such an ugly mood?”

“What are you up to now?” He frowned.

“I didn’t think I was up to anything right now, although earlier, … I called you to talk, but you were busy. Then Mathew just called me, and I made the mistake of calling him back because I didn’t recognize the number.”

At that, Mack glared at her again.

She raised both hands. “It wasn’t the usual number, people. What am I supposed to do?”

“How about you don’t answer unknown numbers?” He sighed.

“At least you called Nick.”

“Yeah.” And she explained what her ex-husband was after. “And then I told Nick how Mathew always kept fakes of everything.”

Mack laughed. “So presumably he’s trying to give you the fakes.”

“I wouldn’t be at all surprised. I think he was hoping I didn’t want any of it, that I hated him so much.”

“I’m surprised you do.” Mack eyed her closely. “Sentimental value?”

“No, he pissed me off,” she declared. And then she tapped her temple. “Do you really think Nan isn’t rattling around inside my head, saying, Take it. Take it. We can always sell it.

At that, Mack burst out laughing. “She’s right. I don’t know exactly where one would sell something like that, but I’m sure, with all the connections that you’re slowly building, somebody could tell you.”

She smiled. “That’s what I was wondering.”

As he walked toward her, he yawned and said, “And now I can’t stay. I’m on my way home, and I need to grab some sleep.” He rubbed his face. “Haven’t had a whole lot of that lately.”

She stared at him in consternation. “I wouldn’t have added to your day, if I’d known you’d had a bad time of it.”

He snorted. “Yes, you would have.”

She glared at him. “You don’t know that.”

He just gave her an eye roll. “So get to it.”

She opened her mouth and then snapped it shut, not sure how to start.

“Uh-oh.” He took two more steps toward her. “When you act like that, you worry me.”

“No reason to be worried,” she replied.

“Did you interfere in my case?” he snapped. Her shoulders hunched. “Oh no, please not. What did I tell you?”

“I didn’t have a choice,” she replied, holding up her hands. “This guy came to me.”

“What guy?” he asked in confusion.

“Joseph Moody.”

Mack closed his eyes and swore under his breath.

In a low tone and trying to not make it sound like she was guilty, Doreen explained what Joseph wanted.

Mack sat down beside her, with a hard thunk. “Even when I try to keep you out,” he noted, with a headshake.

“I didn’t do anything,” she repeated.

He nodded glumly. “The problem is, at this point in time, you’ve become a force of your own.”

“Not really,” she argued. “I mean, I couldn’t tell him anything because I don’t know anything. I did tell him that I would talk to you guys.” He shook his head, and she shrugged. “It seemed like the best thing I could do.”

“Oh, absolutely.” Mack sighed. “And believe me. I appreciate your doing that much.”

She winced. “You sound like you’re pretty fed-up.”

“It’s hard when everybody decides that an amateur detective”— he gave her an eye roll—“ would give them a better shake than us.”

“I think when people get into this situation, they react purely in fear.”

“Sure,” he agreed. “But fear of what?”

“I know he’s probably your best suspect, just because of his relationship to the victim.”

“Yet he does have an alibi,” Mack acknowledged.

“I know, and he did tell me that,” she shared. “Have you checked with his coworkers?”

He nodded. “Yep, we have.”

“So technically he shouldn’t really be on your list.”

“Of course he’s on the list,” he replied. “Just doesn’t mean that he’s super high on the list.”

“Right. But, if you don’t have anything to go on, then I’m not hurting anything,” she said cautiously. “And, if I give you whatever information I come up with …” He just glared at her. She raised her hands again. “What would you have me tell him?” she asked. “Obviously I tried hard to let him know that he should give you guys all the information and that you would give him a fair shake and that sometimes it looked like the police weren’t looking at anybody else, but they were.”

“Is that what you told him?” he asked in astonishment.

She nodded. “Something like that. Don’t quote me on it,” she muttered. “I’m already very tired.”

“You and me both.” He sighed again. “Didn’t really need this tonight.”

“Of course not.” And then she smiled at him. “You didn’t need it any night.”

He grinned at her. “True enough. We’ll see what comes out of this. Just please be careful.”

“I will. I will.”
Dale Mayer. Toes up in the Tulips (Kindle Locations 511-571). Valley Publishing Ltd..

This case gets pretty tangled right from the start with both Doreen and Mack investigating from different angles.

I love Thaddeous, Goliath and Mugs so very much, their antics are perfect. Nan also adds her two cents into things and well, it’s good to see Mack and Doreen’s relationship is stable while waiting on the divorce.

The case goes off into several different directions, making me wonder which way it will end up.

I love this series and can’t wait for the next book!

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

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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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