The last time I had a full-blown hissy fit, screaming, fists pounding, and hyperventilating was when my daddy gave his painting—the one he promised to me—to my aunt. I’d’ve killed him then, if he weren’t already dead. “Jenna, are you listening?” my cousin Toni’s voice rang from the phone in breathless spurts. “Someone stole your dad’s painting.” I switched on the lamp and sat up in bed. Stalin growled in protest. Churchill barely moved. My cats loved to sleep nestled against my back. “Did you hear me? Uncle Jimmy’s painting’s been stolen,” she said for the second time. “I heard you the first time. But,”—I cleared my throat—“I’m not sure if I’m awake or having a nightmare. Why the devil are you calling me at—” I glanced at my phone, “at two-thirteen in the morning?” Toni’s tendency to make everything a crisis or some sort of conspiracy didn’t sit well with me at this hour. “As far as I recollect your mom snatched that painting after Daddy died.” “Okay, okay, we all know how you felt about that. Anyways, Mom gave it to my brother. Joey says it’s disappeared, and let me tell you he’s frantic. Mom’s gonna kill him.” My chest constricted. The hurt, when my aunt removed that painting from the wall of our house, resurfaced as if yesterday. It’ll be yours someday, my father had told me. “Daddy promised that painting to me, not to Joey,” I finally said. “I know but—“Besides, it’s a copy, an artist’s impression of a master. Priceless to us, but worthless to anyone else.” Visions of that cherished painting floated across my consciousness—the muted colors reflecting on the surface of the water. The stucco building sitting on the bank as if submerged. All I had left of my father’s family—my family, my heart. “That’s what I thought. But, apparently there’s more to it than that. I really don’t want to go into it on the phone and, anyways, I’m calling from the car. We’re on our way up to see you after we stop in Columbus to pick up Joey.” “We?” “Neal and me.” Of course. When had Toni gone anywhere without her husband? “Joey can tell you all about it,” she continued. “We should roll in sometime this afternoon. Get the extra bed ready. I told Joey we could count on you. Cousins sticking together and all.” She clicked off. Roll in to see me? This afternoon? Extra bed? What extra bed? This had to be a nightmare. I switched off the light, snuggled under my mom’s quilt for warmth, and closed my eyes. Sleep eluded me. Memories of that awful March morning tormented me, first losing my father, then losing his painting right after. Who’d steal my dad’s painting now? Why had Toni called me in the middle of the night? What couldn’t she tell me over the phone? Four hours later, with memories of the early morning phone call buzzingaround in my head like a distant dream, I opened my eyes. We should roll in sometime this afternoon. OMG! I leapt from the bed, startling my sleeping felines.
A Painting to Die For
Book 3 Jenna Scali Mystery Series
Jenna’s quiet weekend turns upside down when her house is ransacked and a body is found with her name and number in its possession. Meanwhile, her long-lost cousins show up with stories about international art theft dating back to World War II.
While Jenna questions the motives of her dead father in his connection to stolen art, the police find a second body with Jenna’s name in its possession and she becomes the primary link in two murder inquiries. Sidestepping the police and dodging the mob, she and her best friend, Quentin, embark on their own investigation to save themselves and Jenna’s cousins from untimely deaths.
Offset by the quiet university town where faculty and students mill about, minding their own business, Jenna is kidnapped and held at gunpoint while her double-crossing, lying cousins chase after the missing painting worth millions.
A Painting to Die For forms a web of deceit that leaves Jenna doubting everything she believes about her father and his Italian heritage.
Dr. Joan Curtis is an award-winning writer who has published 8 books and numerous stories.
The e-Murderer: Book 1 Jenna Scali mystery series won the GOLD in the Global eBook Awards for 2016 for Mystery.
The Clock Strikes Midnight has won three major awards. FINALIST in the prestigious Eric Hoffer Book Awards 2016, FIRST PLACE Royal Palm Literary Award for mainstream/literary 2015 and the Silver in the Global eBook Awards for 2015 for Fiction/Suspense
Murder on Moonshine Hill won the SILVER in the Global eBook Awards for 2017 Mystery and the BRONZE 2017 for Southern fiction Reader’s Favorite.
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