TITLE – Cruel Capers on the Caribbean
SERIES – A Kate on Vacation Mystery
AUTHOR – Kassandra Lamb
GENRE – Mystery, cozy
PUBLICATION DATE – June 15th
LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – approx. 30,000 words (novella)
PUBLISHER – Misterio Press LLC
COVER ARTIST – Book Cover Corner
Trouble seems to find Kate Huntington, even on a Caribbean cruise. She and her friend, Liz, befriend socialite Cora Beall, who is having relationship problems. When Cora is found dead, her cabin locked from the inside, the ship’s captain assumes it’s a suicide.
Kate is skeptical. Her private detective husband begs her to let it go, but the evidence points more and more toward murder. And she can’t stop thinking about Cora’s teenage daughter who is back in the States with her stepfather. Which is worse, thinking your mother committed suicide or being raised by her killer? Or is Cora’s seemingly-innocent, screenwriter boyfriend the real murderer?
And the toughest question of all… how did Cora’s killer get out of a locked room?
This is the second of the Kate on Vacation novellas, a parallel series to the Kate Huntington mysteries.
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Kate went back to the task of opening their own cabin door. She took two steps into the room, then rushed forward.
A small sliding glass door was sitting partway open. A slight breeze rustled the semi-sheer curtains that had been pulled to the side. Beyond the door, a tiny balcony overlooked the sparkling waters of Tampa Bay. Dropping her carry-on bag on the floor, she stood open-mouthed, taking in the view. “Oh, this is so much better than those lousy little portholes.”
Skip wrapped his arms around her from behind. “Nothin’s too good for my gal. This has been too long in comin’.” The cruise, originally Kate’s idea, had gotten sidetracked by one of Skip’s private investigation cases. After a big bonus from another case, he’d insisted it was time for their long-postponed getaway.
Kate turned in his arms.
He hooked an errant, dark curl behind her ear. “You know, your eyes are the same exact color as that gorgeous tropical sky out there.”
But he wasn’t looking at the sky. He was smiling down into her face. Gold flecks danced in his own hazel eyes as he cupped her cheeks in his hands. He lowered his lips to hers.
She closed her eyes and relaxed against him, anticipating the warm tingle of his kiss.
“Ahem. So sorry to interrupt, but I just wanted to invite y’all to a little git-together.”
They jumped, then turned to find a willowy, blonde beauty standing in the still-open doorway.
“Where are my manners?” she said in a thick Southern accent as she held out her hand. “I’m Cora Beall.”
Skip recovered first. He stepped over and shook the woman’s hand. “Pleased to meet you, Miss Corabelle.”
The woman let out a peal of laughter. “No, no. My last name is Beall. Don’t know what my mama was thinkin’ when she chose Cora for my Christian name.”
“Skip Canfield. This is my wife, Kate.”
“Pleased to meet y’all. I’m in cabin 1030, down the way a bit. Figured I’d invite all my new neighbors to a little bon voyage party. Some of our friends are comin’ onboard in a few minutes to see us off.”
Kate found her voice. “How did you get your friends past security?” Since 9/11, cruise ships had tightened security significantly. Only passengers with pre-paid tickets were allowed to board. She had thought onboard bon voyage parties were a thing of the past.
The woman chuckled. “Connections, sugar. Plus…” She rubbed fingers and thumb together in the sign for money.
After a pregnant pause, she said, “Y’all don’t know who I am, do ya?”
They shook their heads.
Another peal of laughter. “How totally refreshin’! Y’all come on over in a bit, please do.” She turned and left the cabin, pulling the door closed behind her.
Skip raised his eyebrows at his wife. “I’d been debating between a tour of the ship or trying out that nice king-sized bed over there.” He tilted his head toward the bed in question.
Kate laughed. “Both ship and bed will be available for the next week. That lady’s peaked my curiosity.”
Writing and psychology have always vied for first place on Kassandra Lamb’s Greatest Passions list. In her youth, she had to decide between writing and paying the bills. Partial to electricity and food, she studied psychology. Now retired from a career as a psychotherapist and college professor, she spends most of her time in an alternate universe with her protagonist and alter ego, Kate Huntington. The magical portal to this universe (i.e., her computer) is located in Florida, where Kassandra’s husband and dog catch occasional glimpses of her.
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