This TBT Book Spotlight will be featuring Linda Siebold’s The Contessa’s Necklace. If you’ve never read it, be sure to enter the giveaway below (US only).
About the Book
Louella Carmichael, Contessa of Montaire, and her entire family were killed by assassination in 1973. One witness survived and escaped with Montaire’s ruby succession necklace. In 2017, the necklace reappears in the eastern part of Kansas. Current contessa Sophia DePaul is close to death and when she dies, the council will once again name a new count or contessa to rule the principality and gain control of four international conglomerates and other industries, as well as jewelry and other riches.
Selena Simmons specializes in researching financial reports, background checks, and family histories for the Aegis Research Library. With her high security clearance, she is well sought after by local, national, and international law enforcement agencies, government agencies, and corporations. When a tragic hit-and-run accident makes her research personal, she walks away from the agency. Someone from the past is targeting those close to her. She has to find the link that binds her to the Carmichael assassination before she becomes the next victim.
Sam Russell from R & S Retrieval Agency is hired to follow the two jewel thieves that have tracked the contessa’s necklace to Kansas. They not only want the necklace, but control of the principality. They will stop at nothing to accomplish their goals, even murder, if anyone gets in their way. Selena Simmons is in their way, and Sam finds his skills and instincts tested to keep her safe.
A cold sliver of unease inched down Marguerite Collins’ back. Something felt off, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. She opened her eyes and moved her head gingerly, expecting the pounding thrum to rage at her temples, but the migraine had eased. Only a nasty taste remained from the sedative the doctor had given her yesterday afternoon. Surely, she hadn’t slept since then.
The clock, ticking loudly in the silence, read half-past seven, and daylight peeked through the crack in the heavy drapes. She took a deep breath and slid her feet out from under the covers onto the floor. If she hurried she could still eat breakfast with Anna and the others. Anna would have plenty for her to do as the wedding was only days away.
Marguerite descended the winding stairs, her footsteps slowing as she made her way down. A cloud covered the sun as she reached the wide landing, throwing the steps into shadow. The sconces on the opposite wall were dark. A trickle of fear shimmered as she paused. She tilted her head to listen for the usual morning sounds from the main floor, but an eerie silence blanketed the house around her. The lights at the bottom of the stairs blinked on as she flipped the switch, the chandelier throwing prisms on the wall. Odd, the lights were usually on. Anna said that the contessa had the staff leave them lit because they could be seen from the road. But the lights were off as well as the sconces…
She crossed the tile into the morning room. Cookie always served breakfast there, but not this morning. No urns of coffee waited on the side table. No scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, or hot cereal in their metal covers sat on the sideboard by the kitchen. Was she late? No. The clock on the wall read eight o’clock. No clang of pots and pans echoed from the kitchen. No voices.
She shivered. On leaden feet Marguerite worked her way down the hall, peering into empty rooms as she passed. Yesterday before the migraine, she’d overheard the contessa ask Cookie to serve dinner in the formal dining room last night. Maybe that’s where they were. She turned the corner and headed that way. The hall was dark too. The contessa preferred all the doors open to the light, especially this one because of the stained glass, but the door was closed. Marguerite slowed her steps the rest of the way. With shaky fingers she reached for the knob.
The door opened soundlessly on a horrific tableau. She tried to scream for help, but no sound came out. The people she’d come to love and admire in the last month were here. The contessa slumped over her plate with her hand clutching her throat. Monte—sweet, funny Monte, the contessa’s son—leaned against the back of his chair with dark stains covering his chin and down his white shirt. Mr. and Mrs. Franken huddled together, balanced against the adjoining arms of their chairs. Kip Franken lay on the floor by the other entry door with his arms outstretched.
On shaky legs Marguerite rushed to the contessa to feel for a pulse but found none. She moved around the table and caressed Monte’s cheek. Just last night he’d asked her to stay after the wedding was over. Tears clogged her throat as she forced herself away to check the others, grasping for any sign of life, but all were dead.
Through the shock of what she’d seen, the fact dawned that Anna was not here. Oh, God. Please let her be alive. She stepped over Kip’s body to find Anna in the hall with her hand reaching for the telephone stand. Dropping to her knees, she cradled her friend in her arms. As sobs wracked her body, something fluttered against her arm. She eased her friend down on the carpet and stared into her face. “Anna?”
Anna slowly opened her eyes. “Poisoned fish. Only ate a little. Tried to call for help.”
“I won’t let you die. I’ll get help.”
Anna clutched the sleeve of Marguerite’s blouse, “No, too late. Edmund watched as they died. Necklace… he can’t have.” She struggled to breathe. “Take it and go. Kip…”
Then, Marguerite’s best friend gasped and died in her arms.
About the Author
Linda Siebold has been a story teller since she was around four years old, living on the farm with her parents, brother, sister, and granddad. Her stories began centered around what the mean rooster did and said that day. They have grown to romantic suspense.
A lifelong Kansan Linda’s books usually have Kansas as the setting.
Her professional writing journey started in 2018 when she attended the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in Nashville. She pitched an unfinished book to Cynthia Hickey, editor with Winged Publications. To her surprise Cynthia liked it and asked her to polish up and send what she had done when she got home from the conference. A week later she signed her first book contract for The Contessa’s Necklace, the first book in the Contessa of Montaire series. The fifth book in the series is due to be published soon.
Linda is married and lives in north central Kansas with her husband and spoiled grand cat. She has two grown children and seven grandchildren.
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