Sneak Peek: Practical Guide for Killers – Addison Moore

Sneak Peek: Practical Guide for Killers

Sneak Peek!

Practical Guide for Killers

Book Description:

It’s summer in Brambleberry Bay and the esteemed country club is hosting a beachside sunset cocktail party. But hold onto your beach umbrellas because murder is about to crash the party. And one guest won’t be catching anymore waves. 

And that little mind-reading secret of Hattie’s? It’s about to come to light.

Chapter 1

The Killer

Six hours from now…

“Look at them.” A laugh rips through me as I inspect the polished crowd while sipping a fruity cocktail. It’s evening here on the sands just below the country club and everyone in this snooty organization has come out to usher in a brand-new season. 

Each one of these decrepit souls is wealthier than the last. 

And each one of them holds a deep, dark secret.

Lucky for me, I happen to know my fair share of those clandestine mysteries. And believe me, if I were the one harboring some of those secrets, I wouldn’t be advertising them either.

I knock back half the fruity cocktail in my hand and shake my head at the plasticine people. 

Secrets may abound, but I know my fair share. They trust me enough to keep tabs on the dollar signs rolling around in their bank accounts—even the offshore bank accounts. And that’s exactly how I’ve managed to unearth the juiciest tidbits I’ve recently come across.

One hasn’t paid taxes in years. 

One is a brazen thief. 

And one is a killer. 

I down the rest of my drink and smile.

I’ve shown my cards—to the debtor, the thief, the killer. 

I made it a point to do so last week, and now I plan on collecting the payment for my silence. 

However, silencing a debtor and a thief won’t land me in prison as an accomplice after the fact. But playing games with a homicidal maniac just might have me singing the prison blues. 

Maybe I should rethink my strategy.

Yes. I should definitely put more thought into what to do with the killer.

Someone calls my name and I look up.

“Speak of the devil.” I give a bold smile and head their way.

We walk together in silence and I can’t seem to get my footing in the sand, the world feels as if it’s wobbling, and I can’t walk a straight line.

“I’m not feeling well,” I moan as the world begins to blur.

A body of water appears up ahead, a puddle the size of a small swimming pool.

They mumble something and take me by the elbow.

I try to avoid the pool of water, but instead, I’m shoved in, face-first.

My entire body enlivens with a jolt.

It looks as if the killer had one more secret they were keeping close to the vest—my demise.

And just like that, the world goes black forever.

Chapter 2


The Present

“Pass the margarine, please,” Peggy asks with all of the affection her Southern drawl allows.

“The what?” I wrinkle my nose her way just as both she and her bestie Clarabelle drop the towels around their bodies to reveal a couple of skimpy teeny-weeny bikinis—and speaking of wrinkles…“Oh wow,” I say, quickly squeezing my eyes shut, purely out of reflex.

It’s a boiling hot day in June, which also happens to be the first official day of summer. And that alone explains the fact the Brambleberry Bay Country Club is hosting its annual Sunset Soiree this evening, right here on the beach that outlines the periphery of that fancy establishment. The seaside air holds the scent of salty brine mingling with coconut suntan oil. And from somewhere in the distance I can smell burgers grilling to a juicy perfection.

I take a quick look surveying the scene because in less than two weeks we’ll be hosting Brambleberry Bay’s Fourth of July Stars and Stripes Spectacular on this very beach—and every last red, white, and blue detail happens to be riding on my shoulders. I figure the Sunset Soiree this evening will be a good primer.

“Pass the margarine,” Peggy repeats, breaking that last word in no less than sixty-two syllables. “The yeller tub right over there.” She motions to my left, but I can’t seem to take my eyes off the two women before me as they get situated on the electric blue lounge chairs dotting the stretch of sand that the country club has claimed as its own. 

Both Peggy and Clarabelle are a couple of fun-loving grannies, knee-deep in their eighties. I met them right after I took on the position of event planner here at the club.

Peggy Ebersol is a feisty redheaded Georgia peach who is always up for a good time. And Clarabelle Harper is basically a gray-headed good time, which pretty much sums up their friendship in a nutshell. 

And apparently, neither of them is all too modest when it comes to showing off a pound or two of flesh. Not that they should be. Although I have a feeling looking straight into a bolt of lightning would be gentler on my eyes. 

Wrinkles aside, they’re both so pale it looks as if they’re channeling their inner ghost.

“Why, Hattie Holiday”—Clarabelle grunts my way as she looks up at me from her lounge chair—“you have no clue what margarine is. Do you?”

My mouth opens and closes. “Of course, I know what margarine is.” It’s the stuff they show all over the internet that the flies won’t touch. “Although I’m not sure if the kitchen here at the club has any on hand.”

“Oh, hon, they don’t.” Peggy gives a throaty laugh as she slips on an oversized pair of sunglasses and a hat the size of Boston. “That’s why I brought my own.” She points just past me once again and I spot a yellow tub the size of a cantaloupe on top of Peggy’s beach bag and pass it over. 

“Give me that,” Clarabelle says, perking up at the sight of the plastic yellow bucket. She does her best to snatch it right out of Peggy’s hands and, sure enough, a tug-of-war breaks out.

“How about I get you ladies some toast?” I offer. “It looks like there’s plenty of margarine to go around.”

“No can do,” Peggy says, flipping off the lid and digging her hand into the buttery-looking goo. “The only one getting toasted around here is me.” She slathers a glob of the gunk onto her thigh and proceeds to rub it in before passing the bin to her bestie who, sure enough, does the same.

“That goes double for me,” Clarabelle says, quickly slathering herself in a bath of yellow cream. “Back in our day, there was no better way to ensure a nice golden tan. By my estimations, we’ve still got a few good hours of peak sunshine to get bronzed up for the big beach bash you’ve got planned for tonight.”

She’s not wrong—about the beach bash, that is.

I glance past the sea of sunbathers where there is a small army of white tents set out, already bejeweled with the requisite amount of twinkle lights. 

I’ve already shored up the menu with the kitchen—sushi, shrimp, lobster, and an array of appetizers from crab cakes to Asian fusion. I learned pretty quickly that no matter how upper-crust the members of this club might be, they’re not really interested in eating an entire meal at a function that requires hobnobbing with others in their tax bracket. So I decided to eschew a sit-down dinner for drinks and never-ending appetizers. 

The entire point of the evening is to watch the sun dip into the Atlantic as they usher in the sunniest season of all—and perhaps exchange new loopholes that the IRS may or may not approve of.

And I hope to heaven that’s as exciting as this evening gets. In fact, I’m rooting for a calm and peaceful summer. 

Not too long ago, it seemed as though I was stumbling upon a body left and right. And well, for the last few months I’ve been on what my boyfriend and I like to call my “lucky streak”. In fact, I haven’t seen a dead body yet this year. 

My boyfriend would be Homicide Detective Killion Major Maddox. He, on the other hand, sees a dead body every other week. And believe me, I’m pleased as punch not to get in his way.

I just hope the liquor loosens up the old grumpy bags of gas that run this place, Peggy scoffs.

“What’s that?” I say, turning back her way.

“I didn’t say anything.” She flashes a short-lived smile my way. I swear, sometimes I think that girl can read my mind.

I cringe at the thought, because let’s face it, I can do exactly that. 

My name is Hattie Holiday. I have black hair, blue eyes, and the uncanny ability to pry into other people’s gray matter. In other words, I can read minds.

Trust me, it’s nothing I set out to do. I was simply born this way. I found out from my cousin that I’m something called transmundane, further classified as telesensual. Apparently, there’s an entire array of so-called special abilities under the transmundane umbrella, like seeing into tomorrow or seeing the dead. All things considered, I think I got off pretty easy just prying into people’s thoughts. Not that I can help when the prying takes place.

I turn around and take in the expansive Atlantic as it stretches out before us. The sandy coast looks almost white in places and the color of brown sugar in others. You might say I owe a lot to the gorgeous coast of Maine, considering the fact my father owns a small fleet of lobster boats.

Hattie! My sweet cat Cricket bounds over with our favorite golden retriever on her heels. The golden retriever’s name would be Rookie, and he technically belongs to my boyfriend Killion. Although I like to think we share him. Much like Cricket and Rookie share the adorable little teddy bear dangling from Rookie’s mouth—a cute little teddy they’ve named Jolly Beary. Hattie, quick! Get a broom or a mop or something that shoots rubber bullets. They’re after us!

“Who’s after you?” I say, quickly scooping Cricket off the sand and landing a quick kiss to her furry little forehead. Cricket is a tan tabby I’ve had since she was a kitten and I love her as much as I love my siblings. Sometimes more. 

And lucky for me, I can read the animal mind, too. Believe me when I say, I prefer their thoughts to that of most humans.

Rookie belts out a quick woof without daring to let that teddy bear hit the sand.

She’s right, he says, stealing a glance behind him. They want Jolly, but they’re not going to get him. Come on, Cricket. We’ve got a bear to protect with our lives.

They dart off in the other direction, sending hot sand pelting against my bare legs and sundress.

“Good grief,” Clarabelle groans. “I look like a powdered donut now,” she says, trying her best to wipe the sand from her legs and Peggy gives a chuckle at the sight.

“I don’t mind one bit,” Peggy muses as she admires her own newfound sandy limbs. “Hattie, you get those sweet fuzzballs back here. I want to look as scrumptious as can be for all the hotties on the sand this afternoon. After all, you never know who might be havin’ a hankering for a powdered donut.”

I’m about to respond when I spot a thundercloud of a woman approaching, and if I’m not mistaken, she looks as if she’d like to take a bite out of me.

The thundercloud would be Peyton Blakey, aka my boss. Peyton is about my age, close to thirty or just over the edge. She’s tall, fit, toned, and tan year-round. She has wavy chestnut locks and a smile as sharp as a razor. Come to think of it, she’s about as friendly as a razor, too. 

And by her side is a svelte looking brunette, a bit older but equally as stunning and twice as fit as Peyton, as they barrel their way over.

Here comes trouble. 

Let’s hope it’s not trouble times two.