Pinkerton Detective Katie Madison Makes a Lousy Harvey House Waitress. . . .
But it’s the only way she can get close enough to the scene of the murders of two of the restaurant’s servers to solve the mystery. Between having impeccable posture, a perfect Harvey Girl smile, and memorizing menu specials of the day, not to mention dealing with the temperamental French chef, her mind might be too full to make any headway in the biggest case of her career.
Sheriff Branch Whitman knows there’s something fishy about the pretty new Harvey girl with the flaming red hair, but he never would’ve guessed her to be a Pinkerton! And he’s never met a Pink he liked—but there is something intriguing about her.
Soon a tornado hits town, and a shadow from the past puts Branch’s eight-year-old son in danger. Now the sheriff has no choice but to work with Katie—or chance losing everything he holds dear. Tracking a murderer is dangerous even for a man, and he fears for Katie’s safety. But as they get closer to the killer one thing becomes abundantly clear. Protecting Katie is one thing; protecting his heart something else.
Katie Madison tied the black satin ribbon at her neckline and frowned. The lopsided bow wouldn’t do. She yanked the ribbon loose and tried again. Today she was all thumbs and everything that could go wrong, did. Already she’d broken a shoelace, snagged a stocking, and torn the hem of her dress.
Just as she finished tying the bow for the third time the bedroom door flew open and her roommate’s brunette head popped inside. “Katie! Hurry or you’ll be late.”
“I’m trying, I’m trying.”
Mary-Lou’s green eyes narrowed and her southern drawl grew more pronounced. “Pickens has a burr in his saddle. Said if you don’t hurry he’ll have your head!”
Katie’s stomach knotted. She was already in trouble with the restaurant manager. “I’ll be there in a minute.”
“A minute might be too late.” The door slammed shut, and Mary-Lou’s footsteps echoed down the hall as she yelled for the other Harvey girls to hurry. “Y’all better hurry now, you hear?”
Katie whirled about for one last look in the mirror and hardly recognized the image reflected back. The black dress with its high-collar, starched white apron, black shoes and stockings made her look more like a nun than one of Pinkerton’s most successful female detectives.
Even her unruly red hair had been forced to conform to Fred Harvey’s strict regulations. Parted in the middle, it was pulled back in a knot and fashioned with the mandatory net. The rigid hairdo did nothing for her, appearance-wise. All it did was make her eyes look too big and her freckles stand out like brown polka dots.
Wrinkling her nose, she turned away from the mirror. It’s a good thing she’d chosen to be a detective as she had neither the looks nor housekeeping skills needed for landing a husband.
Not that she was complaining; two Harvey girls had been found dead and it was her job to find the killer. The assignment of a lifetime had landed in her lap.
Working undercover was never easy, but so far this particular disguise was proving to be the hardest one yet, even harder than last year’s job as a circus performer. At least here she didn’t have to hobnob with lions, and for that she was grateful. All she had to deal with now was a possibly deranged killer.
Pausing at the door, she checked that her leg holster and gun were secured beneath her skirt. The pocket seams had been ripped open for easy retrieval. Hand on the doorknob she braced herself with a quick prayer. God knows, she needed all the help she could get.
BEST-SELLING AUTHOR MARGARET BROWNLEY has penned nearly forty novels and novellas. Her books have won numerous awards, including Readers’ Choice and Award of Excellence. She’s a former Romance Writers of American RITA® finalist and has written for a TV soap. She is currently working on a new series. Not bad for someone who flunked eighth grade English. Just don’t ask her to diagram a sentence.