December 22nd, 2014
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Be swept away in December

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A modern twist on the Regency house party.


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You'll laugh and you'll cry reading this cozy southern mystery


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Fiona Ferguson's troubles began with a kiss . . .


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Love is about to start conquering...


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When intimate time diminishes...and lives get more hectic...


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A Fairy Tale Murder...



Purchase


Lucy Stone Mystery Series, #5
Kensington
January 2004
268 pages
ISBN: 1575664992
Paperback (reprint)
$5.99
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Mystery Woman Sleuth

Also by Leslie Meier:

A Winter Wonderland, November 2012
Paperback
Chocolate Covered Murder, January 2012
Hardcover
Wicked Witch Murder, August 2011
Paperback (reprint)
English Tea Murder, July 2011
Hardcover
Gingerbread Cookie Murder, October 2010
Hardcover
Mother's Day Murder, April 2009
Hardcover
St. Patrick's Day Murder, March 2009
Paperback (reprint)
Bake Sale Murder, December 2007
Paperback
Candy Cane Murder, October 2007
Hardcover
Bake Sale Murder, January 2007
Hardcover
New Year's Eve Murder, November 2006
Paperback (reprint)
New Year's Eve Murder, November 2005
Hardcover
Star Spangled Murder, June 2005
Paperback (reprint)
Christmas Cookie Murder, October 2004
Paperback (reprint)
Turkey Day Murder, October 2004
Paperback (reprint)
Mistletoe Murder, October 2004
Paperback (reprint)
Trick or Treat Murder, September 2004
Paperback (reprint)
Father's Day Murder, June 2004
Paperback
Wedding Day Murder, May 2004
Paperback (reprint)
Father's Day Murder, May 2004
Paperback (reprint)
Tippy Toe Murder, March 2004
Paperback (reprint)
Valentine Murder, January 2004
Paperback (reprint)
Back To School Murder, August 2003
Paperback (reprint)
Birthday Party Murder, May 2003
Paperback (reprint)

Excerpt of Valentine Murder by Leslie Meier

Prologue

Once upon a time there was a poor kitchen maid named Cinderella... On the day she died, Bitsy Howell didn't want to get out of bed. Her bedroom was cold, for one thing. It was always cold, thanks to her landlady, Mrs. Withers, who turned the heat down to fifty-five degrees every night to save money on heating oil. It didn't matter one bit to Mrs. Withers that it was the coldest winter in twenty years.

And ff the cold bedroom wasn't reason enough to stay in bed, well, the fact that it was Thursday made getting up especially difficult. Bitsy hated Thursdays.

Thursday was story hour day at the Broadbrooks Free Library where she was the librarian. Just "thinking about story hour depressed Bitsy. She found it practically impossible to keep ten or fifteen pre-school children focused on a storybook. Thanks to TV and video games, they had no attention span whatsoever. They fidgeted and wriggled in their seats, they picked their noses, they did everything except what Bitsy wanted them to do which Was to sit quietly and listen to a nice story followed by a finger play or song, or maybe a simple craft project.

This Thursday, however, happened to be the last Thursday in January. That meant the library's board of directors would meet, as they did on the third Thursday of every month. Bitsy would not only have to cope with story hour, but with the directors, too.

Bitsy had come to the tiny Broadbrooks Free Library in Tinker's Cove, Maine, from a big city library. One factor in her decision to leave had been her poor relationship with her boss, the head librarian. Little had she known that she was swapping one rather difficult menopausal supervisor for seven meddlesome and inquisitive directors.

Bitsy sighed and heaved herself out of bed. She padded barefoot around her rather messy bedroom, looking for her slippers. She found one underneath a magazine and the other tangled in a pair of sweat pants. One of these days, she promised herself, she would get organized and pick up the clothes that were strewn on the floor. Not today, of course. She didn't have time today.

On her way to the bathroom she raised the shade and peered out the window, blinking at the bright winter sunlight. Shit, she muttered. It had snowed again.

Arriving at the library, Bitsy studied the new addition which contained a children's room, workroom, and conference room. It was undeniably handsome, and badly needed, but it had been a dreadful bone of contention.

When she had first come to Tinker's Cove the library was a charming but antiquated old building that was far too small for the needs of the community. Getting the board to agree to build the addition, and then raising the money for it had been a struggle, one Bitsy wouldn't want to repeat. Now, if she could only get them to take the next step and buy some computers so the library could go on- line.

"Tiny baby steps," she muttered as she unlocked the door. Flicking on the lights as she went, Bitsy headed for her office. She had an hour or so before the library opened and she wanted to have her facts and figures straight before the board meeting.

Pushing aside a few of the papers that cluttered her desk, she set down a bag containing a Styrofoam cup of coffee, with cream and sugar, and a couple of sugary jelly doughnuts. She draped her coat over an extra chair and took her seat, flicking on the computer. Soon she was happily immersed in numbers and percentages, all the while slurping down her coffee and scattering powdered sugar all over her desk.

At ten minutes past ten she heard someone banging at the main entrance and realized she hadn't unlocked the doors.

Im so sorry," she apologized as she pulled open the heavy oak door. "I lost track of the time."

"No problem, my dear," said Gerald Asquith, smiling down at her benignly. Tall and gray-haired, dressed in a beautifully tailored cashmere overcoat, he was the retired president of Winchester College and one of the members of the board of directors. "I know I'm a bit early, but I want to go over the final figures for the addition before the meeting."

"Of course," said Bitsy. "I'11 get the file for you."

Bitsy had hoped Gerald would seat himself at the big table in the reference room, but instead he hung his coat up on the rack by the door and followed her into her office. When she gave him the file he sat down at her desk, displacing her, and began studying it.

Bitsy gave a little shrug and headed for the children's section. She had to come up with something for story hour anyway; it was in less than an hour, at eleven.

She was leafing through a lavishly illustrated edition of Cinderella when she felt a presence behind her. Turning, she greeted Corney Clarke with a polite smile. Corney, an attractive blonde of indeterminate age, ran a busy catering service and called herself a "lifestyle consultant." She was also a member of the board of directors.

"Can I help you?" asked Bitsy, mindful of her status as an employee.

"No. I came a little early to see the new addition. It's a big improvement, isn't it. r' said Corney, walking around the sunny area, admiring the low bookshelves and child- sized seating.

"It sure is," agreed Bitsy. "We must have been the only library in the state without a children's room."

"It must be fun doing story hour, now, in such nice surroundings," surmised Corney.

"Oh, yes," said Bitsy, attempting to sound enthusiastic. "Today we're reading Cinderella.

"Oh." Corney wrinkled her forehead in concern. "I don't want to tell you how to do your job, but are you sure that's a good choice?

"The children like it" began Bitsy.

"Well, of course they do. But does it send the right message?"

"It's just a fairy tale." Bitsy bit her lip. Personally, she didn't think every story had to have a socially redeeming message, and she wasn't sure Corney was the right person to decide what was suitable for young children, either. After all, she was childless and never married, though not from lack of effort.

Excerpt from Valentine Murder by Leslie Meier
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