Framed and Burning (Dreamslippers Book 2)

Contents

Praise for Framed and Burning

Publication Information

Also by Lisa Brunette

Title Page

Dedication

Prologue

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Next Book Excerpt

Acknowledgements

About the Author

Book Club Discussion Questions

Praise for
Framed and Burning


Lisa Brunette’s
Framed and Burning
is a brilliant, suspenseful whodunit in its own merit, full of twists and turns, pursued by a unique pair of private investigators—Cat and her grandmother Grace, in a character-as-well-as-plot-driven ride pulsating with the crisis not only in the murder investigation, but also in their own lives. What’s more, the introduction of the original practice of dreamslipping—their capability of ‘slipping’ into other people’s dreams—adds to another dimension of the novel. Far from making it semi-sci-fi or something like that, it fantastically blends the Freudian dream interpretation with the crime analysis in a new depth. The book, truly one of the kind, calls for attention of the readers devoted to the genre and in general.
” — Qiu Xiaolong, Edgar Award-winning author of
Shanghai Redemption
, named one of
The Wall Street Journal
's Best Books of 2015
 


Framed and Burning
isn’t afraid to play with you and then terrify you. It’s a mystery with teeth and wounds and loss. Unforgettable, charming in the creation of the characters and world, serpentine and dark,
Framed and Burning
is a mystery not to be missed.” — Frances Carden,
Readers Lane

 
“This cozy mystery about a family of psychically gifted amateur sleuths possesses enough magic to keep you hooked from the first page until the last.” —
 BestThrillers.com

“I’ve become a Lisa Brunette fan with this read.”
 
— Sherrey Meyer
, Puddletown Reviews

“This is a fun book, much more fast-paced than a cozy, but without the gruesome and gory details of real crime mystery novels.” —
Mystery Sequels

 
“A savory mystery with a side of supernatural.” —
Frankie Brazelton
, Mudville Dames


Framed and Burning
is the second book in the Dreamslippers series. It’s easy to follow and hard to put down, making readers who may not have read the first book race back to give it a try!” —
InD’tale Magazine
 

“Lisa Brunette continues to develop vibrant characters in a stunning story that will keep you reading well past your bedtime!” —
On My Kindle

“Deeply intriguing right from the start! I definitely have to get my hands on the first novel of the series!” —
Book-o-Craze

“I love a good, eccentric granny character, and Grace is in the top five granny characters I've encountered this year.” —
Back Porchervations

“All credit to the author for holding my interest over the busy festive season!” —
Ali, the Dragon Slayer

“It was interesting to see how the dreamslippers worked, as each one had a different method of invading and analyzing dreams.
Framed and Burning
is a book I recommend reading.” — Michelle Stanley,
Writer Way

“This book had me hooked right from the beginning! I love the characters!” —
Pari’s Books

“A great mystery with lots of potential killers and twists and turns.” —
J. Bronder Book Reviews

“Just when they thought the case was solved, there were more questions…” —
Mel’s Shelves
 

“I believe this is going to be a great series, and I can’t wait to go back to book one and learn more about Cat and Grace’s dreamslipping.” —
Genuine Jenn

All rights reserved. Except for use in a review, no portion of this book may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the publisher.

Neither the author nor the publisher assumes any responsibility for the use or misuse of any information contained in this book.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Framed and Burning

by Lisa Brunette

Copyright © 2015, 2016 by Lisa Brunette

Cover Design: Monika Younger, www.youngerbookdesign.com

Author Photograph: Allyson Photography

Early Draft Copyediting: Christine M. Roman, Ph.D.

Developmental Editing: Elisa Mader

Line Editing: Jim Thomsen

ISBN 13: 978-0-9862377-5-1

Published in the United States of America

Published by Sky Harbor Press, an imprint of Sky Harbor LLC

P.O. Box 642
 

Chehalis, WA 98532

[email protected]

Direct inquiries to the above address

Author Web Site:
www.catintheflock.com
 

>>>Finalist for the Nancy Pearl Book Award<<<

>>>Nominated for the RONE Award<<<

Included in this edition of
Framed and Burning
:

  • Book club discussion questions.
  • The prologue for the next book in the Dreamslippers Series. This excerpt has been set for this edition only and may not reflect the final content of the forthcoming editions.

>>>Also by Lisa Brunette<<<

The Dreamslippers Series

Cat in the Flock

Poetry

Broom of Anger

Short Stories

Spy Boy

Framed and Burning

The Dreamslippers Series #2

by Lisa Brunette

Sky Harbor Press

For Tino, and his son

Prologue

Brickell Lofts, Miami

December 5, 2013

10:37 p
.
m
.

Donnie Hines was passed out, drunk, in a corner of his studio when the flames made their way to the painting he’d just finished.

It was a true work of art, and he knew it. Not just good, but great. He knew it even as the whiskey made his tongue thick in his mouth and his eyelids droop. A diabetic, he knew he had no business drinking that much. When he could no longer hold a paintbrush, he sat back in a metal folding chair and realized that he had finally done it. He’d captured, perfectly, the fractal shapes he’d been chasing his whole life.
 

Ever since his father took him to the Cleveland Science Center when he was ten, he’d seen them in his imagination. That day a scientist showed the crowd how fractals could be found everywhere: in mountains and rivers and on seashells. The never-ending patterns that repeated themselves in an ongoing feedback loop were the most beautiful things Donnie had ever seen. For the past thirty years, he’d been trying to capture them on canvas.

And in the end, all he needed for inspiration was a bowl of broccoli.
 

Not just any ordinary broccoli, either. This was special. “Romanesco broccoli,” the woman at the market stall called it. Lime green, with florets spiraling into fractal shapes. He bought a bag of it, had it sitting in a bowl on an old Formica table. Mick, whose studio Donnie shared, kept threatening to cook it up for lunch. But he agreed it was special. “Froccoli,” Mick called it.

Donnie had worked feverishly that night as a way to tamp down the loss he felt after the worst conversation of his life. Working always helped, always freed him from feelings he couldn’t sort through. But in the end, his masterpiece at last finished, the drinking won out. A bottle of whiskey, three-quarters empty, sat on the floor by the cot where he slept.

Donnie hadn’t even signed the painting.

But it didn’t matter. The fire that raged through the studio that night, devouring his masterpiece, knew no names and took no prisoners. The paint was still wet when it went up in a shimmer of orange, igniting the wooden two-by-four easel behind it.
 

Mick’s paintings caught fire next. An angry slash of black on a field of red curled easily into charred shreds. A thick decoupage of mixed media first melted, its bits of metal and rock sliding down before the canvas disappeared in flames. One painting after another—some finished, some not—went up in flames.

The fire leapt to a stack of framed paintings leaning against the wall like oversized dominoes, first eating their stretched cloth and then attacking their hardier wooden frames. Bottles of turpentine, paint thinner, and oil paint fed the flames, as did the men’s bottles of whiskey, wine, and gin, all of them exploding, their glass shattering.
 

Donnie did not stir.
 

Perhaps he was already dead.
 

Or maybe he dreamed in his sleep as the fire raged, smoke pouring in behind the curtain surrounding his cot, enveloping his passed-out form and invading his lungs. Those who knew him would expect him to dream of the fractals that were his singular obsession, how they would keep repeating into infinity, so small his eye wouldn’t be able to see them.
 

First his skin fried. The flames licked across the surface of his body, the top layer quickly peeling off. Then the fire attacked the thicker layer underneath, causing it to shrink and split. As it split, Donnie’s own body fat leaked out, feeding the fire as another kind of fuel.

Maybe in his dream, he was eating the broccoli. Maybe since the florets were made of the energy of fractals, they kept repeating inside him. He could feel them spiraling through his gut. Soon he could only watch as they emerged from his belly, bursting out of the core of his body, rippling in space, turning him inside out. He was a vibrating, swirling entity of math and matter. His body dissolved.
 

But as Donnie died, maybe he still existed in a larger way, his spirit flowing as part of the energy that is everything in the universe at once, the largest supernova and the smallest quark and everything in between.
 

Maybe Donnie’s true masterpiece was this: He
became
a fractal, never ending.

Chapter One

Holding a sweaty gin and tonic in one hand, the napkin under the glass damp, Grace watched her granddaughter out of the corner of her eye.
 

Cat had lost too much weight. The young woman’s cocktail dress seemed to hang on her. Her face lacked color, her spunk gone. It had been more than a year since Lee Stone, Cat’s childhood sweetheart, died. Grace thought the trip to Miami for Art Basel would knock her out of the Seattle doldrums. But surrounded by vibrant art and tropical sights, sounds, and smells, Cat remained sullen, uncommunicative.
 

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