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A Katerina Carter Color of Money Mystery
Also by Colleen Cross
BLUE MOON - Katerina Carter Color of Money #2
Copyright © 2015 by Colleen Cross, Colleen Tompkins
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, recording, or otherwise—without the prior written consent of the copyright holder and publisher. The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law.
Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
eBook ISBN: 978-0-9878835-9-9
Published by Slice Publishing
Also by Colleen Cross
Katerina Carter Color of Money Mysteries
Red Handed - a short story
When forensic accountant and fraud investigator Katerina Carter and journalist boyfriend Jace Burton accept an impromptu party invitation, crime is the last thing on their minds. Then a winning wine investment leaves a sour taste in Kat’s mouth and she unravels the clues to a million-dollar wine fraud, all before dinner!
Blue Moon - a novelette
Kat and boyfriend Jace’s plans for a fancy dinner go awry when she discovers that her elderly neighbor Fiona has taken an ex-con into her home as a boarder. Fiona’s volunteer gardening program at the local prison has changed lives, but extending her generosity further just might put her own life in jeopardy.
Kat’s suspicion deepens when she learns of a recent life insurance policy. And accidental death pays double.
Greenwash - a novel
Forensic accountant Katerina Carter and boyfriend Jace Burton embark on a weekend getaway at a luxury mountaintop lodge just before Christmas. While he writes the biography of a billionaire environmentalist, she explores the snowy wilderness.
Then two local protestors die under mysterious circumstances, and Kat and Jace race against time to save themselves from an even deadlier disaster.
Katerina Carter Fraud Legal Thriller series
Forensic accountant Katerina Carter's fraud investigation uncovers a massive blood diamond laundering scheme at Liberty Diamond Mines, just as two key Liberty insiders are murdered. Kat could be next - unless she allows the real criminals to walk free.
Forensic accountant Katerina Carter's fraud investigation uncovers a massive Ponzi scheme connected to the shadowy World Institute, a global think tank with a chilling hidden agenda.
Kat is trapped in a high stakes political conspiracy where the players will stop at nothing to get what they want, in a game she cannot afford to lose.
Forensic accountant Katerina Carter and boyfriend Jace Burton investigate a mysterious 1930’s cult on a sparsely populated island off Canada’s west coast. Another mystery unfolds aboard their billionaire host’s yacht, one with deadly consequences for all.
Westwick Witches Cozy Mystery Series
Witch You Well
Rags to Witches
Witch & Famous
Christmas Witch List
Anatomy of a Ponzi: Scams Past and Present
Colleen’s books have been translated into multiple languages.
Want the latest on Colleen’s new releases and subscriber only special offers? Sign up for Colleen’s new release newsletter at www.colleencross.com
Katerina Carter peered out her living room window to next door neighbor Fiona Jackson’s yard. She hid behind the curtain, careful not to blow her cover.
Roses and hydrangeas basked in the late afternoon sun. Blooms blanketed the front yard in an explosion of color. Even Fiona’s grass grew greener than Kat’s weed wasteland. But it wasn’t Fiona’s garden that concerned Kat. She stood transfixed by the stranger toiling in her neighbor’s yard.
The man looked straight out of an FBI most-wanted poster, his dark shadow juxtaposed against the garden’s brightness and light. His rolled-up sleeves exposed tattooed, stringy arms more suited to pushing drugs instead of a lawn mower. Fiona barely survived on a meager pension and certainly couldn’t afford a handyman. Who was this guy and how did Fiona know him?
He abandoned the push mower in favor of a shovel and headed straight for Fiona’s roses. Kat’s mouth dropped open in horror as he stomped on the shovel and began digging up Fiona’s showpiece roses.
No one ever set foot in Fiona’s garden except the Gardens in Bloom contest judges. Fiona had won the city-wide contest for three years’ running, and her whole garden strategy revolved around keeping her place as number one. Absolutely no one took a shovel to her prized plants. Fiona had mulched, weeded, and pruned her rare roses into submission months in advance of next week’s judging. Yet the rough-looking man next door was digging them up.
“Spying on Fiona?” Jace halted mid-stride on his way to the front door.
Kat was focused so intently on the man next door that she almost jumped out of her skin. She banged her head against the window frame. “Ouch!”
Jace grinned and his blue eyes crinkled in amusement. “You okay?”
Kat nodded, embarrassed at being caught spying.
Jace wore a shirt, tie, and dress pants instead of his usual t-shirt and denim. Kat puzzled for a moment until she remembered their dinner plans. One year since they moved into their money-sucking Victorian house. One year, hundreds of hours in sweat equity, and tens of thousands in renovation expenses called for a celebration of their accomplishments to date.
“Must be a thrill-a-minute.” Jace raised his brows.
Kat motioned Jace to the window. “See that guy outside? I think he’s staying with Fiona.” This was the third time she’d seen him since yesterday.
Kat encountered plenty of predators as a forensic accountant and fraud investigator. Far too often they targeted the elderly. The wiry man had a dangerous street look about him and certainly fit the profile. That he had materialized out of nowhere made him all the more suspicious.
“I’m worried about her, Jace. He can’t possibly be up to any good.” She felt protective of her elderly neighbor and this guy’s appearance raised all kinds of red flags. “Why is he digging up Fiona’s roses?”
Jace joined her at the window. “He does have that criminal look about him.”
“So you see it too!” Or was Jace making fun of her?
“Not really,” he admitted. “You’re jumping to conclusions, as usual. If he’s staying with her, he’s probably a relative or friend. What’s the big deal?”
“She doesn’t have any relatives, remember?” Fiona had no siblings or children. Her husband had died about thirty years ago. Fiona didn’t socialize much, either.
“I forgot about that. Maybe he’s related to her late husband?”
“I doubt it.” From what little she’d learned from Fiona, her late husband had no living relatives. He only had one brother, also deceased.
Suddenly everything made sense. “Fiona volunteers at the prison. I’ll bet this guy was recently paroled.” Fiona ran Weeds to Wonders, the prison’s weekly gardening program.
“Paroled from prison? Or from her gardening program?” Jace raised his brows.
Fiona was a tough task master. She liked everything just so.
“Both,” Kat laughed. Fiona never let anyone near her flowerbeds—not even to pull a weed. Something was very wrong with the scene outside.
“There’s Fiona now.” Their frail diminutive neighbor knelt in front of her flower bed and scooped a handful of loose dirt. “Why not go to the source? Ask her how she knows him?”