Dyed and Gone
by: Beth Yarnell
Synopsis: Hairstylist Azalea March is looking forward to a wild weekend in Las Vegas with her friends. Oh, sure, they’re supposed to be there on business, attending the biggest hair show on the west coast, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have a little fun. But fun quickly turns to drama. On the first morning of the show, Dhane, the biggest celeb of the hair-styling world, is found dead. As it urns out Azalea’s friend, Vivian, not only knew Dhane, but the tale she weaves of how they met is faker than a showgirl’s uh… assets. When Vivian confesses to the murder and is arrested, Azalea knows there’s no way she could have done it and suspects Vivian may be trying to protect someone. But who?
Azalea now has to convince Alex, the sexy detective from her past, to help her prove Vivian’s innocence and comb through clues more twisted than a spiral perm. But the truth is stranger than anything found on the Las Vegas Strip, and proving Vivian’s innocence turns out to be more difficult than transforming a brunette into a blonde.
Author Bio: Best selling author, Beth Yarnall, writes romantic suspense, mysteries and the occasional hilarious tweet. A storyteller since her playground days, Beth remembers her friends asking her to make up stories of how the person ‘died’ in the slumber party game Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board, so it’s little wonder she prefers writing stories in which people meet unfortunate ends. In middle school she discovered romance novels, which inspired her to write a spoof of soap operas for the school’s newspaper. She hasn’t stopped writing since.
For a number of years, Beth made her living as a hairstylist and makeup artist and co-owned a salon. Somehow hairstylists and salons always seem to find their way into her stories. Beth lives in Orange County, California with her husband, two sons, and their rescue dog where she is hard at work on her next novel.
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“Hold up.” The red-haired man put a hand on the Raine man’s arm. He held up his other hand to stop me. “Can I see some ID?”
“What?” My surprise wasn’t faked.
“She’s a valued guest,” the Raine man defended.
I held up my key card. “Is there a problem?” I had this acting like I belonged thing down pat.
“No, no problem. Thank you for staying at the Raine. If there’s anything we can do to make your stay more enjoyable, please give me a call.” The Raine man handed me his business card. It read Dave Strickland, Supervisor.
The red-haired man studied me like a wanted poster. “She’s registered on this floor?” he asked Dave.
“Detective Kennedy, please,” Dave pleaded.
“Detective? A police detective?” I turned to Dave. “Has there been a crime?” I put the proper shock and fear in my voice. “Am I safe?”
“Yes, yes. We take great care with our guests’ safety here at the Raine. There’s no problem. No problem at all.” Dave handed me another card. “Please accept a complimentary brunch at Mangé, Raine’s beautiful Zagat-rated restaurant overlooking the pool.”
“What’s your name?” Detective Kennedy asked me.
“Detective.” Dave sounded like he was on the verge of a stroke.
Detective Kennedy shifted his weight, leaning toward me, nearly nose to nose. “Your name.”
“Azalea.” Oh, crap. Why’d I give him my real name?
“Detective, please,” Dave whined, wringing his hands like a wet dishrag.
“Azalea Smith.” Way to go stealth girl.
Detective Kennedy looked like he either wanted to roll his eyes or arrest me. “What room are you staying in, Ms. Smith?” He coated “Smith” with so much sarcasm it had multiple syllables.
I bumped out a hip and propped a hand on it, trying to match his attitude. I figured the more I acted like an aggrieved guest, the more likely they’d believe it. “I’m in 3853. You want to come in for a drink?”
Right away, I could tell my attempt fell short.
“Kennedy,” the potbellied Detective Platt called from the open doorway of suite 3848. “She’s requesting a lawyer.”
“Shit,” Kennedy muttered. With one last hard look at me, he marched off down the hall, his ragtag band of techs and officers following in his wake.
Dave monitored their departure until the suite door closed behind them, and then he turned to me with a grin so huge it looked like it hurt. “Are you enjoying your stay with us here at the Raine?”
“I was. What happened? Why are the police in that suite?”
He blinked, then blinked again. Ratcheting his smile up another couple of notches, he recited, “The Raine is considered to be one of the finest hotels in the world, having earned the coveted AAA five diamond, the Mobil five-star, the Forbes five-star, and the Michelin five-star ratings. The Raine also made Forbes Award history by earning five-star ratings in every category—hotel, restaurant, and spa two years in a row.” He jabbed another card at me. “Please accept this card for a complimentary spa service of your choice.”
“Thank you, but—”
“It would be my pleasure to escort you to the elevator.” He gripped my elbow and steered me toward the elevator bank.
I glanced over my shoulder back down the empty hallway. “There were so many police officers. I hope it’s nothing—”
“The Raine Hotel boasts one of the largest casinos in Las Vegas at over one hundred square feet. Please accept this fifty- dollar casino credit with our compliments.”
We waited for the elevator in silence. I was afraid if I opened my mouth again he’d make me a partner in the hotel.