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Cat in a Topaz Tango (Midnight Louie Series #21)

Cat in a Topaz Tango (Midnight Louie Series #21)

4.4 9
by Carole Nelson Douglas

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Temple Barr and Matt Devine make a cozy engaged couple, and the feisty redhead is all for her handsome radio host fiance staring in a week-long televised Las Vegas charity event, "Dancing with the Celebs." But while ex-priest Matt struggles to master the


Temple Barr and Matt Devine make a cozy engaged couple, and the feisty redhead is all for her handsome radio host fiance staring in a week-long televised Las Vegas charity event, "Dancing with the Celebs." But while ex-priest Matt struggles to master the

Product Details

Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
Publication date:
Midnight Louie Series , #21
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
5.86(w) x 8.56(h) x 1.35(d)

Read an Excerpt

Cat in a Topaz Tango

A Midnight Louie Mystery
By Douglas, Carole Nelson

Forge Books

Copyright © 2010 Douglas, Carole Nelson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780765358301

Chapter 1
Nervous Nuptials

“You’re the ex-priest,� Temple pointed out. “You must know how we can avoid the wedding from Hell?�

“All weddings, or the preparations at least, are from Hell,� Matt said.

He went on, chapter and verse. “I’ve officiated at enough of them to know that by now. The wedding ‘party’ always bristles with conflicting, intergenerational agendas. I doubt they’re all as highly dramatic as Aldo Fontana’s and your aunt Kit’s, though.�

Temple sighed and stirred on her living-room sofa in the Circle Ritz condominiums and apartment building, where she and Matt had units atop each other on the second and third floors. As, in fact, they were even more closely on top of each other now.

The five-story, round fifties-era building was a whimsical little place even for the city of Las Vegas, which only did whimsical large and on the Strip, but theirs was a whimsical little engagement.

Their lives were Euphemism Central these days. Being “engaged� made “sleeping together� expected, but they were still “living in sin� in the eyes of Matt’s Catholic church. In the eyes of Temple’s church, Universal Unitarian, she was just a modern woman ready for marital commitment and smart enough to want to know what she was getting into.

At least now that they were “engaged,� Temple didn’t have to “keep her feet on the floor� when she and Matt shared a sofa. Her feet were on his lap, and he was playing with the ankle ties on the resale-shop designer spike heels she’d worn previously as Kit’s maid of honor at the elegant hotel wedding ceremony a couple of days earlier.

Aldo, the groom, had nine brothers, one of whom owned the Crystal Phoenix Hotel and Casino. Hotelier Nicky had been the best man, which left eight brothers to escort Kit’s eight bridesmaids. (How a Manhattan resident came up with eight Las Vegas bridesmaids is another story.)

“Only a best man and matron or maid of honor for our wedding, I think,� Temple said. “How can we get into trouble with that?�

“You still want the small civil ceremony here at Electra’s wedding chapel first?�

“I don’t know. We did meet here. Electra’s our landlady and would love to marry us in the Circle Ritz’s attached chapel. We’d be legal but we’d still be sinful in the eyes of your church. Would legal make you feel any better?�

“The only thing that makes me feel any better is you,� he said, his golden-brown eyes darkening.

Temple hiked a shapely but short leg onto his shoulder. “Untie my shoe straps and then we can discuss more important things.�

“I don’t know how you walk in these things,� Matt said, complying.

“Years of being a shrimp and suffering.�

He smiled and moved her other foot from his lap to his shoulder. “For a shrimp you have some provocative moves.�

“For an ex-priest, you catch on fast.�

They grinned at each other. Then yawned.

“That was a rough twenty-four hours in the desert,� Matt commented, “then the big wedding ceremony came right after it.�

“You were the kidnapping victim,� she pointed out. “I was only a member of the rescue party.�

“I wasn’t the target. I was just along for the ride.�

“And what a ride! Murder in a Nevada cat house. It may not have been in Vegas proper, but it would sure make a great movie. Eight vengeful women, eight captive groomsmen, assorted associates, almost all of the last identifiable mob “family� in Clark County. Uzis, limos, hookers.�

“Not likely for my bachelor party,� Matt said, laughing. “I hardly know anybody here.�

“You’d be surprised, buddy. I think the Fontana boys plan on doing just that when we finally do get hitched.�

“No, a fate worse than a Vegas wedding with Elvis,� Matt said, still laughing, and then tickling the bare soles of Temple’s feet to make her join in.

She was easy and giggled away on cue. “Stop that! I’m really ticklish!�

He was no fun. He stopped, then frowned. “I really don’t know about committing to that charity fund-raiser for all of next week.�

“You wouldn’t bow out?�

“Ballroom dancing isn’t exactly in my résumé.�

“Just why you need to brush up before we do the wedding waltz at our reception. Not to mention you’re committed to taking Mariah Molina to her freshman father-daughter dance in high school this fall.�

Matt groaned at the reminder. “I have a lot of sympathy for single working moms rearing a teenage daughter, but who named me proxy daddy of the week? And Mariah’s in that embarrassing hero worship of older guys stage.�

“Who’s more embarrassed, you or her?�

“Me. Teen girls don’t get embarrassed, they embarrass everybody else. I’m already freaked. This Dancing With the Stars wanna-be show isn’t all wedding waltzes and dad-daughter shuffles. Those ballroom routines can be pretty risqué.�

“You’re out of the priesthood, Matt. You can do risqué. And kids today want dads who can rock out in the school auditorium like cool dudes. Doesn’t Ambrosia think it’d be good for your radio career?�

“Ambrosia’s in favor of anything that makes me a visual. She believes the world wants a Web presence, a Facebook profile, a YouTube persona, rather than just a voice in the night.�

“Let’s face it. Ambrosia knows how to market radio today. You make a socko visual. Remember that billboard of you on the red suede couch? I sure do! Blond, handsome, and horizontal.�

“Yeah, and all those screaming fan girls.� He made a face. It didn’t hurt his looks a bit.

“Ambrosia’s your producer. Your ‘Midnight Hour’ is syndicated in a lot of major markets, but there are more to be won over. You can go farther than the usual radio shrink, maybe become the next Dr. Phil.�

“Spare me.�

“What’s wrong with that?�

“That’s what I get with an ace PR woman as a fiancée. P.T. Barr-num. Dr. Phil’s avuncular act is not only bullying, but superficial. I hope my ‘Midnight Hour’ digs a bit deeper.�

“It does.� Temple’s voice lowered to a dramatic whisper. “You are the most insightful, sincere, and sexy guy on the air-waves. Dr. Phil should be quaking in his Big and Tall Man suits.�

“Dr. Phil isn’t a dancing bear.�

“You won’t be a dancing bear.�

“I’ve been rehearsing already, so don’t bet on that.�

“Ooh. Who’s your teacher?�

Matt hesitated. “No six-feet-tall Strip chorus girls to steer around the floor, thank goodness. Most female pro ballet and ballroom dancers are petite. She’s a brunette.�

“Should look dramatic with your fair coloring.�

“She’s the dramatic type, all right, but she’s just the instructor. I’ll actually perform with the other celebrities.�

“Don’t glower. Men are so afraid of a little social dancing. Look at all those macho athletes who aced Dancing With the Stars. Football players, Olympic skaters.�

“Temple, my only ‘sport’ is swimming. Not exactly a couple’s pursuit. Besides. You overlook the sleaze factor. The winning ballroom dancers are all sexy.�

“And you’re not?� she asked indignantly.

“Not for a mass media audience.�

“Nonsense! This will be good for you,� she decreed, “and good exposure for your show.�

“That’s what I’m afraid of.�

“You can practice your new steps with me. That’ll give you an edge. Extra rehearsal time.�

“Sorry. All my free time must be devoted to rehearsal eight to ten hours a day with La Tatyana. Given my night-owl working sched, I’ll have no time or energy for fiancées.�


“You can talk Dancing With the Stars, but you obviously don’t watch the show closely enough.�

“Guilty,� Temple admitted. “I’m too busy to catch a weekly TV show, but I’ve seen clips.�

“Most of the pro dancers are Russian. I guess the baton has passed and the great Russian dancers of today have gone from ballet to samba.�

“So what’s Tat-yan-ah like?� Temple asked, deciding it was time to flex her possessiveness.

Matt winced. “A Gestapo officer in rehearsal and a Lolita on stage.�

“Heavily bipolar. Sounds more like a blue movie than a dance contest. I’ll have to come to the broadcast every night of the competition to act as bodyguard.�

“I’m more worried about missing a step than any domineering sexpot.�

“ ‘Domineering sexpot.’ Now there’s a role I could aspire to.�

“Don’t even try.� Matt tousled her luxuriant red-gold curls. “Sexy sprite is my speed.�

Temple laughed and snuggled into his arms, glad to have Matt in her life and a subdued version of her natural fiery red hair color back after having a blond bleach job foisted on her for an assignment.

Into this premarital merriment a large black shadow descended.

Midnight Louie lofted over the sofa back onto their semi-twined laps, earning protests.

“Louie! You weigh a ton,� Temple said. “Off!�

Matt hefted the big cat with one hand under his belly and set him on a sofa arm. “He must be protesting being left out of the wedding plans.�

“Oh,� Temple cooed, “Louie was so cute as the ring bearer wearing that black bow tie collar with the ring box attached.�

“You could see he hated the bow tie as much as I would, but he did relish center stage, as usual.�

“You’ll have to do ring bearer act again for our wedding, Louie,� Temple threatened her feline roommate.

He showed his fangs but stifled a hiss of contempt and jumped down to the parquet floor.

“I sometimes think he’s trying to come between us,� Matt said with a frown Temple found adorable.

Matt must have driven women and girls crazy when he was in the priesthood, Temple thought, enjoying watching her beloved interact with her panther-personality alpha tomcat. He’d kill ’em on Dancing With the Celebs. He was classically good-looking in a blond, matinee-idol way. That he never used it made his charm even more devastating.

But looks were deceiving, as usual. Matt’s unhappy childhood, first with a beaten-down unwed mother and then with an abusive stepfather, had driven him to become the perfect “Father Matt� he’d never had. He liked the anonymity of radio. She was hoping the dance competition would bring out his extroverted side.

She wriggled her bare toes against his stomach, making him seize her feet to stop the teasing and eye her with un-sanctioned intentions. He’d worked hard to overcome his sad early history and was more than ready to start making some promising fresh history with her, except for the occasional qualm about fornication without benefit of matrimony.

She was a lucky girl. Temple sighed again, this time with an odd combination of contentment and excitement. She sure hoped trouble would stay out of their way until they could do something official to end these prenuptial nerves.

Excerpted from Cat in a Topaz Tango by Carole Nelson Douglas.
Copyright © 2009 by Carole Nelson Douglas.
Published in 2009 by A Tom Doherty Associates Book.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.


Excerpted from Cat in a Topaz Tango by Douglas, Carole Nelson Copyright © 2010 by Douglas, Carole Nelson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Carole Nelson Douglas is the author of the bestselling Midnight Louie series, which include Cat in a Sapphire Slipper, Cat in a Red Hot Rage, Cat in a Quicksilver Caper, and many more. She is also the author of the historical suspense series featuring Irene Adler, the only woman ever to have "outwitted" Sherlock Holmes. She resides in Fort Worth, Texas.

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Cat in a Topaz Tango (Midnight Louie Series #21) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lots of setup in prior book led to some very exciting & bizarre situations in this one. Action is what I crave, and this one delivered :)) Subplots of romantic tangles also well handled. Characters are always believable, & situations easily could be real. Louie has his paws all over the city; just keeping up with the star is a challenge that author keeps meeting & then exceeding.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great fun. Always a pleaure to catch up on Louie's most recent adventure. Such a great escape to settle in and enjoy this series.
Stemline More than 1 year ago
Lovers of cats and mysteries tend to fall hard for these books. The plots often are less than perfect, but the wonderful characters and the fun the author obviously is having with the situations keeps you going at top speed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I eagerly await each Midnight Louie installment, but this one was a disappointment. It seemed like a tired rehash of an earlier book. The work was sluggish, and it became a chore to read. I finally skimmed the last half of the book just to discover "whodunnit." Not her best effort -- it seemed as though it was written on autopilot.
ardiejoy 12 months ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Midnight Louie mysteries are always great. Ms Douglas and her feline friends always give a great story.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Las Vegas, public relations specialist Temple Barr convinces her reluctant fiancé, former priest turned radio show host Matt Devine to enter a charity sponsored Dancing with the Celebs contest at the Oasis Hotel that will raise money for charity. Temple agreed to emcee the Junior Division as her on-line zany teenager Zoe Chloe Ozone; Matt is in as well as tough Homicide Lieutenant Carmen "C.R." Molina is in that division. Temple told him it would be fun, but soon accidents occur. Carmen bullies Temple to help her when her teenage daughter Mariah vanishes. Also working the disappearance are the teen's father, Rafi Nadir, chief of security chief at the Oasis Hotel and of course Temple's significant other hardboiled detective Midnight Louie. Everyone fears the Barbie Doll who has stalked teens. The twenty first alphabetically correct Midnight Louie caper is a terrific entry in spite of the whodunit being somewhat low-keyed. Temple's former boyfriend Max Kinsella is a minor player as he remains off stage in Europe struggling with killers and amnesia but not struggling with a blonde. The story line is fast-paced even when Louie takes time outs to seduce a feline femme fatale. Fans of the series will enjoy this entertaining feline urban noir while newcomers will appreciate a short summary of who's who. Harriet Klausner