Laced In Lies
by Colleen Helme
Series: Shelby Nichols, #10
Genre: Cozy Mystery/Psychic
Release Date: May 5, 2017
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Meet Shelby Nichols, mind reader extraordinaire.
A typical day in the life of Shelby Nichols involves cheating husbands, solving the hardest cases for the police, and working for a big time mob-boss, all because of her little secret that she can read minds. It can get complicated, especially considering she has a husband and two kids.
Ramos, Uncle Joey’s hit-man, is reluctant to involve Shelby when an acquaintance from his past comes into town. Uncle Joey has a favor to ask Shelby which involves heading to New York City and meeting his estranged relatives. Then there’s Dimples, a police detective, who needs her help finding the person behind a deadly new drug.
It’s no wonder Shelby has a hard time keeping everything straight. But the worst is deciding how to explain her crazy, mixed-up life to her kids. So far, her explanations have all been laced in lies, and she worries that, if the truth ever comes out, they will never trust her again.
Of course, none of that matters if she doesn’t escape the deadly enemy that takes her by surprise. Facing death has a way of putting things into perspective, if only she can stay alive long enough to appreciate it…
I stopped across the street from the shabby looking bar and turned off my car. The neon sign across the front read “Tiki Tabu,” and it flickered on and off like a warning. In the silence, the heavy weight of impending disaster tightened my chest. What was I supposed to do now? None of my options looked good, but I’d promised my friend I’d find out what was going on with her husband. Too bad I didn’t know how complicated that would be.
The man I’d been following had pulled into the parking lot behind the bar, and I watched him come around the building to enter through the front door. He looked nothing like Kyle, the handsome Pacific Islander I’d met a few days ago.
Instead of the usual expensive slacks and button-down shirt, he wore torn jeans and a worn leather jacket. With his rough, unshaven face, and strands of dark, wavy hair dancing over his eyes, he looked like a drug dealer, or some other kind of shady character.
So what was he doing here at four in the afternoon? This was such a break from his real life as a guidance counselor at a high school for troubled kids that I could totally understand why my friend had asked for my help. Only, how was I supposed to know if this was part of his job or something worse?
The only way to find out was inside that bar. But, for some reason, I had a hard time getting out of my car. I waited a good five minutes to bolster my courage. Then, with everything screaming at me to stay put, I took a deep breath and opened the door.
Luckily, I’d worn a grey t-shirt with my black jeans and black boots, so I reached into the back seat and grabbed my black leather motorcycle jacket and slipped it on. It was near the end of April, so not too warm to wear it. And from what I’d seen, it would help me blend in with the crowd.
Next, I slung my purse over my shoulder and felt for my trusty stun-flashlight. In my other hand, I kept a tight grip on the small canister of pepper spray attached to my car keys. Knowing I couldn’t put it off any longer, I took a deep breath for courage and hurried across the street.
I hesitated at the door. Then, with my heart pounding, I swallowed my fear and stepped inside. The loud music assaulted my senses, and I squinted in the dark, needing a minute for my eyes to adjust before I could see well enough to find my way.
Taking it all in, my brows rose with surprise to find the place packed with people. At four in the afternoon. Didn’t anyone work around here?
Spotting a couple of empty stools at the bar, I quickly took a seat, wanting to go unnoticed for as long as possible. With the bartender busy, I glanced around the place, hoping to spot my quarry before he spotted me. I couldn’t see Kyle in any of the booths, but there were about four pool tables in the back. Maybe that’s where he was?
“What can I get you?” the bartender asked. He was a big, brawny guy, and the white t-shirt he wore stretched tight across his chest and biceps. Along with his earrings and the tattoos all over his arms, his unfriendly scowl brought a spike of unease to my chest.
“Uh… could I get a Diet Coke with lemon?” His gaze narrowed at my non-alcoholic order, and he took in my fresh face and wondered what I was doing there. I didn’t fit in with the usual clientele… at all. I smiled and continued, “Or lime… whatever one’s easier will work, since I like them both.”
His lips drew into a thin line before he shook his head and left to get my drink. From his thoughts, I picked up that he’d noticed me the moment I’d come in and correctly determined that I had no idea what I was doing there. I had to be meeting someone. But who was it, and what did I want with them?
He knew I wasn’t a cop, since a cop would know better than to come in here alone. And even though I tried to pull off the bad-ass look with a motorcycle jacket and boots, I should have at least tried to cover my blond hair to fit in better. Then he hoped I didn’t cause any trouble, because he had a feeling I was in way over my head.
With his instincts on high alert, he glanced over at Big Kahuna’s booth, and his lips twisted with dismay. It was too late. Now I was in for it.
Alarmed, I followed his gaze to a huge man who straightened from a slouch in his booth across from the bar. He observed me with narrowed eyes like a wild tiger scenting its prey. I swallowed and noticed several more guys like him throughout the place, all of Polynesian descent. What had I stumbled into now?
Listen to DEVIL RIDER – an original song by author Colleen Helme which is featured in LACED IN LIES! This song is all about Ramos, the hit-man in the book…
As the author of the Shelby Nichols Adventure Series, Colleen is often asked if Shelby Nichols is her alter-ego. “Definitely,” she says. “Shelby is the epitome of everything I wish I dared to be.” Known for her laugh since she was a kid, Colleen has always tried to find the humor in every situation and continues to enjoy writing about Shelby’s adventures. “I love getting Shelby into trouble…I just don’t always know how to get her out of it!” Colleen lives in the Rocky Mountains with her family. Besides writing, she loves a good book, biking, hiking, and playing board and card games with family and friends. She loves to connect with readers and admits that fans of the series keep her writing.