Trouble in Bloom (Nina Quinn Series #4)

Trouble in Bloom (Nina Quinn Series #4)

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by Heather Webber
     
 

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Nina Quinn never goes looking for trouble, but for some reason, it always seems to come looking for her! This time, Nina and her boyfriend Bobby have gotten coerced into helping a sleazy lawyer acquaintance entrap a local TV producer. It seems that the producer is suspected of sexual harassment, and Nina and Bobby agree to appear on his reality show in order to

Overview

Nina Quinn never goes looking for trouble, but for some reason, it always seems to come looking for her! This time, Nina and her boyfriend Bobby have gotten coerced into helping a sleazy lawyer acquaintance entrap a local TV producer. It seems that the producer is suspected of sexual harassment, and Nina and Bobby agree to appear on his reality show in order to catch him in the act. But when the producer turns up dead, Nina finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation.

And that's only the tip of the iceberg. While plant–sitting for a friend, Nina stumbles upon a stash of marijuana growing in the woman's closet. That leads Nina to a local holistic healing center, where it looks like there's a little bit of 'extracurricular' activity taking place. And speaking of illicit goings–on, Nina's seemingly benign neighbor, Mrs. Deibel, turns up dead, exposing the gambling den she's been running out of her home!

With murder and vice around every corner, Nina barely has time to keep her mind on her current project––installing an indoor garden at a local nursing home. It will take some expert juggling, as well as some undercover snooping, for Nina to put an end to all of the madness and restore some sort of order to her always–tumultuous life!

Editorial Reviews

Romantic TimesBOOKclub
"Nina is a fresh welcome addition to the genre."
Mary Daheim
“Webber weaves a wondrous latticework of plotting and characters in her debut mystery.”
Romantic Times BOOKclub
“Nina is a fresh welcome addition to the genre.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061129711
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/24/2007
Series:
Nina Quinn Series, #4
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.64(d)

Read an Excerpt

Trouble in Bloom
A Nina Quinn Mystery

Chapter One

Thou, Nina Colette Ceceri Quinn, shall never, ever, resort to a bad comb-over if thou should happen to go bald.

I hoped I wouldn't, but if I did, this commandment would zoom to the top of my personal list fast. Right up there with never wearing dark socks—or any socks for that matter—with sandals and never letting the hair on my upper lip grow to the point where someone thinks I have a moustache.

Some things in life were just a given.

Horrendous was the only way to describe the comb-over on Willie Sala. Five thin greasy clumps of dark brown hair swooped from his left ear to his right, hugging his shiny head for dear life.

Maybe five-five, 160 pounds, Willie also had the darkest, beadiest eyes I'd ever seen.

Fortunately, he had good teeth. A girl could overlook a lot for good teeth.

Willie Sala was the producer/director of the local TV reality show Hitched or Ditched, which filmed right here in Ohio. Forget WKRP, HoD was currently Cincinnati's claim to fame. Sad as that was to say.

It was a show where ¬couples signed up to test their relationships. Ultimately, the home audience would decide whether contestants should get hitched . . . or ditch each other.

I glanced to my right. The man sitting next to me in the Cracker Jack–sized conference room at the HoD studio was tall with shoulder-length wavy blond hair and broad shoulders—an overall great build. Beautiful light blue eyes crinkled at the corners from good humor, and his lips were tantalizingly kissable. The Florida sun hadbronzed his fair skin to golden perfection. He was the epitome of the all-American boy next door.

It helped that he was calm, confident, gorgeous, sexy, and good in bed.

His name was Bobby MacKenna, and I knew about that bed part because I'd slept with him.

Notice the past tense?

He looked over, caught me ogling and winked. He'd been raised in Texas and had the wink down pat.

Bobby and I happened to be one of the couples on this week's show. Mario and Perry were the other couple. The four of us, along with HoD's boyishly charming host, Thad Cochran, and a handful of TV ¬people, listened to Willie bark about being "real" on TV yet "dramatic" enough to keep viewers tuned in every night.

My life leaned toward dramatic, so I didn't think I'd have trouble with that part.

The "real" part might be a problem. Seeing as how Bobby and I were pretend contestants, here on the show undercover to help Bobby's lawyer cousin nail Willie for sexual harassment.

"We want to see everything." Willie spoke in short staccato bursts, a rapid-fire verbal machine gun. "Little things. Washing dishes, to work, to fights. We love fights." His weasely voice bounced off the cracked mushroom-colored walls, but the smarmy edge was undercut by the dark industrial carpet so old it was probably laid in 1932, when the studio was built. "And sex! Lots of sex too! A ratings booster if there ever was one."

Bobby's eyebrows waggled.

Danger! Danger!

It would be hazardous to my mental state to pick up our sex life where it had left off.

Just over six weeks ago Bobby had left Ohio to take a job as an elementary school principal in Tampa, Florida, and it hadn't been any bond with me that brought him back. Mac, his grandfather, had fallen and injured his hip and needed Bobby's help finding long-term care.

Murky would be a good way to describe the relationship between Bobby and me right now. There were still feelings between us. His move hadn't changed that. I'd fallen for him hard and fast soon after the breakup with my ex-husband Kevin Quinn. And because I'd been so confused about my sudden feelings, Bobby had gone ahead and taken his dream job in Florida. We'd agreed that a long-distance relationship wouldn't be fair to either of us.

Which was true.

But now he was back in town—on a temporary leave of absence to help Mac, and to do the show.

And to use Bobby for sex while he was here would be wrong.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Or so I told myself to keep sane.

I'd thrown a serious pity party for a good solid month when Bobby first left. Then I woke up one morning wondering who the hell I was. What defined me? What did I really want out of life? I burned with questions I'd never taken the time to figure out. All I knew was, I didn't like who I'd become, all mopey and depressed.

So here I was, currently on day ten of a serious self-discovery quest. With resolutions for a healthier lifestyle, some serious self-examination, and most important: no men.

The whole kit and frustrating caboodle.

The no men part had been fairly easy with Bobby gone. But now he was suddenly back in my life.

As if that alone weren't bad enough, we also had to pretend to be engaged in front of the whole Cincinnati viewing area.

Fate?

My temples throbbed. Pondering fate gave me headaches.

Willie stood while the rest of us sat. He jabbed his finger in the air to punctuate his choppy speech. "For four days cameras will record parts of your normal lives. Each night you'll come here to play Rendezvous." He wiped a bead of sweat from his head, dislodging one section of his comb-over. It flopped down over his forehead like a wilting daisy.

Rendezvous was HoD's ripped-off version of the Newlywed Game. It was filmed several hours before actual broadcast, in order to edit out any bleeps or blunders.

Thad Cochran, the picture-perfect host of HoD, motioned to Willie's wilting hair while saying to us, "Be honest with your answers, people. The truth always comes out in the end." He had a deep cleft in his chin that bobbed when he talked.

Trouble in Bloom
A Nina Quinn Mystery
. Copyright © by Heather Webber. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are saying about this

Mary Daheim
“Webber weaves a wondrous latticework of plotting and characters in her debut mystery.”

Meet the Author

Heather Webber writes mysteries in between running her three children to and from various sporting and school events, actively avoiding housework, and wishing someone would give her backyard a Taken by Surprise makeover. This native of Massachusetts was uprooted and transplanted to a little cranny of southwest Ohio shortly after marrying her high school sweetheart.

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Trouble in Bloom (Nina Quinn Series #4) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Silly,though a fun read.
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wordbyword More than 1 year ago
It's a winner. Buy it!
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A good read from start to finish!
TXYellowrose More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. I have read all in this series.
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