Kelly Flynn and her boyfriend, Steve, couldn’t be happier as they await the birth of their bouncing baby boy. Kelly’s got a built-in group of fiber arts specialists, the Lambspun Knitters, who are working away on blankets and booties. As they sit around the table crafting their keepsakes, the story of Giselle Callahan is a popular topic of conversation.
Giselle is the young wife of Henry Callahan, a Fort Connor banking scion, who traded in his previous wife of forty years for a newer model. Giselle’s prowess as a skilled country club golfer and social climber puts her on someone’s hit list. When she is found dead on the greens at the golf club, Kelly and her Lambspun crew worry that a vicious killer is in their midst. They must work fast to bring an unhinged murderer to justice on the back nine before Kelly’s very special delivery…
DELICIOUS RECIPES AND KNITTING PATTERN INCLUDED!
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
"Does that feel good?" Kelly Flynn asked her Rottweiler as she rubbed behind one of his silky black ears. "Does it, Carl?"
Carl, for his part, had already given Kelly an answer with his doggie sounds of pleasure. He bent his head slightly, the better for Kelly to rub behind the "special spot."
"Is that your favorite spot?" Kelly said to her dog as she stood beside him on her cottage's outside patio. Carl replied with a little crooning sound. Yes! Yes! That's it!
Kelly rubbed for a few more seconds. "Okay, that will have to be it for now, Carl. I have to leave."
Carl looked momentarily surprised when she stopped rubbing. Then he held his head in the way only dogs can do and trotted over to his water dish.
As Carl slurped several large gulps of water, Kelly caught sight of a pair of golfers strolling toward the green that was closest to the edge of the golf course. And the closest to Kelly's backyard.
"Looks like you'll have some golfers nearby, Carl," Kelly advised her dog as she slid open the glass patio door. "Try not to scare them to death."
Either Carl understood exactly what Kelly had said, or the golfers happened to edge into his peripheral vision at precisely that moment. Carl's head jerked up, and he let out a loud, "Woof!" He followed up with a string of sharp barks as he charged for the back fence. There, he stood up on his back legs, front paws on the chain link, and barked more threats to the unlucky twosome who dared to visit "his" course. The two golfers turned around at the sound of an authoritative Rottweiler bark. Then one waved toward Kelly before they both returned their concentration to their next golf shot.
Kelly waved back then glanced at the sunny Colorado sky above. It looked like they were really moving full steam into early summer. Springtime temps of the high seventies and now the low eighties were teasing everyone. April and May flowers were sprouting everywhere. She loved it.
Kelly walked over to the cottage kitchen counter and retrieved her medium-sized plastic mug. Ever since she'd reached the start of her ninth month of pregnancy, Kelly noticed that fast movements and turns had become harder to manage. Her round, bigger-than-a-basketball belly led the way.
At that moment, the baby inside gave a sturdy kick, and Kelly placed her hand over the spot. "Starting soccer practice already?" she teased the baby. "Okay, I'm going to settle into the armchair and attempt to get some work done, so try to keep the goals to a minimum."
Mug in one hand, Kelly retrieved her laptop and sat in the comfy old armchair that Jayleen had given her. "Every mom needs a comfy chair before the baby's born and a sturdy rocking chair after the baby's born," Jayleen had told her with a tone of authority.
Letting the armchair's comfortable embrace surround her, Kelly popped open her laptop. She wanted to add the last of this week's condo expenses she'd calculated for her real estate investor client Arthur Housemann. She'd entered two rows of expenditures onto the spreadsheet when several sturdy kicks from the baby made Kelly's belly bulge in one spot then another.
"Are you running down the field, Jack?" Kelly said as she watched what she'd come to recognize as a baby foot create another bulge. Kelly placed her hand over the spot. "Or was that a goal? If it was winter, I'd swear you were playing ice hockey," she laughed softly. Suddenly, that bulge disappeared and she felt more movement inside, then another bulge appeared on her left side. "Goal!" Kelly cheered then laughed.
Just then, her cell phone rang beside her elbow. Steve's name flashed on the phone screen.
"Hey there," Kelly said on answering. "He just scored a soccer goal."
Steve's laughter came over the phone. "Atta boy. Lots of kicks, huh?"
"Ooooooooh yeah," Kelly said, settling deeper into the armchair's embrace.
"How're you doing?" Steve asked.
"I'm doing fine, just trying to get some work done on Housemann's accounts, but Jack's running up and down the field and the laptop keeps jumping."
"You're exaggerating," Steve said after another short burst of laughter.
"No, I'm not," Kelly said, watching her belly move again. "This kid keeps kicking goals."
"Did you have a second cup of coffee or something?" Steve asked, in a slight tone of concern.
"No!" Kelly protested. "I'm being so good, I don't even recognize myself." She had to laugh. "One cup of half-strength black coffee a day, as Sheriff Megan decreed."
"Atta girl," Steve cheered. "Megan will be proud. We're all proud of you."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, you guys aren't having to try to stay awake in the afternoons, either. I swear, I'm gonna drink two huge mugs of black coffee after Jack's born."
Steve laughed softly. "It won't be long now. At least I hope. I keep talking to guys who say their wives went past the ninth month."
"Bite your tongue," Kelly teased. "I swear, I think I'm big as a house, but all the moms at Lambspun keep telling me I'm not that huge. You wouldn't believe all the stories I hear."
"Yeah, I would. Guys are always telling me stories. I swear, Dutch has a huge family, and everything that happens to them is drama and trauma." Steve chuckled.
At the mention of Steve's longtime construction foreman, Kelly asked, "Is Dutch doing okay? He's still only working half days, I hope."
"Oh yeah. He keeps wanting to work longer, but I've laid down the law to him. It's only six months after his heart surgery, so he's still in the rehab period as far as I'm concerned. He hates it when I say that, but I've told the guys to grab his tools if necessary. Whatever it takes to get him to stop working."
"You know, some guys have to work. It's part of who they are," Kelly observed as she felt Baby Jack move about. "You and I have both heard stories about men who didn't live very long once they retired from their jobs. Their work is part of their identity, and it's like they don't know how to live without it. I really believe the reason that Burt has never had another heart attack is because he's had the chance to involve himself with the programs that help men who are recovering alcoholics."
Some stray memories suddenly popped into Kelly's head. "Oh, and don't forget, Burt regularly helped me whenever I was sleuthing around."
Steve gave a short laugh. "How can I forget that? Listen, I see Dutch signaling me. The guys just finished digging out that basement space. Gotta check it out."
"Sounds good. That must be the third or fourth basement they've dug on your new building site. How many town houses will be there?"
"No more than twelve. It's a small site, but it's an infill lot. The city doesn't have many of those, and they're prime spots. I'll talk to you later. Take it easy."
"Will do," Kelly said, then heard his phone click off. She returned to her accounting activities, methodically entering expenses and revenues. Baby Jack had quieted down, so this was a perfect time to get some work done. She drained her mug of unsweetened grapefruit juice, hoping that Afternoon Sleepiness wouldn't attack. But she could feel the combination of the comfy armchair and a warming spring afternoon was about to take its toll. What she wouldn't give for a cup of Eduardo's full-strength Black Gold right now.
House of Lambspun shop owner Mimi Parker looked up from stacking bundles of bubblegum pink yarn on the antique dry sink in the shop foyer. ÒKelly! I was hoping youÕd come in this afternoon,Ó she declared with a big smile as Kelly stepped inside the knitting shop. ÒI wanted to show you some of the adorable baby outfits two of the knitters in this morningÕs group created.Ó
"Oh wow. Did they really make them for me?" Kelly said as she paused by one of the tables in the entryway. Several fat skeins of lime green fiber were stacked in a neat pile. She stroked one of the skeins. Soft. Cotton, maybe? Examining the label she read that it was one hundred percent cotton from India. Kelly was always surprised how good her fingers were at detecting different fibers just by stroking them. In the nearly ten years she'd been coming to Lambspun, Kelly had gone from someone who had never knitted anything in her life to what she referred to as an Intermediate Advanced knitter. The word "Expert" never felt comfortable to her mind.
"They're not for you," Mimi said with a grin as she walked over to Kelly. "They're for Baby Jack." She reached out and gave Kelly's tummy a soft pat. "How're you doing, Jack?"
"Oh, he was playing soccer earlier when I was trying to get some work done. Since it's springtime, I figured it was soccer."
"Were you racing around, Jack?" Mimi said with a little laugh. "You can't wait to get out, can you?"
"Well, since Jack's six pounds, the doctor says he could come in a couple of weeks or maybe he'll hang around longer. Who knows?" Kelly said as she walked toward the main knitting room.
Mimi followed after her. "Well, you're still carrying Jack a little high, so the baby hasn't dropped yet. You probably have a couple or more weeks to go."
Kelly smiled. "That term always makes me laugh. Dropped. It sounds so funny." She placed her fabric knitting bag on the long dark wood library table that dominated the main knitting room of the Lambspun shop. Kelly settled into one of the wooden chairs that bordered the table and glanced around the room.
Three sides of the room were lined with shelves. One entire wall contained open bins where yarns of every description spilled out. Since it was springtime, Mimi and the shop staff-the Lambspun elves, as Kelly called them-had filled the shelves with bright spring colors. Pink lemonade, lime green, lemon yellow, tangerine, blueberry. Cotton yarns, merino wool, alpaca, even bamboo. The yarn bins were stuffed to overflowing. Just like the central yarn room located between the foyer and the main room. Every wall there was stacked high with bulging shelves.
And both in the foyer and in the central yarn room hung beautiful handmade creations. Knitted, crocheted, and woven. Scarves, baby sweaters, cloche hats and berets, and socks both multicolored and patterned.
Mimi laughed lightly. "Yes, I always thought it was funny, too. But it's very apt. Suddenly, one morning you notice something is different. And when you look in the mirror, you see that your tummy is definitely lower." She pulled out a chair next to Kelly. "I'd be glad to get you a cup of strong black tea. Extra strong and black. Even strong tea still has less caffeine. You were able to enjoy that, I remember."
"Enjoy is an exaggeration," Kelly said, eyeing Mimi. "I choked it down."
"Okaaaaaay," Mimi said. "How about some milk?"
Kelly shook her head. "Not now. It'll make me sleepy. I usually have some in the evening."
"How about some almond milk or coconut milk instead?"
"Actually, those taste good, but they'll make me sleepy, too. Everything seems to make me sleepy nowadays." Kelly reached inside her fabric knitting bag and pulled out the fiber project she'd just started. A small baby hat made of azure blue and smoke gray yarns.
"Well, let me go get some of that new Yorkshire tea I bought yesterday. That's definitely stronger than most teas you find in the grocery stores, so maybe that will taste better." Mimi pushed back her chair.
"It doesn't have any strange ingredients, does it?" Kelly asked.
"No, no. Simply strong black tea. I'll make a half cup. That way you can give it a try," Mimi said as she walked away toward the caf that adjoined Lambspun knitting shop.
Kelly had long ago learned to give in to any of Mimi's suggestions. "Mother Mimi," as Kelly and her friends called the sixtyish shop owner, had become a second mother to Kelly and her closest friends, Jennifer, Megan, and Lisa. Mimi's only child had died in an awful accident many years ago. He was a freshman at the local Colorado State University and had gone up into the neighboring Poudre Canyon to a friend's house for a weekend party. Unfortunately, several of the other college students were taking drugs, and Mimi's son joined in. He had a very bad experience and wandered away from the house into the surrounding mountainous terrain. He fell to his death on a rocky ledge below.
Alone in the main knitting room, Kelly wasted no time in returning to her knitting project. She picked up her stitches where she left off with the baby hat. She wanted to have the hat finished before the baby came, and according to everyone, that could be anytime this month. A May baby, she thought, as her fingers went through the familiar knitting movements. A spring baby. With luck, maybe she could play a few softball games before their softball season ended in the fall.
That cheerful thought brought a smile as Kelly pictured herself slender again and running the bases under a sunny sky. The shop's entry doorbell tinkled while summer scenes filled her mind. Taking the baby out to the games like Megan and Marty did with their baby, Molly. Perfect.
"Hello, Kelly. How're you doing?" a familiar voice said behind her.
Kelly turned to see retired Fort Connor police detective Burt Parker walk into the room. "Hey, Burt. I'm doing fine. What have you been up to?"
Burt pulled out the chair beside Kelly. "Errands, as usual. Mimi had a list as long as my arm today, I swear." Burt chuckled.
Kelly smiled at her longtime mentor. Once he and shop owner Mimi had married a few years ago, Burt was at the shop every day. Kelly really enjoyed that, since she'd lost her own father to lung cancer many years earlier. "Face it, Burt. You love staying busy and doing those errands. Otherwise, I bet we'd see you here in the shop looking for stuff to do."
"You're right, Kelly. There're always things to do here." He leaned closer to Kelly's belly. "And how are you this afternoon, Baby Jack?"
"Oh, he's been having a great time playing soccer. I swear he scored several goals while I was trying to do my accounting earlier."
Burt chuckled. "Well, he's probably anxious to come on out and meet us all."
"Not until I finish his hat," Kelly teased, holding up the baby hat. There were only a few rows of blue and gray cotton yarn on the knitting needles.
"You've got another couple weeks or so, don't you?" Burt asked, with a concerned look.