Double Trouble by Gretchen Archer

Davis Way Cole smells T-R-O-U-B-L-E when she’s fired from half of her part-time job at the Bellissimo Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. The quarter-time job she’s left with is lulling her to sleep, exactly what she’s doing when Birdy James, centenarian director of the casino’s Lost and Found department, disappears. With five million dollars.

Davis just can’t help believing Birdy didn’t do it, if for no other reason, she’s too old to spend it. If Davis doesn’t find the little old lady and the money fast, she’ll lose what’s left of her job, at which point, there goes her Bellissimo everything.

What she needs is a good luck charm. What she gets is her home invaded by hard-headed women, a soft-hearted little man, and major carpet troubles, the combination of which sends Davis’s already suspicious mind into overdrive, and landing her between a jailhouse rock and a very hard place.

A little less conversation and a lot more action are called for if Davis has any chance of saving herself, her family, her marriage, her job, and the heartbreak hotel she calls home. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Read an Excerpt:

“Here’s what I know.”

Tuesday morning, bright and early, my boss called. I accidentally took his call because for one, my eyes were glued to computer screens, and for another, I was sure it was Fantasy. I found out too late it was No Hair.

“You stole a Mercedes off the dealer’s lot, for which you were arrested.”

“Not true, No Hair. I stole a Mercedes from our parking garage. Not the dealer’s lot. I don’t know who stole that car from the dealer’s lot.”

“Comforting, Davis. So comforting.” He took a deep breath. “Let’s keep going.”

Let’s not.

“A child was left at Play for almost three days,” he said, “and instead of alerting the authorities and shutting down the daycare, you took the baby. From what I understand, you still have the baby you took from the daycare.”

“It’s a childcare center, No Hair. Not a daycare. And for your information, I do not have the baby.”

“You’ve lost the baby?”

“July has the baby.”

“Moving on,” he said, “as if that’s not enough.”

It was quite enough.

“Is it true that seven of our restaurants, in addition to Plethora, don’t have desserts because you haven’t bothered to make the ten-minute phone call it would take to have the ovens at Danish repaired?”

“Did Colleen tell you that?”

“No, Davis. The internet did. People are twittering photographs of Plethora’s dessert line piled high with Snickers candy bars.”

“People who live their entire lives on social media need better things to do.”

“With all your spare time, since you’re apparently not working, why don’t you Twitter that to them?”

“I’ll think about it.”

“Davis, are you harboring Birdy James?”

“Define harboring.”

“Hiding.”

I’d seen Birdy in plain sight not fifteen minutes earlier. “I’m not hiding her.”

“Is she a guest in your home?”

“Not at this very minute.”

“From what I understand, no one is a guest in your home at this very minute,” he said, “and we’ll get to that in a minute.”

I could wait.

He said, “Let’s keep going.”

Let’s not.

“Davis, four Magnolia Suites have been evacuated to the tune of almost fifty thousand dollars.”

“To where? Kensington Palace? The Lincoln Room? Arendelle Castle?”

“I’ve never heard of that last one.”

“That’s because you don’t watch Frozen, and that’s a ridiculously expensive evacuation.”

“You think? Do you want to guess why?”

I did not.

“Because the Bellissimo is completely sold out, Davis. We had nowhere to put the evacuees. Guest Services had to buy out the top floor of Hard Rock, our competitor, to accommodate them.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” I said, “but I didn’t make those arrangements, so what does that have to do with me?”

“That’s what I want to know,” No Hair said. “The suites we had to evacuate are directly below your home.”

“I’ll look into it and get back with you.”

“Am I to assume you don’t want to talk about it?”

“You assume correctly.”

“Then how about we talk about a consumer complaint filed with the Federal Reserve against the Bellissimo by Branch Banking & Trust in Philadelphia for failure to notify them we received a five-million-dollar wire that wasn’t ours. Do you want to talk about that?”

I cleared my throat. “Not particularly.”

“Do you want to talk about four Vault employees who called in sick after eating too much of a wedding cake you sent to the vault? Do you want to talk about that?”

“No.”

“Then let’s switch gears,” he said. “You want to switch gears, Davis?”

“Yes.”

“This morning, Bianca Sanders found your ex-ex-mother-in-law, and what she’s doing there, I’d surely like to know, sleeping—” he paused for dramatic effect “—sleeping in her bed. In her bed, Davis.”

“I never told Bea she could sleep in Bianca’s bed. I am not responsible for that woman,” I said. “I’m not responsible for Bea, for Bianca, for Casino Credit cashiers, for vault guards who eat too much cake, for picky guests in Magnolia Suites, for any Elvii, not a one of them, not any of them, No Hair, not—”

“STOP.”

I stopped.

Talking.

I didn’t stop crying.

“You are.” No Hair’s voice softened. “But you are, Davis. We all are. We’re all responsible for everyone around us. Regardless of how someone treats you, or how you think you’ve been treated, if your feelings are hurt, if it was all their fault or all your fault or no one’s fault, you can’t say it’s not your problem. Davis, you’re responsible, and not as an employee of the Bellissimo, but as a human.”