The Hitwoman’s Getaway
Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman Book 31
A romantic room, gourmet meals, free booze, massages…that’s what Maggie is promised when she’s sent away on a pet-friendly romantic getaway.
Crazy fellow guests, a missing couple, a human skull, and someone trying to kill her is what she ends up getting.
With the help of the core members of her menagerie and a new furry friend, Maggie tries to figure out what’s going on while staying alive and how to salvage her romantic weekend.
But a killer has other plans…
You just know it’s going to be a bad day when the champagne is poisoned. My name is Maggie Lee. I kill people for a living. But this time, someone was trying to kill me.
“A romantic room, gourmet meals, free booze, couples’ massages,” my friend Armani Vasquez gushed enthusiastically. I was sitting across from her at the kitchen table, just trying to sip my coffee. It was too early in the morning to have a real discussion with words and whatnot.
Templeton, my aunt Loretta’s former fiancé, and now an unofficial member of the family, was standing at the stove, cooking. “I think it sounds wonderful,” he enthused.
I shot his back a dirty look. Obviously, he couldn’t see it, and he didn’t fall silent.
“One-on-one time is very important for a relationship,” he continued.
“See?” Armani banged on the table with her good hand for emphasis.
I bit my tongue to refrain from saying that neither of them was in a relationship, so perhaps their theories and advice weren’t worth much.
“See what?” my aunt Susan demanded to know as she strolled into the kitchen. She poured herself a cup of coffee as Armani explained about the hotel and meals and booze and couples’ massages.
“I think it’s just what Maggie needs,” Armani concluded.
“It’s not,” I protested, feeling my stomach knot at the thought of it all.
Aunt Susan joined us at the table, putting her cup down before sitting. “I think it sounds like an excellent idea.”
Realizing that both she and Armani were intent on my going away on this romantic getaway, I felt the knot in my stomach get bigger, and more churn-y. “You don’t even like Gino,” I reminded her.
“I like him a lot,” my aunt rebutted.
My head jerked back, surprised by her reaction. “You told me that things aren’t going to work out well between us.”
She tilted her head from side to side. “Perhaps. But that’s before I saw what a gentleman he can be. And a hero.”
I nodded slowly. Things were starting to make sense. Gino had wormed his way into my aunt’s heart, with his good manners and saving her life. I decided to try another tact. “Well, he can’t get the time off,” I lied smoothly.
“I’ll talk to his boss,” Susan said.
I sputtered and choked on my coffee. I’m pretty sure that I heard Templeton gasp at the stove.
Gino’s boss, Delveccio, was a mob boss. He wasn’t the kind of person that someone went to with a complaint. Especially someone like my aunt, with whom he shares a rather contentious history.
“We’re educating his grandson,” Aunt Susan said haughtily. “The least he can do for us is to allow his man to take some time off to make my niece happy.” She leaned across the table and patted my cheek.
I watched over her shoulder as Templeton’s shoulders rose and fell in silent laughter.
“I never said I wanted to go,” I protested weakly.
“Why wouldn’t you want to? Armani is right,” Susan said. “You need some time off. Take some time away from the family. Nourish your relationship.”
I squinted at her suspiciously. “Who are you?”
She let out a pained sigh. “I’m someone who wants you to be happy, Margaret. You’ve seemed rather stressed lately.”
I couldn’t come up with a response for that that wouldn’t land me in jail.
I tried yet another way of getting out of it. “I can’t leave the animals here alone,” I said.
Piss, who was sitting in the corner, having finished the bowl of cream that Templeton had poured for her, purred, “Sure you can, Sugar.”
“That’s the best part,” Armani crowed victoriously. “The place I found you is pet friendly. You can take them with you.”
“So much for peace and quiet,” God, the anole lizard who was curled up in my bra, muttered.
“It’s settled, then,” Aunt Susan said, raising her coffee mug in a toast to Armani. “She’s off for a romantic getaway.”
I was still shaking my head, but she got up and left the kitchen. The knot was starting to feel more like a tumor. Maybe I had a medical emergency. I couldn’t go away if I had a medical emergency. I glared at my friend over the table. “What have you done?”
Armani blinked at me. “You don’t have to be so hostile.”
“I just want to be there when Susan talks to Delveccio,” Templeton said softly from where he stood by the stove. “A fly on the wall.”
“He might put a kibosh on the whole thing,” I said, feeling slightly more hopeful.
Templeton glanced over his shoulder at me and shot me a disbelieving look. “Have you ever won an argument with your aunt?”
Annoyed, I took my coffee and stalked out of the house, making a beeline for the barn. Piss followed on my heels. “Relax, Sugar,” she urged. “There’s been a lot of worse situations you’ve been in.”
“What’s wrong, toots?” a voice cawed from above. Glancing up, I saw Mike, the crow, circling over me.
“They’re trying to send me on a romantic getaway.”
“Oh,” he said, excitedly. “You’ll need something shiny for that.” Beating his wings, he flew away.
“I don’t need anything shiny,” I muttered under my breath. “I just need to stay home.”
DeeDee, my Doberman pinscher, raced up to me. “Maggie!”
“What?” I snapped back.
The dog lowered her head, stung by my tone.
“I’m sorry,” I apologized immediately. “It’s not you that I’m mad at.”
“Mad who are at you?” she panted curiously.
“Armani,” I told her.
“Maggie is annoyed that her friend is trying to arrange a romantic getaway for her and Gino,” God explained, having pulled himself up onto my shoulder.
“Gino!” DeeDee barked excitedly.
“He feeds her more than Patrick does,” God grumbled. “No wonder she likes him.”
“I thought you like him,” I reminded the lizard.
“I do,” he admitted. “I’m all for this idea.”
“I can’t go,” I protested. “Both Delveccio and Ms. Whitehat have said that Ian is in trouble. I have to figure out what happened and how to protect him.”
“But nothing’s happened to him,” God reminded me.
“Yet,” I said forcefully. “Yet.”
Before we could argue any more, the girls came running out toward the barn. I bent down so that I could hug both of my nieces, taking care not to slosh my coffee on either of them.
Katie declared excitedly, “It’s science day!”
“Great,” I said, pecking her on the cheek. “Go be a great scientist.”
She ran off to the schoolroom in the barn, leaving her cousin Alicia behind. I smiled gently at the more reserved girl. “You don’t like science day?”
“I like it,” she said grudgingly.
“But something’s bothering you?” I guessed.
She nodded and stared down at the ground.
“Would you like to tell me what it is?” I prodded gently.
“It’s okay,” I reassured her. “Whatever it is, you can tell me.”
She lifted her head, and I saw her eyes were brimming with unshed tears. “Katie always gets to go first.”
I blinked, surprised. “What?”
“Katie always gets to go first,” Alicia complained. “She rides Irma first every day.”
I bit back a smile, realizing that while it sounded silly, her pain was real. “I will talk to Miss Lassalan about that,” I promised her. “You guys should alternate who gets to go first.”
“And Dominic should get to go first sometimes, too,” Alicia said, stamping her foot.
I smiled at her sense of fair play. “You’re absolutely right,” I told her. “I’ll take care of it.”
She impulsively threw her hands around my neck and squeezed tightly. “Thank you, Aunt Maggie.” Then, she ran into the school room.
I stood slowly. “That’s why I can’t leave,” I told God. “I have important things to take care of here.”
“Yeah,” God snarked. “About an ass.”
“Hey,” I said, shaking my head. “Who rides the donkey first is apparently very important to her.”
Drinking my coffee as I moved toward the barn, I saw my aunt Leslie emerging from it. “Good morning, Maggie,” she called.
“Morning,” I replied.
“I’m taking Lorraine to meet with Mary after school. Would you like to go with us?”
I blinked, surprised. “You are?”
Leslie nodded. “I told her so much about Lorraine when we were at the museum gala, and she really wants to meet her.”
“That’s great,” I said with a smile.
“So, do you want to go?”
I shook my head. I really had no desire to go visit my mother in the nuthouse where she resided, even if she was having a better, more lucid time. A flash of disappointment passed over my aunt’s face, but before she could comment further, a dark sedan drove down the driveway.