Lust, Loathing and a Little Lip Gloss

Lust, Loathing and a Little Lip Gloss

by Kyra Davis

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Lust, Loathing and a Little Lip Gloss by Kyra Davis

Mystery writer and dabbling recreational sleuth Sophie Katz is head over heels in love—with a three-bedroom Victorian. She's just got to have it, despite a few drawbacks. Her slimy ex is the Realtor. The rich, creepy seller wants her to join San Francisco's spirited Specter Society. And her first tour of the house reveals, well, a lifeless body clutching a cameo with a disturbing history of its own.

There's no way Sophie is going to give up the ghost on her dreams of stained glass and original woodwork, though—even when things become officially weird. A Society member is found with a slashed throat, and Sophie's house might as well be yelling, "GET…OUT!" She's hearing footsteps, lights are turning themselves off and her stuff keeps moving inexplicably. To top it off, boyfriend Anatoly thinks it's all in her head.

Sophie is 99 percent sure her problems are caused by someone six feet tall instead of six feet under, but the only way to be sure is to track down the killer—before he pushes her kicking and screaming to the other side….

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781459246287
Publisher: Red Dress Ink
Publication date: 06/15/2012
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 255,002
File size: 826 KB

Read an Excerpt

There are men worth dying for and others who really just need to die.

The Lighter Side of Death

When our marriage ended ten years ago, I figured that was it. I would never see Scott Colvin again. I certainly didn't expect him to be at the open house for this Marina District $1.4-million fixer-upper. But there he was, standing right in the middle of the living room, making it impossible for me to concentrate on the water-stained ceiling or broken light fixture. His body was angled away, so I could only make out a partial profile, but I had no doubt about his identity; that was Scott and the very sight of him brought on a slew of conflicting emotions. One of them was hope. Hope that someone had secretly dropped acid in my Frappuccino and that the thing that looked like Scott was nothing more than a messed-up hallucination.

I had taken hallucinogenics once before, during my freshman year in college. Perhaps if I hadn't allowed a magic mushroom to trample all over my brain cells I might have had the presence of mind not to get married at nineteen. Fortunately my brain cells were working again by my twenty-first birthday and I celebrated their recovery by getting a divorce.

But this moment didn't have the feel of a hallucination. The Frappuccino in my hand tasted real. The hopelessly out-of-date faux-wood paneling looked real. The mildew on the windows smelled real. And Scott looked like a real real-estate agent trying to convince a real middle-aged Japanese couple that the house we were all here to see really wasn't contaminated with asbestos. People on drugs see diamonds in the sky and riders on the storm; they don't see real-estate agents and overpriced four-bedroom houses that need new flooring. That meant that what I was hearing, seeing and smelling was all horribly real.

But the good news was that he hadn't seen me yet. I pivoted and tried to lift my wedge heel off the floor so I could quietly tiptoe out.

"Are my eyes deceiving me or is that the beautiful and talented Sophie Katz?"

Shit! I turned around again and was confronted by Scott's teasing smile. "What do you know, it is you!" he continued. The Japanese couple was now climbing the creaking staircase to check out the second floor. "Of all the open houses in the world you had to walk into mine."

I grimaced and made a sweeping gesture with my hand. "You're the agent representing this mess?"

"Apparently you didn't read the ad I ran in the paper." He handed me a promotional flyer detailing the house's few saving graces. "It's not a mess, it's an opportunity."

I almost smiled. Almost. "Save your BS for the couple upstairs. I'm out of here."

Once again I turned to leave, but Scott quickly jogged in front of me so that I had to stop to keep myself from slamming into his chest. "Sophie, we haven't seen each other in over ten years. You can't still be angry at me."

"I'm pretty sure I can be."

"Nah, you just think you are." Scott's hazel eyes were twinkling with mischief. That's usually what they did when they weren't red from getting stoned. "You're really mad at the old Scott. The kid you were married to. But we're both grown-ups now, old enough to understand the value of forgiveness. Remember, grudges always have a greater effect on the lives of those who carry them than on the lives of those they're carried against."

"Wow, that's pretty deep, Scott," I said solemnly. "So let me think about this. During the time that I've been holding this grudge, I've become an internationally published bestselling author. I have wonderful friends. My family is healthy and reasonably happy. I have a fantastic cat and a boyfriend whom I adore. I'd say this grudge is working pretty well for me. I think I'll keep it."

"Don't you want to know why I've been calling you?"

After ten years of no contact, Scott had, as of five months ago, taken to calling me every few weeks and leaving messages on my answering machine. Of course I wanted to know why, but I wasn't going to give him the satisfaction of admitting to my curiosity. Instead I shrugged and retorted, "Don't you want to know why I haven't been returning those calls?"

He chuckled, apparently finding humor in my irritation. "I think the answer to your question is a lot more obvious than the answer to mine," he said.

I hesitated a moment and studied the countenance of this new "grown-up Scott." He had the beginnings of crow's-feet, but other than that he looked exactly the same. He had the same blond wavy hair that was always a little mussed, and of course he still had one dimple in his left cheek and that golden skin tone that suggested he spent his days surfing off China Beach. Once upon a time I had thought that his looks were the perfect complement to my darker, more exotic appearance. My father was black and my mother has the fair complexion common to her Eastern European Jewish ancestry. People were always confused and delighted by my ethnicity. They usually don't know exactly "what" I am yet they find my very existence to be a sign of hope for the improvement of race relations everywhere. However, the attention I get now is a pittance compared to the attention I got when I was with Scott. Together we were a walking Benetton ad. Of course I get a certain amount of attention when I go out with my current fair-skinned, Russian-born boyfriend, Anatoly Darinsky But our differences are less visually dramatic thanks to Anatoly's dark hair and brown eyes.

"I got your latest book, The Lighter Side of Death. It's good." He inched a little closer. "I've also been reading about you in the papers. Sounds like you've become quite the amateur sleuth. According to the Chronicle you apprehended your own stalker, you helped figure out who killed your brother-in-law, and you even had a hand in bringing down the guy who killed that political aide in Contra Costa County." He gave me an approving once-over. "Sounds like you've turned into a real-life Charlie's Angel. Of course, you've always been an angel in my eyes…."

"Ugh." I wrinkled my nose in disgust. "I think I've just been slimed. I'm going now."

I started to walk around him, but Scott quickly sidestepped in front of me. "What if I told you that I had a brand-new listing for a recently renovated Ashbury Heights three-bedroom Victorian."

I hesitated. "How recently renovated?"

"Five years ago."

Only five years ago? Not bad. "Floors?"

"Hardwood. The owner has a thing for Persian rugs so the floors have been covered and protected."

"Seriously?" I was still focused on the door, but my feet didn't follow my gaze. "Okay I'll bite. Who's the owner, and why is he selling?"

"The owner's name is Oscar Crammer, and he's selling because he thinks the place is haunted."

"Why's that?" I asked. "Was anyone ever murdered in the house? Because if it's a site of a recent homicide it should be selling for at least ten thousand below market."

"Sophie, the owner's only asking for $980,000."

I broke out in a full laugh. "Yeah, right, a renovated, three-bedroom Ashbury Heights Victorian selling for under a million? Tell me, Scott, does it come with its own leprechaun, too?"

"I know it doesn't sound possible, but it's true." He hesitated before adding, "I think the guy selling may have the beginnings of Alzheimer's."

"You want me to take advantage of some guy with Alzheimer's?" I snapped.

"It has a two-car garage, Sophie."

My heart skipped a beat, but my sense of morality would not allow me to be tempted by this alluringly wicked proposal. "I won't scam a sick man, Scott. Not even for parking."

"Oscar's old money. He's got at least ten to twenty million in the bank and his son, Kane, has made millions more in the stock market. He sold off his investments in 2007, before the Dow got squirrelly Plus I know for a fact that Kane has been trying to get Oscar to sell the house and move into a retirement home ever since the old man became a widower. So by buying this place you'd be doing everybody a favor."

I turned all of this info over in my mind. It still wasn't ethical to take advantage of an old man with a possibly fatal illness but… it had a two-car garage!

The Japanese couple came down the stairs and headed into the kitchen just as an Armani-clad gentleman stepped into the entryway Scott smiled at the latter and nodded at the former before leaning in a little closer and whispering, "I just got the listing this morning. If you want to be the first to see it we could meet there at eight-thirty tonight."

"Eight-thirty?" I asked in a voice much louder than his. "What kind of real-estate agent shows houses at eight-thirty at night?"

"One who is trying to get his ex-wife to give up an outdated grudge," Scott said. "Tomorrow I have to tell all my other clients about this, and at that price you know they're going to descend upon it like a bunch of hungry hyenas. But since I do kinda owe you…"

"You kinda owe me?" I parroted. "While we were married you spent my entire inheritance on gambling, alcohol and the various sluts you were screwing. You more than kinda owe me."

"I'll show it to you before anyone else," Scott continued, ignoring my brief tirade. "If you're the first to make an offer the old man might take it before a bidding war has a chance to break out. The guy is motivated with a capital M."

I chewed on my lower lip and glanced at the Armani guy who was now knocking on one of the walls—probably testing to see if it could withstand the impact. This is what $1.4 million could buy you in San Francisco. I had written six New York Times bestselling novels and yet I could barely afford to buy this moldy rat hole with a view. With that in mind how could I not take Scott up on this once-in-a-lifetime offer?

Another couple walked in and Scott flashed them one of his most charming smiles while whispering through his teeth, "So, we on for tonight or not?"

I squeezed my eyes closed and forced myself to make the only rational decision available to me. "We're on. Give me the address and I'll be there at eight-thirty."

I drove my Audi through the residential streets of Ashbury Heights. Victorian after Victorian blurred into one another as I sped by. There were few pedestrians out although there were probably more than you could count several blocks over where the local shops and restaurants populate Cole Street. I was tempted to turn my car around and head that way now. I could play quarters with some bartender and laugh at the knowledge that my evil ex was standing around an empty house waiting for me. It would be petty, though perversely sweet entertainment. But as I brought the car to a halt at each stop sign, my mind came screeching back to the conversation Scott and I had earlier. I didn't have a problem with being petty, but stupidity was not something I was comfortable with. I had to at least see the place.

It was 8:40 p.m. when I found the address Scott had given me. He'd told me to park in the driveway, but for a moment I found myself idling my car in the middle of the quiet street and staring at the building to my left. The windows were all dark, but the streetlamp illuminated the details of the exterior. It was no bigger than the houses to the left or right, but still, it was superior. Unlike its neighbors, this house was not painted in pastels, but in a color that hovered between tan and a muted lilac. Its gabled shingled roof shielded its angled bay windows from the hazy evening sky. It was beautiful and oddly familiar. I must have passed it before and somehow taken notice of it. As my eyes traveled from the roof to the foundation I spotted Scott huddled between the Greek-styled columns bordering the front entrance. Watching me and toying with the zipper of his insulated brown suede jacket, his presence surprised me. When I had been married to Scott we had both considered punctuality a dirty word. Slowly I pulled into the driveway which was so narrow that it barely accommodated the width of my car.

"How long have you been waiting?" I asked as I slipped out of the car and trotted up the front steps.

"Got here at eight-twenty." He got to his feet and brushed some nonexistent dirt from his jeans. "I figured you'd be late, but I thought I should get here early just in case you'd changed." He smiled, bringing his dimple into view. "I'm glad to see that you're still the same ol' Soapy."

I let out a disdainful puff of air. Soapy was the pet name he had assigned to me after we had gotten into a soapsuds fight while washing my old car. It brought back irritatingly fond memories.

"Let's see the house," I said coolly. As front doors went, this house had a pretty nice one. Tastefully carved without being too ornate or flowery. "Where's the owner staying?"

"Hotel Nikko," Scott said as he fiddled with the key.

"Really? Why doesn't he just stay here until it sells…oh, Scott!" I exclaimed as he opened the door to reveal the foyer. "Are those crown moldings?"

"Better believe it, baby. Crown moldings fit for a queen." As we stepped inside he sniffed the air suspiciously. "That's Pine-Sol," he said slowly. "Oscar must have cleaned before leaving."

I barely registered Scott's comment. I was in the living room looking at the bay windows and the lovely upholstered window seat. The furniture wasn't my style, very flowery in a Victorian kind of way, but I wasn't buying the furniture. The gorgeous built-in mahogany bookcases though, those would be mine!

"That's strange."

I turned at the sound of Scott's voice behind me. I had almost forgotten he was there. "What's strange…wait, that doesn't look fake." I pointed at the fireplace behind him. "It's not just decorative? It's real? A real honest-to-God fireplace that you can set fires in?"

"Gas starter, too," Scott confirmed. "But that's not what's weird. What's weird is that Oscar seems to have rearranged all the furniture. This place has been totally redecorated since this morning."

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Lust, Loathing and a Little Lip Gloss (Sophie Katz Series #4) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
Leah_B More than 1 year ago
I love this series from Kyra Davis. These a fun, quirky, easy reads that make the reader laugh and at the same time hold on tight for the ride. I've read all the books in the Sohpie Katz series and each one is as good as the previous. Kyra Davis keeps this character and all the surrounding characters fresh and each one a loveably strange in their own little ways. Much like in real life, which as you read gives you the feeling that this could very well happen. If you're looking for a fun, easy read that will hold your attention these books shouldn't disappoint you.
bellasmum More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book in the store, without having read any of the preceeding in the series. Still, I was able to jump right in to liking the characters and I was able to understand the history among them. I truly enjoyed this book, and the previous 3 Sophie Katz novels are next on my list of books to buy. The book is humorous with suspense throughout and is a great weekend read.
luvs2bhappy More than 1 year ago
Lust, Loathing and a Little Lip Gloss is Kyra Davis's latest addition to her delightfully entertaining Sophie Katz series. Kyra Davis has created a fictional world of well-developed characters who grow on you from the get go. Set in beautiful San Francisco, I can easily envision Sophie Katz and her wacky sidekicks travelling down the same streets that I walk simply because of how well Kyra Davis writes. She brings each character to life. She does such a fine job that I grew to love Sophie, Anatoly, Marcus, Dena and Mary Ann. I can feel Sophie's plight and easily dislike those who turn Sophie's life upside down or threaten to hurt her or her friends and family. In this installment, it's Sophie's ex-husband and the creepy Specter folks who stand between her and her once-in-a-lifetime-great-deal-and-love of a beautiful dream Victorian house. With each installment, we learn a little bit more of the back story to each character making them even more real. Kyra Davis once again has woven together another unique yet believable mystery that was hard to put down. Not unlike the previous installments, Sophie, with her loyal team entertains us with their humor and cleverness and delivers another wonderful novel. I can't wait to read the next Sophie Katz mystery.
carapurcell More than 1 year ago
Lust, Loathing, and a Little Lip Gloss is another great book in the Sophie Katz series. I loved this one just as much as the others, Sophie is back with her stellar sleuth skills and quick wit that makes you laugh out loud while reading. Many times while reading this book I got the "is that lady crazy look" for busting out laughing in public. Anatoly is sexy and sweet as ever and I was so happy with the way these two are progressing in their relationship. The paranormal side of the story keeps it very interesting and gives a twist to the type of mystery going on. Marcus is one of my favorite characters and he is back for the fun, even if it is unknowingly. You also get a better insight on Sophie and her fathers relationship before he passed away, which develops the character of Sophie even more making you love her even more. I counted down the days between Obsession, Deceit, and Really Dark Chocolate and this book and I will do the same for the next Sophie Katz mystery. The only thing I would warn about buying this book is the amount of money you spend at Starbucks, every time I read a Sophie book I have to have a frappuccino!
Tollula More than 1 year ago
This newest Sophie Katz mystery was great. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and how Sophie's character has changed. Her character has evolved from a needy woman, to a leading protagonist that takes control. In this edition, Sophie isn't obsessed with her on again off again relationship with Anatoly, but concentrates more on her life, in addition to solving a murder. This time around Sophie is purchasing a home and ends up running into her ex-husband who she adamantly hates. He tries to weasel his way into her life and at the same time be her Realtor. Bodies are found. New people in her social group are involved and her whole family is involved in this mystery. I was glad to see that her friends Marcus and Dena make an appearance, they are fun characters. Sophie's relationship with Anatoly is so cute, I'm glad he is permanently (hopefully) back in her life. I really recommend this book to everyone who enjoys a good murder mystery and laughing at the same time.
Suzeeq212 More than 1 year ago
I've read the entire series and this is another winner. Kyra Davis has a way of pulling you right into the world of Sophie Katz. Her characters are so fun and Anatoly is so hot. I've got my 21 year old daughter hooked on Davis too. I wish I didn't have to wait another year for the next installment...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you liked the first three Sophie Katz books, you will definitely enjoy this one!
Saspants More than 1 year ago
I love Kyra Davis and was excited to see her latest installment in the Sophie Katz series. Her characters and plots are entertaining and original. I bought the first in the series (Sex, Murder and a Double Latte) due to the title and cover art. I thought it would make a great summer read while sitting around the pool in my backyard, I got hooked and immediately bought the second in the series and devoured them both and have since waited on pins and needles for future installments. Highly recommended if you like crime and mystery and like reading a series involving the same characters in different plots.
SparklePiaffe More than 1 year ago
My favorite sexy sleuth Sophie Katz is back in Kyra Davis' fourth Sophie novel! Sophie's life continues in the big city of San Francisco and she has recently found the house of her Dreams, a 3 bedroom victorian. The only problem is her slimy ex-husband just happens to be the Realtor and after 10 years away from him Sophie is none to happy to see him. To top that off the owner of the house is crazy and is making Sophie hold seances as part of her contract to buy the house. In the mean time she's beginning to wonder if he is right about the ghosts in her new home, as strange footsteps and other phenomenon seem to be running amuck in her new dream home. Sophie's current sexy boyfriend Anatoly thinks it's all in her head, so now it's up the her to figure it out. Through a series of unfortunate events ( murder, lies etc..) Sophie and her wonderfully quirky friends start out in their own investigation and are determined to find out who or what is responsible for the strange things going on Sophie's house. This book is a great read, you'll find yourself staying up late in bed just to read "one more chapter", which will turn into three, lol. I'm looking forward to the future Sophie books!
sheltiegirl More than 1 year ago
This will be a great beach/pool read for mystery lovers. This is the 4th in a series of mysteries by Kyra Davis but you can begin with this one and pick up the others later. Divorcee Sophie Katz lives in San Francisco and loves her designer coffee. She also loves Victorian houses and is going to be able to purchase one--not because she can afford it but because her ex-a sleazy realator thinks he can get it for her "at a steal." However, the house comes with conditions attached and Soph...more This will be a great beach/pool read for mystery lovers. This is the 4th in a series of mysteries by Kyra Davis but you can begin with this one and pick up the others later. Divorcee Sophie Katz lives in San Francisco and loves her designer coffee. She also loves Victorian houses and is going to be able to purchase one--not because she can afford it but because her ex-a sleazy realator thinks he can get it for her "at a steal." However, the house comes with conditions attached and Sophie loves the perfect house so much she agrees to the stipulations. The house Sophie is in love with belongs to Kane Crammer--and he requires certain conditions of the new owner-to-be. Sophie must join the San Francisco Specter Society and attend their regularly scheduled seances used to communicate with certain departed souls. Sophie has problems to deal with--not only is her new house haunted but she keeps turning up at the site of several murders. Sophie's current boyfriend, Anatoly Darinsky, is a PI, who is by her side in solving the murders in this book and attempting to put the ghosts "to rest" that haunt her new house. He is hired by Maria, the wife of newly murdered Enrico, in a locked-door mystery. The supporting characters are fun-- Leah, her organized sister "Leah didn't like things she couldn't control" (p.50),her sexy friend, Dena, always ready for a romantic adventure and even feline Mr. Katz who has hair that stands on end at appropriate moments. Sophie is living in the house (and it is all but hers) when escrow goes through in a couple of weeks. Sophie hears stomps, furniture is rearranged, a crooked picture hanging is righted-- What is going on--I'll never tell. I love the alliteration in the title of this book-- also each chapter has a catchy subtitle -- "There are men worth dying for and others who really just need to die." Chapter 1, page 9. A fun, fast read--I will add these to my series of mystery books. (less) (edit)
hoot More than 1 year ago
Lust, Loathing and a Little Lip Gloss is the fourth novel in a series about a novelist turned amateur detective. Sophie Katz has no idea how she keeps finding herself in these situations, her mother has taken to calling her "the mortician", due to the fact that she is forever finding dead bodies. Can you imagine what this would do to a nice Jewish mother? oy! Sophie has a bit of help on her side, her boyfriend just happens to be a P.I. kind of like Magnum. He gets hired to catch cheating husbands in the act, and to stop employees from robbing their bosses blind. He also maintains a full time job trying to keep track of what trouble Sophie has gotten herself into. Her best friends never let her down either, Marcus the gay dreamboat hairstylist seems to always be a partner in crime, willingly or not. Then there is Dena, the owner of a sex shop with a wandering eye and a yen for excitement. Lastly there is her sister Leah, but shes a story whole other story in and of herself. When Sophie starts finding bodies while house hunting, she finds herself the suspect of a murder. Granted, she is one of many suspects, but she must work to clear her name and snag an amazing Victorian for an unbelievable bargain. The only problem is, her slimy ex-husband is the real estate agent for the house, and the person selling the house is a bit crazy. She has no idea why she is so drawn to this house, and when Kane (the seller) tells her she has to contact ghosts for him because the house is haunted, she finds herself in the most hilarious and unpredictable situations yet. Kyra Davis scores another hit with the fourth instillation in the Sophie Katz series. The book has a great balance of relationship drama, mystery, suspense and family issues. This would make a great beach read!
harstan More than 1 year ago
A decade has passed since mystery writer Sophie Katz saw her slimy former spouse Scott Colvin. However to her shock, she runs into him at an open house in the Marina District where a $1.4-million fixer-upper is up for sale. Her initial reaction is someone spiked her frap. Her second thought comes when Scott offers his ex a sweetheart deal; which she knows means he is hiding something from her because Scott Colvin means trouble for anyone who ventures within a kilometer of his sphere.------------ The Victorian house is owned by Oscar Crammer, who insists his place is haunted and is willing to let it go for practically nothing. Scott takes Sophie to the mansion where they find the house haunted by the corpse of Oscar. The late owner's son Kane also believes the house is haunted and agrees to honor his father's price quote on the stipulation that Sophie join the San Francisco Specter Society to help him contact his father's ghost. Amateur sleuth Sophie and her private investigator boyfriend Anatoly Darinsky, hired by the victim's estranged wife to prove she did not kill him, think the house is haunted by humans and set out to prove the bumps in the night are mortal as is the killler--------------------- This is an amusing lighthearted investigative murder mystery that will hook the audience on two levels. First spunky Sophie is super as she takes San Francisco while providing her first person perspective which includes plenty of in your face comments. Second is the cleverly designed séance-homicide that turns out to be a locked room murder. Kyra Davis writes a terrific whodunit starring an amateur sleuth filled with lust for her boyfriend, loathing for her ex, and needing a little lip gloss for her boyfriend.------------ Harriet Klausner
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