Once Upon a Murder

Gertie drags her best friends Fortune and Ida Belle to a romance convention in New Orleans. Gertie wants to advance her budding new career as a romance author; Fortune needs a break from her complicated personal life; and Ida Belle doesn’t think the other two should go out unsupervised. But when Ida Belle runs into someone from her past, it becomes clear that not everyone at the American Romance and Erotica Authors’ Conference will live happily ever after.


“Fortune,” Gertie asked gently, “is something wrong?”
“Look, this is kind of embarrassing to admit and you can’t tell anyone. Just between us. I see all these sexy guys on these book covers and every one of them makes me think of Carter LeBlanc.”
“Even the black one?” Gertie asked.
“This isn’t your fault.” Ida Belle said. “You couldn’t tell him that you were undercover. He should know that. Unless he’s a complete moron, he’ll realize he’s being unreasonable.”
“I shouldn’t have gotten involved with him in the first place. It’s completely against official policy and common sense. And I had to get mixed up with the deputy sheriff, of all people.”
“Oh, pish-posh. Who follows the rules all the time? Ida Belle, remember that party at the French embassy, when you and I —”
“Gertie, don’t we need to get going?”
“Oh. I suppose we do. Yes. Let’s see.” Gertie held her conference program out at arm’s length and squinted at it. “What are we, Session One? I think I’d like to go to Write a Bad Romance.”
“I’ll go with you,” I said. “It sounds like it’ll be fun. The last conference I went to, the highlight was the Keynote Address by former KGB Major General Oleg Kalugin.”

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This story is a licensed work in Jana DeLeon’s Miss Fortune world.