by Joanne Guidoccio
by Joanne Guidoccio
This Friday marks the official release of Too Many Women in the Room, Book 2 of the Gilda Greco Mystery Series.
Here’s one last peek…
I turned and came face-to-face with Carlo’s daughter and her two sons. Tania’s facial features tightened as she gave me the once-over. “It’s his day off, you know.” She stepped closer. “He didn’t need this aggravation.”
So much of Carlo could be found in her crystal clear blue eyes and strong jaw. And the twins were miniature Carlos. Regardless of my feelings toward her, I couldn’t ignore the DNA I loved and admired. I didn’t want to lose my temper in front of the children, so I chose my words carefully. “What happened last night wasn’t my fault.”
“But you were there. And—” She turned and knelt down in front of her children. “Why don’t you go inside and surprise Grandpa? If you can’t find him, drop by Irina’s office.” She smirked in my direction.
So, there was something brewing between Carlo and Irina. Or maybe Tania dropped that morsel to upset me. I don’t imagine she would be too pleased with any woman who put the moves on her father. And a young, beautiful siren would be less welcome than me. Or maybe not. I didn’t know Tania well enough to know who she would approve of as a potential stepmother.
Both boys clapped their hands and ran toward the entrance. Tania waited until they reached the building before turning in my direction. Her blue eyes blazed. “Don’t you get it? He still feels responsible for you and believes you need protecting.” She paused to take a breath. “Or maybe you do and you’re manipulating events again. I wouldn’t put anything past you.”
Was she accusing me of murder? “I had nothing to do with Michael Taylor’s death. After Luke watches the security tapes from my building, I’ll be off the hook.”
“How convenient for you.” She stepped closer. “Everything has always worked out for you, hasn’t it? You win a lottery. You get cleared of murders you provoke. You play Lady Bountiful and buy love and affection. You get my father—”
“Stop right there. I don’t provoke murders. I don’t hold myself responsible for anyone else’s behavior. As for Carlo, he’s free to see me or not.” Her Lady Bountiful comment hit a bit too close to home. After winning the lottery, I had paid off loans and major debts. It did cement several relationships, but it also created acrimony among friends and relatives who believed they should have received more.
“Well, prepare for more of not. The last nine days have been bliss for me and my sons. We are a balanced group of four, and we don’t need a fifth wheel.”
Here is Part 3 of the Prologue:
He cleared his throat. “That was some dinner conversation.” In the end, he hadn’t even sat at the table. The collective venom had driven him away.
They continued running, saying nothing. His heart beat faster and his mouth went dry. His senses were on full alert. There was danger here. And he needed to get away. He could turn around and race toward his car. But what if she followed? This was ridiculous. He was allowing himself to be rattled by a middle-aged woman who meant absolutely nothing to him. A woman he would steer clear of in the future.
It would be a good idea to get away for a while. Check out conferences and take an extended holiday. Escape from those unrelenting March winds and below-normal temperatures and bask in some sunlight. Georgia or Florida and maybe a Caribbean island. He’d have to borrow on his Visa, but it would be worth it. One month. That’s all he would need, and this animosity would blow over.
He slowed his pace and she matched his speed. He circled and turned around. She followed. Anger rose in his throat. “What the hell do you want?”
No words. Only a fixed gaze and a flash of silver at her side. The faint smell of onions and garlic assaulted his senses. He wrinkled his nose in disgust, all the while watching her every movement. His eyes traveled around the deserted field. Not a soul. And that was the appeal of running close to the midnight hour.
This is not how he had planned his demise, not by a long shot. Despite the age gap between them, he had hoped to survive his wife and take on a full-time paramour, maybe even two. If only he had known. If only he could go back six hours.
Fascinated, he stood still, hypnotized as she approached and raised the knife.
Last Friday, I shared the first part of the prologue of Too Many Women in the Room. You can read it here.
Here’s Part 2 of the Prologue:
He forced himself to slow down and hoped she would catch up, maybe even overtake him. Before making a move, he wanted to get a lay of the land. No point putting on the moves if she didn’t measure up. Though lately, he’d been less discerning.
Twenty years ago—heck even ten years ago—women in their twenties and thirties returned his winks and smiles, often boldly and with no qualms about what followed. But turning fifty-five had brought those encounters to a virtual standstill, and he had tired of the chase. Was this a harbinger of what old age would look like?
Within seconds, a flash of black appeared at his side. He counted to ten and then gave her a sideways glance. A frown replaced the smile.
Definitely in shape, but she had always taken care of herself, not allowing an extra morsel of food to cross her lips and sticking to a daily exercise regimen. Her face…well, her face showed the passages of time. And tonight, without a trace of makeup, she appeared older than her years. Forty-five. No, fifty. More than fifty. He struggled with the math and gave up.
Head-to-toe black did nothing for her. Once upon a time he would have volunteered that information, but tonight he hesitated. He couldn’t be sure how she would react, especially after the debacle at dinner. He tried to recall what she had said, but nothing came to mind. Perhaps she had said nothing at all. It would be like her to hide behind her passive-aggressiveness.
He forced a smile. “I didn’t expect to see you.”
No response, just a constant gaze and an expressionless face that was starting to worry him. He tried to look away but couldn’t escape those odd-colored eyes. A muddy green with hints of amber. Had she worn contacts in her younger days?
The Wild Rose Press will release Too Many Women in the Room on Friday, May 19, 2017. Today, and for the next two Fridays, I will share sneak peeks of the Prologue.
While the rest of the novel is written in the POV of the protagonist (Gilda Greco), the Prologue is written in the victim’s POV.
Here’s Part I of the Prologue:
He couldn’t believe he was following his wife’s advice. After twelve years of paying lip service to deep yoga breaths, mindfulness, and all the other New Age crap she espoused, he had finally found a use for it. His midnight run usually sorted out all the stress, but tonight was different. He still couldn’t shake the venom that had been directed his way.
To make matters worse, it had come from eight women, eight very different and very annoying women. He had bedded four, but right now he couldn’t imagine having sex with any of them. As for the untouched four, well, only one interested him, and it had nothing to do with her feminine wiles and everything to do with her healthy bank account.
He would have to take something to get through the night, something a lot stronger than his wife’s herbal teas. The remnants of an old Percocet prescription came to mind. Two capsules might do the trick. The thought of a panacea, albeit a chemical one, calmed his racing thoughts. A good night’s sleep would make a world of difference. And tomorrow, he would sort it out.
The light patter of feet distracted him. Definitely a woman’s gait. Her breath was even, neither shallow nor panting. Younger, maybe in her thirties. His pulse quickened, and a smile spread over his features. A welcome distraction. Just what he needed to erase the built-up stress. To hell with deep breathing, affirmations, and Percocet.
A SEASON FOR KILLING BLONDES
by Joanne Guidoccio