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WITHOUT A DOUBT
A Carol Childs Mystery
BY NANCY COLE SILVERMAN
As radio reporter Carol Childs investigates a series of Beverly Hills jewelry heists, she realizes her FBI boyfriend, Eric, is working the same case. Even worse, she may have inadvertently helped the suspect escape. The situation intensifies when the suspect calls the radio station during a live broadcast, baiting Carol deeper into the investigation.
In order for her to uncover the truth, Carol must choose between her job and her personal relationships. What started out as coincidence between Carol and Eric becomes a race for the facts—pitting them against one another—before the thieves can pull off a daring escape, leaving a trail of dead bodies behind, and taking the jewels with them.
Related subjects include: women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), book club recommendations, suspense, noir.
WITHOUT A DOUBT
A Carol Childs Mystery
BY NANCY COLE SILVERMAN
“Don’t rush me. I need to savor this moment.”
Sheri stood outside the Beverly Hills chocolatier and let the small square chocolate truffle liqueur melt in her mouth. Head turned up to the midmorning sun, she closed her eyes and, with a look of ecstasy on her face, sighed, almost orgasmically.
I grabbed her hand. I couldn’t leave my best friend standing on the sidewalk with her eyes closed, looking flushed like she’d just died and gone to heaven.
KCHC’s new Chocolate Christmas Charity Campaign was dependent upon my roving report of the Beverly Hills chocolatiers.
And no matter how tantalizing Sheri’s descriptions for the competing makers of the sinfully sweet delicacies had been, we needed to move on.
“Carol? Are we ready?” Kari Rhodes’s saccharine sweet voice boomed in my ear and out over the airwaves. “Or has our taster succumbed?”
“OD’ed might be a better description, Kari.”
I explained that after visiting five different confectioners, Sheri was understandably lightheaded. We had begun the morning broadcast at Teuscher Chocolates on Brighton Way, sampling champagne truffles with buttery-sweet chocolate-filled liqueurs, and moved on to Vosges Haut-Chocolat on Beverly Drive. There we tasted their caramel marshmallows and later compared them to Madonna’s favorite dark chocolate mallows from the Edelweiss on Canon. While Sheri sampled, I filled listeners in on the fact that Edelweiss was the scene of the once-famous chocolate factory where Lucille Ball had gone to learn to wrap chocolates with Ethel.
Off mic, I nudged Sheri and whispered, “One more, girlfriend. Hang in there.”
Turning my attention back to Kari, I announced our next stop: Bouchon Bakery, famous for their French pastries, chocolate croissants, and small, intimate dining tables.
“Like an escape to Paris,” I said.
“Oh, you must bring back samples, Carol. Some croissants and maybe the French press coffee? I can almost smell it.”
I planned to get plenty of the coffee into Sheri, and quickly. I described the bakery’s best, ooh là là-ing over their tarts and cakes, their macarons, and their twice-baked chocolate croissants, then signed off. “This is Carol Childs with KCHC Talk Radio, hoping all our listeners will take our Chocolate Charity Challenge. Visit Beverly Hills and vote for your favorite chocolatier to help support St. Mark’s.”
A portion of all sales from participating merchants during the month of December would be donated to St. Mark’s Children’s Hospital and the chocolatier with the most donations would win a year’s worth of free advertising. Tyler Hunt, KCHC’s boy wonder, and my now-is-never-soon-enough boss, said it was a win-win for everyone. Especially since he demanded I return to the station with enough chocolate to replenish the candy stash hidden in the top drawer of his desk.
Finishing my coffee, I threw my mic in my purse and turned around to find Sheri outside the café. She was leaning up against one of the city’s holiday garland-trimmed lampposts, licking her fingers. In her hand were three more of the chocolate liqueurs she had been given as samples from Teuschers. I whisked them from her, pocketed two and threw the third into my mouth. If it’s possible to get drunk on chocolate liqueurs, Sheri was close to plastered.
Sheri looked down at her empty hand, furrowed her brow, then back at me. “So that’s it? We’re done?”
“For now.” I glanced at my watch. I reminded her I needed to drive her home and that I had less than an hour to get back to the station for my afternoon shift. I turned and headed in the direction of the parking garage with Sheri close behind.
“I want my chocolates. I’ve been dieting all week for this, and I want them. I want them now.” Sheri stopped behind me. I turned around to see her with her hands on her hips like a defiant child about to throw a tantrum. She was refusing to take another step.
“I know. Which is why I’ve put them away.” I was about to remind Sheri she had made me promise I’d not let her overindulge when she grabbed my arm, the look in her eyes going from disappointment to shock.
“Oh my God, Carol. Don’t look.”
“What?” I couldn’t imagine what it was Sheri didn’t want me to see. Had we missed a new candy store she couldn’t resist? I turned around, expecting to see some giant chocolate Santa, and froze in my tracks.
Less than a block up the street coming out of Henry Westin’s, one of Beverly Hills’ most exclusive jewelry stores, was Eric. My Eric. And tucked neatly under his arm was Carmen Montague, the soulless socialite. A dark, sultry, raven-haired beauty known for absolutely nothing, famous for being famous. That happens in Hollywood. With the right connections, showmanship trumps talent. In Carmen’s case, she’d made that connection numerous times. She was famously divorced, filthy rich, and had been linked to a number of dubiously well-heeled international businessmen, actors, playboys and the like. And now she was very definitely with the man I had rolled over next to in bed this morning.
I stood unable to move. My heart, like a rock in my chest, refused to beat.
Sheri leaned next to me. I could feel her breath on my shoulder. Eric, with his arm still about Carmen, dressed in a cashmere Burberry jacket and wearing glasses I didn’t recognize, looked straight in our direction. Without so much as a nod, he ducked into a black stretch limo, double parked in front of Henry Westin’s, and sped off.
“Was that…?” My mouth went dry. I couldn’t finish the thought.
“No.” Sheri looked at me, the dark curls against her head shaking as though she were trying to erase the picture. “Couldn’t be.”
Before I could make sense of what I’d just seen, an explosion, far worse than what was going on inside my head, rocked the ground beneath my feet.
From inside Henry Westin’s, a thunder blast shook the street like an earthquake. The big gold double doors on the front of the building blew open. Alarms everywhere, up and down the street, began blaring. People screamed, panicked, and started running. It was chaos. From within the building, a white cloud of dust, like smoke, began to billow out the doors and settle in the now nearly empty street littered with shopping bags and orphaned shoes.
Books in the Carol Childs Mystery Series:
- SHADOW OF DOUBT (#1)
- BEYOND A DOUBT (#2)
- WITHOUT A DOUBT (#3)
Nancy Cole Silverman credits her twenty-five years in news and talk radio for helping her to develop an ear for storytelling. But it wasn’t until after she retired that she was able to write fiction full-time. Much of what Silverman writes about is pulled from events that were reported on from inside some of Los Angeles’ busiest newsrooms where she spent the bulk of her career. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Bruce, and two standard poodles.
Links to Nancy’s website, blog, books, etc.
**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY**: Nancy is giving away a signed copy of WITHOUT A DOUBT to one lucky reader who comments on her **Author Peek** Interview or Killer Book Bench blogs. Thanks, Nancy, for sharing your book with us today!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!