In one week, September 10, Designed Death will be out. I’m nervous, excited…and a little scared. I always feel this way when a new book comes out. This will be Faith’s second case and I hope readers love it as much, if not more, than the first book in the Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery Series.
Today, I’m going to share a little excerpt from Designed to Death:
The buzzer by the employee door sounded then stopped. After a gun-carrying criminal surprised me a few months ago, my grandmothers had Steve Davis add a security system by the back door. If the code wasn’t punched in quick enough, a warning alarm went off at the police station and in the prosecutor’s office where Steve―my grandmothers’ appointed knight-in-shining armor for me―worked.
“Belinda must have arrived,” I said.
Oliver drew in a breath and quickly rushed toward the front of the line.
“The end,” I called out to him.
I watched one of our customers snag Oliver’s arm and draw him to her side. They stood shoulder-to-shoulder and flipped through the magazine. No one else in line seemed to care so I’d let it slide, and Belinda had promised not to leave until every magazine was signed.
Cold wind snaked through the building and I fought back a shiver. October could either be an extension of a warm fall or the beginning of a cold winter. Two years in a row, trick-or-treating had to be postponed because of snow. The October breeze swirled around the room and I scrambled to grab the class schedules and other advertisements that tumbled from the heavy plastic tables.
Belinda waltzed into the store, waving like a teenage girl crowned Homecoming Queen. My grandma Cheryl followed after her, doing her best not to roll her eyes. A few customers began whispering, straining their necks to get a good look at the newest Life Artist Diva.
“Please don’t let this title go to her head.” I muttered.
“Belinda, look over here! Over here!” A customer jumped up and down, holding her cell phone out as she tried to snap a picture.
“Belinda, the library thanks you for the generous gift.” Oliver waved his copy in the air.
“I must speak with Faith first.” Belinda gave another queenly wave, blew a kiss at Oliver, then headed for me.
When she spotted Karen and the photographer, she froze for an instant. In that moment, I saw uncertainty cross her face. The shy woman, who needed her mom to book her signings and appearances, shone through the new confident, celebrity “Belinda.”
“Belinda,” I almost screamed her name to draw her attention, “can you give me some pointers on the class?”
Belinda shook her head. “I can’t give out any secrets. Only those who paid for the class will get to learn this technique. I hope you have some way of making sure those who haven’t purchased a spot don’t get a free lesson.”
Did Belinda expect us to empty out the store when the class started? Or put up a huge partition? I cast a glance over at my grandmothers. Hope looked confused by the request and Cheryl beyond annoyed.
I was both, considering I had to now figure out how to incorporate this new demand from Belinda. “I’m not expecting any secrets. I just want to know which layout is the inspiration for your class.”
Belinda wagged her finger at me. “No sneak peeks. Not even for you.”
I heard Karen’s unladylike snort from across the room. I refrained from giving her the evil eye, and also swatting Belinda with the magazine. Yesterday alone, I had spent three hours on the phone making sure everything was just the way Hazel’s “baby” needed it. Talk about helicopter mom. I had been instructed on the noise level permitted in the classroom area, the temperature best suited for Belinda’s creativity, and how instructions couldn’t be included in the class kit because Belinda feared her idea would be distributed without her permission.
Neither my grandmothers nor I liked the last rule but we went along with it. When Belinda was named a L.A.D., scrappers within a four hour drive-time radius began calling, asking if we had any classes taught by Belinda on our schedule. Everyone considered Scrap This her home store, so they contacted us first and we didn’t want to disappoint them.
“Hard to set up the class properly without the instructions.” I picked up a copy of the magazine featuring Belinda and flipped through it. There couldn’t be too many designs that needed glue, boas, glitter and a hammer.