IT manager Mia Connors is up to her tortoiseshell glasses in technical drama when a glitch in the Horseshoe Falls email system disrupts security and sends errant messages to residents of the gated community. The snafu’s timing couldn’t be worse—Renaissance Faire season is in full swing and Mia’s family’s business relies on her presence.
Mia doesn’t have time to hunt down a computer hacker. Her best friend has disappeared, and she finds another of her friends murdered—in her office. When the hunky new head of Horseshoe Falls security identifies Mia as the prime suspect, her anxiety level registers on the Richter scale.
Eager to clear her name, Mia moves into action to locate her missing buddy and find out who killed their friend. But her quick tongue gets her into trouble with more than the new head of security. When Mia begins receiving threats, the killer makes it clear that he’s closer than she’d ever imagined.
A GEEK GIRL’S GUIDE TO MURDER
By Julie Anne Lindsey
I pressed a palm to my tummy and headed for the closest chair.
Jake sauntered past with a woman at his side. She looked upset, dotting a handkerchief under each eye. They must’ve known one another. Zing! I moved my fingers to rub my temple instead of my tummy.
The woman shook his hand and accepted a business card from him. They didn’t know each other. Apparently, he made strangers cry. The woman disappeared through the double glass doors, and Jake turned back. He seemed shocked to find me in a lobby chair.
I did a small wave.
He moved to the couch across from me and leaned against the arm. “Now who’s stalking who?”
“I’m resting. This isn’t a good morning.”
“You’ve had a lot of those.”
“Mostly since you arrived.”
He chuckled. “Touché. Did you recognize the woman I was speaking to?”
“It seems you told me the truth about your relationship with Baxter. That was his girlfriend, Jillian Nader, and she said they’d been dating exclusively for a month.”
“That was Jillian?”
He nodded. “Something to add?”
“No. Not a thing. She’s cute.” Blond hair, blue eyes, freckled cheeks. If she was twenty-five, I was a hundred. “Young.” That suited Baxter. Which was to say he had a Y chromosome.
“Not especially. Her driver’s license said twenty-nine, so she’s about your age. I guess she just has good genes.”
I nodded appreciatively until the insult sunk in. “Hey.” I pushed to my feet. “Rude.”
“Relax. This is good news. Unless you were the mistress, I can see now you weren’t involved with the vic—Baxter. You’re looking less guilty every day.”
I shot him a crazy face. “Excuse me. I didn’t know I was a suspect.”
“Well, I’m not sure how that information eluded you. You seem smart enough, and I tell you you’re a suspect every time I see you.”
I shut my eyes and counted down from ten. Was I really going to have a playground “Did too /Did not” argument at my age? It was reckless and irresponsible to let him ruffle my feathers.
“Why were you talking with Baxter’s girlfriend? Why would she come here?” I lifted my eyebrows. What was he up to? I stepped closer to him. “Head of clubhouse security doesn’t investigate murder. Did your brother put you up to it? Why didn’t he talk to her himself? Why’d she agree to come here?”
Jake blinked. “I’m sorry, was that one long question? Your words slur together at that speed.”
“I do not slur.” My over-enunciation prompted an infuriating grin on his face. I narrowed my eyes, ready for battle.
A doggy yodel and chorus of yippers broke my concentration. Outside Doggy Diva Day Spa, Quinn greeted Mrs. Freemont with over-the-top zeal. She didn’t look impressed.
I dragged my stare back to Jake. “I thought you were joking about me as a suspect.” At least I’d hoped he never considered it seriously.
Not to mention the elephant again, but it didn’t matter what Jake said anyway. He wasn’t a cop. Also, I couldn’t take anything he said seriously. Every word he spoke seemed designed to frustrate me.
Jake nodded toward Mrs. Freemont. “She looks pleased. You have anything to do with that?”
“Maybe.” I walked over to meet Mrs. Freemont outside Doggy Diva. Jake followed. So much for getting a little distance.
“Hi, Mrs. Freemont. I’m so glad your appointment worked out this morning.”
She made a sour face. “Quinn told me this was your doing. I suppose I owe you a thank-you.”
“It’s no problem.”
She sidestepped me. “Very well.”
I chased her across the atrium. “Mrs. Freemont?”
She was fast without her dogs.
Calling after her earned me a cold stare.
“Sorry to bother you again. I was wondering if you could tell me whether or not you received any coupons like these.” I held the coupons from the beauty salon between my fingertips.
She scoffed. “As if I’d let those Dolly Parton look-alikes touch my hair. Do I look like someone interested in a wig to you? How about a beehive? And who in their right mind would print a coupon? It’s demeaning.”
I’d take that as a no on the hair salon coupons. “Have you ever received an email offer for Doggy Diva?”
Recognition dawned in her eyes. “Actually, yes. The email said I could schedule the fur babies’ appointments by clicking on the link, which I did. If I show you, will you go away so I can enjoy my book club without any arguing?”
“It’s here in my BlackBerry.” She sorted through her phone for several minutes before presenting it to me.
I forwarded the email to myself so I could stare at it later. “Thank you. That helps very much.”
Jake chuckled. “Get your case solved, detective?”
“I’m working on it.” I looked around the atrium for anyone out of place, overdressed or staring. Corporate espionage seemed more likely by the minute. After finding Baxter in my chair, I couldn’t shake the feeling of being watched. I gave him my most pointed stare. “Can we go somewhere alone? There’s something I want to show you.”
He laughed again. “Lead the way, my golden beauty.”
That’s what I get for telling him about my role in Camelot. It wasn’t hard to find out why I was there.
I gave him the stink eye. “Congratulations, you can use the internet. You must be so impressed with yourself.”
“Well, that will depend heavily on what you’re about to show me.”
About The Author
Julie Anne Lindsey is a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. She’s the author of The Patience Price Mysteries and a number of YA novels. A self-proclaimed nerd with a penchant for words and proclivity for fun, Julie lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three small children. Today, she hopes to make someone smile. One day she plans to change the world.