Wednesday, August 19, 2015

An Excerpt from A Nate To Remember, a Poppy Cove Mystery by Barbara Jean Coast

Omnimystery News: An Excerpt courtesy of Barbara Jean Coast

We are delighted to welcome author Barbara Jean Coast to Omnimystery News today.

Barbara Jean's fourth mystery in her Poppy Cover series is A Nate To Remember (May 2015 trade paperback and ebook formats) and we are pleased to introduce you to it with an excerpt.

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DAPHNE STARTED TO DRIFT off into nothingness, thinking that it wasn't too bad, although it didn't take long for her to feel stiff and shaky from staying in one position for too long. Just as she thought she was going to lose her pose and fall asleep, there was a brisk knock at the door.
  "Adonis, we know you're in there. Open up." The gruff male voice startled Daphne. She jumped, immediately, grabbed the kimono and tied it tightly around her while she sat straight up. She could see through the gauzy floral curtain on the door window that there were two rather large men in hats standing outside.
  Adonis exhaled, slumped his shoulders and set down his charcoal pencil. He did, however, appear to take the intrusion in his stride. "Please excuse me; I'll be right back." He got up and went outside, shutting the door and leading the men away from the shack.
  She frowned as she listened, then her face brightened. In all the excitement regarding the pose, she'd forgotten to ask Adonis about Bud's back room! She wondered if that's what the two men were there for. Irene had said something about a couple of mob heavies talking to Nathan that night. From the lounge, she could hear that they were talking, but couldn't make anything out. She got up and crouched under the window frame of the door, where she could hear better what they were saying.
  "Look, I know, but I'll have the money for you by Saturday, no later," Adonis desperately pleaded.
  "Huh, you said that last Saturday. Now you owe us double," grunted one of the strangers.
  "I know, I know. Look, I've been working. I've got another show on the weekend. I'll have it for you by Sunday; all right?"
  "Sunday? You just said Saturday," growled the other thug. "Which is it?"
  "Sunday, definitely then. I'll sell a couple of paintings and get cash. I've got a show down in Malibu. They always buy my stuff there," Adonis replied.
  Daphne tried to see through the slim crack but saw nothing. She pressed her ear firmer to the opening. "You'd better have it and don't even thinking about asking us for any more. You're cut off until you've paid up with interest, got it?"
  There was silence, and Daphne imagined that Adonis must have nodded. "Good. If you don't, just remember what happened to your friend from Bud's. We don't want to have to do that to you, do we?" Daphne couldn't tell which thug that was, but it didn't matter; they were both bad news. In her mind, she was putting the pieces together, thinking they must have been talking about Nathan. Were they the ones who killed him?
  Daphne's foot cramped while she was crouched down, making her lose her balance. She toppled, knocking over the easel.
  "What was that?" said a thug.
  "Er nothing, I have a cat. It crawls around the studio and knocks things over. It's a nuisance, but … " Adonis covered quickly. Daphne sat still, flat on her butt.
  "Yeah? Well, don't let kitty keep you from getting your work done. Sunday, or we'll do more than this."
  Daphne heard a sick thud and an "ugh" from Adonis. Then the sound of heavy doors slamming, an engine revving and the car driving away. Adonis came back in, holding his eye. She rushed over to him. "Let me have a look at that."
  He moved his hand away. It was swelling, but not looking too bad. She found a clean towel by the sink, rinsed it with cold water and patted around his eye. After it was clear the punch wasn't too serious, she flat out asked him, "Adonis, were you in the back of Bud's, gambling on Saturday night?"
  He nodded.
  "And did you see a man named Nathan there?"
  Adonis shrugged. "There was this new guy, just came into town. Maybe."
  Daphne described him and what Irene had said.
  "Yes, I think so. They left with him."
  "They did more than that, I think," Daphne remarked. "Don't you know he ended up dead that night?"
  Adonis was genuinely shocked. "What?"
  "Don't you read the papers?"
  "No, they're too depressing. I'm too busy for all that news."
  Daphne filled him in on what they knew about Nathan being murdered, including the information that he was with the police chief's daughter, but leaving out Margot's past and present involvement. She didn't think he needed to know that, especially if it was a mob hit.
  He gave a low whistle. "Man, they are serious."
  Daphne agreed. "You have to tell someone that you were there and what you know about those guys. They may be Nathan's killers."
  "Oh, no, I can't do that. They'll come after me," Adonis cowered.
  Daphne gave an exasperated sigh. "Yes, you have to. If you don't, I will. Look, if you don't want to call the police, call this man." She found a scrap of paper and took a charcoal pencil that was lying on the floor. She wrote down Henry's name. "He's a lawyer involved with Nathan's murder. Someone needs to know about this. His office number's in the telephone directory."
  Adonis looked at the paper. "All right, for you, I will. But you have to promise me something."
  "What's that?"
  "That you'll come back so I can finish my masterpiece of you!" He grinned.
  She crinkled up her nose, thought about it, then replied, "Okay, but next time could you play more pleasant music and not smoke those funny cigarettes?"
  He laughed. "It's a deal! See you next week same time, same place, Daphne." He took her hand and kissed it. She was only slightly repelled, as she realized that by coming to his place, she'd found out a key to solving the murder and proving Margot's innocence.

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Barbara Jean Coast
Photo provided courtesy of
Barbara Jean Coast

Barbara Jean Coast is the pen name of authors Andrea Taylor and Heather Shkuratoff, both of whom reside in Kelowna, BC, Canada. Barbara Jean, however, is a resident of Santa Lucia, California (eerily similar to Santa Barbara), where she enjoys long lunches, cocktail parties, and fancy dinner dates with attractive and attentive gentlemen. Her interests include Alfred Hitchcock movies, reading Carolyn Keene, music by popular musicians, such Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, shopping for new dresses, attending society events and always looking fabulous in kitten heels.

For more information about the author, please visit her website at BarbaraJeanCoast.com and her author page on Goodreads, or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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A Nate To Remember by Barbara Jean Coast

A Nate To Remember by Barbara Jean Coast

A Poppy Cove Mystery

Publisher: Cozy Cat Press

Amazon.com Print/Kindle Format(s)BN.com Print/Nook Format(s)

It's springtime in Santa Lucia and everything is blooming, including the Poppy Cove dress shop. 1958 is proving to be a banner year for its young owners Margot Williams and Daphne Huntington-Smythe — with Hollywood starlets becoming customers and attracting national attention to their business. Even the girls' love lives are blossoming. But a casual walk with their boyfriends along the beachfront after an art show suddenly turns shocking, when an unidentified man's body is found washed up on the shore, with a gunshot wound clean through his heart.

The startling discovery becomes personal when the police arrive at the dress shop the next day and confirm that the dead man is none other than Nate — — Nathan — Reed, Margot's ex-husband! Everyone is astounded; Margot has always been secretive about her background, but no one thought it included a spouse. The news becomes even worse when it's discovered that Margot had a hidden handgun which has now gone missing, and is the same caliber as the one that killed her ex. The young designer finds herself the prime suspect in the murder. She feels even more alone when her police detective boyfriend Tom is forbidden to associate with her while the crime is investigated.

As Margot's past comes to light, Daphne must come to terms with the news about her friend and business partner, which causes her to wonder if maybe she's lived too sheltered a life. Determined to have her own secret adventure, Daphne gets herself involved in a predicament more daring than she bargained for.

With Margot working hard to prove her innocence and Daphne trying to lose hers, Nathan's killer is still on the loose and creating more havoc. That dead man on the beach is truly a Nate to remember.

A Nate To Remember by Barbara Jean Coast

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