I’m excited to announce that Nailed It! (Beach City Cozy Mysteries: Patsy- Book Three) is now available for pre-order! The release date is June 8, 2022.
Below is the description, first chapter and the link to order a copy:
Shirley Martinez threatened Jerry Nichols in front of officers of the law. When Jerry turns up dead with the exact wounds that Shirley had warned about, she becomes the prime suspect. Shirley enlists the help of her lifelong best friend, Patricia Garret, and paralegal investigator, Abigail Alexander, to find the real murderer. The more they dig, the longer the list of suspects grows. Will they find the killer before further framed evidence appears? Shirley is running out of time, but Pat and Abi refuse to give up.
“Ma’am, please get out of my trunk for the last time, or I will call the cops,” the man pleaded. The woman was sitting with her arms and legs crossed in protest in the trunk of his white Jeep Wrangler.
The woman was Shirley Martinez. The vehicle was parked in front of her house in Beach City, California. It was a warm Tuesday in mid-May. She straightened her shoulders, then lifted her head confidently and challenged the man with a scowl, “Call the cops.”
“Fine,” the man said as he reached into one of his stained, faded blue jeans pockets and pulled out his cellphone. As he punched in numbers on his phone, he grumbled, “I should just drive off with you.”
“Go ahead, and I will have you arrested for kidnapping,” Shirley threatened.
They argued for several minutes until a squad car pulled up behind the Jeep. Two men got out. One was tall and medium built, wearing a uniform; the other was burly with mocha skin, brown eyes, short dark curly hair in a brown suit. The one donning the brown ensemble placed his hands on his hips. He stood next to the Jeep and asked, “Aunt Shirley, what are you doing?”
Shirley deepened her scowl, then pointed at the Jeep owner. “This man is trying to steal from me.”
“What?” the man asked, exasperated. “I don’t steal. I am just trying to leave this nightmare of a project and go home. You hired my guys for a tiling job. My guys put the tile in, and now it’s time for me to go.”
“You and your guys put the wrong tile in. I want my money back, and I want the right tile.” Shirley turned her attention away from the contractor and then focused on the officers. “I was supposed to get Juniper Breeze. It’s a beautiful greenish-gray color. Instead, they put in a puke-colored, crappy-looking tile that I’d never dream of putting in my home. Seriously, Byron, look for yourself! You’ll see …” she said to the suited cop.
Byron Garret did as she suggested. He walked inside the house and reappeared less than a few minutes later. “She’d never order that tile,” he said. “I know her. She would never want that throw-up color on her floor. I never thought the color of a floor would make me feel sick.”
“Thank you,” Shirley said victoriously, throwing her fist up in triumph.
“But I suggest you take this matter to small claims court if you can’t agree. It’s not going to be resolved here on the street.”
The contractor scowled at the mention of court. “Lady, you have been more trouble than you are worth.”
“How dare you speak to me like that! You’re lucky I don’t grab the nail gun you have in this trunk and shoot you in between your eyes or in your cold heart!”
“Shirley!” Byron shouted.
“Arrest her!” the contractor shouted. He pointed at her with shaking hands. “You heard her. She threatened me.”
The uniformed officer reached for his cuffs and moved close to the trunk. Byron stepped in between and raised his hands. “No one here will be arrested today. Aunt Shirley, please exit the vehicle.” When she didn’t budge, he said, “I will have to let him,” he gestured to the other officer with a shift of his head, “arrest you if you don’t. Please … get out of the trunk.” He briefly closed his eyes as he pleaded.
Shirley glared at the man. “Fine, I’m suing you, Jerry. You know you did wrong.” She held her hands out to Byron. “Help me out,” she said bitterly.
Shirley grunted and groaned as Byron helped her out. Her knees popped and cracked. When her feet finally touched the street, she said, “Oh, there’s Pat.” A white Toyota Prius pulled up in Shirley’s driveway. A woman with brunette peppered with gray curly hair, dark brown catlike eyes, thin lips, and an elfish nose got out of the car and quickly approached them.
“Mom, what are you doing here?” Byron asked.
“Shirley texted me to come right away. What’s going on?” Patricia Garret, also known as Pat (and sometimes Patsy), asked worriedly. She glanced at the man who was hurriedly getting into the Jeep. “Is that Jerry from your church group?”
“Hmph … I won’t be part of that group anymore if he’s in it. His guys put in the wrong tile, and he won’t rectify the issue.”
Jerry soon drove off.
“I told you not to work with a friend,” Pat said.
“He’s not a friend. I barely even know him. He kept calling me ma’am, for crying out loud. As if I’m that much older than him.”
“Making threats, especially in front of law officers, is not smart,” Byron said.
“You threatened him?” Pat asked.
“Of course, but I didn’t mean it. I was just mad,” Shirley said. “I’m still mad.” She dusted off her navy-blue sweatpants and rubbed her hands together. “Come see what he and his guys did.” Shirley gestured for her lifelong best friend to follow her inside the house.
“We will go back to the station,” Byron said as he and the other officer got back into the patrol car.
When they were inside, Pat began to feel sick from looking at the tile. She placed a hand against one of the entryway walls and the other on her stomach. “I don’t feel so good.” She gagged.
“Exactly,” Shirley said.
“Let’s go out to eat and figure out what we can do to get this ridiculous tile out of here,” Pat suggested. She was already heading back outside.