The Hitwoman’s Girls’ Night Out
Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman Book 30
What could possibly go wrong when a girls’ night out is arranged by Armani Vasquez?
Maggie Lee is about to find out.
When Maggie humors her quirky, psychic friend and agrees to a long-delayed night of “fun” she has to deal with the uniquely challenging dynamics of her female friends and family, a roomful of people who could potentially reveal her secret life, and a distraught, emotional support guinea pig.
Not to mention that her mom, who’s out on a temporary pass from the nut house, claims to have witnessed a murder.
It’s going to be a memorable night for Maggie and the girls, but will it prove deadly?
You just know it’s going to be a bad day when Armani’s planned a girls’ night out.
A sharp rap on my bedroom door woke me from a blissful dream where I was lying in a meadow, all by myself, soaking up the silence and staring up at the stars. My dreams are pretty much the only place where I get to be alone.
Startled awake, I struggled to sit up and focus on the door, but I was held down by the cat pressed to the top of my head, the Doberman draped across my chest, and the pig weighing down my legs. Instead of sitting up, I felt suffocated.
The bedroom door swung open, and Armani Vasquez burst in. “Morning, chica!”
“Go away,” I groaned. I would have covered my eyes to emphasize my point, except my arm was trapped under DeeDee, the dog.
“Big night, tonight,” my friend declared, ignoring my instruction to leave.
“I was sleeping,” I told her grouchily.
Slowly, the animals stirred, releasing me so that I could sit up and glare at my friend.
“We were all sleeping, Sugar,” Piss, the one-eyed cat, grumbled.
“I was not asleep,” God, the anole lizard, declared from where he balanced on a piece of driftwood. “I awoke with the dawn.”
“Me too! Me too! Me too!” Benny, the little white mouse chimed in, racing around in circles in his little cage.
“I hate morning creatures,” I muttered.
“I’m hungry,” Matilda, the pig, grunted, sliding off the foot of the bed and landing with a heavy thunk on the carpet.
“She’s always hungry,” God pointed out.
“Hungry!” DeeDee barked excitedly.
“Her too,” the lizard griped.
The Doberman leapt over her porcine pal, almost knocking Armani over in the process, and raced out of the room, toward the kitchen. Matilda waddled behind.
“Close the door,” I implored Armani. It was bad enough that she was in here, I didn’t need any other early morning visitors coming to pay their respects.
“You’re a grouchy one,” my friend said, lowering herself onto the spot on the bed that Matilda had just vacated.
“I was asleep,” I reminded her.
“Late night with Gino?” she asked with a curious sparkle in her eye.
Instead of answering her, I pulled the bed sheet over my face. “What do you want?”
“Aren’t you excited?” It sounded like she was excited enough for the both of us.
I flipped the sheet back off my face and asked, “About what?”
“Our girls’ night out.”
I was about to tell her that a girls’ night out sounded like the seventh ring of hell, but Piss stuck her claws into my shoulder. “She’s worked hard on this,” she purred quietly.
Knowing the cat was right, I managed a half smile for Armani. “I can’t wait,” I said with false cheer, trying to be a good friend.
She cocked her head to the side and gave me a suspicious look. I guess I hadn’t been too convincing. I was not a good friend.
“I’ll be more enthusiastic after coffee,” I promised her.
“Just tell me you’re not going to back out,” she said, narrowing her eyes at me. She knew me too well. “Promise me, Maggie.”
“I won’t back out,” I pledged. That was mostly because I had not come up with a good excuse to miss the outing. I’d been trying to think of one for days.
“I’ve taken care of everything,” my friend said excitedly. “I made the plans. I bought the outfits. I arranged the transportation.”
“Hold up,” I said, raising a hand, trying to stop her as panic tightened my chest. “What outfits?”
“I got them for everybody,” she said, standing up. “Don’t worry, you’re going to love yours.”
I squinted at her suspiciously. I love Armani, but I don’t always love her taste…or lack thereof.
She limped toward the bedroom door, glancing at me over her shoulder. “It’s a big morning,” she reminded me.
I nodded. It was. There was going to be a big change in the family compound, and not everyone was happy about it.
“Come get some coffee.” She stepped out of the room and pulled the door shut behind her.
“Maybe the night out won’t be that bad,” Piss said the moment she was gone.
I glanced at the cat, who was still sharing my pillow. “Do you really believe that?”
“I don’t,” God interjected from his enclosure. “I think it’s going to be a disaster.”
“You think everything is going to be a disaster,” Piss countered, flexing her claws in the reptile’s direction.
“True! True! True!” Benny agreed.
Wanting to escape the bickering of the animals, I threw off the blankets, climbed out of bed, and struggled to get my arms into my robe, contorting myself like I was in a straightjacket.
“What are you doing?” God asked suspiciously.
“We should get ready for the day,” I murmured.
“Take me,” the lizard demanded.
I scooped him out of his enclosure and put him on my shoulder. Having not gotten dressed yet, I wasn’t wearing a bra for him to dive into.
Shoving my feet into slippers, I shuffled out of the room. Piss followed at my heels, and then raced down the hallway to the kitchen. The aroma of fresh brewed coffee perked me up a little.
“Morning,” Templeton greeted, pouring me a cup as I stepped into the room.
I smiled my gratitude at Aunt Loretta’s ex-fiancé. “Morning.”
My Aunt Susan was busy fussing with something inside the refrigerator, mumbling under her breath.
“Good morning,” I called to her.
Without lifting her head up, she grunted a response. Her face was hidden by the refrigerator door, plastered with crayon drawings, but she did not sound like her normal self this morning.
Templeton shot me a warning look and shook his head slightly. I took that to mean that she was not in the best of moods. While Templeton poured Piss a bowl of cream, I settled into a seat at the table.
“Hungry?” Templeton asked. “It’s a big day.”
Aunt Susan, still with her head stuck in the fridge, made a displeased noise.
“I could eat,” I told Templeton.
Aunt Susan straightened and slammed the refrigerator door shut. I waited for her to say something, but she remained silent.
“Aunt Maggie! Aunt Maggie!” My niece, Katie, came barreling into the kitchen at full speed. She threw herself at me, almost causing me to spill my hot coffee on her.
Arm extended to keep the scalding liquid away from her, I winced as it sloshed over my hand. Ignoring the pain, and possible burn, I pulled her into a tight hug with my other arm. “Did you sleep well, sweetheart?”
“I dreamt that Irma helped me with my multiplication tables.”
I bit back a smile. Irma, the donkey in the barn stall that was beside the school room, didn’t strike me as being particularly mathematically adept. Then again, it was said that Mr. Ed, or Trigger, or maybe it was Black Beauty, could count, so what did I know?
My niece turned her attention to the man who was pulling a pan out of the cabinet. “Can we have animal pancakes for lunch?”
Before Templeton could answer, Aunt Susan interjected. “No.”
“Why not?” the little girl asked.
“Because pancakes aren’t lunch food,” Susan told her in a stilted tone.
“But I told Dominic all about them and he wants to try them,” Katie pouted.
“Well, then get his grandfather to make some for him,” Susan muttered, stalking out of the room.
Katie’s lower lip quivered, and I thought that she was going to burst into tears.
“We’ll make Dominic animal pancakes some other day,” I promised her. I looked over my niece’s shoulder at Templeton for help.
“I don’t have any pancake mix in the house, sweetie,” he lied smoothly. “But I do have marshmallow fluff. I thought I’d make fluffernutter sandwiches for lunch for Dominic’s first day.”
The temptation of the sugary treat was enough to make Katie smile. “He’ll like that.”
“I hope so,” Templeton said. “Did you want some cereal?”
“Just some bread,” she said.
“Are you going to eat any of it?” Templeton asked. “Or are you going to give it all to the bird?”
“Miss Lassalan says bread isn’t good for birds,” Katie said. “I’ll eat it all.”
“Do you want it buttered?” Templeton asked. She shook her head. He quickly opened a bag and handed her two slices.
“Thank you,” she said.
“You’re very welcome.” He patted her on the head. “I bet you want to eat outside.”
She nodded. He opened the kitchen door and let her out.
Once she was gone, he turned back to me. “It’s going to be a big day.”
“It’s going to be a stressful one,” I muttered.
“And the night will only be worse,” God said from my shoulder.