Nursing a Grudge is Murder (A Maternal Instincts Mystery)

BOOK: Nursing a Grudge is Murder (A Maternal Instincts Mystery)
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Nursing a Grudge

Diana Orgain

Copyright 2013© by Diana Orgain

All rights reserved. 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.

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the work of this author.

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.


For Tom, Carmen, Tommy Jr, and Bobby


Thank you to all the readers who have written to me. Your kind words keep me motivated to write the next story.


“Engaging…[A] charming debut thriller.”

—Publisher’s Weekly

“A fun, fast, cozy read that will keep its readers entertained and anxiously awaiting the next installment. A must read.”

—The Best Reviews

“A breezy and entertaining mystery.”

—The Mystery Reader

“An over the top, good-time cozy mystery. With a feisty heroine and with lots of humor, plenty of intrigue and suspense, and a little baby cooing, this novel is a delightful treat to read.”

—Fresh Fiction

“A straightforward whodunit … chick lit meets noir in Diana Orgain’s fun mystery.”

—The Mystery Gazette

“If you were expecting warm and cute you’ll be mistaken. Fast paced and fun, this book gives a true feel of the modern mom, trying to juggle motherhood and career (when that career happens to be solving crimes).”

—Rhys Bowen, award-winning author of the Molly Murphy series

“Skip your afternoon nap and cozy up to Diana Orgain’s Maternal Instincts Mysteries. The series’ plucky protagonist gives ‘working mom’ a whole new meaning as she endearingly juggles bad guys and binkies.”

—Susan McBride, author of the Debutante Dropout Mysteries

"…you’ll laugh so hard you'll forget the labor pains..."

— Louise Ure, Shamus Award Winner of

Forcing Amaryllis
The Fault Tree

“A stellar debut…A winning protagonist and a glorious San Francisco setting. Highly recommended.”

—Sheldon Siegel, New York Times bestselling author

“... Anyone who’s been a mother or had one will welcome the arrival of this entertaining new sleuth.”

—Gillian Roberts, author of the Amanda Pepper series

“You’ll love keeping up with this amazing mother and sleuth in the fun, fast-paced “Bundle of Trouble.”

—Camille Minichino, author of the miniature mystery series


Five Stars! “Bundle of Trouble is one of the best books I've read in a long while!”

Five Stars! “AMAZING! It totally blow me away. This writer has really got that special touch.”

Five Stars! “I couldn't wait to read this one; it just seemed like such fun. I had to laugh at the "To Do Lists" that Kate would come up with, which reminds me of myself.”

Five Stars! “In addition to wanting to befriend Kate, I also enjoyed the suspense of this book. It made me wish that I could stay awake a little bit longer, so that I could read more. I will eagerly await the release of the next book in the Maternal Instincts Mystery Series.”

Five Stars! “Loved this book! Did Diana Orgain have a webcam in my house when I was a new mom? Nice tight little murder mystery. Love to see more from this author.”

Five Stars! “Funny and intriguing! It will keep you guessing who-done-it to the end. Kate is a frenzied mom looking for a stay at home job and she found it!”

Five Stars! “This book was right up my alley with very relatable and likable characters. The story was definitely a page-turner and I cannot wait for another one!”

Five Stars! “A very entertaining book that achieves a nice balance between the amusing tribulations of a woman adjusting to motherhood and an increasingly complicated puzzle involving difficult family relationships.”

Five Stars! “A fine mystery, perfect for readers seeking something different.”

Five Stars! “I picked it up and could not put it down.”


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three


Chapter One

To Do:

1. Catch up with old friends!

2. √
Phone Jill and set a date

3. Land a new client.

4. Buy Paula a present for new baby.

5. Get back in shape!

From inside Tea & Tumble, I checked my phone for the umpteenth time. My best friend, Paula, was due to give birth any day now, and I’d promised to babysit her toddler when the time came. The café was empty save for myself, my four-month old daughter and another pair of moms with their infants camped out in the corner.

Tea & Tumble was rated as the top pick for baby friendly cafes in the Bay Area. It was decorated in pinks and greens with a colorful, plush carpet in the corner of the dining area and a large leather couch. On the carpet, the two infants drooled over picture books, while their mothers were perched on the couch sipping lattes.

I glanced at Laurie, who cooed up at me from her baby carrier nestled at my feet. “Paula’s going to have her baby any day now. Are you ready for a new friend?”

Laurie batted her hand out, grabbing at imaginary items.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” I said. I freed her from the infant carrier, then lowered my voice. “Then you can slobber over the book of the month club choice like those other two in the corner.”

Laurie flashed me a wide, toothless grin.

“Besides,” I said. “A girl can never have too many friends.”

A gust of wind vibrated the windows of the café, and I glanced outside to see Jill parking her car.

I hadn’t seen Jill since quite some time before my pregnancy, and I was looking forward to visiting with her and catching up on gossip.

She climbed out of the car, wearing an asymmetrical orange blouse that caught the wind and billowed about her. She reached inside the car and pulled out a tan coat that matched her leggings and set off her black, stiletto thigh-high boots. As she wrapped it around herself, she spotted me in the window and waved vigorously. She sprinted across the street in her stiletto boots, short blond bob flapping in the wind.

Dear God, I wouldn’t be able to walk in those boots, much less run in them, but Jill looks chic and fashionable, as usual.

I placed Laurie up to the window and moved her little wrist back and forth in a hello. When I pulled her back into my lap, a man wearing a long, dark coat and a black skull cap with a Smith & Wesson logo on it turned the corner.

He raised an arm as if hailing Jill.

She didn’t notice him and pulled open the door to the café.

The wind rumbled through the café as Jill stepped in.

The moms in the corner glared at Jill as she made her way toward my table, annoyed that their
had been momentarily interrupted. Jill ignored them as she clippity-clopped over to my table.

Jill pressed her frozen check against mine. “Hey, stranger!”

Jill and I had been chummy once, but had fallen out of touch. In fact, now that I thought about it, it’d probably been several years since we’d last seen each other. But since the birth of my daughter I’d felt the need to get in touch with old friends and build a community around her. I held her up. She was dressed in a little pink knit dress that my best friend Paula had sent while visiting Paris.

“This is Peanut,” I said.

“Oooh, love the dress,” Jill leaned in toward Laurie, who reached out and grabbed a fistful of Jill’s blonde bob while shrieking with delight.

Jill’s hand shot up to her head to save her hair from getting pulled out by the roots.

“Sorry,” I said, detangling Jill’s hair from Laurie’s fist.

Jill laughed and rubbed Laurie’s chubby knee. “Good to meet you, you feisty little thing.”

“And sorry I’ve been so out of touch,” I said.

She pulled off her coat and took the seat across from us. “Well, I can see you’ve been busy so, of course, I forgive you.”

She didn’t know the half of it. We’d only talked briefly to set up our lunch date and I still hadn’t told her about my new career as a P.I. Since giving birth to Laurie, I’d managed to be involved in several murder investigations and basically had decided to
launch a private investigation business. But since I didn’t have a P.I. license, I was doing a semi-very-unofficial mentorship under Albert Galigani, an ex-cop, to hone my skills and become marketable.

“Do you know the guy across the street?” I asked.

Jill frowned. “What guy?” She glanced over her shoulder.

“The one on the corner wearing the Smith & Wesson skull cap,” I prompted.

Jill remained turned away from me. “Why would I know him?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. I thought he called out to you when you were crossing the street.”

She gripped the table in a rather alarmed way, then swiveled back to face me. “I don’t know him.”

Something about the expression on Jill’s face told me she was nervous about the man.

I stared out the window, past the fog, and studied the man. He was Caucasian and looked to be in his thirties. He wore a long, dark coat and his skull cap was pulled down around his ears.

“He seems to be lurking,” I said.

Jill waved away my concern. “This is San Francisco. There’s always someone lurking.”

The swinging double doors at the back of the restaurant creaked open and the hostess who had seated me approached. She handed us menus, then ran a hand over her frizzy red hair. “Anything to drink?”

“I’ll take a cup of coffee,” I said.

Jill bit her lip as she perused the back of the menu where the beverages were listed. “I’ll take a Mexican hot chocolate.”

Mexican hot chocolate? Yum!

I flipped my menu over and scanned the list.

The waitress nodded and turned to go.

“Uh. Wait. I think…”

I found the entry: "
Fiery Hot Chocolate
| Muy Caliente! Our own hot chocolate blend that really packs a kick. Starts creamy with a hand-scooped ganache topping and ends with a spicy wallop."

“Oh. I see. Fiery, spicy, kick, wallop. It sounds… um…”

Jill laughed. “It’s not for the weak hearted. It’s made with chipotle chili chocolate.”

“I’ll stick with the coffee.”

The waitress looked at me through her eyelashes. I understood the look as a warning not to waste her time again.

What attitude!

She turned on her heel and disappeared through the swinging doors.

“So what have you been up to?” I asked. “Catch me up on your career. I understand you’re the hottest restaurant critic around.”

Jill sat to attention. “An accidental career. Who would've thunk it?”

I balanced Laurie on my lap, letting her dig her feet into my thighs as she practiced putting her weight on her legs. She could only keep herself upright for a moment before her legs turned to Jell-O again.

“You always had a discriminating palate,” I said.

She giggled. “You mean I like to eat. And I know how to string a few snarky remarks together. Enough, anyway, to make people pay attention.”

In the past few months, Jill had become somewhat of an internet sensation. Her reviews were everywhere and she was always popping up on the latest foodie blog.

“Your latest review went viral, right?”

Jill put a finger to her mouth and eyed the moms in the corner. Although they seemed engrossed in their own conversation, Jill leaned in and whispered. “Don’t talk about that, though. My picture’s not out there and I don’t want people to know who I am. Not yet anyway.”

BOOK: Nursing a Grudge is Murder (A Maternal Instincts Mystery)
2.78Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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