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Authors: Lois Greiman

One Hot Mess

Praise for Lois Greiman

“DANGEROUSLY FUNNY STUFF.”—Janet Evanovich

“Lois Greiman is a modern-day Dorothy Sayers.
Witty as hell, yet talented enough to write
like an angel with a broken wing.”
—Kinky Friedman, author of
Ten Little
New
Yorkers

And

UNMANNED

“A fast-paced read that keeps the reader on their toes…
Just as the striking couple interacts and searches for the
killer, Lois Greiman pulls the reader into the same hunt,
keeping them guessing all the way to the end in this
marvelous read loaded with action and suspense,
and an awesome dog named Harlequin.”

CoffeeTimeRomance.com

“Lois Greiman's sexy shrink Christina McMullen is
back…. Life is full of mayhem when a stranger is
gunned down in front of her and family complications shake the boat, but the sassy sleuth can handle both
that and hot LAPD detective Rivera in this
entertaining series.”

Mystery Scene

UNSCREWED

“What a marvelous book! I was hooked from page one.
Unscrewed
is a delightful romp … a laugh on every page.”
—Maryjanice Davidson, New
York Times
bestselling
author of the Undead series

“A mystery that has it all, romance, murder,
comedy, and a hot detective!”

FreshFiction.com

UNPLUGGED

A
Romantic Times
Reviewers' Choice Nominee for Best Mystery & Suspense/Amateur Sleuth Novel

“The second book in Greiman's series even surpasses the superb first book. The writing is sharp
and the dialogue realistic, with enough comedy
interspersed. Greiman makes you feel for all of her
characters. Whether you hate, love or fear for them,
she brings forth every emotion.”

Romantic Times
(Top Pick!)

“L.A. psychologist Chrissy McMullen is back to prove
that boobs, brass and brains make for one heck of a good
time … laugh-out-loud-funny… sassy… clever.”

Mystery Scene

UNZIPPED

Winner of the Toby Bromberg Award for
Most Humorous Mystery
Winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award for
Best Mainstream Mystery Romantic Suspense

“Move over, Stephanie Plum and Bubbles
Yablonsky to make way for Christina
McMullen…The chemistry between the
psychologist and the police lieutenant
is so hot that readers will see
sparks fly off the pages.”

TheBestReviews.com

“Simple sexy sport may well be just
what the doctor ordered!”

Publishers Weekly

“Lucy Ricardo meets Dr. Frasier Crane in
Lois Greiman's humorous, suspenseful
Unzipped
…The result is a highly successful,
tongue-in-cheek, comical suspense guaranteed
to entice and entertain.”

BookLoons.com

Also by Lois Greiman

UNZIPPED

UNPLUGGED

UNSCREWED

UNMANNED

To Robert James Daun, a hero in the making.
Thanks for being you.

1

Luck is merely a product of the happily delusional mind.


Chrissy McMullen, Ph.D.,
in one of her more maudlin
moods

ENATOR!” I SAID, bracing my leg kittywompus across my back door lest Harlequin bound down the stairs and into Miguel Riveras nattily attired crotch. It was eleven o'clock on hump day too early for a nap, too late to legitimize a meal involving bacon. “I…” I glanced past the senator's smooth-suited shoulder at the septic guy, just recently arrived to drain the pit in my yard. I'd called SuperSeptic nearly a week ago when my toilet had rumbled eerily upon flushing. It had been a particularly distressing moment, since I treat my system with all the sensitivity reserved for a high-strung, fair-haired child. Since the growling incident, however, I had become even more cautious, reserving my bathroom for mirror time and emergency peeing.

Fourteen additional calls to SuperSeptic had produced a “waste-removal associate” immaculately attired in sparkling white coveralls with a red double S emblazoned across his chest. He'd arrived not ten minutes ago, merry as Robin Hood, saving me from violating the Clean Air Act and/or murdering the SuperSeptic guys.

The senators sleek good looks struck me as somewhat incongruous against the backdrop of my dusty yard and the whistling septic man.

“I wasn't expecting visitors,” I said. And even if I had been, I certainly wouldn't have expected Miguel Rivera. He dined in restaurants I couldn't afford to drive past and owned property beyond my capacity to fantasize about, including a modest rancho called Alba Rojo, nestled somewhere in the Santa Monica foothills.

Three years earlier he'd been a senator for the state of California. Currently he was merely Lieutenant Jack Rivera's estranged father. Jack, on the other hand, was another story entirely. Kind of a cross between a pit bull and a really top-notch aphrodisiac. Powdered rhino horn maybe. Not that I would know. I need an aphrodisiac like Colin Farrell needs sexy lessons. But don't get the wrong impression; I no longer harbor any adolescent fantasies for those foreign bad boys.

“Ms. McMullen…”

I am, after all, an intelligent, independent woman and a certified shrink to boot. Still, that kind of snockered Irish accent had, in earlier days, been known to pump my estrogen into overflow, effectively drowning my brain cells and floating my imagination into steamy flights of fancy involving…

“Ms. McMullen.” The senator's voice yanked me back to
the present.
His
accent wasn't bad either: a rich cappuccino of political clout and Latino masculinity that, oddly enough, reminded me of François, one of my newest but dearest friends. “It is good to see you.”

“Yes, I—” had no idea where I was going with that statement and was more than happy to be interrupted.

“When I saw the septic truck parked near your house, I thought, perhaps, you would be in your backyard. Might I come in?” he asked.

I drew back a half inch and refrained from shrieking like the village idiot. But the truth was, I wasn't quite prepared for a visit from a political icon. It was Wednesday morning. I wasn't due at my office until one o'clock, giving me all morning to ignore my housework. Hence, my living room looked as if it had been struck by an illhumored poltergeist. I wasn't particularly well dressed, either. In fact, I was a little understated for the SuperSeptic guy. But he'd kept me waiting for most of a week and I thought he deserved whatever he got. Including the tornado-victim hair.

“I'd love to visit,” I said, and pushed Harlequin back with my knee. Harlequin's a dog. He's a cross between a Great Dane and … something equally large but not necessarily canine. “I'm afraid this isn't a very good time though, Senator. I—”

“Miguel… please,” he said. “I am sorry to interrupt your morning ablutions. Truly I am, but I will not take up so very much of your time.”

“Ablutions.” The word threw me, juxtaposed as it was against the sight of the SuperSeptic man hoisting the lid from my apocalyptic pit.

“I would not have arrived unannounced if my visit were not of the utmost importance,” the senator added.

His dire expression snagged the image of Farrell as defiant sex slave right out of my mind, replacing it with a sketchy, leftover nightmare in which the senators son lay facedown on the concrete. I'm not generally prone to dark dreams, but the one I remembered from the night before was a doozy.

“Jack,” I rasped. “He's not—”

“May I come inside?” asked the senator.

I bent, grabbed Harley's collar, and held him at bay while my guest stepped elegantly past us into my living room.

Harley and I followed, shuffling and panting. But the senator was too well bred to mention my heavy breathing.

“What a cozy home you have here,” he said, barely glancing at the detritus that had somehow accumulated on my furniture since Thanksgiving. “When Rosita and I were first wed, we lived in a humble but comfortable—”

“Has something happened to Jack?” My voice sounded a little croaky which might, in the wrong circumstances, cause the uninitiated to believe I cared about Rivera Junior.

The senator watched me for an instant, then shook his head. “Gerald is quite well.”

“Quite well? What does that mean? Has he been injured? Is he—”

“No.” He smiled his thousand-dollar-a-plate smile.

If I were ten years older or one dateless night more desperate, that smile might have convinced me to trade in my favorite late-night companion for something with a pulse. But François, as I call him, is a decent lover, for
someone who lives in my bedside drawer and runs on batteries. Unlike more conventional boyfriends, he never leaves the toilet seat up or hogs the remote. Of course, he never pays for dinner, either, but there are pros and cons to every relationship.

“So far as I know, my son is in excellent health, Christina. You needn't worry on his account,” said the senator.

I felt my lungs deflate but didn't verbalize my relief. Rivera and I have had a bit of a tumultuous relationship for the past…well, from the moment we first met over the body of a formerly illustrious football player named Andrew Bomstad. The Bomb had been rather rudely chasing me around my office desk before dropping at my feet, dead as a salami. Lieutenant Rivera had subsequently accused me of his murder.

“I cannot tell you what it means to me that you are so concerned for Gerald's well-being,” the senator said. “He is lucky indeed to have a woman such as yourself.”

I wondered rather obliquely if I should take umbrage at his implication. After all, I was not Jack Rivera's woman. We had dated a bit, teased a lot, and fought like badgers. Rivera isn't the sort of guy you pick out china patterns with. He's more the sort to throw china
at.
Still, he has the kind of shivery allure that tends to make women go weak in the head. I had been known to do the same. But I'd never been jelly-brained enough to climb into bed with him. After seventy-some failed relationships, I was taking it slow, playing it smart, communing with Frangois, and studiously avoiding the stupid zone.

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