Snoops in the City

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While moonlighting as a private investigator, one woman doesn't know whether to handcuff or kiss her number one suspect.
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Overview

While moonlighting as a private investigator, one woman doesn't know whether to handcuff or kiss her number one suspect.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Susan Mobley
"Snoops in the City is a fun romance, with some suspense and a mystery intertwined. The developing relationship between Grady and Tori is enjoyable to watch, and the secondary romance is as good as the main event."
– RT Book Reviews, Sept. 2004
Patti Fischer
"For a fun and enjoyable tale, as well as one that keeps you guessing, pick up Snoops in the City."
– Romance Reviews Today, Sept. 2004
Mary Emmons
"Highly recommended as a fun read you will really enjoy. Just the right blend of humor and romantic fun to lighten your day."
– ReaderToReader.com, Sept. 2004
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780505525864
  • Publisher: Dorchester Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/6/2004
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 339
  • Product dimensions: 4.22 (w) x 6.82 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

Darlene Gardner has more than 30 books in print, from single-title romantic comedies to emotionally charged family dramas.
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Read an Excerpt



Snoops in the City



By Darlene Gardner


Dorchester Publishing


Copyright © 2004

Darlene Gardner

All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-505-52586-0



Chapter One


Ladies!!! Earn $$$ while performing valuable public service.
Telemarketers needed to spread word about erectile dysfunction
products. Sexy voice a plus. Call 1-800-GET-HARD.

Tori Whitley's red pen hovered above the classified ad in the
help-wanted section of the Sunday Palm-Times. Should she or
shouldn't?

On the plus side, she'd have the potential to make a lot of
women happy. On the negative, she'd be like those annoying
telemarketers who interrupted her dinner to hawk credit cards
and time shares.

Was she so desperate that she'd consider lowering her voice
to a throaty purr to entice men to buy Viagra?

She spotted the envelope for her past-due rent payment on top
of the stack of unpaid bills on her laminated kitchen counter.
By virtue of her latest extension, she had twelve days to come
up with the money.

Yep. She really was that desperate.

Or maybe she wasn't.

Her keychain, perfect for occasions like this, tempted her
from its usual spot on top of her microwave. She snatched it
up, separated the tiny Magic 8 ball from her gaggle of keys,
concentrated and shook. She waited a beat, turned the ball
over and leaned closer to read the answer.

My sources say that would be a bummer.

She hadn't been aware she'd been holding her breath untilshe
wasn't anymore. Good. Provocative telemarketing was out. But
that didn't solve her problem. She had a maxed-out credit
card, a checking-account balance of $168 and no job. Scratch
that. She worked weekends at the makeup counter of Frasier's
Department Store, but that barely qualified.

She drew in another deep breath, then released the air slowly
and carefully. She would not sigh. She would not feel sorry
for herself. Above all, she would not call her parents and ask
for help.

Turning twenty-five had made her realize it was past time she
was independent, like her brother the architect and her sister
the pediatrician. She wanted a career. A purpose.

The sun blazed through the kitchen windows, reminding her that
she lived in Florida, with its warm climate and low
unemployment rate. She had job applications all over town.
Something was bound to come up.

The phone rang and she jumped to her feet, upsetting her
bright-yellow kitchen chair. Somebody was probably calling
right now to schedule an interview. Maybe even someone other
than the children's performer searching for an assistant who
could learn how to make balloon animals.

Just in case it was Clara Clown, Tori reminded herself of the
line she'd come up with about being long-winded and grabbed
the phone.

- Hello, she said, not quite managing to keep a breathless
note out of the greeting.

- Hey, gorgeous. How goes it?

The raspy voice belonged not to a prospective employer, but to
her cousin Eddie Sassenbury.

The youngest of her Uncle Gary's four sons, Eddie stood out by
being the only one without a job pulling in a six-figure
income. When her family members mentioned him, they called him
that Eddie. As in, Did you know that Eddie spies on cheating
spouses? Or, Imagine anyone hiring that Eddie.

It would go better if you returned my calls. She fought to
keep her tone cheerful while she righted the kitchen chair. I
haven't seen you since I moved here.

- Sorry, cuz. I've been busy, busy, busy, he said and she
conjured up a mental picture of him. Leaning back in the faux
leather chair in the Boca Raton storefront that housed his
private-detective agency, his feet propped on a desk, a
cigarette dangling from his lips. You know how the private
dick business goes.

- How does it go?

- Beats being a security guard, Eddie said, referring to the
job he'd taken after striking out at becoming a cop. Tori
didn't know why he'd failed but suspected the stumbling block
might have been the polygraph. - Business is picking up. I'm
so busy I can't find the time to hire an associate.

- That's great, Eddie. Really great. Tori cradled the phone
between her shoulder and ear, opened the refrigerator and took
out a two-quart jug of cranberry juice. I always knew you'd
make a good snoop. Like I told the other kids, hiding in the
bushes with binoculars didn't mean you'd grow up to be a
peeping Tom.

- Job training, is what it was. Eddie sounded proud. So talk
to me. What's this you said on your last message about the
bartending not going so well?

Something inside Tori's chest softened. Her parents claimed
that Eddie only got in touch when he wanted something, but
this proved them wrong.

- The bar manager fired me, she confessed as she removed a
gaily colored glass from the cabinet. He said I let too many
customers run up bar tabs. But I knew they'd make good, Eddie.
Just because we hadn't seen any of them in -

- Tough luck, Eddie interrupted. - You thinking of getting
another bartending gig?

- Nobody will hire me, she said, then tried to look on the
bright side of being trash talked by her ex-boss to
prospective employers. Bartending wasn't for me anyway. All
those drunk men, all those late nights. I'm looking for
something else.

- Any bites?

Tori thought of the mail-room supervisor who'd called
yesterday to set up an interview that turned out to be at the
county prison. She would have gone, too, if he hadn't insisted
on somebody with experience.

- Not yet. She set the glass down on the counter and picked
up the jug. But something will turn up.

- Just did, he said. I want you to work for me.

Something buoyant rose in her chest, making her realize how
deflated she'd been. So Eddie was the black sheep of the
family. He had a career, which was more than she could say for
herself. She could be a sheep, too, if it meant following him
into the ranks of the employed.

- I'm there, she said. I haven't worked in an office before
but I learn fast.

Who said I needed you in the office? I want you in the field.

The cranberry juice missed the glass and sloshed onto the
counter. You've got to be joking.

- No joke. I've got a client wants a businessman in Seahaven
investigated. Thought of you right off the bat.

The juice dripped off the counter and spilled onto the floor
in a skinny, red stream. But, Eddie. This is Tori you're
talking to. I'm not sneaky.

Sure you are.

Am not. Remember the night you talked me into sneaking out my
bedroom window? It shattered when I slammed it shut. Then Mom
came outside in her sunflower pajamas and yelled at you for
being a bad influence. Didn't that teach you anything?

To suppress any memory involving Aunt Pamela in sunflower
pajamas, Eddie answered. Okay. So you're not sneaky. You don't
need to be for this job. You majored in library science,
right?

Tori pursed her lips. During her four degree-free years at the
University of Florida, she'd also majored in psychology,
sociology, English, history and a subject she couldn't recall
at the moment.

The library science major didn't take, she said.

- But it taught you how to research. That's all you gotta do.
Find out stuff and write it up in a report.

- Isn't finding out stuff the hard part?

- Usually. But this job's a snap. Access public records,
maybe follow the guy and write down what you see. What do you
say?

Tori watched the fruit punch on the floor form a red puddle
vaguely in the shape of a warning sign. I say this doesn't
sound like something I can do.

Look, this client has major bucks. I can't risk referring her
to another agency and losing her business. And have I
mentioned I'll pay you?

Despite Tori's growing resolve to refuse him, she couldn't
keep from asking, How much?

He named a figure high enough to cover her rent for the next
three months, which would temporarily solve her cash-flow
problem. But she couldn't do this. She had zero experience and
about that much expectancy of being good at PI work. She
didn't even need to look into her silver disco ball for
advice.

Sorry, Eddie, but my answer's still no, she said.

The door knocker sounded, giving her an excuse to cut off his
protest and ring off. Two more knocks later, she pulled open
her door to a warm wind and the cold stare of Helen Grumley,
the female half of the married team that managed the apartment
complex where she lived. The back of her neck prickled with
foreboding.

With her gray hair and round figure, Mrs. Grumley looked
remarkably like Tori's paternal grandmother but the
resemblance ended there. Not only did her grandmother
understand that gray-haired women shouldn't wear the color
olive, she actually liked Tori.

- Hello, Mrs. Grumley, she said politely. What can I do for
you?

- You can pay your rent on time. You're two days late, she
said flatly. Behind her, the fronds of the palmetto trees that
buffered the four-story apartment building from the parking
lot swayed violently in the wind.

- I certainly plan to do that next time, Tori said. But Morty
gave me a two-week extension this month.

- Morty? The sun at Mrs. Grumley's back threw her in such
stark focus that her nostrils flared. You call my husband
Morty?

Tori clamped her lips together. Morty Grumley was sixty-five,
if he were a day. I meant Mr. Grumley.

Well, Mr. Grumley didn't consult me about this. If he had, I
would have informed him it's against the policy of Seahaven
Shores to grant any tenant more than two extensions in a year.
This is your third in six months.

- I'm grateful you and Mr. Grumley have made an exception in
my case.

Mrs. Grumley was a few inches shorter than Tori but
straightened her spine until it seemed they were nearly eye to
eye. I'm revoking your exception.

- But& but Morty, I mean Mr. Grumley, said -

- Mr. Grumley was mistaken. If I don't have your rent payment
by the day after tomorrow, you'll have to leave Seahaven
Shores.

The older woman had reached the halfway point of the long
outdoor corridor that stretched in front of the row of
apartments before the shock of her threat wore off.

Morty, Tori thought, would catch hell.

She closed the door and leaned heavily against it while she
considered her options. Even if someone hired her today, she
wouldn't get paid in time to cover her rent.

Eddie's offer seemed to be her only way out of this mess, but
could she take it? She picked her key chain up by Magic 8
ball, shook and turned it over.

Signs point to groovy.

That decided, she went to the phone and dialed.

- Eddie, it's me, she said, ignoring the spilled cranberry
juice turning the floor red. If I agree to be a PI, what would
you say to an advance?

After all, how hard could this PI business be?

(Continues...)





Excerpted from Snoops in the City
by Darlene Gardner
Copyright © 2004 by Darlene Gardner.
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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 43 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 43 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2013

    Loved it!

    Tori and Grady's love story is cute and funny. A corrupt City Hall, private investigating, and the FBI investigatiin all contribute to a great clean read. 534 pages.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2013

    Great!

    Fell in love with the characters and couldnt put the book down. Was lucky enough to get it free but will pay whatever it costs to read more by this author. Wonderful book and worth the read!!!!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2004

    Humorous tale...

    Tori's first case as an apprentice detective seems simple enough; follow Grady Palmer and report to the client, Ms. M, if he is a good man or not. Whether or not he is good, Tori can tell he's hot from the first moment she lays eyes on him. Unfortunately, he lays eyes on her too, and is quick to figure out that she is tailing him. So, he offers to make the job easier and just tell her where he's going and even escort her there. Tori quickly comes up with a half truth, she's following him because she's attracted, and it's more than half true to be honest. She's not sure why Ms M wants to find out about Grady, but in the conflict of interest dispute, Tori is sure of one thing, Grady has her heart and she's not going to let him be hurt. ..................... Meanwhile, Grady's secretary is having her own adventure, proving to a divorced father of two that she's not a self absorbed, shallow twit and would make a terrific step mom. .................... *** Laugh out loud fun is guaranteed in this screwball comedy of family and love. Between a scraggly cat, cute twins, and a daffy elderly lady, you will giggle from page one to the end. ***

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2004

    Amusing romantic romp

    In Florida, twenty-five years old Tori Whitley knows it is time for her to become independent as her brother the architect and her sister the pediatrician have been. However, when you have no skills and are used to depending on others it is hard to obtain a decent job. However, her cousin Eddie Sassenbury down in Boca Raton offers her work as his assistant in his private sleuthing business that has many clients. Tori rationalized that if that loser Eddie can succeed she should easily be able to perform undercover work........................... Eddie assigns his apprentice to tail Seahaven businessman Grady Palmer to determine what kind of person he is. She immediately thinks her mark has a cute butt, but is mortified when Grady realizes she is tailing him. Instead of being angry or trying to slip away, Grady invites her to accompany him. As they travel together, they fall in love, but Tori worries because the customer may always be right, but no one will hurt her Grady, not even her............................. This amusing romantic romp is reminiscent of the 1930s screwball comedies. Tori is a terrific protagonist struggling to prove she can be a professional sleuth vs. her growing love for Grady, who is a nice person. The support cast including a feline add dementia to a wild southern Florida tale....................... Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    Stephanie Plum rip-off

    Like Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum serires only it's P.I. work instead of bail bonds. Couldn't finish it. The writing is fine though. 500+ nook pages.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2013

    Fun read

    Quick light hearted read.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2014

    Cute

    .

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2013

    Ridiculous, over the top humor

    Most of this book was a little too far-fetched for me. I know its meant to be funny but i felt like the author tried too hard. I actually enjoyed the relationship between the supporting characters more than the one between the main characters. Not a bad book, just not my style.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2013

    Anonymous

    Such a cute love story,something you would surely want to read!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2013

    cute

    It was a nice easy read but i wish there was more of an epilogue to the ending

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    Just a side note

    There is sex between the characters but it does not go into great detail. Most times you read they kiss and go into the bedroom, next they are cuddled in bed. Not erotica at all.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2013

    Anonymous

    Funny story. Enjoyed.jas

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2013

    Same old same old

    Someone compared this to Janet Evanovich' s books, but I other than a woman heroine, I do not see the simularities. This book is well written and edited. It was also free. I found it predictable and boring. There was some pretty steamy sex. The plot was not very believable. It was rather like two books in one, because of the fuel, brother, sister storyline. Some humor, but it seemed contrived. A little over 500 pages. No murder, or gore. Chick book. Adult readers because of the sex. I wish authors would stop letting it seem as a woman must forgive a man for lies, manlipulation and emotional pain, but if a woman does it, the man can throw a fit, break up with her or whatever and she is oh, so sorry and crawls on bloodied knees if need be. This is wrong on so many levels.

    AD

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2013

    Great read

    My only question is when will we see a sequel? Loved the characters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2013

    wonderful read

    I want to read all this authors books

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2013

    Nice story

    Good book. Very funny lines toi.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2013

    Good read!

    500+ pages, Reminded me of Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum series... No such thing as having too many funny romantic books with a little crazy thrown in!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2013

    Refreshing read!

    Well worth your time!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    I really enjoyed this book enough that I've order more of her books.

    I find this author to be very entertaining.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2013

    R

    Very dumb & predictable.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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