About the Book
There’s no antidote to the malignant craving for power and wealth.
Landry Carran should know better than to get involved in yet another murder mystery, but it was hardly his fault that someone dumped a dead body on the doorstep of Treasure Trove Antiques. He can’t resist recruiting his friends to help him play detective.
Meanwhile, Landry’s partner and Dom, Gage Roskam, is doing real detective work that proves hazardous to his health and brings with it the assistance of an annoying Englishman who Gage believes should be behind bars.
The case twists and turns across Seattle’s antique trade, and the bodies multiply. As clues are solved, it becomes apparent that those closest to Gage are in grave danger. He’ll need to control his errant sub, deal with the most irritating Brit ever born and solve the case if he wants to prevent more death.
Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence, abduction and murder.
Bopping and humming as he went, Landry unlocked the door between the building’s stairwell and the store. As he entered the cavernous space, piled high with antiques and collectables, he took a deep breath. The familiar scent of beeswax polish, old wood and leather always settled him and put him in the right frame of mind for a day at work. He moved around the store, turning on an eclectic mix of lighting—mainly old lamps that were for sale because his boss, Mr. Lao, insisted that they were more attractive to potential buyers when lit. Of course that meant that whenever they sold one, a corner of the store would be in the dark until Mr. Lao obtained a new one to replace it, but Landry didn’t mind because part of Treasure Trove Antiques’ charm was its nooks and crannies. He knew the stock inside and out but loved seeing the wonder on customers’ faces when they spotted something unique or unusual hidden behind an aging armoire or balancing on top of a bookcase stuffed with rare tomes. He glanced around, checking that all was as he’d left it the previous evening. Everything was as it should be. Not that there was any reason for him to think otherwise, but there had been an incident with a mouse once when somehow, the tiny rodent had set up home in a basket of vintage tablecloths and had nibbled a hole through two of them before he was spotted. It had taken a humane trap and enough peanut butter to feed a raccoon, let alone a mouse, to catch the beast, so Landry was constantly on the lookout for any sign of critters in the store.
He grabbed the long pole he needed to lift the security shutter into place then went back into the hall. He left the building then crossed the yard to the alley gate. After his usual fight with the padlock, he rounded the corner of the building to the street. His friend Prisha, whose dad owned the Eastern Emporium opposite Treasure Trove, was outside brushing down the sidewalk with hot soapy water. Landry gave her a wave before jogging across the road.
“Hey, Prisha, what’s going down?”
“What came up, more like.” She grimaced. “Somebody deposited the contents of their stomach on the sidewalk last night. So gross.”
Landry wrinkled his nose. “Better you than me, especially first thing in the morning.”
“Hey, if you want to do a girl a favor, I’d be happy to hand over the broom.”
“No can do.” Landry grinned. “Petey’s at the dentist so I have to open on my own this morning. Gotta go before hordes of voracious customers start beating on the security shutter.”
“Yeah, I can see where they’re lining up around the block.” Prisha went back to brushing. “I’ll come over on my break later. You can buy me a coffee.”
“Deal. Have a good morning.” Landry skipped back across the street, managing not to trip over his pole. He had less trouble opening the security shutter than closing it because he didn’t have to get the hook on the end of his pole through the tiny D-ring that allowed him to draw it down. It was way above his head and like trying to thread a needle while standing on the deck of a pitching boat. Opening up just meant using the pole to push the shutter back into place once he’d released the padlock that locked it to a concealed ring in the sidewalk. A padlock that was no longer in place.
Landry frowned. He distinctly remembered snapping it shut the night before because he’d scraped a knuckle doing it. “Fuckety-fuck. What the heck is going on?”
There was no sign of vandalism or any other damage to the shutter. Landry shrugged, slipped the pole into place then pushed. The shutter rolled up of its own accord, only needing a shove for the last couple of feet. Landry unhooked the pole then gaped. In the recessed store doorway was a person, huddled in a ball, facing away from him.
“What on earth…? Hey, padlock thief, you can’t stay there.” He groped in his pocket for a few dollars. “Go get yourself some breakfast.”
Whoever it was didn’t move. With a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach, Landry propped his pole against the store window then leaned over his visitor. He touched his shoulder, gave it a little shake and the man rolled toward him.
“Holy fuck!” He was dead. Completely and absolutely deceased. Blood stained the front of the beige trench coat he wore. There was a blue tinge to his skin and his eyes were open, staring.
Landry danced back a few steps as he stared at the corpse. “No, no, no… This is not good for business. I mean, poor guy, but why my shop doorway?” His cell was inside so he turned and waved frantically at Prisha who dropped her broom before running across the street. “Call 911! I found a body.”
Prisha, who was always good in a crisis, did a quick turn and rocketed into the Eastern Emporium. She was soon back with her dad at her side.
“The cops are on their way,” she said, putting an arm around Landry’s now shaking shoulders. “You should call Gage. Here, use this.” She handed over her cell, but Landry’s hands were trembling too much to punch in the number. Prisha grabbed it back. “Tell me the number. I’ll call him for you.”
Landry reeled it off without thinking. He couldn’t tear his eyes away from the dead body and his bloodstained clothing.
“Gage, it’s Prisha. I’m here with Landry and… Yes, he’s fine but the dead guy he just found behind the security shutter isn’t looking so good.”
“What?” Landry heard Gage’s yell even from where he was standing. He took the cell back.
“Can you come home, Sir?” Landry used the honorific without thinking, defaulting to his role as Gage’s submissive rather than his boyfriend in his stressed state. “There’s a b-b-b…body. A real-life body, I mean it’s a dead body but it’s real. An actual genuine, honest to God, not breathing, corpse. And it’s in the shop porch blocking the door and there’s blood. Gage, why is there a dead person in my shop doorway?” Tears welled in Landry’s eyes and he sniffled.
“I’m not really in a position to answer that question yet, love. Stay put. Sancha and I are on our way. Who’s there with you?”
“Petey’s at the dentist and Mr. Lao isn’t here but Prisha and her dad have come over.”
“Stay with them. I mean it, Landry. You are not to go anywhere on your own.”
“Not going anywhere,” Landry mumbled as Gage ended the call. “How can I go anywhere when there are dead people?”
The Poison Bottle by LM Somerton
Book 3 in the Treasure Trove Antiques series - https://www.firstforromance.com/series/treasure-trove-antiques
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First For Romance: https://www.firstforromance.com/book/the-poison-bottle
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About the Author
Lucinda lives in a small village in the English countryside, surrounded by rolling hills, cows and sheep. She started writing to fill time between jobs and is now firmly and unashamedly addicted.
She loves the English weather, especially the rain, and adores a thunderstorm. She loves good food, warm company and a crackling fire. She's fascinated by the psychology of relationships, especially between men, and her stories contain some subtle (and some not so subtle) leanings towards BDSM.
You can follow Lucinda on Facebook, Twitter and her Website.
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