Posted in Book Release, excerpt, mystery, Spotlight on March 16, 2016

Trouble Magnet cover


Eliza Carlisle has the unwanted talent of attracting trouble, in all its forms. That couldn’t be truer than when she moves into the most bizarre apartment building on the planet. Weekly required dinners with the landlord and assigned chores are bad enough, but the rules don’t end there. Top most on the list of requirements is NO physical violence against the others residents.

There have been issues.

In the past.

The young manager, Sonya, claims that hasn’t been a problem recently, but Eliza comes home from her first day of culinary school to find a dead resident, her next door neighbor looking good for the crime, and a cop that seems more interested in harassing her than solving the case.

All Eliza wanted was to escape her past and start over, completely anonymous in a big city. That’s not going to be so easy when the killer thinks she’s made off with a valuable piece of evidence everyone is trying to get their hands on. The ultimatum that she turn it over to save her own life creates a small problem. Eliza has no idea what the killer wants, or where the mysterious object might be.

If she can’t uncover a decades old mystery in time, surviving culinary school will be the least of her problems.


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“No time,” turned out to be three hours. Not that anything got squared away since the police still had no idea who killed Ms. Sinclair. All the detectives who took over from Officer Williams were able to figure out was that we all lived in the most ridiculous apartment building on the planet and both Baxter and I had airtight alibis for the time of the murder, which had happened around three in the afternoon.

Knowing I had been in classes all day, seen by several dozen people, didn’t make Baxter any more inclined to be civil, and knowing he’d been in a diversity training meeting all afternoon with twenty of his coworkers certainly didn’t make me think him any less capable of murdering someone. Namely me. I’d be watching my back around him from now on.

By the time I made it home and collapsed on Bernadette’s couch, I figured it was probably time to call my sister back and explain a few things.

“I have been trying to call you for the last three hours!” Bernadette exploded as soon as she picked up. “What on earth has been going on? The last thing I heard from you was ‘He killed her,’ and then nothing!”

“Sorry.” I honestly couldn’t remember when I’d hung up on her, but I hadn’t even thought about her again until the police had cut me loose a little while ago.

“Explain,” Bernadette demanded.

Knowing this was going to take a while, I lay down on the couch and settled in. “Ms. Sinclair is dead. Murdered. Somebody stabbed her…more than once it sounds like.”

“And you know who did it?” Bernadette gasped.

“Well…I thought I did.”

Groaning, Bernadette pieced the one comment she’d heard earlier with my hesitation to continue. “You didn’t, did you? Please tell me you did not accuse Baxter of killing Ms. Sinclair.”

“Well, honestly, what else was I supposed to think?”

“Nothing! It’s not your business who killed her. Stay out of it, Eliza, for your own safety, and because you barely know any of the people you might accuse. Baxter would never hurt anyone. I can’t believe you told the police he killed her.”

“I can’t believe you’re taking his side!” I snapped. What happened to the sister who understood me and tried to help me through tough stuff like this? When did she turned into this person who tricked me into living in an apartment I was more likely to get murdered in than have a repair made without something blowing up just so she didn’t have to pay higher rent?

Bernadette sighed, and I knew she felt bad. “I’m not taking Baxter’s side, but you really shouldn’t have accused him of anything. I know he can be intimidating, but he’s really a decent guy. Most of the people in the building are. All the weird rules and requirements just tend to get everyone riled up now and again, and people like Ms. Sinclair don’t help the situation.”

Her claim of Baxter being a good guy wasn’t going to win me over any time soon, but I knew that last part was definitely true. I couldn’t believe so many people were willing to put up with this bizarre place just to have cheaper rent.

“Maybe it wasn’t Baxter who killed her.” I was willing to admit that. The rest was still up for debate. “Somebody did kill her, though, and as soon as that sinks in, I’m really going to be freaked out. What if it’s someone who lives here?”

“I doubt it’s anyone who lives in the building, Eliza,” Bernadette said in the comforting tone I was accustomed to.

I wanted to let her words sink in and work like they usually would, but it wasn’t going to happen. Not this time. “Her door was locked.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean her door was locked when they found her.”

“How did they find her then?” she asked.

I shuddered thinking about it, glad I hadn’t come home any earlier and seen it without being prepared. “The lady who lives next to her saw blood seeping out from under the door. She called Sonya, who opened the door, and they found her there in the entryway. The police thought the murderer must have gone out the window, but…”

“Ms. Sinclair doesn’t have a fire escape because it’s too close to the neighboring building to fit one,” Bernadette finished.

“Plus, the window was still locked, too,” I said, “which means…the person who killed her had access to a key.”

Bernadette was silent for a long time. When she spoke, I could hear fear thick in her voice. “It could have been a family member’s key, or she could have lost her key. Sometimes she’d leave them stuck in her mailbox downstairs.”

“Yeah, maybe,” I said, but neither of us really bought that. “The police said her keys weren’t in her apartment anywhere.”

“I’m so sorry, Eliza. I never would have suggested you move in if I didn’t think it was safe. You shouldn’t have to deal with something like this again.”

She really did sound contrite this time. Not like earlier when we’d talked about the non-murderous brand of craziness of this place. Sure, my sister may have willingly led me into the ultimate nuthouse, but she’d never knowingly put me in danger.

“You don’t think…” I hesitated, trying to shove my fears back down into the deep recesses where they had lived for the past five years. “It couldn’t be…him. Right?”

“Of course not,” Bernadette said quickly. “He’s gone. Even the police agreed you were safe now.”

Like that meant much. I took a deep breath, working to convince myself that my sister was right. I would never have left the bakery and my safe but lonely life if it hadn’t been true. This was something else entirely.

About the Author

DelSheree Gladden was one of those shy, quiet kids who spent more time reading than talking. Literally. She didn’t speak a single word for the first three months of preschool, but she had already taught herself to read. Her fascination with reading led to many hours spent in the library and bookstores, and eventually to writing. She wrote her first novel when she was sixteen years old, but spent ten years rewriting and perfecting it before having it published.

Native to New Mexico, DelSheree and her husband spent several years in Colorado for college and work before moving back home to be near family again. Their two children love having their cousins close by. When not writing, you can find DelSheree reading, painting, sewing and trying not to get bitten by small children in her work as a dental hygienist. DelSheree has several bestselling young adult series, including “Invisible” which was part of the USA Today Bestselling box set, “Pandora.” She has also ventured into contemporary romance, romantic comedies, and her first murder mystery “Trouble Magnet” releasing March 2016.

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