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In this stylish, funny fifth caper (after 2005's Over Her Dead Body) from Cosmopolitanmagazine editor-in-chief White, Buzzgossip mag reporter Bailey Weggins takes a moment off from tracking celebrity crime to hunt down a missing actor. Her one-time hunky fling, Chris Wickersham, calls on her for help finding his friend Tom Fain, who appears with Chris on the TV show Morgue, a C.S.I.-type drama shooting in New York City. Bailey and Chris learn that Tom had been having an affair with the producer's girlfriend and that he withdrew $7,000 in cash before he disappeared. Bailey's dogged pursuit of Tom's trail leads to his family home in upstate New York, where she discovers his rotting remains. Even when another member of the Morguecast is murdered and Bailey also becomes a target of a very theatrical killer, her lively love life continues with a renewed flirtation with Chris and lingering attraction to another fling, documentary filmmaker Beau Regan. White's flair for pop culture and affection for single career women make this trendy romantic suspense cocktail an addictive read. (May 23)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
"Sharper than a stiletto heel, funnier than a bad dye job and full of fuchsia herrings...White keeps the reader guessing whodunit to the end."—Publishers Weekly
"[LETHALLY BLOND] is as clever as it is hot."—Booklist
I'd decided to stop by the office that day, something I rarely do on Tuesdays. It was crazy hot for the middle of September, and it would have been nice to just hang on the brick terrace of my apartment in Greenwich Village, chugging a few iced teas. But a new deputy editor had started recently-Valerie Crowe, a hyper, edgy chick who left you overwhelmed with an urge to shoot a tranquilizer dart into her ass-and I thought it would be smart to give her some face time. My copy goes through the executive editor, but it's one of the deputy editors who assigns me most of my stories and often suggests leads for me to follow up on. Since Tuesday is the day after closing, I knew she'd probably have a few minutes to spare. Most of the staff never even gets in before noon that day.
My name is Bailey Weggins, and I'm a reporter for Buzz, one of the weekly celebrity gossip magazines that have become like crack cocaine for women under thirty-five these days. Unlike most of the staff, Idon't cover the botched marriages and bulimic ordeals of the stars. Instead, I report on celebrity crime-like when an A-lister hurls a phone at a hotel desk clerk or hires a hit man to shoot his wife.
It's not something I'd ever imagined myself doing. I was a straight crime writer for the ten years after college graduation, but when the job opened up early in the summer, curiosity and the need for a regular gig prodded me to take it.
"Celebrity crime reporter-are you saying it's some sort of specialized area of journalism?" my mother had asked at the time, as if it were on a par with becoming a pediatric neurosurgeon or astrophysicist.
Initially, I was at a disadvantage because I didn't know-excuse the expression-jackshit about celebrities. Oh, I'd picked up tidbits about the really major stars-you know, like Brad and Angelina and Gwyneth and TomKat-from listening to friends dish as well as perusing gossip magazines during pedicures. But I was clueless about most of the other stars in the celebrity universe. In fact, until two weeks into my job at Buzz, I'd thought Jake Gyllenhaal and Orlando Bloom were the same person. But I caught on pretty quickly, and to my surprise, I grew to really enjoy my two-to-three-day-a-week arrangement. Celebrities not only live large, they misbehave large, too. Covering their crimes, I discovered, could be awfully entertaining.
One more plus. In November, a small publishing house was releasing a collection of my crime pieces, Bad Men and Wicked Women, and the job would be leverage for PR.
The Buzz offices were practically tomblike when I stepped off the elevator, though it was mercifully cool, as if the low body count had prevented the air from rising above 65 degrees that day. I nodded to a few people as I walked through the huge cube farm/bullpen that constitutes a major chunk of our offices. I'm in a part of that area nicknamed the Pod, which abuts the art and production departments and houses many of the writers and junior editors. The senior editors are in glass-fronted offices that rim the area. My workstation is right next to that of a senior writer named Jessie Pendergrass and behind Leo Zern, a photo editor they couldn't find room for in the photo department.
"Hey," I said to Leo as I tossed my purse and tote bag onto my desk. He was the only one in the general vicinity. He tore his eyes off his computer screen and swiveled just his head in my direction.
"To what do we owe this honor?" he asked. "I thought you weren't coming in today."
"I had a few things I wanted to take care of. Jessie around?"
"She's not in yet. I heard her tell someone on the phone yesterday that her bikini line was a disaster, so maybe she's having it administered to."
"Anything going on here?"
"Not really. Oh, there was a little bit of a dustup this morning. You know how we said Britney Spears looked like a Smurf?"
"No. Okay, I'll take your word for it."
"Nash got a phone call today, and the fur was flying." He was talking about Nash Nolan, the editor in chief.
"From Britney's publicist?"
"No, it was from a Smurf representative. They don't want to be compared to her."
"Very funny. So what are you working on?" I sidled over to his desk and checked out the computer screen. There was a grainy shot of a blond starlet type I didn't recognize sitting at an outdoor restaurant, jamming half a dozen French fries into her mouth as if she were stuffing dirty clothes into an overfilled hamper. "God, the paparazzi don't let these chicks alone, do they," I said.
"The ones who take these shots don't consider themselves paparazzi," he said. "They're snackarazzi."
"You're kidding, right?"
"Not at all. These are the real money shots these days. They're almost as good as one of a star scratching her ass."
"Remind me not to order a double bacon cheeseburger the next time I'm at a sidewalk café."
"I think you're safe, Bailey," he said, smirking.
I checked my e-mail and then a bunch of Web sites to see if any A-listers had landed themselves in hot water that day, but things seemed fairly quiet. After grabbing a cup of coffee, I wandered down to the office of the new deputy editor.
"Hi, Val," I said, poking my head in the door and forcing a smile. I've always wished I were good at office politics, but fawning and bullshitting just don't come easily to me, particularly if the person at the other end is a real jerk, which I suspected Valerie was. A guy I used to work with at the Albany Times Union, when I was a newspaper reporter right out of college, said that I butt-kissed about as well as a blowtorch.
"What can I do for you?" Valerie asked without enthusiasm. Her dark hair was slicked off her face today, accentuating the large sharp nose she sported between brown eyes. She reminded me of how our family dog used to look when he emerged sopping wet from a pond.
"Just thought I'd check in-see if you needed me for anything," I told her.
"What are you working on now?" she asked, a thin layer of impatience coating her question.
Gosh, I thought, you just don't like me, do you? But I couldn't tell why. She'd arrived at the magazine not long after the previous editor in chief, Mona Hodges, had been killed in her office by several blows to the head. It had been a tumultuous time, particularly for me, for not only had I found Mona that night, but I also had later figured out who had murdered her, nearly getting killed myself in the process. Nash, the number two at the time, had been named editor in chief shortly afterward; a deputy editor had taken over for Nash, and now Valerie had the deputy job. I sometimes wondered if she resented the fact that Nash and I were tight and that I had plenty of autonomy.
"Nothing major at the moment," I told her. "Just following a few leads. I probably won't come in again this week unless something breaks."
"Just let Aubrey know," she said, referring to the managing editor. Then she glanced over at her computer screen as if she were dying to get back to work.
"Sure," I said, and walked off. How nice that I'd bothered to take the subway up from the Village.
As long as I was at the office, I followed up with staffers on a few matters and polished off another cup of coffee. And then, with nothing more to do, I stood up to go.
"Oh, Bailey, I know what your favorite TV show is going to be this season," Leo said as I was shutting off my computer. "Have you seen the fall lineup?"
"No, but let me guess. Survivor-The New York Singles Scene?"
"Nope. A new show called Morgue. It's about investigators from the medical examiner's office. Sounds perfect for someone with your grisly interests."
"Aren't there a million shows like that already?" I asked.
"I guess the public can't get enough of them."
Just to humor Leo, I sauntered over to his desk and glanced down at his computer screen. Along with the description of the show, there were a few shots from episodes and a group photo of the ensemble cast, all perfectly coiffed and smileless, their eyes burning with desire to see justice done and have the show win its time slot in the ratings. Suddenly I felt my jaw drop. One of the actors I was staring at in the ensemble cast was Chris Wickersham. He was a model and actor I'd had a short fling with last winter.
"Oh, wow," I said.
"What-you think you're really gonna like it?"
"No, the guy on the far left. I know him."
"Really?" he said as he glanced back at the screen. "You mean-Chris Wickersham, who plays Jared Hanson, the sometimes moody but brilliantly intuitive investigator? Is he straight?"
"Very. It says it's about the New York City Morgue. Does that mean it's shooting here?"
"Not necessarily. Lemme see ... Yes, shot entirely in New York City. Was this guy your boyfriend?"
"Sort of. For about four seconds. Is there anything else?"
"No, just that it premieres in two weeks."
"Look, I'd better fly. Tell Jessie hi for me, will you?"
I grabbed my purse and tote bag and headed out of the building. My mind was racing, thinking of what I'd just learned about Chris. The last time I had laid eyes on him was right before he'd struck out for L.A. last March, hoping like millions of other guys with dreamy eyes and perfect jawlines to be cast in a pilot for the fall. We hadn't promised each other anything about staying in touch (though early on he'd sent two e-mails and one goofy postcard of the Hollywood sign), and I'd just assumed he hadn't met with any real success yet. But he had. And based on the public love of carnage and corpses, there was every chance the show would be a success. I felt happy for Chris; he deserved fame and fortune. But at the same time, there was something vaguely disconcerting about the whole thing that I couldn't put my finger on. Maybe it was knowing that a guy I'd locked lips with was now poised to become the kind of hottie women across America drooled over and dished about the next day at the watercooler.
I took the subway to 8th and Broadway, hit the gym for thirty minutes, grabbed a few supplies at the deli, and then headed to my apartment at 9th and Broadway. Though I'd left home only a few hours earlier, my place was stifling hot. I turned on the AC, fixed an ice water, and flopped on the couch. As I took the first sip of my drink, I let memories of Chris Wickersham run roughshod around my brain. I had met him a year ago April, at a wedding, where he had worked as one of the bartenders, supplementing the money he made from modeling and small acting gigs. He was absolutely gorgeous, the kind of guy it almost hurt to look at.
Though he took my number and called me, I'd blown him off. He was ten years younger than me, and though that kind of age gap hadn't bothered Cameron Diaz or Demi Moore, I just couldn't imagine having a boyfriend I was old enough to have baby-sat for. Then, nine months later, we'd reconnected when I'd needed his help during a murder investigation. I was dating a guy named Jack steadily by then, and I tried not to send any of the wrong messages to Chris, but one night he had kissed me and I'd felt it all the way to my tippy toes. It was the beginning of my doubts about my relationship with Jack. Soon afterward I was single again. Chris and I had a few dates and some serious make-out sessions, but I'd been unable to take the relationship-sexually and otherwise-beyond that. One of the last things Chris had said to me was, "Jeez, Bailey, what is it with you-yes or no?" In the end, it had been no. In hindsight, I thought my doubts might have been due to guilt. I always associated Chris with my breakup.
If I met him today, would I still feel those doubts? I wondered. What would it be like to date a guy millions of people watched on TV? Christ, Bailey, I thought, you're starting to sound like a star fucker.
I drained the last of my water. I'd planned to stay in tonight to work on a freelance article. Plus, ever since I'd had my heart bruised during the summer by a guy named Beau Regan, I'd been lying low. But thanks to the heat wave, the idea now held nada appeal. I wondered who I might be able to drum up for companionship on short notice. My seventy-year-old next-door neighbor, Landon, who I sometimes palled around with, had said he was heading over to the Film Forum on West Houston Street to see a German flick. A college pal of mine from Brown had recently split with her husband, and she was game for anything that provided escape from her apartment, but an evening in her company could be exhausting. She tended to ask an endless series of borderline-hostile questions that were impossible for me to answer-like "Are all men dickheads or just the ones I meet?" "Who would drink a prickly pear martini, do you know?" and "Do you think I'm brimming with anger?"
Maybe I would just head out alone and eat a quiet dinner outdoors at one of the restaurants over on MacDougal. As I padded toward my bedroom to change, my cell phone buzzed from my purse, making me jump.
"Hello," I said after digging it out.
"Hi, it's Chris Wickersham."
For a moment, I thought it was Leo playing a practical joke. But he wouldn't have been familiar with that deep, smooth voice-so I knew for certain it had to be Chris. I caught my breath, stunned by the eeriness of the timing.
"Oh, my gosh," I said. "I-I was just reading about you two hours ago. Congratulations-I, er, heard about the show." God, Bailey, this is why you write professionally, I thought. You shouldn't be allowed to open your mouth.
"Thanks," he said. "The opportunity kind of came out of nowhere. I've been planning to call you-I mean, just to say hello."
"So you're back in New York?"
"Yeah-I've got a studio in TriBeCa. I don't want to overextend myself until I know if the show is going to take off or not."
"Is the shooting schedule as brutal as you hear?"
"Fourteen-hour days, sometimes. But this is what I wanted, and I've got no complaints. The show kicks off in a couple of weeks, and then we play the ratings game."
"It sounds like a super idea for a show-I'm sure it will be a hit." "Kind of your type of show, huh?"
"You're the second person who said that today."
"Well, look, the reason I called ... I mean, I wanted to say hi, but-is there any chance you could meet me for a drink? There's something I need to talk to you about."
"Sure," I said. His tone didn't suggest a man who'd been pining for me for months and had decided to make one last stab at winning my heart, but I was still curious. "When were you thinking?"
"I know this is short notice, but I was wondering if you could do it now. It's really pretty urgent. You're the one person I can turn to on this."
"What is it? Are you in some kind of trouble?"
"No, no. But a friend of mine may be. I need your advice."
"Can you give me a hint?" I asked, though I figured that if a guy he knew was in trouble, it had to involve drugs or money or both.
"It-Look, would you mind talking about it in person? I hate the idea of starting to get into it on the phone and then having to cover the same ground again when we meet."
"Well, I could do it now, actually," I admitted. "I was planning to stay in and work tonight, but it can wait."
"That's terrific," he said. He suggested we meet in an hour and asked me to recommend a place near me. I threw out the name of a bar on Second Avenue between 9th and 10th. It would take me less than five minutes to walk there.
After signing off, I walked distractedly into the bathroom and splashed cool water on my face and in my armpits. I couldn't believe what had just happened. Maybe it was my destiny that Chris Wickersham would pop into my life every nine months or so. I wondered if there was any chance that he was using a so-called problem with a friend as an excuse to make contact with me. It had been hard to tell on the phone. And I wasn't at all sure how I'd feel when I saw him. I had never once stopped finding him staggeringly attractive. Perhaps now that I was no longer guilt stricken-and my love life was currently in the Dumpster with a capital D-I would feel the urge to go for it this time.
Excerpted from Lethally Blond by Kate White Copyright © 2007 by Kate White. 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.
Posted June 23, 2014
Posted November 19, 2012
Posted May 3, 2012
Posted October 20, 2009
I really love the whole series. My only problem is that Ive read all of the books and now dont have any more to read about Bailey! Hopefully the author has a new book coming soon so I can discover a new mystery and Baileys love life! Definitely recommend!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 24, 2009
I have read all the books in this series, but this one was slightly disappointing. I enjoyed the mystery but was left with a bit of "killer out of left field" feeling. Frankly, I thought some of the more personal scenes were somewhat overdone; seemed more blatant that in previous books and without necessity. Overall, I like Bailey Weggins as a character and plan to continue to read Kate White's books.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 6, 2009
Posted March 18, 2009
Bailey Weggins is a reporter for a local gossip magazine, BUZZ. Her former friend/lover asks her to look into the disappearance of missing actor. Her investigation places her in danger. The missing actor had a part in the series Morgue. She finds herself questioning and doubting everyone involved in the series, including her former friend/lover, the star of the series.
Lethally Blond is a good mystery. Kate White mixes the right amount of humor with mystery and suspense to give readers an entertaining read. Bailey is a well-developed character. The plot is clever. This is the fifth Bailey Weggins book, and she just keeps getting better. Kate White is a talented author. She created enough "rabbit holes" to keep the reader guessing who did it.
Posted May 11, 2008
Bailey Wenngins is a crime journalist for the celebrity magazine Buzz. Her old boyfriend, Chris Wickerham, is in town shooting Morgue, a new TV show. An actor from the show is missing, and Chris enlists Bailey¿s help in tracking him down. Soon she is knee-deep in the middle of murder. Another old flame comes back to town. Bailey finds herself confused about Beau and Chris. Someone is stalking her. Can she unearth the truth before it is too late? Lethally Blond by Kate White is an excellent read. White combines mystery, murder, twists, and love for a gripping plot. Fans of Kate White will not want to miss Lethally Blond.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 29, 2007
I love the Bailey Weggins series. She is a character that would be a lot of fun to go out and have a drink with! The book is fun and keeps the readers interest!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 29, 2007
Posted June 12, 2007
Posted July 27, 2007
Posted May 26, 2007
Kate wrote yet another fantastic Bailey Weggins mystery. I could not put the book down. Not only am I looking forward to another wonderful book, I can't wait to find out what happens with Bailey being 'torn in two'Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 9, 2008
In New York City, Buzz weekly celebrity gossip magazine crime reporter Bailey Weggins has become proficient at investigating incidents mostly public temper tantrums by the rich and famous. Recently she has found celebrity crime turning deadly (see OVER HER DEAD BODY and IF LOOKS COULD KILL). Having moved on after being pinked by Gloss magazine, Bailey also moved forward accepting that her heated fling with TV star in Miami Chris Wickersham is long over. --- However, when Chris calls saying he is filming in Manhattan, she immediately assumes he wants to reignite the fire. Instead he asks for her help. His friend and fellow actor on TV¿s hit show The Morgue, Tom Fain, has been missing for about a week and half just when his big break finally occurred Chris feels Tom would never vanish at this moment although most of the Hollywood crowd and the cops think he bolted. Bailey agrees to investigate the disappearance, not realizing how lethal tailing Tom¿s trail can turn. --- Though lighthearted, the fifth Weggins crime caper is a fine mystery tale starring a likable heroine who is a sort of adult Nancy Drew with hunks in her life. The story line is fun although why Chris would hire a gossip reporter whose job is to write up what she learns about celebrities instead of a professional sleuth is a bit of a mystery although it does enable a romantic subplot to happen. Fans of the series and anyone who appreciates a humorous investigative cozy will want to read Kate White¿s fast-paced mystery. --- Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 26, 2007
Talk about a sassy read! Yup! I loved this book so much! The characters are stylish and believable, the dialogue moves forward at a fast rate, and, the plot is to die for. Do yourself a favor and read not only this book but the ENTIRE series! You'll love it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 20, 2007
This is the fifth book in the Bailey Weggins series and like the previous four, it was excellent...I really enjoyed it. Kate White tells a great story, with interesting characters and keeps you guessing until the very end. You won't be disappointed in this one!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 12, 2014
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Posted January 27, 2009
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Posted February 10, 2009
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Posted January 18, 2010
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