STUCK by C.T. Collier
Self Published (March 18, 2017)
Paperback: 308 pages ISBN-13: 978-1544277967
Meet the Penningtons: Lyssa, Ph.D. Economics, and her husband “the handsome Brit” Kyle, Ph.D. Computer Science. When their clever minds ask questions, clever killers can’t hide.Murder never entered the picture until Fritz Van Derzee decided, at long last, to clear his name. Who stuck a jeweled stiletto into his desktop after stabbing him to death? Fritz’s daughter, Emma, recruits her former professor Lyssa Pennington to find the killer.But where’s the ten million Fritz was falsely accused of embezzling? Tompkins College President, Justin Cushman, hires his old friend Kyle Pennington to trace the missing money.While Lyssa uses charm and tenacity on the long list of suspects, Kyle reconstructs the college’s old homegrown finance system. As they converge on the killer, Lyssa and Kyle may be the next two casualties.
Justin’s assistant claimed the president was in a meeting but added, “You sound out of breath, Lyssa. Is it urgent?”
“I’m running to a murder scene. Yes, it’s urgent.”
Justin came on the line, and she told him what little she knew.
“For God’s sake, be careful.”
That spooked her. But he was right. A man was dead. Was the killer still in the neighborhood watching the aftermath? Hanging around would be too risky, wouldn’t it? People in these neighborhoods watched what happened all day. And night. Someone must have seen something. Heard something.
She pressed forward the next two blocks and paused at the end of the Van Derzee’s brick walk. Where were the police? Emma had said she’d called them. Surely they hadn’t come and removed the body already? And why leave the door open?
When a penny-pinching American marries a luxury-loving Brit
by C. T. Collier
Trust me, it’s not easy being married to a wealthy handsome Brit.
I’m Lyssa Pennington, and I’ve been married just over a year to the love of my life, Kyle. We’re committed to spending the rest of our lives together, but we’ve got some differences that challenge us.
For starters, Kyle’s casual attitude toward his business and his love of luxury both terrify me. I want us to have six kids, and I have this nasty little fear we’re going to go broke putting them though private schools and paying for their college years and graduate programs.
Kyle swears to me he’s in no danger of going broke, even with his taste for luxury, but I can’t get my head around that. I scrimped and saved my entire life to get my doctorate and land an awesome job as a college professor. It probably doesn’t surprise you that I teach Financial Literacy and Economic Theory to college students. Everyone says I’m perfect for the job, and Kyle’s hugely proud of me. But the reality is my salary isn’t enough to support a family of eight. If anything happens to Kyle’s business, we’re in trouble. Every penny of his inheritance goes toward keeping his ancestral home, Pennington House, in good repair, and taking care of his aging mum.
Trouble comes in three forms for us: Kyle is determined to spend freely on luxuries, and I totally don’t get that; I’m so uneasy with his casual management of his business that I can’t stop myself from grilling him about it; and I’m totally unprepared to dress and act the part of his corporate wife or the lady of the Pennington Estate.
We’ve neatly negotiated some of these conflicts, but I’ve had to enlist a really smart friend to help me with the rest. First the luxuries. While my clothes closet in our master suite has half a dozen skirts, assorted tops, jeans, two hoodies, ballet flats, and a bunch of tote bags, Kyle’s clothes occupy an entire room. His custom tailored suits fill three oversized cedar-lined zippered closets, and his stash of shoes stacks up against the opposite wall. You’d think, as Brit, he’d know how to keep his shoes dry, but the man Will Not Wear Overshoes. He’s constantly buying new Italian leather loafers to replace the once he’s ruined walking to lunch. And don’t get me started on his jewelry. I guess any other woman would seize the opportunity to buy jewelry for herself, but I’m just not wired that way.
Truly I wouldn’t be so nudgy about the money spent on luxuries if Kyle weren’t so blasé about his company. He’s founder and CEO of Pennington Secure Networks. Based in London and serving clients all over Europe and Canada, it is the product of his genius. Did I mention he has a PhD in Computer Science and is one of the world’s experts on encryption? His clients are his school chums who’ve started their own hugely successful businesses and rely on Kyle to protect their communication and their documents. His profits are healthy, but he’s been burned badly by a couple of recent hires who embezzled enough to get his attention. Honestly, I should thank them for waking him up to the consequences of sloppy management practice. He’s been really humbled by the treachery. To my relief, he has asked me to act as an advisor going forward.
Speaking of advice, I’ve had to swallow my pride and ask for help, too. My good friend Gianessa is married to our college president, Justin Cushman, who’s a billionaire. I was a starving newly minted PhD when I met Kyle, and Gianessa was broke when she met Justin, so she understands the shock for me marrying into wealth. But unlike the strict budgeting I learned as a child childhood, Gianessa’s mother spoiled her with extravagant shopping trips to New York City, and later she married and divorced a high-tech wizard on the fast track who loved to live large. So Gianessa knows how to dress the part and which fork to use for the escargot. Whenever I’ve got an appearance to make, whether it’s at a fine restaurant in Kyle’s native Cornwall or at a function with one of his clients and all the dignitaries in the client’s city, I grab Gianessa for a shopping trip and we rehearse every aspect of my participation. Gianessa’s a lifesaver. Kyle not only approves of her help, he’s the one who suggested it.
Thinking of it that way, we’ve really done well, haven’t we? Though we’re ten years apart in age, an ocean apart in culture, and millions apart in personal finances, Kyle and I love, honor, and respect each other. I think that’s the key to working out our differences. That and the willingness to call on expert help when we’re in over our heads. Maybe it’s time we got started on the six kids; Kyle thinks so, too.
About The Author
C. T. Collier was born to solve logic puzzles, wear tweed, and drink Earl Grey tea. Her professional experience in cutthroat high tech and backstabbing higher education gave her endless opportunity to study intrigue. Add to that her longtime love of mysteries, and it’s no wonder she writes academic mysteries that draw inspiration from traditional whodunits. Her setting is entirely fictional: Tompkins College is no college and every college, and Tompkins Falls is a blend of several Finger Lakes towns, including her hometown, Seneca Falls, NY (AKA Bedford Falls from It’s a Wonderful Life).
Author LinksWebsite: https://drkatecollier.wordpress.com
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