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by Jolie Pethtel
A Jezebel Jinx Mystery: Book 2
Tags Mystery, romance, comedy, funny, poison, murder, murder mystery weekend, 1920s, prohibition, contemporary, revenge
Release June 6, 2014
Cover Designer Celairen
‘Truth or die” is the name of the game when a killer with a hidden agenda hijacks a murder-mystery weekend for writers. When it comes to murder at a business function, Jezebel Jinx has been there, done that, and barely made it out alive— but this time the stakes are much higher.
One by one, her fellow writers are being poisoned, and the only way to get the antidote in time is to discover the secrets that link them all together as victims…as well as potential murderers.
For as the game progresses, Jezebel realizes that while everyone has skeletons in their closet, some people have an entire cemetery—and nearly all the guests have a motive for murder. As the suspects begin to outnumber the innocent, the object of the game ceases to be unmasking a killer, but how to survive the night.
“The game is ‘Truth or Die’—that much remains the same—but the rules have changed. It’s time to pay for what you’ve done. Everyone present has secrets. Some would die or kill to protect those secrets, and they may. Yet I will not rest until every one of those secrets is exposed.
“With so much at risk, how do I know you will play my dangerous game? You have no other choice if you want to survive the night. I left more than one surprise at dinner. Even as we speak, a slow-acting poison is coursing through the veins of my latest victim. This person should begin feeling the effects soon…”
There was a rustle of unease among the crowd, and Veronica stopped reading to look up at the suddenly panicked group. Jezebel would have done the same. No one was listening anymore. Those last words had impact. It meant one of them was dying. Possibly Finn. Possibly her and their baby. Her breath hitched and her body began to shake.
What food had been poisoned? What were the symptoms? Suggestion was a powerful thing. Likely everyone would begin having psychosomatic responses to the possibility that they might be the next victim. No one would be able to tell who the true target really was until it was too late.
“Well, now we know the killer isn’t an author. Did you hear how many times he used the word secret? Repetitive, much?”
Jezebel stared at Harmony in slack-jawed amazement. She just heard that someone in the room had been fatally poisoned and all she could think about was varying vocabulary?
“Have you lost your mind, Harmony?” she demanded. “One of us is a psychotic killer, and you’re worried about his misuse of the word ‘secret’?”
“Hey, I’m just trying to eliminate suspects.” Harmony held her hands up.
“How do you know he didn’t do that on purpose to throw you off his trail?” Nolan Brock seemed peculiarly angry at Harmony’s assumption, judging by his reddening face. He lowered his gaze to his hands which kept flexing open and closed. He couldn’t seem to make up his mind what to do with them. At first it appeared an exaggerated reaction, but after Jezebel thought about it, she could understand why he wouldn’t want the authors eliminated, because he would be that much closer to being the one accused of the murder.
“For that matter, how do you know it’s a he?” Phillip chimed in. “A woman can be guilty of murder, especially when poison is involved. Historically speaking, poison is a woman’s weapon of choice.”
This was something Jezebel knew well. She’d witnessed firsthand how cold a woman’s heart could be, especially when that woman felt betrayed. Yet she hoped this time it wasn’t so, because in such a scenario the odds of one of her friends being guilty of murder increased exponentially. It simply had to be one of these strangers. It had to.
“We’ve already agreed everyone is a suspect. There’s no need for further debate.” Tyler rolled his eyes. “Now if we’re done wasting time, let’s get back to the note, shall we?”
“Such a take-charge attitude,” Harmony whispered into Jezebel’s ear, having slipped behind the couch unnoticed. “Very sexy.”
Jezebel didn’t turn, simply muttering, “Behave,” under her breath before giving her full attention to Veronica Gunn, who was once more holding the killer’s note.
She cleared her throat and read, a slight tremor in her voice. “You have two options. Open the top desk drawer and you’ll find a bottle of liquid active charcoal. There is enough of this antidote to counteract the poison in one person. If you think you know who was poisoned, take a chance and give them the bottle, but if you’re wrong the true victim will die.
“Your second option is to play the game. Split up and search for the secrets. These will be hidden in the various passageways throughout the house. The game doesn’t end until all secrets are discovered, although you only need one to get the name of the guest who needs this antidote.
“If someone finds a secret, alert the others immediately and reconvene here. Remember, the longer it takes, the less effective the antidote will be. Take your former puppet masters with you, but no cheating. They can tell you what rooms have secret passageways, but not where they are. All the clues are hidden on this floor for your convenience. Try to run, and you forfeit your life. Tick tock. Time is running out.”