When the Tribute's sex-therapist chokes to death at her desk, Danielle Summers takes over the woman's daily Sex On… column. Dani, unlike her predecessor, Daisy Mae, has no qualifications or background knowledge for the job. Instead she procures her answers from the Internet, self-help books and Megan, a retired prostitute who's had sex with thousands of guys.
About to turn 50, Dani yearns for more than one toothbrush in the bathroom, more than one car in the garage and definitely more than a greyhound with flatulence sharing her bed at night. The solution, she decides, is to start dating.
Meanwhile, one of Dani's readers (known only as Distinctly Frustrated) has written in asking her for advice. He complains his wife is not concentrating during sex, so Dani suggests foreplay using chocolate sauce and dress-ups. However, much to Dani's horror, a saboteur changes her reply to 'Shove something hot down the bitch's throat.'
The following morning, Distinctly Frustrated discovers his wife dead. Someone has indeed followed Dani's advice and 'shoved something hot' down the wife's throat. A red hot poker.
After first suspecting Dani due to evidence in her handbag and her sabotaged column suggestion, the police take the husband in for questioning.
Could the killer actually be Jack Rivers, sleazy bad boy from Gape, a rival newspaper? Did he really pretend to be Dani's blind date just to get her in an uncompromising position so he could publish photos of her rolls of fat and cellulite in his trashy magazine – or was it all to do with slipping incriminating evidence into her handbag while she was otherwise engaged?
Or what about Alice? The Tribute's spaced-out receptionist-cum-tea-lady, who was Daisy Mae's stepsister. When Daisy Mae died, Alice thought she'd get the job of writing the Sex On… column. Jealous of Dani's success, she adds salt to her tea, spills hot coffee on her lap and sticks pins in a Dani Summers lookalike voodoo doll. But would Alice take such a giant step forward and kill DF's wife to frame Dani for murder?
While chasing a killer, Dani discovers Mr. Right is slap bang under her nose. He's the guy who's been looking out for her all along. The guy who's there for her when her blind dates turn dangerous. The guy who shoves her out from under a lethal four-wheel drive intent on leaving its tire prints straight down the middle of her body.
Can Dani survive investigating the murder long enough to find true love?
A new romantic mystery from the acclaimed author of CHASING CAN BE MURDER.
(Some scenes in this novel are inappropriate for readers under age 18.)
I lifted my aching fingers from the keyboard, carefully flexed the kinks from each joint and groaned. Note to self—call into pharmacy on the way home and invest in a supersized bottle of Glucosamine tablets. Together with the mega bottle of Fish Oil capsules I kept in my freezer, which according to the local health shop proprietor is a fail-proof trick that eliminates the vomit-inducing taste of fish, I was set for the winter.
Finished for the day, I logged off my computer, tossed a couple of first-draft sheets into the trash can and purred like a cat gorged on cream. Tomorrow’s column was every bit as good as anything a real sex therapist could write. That is, a qualified sex therapist with a framed certificate on the wall. Me, I lifted my facts from the Internet, read self-help books, and discussed problems with my friend Megan Starr, an ex-prostitute who’s had sex with thousands of guys. I figured Megan would have more hands-on skills than a dry-as-dust academic sitting in a sterile office surrounded by certificates and textbooks.
Okay, okay, technically, I admit, I am an impostor. But even though I dropped out of high school after three of the most miserable years of my life…and the only certificate that hangs on my wall is the one I received after competing in the 50 meter dash at the Master’s Games the year before last…and even though I haven’t actually had sex myself for over two years—I was getting pretty damn good at solving other people’s bedroom hang-ups.
When Daisy Mae, the previous sex therapist for the Tribute, died at her desk while chewing on a steak sandwich six months ago, I was a bit tentative about taking her place. I mean, I am a spinster. Correction…single person whose sexual parts are in need of oiling. However, my older sister Penny, talked—or perhaps a better term might be browbeat—her husband Joe, the Tribute’s bad-tempered editor-in-chief, into giving Daisy Mae’s column to me. Up till then my brother-in-law had only entrusted me with gardening articles, births, deaths and an occasional second-class wedding.
“Well, I’m off now,” I said and stood up to rearrange my clothes. Satisfied that my long-sleeved, tiger-print top wasn’t riding up under my armpits, I turned towards Simon. “I guess I’ll see you in the morning, Templar.”
“Off already?” Simon asked without taking his eyes from his computer monitor. I shook my head at him and bet my tickets to the show, Menopause the Musical, he was playing solitaire instead of typing up today’s Crime Report.
Clicking on the ace of hearts, he slid his mouse across the pad. “What’s the big hurry? Racing home to water your hydrangeas?”
“Bite your tongue and feed it to the seagulls, Templar. My life is not that boring.”
Still without looking up he hiked his eyebrows skywards and dragged a red four of hearts under a black five of clubs.
“It is not!” I insisted.
Well, it wasn’t...
Friday nights I always went out with the girls to the local pub and we regularly—well occasionally…well if we were celebrating a birthday—painted the pub red…or at least a very pale pink.
I let out a sigh as I contemplated my dreary, lonely, beige life.
But not anymore!
The new Danielle Summers was currently on the look-out for a belated Mr. Right. After much soul searching, and a recent problem in opening those hard-to-twist pickle jars, I’d figured it was time to share my life and my bed with someone other than my flatulent, but loyal greyhound, Horace.
But first I had to run the gauntlet of the dating game.
So, although I know it’s not a pretty sound, I let loose a snort of exasperation. Simon can be such a drag at times. “As a matter of fact,” I said, not even attempting to keep the growl from my voice, “I’m in a hurry to get home because I have a hot date tonight.”
Solitaire stopped dead in its tracks.
“A date? You?”
“With a bloke?”
“No,” I spat, my exasperation moving up a level, “with a bloody wild pig! What do you think? Of course I’ve got a date with a man.”
“None of your business.”
“Do I know him?”
I shrugged. “Dunno. You might.”
Simon fastened me with one of his steel-eyed glares. “More to the point, Danielle, do you know him?”
The glower didn’t waver. Geez, it was like being interrogated by my mother.
“His name is Craig, that’s all I know.” I lifted one shoulder, aiming at blasé, but Simon’s glare grew fiercer. “Okay, okay.” I flailed my arms in surrender. “I’m going out with some guy Suzy set me up with from her work. Happy now?”
A slow grin spread across Simon’s face. A grin that sent little crinkles fanning out from the corner of his eyes and accentuated the dimple in his chin. “I don’t believe it. I. Do. Not. Believe. It.” His eyes, richer than yummy dark chocolate, continued to twinkle merrily up at me. “Danielle Summers, our resident sex expert, is going on a blind date.”
“Simon,” I hissed, shuffling closer while glancing over my shoulder to see if any of the other journalists were listening. “Keep your voice down. I’ll be the laughing-stock of the office if this gets out.”
He immediately did that damn eyebrow hike again.