I want to be a PI if I get to be Sunny – fun boss, work next to good looking detectives, and the potential to go undercover to catch somebody. Talk about fun! This book was a delightful read and had me flipping pages to find out who was guilty of murder! Throw in some mystery with a little bit of romance and comedy, and you have this book! I cannot wait to read more books in this series!
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Stephanie Plum meets Bridget Jones in this hilarious yet suspenseful cozy mystery featuring Sunny Truly, a brand-new apprentice private investigator in Austin, Texas.
When a long ago childhood friend is found dangling in a tree—with a dead man in her apartment—Sunny is hired to prove the friend innocent of murder. Frumpy, earnest and stubborn, Sunny goes undercover as a glam-girl to ferret out suspects at the club where her friend worked. With the aid of her wise-cracking boss, Cleve Haylock, and swoon-worthy police detective John Rock, Sunny uncovers an ugly secret with deadly consequences. Will Sunny be the next victim?
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The first thing I did when I entered the store was quell my hunger with a Kit Kat bar, then I located what I needed to jazz up my look. I didn’t need to worry about my eyes. I had naturally thick eyelashes and wore eyeliner too, but I normally only used a light balm for my lips. That wouldn’t do.
I bought a cherry red lipstick, nail polish, safety pins, a dozen silver glitter pens and three small silver bows. When I climbed back into my car, I peeled out of my blouse, unhooked my black bra and went to work
Thirty minutes later, as I stood in line waiting to get into The Celestial, I unbutton my gray blouse to reveal my black bra, now covered with silver swirls and the three bows, which I pinned into the v-shaped front.
I got a glimpse of myself in a store window. Red lips, red nails, and Cleopatra eyes. Not bad. Not me, but not bad, except, of course, I’d forgotten about my ponytail. I was undoing it when a stranger behind me oozed, “Leave it, babe. It’s got that sex-kitten girl-next-door vibe.”
Cringing at his creepy voice, I popped my blonde hair out of the ponytail.
“Aw, you ruined it, girlie,” Creepy griped and leaned in closer. “Tell you what. You put your hair back up, and I’ll buy ya a drink inside.”
I frowned at him. “No, thanks.”
“You got your nerve,” he sneered. “Why? You think you look hot? You don’t. Not in that turd ugly blouse.”
I skittered forward a few steps, trying to cut off any further attempts at conversation. Luckily, his cell beeped and he stepped out of the line to have a private conversation.
I glanced down at my blouse. Maybe Creepy had a point.
When I got closer to the door, I whipped off the blouse entirely and stood there in my black and silver bra, waiting for the bouncer’s approval.
If I thought too long about what I was doing, I’d blush from head to toe. The bouncer eyed me. I hefted the twins (modest Bs) with a grin to the bouncer. He grinned back, and I was in.
Inside, I slipped the gray blouse back on, but left it unbuttoned as I threaded my way through the crowd of dancing bodies.
The cavernous interior was dark, except for the star-shaped maroon, green and blue neon lights flashing on the ceiling and walls. Occasional spotlights skimmed the crowd. House music vibrated fast and furious from the speakers.
I remembered Sam telling me that the best thing to do in a new place was to first get your bearings. I scanned the space to see what was what. The dance floor ran the length of the building, starting near the entrance and ending by the stage, which was set up close to the back wall.
Not far from the stage, I spied an ornate, highly polished mahogany spiral staircase leading up to a rooftop lounge. It looking like it belonged to a different century. I figured that was the point. Ultra-modern mixed with the historic for an eclectic blend, echoing the city’s view of itself.
Several couples were standing near the top of the landing looking down on the stage where a five-piece band was covering an old hit by Justin Timberlake. On the dance floor, men and women, most of whom were young and gorgeous, rocked out.
On the right side of the club, I noticed a lounge area dotted with loveseats, club chairs and coffee tables. It was populated by men of various ages and young women with big hair and bigger boobs.
On the left side was an impressive brass and mahogany bar with five bartenders in attendance: four handsome young men clad in silver and black uniforms and a lone woman, her sleek dark ponytail perched high up on her head. She had on a long-sleeved black blouse and black trousers.
I decided to approach her.
Bad choice. She was all business, no time or inclination to chat.
I moved down the bar to one of the male barkeeps. His gaze swept over my glittery bra as he bustled over to me.
I was about to order a drink when I noticed Creepy coming my way, his lusty expression sending a chill from my crown to my toes. I had to do something fast.
Moving away from the bar to get out of his radar, I ran smack dab into a big man in a shiny, expensive three-piece suit.
“Whoa there,” he cooed to me, his hands looping around my waist. His florid face moved closer to mine like he was going to French me. I quickly turned away and his tongue licked my cheek. Yuck.
Cringing, I pulled out of his grasp. Then I recognized him. It was Conrad Hollister, aka Big Tex. He wasn’t wearing the white Stetson or the cowboy boots, but it was him.
Another face appeared over Hollister’s shoulder. Cool blue eyes pinned me, and a zing of surprise, and panic, prickled up my spine. Detective John Rock.
I almost called out to him, but stopped myself when I realized he might be here undercover.
Another thought countered the first one. Maybe this was a regular hangout for him. Yet how was that possible on a detective’s salary? The Celestial was one of the most upscale nightclubs in Austin.
Hollister squeezed my arm, bringing my attention back to the big man. “I’ve got business right now, little filly, but you stay put and I’ll come back around for you.” His lips curled into a smug smile and then he darted away, disappearing into the crowd.
I sighed, glad not to have to deal with Hollister when the detective was so nearby. I gave Rock a sidelong glance. He said nothing, nothing at all and turned to walk off. Hmm. Maybe he didn’t recognize me.
I watched him go over to the bar, passing by several empty stools until he reached the section where the female bartender with the sleek ponytail was busily mixing drinks. He slid onto a stool and waited.
Seconds later, she came over to him. They spoke. I was too far away to hear what was said. I gathered that he had ordered a drink because she stepped away and returned quickly to pour him a double.
Rock swiveled around on the barstool and scanned the club. Our eyes met momentarily. His expression remained neutral. Maybe I was right. He hadn’t recognized me.
I did look a lot different than when he saw me at my apartment with my bed head hair, broken glasses and Shrek pajamas. And later, at the hospital when I was there with Lila, I had on my usual “get thee to a nunnery” garb—black pants and a matching blazer.
Just then a cool brunette in a crotch-high mini-skirt sashayed by and Rock’s gaze shifted to her. I was certain then that he hadn’t recognized me.
The band segued into a pop tune, which drew more people to the dance floor. I wandered around and, after a few minutes, I spied Hollister leading two couples up the spiral staircase. I considered following him up to the rooftop lounge. I wasn’t sure if it was the smartest move to make, but the opportunity was there, so why not take it?
I had made it midway up the staircase when my attention was drawn to the lounge area where glamorous young women in strapless or backless cocktail dresses were chatting with men in suits.
One dark-haired beauty, perched on the edge of a sofa, threw her head back laughing, while her companion, a distinguished, silver-haired older man, signaled the waiter for more drinks.
A gasp seeped out of me. “Lila?”
What the…? What was she doing here? Too stunned to move, I watched my sister in full flirtation mode with a man who, I speculated, could be older than our father.
Once the shock lessened, I forced my body to move and hurried back down the staircase. I tried to cut across the dance floor, but the crowd was quickly expanding like fungus and barred my path.
Raging like a diva whose latte had grown cold, I elbowed my way through. By the time I got to the lounge, bad had gone to worse.
Lila, in a strapless purple cocktail dress, was still perched on the sofa, but now she was talking to Detective Rock.
I stalked up to them. “Lila!”
Her face blew up in shock. “What are you doing here?”
“Me?” I snapped. “What are you doing here?”
CeCe Osgood lives in Texas after many years in LA working in the film industry. Her writing career includes magazine articles and screenplays as well as being a freelance story analyst (main client HBO). She also has had two screenplays optioned.
Being a novelist has been her lifelong dream, and now it’s becoming her reality. She loves red wine and hates pretzels.
CeCe’s first novel, THE DIVORCED NOT DEAD WORKSHOP, a chick-lit romantic comedy was awarded a Crowned Heart by InD’tale magazine.
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