Ralphie Styles had a way with women--lots of women.
Country-singer-turned-bartender Phoebe Jacks ought to know--she'd been married to him...before he'd moved on to her best friend. And then her other best friend. But you just couldn't stay mad at Ralphie.
Or could you? When he's killed in a suspicious hit-and-run, pregnant wife #4 is suddenly a widow--and a suspect. It's up to Ralphie's best friend from out of town, P.I. Rio Navarro, and Phoebe to see that the old charmer's killer is brought to justice. But Ralphie never mentioned his pal Rio was so attractive--or that he might just be the stand-up guy Ralphie never could be....
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
March 01, 2007
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Ralphies Wives by Christine Rimmer
If life is a waste of time, and time is a waste of life, then let's all get wasted together and have the time of our lives.
--from The Prairie Queen's Guide to Life, by Goddess Jacks
AT THREE IN THE AFTERNOON on her thirtieth birthday, Phoebe Jacks stood behind the bar wearing strappy sandals with four-inch heels and a black sundress printed with roses. She was polishing a beer glass. Phoebe found polishing the glassware calming, and she needed a calming activity right then. Her ex-husband, Ralphie Styles, had screwed her over royal-ly--from the grave, no less.
Oh, yeah, she thought, blowing a coil of dark hair out of her eyes, happy birthday to me.
"And what I want to know is, who the hell is Rio Navarro?" Cimarron Rose Bertucci, one of Phoebe's two best friends since birth--and Ralphie's second wife--pounded the old oak bar with her fist. She did it hard enough that the jumbo margarita in front of her bounced. Luckily, Rose's drink was half-empty, so not a drop was spilled.
Phoebe set down the freshly polished glass. Ralphie had mentioned Navarro's name now and then, in passing, over the years. "Some old friend of Ralphie's," she said. "Not from Oklahoma. Lives in California, I think."
On the stool to the right of Rose, Tiffany Sweeney, Phoebe's other lifelong best friend--and Ralphie's third wife--was shaking her blond head. "Not even from Oklahoma." Tiff did not approve. "Who is he? What does he do?"
"Well, I guess I'll be findin' out soon enough." Phoebe grabbed another glass and set to work bringing out the shine.
"That's Ralphie for you," muttered Tiffany. "Never met a heart or a promise he couldn't break."
Rose shook a finger and made a tutting sound. "You know how he was. Such a sweetheart, really. He always meant well."
Tiff's blue eyes grew suspiciously misty. "Yeah.Yeah, I know, " She blinked away the emotion and turned to Phoebe again. "And Pheeb, who says you'll ever even have to deal with your new partner? Ralphie knew a whole lot of shady types. Most likely Navarro's one of those. I wouldn't be the least surprised if that cheesy lawyer of Ralphie's hasn't got a clue how to find the guy."
Phoebe sighed. "I called the lawyer yesterday when I got my copy of the will in the mail. The lawyer told me he sent Navarro his copy by FedEx a week ago. It was delivered and Navarro signed for it."
"Doesn't mean a thing," Tiff insisted. "Take it from me. Mr. Rio Navarro is some grifter or cowhand who never stands still long enough to sign for his mail. His drunk girlfriend probably signed for it and then promptly passed out. It's probably waiting at the bottom of a tall stack of unpaid bills, totally ignored. Don't expect to meet your new partner any time soon."
Rose took another gulp of her drink. "Leave it to Ralphie," she muttered, the words both tender and exasperated.
Ralphie Styles had died broke, but he'd always had a need to leave a legacy behind. As a result, over the years he'd compiled a detailed will in which he doled out every piece of junk he owned. Rose and Tiffany had both received bequests. Rose got a wall clock shaped like a cat. Tiffany was now the proud owner of a gold-plated keychain with the finish wearing off. Both items apparently had special meaning. At lunch a little earlier that day, Rose had got a sad, faraway smile on her face when she'd mentioned that clock. Tiff's eyes had gleamed when she'd spoken of the keychain. Tiff said Ralphie always used to carry it, when she and Ralphie were in love.
To Phoebe, Ralphie had left all the old Prairie Queen publicity stills that decorated the olive-green and brick walls of the bar he and Phoebe had jointly owned since their divorce eight years ago. In those decade-old pictures, Rose, Tiff and Phoebe smiled wide for the camera. They'd been on their way then, with gigs all over town and a record contract in the works. Ralphie had been their manager.