Once Upon a Seaside Murder by Maggie Blackburn

Once Upon a Seaside Murder by Maggie Blackburn

Author:Maggie Blackburn [Blackburn, Maggie]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Chapter Thirty-Seven

With the last Christmas shipment of books shelved, Glads, Mia, Marilyn, Poppy, and Summer plopped down in the storage room.

Mia, sprawled on a huge box, sighed. “Who knew shelving books was so hard?’

“We did.” Glads sat down on the box next to her.

Poppy groaned. “A few more days of this madness.”

“Someone, please, shut off the Christmas music. It’s getting embedded into my brain,” Marilyn said.

Poppy flipped off the switch and laughed.

Summer threw her the keys. “Would you all lock up? I need to go home.” Peg and Lucy would be there soon.

“What? Why?” Mia stood. “I’ll come with you.”

“Don’t you need to get home?” The last thing Summer needed was for her niece to get wind of the ransom note.

Mia eyed her as if she’d lost her mind. “Why would I? Mom is staying with you tonight, and so am I.”

“Maybe I’ll call her and tell her to stay home. I know she’s got to be tired, since she’s been working with the search teams.”

“She’s done with that. They’ve stopped searching for now,” Mia said.

“Besides, you need someone to be there.” Glads stood and stretched.

“Do I?” Summer was so done with people. She felt the need to be alone to sort through everything she understood about the case—about Mimi, about her family, about the ransom note. After Peg and Lucy left, she wanted a bath and bed and to get up in the morning to sit with her thoughts. She didn’t want to have to deal with anyone.

“Yes, I think as long as Mimi is missing, you need to have someone stay with you. I’ll come over if you don’t want Piper and Mia to,” Marilyn said.

Mia crossed her arms.

“It’s fine for Mia and Piper to come over. But how long can this continue? We all have lives, and it’s Christmas. I’m sure everybody has things to do.” Summer glanced at her watch. She was sure Peg and Lucy were waiting for her. “I need to go.”

“What’s your hurry?” Glads said. “We need to chat about the book club party. Let’s have a drink.”

“Not tonight. I’m sorry. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Summer walked out of the room. Was she being too suspicious?

As she walked out of the store, she felt the eyes of the books on her. She stopped, drew in some air, and took it all in. The overstuffed chairs, the romance authors’ signatures all over—the walls, the floors, the mermaid decor. Everything about this place was carefully geared toward readers. Her mom had loved the place, and you could feel the passion for reading in every crack and crevice. It was so different than what you experienced walking into a huge chain bookstore. This place had been carefully crafted for readers by a woman who loved reading.

Summer sighed and opened the door to the night. She’d been trying to make her decision—whether to go back to work or to stay here with the bookstore, her family, her friends. She kept putting off the deliberations. It was too much in the middle of her grief.


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