Tag Archives: 1920s

How Martini Club 4 Was Born (Ruined – Vintage Romantic Suspense by Alicia Dean – #FREE for a limited time!!)

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Martini Club 4 – The 1920s

In 2010, I and three of my writer friends—Amanda McCabe,  Kathy L Wheeler, and Krysta Scott—began meeting each Friday evening for Martinis and various other libations at the Martini Lounge in Edmond, Oklahoma. In time, we came to dub our gatherings the ‘Martini Club.’  During one of these get-togethers, an idea was tossed around to write stories centered around a Martini Lounge-like establishment. The idea blossomed from there, and the ‘Martini Club 4’ series was born.

Each of the four authors wrote our own, stand-alone novella, but the girls from each are friends, and they interact in one another’s stories. This first series is set in the 1920s, and the follow-up novellas are set in the 1940s.

I and my BAFF’s (Best Author Friends Forever) had a blast brainstorming and creating the MC4 Vintage Historical Romances over drinks and during a few out of town retreats (over drinks, as well :)).  Sadly, Kathy and Amanda have moved out of state and the Martini Lounge was converted into an Italian restaurant, so, like the Roaring Twenties, our Martini Lounge gatherings are bygone days.  (Although, never fear, Krysta and I have a few other friends who now meet for drinks on as many Friday nights as possible, though COVID has certainly put a damper on that. We still call our get-togethers MC (Martini Club) 🙂

Step back into the days of prohibition, gangsters, and speakeasies with the Martini Club 4 Series.

****  FREE for a limited time!!  – Ruined, Reckless, and Rebellious are free and Runaway is only 99 cents!!

 (See below for info about the 1940s novellas)

About the Books: 

  • Jessica:  An aristocratic reporter with a penchant for trouble, she encounters sexy, mysterious Frank Markov, owner of an elegant new speakeasy and a man with secrets she’s dying to uncover. ~ Rebellious by Amanda McCabe 
  • Eliza: She fled England in pursuit of a better life, but her illusions are shattered when she falls prey to a scoundrel who draws her into a life of prostitution. When she meets Vince Taggart, a former boxer in search of his missing friend, she finds hope and the promise of love. ~ Ruined by Alicia Dean
  • Margaret: Her impulsive nature lands her face-to-face with gangsters and bootleggers. Even more disarming is her undeniable attraction to the enigmatic Harry Dempsey. ~ Reckless by Kathy L Wheeler
  • Charlotte: Her dreams of owning her own bakery crumble when blackmail and murder land at her feet. Is the dashing detective her ruin or her salvation? ~ Runaway by Krysta Scott 

 

Blurb: Can an aristocratic lady melt the cold heart of a Russian gangster?

Lady Jessica Hatton fled her high-society London debutante life for one of investigative journalism in New York—only to be relegated to the fashion pages. Searching for a juicy story leads her to Club 501, the city’s most glamorous speakeasy—and its handsome, mysterious owner, Frank Markov. But his past of war and revolution puts their hearts—and their lives—in danger…

Excerpt: “Do you smell that, Meggie?” Jessica Hatton cried as she leaned into the cold, salt spray wind, her t-strap shoes perched on the lowest rung of the ship’s railing.  She’d lost her hat, and the short strands of her hair blew into her eyes, but she didn’t care.  England was far behind them.  They had escaped.

“It smells like freedom!” she shouted, and threw up her arms.  It felt like she could fly all the way to America.

“I only smell old fish,” Meggie said.  “Now come down from there, Jess.  If you tumble into the drink, it will all be over before it even starts.”

Jessica laughed and shook her head, but she did climb down.  She spun around to see Meggie stretched out on one of the deck chairs, the glossy mink collar of her coat drawn close around her.

The sky was grey and dismal-looking, the water not as glassy-smooth as when they slid past Ireland yesterday and headed out to open sea.  Several of the passengers had retreated to their cabins, but Jessica couldn’t stand staying inside.  Not when there was so much to be seen.

“It smells like fish and freedom,” Jessica insisted.  “But we can go in now.  Maybe Charlotte and Eliza will want to play some cards or mah-jong.”

“Finally,” Meggie grumbled as she swung her feet down to the damp deck.  But her smile was broad.  Jessica knew Meggie was loving it all just as much as she was.

Blurb: She vowed she’d be no man’s doxy, but fate had other plans…

After the Earl of Goodwin attempts to force himself on her, housemaid Eliza Gilbert flees England for New York, hoping to build a better life. But the land of opportunity proves as harsh as the London docks, and she finds herself in a situation more dreadful than the one she escaped.

Former boxer, Vince “The Fist” Taggart dreams of marrying, having a family, and living a quiet, peaceful life. But when a girl he’s known since childhood disappears, he heads to New York in search of her and meets Eliza, a woman with a less than honorable reputation. Inexplicably captivated, Vince can’t force himself to stay away, especially when he learns Eliza is the key to finding his missing friend.

Excerpt: Eliza lifted her gaze, then looked away when she met his eyes. They were just too…striking, too blue. “I’m afraid you’ll have to speak to Oscar. He handles all my transactions.” She could never have a normal outing with a man. A lump of regret rose in her throat. She turned and started up the stairs.

Vince caught up to her in a few steps and grabbed her arm, taking the bag from her at the same time. “That was a lousy thing to say.”

She opened her mouth to accuse him of going around Oscar so he didn’t have to pay. But that was ridiculous. He hadn’t taken what he’d paid for the first time. She lifted a hand and rubbed her forehead. His attention confused her. What was his angle? He didn’t want sex. Did he think she was hiding something about Cynthia and if he spent time with her he could draw it out? “What do you want from me?”

“A picnic.”

 

(99 cents on Amazon, free at this link: https://claims.prolificworks.com/free/imED1 )

Blurb: Lady Margaret turned Lady Bootlegger…

Singer Margaret (Meggie) Montley needs money…fast. Her friend is in a dire situation with nowhere to turn. While Meggie is on the brink of stardom, it’s not soon enough to save her friend.

Harry Dempsey is out to avenge the deaths of his father and brother at the hands of a ruthless gangster. But trouble spirals out of control when Meggie Montley shows up the night he meets his nemesis to settle the score. Saving the impetuous woman from a crime lord might be easier than saving her from her own reckless behavior.

Excerpt: Meggie launched herself from her hiding place and threw her arms about Harry’s neck. Locked in his muscular embrace, she rested her chin on his shoulder. His arms tightened around her. “Oh, Harry. I came as fast as I could. Just as we’d planned.” The words, she’d intended to carry, came out breathless.

“Fast, huh?” The whisper was against her ear where no one else could hear, raised goose prickles over her entire body. “Guess I’ll have to do something about that.” He lifted his head. “What are you doing with my girl, Joe?”

Joey’s hands flew into the air, indicating his surrender. “Sorry, Dempsey. Had no idea she was anyone’s quiff—”

Meggie’s cheeks burned, and she stiffened at the insult. Harry’s one arm gripped her closer. The other shot up, jerking her body like a rag doll. She couldn’t see Harry’s face with her own now buried in his neck, but she felt the corded muscles contract.  

(99 cents)

Blurb: Can she prove her innocence before more than her dreams are destroyed?

After escaping an arranged marriage, Lady Charlotte Leighton lands on a new shore, determined to realize her dream of opening her own bakery. But her plans are shattered when her former fiancé follows her to New York. Now, she finds herself in a fight for her freedom.

Haunted by a string of failures, Detective Felix Noble is determined to solve his latest case. But his efforts to find a murderer are jeopardized by a forbidden attraction to his number one suspect. While he’s certain Charlotte Leighton is keeping secrets, instinct tells him she’s not the murderess he first believed.

Excerpt: Long thin fingers curled around a glass and lifted it from the tray. Charli followed the direction of the drink. Derrick Chaunce, or as the local duffs referred to him, “Slick”, grinned, exposing yellowed teeth.

“You … You…” Her throat closed. The rest of her diatribe wouldn’t budge.

He winked. His thin hair slicked back in the latest fashion exaggerated the gaunt cheekbones and sunken eyes, tinging him with an unhealthy, dilapidated look. He gulped the whiskey. A bit of the amber liquid escaped through the gap in his teeth and down his chin. Her stomach lurched.

“Thank you, sweet cakes. Put it on my tab.” He skulked off.

Charli whirled around. How did the bounder get past Tiny? Ira fumed about customers who ran up a high tab without reconciling at the end of the night. Now she would have to explain yet another charge added to Slick’s mounting debt. She sighed and rolled her eyes to the heavens. The customer was always right. Even when they were wrong.

 

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Print book of all four: http://www.amazon.com/Martini-Club-1920s-Kathy-Wheeler/dp/1508793107/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1429473865&sr=1-6&keywords=martini+club+4

Martini Club – The 1940s Novellas:

Pampered: The 1940s – Kathy L Wheeler https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZS2F7QK

Priceless: The 1940s – Krysta Scott  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B081M76DLK

Precarious: The 1940s – Alicia Dean https://www.amazon.com/Precarious-Martini-Club-1940s-ebook/dp/B085BR3N7P/

Perilous: The 1940s – Amanda McCabe – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B081K789BV?ref_=pe_3052080_276849420

 

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Who wants to play ‘Guess the Martini’ and win prizes????

And the winners are…

First prize: Leah St. James! She guessed each of the martinis correctly: Krysta is drinking an Appletini, Amanda a Blue Hypnotiq, Kathy a Raspberry Flirtini, and me a Lemon Drop…congrats, Leah!

The first three who attempted to guess will receive their choice of any of the MC4 stories. They are: Calisa Rhose, Lynn Crain, and MJ Schiller. Congrats to all!

I’m excited to share some fun stuff about a new series coming soon. BUT, before we get to that, let’s play a game! 

Check out the above photo and see if you can guess what kind of Martini each of us are holding.

The first three commenters to attempt to guess will win their choice of any of the four stories, on Kindle or PDF. (If you’ve already pre-ordered the stories, you can choose any of my books – Find them here: Alicia Dean Books

The first person to guess all four martinis correctly will win: 

  • An ebook copy of all four stories
  • A $10 Amazon Gift Card
  • This lovely exclusive Martini Club 4 Martini glass. (Only those in the United States are eligible for the Martini glass)

MC4 Glass mc4 glass 2

If no one gets all four correct, I will draw a name from all the commenters and that person will win. Doesn’t that sound like a blast??? 

The winner will be drawn and announced here on the blog next Sunday, February 22nd.

(Hint, in case the color doesn’t come through that well in the pic, we each are drinking a martini that matches the color of our covers, although my martini is more yellow, and my cover is more gold 🙂 – For a little extra help, click on this link: http://boulevardsteakhouse.com/ – Choose ‘Martini Lounge’ and then ‘Cocktail List’ and you will see a list of hand-crafted martinis. All of the ones we’re drinking are listed there :))

Now, my friends and I would like to share a little about our Martini Club 4 stories and answer some questions:

*** The four stories are all stand alone, but related and can be purchased separately for 99¢ each through the end of February (available for pre-order now, releasing February 26). Regular price beginning in March will be $2.99 each. Find all four stories here:

Amazon Page for Martini Club 4

Tidbit from Amanda McCabe…

I had a kind of strange inspiration for my heroine—Nancy Drew!  These were my favorite books when I was a kid, I loved how brave and bold she was.  Jessica is a lot like her.

What do you like most about your MC4 story, Rebellious?

The clothes!!!  I spent hours looking at old photos of 1920s fashions, and they are gorgeous.  Beads and feathers, fabulous hats, t-strap shoes—all perfect for our heroines to kick some ass in, of course

What was it like working on a series where you had to coordinate with other writers?

Fun, and challenging!  I was scared of not doing justice to someone else’s character, of doing something that didn’t fit in with their own vision, but it was wonderful to see the stories dovetail into each other and create a whole new world

Was there any part of your story that was taken from real life? 

Well, the cocktails, of course 🙂  I do love a good pomegranate martini!

Besides the main characters, who is your favorite character in the story and why?

I loved Frank Markov’s aunt, the Countess Romanova, and would love to explore her backstory a bit more.  Imperial Russia is such a fascinating time period to me.

What do you love that most people would find odd?

I admit it—I kinda like those terrible, marshmallow-y circus peanuts (though I haven’t eaten one in years)

What do you dislike that most people would find odd?  

Red shoes and purses.  I don’t know why.  I have nothing against the color red in general 🙂 

 

RebelliousCover2 (1)

Blurb: Can an aristocratic lady melt the cold heart of a Russian gangster? 

Lady Jessica Hatton fled her high-society London debutante life for one of investigative journalism in New York—only to be relegated to the fashion pages. Searching for a juicy story leads her to Club 501, the city’s most glamorous speakeasy—and its handsome, mysterious owner, Frank Markov. But his past of war and revolution puts their hearts—and their lives—in danger…  

Excerpt

Back again, are you, miss?” the tall bartender said with a grin as Jessica pushed her way between the massed crowds at the bar.  Club 501 had obviously lost none of its popularity in the two nights since she had been there.  “We must be doing something right.”

Jessica laughed and gestured to the room around her, the scads of glittering dancers, the jostling packs clamoring for a drink.  “I’d say you are.  Surely no place in the city could be more popular.”

“That’s because of all the pretty girls that come here.”

“I know!  You have two of my friends working here now.”  She nodded toward Meggie, singing in the spotlight in a purple beaded gown, and Charlotte making her way between the tables in a smart new black silk dress, a tray of drinks balancing in her hands.

“We’ll have you working here next.  I need an apprentice bartender,” he teased.

Jessica laughed.  “Tempting, but I’m afraid I already have a job.”  If you could call it that, with all those endless descriptions of flower arrangements and lace trim on gowns, and Mrs. Mortimer chasing her out of the archives.  “So, what’s your name, bartender?”

“Ira,” he answered.  “Pleased to meet you, miss.”

“Pleased to meet you.”  She glanced at the hidden door behind the bar, barely visible now in the dark paneling and the faint lighting.  Maybe her garden party days would be behind her soon. 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Tidbit from Alicia Dean…

This was my first attempt to write a story in this time period, and I had to do a lot of research, which isn’t my strong suit. Although, I’ll confess, part of my research was done by watching the Tom Hardy movie,  Lawless. While it was set in the thirties, I still felt it had the right ‘feel’  I needed to immerse myself in the twenties. Besides, it was an awesome movie, and Tom Hardy is pretty easy on the eyes, so maybe it was more for pleasure than research…

What do you like most about your MC4 story, Ruined?

I love that my heroine is a hooker. I’ve never written a heroine with that kind of occupation, and it was fun, challenging, and kind of freeing all at the same time.

What was it like working on a series where you had to coordinate with other writers?

A blast! Especially since it was with women that I love so dearly. It was a little tricky making sure the cross over scenes with other characters didn’t contradict with the other books, but hopefully, we managed.

Was there any part of your story that was taken from real life?

Yes, I’m a prostitue. HA! Not really. (Had you going, didn’t I?)  I don’t really think any part of it was taken from real life, other than, as Amanda mentioned, the cocktails. 🙂

Besides the main characters, who is your favorite character in the story and why?

I really like Maud, although she didn’t have much ‘on screen’ time. She is the head housekeeper of the manor from which Eliza flees, and has been like a mother to Eliza since Eliza’s own ‘mum’ passed. Maud encourages Eliza to run in order to escape the advances of the Lord of the manor, even though Maud knows she’ll never see her again.  I like that she sacrifices her own wishes for Eliza’s safety.  (Like Kathy, I wouldn’t want to choose from the other girls in the story, because I couldn’t pick just one!)

What do you love that most people would find odd?  

I love dark, cold, snowy, rainy weather.

What do you dislike that most people would find odd?   

I really, really dislike Muppets. I don’t find them the least bit amusing,  and I am baffled at their popularity. It was one thing when kids liked them because, well, they’re puppets. But adults??? And they have their own movies??? Sorry. I just  don’t get the appeal.

 Ruined_NEW CVR_LRG

Blurb

She vowed she’d be no man’s doxy, but fate had other plans… 

After the Earl of Goodwin attempts to force himself on her, housemaid Eliza Gilbert flees England for New York, hoping to build a better life. But the land of opportunity proves as harsh as the London docks, and she finds herself in a situation more dreadful than the one she escaped. 
When Vince Taggart ’s childhood friend disappears, he heads to New York in search of her and meets Eliza, a woman with a less than honorable reputation. Inexplicably captivated, Vince can’t force himself to stay away, especially when he learns Eliza may be the key to finding his missing friend.  

Excerpt: The ballroom was magnificent. Sparkling chandeliers hung from the ceiling like diamonds dripping from the sky. Grecian columns with golden draperies strung between them bordered the entire room. Paul Whiteman’s orchestra was performing on a platform stage set within a rectangular alcove at the western end of the room. Meggie would be joining them soon. What a fabulous opportunity for her. All her dreams were coming true.

Why her, and not me? Why can’t my dreams come true?

She nearly gasped in horror at the unbidden thought. Her cheeks warmed with shame. How could she be envious of Meggie? She deserved every happiness in the world. Just because Eliza had made poor decisions and ruined her life, it didn’t mean she couldn’t be happy for her friends. She blinked back tears. She was happy for her friends. Really, she was.

She clutched a champagne flute in her damp palms, praying she could get through the evening without being forced on a ‘date.’ Across the enormous dance floor, Oscar stood conversing with two men. Please don’t let either of them choose me… 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Tidbit from Kathy L Wheeler…

Harry Dempsey in Reckless started out as a undercover detective out to stop the rumrunners. I ran into several issues. 1) We already had a detective in one story (Runaway), 2) It didn’t make sense for Harry to be out for revenge against a gangster, if he was a copy. It would be his job. It made much more sense as a business owner who’s Pa refused to pay protection money for Harry to be out for revenge. After all, the gangster murdered his family.

What do you like most about your MC4 story, Reckless?

I love Meggie’s loyalty. She dives in head first to help out her friends. But such “reckless’ behavior is bound to get her into trouble. 

What was it like working on a series where you had to coordinate with other writers?

I think it must depend on your relationship with others. Sort of like singing a duet in karaoke. If one person demands all the attention, it just doesn’t flow. In this particular group, we are good friends (big surprise, when you have martinis in the mix, hahahah) so we are able to be honest without fear of hurt feelings and such. We had at least three retreats! So that was fun. I love working with my MC4 buds!

Was there any part of your story that was taken from real life? 

 Hahahaha. Yessssss. Meggie is a singer, and I sing! ‘Nuf said. 

Besides the main characters, who is your favorite character in the story and why?

I love my fellow runaway-ees, of course. But outside of them (because I would not dare choose one over the other), I think I was cracking myself up with Paul Whiteman. He was a big time band leader at the time. So most of the information regarding him in my story is true. I’m just not sure if I conveyed his personality accurately, but it is certainly how I envision him as behaving. He was a very busy man with a 35 piece orchestra and practically discovered George Gershwin (who, incidentally, also makes an appearance). 

What do you love that most people would find odd?

The hustle and bustle of downtown city life. I could totally see myself living in Manhattan, downtown Seattle, San Diego, San Francisco, even Denver and Dallas.

What do you dislike that most people would find odd?

 I don’t like people who are tooooooo nice. I find them suspicious. And I don’t like “telling” in books. And most of all, I hate it when someone comes along and decides to change Phantom of the Opera to “modernize” it! You know? Like not have the chandelier on the stage during the opening crescendo and rising to the ceiling. The absolute worst!

 Reckless

Blurb: 

Lady Margaret turned Lady Bootlegger… 

Singer Margaret (Meggie) Montley needs money…fast. Her friend is in a dire situation with nowhere to turn. While Meggie is on the brink of stardom, it’s not soon enough to save her friend. 

Harry Dempsey is out to avenge the deaths of his father and brother at the hands of a ruthless gangster. But trouble spirals out of control when Meggie Montley shows up the night he meets his nemesis to settle the score. Saving the impetuous woman from a crime lord might be easier than saving her from her own reckless behavior. 

Excerpt: 

Fear stopped Meggie’s heart, the breath caught in her throat. Why did she always have to open her mouth at the wrong time?

“Put the gun away, Marco. This here’s Lady Margaret Montley.”

Meggie lifted her chin. “I sing with the Bernie-Edison Orchestra.”

Marco chuckled, the gun never wavering in his hand. “Who’s ta stop me from killing you, cap’n, and makin’ a bit of a profit off yer Lady Margaret Munt…Munt…whatever her name is? Why, I could sell her off and make double what I should’a took ta’night.”

Terrified, Meggie slipped a trembling hand in the pocket of her jacket and wrapped her fingers around the gun Harry slipped to her earlier.

“No one, I venture to say, cap’n. Now, drop yer piece over the side. Real nice an’ slow like.” Harry hesitated and Marco raised the gun.

Fingers shaking uncontrollably, Meggie raised her gun in his direction. “No.” Her voice cracked. She forced an impossible calm. “No,” she said again.

“I said, drop it, cap’n.”

“I’ll shoot. I-I will.” But she feared her trembling endangered Harry’s life. The man whose head rested in her lap stirred. His hand slipped over hers. His finger pressed against hers and squeezed. The gun went off, jolting her whole arm, ringing her ears. She screamed dropping the hot metal and slumped back.

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Tidbit from Krysta Scott:

I don’t normally write historical fiction. Setting Runaway in the 1920’s was a bit of a challenge. Discovering how people lived and worked in 1924 was eye opening. Baking scones, which is not easy now, was much more difficult then. The plastic bags that the police use to store evidence today were not in use back then. Nor was it as difficult to immigrate from Europe to the United States. Kind of makes me wonder how people in the future will view our way of living.

What do you like most about your MC4 story?

I really like Lady Charlotte Leighton and her desire to be something more than what society expects of her. In the beginning she looks like a coward but as the story unfolds her courageous nature emerges. Although her job in New York City isn’t what she’d hoped for, she continues to pursue her chosen career. Although she encounters many obstacles on the way, she never loses sight of her desire to be a baker.

What was it like working on a series where you had to coordinate with other writers?

It was a blast working with Alicia Dean, Amanda McCabe and Kathy L Wheeler. Their enthusiasm for this project helped propel me, a novice historical author, forward.  In a story of four friends who travel from England to the US, there is bound to be some overlap between the stories. Those scenes were certainly the most challenging remembering what each character was doing and where they were when the overlap events were taking place. Mostly, it was fun to see how each of these Englishwomen tackled the problem of creating a new life for themselves in New York. For some of the girls it is a lark. For others, the adventure takes a darker turn.

Was there any part of your story that was taken from real life? 

Yes. In Runaway, Charlotte wants to be a baker just like my eldest daughter. Both of them are passionate about preparing food. That makes a different for the diner. My eldest and I can make something from the same recipe. Hers always turns out better. She just smiles and shrugs like there’s no reason either item should taste differently. But I assure you they do. I tell everyone you can taste the love. At that, she just rolls her eyes.

Besides the main characters, who is your favorite character in the story and why?

I am quite partial to Slick. He’s always up to no good but I can understand his point of view. Everyone else is luckier than he is. If he had that kind of luck, he’d be better off too. So he wheels and deals trying to make it look like he is more fortunate than he is. Of course, no one is fooled. Kind of feel sorry for the guy.

What do you love that most people would find odd?

I’m crazy about science fiction. When I tell people I’ve been to Star Trek conventions, they look at me a little oddly. They’d never place me as a science fiction geek. I also think Die Hard is the best Christmas movie. Maybe that’s a little strange.

What do you dislike that most people would find odd?

I dislike nuts in brownies and cookies. Crunchy and soft things do not go together.

 Runaway_CVR_LRG

Blurb:

Can she prove her innocence before more than her dreams are destroyed? 

After escaping an arranged marriage, Charli Daniels lands on a new shore. But things go from bad to worse when her fiancé follows her to New York. Now, instead of realizing her dream of opening her own bakery, she finds herself in a fight for her freedom.

Haunted by a string of failures, Detective Felix Noble is determined to solve his latest case. But his effort to find a murderer is jeopardized by a forbidden attraction to his number one suspect.

When a new threat surfaces, Felix wonders if he is once again on the wrong track. Can Charli convince him of her innocence before more than her dreams are destroyed?

Excerpt:

His eyes narrowed to slits. Funny. She’d never seen him as menacing before last night. Now, no matter what he did, she quivered. “And what did you say?”

“Nothing. I told him I didn’t know anything.” Panic surged at his proximity.

“How’d they find out who the stiff was so fast?”

“I-I don’t know.” She focused on her hands. That was more comfortable than looking into the eyes of a cold-blooded killer.

“They suspect anything?”

Words flew from her mouth in a torrent. “He had an announcement of my engagement. Somehow he found me. What am I going to do?”

“Huh. Dig out those charms you have hiding. There’s plenty a dame like you can use to your advantage.”

The burn of a blush crept across Charlotte’s cheeks. Thank goodness the speakeasy was dimly lit so no one would see her shame.

“Whatever you do.” Slick leaned in closer. “Keep your mouth shut.” He glared down at her, then stumbled away.

Charlotte’s stomach lurched. She’d gotten herself into a pickle with no clear way out. Her legs wobbled. She forced deep breaths. In, out. In, out. Once steadier on her feet, she picked up her tray and darted to the bar. Ira was back, wiping it down. He didn’t scold her. He didn’t say anything at all. His silence unnerved her. Her life had turned upside down. Things would never be normal again.

 

 

 

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