Shakespeare's Christmas (Lily Bard Series #3)by Charlaine Harris
Lily Bard heads home for the holidays.
Lily heads to her hometown of Bartley for her estranged sister’s Christmas Eve wedding. But there is something in the air besides holiday cheer—there’s murder. And Lily must work fast to clean up the messy case before her sister promises to love, honor, and obey a killer.See more details below
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Lily Bard heads home for the holidays.
Lily heads to her hometown of Bartley for her estranged sister’s Christmas Eve wedding. But there is something in the air besides holiday cheer—there’s murder. And Lily must work fast to clean up the messy case before her sister promises to love, honor, and obey a killer.
The Washington Post Book World
"This one works on every level. The writing and plotting are first-rate."
The Washington Times
"A seamless story...In her Lily Bard novels, Charlaine Harris blends a noirish atmosphere with a traditional mystery."
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
Read an Excerpt
"No," I said, relieved to be able to speak the truth. When I'd been arranging my week off work, after my employers got over the shock of my asking, they'd been almost universally delighted to hear that I was going to my sister's wedding. They couldn't tell me fast enough that it was fine for me to miss a week. They'd asked about my sister's age (twenty-eight, younger than me by three years), her fiancé (a pharmacist, widowed, with a little daughter), and what I was going to wear in the wedding. (I didn't know. I'd sent Varena some money and my size when she said she'd settled on bridesmaids' dresses, but I hadn't seen her selection.)
"So when can I see you?" Jack asked.
I felt a warm trickle of relief. I was never sure what was going to happen next with us. It seemed possible to me that someday Jack wouldn't call at all.
"I'll be in Bartley all the week before Christmas," I said. "I was planning on getting back to my house by Christmas Day."
"Miss having Christmas at home?" I could feel Jack's surprise echoing over the telephone line.
"I will be home--here--for Christmas," I said sharply. "What about you?"
"I don't have any plans. My brother and his wife asked me, but they didn't sound real sincere, if you know what I mean." Jack's parents had both died within the past four years.
"You want to come here?" My face tensed with anxiety as I waited to hear his answer.
"Sure," he said, and his voice was so gentle I knew he could tell how much it had cost me to ask. "Will you put up mistletoe? Everywhere?"
"Maybe," I said, trying not to sound as relieved as I was, or as happy as I felt. I bit my lip, suppressing a lot ofthings. "Do you want have a real Christmas dinner?"
"Turkey?" he said hopefully. "Cornbread dressing?"
"I can do that."
"Spinach Madeleine," I countered.
"Sounds good. What can I bring?"
"Wine." I seldom drank alcohol, but I thought with Jack around a drink or two might be all right.
"OK. If you think of anything else, give me a call. I've got some work to finish up here within the next week, then I have a meeting about a job I might take on. So I may not get down there until Christmas."
"Actually, I have a lot to do right now, too. Everyone's trying to get extra cleaning done, giving Christmas parties, putting up trees in their offices."
It was just over three weeks until Christmas. That was a long time to spend without seeing Jack. Even though I knew I was going to be working hard the entire period, since I counted going home to the wedding as a sort of subcategory of work, I felt a sharp pang at the thought of three weeks' separation.
"That seems like a long time," he said suddenly.
Having admitted that, both of us backed hastily away.
"Well, I'll be calling you," Jack said briskly.
He'd be sprawled on the couch in his apartment in Little Rock as he talked on the phone. His thick dark hair would be pulled back in a ponytail. The cold weather would have made the scar on his face stand out, thin and white, a little puckered where it began at the hairline close to his right eye. If Jack had met with a client today, he'd be wearing nice slacks and a sports coat, wing tips, a dress shirt, and a tie. If he'd been working surveillance, or doing the computer work that increasingly formed the bulk of a private detective's routine, he'd be in jeans and a sweater.
"What are you wearing?" I asked suddenly.
"I thought I was supposed to ask you that." He sounded amused, again.
I kept a stubborn silence.
"Oh, OK. I'm wearing--you want me to start with the bottom or the top?--Reeboks, white athletic socks, navy blue sweatpants, Jockeys, and a Marvel Gym T-shirt. I just got home from working out."
"Dress up at Christmas."
"Oh, maybe you don't have to go that far. But nice."
"OK," he said cautiously.
Christmas this year was on a Friday. I had only two Saturday clients at the moment, and neither of them would be open the day after Christmas. Maybe I could get them done on Christmas morning, before Jack got here.
"Bring clothes for two days," I said. "We can have Friday afternoon and Saturday and Sunday." I suddenly realized I'd assumed, and I took a sharp breath. "That is, if you can stay that long. If you want to."
"Oh, yes," he said. His voice sounded rougher, darker. "Yes, I want to."
"Are you smiling?"
"You could say so," he affirmed. "All over."
I smiled a little myself. "OK, see you then."
"Where'd you say your family was? Bartley, right? I was talking to a friend of mine about that a couple of nights ago."
It felt strange to know he had talked about me. "Yes, Bartley. It's in the Delta, a little north and a lot east of Little Rock."
"Hmmm. It'll be OK, seeing your family. You can tell me all about it."
"OK." That did sound good, realizing I could talk about it afterward, that I wouldn't come home to silence and emptiness, drag through days and days rehashing the tensions in my family.
Instead of saying this to Jack, I said, "Good-bye."
I heard him respond as I laid the receiver down. We always had a hard time ending conversations.
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