Polished Off (Southern Beauty Shop) by Lila Dare

By Lila Dare

Audrey Faye sashays into Violetta's Salon trying to find stylists for the leave out Magnolia Blossom festival. Hairdresser Grace Terhune's chance fast becomes a nightmare with anti-pageant protestors, indignant moms, frantic contestants...and then, a truly useless Audrey. The homicide weapon was once a nail dossier, making Violetta's manicurist, Stella, the top suspect. Now Grace needs to locate the genuine assassin ahead of she is polished off completely.

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A girl died competing in this pageant four years ago,” Daphne said, her expression somber. “She had a heart attack,” the young man said. “Huge bummer. ” Daphne whirled to face him, her placard coming dangerously close to my face. ” The new voice came from a man getting out of a Prius at the curb. He was African American, short, and fiftyish, with light brown skin stamped with cinnamon-colored freckles over his nose, cheeks, and pate. Short, tightly curled hair circled his bald spot. Narrow, rectangular framed glasses rested atop his plump cheeks.

She was average height but strongly built, with muscular arms and legs displayed by a sleeveless ivory vest over slim slacks. “Hi, I’m Brooke Baker,” she said, marching forward with her hand out. “Nice to meet you,” I said, shaking her hand and introducing myself. Of all the girls I’d seen this evening, she was the most self-possessed by far. ” I studied her hair, running my fingers through the thick mass, which had obviously been relaxed and straightened so it hung to her shoulders with a slight flip at the end.

I withdrew before the swimsuit competition. ” She laughed but glanced at her reflection out of the corner of her eyes, like she was looking for the embarrassed teenager she’d been. “I still have the dress I wore for the evening gown competition. I thought maybe Jessie might wear it to prom one day, although if she keeps growing, it’ll be too short. That girl has been shooting up like a kudzu vine. Darryl says—” She cut herself off and bit her lower lip. “Let’s see what the layout’s like around here,” I said.

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