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Veil of Night

Cover of Veil of Night

Veil of Night

A Novel
Jaclyn Wilde is a wedding planner who loves her job—usually. But helping Carrie Edwards with her Big Day has been an unrelenting nightmare. Carrie is a bridezilla of mythic nastiness, a diva whose tantrums are just about as crazy as her demands. But the unpleasant task at hand turns seriously criminal when Carrie is brutally murdered and everyone involved with the ceremony is accusing one another of doing the deed.
The problem is, most everyone—from the cake maker and the florist to the wedding-gown retailer and the bridesmaids' dressmaker—had his or her own reason for wanting the bride dead, including Jaclyn. And while those who felt Carrie's wrath are now smiling at her demise, Jaclyn refuses to celebrate tragedy, especially since she finds herself in the shadow of suspicion.
Assigned to the case, Detective Eric Wilder finds that there's too much evidence pointing toward too many suspects. Compounding his problems is Jaclyn, with whom he shared one deeply passionate night before Carrie's death. Being a prime suspect means that Jaclyn is hands-off just when Eric would rather be hands-on. As the heat intensifies between Eric and Jaclyn, a cold-blooded murderer moves dangerously close. And this time the target is not a bride but one particularly irresistible wedding planner, unaware of a killer's vow.
From the Hardcover edition.
Jaclyn Wilde is a wedding planner who loves her job—usually. But helping Carrie Edwards with her Big Day has been an unrelenting nightmare. Carrie is a bridezilla of mythic nastiness, a diva whose tantrums are just about as crazy as her demands. But the unpleasant task at hand turns seriously criminal when Carrie is brutally murdered and everyone involved with the ceremony is accusing one another of doing the deed.
The problem is, most everyone—from the cake maker and the florist to the wedding-gown retailer and the bridesmaids' dressmaker—had his or her own reason for wanting the bride dead, including Jaclyn. And while those who felt Carrie's wrath are now smiling at her demise, Jaclyn refuses to celebrate tragedy, especially since she finds herself in the shadow of suspicion.
Assigned to the case, Detective Eric Wilder finds that there's too much evidence pointing toward too many suspects. Compounding his problems is Jaclyn, with whom he shared one deeply passionate night before Carrie's death. Being a prime suspect means that Jaclyn is hands-off just when Eric would rather be hands-on. As the heat intensifies between Eric and Jaclyn, a cold-blooded murderer moves dangerously close. And this time the target is not a bride but one particularly irresistible wedding planner, unaware of a killer's vow.
From the Hardcover edition.
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    Chapter One

    Six weddings in five days. Holy shit.

    All Jaclyn Wilde could think was that her mother, Madelyn, who was her partner in Premier, the events planning firm to hire in the greater Atlanta area if you wanted your guests to be impressed, must have been sipping a couple or twelve champagne martinis when she'd accepted so many bookings so close together. It wouldn't have been nearly as bad if the bookings had been anything other than weddings: a party was simple in comparison to a wedding, because they were relatively free of emotional turmoil. A wedding, on the other hand, was fraught with every emotion known to man. It wasn't just the brides; it was the bride's mother, the groom's mother, the maid of honor, the bridesmaids, the parents of the flower girl and the ring bearer, the cousins who weren't invited to be in the wedding party, what colors to choose, the date, the location, the damn font on the friggin' invitations . . .

    "Jaclyn Wilde," the clerk called, interrupting Jaclyn's increasingly stressed and frantic thoughts.

    The clerk's voice was too cheerful. Didn't she realize it was inappropriate to sound cheerful when you were collecting payments for traffic violations? Maybe it was asking too much that she sound glum, but she could at least sound bored and noncom?mittal, instead of all but dancing with glee at taking someone's money.

    Jaclyn stifled her irritation; it stemmed more from the almost impossible workload facing her during the coming week than it did from paying her speeding ticket. Adding to her stress was the fact that because they'd been working so hard, she'd forgotten to mail in the money for the speeding ticket, and today was the day it was due, so she'd either had to take time off from work--thereby increasing the stress by getting behind--or have a warrant issued for her arrest. Yeah, that would be a real stress-reducer.

    Being late was her fault. If the city of Hopewell, where she lived and where she'd received the ticket, had been set up to receive online payments, she could have handled it that way, but it wasn't. She got up, silently forked over the cash, and a minute later was striding down the hall, the speeding ticket already forgotten because that particular item had just been checked off her to-do list.

    She glanced down at her watch. She had just enough time to get to her next appointment--Carrie Edwards, a bitch for all seasons, and one of the reasons why six weddings in five days was looming as Mission Impossible. Carrie's wedding wasn't even one of the six; her wedding wasn't for another month, but Carrie was taking up way too much of their time with her histrionics and constant flip-flopping on decisions. One bridesmaid had already told her--Carrie, not Jaclyn--to go fuck herself, which was a first in ?Jac?lyn's experience. Usually, no matter what the bride did, the members of the wedding party would grit their teeth and see it through. Even when they did drop out, they'd make polite excuses. Not this girl; she'd let Carrie have it with both barrels, and hadn't minced words.

    When the blow-up happened, Jaclyn had stepped out of sight, allowed herself a wide smile and a fist pump, then schooled her expression and returned to try to forestall a hair-pulling, eye-gouging cat fight. She'd have loved to see Carrie with a black eye, but business was business.

    If she hadn't been so wrapped up in her thoughts she might have been faster on her feet, but when a door suddenly swung outward she was caught by surprise and slammed into the tall, dark-haired, dark-suited man who stepped into the corridor. She gave a short, sharp "Oomph!" The impact knocked...

About the Author-
  • Linda Howard is the award-winning author of many New York Times bestsellers, including Ice, Burn, and Death Angel. She lives in Alabama with her husband and a golden retriever.
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  • AudioFile Magazine Jacqueline and her mother establish a premier wedding-planning firm when both their marriages fail. This romantic mystery begins with a passionate sexual encounter between Jacqueline and Eric, a police officer she seems destined to spend a lot of time with since she becomes a suspect in the murder of a client. Clarinda Ross lays on a thick Southern accent, particularly for Jacqueline, her colleagues, and her mother. In the character of Eric, the accent is less consistent. In addition, Ross applies a range of nuances to a wide range of characters of varying classes, thereby differentiating them and reflecting the author's commentary on the weddings they're involved in. J.E.M. (c) AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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Veil of Night
Veil of Night
A Novel
Linda Howard
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