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Bound To Be Dead

Cozy Mystery Bookshop Series Book 3

Tamra Baumann

Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Epilogue

About the Author

Also By Tamra

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, organizations, places, events, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

Text copyright © 2021 by Tamra Baumann

All rights reserved. ISBN: 978-1-947591-13-4 (ebook) 978-1-947591-14-1 (print) 978-1-947591-15-8 (Large Print)

No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of Tamra Baumann, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

Published by Tamra Baumann

Cover Art by The Cover Vault

Printed in the United States of America

Bound To Be Dead

This book is dedicated to Carol Potenza, the smartest college professor I know. Thanks for inspiring the unique murder weapon in this book.

Chapter 1

Agreeing to let my dad throw knives at me while he’s blindfolded might not have been the smartest decision I’ve made in my thirty-two years here on earth. Yes, he’s a magician, and it’s all part of his show, but still. It isn’t like a trick hasn’t gone wrong before. And he hasn’t done this one in a very long time.

“Sawyer Davis, you’ve got to learn to say no,” I whisper to myself as I lean back against a giant painted bull’s-eye. Forcing a smile, I try to calm my nerves while my dad straps my hands and legs onto the big wheel. Then he flips a switch to make the target spin.

The crowd at our little community theater in Sunset Cove goes from right-side up to upside down, making me so dizzy, I might lose my lunch. I probably should’ve waited until after the magic show to eat. But the trick never bothered me when I was a kid. When I was much smaller and left more room for the knives to pierce the wood.

We really should have practiced the trick at least once. If our annual talent show weren’t for a good cause, I would’ve bailed on the show and my dad for sure.

My tall father, who looks fetching in his dark suit, long cape, and with dramatic white streaks at his temples, steps a few paces away. He picks up a blindfold and calls out, “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, do not try this trick at home. Only those with ‘true magic’ can successfully perform this fantastic feat. Are you ready, Sawyer?”

Not really, but I nod for the sake of the show, careful not to move too much or my costume might slip down. Dad’s usual assistant has implants, looks like a Playboy bunny, and properly fills out the skimpy spandex costume I’m wearing. I’m a solid B on top, and I’m afraid I might have a wardrobe malfunction on the next rotation. I wish Dad would hurry up and get the trick over with before everyone in town gets firsthand knowledge that my body parts are what I was born with.

My nausea level continues to rise as my father, Max the Magnificent, makes a show of slicing paper so the audience will know the knives are real. The faces of the talent show’s judges spinning before me aren’t helping my tummy matters.

The judging panel consists of Emily Kingsley, the wife of the town’s merchant association’s chief rule enforcer, Joe Kingsley. She grimaces like she’s worried my brains might be getting overmixed. Or maybe because she knows my dad well enough to know things could go terribly wrong in the next few minutes.

The second judge, Pattie, our local hairdresser, is wearing her signature pink, making me wish I had an antacid that same color. And the third judge is my mean Uncle Frank, smiling like he’s enjoying my humiliation. Actually, I’m sure he is enjoying my pain.

Still smiling through gritted teeth, I hiss, “Get on with it, Dad!”

He winks at me before he pulls his blindfold up and over his eyes. With a shiny sharp knife in his hand, he says, “Count with me, everyone. Ready? One, two, three!” He flips his wrist in a way he’s spent hours practicing, and a thump sounds next to my head.

One knife down, four more to go. I’m not sure my stomach or my costume can take much more.

Applause fills the air, causing my dad to tap a finger against his lips. “This takes all my concentration, folks.” He waves a knife in the air and says, “Silencio, please.”

My dad is such a drama queen. I guess that’s why he’s a performer. Me? I’m a chef who has inherited a mystery bookshop from my recently dearly departed mother. I’m secretly working on a plan to open my own restaurant, figuring out what to do with my ex, who happens to be the town’s sheriff, and how to be a good surrogate mother for my newly adopted fifteen-year-old sister. But all my life’s complications pale when compared to being strapped to this giant spinning wheel like a crazy person.

Suddenly, the audience quiets, and everyone leans closer to the stage to see if the next knife is going to miss and pierce my heart. At least if that happened, it’d hold up my top. I wouldn’t die with silver spandex pooled at my waist.

After another successful knife throw lands above my head, my fingers and toes are becoming numb from the straps. But by some miracle, my top has stayed put, so I’m grateful. Only one more trick after this one, and I can exit stage right.

At that point, my dad will be on his own to finish the show with a bang. Literally. He’s going to shoot himself out of a cannon and into a vat of ice cream outside.

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