When Max, Sean, and Cali throw a Suncoast Society party, it’s usually a doozy. Unfortunately old, painful memories are uninvited guests when they get unexpected news about someone from their past.
While others are celebrating, the triad is examining their emotions. Not even Baxter high on catnip, a repentant T-Rex, or a pregnant and hormonally psychotic bestie’s snark can completely lift their mood over what’s happened.
But when a karmic opportunity presents itself to do the right thing, can their hearts and peace of mind handle being kind, or will they take their friends’ sound advice to walk away?
It’s time for another holiday party! Tony has of course sent out the invitations, (Oh, how I wish one of those showed up in MY e-mail! *longingly sighing*) and once again, Max, Sean and Cali are hosting the kinky soiree.
Cali is working on another of her headers for the web site, trying to come up with an idea. Then, she gets a call from Loren that brings back a blast from the past that isn’t so welcome.
Max and Sean both have to deal with the emotions that are brought up from what their ex, Lydia had done to them. While she had hurt and humiliated them, she did bring them together and Cali would have never been in their lives if not for her. Cali also has to deal not only with her guys emotions, but with the drama Lydia brought into her life. With the party looming, the Suncoast gang does what they do best, they turn what is a troubling situation into a family support. The party is a success, and a T-rex makes an appearance that is the highlight of the party.
Cali, Max and Sean also appear in books 12, (Crafty Bastards, their original story) 21, 47, and 50. (Kinko De Mayo, Happy Spank Patrick’s Day and This Moody Bastard.) As usual, Tymber makes you feel as though you are part of this group of kinky friends, and unlike most other books, the reader feels as though they are right there in the thick of things. Tymber has been one of my favorite authors because she’s so down to earth and 62 books later, you just don’t want the ride to end!
Max and Sean had already left for work, and Eddie was sitting on the kitchen floor, playing with a couple of wooden spoons and three overturned metal pots, while Cali stood there and went through her e-mail on her tablet. She’d already fed the toddler, who’d likely be ready for a nap soon.
She definitely didn’t mind playing Aunt Cali, but yeah, she felt herself itching to be immersed in her usual routine. Motherhood did not suit her.
Just another affirmation that their decision to not have kids had been right.
Cali much preferred this, a temporary situation that had a set timeframe. Eddie was fun and all, but handing him back was a relief at the end.
As if reading her mind, her phone rang, Essie calling.
Cali answered. “Hey, momma. How’d it go?”
She laughed. “Well, if I wasn’t pregnant already, I probably would be now, after last night. Let’s just say the guys are enthusiastic about being fathers again. How’s my little bean?”
“That noise you hear in the background is him auditioning to be Mevi’s new drummer.”
“Thank you for yesterday. I really appreciate it.”
“Hey, what are besties for if not to convince you you’re acting psycho and need your men?”
“True story. Mark is going to drive me back later today. The house they’re working on for the show is really bad. Lots of mold going on from an old roof leak. They don’t even want me in the hotel with them, because they’re afraid they might bring in contamination on their clothes.”
“And they’re back to treating you like fragile china since you’re preggers.” Which was exactly what Essie’s men had done the last time, to an infuriatingly adorable level that had driven Essie nuts.
“No worries. We’ll be here when you get back. Are we going to spread the word about this yet?”
“Not yet. I want to go to the doctor and let a couple of months go by first. After…” She sighed. “After Mal.”
“Yeah, I get it. No worries.”
“I already called my doctor and made an appointment for next week while all three of them sat there staring at me.”
“Good for them.” Her phone beeped, and she saw it was Loren calling. “Hey, I need to run. Loren’s calling me.”
“Okay. Thanks again. We love you guys.”
“Love you, too.” Cali switched to Loren’s call. “Hey, lady. Wassup?”
“Do you have a minute to talk?” Her voice sounded grim, serious.
“What’s wrong?” She stepped out of the kitchen and into the dining room area, where she could still see Eddie sitting on the floor and playing but he hopefully couldn’t hear as well. When he was over, she reflexively checked the locks on the sliders, keeping the upper bolt pins in place as a precaution, to make sure he couldn’t get out onto their lanai and into the pool. She’d already checked them three times that morning.
“Well, sort of. I’m babysitting Eddie.”
“Oh. Okay.” She took a deep breath. “Ross received a disturbing call a few minutes ago that you need to know about.”
A chill settled through her. “What?”
“Lydia was murdered last night.”
Cali was glad one of the dining room chairs sat right behind her for her to sink into. “What?”
“I don’t know all the details. Apparently, she was trying to run a pro-Domme gig off Craigslist, and it looks like a client killed her. She was renting a room from a woman down in Osprey, and when she came home this morning from working an overnight shift, she found Lydia dead. They estimate her time of death around midnight, plus or minus an hour or so. This is a rapidly developing situation, as they say.”
Cali had hated the bitch, both for the scam she’d tried to pull on Cali and how Lydia had treated Sean and Max when she was with them, and she’d reveled when she’d found out Lydia was working a gig at a fast food restaurant…but she hadn’t wanted her dead.
Not…seriously. Just in a revenge fantasy way that no one expects to happen.
“That’s disturbing, but why do I get the feeling there’s more to this than meets the eye?”
“Because Max and Sean will likely be questioned by the police. Apparently Lydia had a bunch of information about her exes, and Sean and Max’s info was there, too. I would expect police to contact them by the end of the day today, at the very latest. Likely sooner. And you, too, since you’re their wife. This was a courtesy call from a friend in common who personally knows the history between Lydia and the guys and who is 99.9% certain the guys had zero to do with it. That’s why I’m calling you and Ross isn’t, if you catch my drift.”
Cali caught it, all right. Trying not to let anxiety get the better of her, she forced herself to stay calm. “Did they arrest the guy yet?”
“No. They’re still trying to figure out who he is. But our friend in common wanted the guys to be prepared for contact with law enforcement. It’s standard operating procedure in a case like this. And if they feel they want an attorney when they talk to the cops—which is totally within their rights—to call Ross immediately and he or Ed will go.”
Cali felt…numb. “Yeah, okay. Thanks.”
“You might want to call them sooner rather than later about this.”
That meant as soon as they hung up. “Okay. Do we know how she was murdered?”
“The…friend in common wouldn’t say specifically, because it is an ongoing investigation, but they indicated it was blunt force trauma.”
“Yeah. Maybe tell your guys to stay out of the workshop for a couple of days so their knuckles aren’t all busted up, too.”
This felt…surreal. “Yeah, thanks.”
“I’ll let you call them and tell them. I’d do it pretty quick. Talk to you later.”
Cali needed a moment. She felt…ill. Shaky. Nothing like this had ever happened to her before. Nothing like this had struck so close to home.
She wasn’t sure what the guys’ meeting schedule was like for today, so she texted Max.
Need to talk. Now. Urgent.