Caprice De Luca's latest house staging is all about hearts, flowers, lace and chintz since Valentine's Day is around the corner. She never expects her client to be murdered in the greenhouse the day of the open house.
With her six-month-old pup Lady by her side and her own love life in disarray, Caprice ferrets out clues from the victim's best friend, Caprice's mother, the housekeeper and a special male friend who insists his relationship with the victim was platonic. However, as Caprice digs deeper, she finds the victim's past is filled with secrets that she kept from her husband for thirty years.
The past isn't merely history. The present isn't always what it seems. When hearts are involved, passion and even murder aren't far behind.
Cats In My Life Blog
I had begun writing the first novel in the series which was STAGED TO DEATH when we found six week old Zoie Joy in a gnarled redbud bush in our yard and knew it was love at first sight. At least I did. That day was my deceased parents' anniversary. The day was 98 degrees and humid. Zoie was malnourished and dehydrated. Through later development, I learned she must have been with siblings because she wanted to jump on our twelve-year-old cat Ebbie, nip at her and wrestle with her. Ebbie wanted none of it. I spent hours upon hours just holding Zoie Joy close to my heart and stroking her. She had to be segregated for two weeks in a sunroom because of getting through a flea treatment. Then it was another 10 days because of an eye problem. Finally we could integrate her with our two twelve year old cats, Ebbie and London. It took a year until there was true harmony in the house.
Last summer brought a new kind of upheaval. Lancelot, a yellow tabby, first came to our yard protecting a kitten. He had obviously been in a fight, possibly protecting the little one. Lance would check the perimeter of the yard while the little one was eating. We were considering capturing the kitten when it stopped coming. I'm hoping someone rescued him. But Lance kept coming. We earned his trust by just sitting on the patio while he ate. His cheek, his worst injury began to heal and so did his other wounds but something was wrong with his tooth. Finally when he couldn't eat, we took him to the emergency ER. There we received the devastating news that he had FIV. Lance was the sweetest yellow tabby I ever knew. Once he adopted us, he stayed. We took care of him as long as we could and he took a piece of our heart when he died.
Ebbie was my soul mate cat. We rescued her on a snowy day before Christmas. She and I had a bond from the first day that transcended cat-human relations. She was a very sick kitten and I sat up many nights massaging her sinuses so she could breathe. When she was well, she would sit where I needed her comfort most—I have fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. We spent day and night together. But I was careful with Lance because of her—she had a recessive virus that could emerge again if she was stressed. I used Chlorox wipes and took showers any time I handled Lance which was about 4 times a day.
This Mother's Day, a tortoiseshell, malnourished cat took a nap in our garden. Although she was tortoiseshell, the last two inches of her tail were yellow tabby. For that reason we called her Halo. Halo had digestive issues we could only help by cooking for her. I had the feeling she came to us to nest and I was right. She was pregnant. After a vet visit and an emergency vet visit, we brought her inside and kept her in my office. In July she delivered three live kittens there. We helped them thrive and grow. The journey with them was amazing and I documented it on my blog. We decided to keep Halo and one of the kittens we named Paddington. Thank goodness we did. Because two months after the kittens were born, we lost Ebbie to a sudden heart attack. I was devastated. Having Halo and the kittens here helped.
In each mystery Caprice finds a stray cat or dog. The solution can be finding the animal a good home or as in the case of the litter of cocker spaniel puppies she helped deliver, finding adoptive parents for more than one. Or she can add fur babies to her family. Little did I know when I began writing the Caprice De Luca home staging mystery series that my life would begin to mirror hers!
Award-winning author Karen Rose Smith was born in Pennsylvania. Although she was an only child, she remembers the bonds of an extended family. Family is a strong theme in her books and she suspects her childhood memories are the reason.
In college, Karen began writing poetry and also met her husband to be. They both began married life as teachers, but when their son was born, Karen decided to try her hand at a home-decorating business.
She returned to teaching for a while but changes in her life led her to writing relationship novels. Now she writes romances as well as mysteries full time. Her first book was published in 1992; her 80th novel will be published in 2013. A winner of New Jersey's Golden Leaf Award in Short Contemporary Romance, Colorado Romance Writers Award Of Excellence for short contemporary, as well as the Phoenix Desert Rose Chapter's Golden Quill for Traditional Romance, she has also been honored with Cataromance.com's award for Best Special Edition and Washington Romance Writers Career Achievement Award. Her romances have made both the USA TODAY list and the Amazon Romance and Contemporary Romance Bestseller lists.
She has written for Meteor/Kismet, Kensington, Silhouette and Harlequin. Readers can contact Karen through her website, on Facebook (Karen Rose Smith Author) and on Twitter @ Karenrosesmith. They can also follow her monthly e-zine IN TOUCH with KAREN ROSE SMITH which has the latest news about her books, recipes and contests.