The Readaholics and the Gothic Gala

The Readaholics and the Gothic Gala by Laura Disilverio Read Free Book Online

Book: The Readaholics and the Gothic Gala by Laura Disilverio Read Free Book Online
Authors: Laura Disilverio
of a sudden, gorgeous hair and dark blue eyes notwithstanding. “It’s a good idea, Gemma,” I said. “I know someone at the police department and I can talk to him, let him know what the situation is. Maybe he’ll have an idea.”
    â€œThank you,” Mary said, throwing her shoulders back. Clearly, she was ready to move on. She managed a brave smile. “I’m not going to let this poor, deluded woman ruin my experience here in Heaven. Where’s that young man whose story won? I’ll take a photo with him and his family. They’d probably like that.”
    Lucas rolled his eyes. “You won’t need me for that,” he said. “I’ll bring the car around.” He followed his sister out of the auditorium toward the hall, where the babble of voices suggested there were still a few people hanging around.
    Shannon put a hand on my arm. “I’m sorry if I—”
    â€œNot your fault,” I assured her. “And it’s no big deal. You did great.”
    She flashed a smile. “Thanks. If you don’t need me for anything else, I’ve got an appointment with my Bissell steam cleaner. Mitch and I are coming tonight, so maybe I’ll see you. I’m coming as Morticia Addams. Remember
The Addams Family
?”
    Before my time, but I’d seen a couple of episodes in reruns. With her long dark hair, she would make a great Morticia. “I’ll look for you. Can I have those?” I gestured to her file folder with the stories.
    She handed it over. “All yours.”
    I flipped through the folder after she left, not sure why I’d even asked for it. I’d look at it later. Right now, I needed to dash home and put on my costume before driving to the Club to make sure everything was in train for the ball. I wanted nothing more than to kick my shoes off, relax in a bubble bath, and spend theevening watching anything as long as it didn’t have a gothic vibe—
Big Bang Theory
, maybe—but that wasn’t an option. Reminding myself that my paycheck for organizing all of today’s events would pay my office rent for next month, I exited the auditorium, stopping to thank Cletis on the way and remind him that we were working together again on Friday for an event at the First Baptist Church of Heaven. I’d always thought that churches that could say they were located in Heaven had a leg up on other churches.
    On my way to the main doors, I spotted Axie commiserating with a glum Thea, who was gnawing on a red spiral of licorice. I detoured toward them. “Great story, Thea,” I said. “Sorry it didn’t win.”
    â€œYeah,” she said. “Catch you later, Ax.” She drifted away, shoulders slumped.
    â€œAxie,” I started, “were you and Josh in the auditorium the whole time I was gone?”
    Giving me an anxious look, she asked, “Uh-uh. Was I supposed to be? I was mostly in the auditorium, but I put up the signs.” She pointed to a neatly lettered placard that read, “Auction and Story Contest This Way!” with an arrow. She crinkled her brow in thought. “And I went to the drinking fountain to fill up my water bottle.” She jiggled the half-empty disposable bottle.
    â€œDid anyone come in the auditorium while you were there?”
    â€œJust the janitor.”
    â€œWhat did he look like?”
    She shrugged. “I didn’t really notice. Josh and I—I’m sorry if I screwed up, Miss Amy-Faye.”
    I hugged her. “You didn’t screw up, Axie. I’m just trying to figure out how Francesca Bugle’s manuscript got mixed up in the items for sale. It could have happened at Book Bliss, too. I don’t know how long Gemma had the auction items boxed up in her stockroom. No biggie. Don’t worry about it.”
    Her face lit up with a thought. “Maybe I could help you find out. I could track down the janitor and ask

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