Engaged in Murder (Perfect Proposals Mystery)

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Authors: Nancy J. Parra
with water from the fridge. “It’s about time,” he said. “That guy was a deadbeat.”
    “I thought you liked Bobby,” I said. The celery suddenly tasted like cardboard.
    “Oh, honey, that was high school. We thought you’d lose interest in him when you went away to college.”
    “Why else would we let you go off to DePauw when there are a number of good schools right here in Chicago?” Dad said.
    “But I thought . . .” I frowned and shook my head. “Never mind.”
    “At least you weren’t living with him,” Dad said. He gave me the evil eye. “You weren’t, were you?”
    “No.” I glared back at him. “Bobby likes his own space.”
    “Well, I’m glad you didn’t marry him.” Mom hung the towel on the oven door.
    “Did he break up with you?” Dad asked. “Because if he did, I may have to go teach him a lesson.”
    “No, Dad.” I tried hard not to roll my eyes. “I broke up with him.”
    “That’s my smart girl.” He planted a kiss on my forehead as he headed toward the dining room.
    The front door opened, Felicity and Warren stepped inside, and all talk of me and my love life ended. Mom rushed to greet my sister with a hug and a kiss and squeals. I hugged my waist and smiled at the joy on their faces. Dad shook hands with Warren and patted him on the back.
    “Welcome to the family, son.” Dad had always wanted a boy. Living in a houseful of women, he often felt outnumbered.
    I stepped in and gave my sister a kiss and a hug. Then I hugged Warren. Mom took their coats, putting them on the bed in the front bedroom, and went to the kitchen to serve appetizers.
    Mom and Dad’s living room was classic in design with pale green walls and darker green carpeting. One wall of windows was covered with green and cream patterned drapery. The overstuffed couch sat in front of it. Across from the couch were two stuffed chairs with a tiny table between them. The couch was dark green with bright poppy red pillows.
    Mom had a neutral area rug on top of the carpet to define the space. I would call her decorating taste seventies chic. What really made it were the eagle lamps in a bronze tone.
    “How was your trip?” Dad asked as Felicity and Warren sat down on the couch. “Where’d you go?” Dad took his favorite chair across from them.
    “Oh, it was so wonderful,” Felicity said, her eyes sparkling. “Warren took me to New York City. We stayed in a hotel downtown, went to a Broadway show, and had dinner at this French bistro named Beloit. The next morning we went ring shopping.” Felicity held out her hand to show off a large marquise-cut diamond.
    “Oh, my word.” My mother went breathless at the sight. She handed me the platter she’d brought in from the kitchen and grabbed my sister’s hand. “Pepper, look at this.”
    “Wow,” I said. “It’s lovely.”
    “That had to set you back.” Dad frowned. “You should have saved your money for a down payment on a house.”
    “Actually, there are a couple of things we need to tell you,” Warren said.
    “What kind of things?” Dad narrowed his eyes.
    I had a funny feeling something was up. Seriously, the rock on my sister’s finger had to have cost in the tens of thousands of dollars. How could Warren afford it on an accountant’s salary?
    My thoughts went to the cost of the private jet and the trip. This was Chicago. There was money around and not all of it good. Exactly who did Warren work for?

Chapter 7

    “Bad things?” Mom asked as she took the tray from me and passed around her famous canapés. I found myself standing in concern as my sister stared lovingly at her fiancé.
    “There’s good news and bad news,” Felicity said, her gaze never leaving Warren’s face.
    “Did you rob a bank or something?” My father joked then his face grew solemn. “Better not have.”
    Warren’s grin widened. “No, no, nothing like that.”
    “Good.” Dad nodded and crossed his arms over his chest.
    “Does it have to do with the dead

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