Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Death by Chocolate by Sally Berneathy - KBOD

Death by Chocolate by Sally Berneathy
$2.99 (7/24/2012)

Lindsay Powell's only secret is the recipe for her chocolate chip cookies, but she is surrounded by neighbors with deadly secrets. Suddenly Lindsay finds herself battling poisoned chocolate, a dead man who doesn't seem very dead and a psycho stalker.

Her best friend and co-worker, Paula, dyes her blond hair brown, hides from everybody and insists on always having an emergency exit from any room. Secrets from Paula's past have come back to put lives in jeopardy.

Determined to help Paula and save her own life, Lindsay enlists the reluctant aid of another neighbor, Fred, an OCD computer nerd. In spite of his mundane existence, Fred possesses tidbits of knowledge about such things as hidden microphones, guns and the inside of maximum security prisons.

Lindsay needs more than a chocolate fix to survive all this chaos.

"Are you in some kind of trouble?" I asked Paula. "Tell me. I'm your friend."
"You're the best friend I've ever had. You gave me a job and a place to live. I'll do anything you ask except tell you about my past."
"Well, we've made some progress. This is the first time you've admitted you have a past and didn't spring, fully grown, from the front seat of that rolling wreck you used to drive."
Paula bit her lip as if she regretted saying that much.
I pushed myself up from the sofa. "I want you to know I'm not mad at you," I said, "just because you're supposed to be my friend but you won't even tell me the intimate details of your sex life."
She relaxed enough to smile.
I crossed the room and unlocked the door, then turned back to say goodbye, not surprised Paula had followed me. She'd have that door triple locked before I was off the porch. "Time to touch up those blond roots," I said, just to let her know I'd noticed.
Paula blanched. "Do you think the police noticed?" The question came out in a desperate whisper, and I immediately regretted adding to her fears.
"Men can be pretty unobservant about stuff like that."
I left her house feeling like a jerk for the blond roots remark and like I ought to do something to help her, but clueless what that something might be.
I wasn't sure I could help myself. I took my time going back to my house. I wasn't in any hurry to deal with my almost-ex, the man that one part of me wanted gone and the other part wanted back. In a different way, I was every bit as terrified of him as Paula was of the abusive man, I was now positive, she'd known in her past.
I slapped the fender of Rick's SUV passed it, deliberately leaving fingerprints. He hated that.
I stepped up onto the porch and saw another problem. The stray cat was still there, lying on my door mat, creating a perfect border for the words Go Away! Obviously he couldn't read.
But neither could Rick who stood on that same mat last night and paid just as much attention to the message as the cat did.
"Go home," I ordered.
He stood and stretched, arching his back.
I opened the door...and he darted inside.
Yes, it was pretty obvious this cat was a male. He ignored me just like Rick did.
"What's that cat doing here?" Rick demanded as the feline curled up in my faded rose-colored recliner. He was a big cat, completely filling the seat. He gave a tiny, contented meow before settling down, completely at home.
Rick sprawled on my sofa, making himself as much at home as the cat. I'd been gone long enough for him to shower, blow dry his hair with my dryer, shave with my razor, and slip back into his khaki slacks and white Polo shirt that enhanced his tan. To top it all off, he was drinking from my favorite mug, the one that said "Life is uncertain. Eat chocolate now."
"Go home," I repeated.
"Yeah, cat, go home."
"I was talking to you. This is--" I looked at the regal creature in my chair-- "this is King Henry, my new cat. He's staying and you're going.”

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