Title: Silk Whispers
Author: Cheryl L. Hyde
Genre: Murder Mystery, Lesbian Romance
Pages: 319 Pages
Release Date: June 8, 2015
Publisher: Self Published
Rating: 5 Stars (117 Reviews Smashwords)
Sometimes life in a small coastal village is very predictable, other times it is anything but. Best friends and more, Mia and Charlie own Silk Whispers and lead “normal” lives, until one evening a dead body is found outside their boutique. Investigating officers Livie and Ryder arrive and with the first look—the first touch—sparks begin to fly. Can love develop from such an inauspicious beginning?
What the Hell?
She feels a scream scrambling up her throat, but not a sound escapes. Her hand grips Charlie’s in a death grip. “What the hell?” Mia whispers.
“I think I’m going to be sick,” Charlie gasps.
They stare at the body leaning against the side of their boutique. The shoulder length blond hair is a tangled mess, blood obscures the face, and the head sits at an unnatural angle on the shoulders, the neck looks like it’s broken. The too-thin body is a ghastly gray and missing most of its clothing.
It’s late. Mia and Charlie are tired and all they want is to go home. It’s been a busy day. Besides helping the unusually large number of customers, they stayed late to complete the dreaded yearly inventory counts.
“She’s dead, right?”
“Oh yea. You can’t be that color and still be alive. Do you want to call 9-1-1 or shall I?”
“I’ll call, but let’s go back inside, just in case whoever did this is still around.” Mia glances around quickly at the deserted alley behind their eclectic lingerie shop, Silk Whispers, featuring custom-made under garments, as well as lingerie designed for bedroom—or any room—play.
Opening the door to Silk Whispers the two women go back inside, quickly closing and locking the door. Shaking, Mia pulls out her phone and calls 9-1-1. She quickly, but precisely, explains the circumstances and receives instructions to remain where she is—safely locked inside the shop. Two law enforcement officers will be there shortly, but until then she is told not to open her door for anyone.
“I know they said not to go outside, but maybe we should cover her with something. I mean it is sort of gross the way she is just sitting there mostly naked.”
“No way. I’ve watched enough TV to know you don’t mess with a crime scene, especially when a dead body is involved, unless you want to become the number one suspect. Besides, what if whoever did that is watching? Waiting.” Mia shudders.
The two friends move closer together, standing with their shoulders touching, each naturally seeking comfort from the other. Hands reach for and find the other, locking solidly together. The quiet seems to envelope them in a protective cocoon.
Mia and Charlie have been best friends and more since their early days of college. Outgoing and brilliantly intelligent Mia received a full-ride scholarship, swimming her way to many wins, state championships, and awards. Her dual majors were business and environmental ecology, but she spent hours in the textile design and merchandising department working on an unintentional minor, as well as her numerous one-of-a-kind creations. She had a natural eye for design and a decent talent for drawing those designs.
Awkwardly shy, introverted Charlie worked her way through college designing and making costumes for the theatre, thus spending hours in their sewing room. Her primary major was business law, but she minored in textiles and design, which is where she honed her raw talent for creating sexy, little underthings. Often, upon finishing her work on costumes, she remained to work on her designs.
Freshman year found Mia and Charlie in many of the same classes and a friendship blossomed. They soon discovered their mutual interest in designing lingerie. By the beginning of their second semester, they had finagled their way into being roommates, and the ‘and more’ of their relationship was born. Neither one had planned the ‘and more’ aspect, but neither did they try to stop the development.
That summer they rented a small two-bedroom house, which they called home until graduation. They shared one bedroom with their plush queen-sized bed and used the other room to design and sew one-of-a-kind silk lingerie. Sharing vivid imaginations for designing and sewing the little garments, as well as loving to model them for each other, led to further progression of their relationship.
However, lately their personal relationship is taking a backseat to the needs of their business. They rarely have time for each other and the fun things they used to do. Slowly, they seem to be drifting apart, yearning for something more than what they have.
Bam! Bam! Bam! The banging against the steel door breaks into the almost too quiet silence, sending both young women leaping into the other’s arms. An involuntary, high-pitched, squeak bursts forth from Charlie’s mouth.
“Officers Carson Ryder and Olivia Pollman, with the Shadow Springs police department. Please open the door,” comes the clipped baritone command.
“Thank, God!” Charlie murmurs and bolts for the door.
“Wait!” Mia grabs Charlie’s arm. “How do we know it’s really the police?”
Charlie looks uncertain. “So what do we do?”
“We need to see some ID before we open the door,” Mia yells through the locked door.
“Good idea,” Charlie mouths.
“This door is solid steel and there are no windows back here. How do you propose we do this?” comes the terse male reply.
“Face the center of the door and step to your right two small side-steps. Hold your IDs up so we can see them on our camera.”
The officers comply. After verifying that the faces match the IDs, Mia unlocks the door and introductions are exchanged. She explains they own Silk Whispers.
Mia shakes officer Ryder’s hand and can’t help herself as she gives the tall, blond, too-ruggedly-handsome-for-his-own-good officer Ryder the once—okay twice—over. Sensing his eyes boring into her, she feels heat infuse her face and hopes he can’t see the blush in the dim exterior lighting. Releasing her hand, he introduces his partner, officer Olivia Pollman.
Officer Pollman extends her right hand to shake both women’s hands, taking in their anxious expressions. “You may call me Livie,” she says in her smooth, smoky voice.
Surprised by the sexy, polished voice, Charlie pointedly looks at Officer Pollman—Livie—with a questioning lift of her right eyebrow. Her instincts—which rarely let her down—are on high alert. Her libido has kicked into overdrive. The tall, willowy brunette looks more like a model than an officer of the law and her resonant voice is like that of cultured old money society.
“I rarely use the officer term when talking with people, unless they are giving me a hard time. After 13 years in law enforcement, I’m comfortable with first names.” Livie is sizing up Charlie, and didn’t miss the earlier hand holding between the two, twenty-something females.
She considers herself a pretty good judge of character and figures they are more than simply business partners. She also hasn’t missed the look of raw sexual interest passing mutually between Mia and Carson or the attraction she is feeling towards, as well as receiving from Charlie. ‘Interesting,’ she decides.
Charlie nods, “Okay.” She looks at Livie again and decides she must have joined the force at a very young age. She doesn’t look any older than Mia or herself. “Did you say 13 years?”
“I did. I know. Everybody thinks I’m just a kid. Helps with undercover work, but is hell on the social life sometimes,” she chuckles deeply.