Dinner With the Devils
Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : Chris Bedell
Word Count :72474
Publication Date :2022-07-01
Series : Dinner With the Devils#1
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-4874-3477-9
Eve’s mother turns up dead in the same town where Eve has just moved in with her Aunt Tricia and Uncle Steven. And the deeper Eve digs into her mother’s murder, the more she realizes her extended family aren’t the people they claim to be.
17-year-old Eve moves in with her Aunt Tricia and Uncle Steven when her mom runs off to Atlantic City with a man. However, her mom’s corpse turns up the morning after Eve’s arrival to town.
Eve realizes there’s something off about her extended family that she can’t figure out—and it’s more than their quirky habits. The discoveries of her aunt’s obsession with a mystery man, three bags of baby hair, and an alleged dead older child puzzle Eve. Having her mom’s purse and car turn up doesn’t help her impression of Aunt Tricia and Uncle Steven either.
But Eve isn’t alone. She starts dating her next-door neighbor, Liam, who helps her with her family drama despite having his own agenda. She also meets Detective Sean Richards and isn’t above manipulating him to solve her mom’s murder.
What Eve does with Aunt Tricia and Uncle Steven’s secret once discovering it is a different story, though. Some truths are just too awful to fabricate.
A burning sensation jabbed my stomach, making me more anxious.
One minute Mom told me I had to stay with a neighbor—her best friend, Jane—while she went out of town to meet a guy. And then I received an email from her telling me she was staying a little longer in Atlantic City. That was followed by Aunt Tricia arriving in Florida and telling me that Mom said I had to live with her in Maine.
There was no reason to get upset, though. There had to be a good explanation for Mom bolting out of town and Aunt Tricia delivering that news. But I didn’t know what it was, and that was fine. I chose to be optimistic, because dwelling on trading Mom for an extended family I didn’t know would only upset me more.
My head remained pressed against the window while Aunt Tricia continued driving her minivan down the highway.
“I hope you aren’t too unhappy about everything.” Aunt Tricia shifted her attention toward me for a beat.
A billboard reading WELCOME TO PINEWOOD appeared after she made a left turn, signaling our arrival in town. However, a superficial sign didn’t mean everything would be perfect since it gave no indication of what my life would be like once I settled into a routine.
I huffed, glancing at my aunt from the corner of my eye. “No, of course not. I don’t know what would give you that idea.”
Her lips quivered. “You don’t have to pretend with me, dear. It must be difficult for you that your mother ran off to Atlantic City with a man. Believe me, it hasn’t been easy to have her as a sister.”
I rolled my eyes, choosing not to speak. Some thoughts couldn’t be articulated easily. Saying my mother abandoned me for a man didn’t quite roll off the tongue.
Aunt Tricia made another turn, passing by a family, which consisted of a mother, father, son, and daughter. I watched longingly as they stood together for a photo, obviously happy and on their way to the beach, from the way they were dressed.
Whether I admitted the truth or not, my life would never be okay. It couldn’t…not after having this unexpected adventure forced on me.
Mom leaving me with Aunt Tricia and Uncle Steven for no good reason was despicable. Not only would she not be winning mother of the year, but she also wouldn’t be getting a birthday card, present, or phone call next week for her fortieth birthday.
Being petty didn’t make me a bad person, though. It made me practical—I wasn’t some doll to be disposed of on a whim. I was a real person and would be damned if anyone treated me less than that.
“It’s not that your mom doesn’t love you.” She paused for a second. “She just has messed up priorities.”
“I’m sure everything will be fine,” I said.
“That’s the spirit! I’m proud of you for having a great attitude.”
Being optimistic was one thing, but Aunt Tricia bordered on clueless if she couldn’t see how my life was currently fucked up.
The clunky sound of the engine halted a few minutes later when she pulled into her driveway.
The mansion dwarfed the meager size of the front yard in comparison. I couldn’t criticize one thing, since every inch of the house’s exterior seemed perfect. The paint wasn’t peeling, and the shudders didn’t show any erosion. Almost as if they were bought yesterday.
Having a nice house wasn’t enough to impress me, despite how most people would have loved the Gatsby-sized nature of the mansion. I wasn’t concerned with the superficial keeping up appearances mantra that preoccupied most suburban people—whether I lived in Florida or Maine.
I opened the door and made my way to the back of the car. Something beeped, so I lifted the trunk and took out my suitcase.
Footsteps echoed behind me, then someone coughed. “Good to see you, Eve.”
My heart thumped at hearing my uncle’s voice, getting louder with each passing second. The idea of embracing change suddenly seemed nauseating. “You too, Uncle Steven.”
Aunt Tricia tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. “I was just telling Eve that I’m proud of her attitude.”
Uncle Steven flashed a smile. “That’s nice. Anyway, did you tell her that your study upstairs is off-limits?”
Aunt Tricia grunted. “No. Not yet. There’s no need to be so dramatic.”
Uncle Steven returned his gaze to me. “Fair enough. Anyway, I don’t mean to sound strict, Eve. It’s just Tricia’s space to think.”
I nodded. “Sure. Wouldn’t wanna offend anyone.”
His smirk widened, revealing his well-aligned teeth. “It really is great to see you, Eve. I mean, what has it been? Ten or twelve years? That’s too long to go without seeing family.”
Apparently, having beachfront property wasn’t enough for him. It seemed every inch of his appearance had to be perfect. That included the almost plastic expression on his face, which had yet to disappear, almost as if he were trying to prove something.
I let the lump linger in my throat. “Sounds about right. I don’t think I’ve seen you all since Grandpa’s funeral.”
“Anyway, Tricia, you should call Irene. She seemed stressed the last time I talked to her,” he said.
“Who’s Irene?” I asked.
Aunt Tricia rubbed her wedding ring. “She’s our neighbor. You’ll like her.”
The wind whistled, pushing a leaf toward me. The once-green leaves floated around in shades of red, orange, and brown. As I thought about the change of seasons, it sank in that I wouldn’t only have to deal with colder temperatures. Starbucks would be rolling out their Pumpkin Spice Latte in a matter of days. And I wasn’t a fan. Eating Pumpkin Pie at Thanksgiving was one thing, but it was another to think it should be added to every food and beverage in the fall.
Uncle Steven walked away, leaving Aunt Tricia and me to ourselves.