I finished the draft for my second Lux mystery, and my critique partners are bloodying it at this very moment to help me make it better. My husband won’t read Jazzi and Ansel. Cozies aren’t his thing, but he does read Lux and Muddy River. He sailed through HEIRLOOMS TO DIE FOR without one word as I waited for him to give me deep insight into the book’s plot and pacing. When he finished, he handed me the pages and said, “I liked it.” LOL. That’s not always the case, and it’s better than if he didn’t like it, but I’m thinking my CPs will find a lot more to comment on. Anyway, in the meantime, I thought I’d share a snippet with you:
My parents had had a huge painting in their living room of a field of poppies that Cook loved, so I’d given it to her. It hung over her couch now. She’d loved the side tables with marble tops, so I’d given her those, too. They looked great in her room.
When Price finished settling his mother, he turned to us and extended a hand. “Hi, I’m Cook’s nephew, Price.” Six feet and whipcord lean, he had dark hair the color of espresso. It was sprinkled with gray. I knew Margie was in her mid-seventies, so I guessed he’d be in his early fifties. His eyes were so dark, they looked black. He had sharp features and chiseled cheekbones. But he had trouble meeting my eyes.
I tried to hide my surprise. I mean, the guy was in hotel/motel management. Not exactly a job for a shrinking violet. I’d have pegged him as a people person.
“Are you going to live with Cook?” I asked. He’d have plenty of room in the loft.
He shook his head. “I’m too used to living alone after my divorce. I’m renting an apartment closer to town and my work.”
He acted so nervous, I was beginning to wonder if there was something about us he didn’t like. Keon raised his eyebrows and glanced at me. He was wondering about Price, too.
“How was your trip?” Price brightened when he turned to Cook and his mom.
“The drive was great,” Cook told him. “But the most horrible thing happened. Some of Lux’s things were missing from her storage units. I don’t know how that could have happened.”
Color drained from his face. “How many things?”
“Maybe half a dozen.” I’d left the list in the car. “Two big pieces of furniture, some paintings, and smaller items.”
His shoulders sagged. “That many. Were you insured?”
“Of course, but it’s not about the money. My parents’ things were all originals. They can’t be replaced.”
He groaned. “We don’t have the money to compensate for that.”
“Is that what’s worrying you? It’s not Cook’s fault my things disappeared. Someone got past the units’ security.” And whoever it was had to know what they were doing, because I’d chosen that storage company because it was so high-tech.
His shoulders sagged with relief. He shook his head. “Sorry, I just didn’t want my mom and aunt to be poor for the rest of their lives.”
I waved that away. “Cook means more to me than any antique buffet.”
He brightened even more, but something was wrong. It was almost as if he’d expected to have this conversation before Cook told him about the break-in of my Chicago storage units. Something to think about later, but for the moment, I wanted Cook to feel welcome.