Weddings Can Be Murder

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Overview

When her wedding planner is murdered, Katie Ray is forced into close proximity with bad boy PI Carl Hades - and into reconsidering the man with whom she wants to spend the rest of her days.

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Overview

When her wedding planner is murdered, Katie Ray is forced into close proximity with bad boy PI Carl Hades - and into reconsidering the man with whom she wants to spend the rest of her days.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Throwing up every time you think of marrying your fiancé should be a clue that maybe you shouldn't go through with it, but Katie Ray is having a hard time calling off the engagement. After all, she and Joe are perfect for each other, aren't they? Things change drastically, however, when the wedding planner is murdered, and Katie ends up locked in a room for hours with a sexy PI who was hired to trace some disappearing brides. At the same time, her best friend and Joe meet for the first time and are attracted to each other. Although the plot is threaded with sassy humor, a lighthearted touch, and misaligned lovers hinting strongly of Shakespeare, a deranged psychopath, a trail of murdered brides, and threats of real danger keep the story on the suspenseful side. Craig's (Divorced, Desperate and Delicious) lively story puts a new spin on weddings and will appeal to those who like their lethal tales with a little humor on the side.


—Kristin Ramsdell
Library Journal - x x
"Craig's lively story puts a new spin on weddings and will appeal to those who like their lethal tales with a little humor on the side."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780505527318
  • Publisher: Leisure Books
  • Publication date: 5/27/2008
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Christie Craig, a New York Times bestseller, is an Alabama native, a multi-published writer, motivational speaker, and writing teacher. She currently hangs her hat in Texas and her romance fiction is widely acclaimed for combining witty humor and heartfelt emotions with a suspenseful, sexy tone. Check out her website and blog at www.christie-craig.com.
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Read an Excerpt

Weddings Can Be Murder
By Christine Craig Dorchester Publishing

Copyright © 2008 Christine Craig
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-505-52731-8



Chapter One

Yesterday, Carl Hades had been shot at by a man wearing a black thong and a pink silk nightie. Even in his line of work, that was hard for a devout heterosexual male to digest.

Carl dropped his Glock and gun oil on the kitchen table beside his bag of worms. He needed a down day. No headaches, no pressures, no-

A sharp jingle rang from his phone.

No friggin' calls.

So, who the hell was ringing on a Sunday morning? He dropped into a kitchen chair. Ignoring his Verizon special telephone, he stared at a stack of last week's mail and popped a worm into his mouth. A gummy worm. The sour flavor brought his taste buds to full alert. His six-year-old nephew had gotten him hooked. He doubted the candy was on the surgeon general's list for healthy living, but then, neither was getting shot at, and he hadn't broken that habit, either.

A second ring? Let the voice mail catch it. Carl bet it was his dad, anyway. Who else would be calling now?

Stretching his legs, Carl bumped Precious, a silver poodle too damn prissy for any man to own. Not that Carl owned the dog. His ex-girlfriend did, but she'd neglected to take the animal when she'd left a year ago. Just as he'd neglected to take the fuzzy mutt to the shelter as he'd threatened to do.

A third ring.

He dropped a worm to his unwanted foot warmer. Leaning over, Carl counted three green worms and one sissy dog. Precious looked up-beady eyes, black nose, and gray fur.

"You don't like the green ones either, huh?"

Fourth ring.

He eyed the stack of mail. His gaze hit a Victoria's Secret catalog. "Nice."

Even more than worms, Carl liked what was inside the blue bra and matching panties. How Vicki had got him on her mailing list, he didn't know, but he wasn't complaining. The near-naked cover girl had potential. But on second thought-nah, he didn't do redheads, not even in his fantasies. Too difficult. Too much like Amy.

He flipped the page to a brunette. Oh yeah.

Fifth ring.

Carl eyed the ringing phone again as Precious rested a snout on his foot. What if his dad really needed something? He reached for the phone-without shifting his foot-and checked the number displayed on the small screen. It was for a neighboring Houston area code-his brother's new area code. His brother he could deal with.

Answering the phone, he grunted, "I already helped you lug moving boxes Friday night." He waited for Ben to sweeten the deal with an offer of his wife's apple pie. His mouth watered at the thought. When there came no reply, he added, "Okay, but only after my morning constitutional."

"Mr. Hades?" a feminine voice queried. "Carl Hades?"

Carl paused. "Sorry. I thought you were someone else." Of course he had. He wouldn't be telling a woman he was about to go take a-

"Obviously," she snapped. "My name's Tabitha Jones. You might have heard of me via my business. Tabitha's Weddings."

"Weddings?" Maybe his morning constitutional was a better topic. He rolled his shoulder. His left rotator cuff pinched-the pain due to a bullet he had taken last year. Yeah, he really did need to stop getting shot at.

He picked up his bills with his left hand. The gas bill landed in the gotta-pay stack.

"I'm a wedding planner," came the voice on the other end of the line.

"That's nice."

"The best in Texas." Ms. Jones sounded annoyed that Carl hadn't admitted that he'd heard of her. "I got your number from Mr. Logan. You helped him with a situation."

The "situation" had been a six-foot-plus forty-year-old who had a hard-on for Mr. Logan's thirteen-year-old daughter. Catching that damn pedophile had felt good, too.

"I did." Carl squared his shoulders and brushed his heel against the dog resting at his feet, waited for the woman to continue.

"I've got a situation and hoped you might help me."

Carl dropped his handful of mail. "What kind of situation?"

"I'd rather discuss this in person," she said. "How about four? No. Four thirty."

"Today?"

"There's a problem with today?"

Her tone was haughty. He never dealt with haughty too well. "It's Sunday." And I've got a date with a model. His gaze shifted to the catalog.

"I'll pay you time and a half," she snipped.

"Maybe you should fill me in on what this is all about."

"I'd feel more comfortable talking in person. Please?"

Was that fear in her voice? "If things are that bad, maybe you should call the police." There was a line between what he did now and what he'd done when he'd carried a badge. She needed to know that.

"I did call them, but I don't think they took it seriously."

"Took what seriously?" When she didn't answer, he clarified, "Look, Ms. Jones, I prefer not to waste my time or yours. Give me some details, and I'll tell you if I can help you." And no more cases that involve armed men wearing thongs.

Her pause hung heavy. "I think someone is killing my brides. And I think I know who it is. Or at least it's got to be one of four people."

Well, hell. He'd spoken too soon. If he had to choose between getting shot at by a cross-dresser or hanging around a bunch of bridezillas, bring on the cross-dresser.

"Please. I really, really need your help."

Chapter Two

"It's normal." On her knees, Katie Ray stared at the porcelain throne and fought the nausea that threatened to erupt every time she thought about the wedding.

"Normal?" Leslie Grayson, her best friend, back in town for the first time in a year, stalked into the bathroom. "Oh, gawd, you're pregnant."

"No." Katie shoved her mane of hair from her face and watched Les grab a washcloth from the cabinet and dampen it. "I've got a nervous stomach, remember? I barfed before every big final exam. Before every big job interview." Before the big funeral. She shoved that thought away. "Well, this wedding is big." And it was happening so fast. Two weeks and counting.

Les handed her the wet cloth. "Are you sure you're not pregnant? Accidents happen."

"Between Joe's engineering job, my job at the gallery, and planning the wedding, we've hardly had the opportunity to have an accident."

Les's frown told Katie she'd just given her friend more Joe's-not-right-for-you ammunition. "And what does that tell you?" her friend said, rolling her green eyes.

"It tells me we've been busy." Katie twisted the diamond on her finger. Actually, Les had a knack for knowing how men rated in the world of Katie Ray. She'd pegged Rick Baker as a dweeb in junior high, Jason Tanner as a pervert in college, and a slew of others. Don't go out with him. You'll be sorry, Les would say, and dang it, if she hadn't been right most of the time. But how could Katie listen to Les now, when ...

She blinked. "You've never even met Joe."

"But I've heard you talk about him three times a week for almost a year. And I know what I hear."

"What do you hear?" Katie asked, unsure she wanted to know.

"I hear a friend who's still trying to deal with losing her entire family and so worried about turning twenty-nine that she'll marry the first Tom, Dick, or Joe who comes along."

The engagement ring received another twist, up and over the knuckle, as a new wave of nausea threatened. Katie edged closer to the toilet and tried to control her stomach. "You would love Joe if you met him." The two not having met was a failing Katie planned to remedy tonight.

Not that she was telling Les. Why give her friend time to prepare a list of are-you-good-enough-for-my-best-friend questions? As an ex-investigative reporter, Les excelled at putting people in the hot seat. Better to surprise both Joe and Les. And they would love each other. How could they not? Les was smart, gorgeous, and now one of Boston's most popular restaurant reviewers. Joe was a sweet, handsome man, who was ... was going to be Katie's husband.

Husband. Nausea hit hard, and Katie promptly threw up.

"Gross." Les swung around. "You know, I haven't missed seeing you do this."

"Sorry." Katie released her hold on the throne and ran the wet washcloth over her mouth. Feeling better, she stood up and flushed. "It's just wedding jitters."

Les turned around. "The idea of getting married shouldn't make you puke. You should be happy and ... glowing." Les's brow puckered. "Not green and wearing a dribble of something unidentifiable on your chin."

"Sorry." Katie ran the cloth over her face. And that's when she noticed it. "Fudge!" She dropped to her knees and started doing the pat-and-crawl shuffle across the tile floor.

"Fudge what?" Les asked. "And you know, you really should just say 'fuck.' Everyone knows you mean 'fuck.'"

Katie swept her hands and gaze on both sides of the porcelain bowl. Once. Twice.

"My ring." Katie held up her naked left hand and stared at the still-swirling water in the john. "I think ..." A sob left her throat. "I think I just flushed it."

She promptly puked again.

Several hours later, Katie studied the maps she'd printed off the computer to help her find Tabitha's new place.

"I wish you'd postpone things until tomorrow," Les said. "Today's my grandma's birthday. Everyone's coming over for cake and ice cream. Mom will kill me if I don't make it."

Katie glanced up. "You're not missing anything with me. I'll get the cake samples and we'll taste them later. All Tabitha wants today is a check. I'm meeting her at four, swinging by the jewelry store to pick up my new ring, and meeting you at five at Dave's Place. Tight, but doable."

"You're not telling Joe about the ring, are you?" Les asked.

Katie sighed. How did you tell your fiancé that you'd flushed his eight-thousand-dollar engagement ring down the toilet? "Why? I'm replacing it." All three plumbers she'd called had assured her that as soon as she'd hit the flusher, her ring had taken the fast track to the city's sewers.

Frowning, Katie checked her purse to make sure she had the checkbook to her new account. This would be the first time she'd used the money left to her by her parents' insurance policies. Oddly, it hit her that she was using money gained through the loss of her family for the sole purpose of starting her own family-with Joe. Happily ever after, here I come. So, why wasn't she tossing emotional confetti around instead of tossing her breakfast?

She met Les's suspicious gaze. "Joe doesn't have to know."

"Already keeping secrets from him, huh? I don't suppose you'd listen if I said flushing your ring down the toilet was your subconscious trying to tell you something."

"No, I won't listen." But the thought kept running circles in Katie's head. Hence, the decision not to tell Joe about the little incident.

They stepped outside; the November wind sent goose bumps chasing hairs across Katie's skin. She considered going in and grabbing another sweater. But hey, the Rays were tough.

Les yanked her jacket over her breasts. "Dang. It's colder here than in Boston." She paused. "When will I meet this man who can't find time to make love to his bride-to-be?"

Katie turned to lock the door-and to hide her white lie. "Soon." And she hoped that after meeting Joe tonight, Les would drop the call-off-the-wedding rally. "Remember, five at Dave's Place. Oh, and here's a key to my house in case the party ends early."

"Key. Dave's Place." Pocketing the key, Les took two steps toward her car, then swung around. A cold breeze scattered her blonde, wispy hair across her face. "I know I sound like a broken record, but I think you're rushing into this."

Katie pulled her blue cardigan closer. "We've dated a year, and Joe's great." She said it as much for herself as she did for Les's benefit. "You know how I know he's great?" she went on. "Because the first time I met him, I thought, 'Wow, Les would totally love this man.' Can't you be happy for me, just a little bit?"

Les swept back her hair. "Maybe I haven't been here to watch love happen. But I haven't heard love happening in your phone calls either." She sighed. "Tell me you love this guy, really love him, and I'll totally get off your back."

Katie looked at her best friend since kindergarten, and while the words lay on the tip of her tongue, they were held back by another wave of nausea. "I love him," she finally spat out, and didn't want to think about why those words had felt forced.

"Could you say that with more conviction and without turning green?" Les frowned and leaned close. "I don't see 'happy' in your eyes, Katie. I don't even see 'I've had great sex' in your eyes."

"I'm happy." Katie, not wanting Les to look any closer, dug into her purse for her Tums. "Be at Dave's at five."

"Right." Les huffed. Les's huff always meant something. Sure enough, Katie's friend was studying her. "You still aren't painting, are you? You were happy when you were painting."

Katie cut Les a don't-go-there look. "I manage a gallery. I get my art fix there."

"You loved painting," Les said. "You were happy when-"

"I sucked at painting." Katie shivered.

"So said your parents."

"And the critics," Katie reminded her, thrilled when her ringing cell phone put an end to the subject. When her parents were alive, Katie didn't mind bitching about them. Everyone bitched about their parents, didn't they? But somewhere in life's rule book it stated you shouldn't speak ill of the dead. Katie, like all the Rays before her, followed the rules. Plus, everything bad she'd ever said now haunted her. Losing loved ones did that.

She grabbed her phone from her purse. The call registered as out of the area. "Hello?" Steam floated from her breath and warmed the tip of her nose. "Hello?"

Nothing.

"Hello?" She heard a faint sound-of music?-"The Wedding March." "Tabitha?" The line went dead.

"Your wedding planner?" Les pulled her suede jacket sleeves over her hands and did the I'm-cold shimmy.

"They didn't answer." Katie snapped her phone closed. In spite of the cold, she and Les stood in the middle of her front yard, studying each other the way friends do after not seeing each other for a long time. "I'm so glad you're here," Katie admitted, and gave her friend a hug.

"Liar." Les hugged her back. "I've been a pain in your ass."

"True." Katie chuckled. "But puking alone isn't fun." And she had been alone-and lonely-for too long. Going from being a part of a family of four to being a party of one had taken its toll. Then, six months after the accident, Les got a job in Boston. The combination had resulted in a hard year and a half.

But what about Joe? Shouldn't he have taken the edge off-the loneliness? The question ran laps around Katie's mind. She answered it by telling herself that nothing took the place of a best friend.

"Speaking of asses," Katie said, "do these jeans make my butt look big?" She turned and gave her friend the back view.

"Your size-six ass never looks big," Les said. "If you weren't my friend, I'd hate you."

Katie swung around. "And I'd trade this freckled package for yours any day of the week. Men love blondes."

"As long as a sexy redhead isn't around." Les eyed Katie's hair. "Plus, I've gained ten pounds. Occupational hazard."

"And it all went to your boobs." Katie pointed to the evidence. They both chuckled as Katie glanced at her watch. Obviously, six hours wasn't enough time to play catch-up with a friend you hadn't seen in a year. "I have to go or I'll be late to the cake maker."

"Go." Les started to her car. "But bring some chocolate samples."

Recalling Les's chocolate-is-the-substitute-for-sex theory, Katie yelled out, "Wait! What happened Thursday night on the date with Mr. Sexy Voice?"

"Oh, gawd, I haven't told you." They met halfway and huddled for warmth. "When the waiter brought our check after dinner, Mr. Sexy Voice looked me right in the eyes and said, 'I hope you're going to be worth the price of your steak.'"

"Get out of here. No." Katie giggled.

"Honestly. And when I gave him the evil eye, he had the nerve to ask if I was jealous that he had a penis and I didn't."

Katie rubbed her hands together for warmth and anticipation. Les always had great comebacks. "And what did you tell him?"

"That with what I have under my skirt, I can get all the penises I want. Then I paid for my dinner and left. Frankly, those Yankee men just don't do it for me."

Katie laughed, but she knew it wasn't any Yankee persona or penis envy keeping her friend celibate. Les had loved Katie's brother as much as she had. Katie would bet Les's engagement ring still hung from its chain and lay hidden under her tan turtleneck. Sometimes life was so unfair. But Katie refused to crater. Cratering just wasn't in the Ray bloodline. Rays were strong and successful. That was why Katie's dreams of being an artist had been so un-Ray-like. If a Ray couldn't do it perfectly, they simply didn't do it.

Les hugged her again. "I'll see you tonight. After dinner, we'll paint our toenails. At least I'll get you painting something."

As Katie crawled into her Honda, her phone rang again. "Hello?" Another musical snippet of "The Wedding March."

"Tabitha?" The connection died.

"Strange," Katie mumbled. "Very strange."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Weddings Can Be Murder by Christine Craig Copyright © 2008 by Christine Craig. 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 3.5
( 1791 )
Rating Distribution

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(485)

4 Star

(557)

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(440)

2 Star

(159)

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(150)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 1795 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 17, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Good

    The Weddings can be murder is definitely a must read. I have enjoyed reading this book from start to finish.

    19 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted July 15, 2010

    Nothing romantic! Cheap, trashy novel. Boooooring....

    The book came with my Nook. I really tried to stick with it but could not stand it any more, and gave it up after 50 pages. It is a shame as the plot seemed promising and the author has some talent to be entertaining . BUT... all this is spoiled by constant irrevelent references to sex and idiotic physical descriptions of the characters (we got it: the women are beautiful , the men have bedroom eyes and are extra muscular....). The principal characters end up as looking like floozies and the book is as romantic as a porn movie with all its faked and contrived feelings and actions. A waste of my time, there are plenty better books out there.

    14 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted July 17, 2010

    Romance? Not in my book.

    I read this book because it was free, but I still overpaid for it because it cost me two hours of my life. The plot was predictable and more on the lines of porn than romance, the characters were self-centered and whiners, and in the end I found myself rooting for the serial killer. Do not waste you time with this book.

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Loved it!

    a little mystery, a little romance. It had a few mistakes in it- but those did not detract from the story at all. Quite enjoyable and 300 pages.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Thank goodness it was free!

    I know why the author gave the book away, she was being paid by the products she endorsed in the book. The first page mentioned the "Verizon Cell Phone" and the "Victoria Secret Catalog". This theme carried thru the book. I found nothing redeeming about it. There was no character development, an elementary plot, and the writing style lacked any finesse.
    Please BN start putting quality writing out for Free Friday's.

    10 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2010

    Not for me!!

    I thought the author spent way too much time trying to stimulate sexual feelings in the reader. The plot had a lot of potential, but it never rose to it fully and I believe it was because of the constant sexuality. I didn't like the language or the sex. I immediately archived the book after reading it, and will not download any more by this author.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 15, 2010

    Hate it!

    I have never written a review before, but I hated this book enough to finally write my first. Whoever compared this book to the Stephanie Plum series should be ashamed.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Abso-freakin'-lutely LOVED It!!!

    If you are looking for a laugh-out-loud, spit-your-iced-tea all over yourself, than you've found it!

    The characters are real people, who talk and act and respond like everyday people. No overly mushy, whiny women; which I LOVE! No sickly sweet, let's talk about our deeper feelings men; which I also LOVE!

    This book was a fun and entertaining read, couldn't put it down! The plot was simple, the characters funny and real, the plot easy to follow, and the few sex scenes weren't crude or disgunting, but real.

    A must have for those times when a good laugh is all you need!

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2010

    Fun Read. Great Friday Freebie.

    I figured what the heck. I enjoy a romance novel. Why not the the free ones? This was one fun read. I was smiling and even laughed out loud several times. Good characters. Snappy dialogue. Good resolution. Not serious literature, but when choosing Romance, that's not what I'm looking for. I will be looking for more Christie Craig novels. I'll admit the dedication page gave me a chuckle. This woman has a sense of humor.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Below avg.

    I don't normally review a book but in this case I'll just post an opinion rather than a review ... This book is labeled as a murder mystery but I would label it as a soap opera romance with a murder or two thrown in for good measure. The plot was thin and it has had more to do with sex than an actually mystery. It has taken well over 180 of the 302 pages to become something of a real book and not a "Days of our Lives" saga. I'm just glad the book was free and I didn't buy it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2011

    The one that started it off!

    I got this one some time ago as a Free Friday. I started reading it on a 6 hour car trip. Four hours later in downtown Chicago traffic, i am telling my SO to pull over and jump in the backseat with me! Holy Toledo what a scorcher! i just love her style.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2010

    GREAT READ

    I can't believe this was a free book! I have not yet finished the story, but it is incredibly hard to put down. This book keeps you on your toes, although beware there are some scenes that are not suitable for young readers. As a mixture of chick flick and mystery, this book is definitely worth downloading and reading.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted August 1, 2010

    Very good.

    This was a great mix between romance and mystery. I couldn't wait to read the next page.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Easy Reading

    Cute, very light quick reading that held my attention. I read the 300+ pages in a matter of days. Parts were funny. I could have done without the explicit sexual descriptions. The feelings and motivation of the main characters were well developed. The plot was a bit trite and predictable, but I still enjoyed the read. The fact that it is a free e-book is a plus.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2012

    :)

    Romance, mystery....perfect chic lit!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2012

    Wonderful book!

    I really enjoyed this book. This was my first Christie Craig book but won't be my last. I can't wait to read another one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2011

    Cute story

    Well, I liked this book. I'd say it is a romance with a mystery thrown in. I laughed out loud quite a few times and the sex/sexual tension didn't bother me. I actually quite liked it and I'm old enough to be someone's grandmother. This is the first book I've read of hers and can't wait to read more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2011

    Not Worth the Time

    Unfortunately, the plot line was nothing but sexual tension. Since I'm not into bodice-ripping novels, wasn't worth the time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2010

    I am soooo glad this was free

    I'm really glad I didn't have to pay for this piece of trash. It's just porn with a little bit of murder plot tossed in on the side.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 28, 2010

    Skip it

    I really expected this to be a murder mystery story but was disappointed. The bulk of the story was about lust and sexual desires. I found myself skipping over passages and pages in search of content dealing with the murders.

    Very disappointing

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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