Fresh Meat: Skating Under the Wire by Joelle Charbonneau

Skating Under the Wire by Joelle Charboneau
Skating Under the Wire by Joelle Charboneau
Skating Under the Wire by Joelle Charboneau is a cozy mystery featuring Rebecca Robbins, the reluctant owner of a small-town skating rink (available October 1, 2013).

In the fourth Rebecca Robbins skating mystery, former exotic dancer, Danielle is nearly set to marry Pastor Rich; the rink’s officially off the market; and the only dead body is a senior citizen everyone assumes died of natural causes. So, everything should be fairly calm and boring in Rebecca’s world, right?

Well, normal for a woman whose friends include a roller derby team, the exotic dancer-turned-church-secretary, her Elvis-impersonating grandpa, her large-animal vet boyfriend and the boyfriend’s hat-wearing camel. Plus, she’s the maid of honor for the upcoming wedding, has an ever-expanding Thanksgiving dinner party to plan, and agreed to solve the Thanksgiving Day burglaries for her former high school English teacher, Mrs. Johnson.

“Mrs. Johnson gave me the list, along with a check for my fee. What are you doing telling people I charge a fee?”

Pop’s smile widened. “No one’s going to take you seriously if you don’t charge for your time.”

No amount of money was going to make me a legitimate source of detective work. “I run a roller rink, Pop. That makes me qualified to burn pizza and schedule birthday parties.”

My logic failed to impress my grandfather.

…“Pop, I can’t charge for investigating crimes.”

“Why not?”

“Because I have no training.” Duh.

My grandfather waved off my concern with a flick of his wrinkled hand. “Training is overrated. I’ve never had a singing lesson, and look at me now.”

Indeed moxie seems to be the prime qualification for most people around Indian Falls.

Even Rebecca’s father, Stan, has set himself up as a professional photographer and modeling agent to the senior set.

“The barn has good lighting. Shots of models sitting on hay bales or grooming some of the horses will look good on composite cards. I want all my models to be strong examples of healthy living to snag those AARP commercials.”

He sounded confident and knowledgeable. It was easy to see how he convinced the senior population of Indian Falls that they were going to be the next big thing. Stan was an excellent salesperson, but I knew him far too well to buy what he was selling.

All that moxie is something Sean’s willing to use to his advantage, but he’s also a little annoyed by it, since he’s about the only one trying to get by on actual training.

Sean smiled, enjoying my confusion. “You have a disturbing knack for conning people around here into giving you information. It pisses me off , but I’m not above using it to catch the thief.”

“Wait. You’re saying you want me to do the work and let you take the glory?”

Sean gave me a cocky smile. “That’s exactly what I’m saying. Have a nice night.” With a wink and a slam of the door, he was gone.

Which means Sean’s being extra nice, something that could be sexy or creepy. Rebecca’s pretty sure it’s just creepy, but her former roommate Jasmine while visiting is willing to make all the moves Rebecca’s bypassing.

Jasmine batted her heavily lined brown eyes at Sean before giving him one of her sexy pouts. It was an expression she’d perfected in our dorm-room mirror to elicit sympathy and protective instincts in her dates.

Frankly, given how little her on-again, off-again boyfriend Lionel seems to understand or accept her compulsion to get mixed up in the town’s criminal behavior, she might want to rethink the vibes Sean’s sending her way. I mean, by the end of the book, Lionel’s mom is starting to look like a better catch than the goody-two-shoes vet. (On the other hand, watch out for Pastor Rich’s mom. Jeez!)

Sean sat on the arm of the couch. “…he’s ready to readmit you to the hospital if he gets word you’re doing cartwheels down Main Street. So you might want to make sure whatever plans you’ve made that ticked Lionel off don’t involve that.”

“Did you hear our entire conversation?” I asked. The idea of running into Sean while peering through Seth and Jan’s basement windows wasn’t appealing.

“Just that it has something to do with investigating the thefts.”

“And you’re not angry?” Lionel was in the midst of an emotional meltdown, and Sean was being reasonable. What was wrong with this picture?

“Why would I be angry? You agreed to do a job, and you’re doing it.”

Oh, and the death that wasn’t a murder?

“The medical examiner has ruled. It was murder.

Which means Rebecca will find her way into the middle of it, whether Sean and Lionel like it or not. One thing’s for sure, whoever she ends up with, a good amount of hijinks will ensue.


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Neliza Drew is a tofu-eating teacher and erratic reader with a soft spot for crime fiction. She lives in the heat and humidity of southern Florida with three cats and her adorable hubby. She listens to way too much music, writes often, and spends too much time on Twitter (@nelizadrew).

Read all posts by Neliza Drew on Criminal Element.

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