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Michaeline Della Fera
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Food, flowers, and murder! Small town PI, Cecce DeLuca, is drawn into a web of intrigue and murder when she decides to attend a cooking demonstration. The chef, Loulou Watson, falls to her death in front of Cecce’s eyes. But was it really an accident? Or a well planned plot to murder the would-be-celebrity chef?
Cecce and Ginny helped put the last of the dishes into a cardboard box. Ginny held the top shut, while Cecce taped it. “Anything else?” she looked over at Loulou and asked.
Loulou picked up a dishtowel and wiped it across her forehead. “God, it’s hot in here. But you really don’t have to stay. My assistants Annette and Linda will help me pack everything up.”
Loulou wiped her forehead again and said, “What a mess. We usually wash all the dishes, glasses, and pots and pans before packing them up, but I’m so tired that I told Annette and Linda just to pack up and I’d wash everything tomorrow.”
Cecce and Ginny looked at each other and shrugged. Cecce said, “We don’t mind helping.”
Loulou looked around. “Thank you for helping. I like being able to rent this kitchen, but it’s so much work setting up and then packing everything when I’m done. Someday I’m going to own my own kitchen and studio.”
“Would you like some help getting everything out to your van?” Cecce asked.
“I guess we could use some help. I’m glad you stayed. Usually my husband comes near the end of my demos and helps me pack up and get everything into the van, but he had a meeting tonight.”
Cecce put her arms around the crystal punch bowl and picked it up. “Boy, this is heavy,” she said.
“Oh, put that down,” Loulou snapped as soon as Cecce turned to leave the counter.
“I’ll carry that. This bowl was my grandmother’s. I don’t trust anyone else carrying it.”
Cecce put the bowl back on the counter and piled two boxes on top of each other. “The bowl isn’t that heavy,” she said, “but I’ll take these boxes down first. If you’re not feeling any better when I come back, I’ll bring the bowl down.”
“I think I feel a bit better,” Loulou said, wrapping her arms around the bowl and struggling to pick it up. She put the bowl down again on the counter, inhaled, wrapped her arms around it, and locked the fingers of both hands together. She gave a heave and swayed back and forth. Regaining her balance, she cradled the bowl snugly against her chest. “I’m going to make my first trip. It usually takes us… I can’t remember how many trips it usually takes us.”
Cecce looked at Loulou. She looked exhausted and sweat was still dripping down the sides of her face and neck. “I’ll follow you,” Cecce said.
Loulou tightened her grip on the bowl, took a few steps and stopped.
“What’s the matter?” Cecce asked.
“I don’t know. I feel nauseous. Guess I must be getting the flu.”
“Why don’t you let Ginny and me take everything down for you?”
“No. I can manage. I have to…” Instead of finishing her sentence, Loulou started walking toward the stairs. She put her foot on the first step and stopped. She hitched the bowl up, tightened her grip, then put her foot out for the next step.
Loulou’s foot slipped off of the step and she fell forward. Her body crashed sideways into the railing and Cecce heard the wood crack, but the railing held. Instead of stopping, Loulou’s body lunged sideways, crashing into the wall on the opposite side of the stairway. She screamed as her body careened downward. Loud thumps echoed in the hallway as her body hit each step then continued plunging downward. When Loulou thumped to a stop at the bottom of the stairway, a large circle of blood began to ooze slowly around her head and pool around her hair.
When Loulou missed the first step, Cecce’s mouth opened. She’d meant to scream to Ginny to grab hold of Loulou as she tumbled and rolled down the stairs. But instead, she shouted to Loulou, “Let go of the bowl. Grab the railing.”
But Loulou held on to the bowl. Cecce dropped the two boxes she was carrying and they crashed to the floor, splitting open. The dishes spilled out, shattering into tiny pieces and scattering across the stairway. Cecce ran the few steps to the top of the stairway and reached out for Loulou, but she was already at the bottom. She ran down the stairs.
Michaeline is a freelance writer living in rural New Hampshire. In between caring for her four cats and being dragged around the neighborhood every morning by her ninety pound chocolate lab, Andy, she is a correspondent for The Telegraph (Nashua, NH). Michaeline is an ex-educator and small business owner and now devotes most of her time to writing.
“When a mysterious man shoots and wounds Private Investigator Cecce DeLuca, only to disappear without a trace, Cecce wants answers. Her lottery-winning mother, however, wants Cecce to mend at a plush Tucson spa. These two threads begin the intricate weave that is the satisfying read Michaeline Della Fera offers mystery fans in Trading Faces. The writing is crisp, the characters fun and funny, and the plot keeps readers guessing until the end.”-- Larry Maness, The Jake Eaton Series
“Trading Faces takes you into the world of Cecce DeLuca, slightly overweight female PI. After a close encounter with death in New Hampshire she's off to Arizona, only to find herself involved in a murder, and she's sure the same man she kept seeing in New Hampshire is also now in Arizona--but why? Follow Cecce through a twisted murder right up to the surprising ending. Michaeline Della Fera creates a fascinating story with slightly unusual characters, that keeps you guessing until the last page.”-- Beverley Bateman, Fade To Black and Death Comes In Red
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 310
Paper Weight (lb): 13.0
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