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Authors: Kate Collins

Acts of Violets

BOOK: Acts of Violets
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Table of Contents
 
The critics are throwing bouquets for the Flower Shop Mysteries
Snipped in the Bud
“Lighthearted and fast-paced, Collins’s new book is an entertaining read.”—
Romantic Times
 
Dearly Depotted
“Abby is truly a hilarious heroine. . . . Don’t miss this fresh-as-a-daisy read.”—
Rendezvous
 
“Exciting . . . original and charming with . . . many unexpected twists.”—
Midwest Book Review
 
“Ms. Collins’s writing style is crisp, her characters fun . . . and her stories are well thought-out and engaging.”
—Fresh Fiction
 
Slay It with Flowers
“Upbeat, jocular . . . an uplifting, amusing and feel-good amateur sleuth tale.”—The Best Reviews
 
“What a delight! Ms. Collins has a flair for engaging characters and witty dialogue.”—Fresh Fiction
 
“You can’t help but laugh. . . . An enormously entertaining read.”—
Rendezvous
Mum’s the Word
 
“Kate Collins plants all the right seeds to grow a fertile garden of mystery. . . . Abby Knight is an Indiana florist who cannot keep her nose out of other people’s business. She’s rash, brash, and audacious. Move over, Stephanie Plum. Abby Knight has come to town.”
—Denise Swanson, author of the Scumble River mysteries
 
“An engaging debut planted with a spirited sleuth, quirky sidekicks, and page-turning action . . . delightfully addictive . . . a charming addition to the cozy subgenre. Here’s hoping we see more of intrepid florist Abby Knight and sexy restauranteur Marco Salvare.”
—Nancy J. Cohen, author of the Bad Hair Day Mysteries
 
“A bountiful bouquet of clues, colorful characters, and tantalizing twists . . . Kate Collins carefully cultivates clues, plants surprising suspects, and harvests a killer in this fresh and frolicsome new Flower Shop mystery series.”
—Ellen Byerrum, author of the Crime of Fashion mysteries
 
“As fresh as a daisy, with a bouquet of irresistible characters.” —Elaine Viets, author of the Dead-End Job mysteries
 
“This engaging read has a list of crazy characters that step off the pages to the delight of the reader. Don’t miss this wannabe sleuth’s adventures.”—
Rendezvous
 
“This story was cute and funny, had a good plot line which entwined a lot of interesting threads . . . an enjoyable read and a fine debut for this new mystery series.”
—Dangerously Curvy Novels
 
“A charming debut.”—The Best Reviews
Other Flower Shop Mysteries
Mum’s the Word
Slay It with Flowers
Dearly Depotted
Snipped in the Bud
SIGNET
Published by New American Library, a division of
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,
New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto,
Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2,
Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124,
Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)
Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park,
New Delhi - 110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Mairangi Bay,
Auckland 1311, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue,
Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
 
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:
80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
 
First published by Signet, an imprint of New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
 
First Printing, March 2007
 
Copyright © Linda Tsoutsouris, 2007
All rights reserved
REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA
 
 
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
 
PUBLISHER’S NOTE
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.
 
 
The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.
eISBN : 978-1-101-00759-4

http://us.penguingroup.com

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Authors never write entirely alone; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. There are always editors and agents and husbands and mothers and fathers and children standing silently (or not) in the background. Also those pesky little voices in our heads.
 
To that end I would be remiss if I didn’t thank my husband for providing a shoulder to whine on, as well as his legal expertise (
the
best lawyer in Indiana—not that I’m prejudiced or anything); my sister, Nancy, and best friend, Barb (more shoulders for whining; how do they stand me?); “My Kids: The Entire Collection”; my editor, Ellen Edwards; my agent, Karen Solem; the terrific artist who designed the Flower Shop Mystery covers (absolutely the coolest!); my step-mom, Bonnie (the American version of Grace); and of course the clowns Jocko and Bimbo, who were the true inspiration for this book, not to mention for Abby’s nightmares. The voices and I thank you all.
This book is dedicated to the memory of Joseph Eberhardt,
a man who endured unbelievable hardships yet never
lost his enthusiasm for life. His ready smile and
generous heart will always be an inspiration to those
of us who loved him. God bless you, Joe.
CHAPTER ONE

Y
ou think that was funny? You think I don’t know you did that on purpose? Well, I’ve got your number, shorty, so let me tell you something: Paybacks are murder.”
Paybacks? Murder? Shorty! Hugging my purse to my chest, I gaped at the bad-tempered buffoon as he gathered his cucumbers, climbed onto his unicycle, and rode off to join his troupe. You wouldn’t expect that kind of behavior from a clown named Snuggles.
Was it my fault he ran over my purse and fell off his tall perch? No, it was the bozo’s behind me—pardon the clown pun—who was too busy stuffing his face with a bratwurst to notice the short redhead with an even shorter fuse standing in front of him. This was a small parade. He was a big guy. Did he have to be in the front row? And who eats brats at ten o’clock in the morning?
I turned my attention back to Snuggles, who was once again juggling cukes from his seat-in-the-sky as he pedaled up the street. My policy was to stand up to bullies—and that snarled threat was certainly bullying behavior—but before I could give him a piece of my mind (I was thinking along the lines of recommending a place to store those cucumbers) I was yanked back onto the sidewalk by my best friend and roommate, Nikki Hiduke, an X-ray tech at the county hospital, who had shared many childhood adventures with me and lived to tell about it.
“Abby, are you all right? You look dazed.”
“Nikki, that clown threatened me! As if I elbowed myself off the sidewalk.” I cast a glare over my shoulder at Mr. Oblivious, who had finished his bratwurst and was slurping mustard off his fingers. I was amazed he wasn’t also talking on a mobile phone. Oh, wait. Yes, he was. He had on an earpiece.
“Snuggles the Clown threatened you?” Nikki stared after the troupe—three acrobats, two unicyclists, one stilt walker, and the last (my favorite because of the huge purple lily atop a long green stem waving from her bonnet), a baby-doll clown peddling a giant purple tricycle. “But he looks so harmless.”
“Don’t let that goofy smile fool you.” I scrubbed the black tread mark off the tan leather purse that I’d almost gone into hock for. “Beneath that greasepaint is a nasty temper and a voice that would make a polar bear shiver.”
BOOK: Acts of Violets
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