Authors: Josie Brown
Tags: #action and adventure, #Brown, #chick lit, #contemporary romance, #espionage, #espionage books, #funny mysteries, #funny mystery, #guide, #handy household tips, #hardboiled, #household tips, #housewife, #Janet Evanovich, #Josie Brown, #love, #love and romance, #mom lit, #mommy lit, #Mystery, #relationship tips, #Romance, #romantic comedy, #romantic mysteries, #romantic mystery, #Romantic Suspense, #Suspense, #Thriller, #thriller mysteries, #thrillers mysteries, #Women Sleuths, #womens contemporary
The Housewife Assassin’s
Killer Christmas Tips
© 2012 Josie Brown. All rights reserved.
Published by Signal Press
San Francisco, CA 94123
How to Make a Christmas (not a Funeral) Wreath
Nothing says “The holidays are here” like a wreath hanging on your front door, or over the fireplace mantle. Making yours can be a fun project for the whole family!
What you’ll need to start: a braided grapevine. First, weave evergreen sprigs through the braids. Then, with large straight pins or thin wire, place either crisp green Granny Smith or bright red Delicious apples, brushed with polyurethane, onto the wreath. With a glue gun or thin wire, add pine cones and eucalyptus leaves, along with sprigs of holly berries.
Last, but certainly not least, apply silver or gold glitter.
Should your incomparable symbol of holiday joy attract burglars who want to rob you of all the carefully wrapped gifts under your tree, be sure to trip them up with any leftover wire. A few shots from the staple gun will surely have them screaming for mercy until the police arrive.
And guess what? You’ll be the neighborhood hero! What a great start to a happy holiday!
“No one’s perfect,” the plastic surgeon, Dr. Richard Smith, murmurs with a smile. “Sometimes we need to tweak God’s handiwork.”
His tone is soothing, his British accent just slightly off-kilter, which is expected from someone who adopted the language.
Not that I’m supposed to know this.
Years ago, Smith, a doctor in Serbia, went by the name of Ratko Zoran. When the Bosnian War broke out, he served as a general under Yugoslavia’s blood-thirsty dictator, Slobodan Miloševich. He fit right in with Slobodan’s sick, inhumane warcraft. Under Zoran’s command, whole villages were destroyed. Many of the women were raped, most of the men and boys executed. Those left breathing were put in detention camps.
Then the real fun began. Zoran harvested and sold his prisoners’ organs on the Russian black market.
No wonder his nickname is “the Sadistic Surgeon of Serbia.”
When the United States got involved, he parlayed important intel regarding Russian aid and arms to Serbia into a new, anonymous life on American soil. This transformation came with a full makeover. No longer does his nose resemble a potato. In fact, in profile, you’d swear he’s George Clooney. His face is now as smooth as a baby’s ass, not pockmarked like his international fugitive watch list poster. The hair plugs Zoran now sports give this former skinhead a salt-and- pepper mane. With LASIK surgery, he was able to dump the monocle. After lipo and the re-sculpting of his robust physique, daily use of his Equinox membership helps him stay trim.
For over a decade, under the assumed name of “Dr. Smith,” he’s been putting his physician skills to its highest and best use: nipping, tucking, lipo-ing and JuveDerming those women who yearn to be just as new and improved as the high-tech appliances in their kitchens.
Goodbye, Dr. Kevorkian. Hello Dr. McDreamy.
But now that it’s been verified Zoran is back in the business of slicing and dicing organs from undocumented immigrants here stateside, our country feels he’s outstayed his welcome. Should the cops get involved, he’ll get arrested, and the ugly truth about how we saved his ass will be exposed. Needless to say, the media would have a field day.
But should he die quietly of natural causes, no one will give a damn except for a bevy of housewives hooked on his steely gray eyes and their Botox fix.
That’s where I come in. Acme Industries, the government-sanctioned black ops firm I work for, gave me a needle with Zoran’s name on it. The serum inside contains just enough succinylcholine (appropriately nicknamed SUX) so he’ll die of what will look like a heart attack.
I’m flying solo on this mission. That’s okay. An extermination like this rarely takes two operatives. Besides, my usual partner, Jack Craig, is in the midst of something just as important. He’s out at the mall, shopping for my Christmas present.
You see, he’s also my main squeeze.
If it’s a gift certificate for a plastic surgery procedure, he’s in big trouble.
My hope is that it’s an engagement ring, but fat chance of that, since he’s married to someone else.
She left him for another man. He may not admit it, but the fact that he hasn’t had closure with this anecdote stands in the way of our happily ever after.
I know this firsthand. My husband, Carl, did the same thing to me, on the night our third child, Trisha, was born. Talk about abandonment issues.
I channel my anger into my job. Good thing I’m not a librarian. Otherwise my punishment for late fees would be excessive.
To add insult to injury, Jack recently admitted that his wife, Valentina, was seduced by Carl. Since they turned out to be double agents who left Acme to work for a rogue spy cell known as the Quorum, they’re now both on the international terrorist watch list.
Even worse, they’re also on my shit list. They should hope I don’t find them first.
Until the embers on the torch Jack carries for Valentina grows cold, the only diamond I can call my own is on my old engagement ring, which I now wear on my right hand. I’ve only just put it back on because I know it annoys Jack.
Well, too bad. When he’s ready to move on, I will, too.
The opportunity to get up close and personal with Zoran came via a pricy thirty-minute consultation, which I booked under the name of Angelina J. Pitt. Not that I wanted to get his hopes up or anything, but come on already. How do you improve on perfection?
From the way he’s going at me with a black Sharpee marker, I guess I’m about to find out. Little did I know he’d consider me a work in progress as opposed to my own opinion of myself: practically perfect in every way.
Zoran frowns while scrutinizing every wrinkle on my thirty-something face. Any notion I’ve harbored about a perennial cuteness goes right out the window when he adds, “Then there are the times we must admit that God went on a bender the day we were created, and opt for a complete make-over.”
He shifts my chair so that I can look at myself in the mirror. I’m wincing at what I see. He has drawn a baker’s dozen black circles around the parts of my body and face, which, he feels, need to be sliced and diced to create his idea of perfection.
In hindsight, I wonder if that means sans liver, kidneys and still-beating heart. Perhaps if I had just crossed the Mexican-American border in an unmarked van, as opposed to pulling into the parking garage of his Wilshire Boulevard office in a rented Lexus sedan, the answer to that question would be a resounding
. His side business is the most literal way in which America the Beautiful can be heartless.
I sigh. “You might as well have taken a roller of black paint to me.”
My tone is sarcastic, but he laughs anyway. “Most women feel that way, at first. Everyone knows true beauty comes from within. But having it on the outside, too, doesn’t hurt our self-esteem.”
He takes a camera and starts shooting away. “Look straight into the lens…. That’s right. Now, turn your head left… now, right… ”
Seeing my reflection in the ceiling-to-floor mirrored wall behind him, I certainly don’t feel like a magazine model. More like a med school cadaver.
“I notice you’ve circled my smile lines. I don’t get it. They aren’t all that deep.”
He shrugs. “Sadly, they are one of the first telltale signs that your youth has begun to vanish. Not to worry. Many women of a certain age find it difficult to admit when they’ve waited too long for a little maintenance. My motto is ‘Surgical intervention and prevention is worth a pound of aging.’ Apropos, wouldn’t you say?”
What I’d like to say is that I’ll enjoy gutting him like a trout, but I hold my powder. Instead, I gulp hard. “Okay, yeah, I can see that. But why did you draw on my ears, too?”
His smile is pitying. “I just presumed you’d want them trimmed back a bit! That way, you won’t always have to wear your hair long, to hide them.”
“I wear long hair because I like it that way,” I mutter.
His eyes open wide with disbelief.
I look down at my naked breasts. “Why all the concentric circles, starting from my nipples? I feel like an old-growth redwood tree.”
“That’s a bit harsh.” He tilts his head as he grimaces at my breast. “But I see your point. In all honesty, Mrs… um,
, a breast lift would do wonders for you. If you wait even another year, they’ll be touching your bellybutton.” He moves in for a closer look at my stomach, then frowns with displeasure when it bounces back at his touch. At least, I think it’s a frown. Hard to tell, really, since his smile seemed stretched across his face. Obviously, he practices what he preaches. “Make that, another four months. That is, if we do lipo before it extends out any farther.”
What the hell?
To my eye, my belly looks concave. At least it’s flat. Alright, to be honest with you, just a tiny bit pouchy…
Okay, I get the point. “You’ve drawn so many spots on my stomach, ass, and thighs, I look like a Dalmatian puppy. I’m guessing that’s not a good thing.”
“Smart girl!” he says brightly, as he points to my tummy. “I would be remiss had I not pointed out your very visible abdominal deformity,” he adds, in the severest tone.
“It isn’t a ‘deformity!’ It’s just some leftover baby fat from the birth of my youngest child!”
His laughter is light as air. “And how old is the child already?”
I shrug. “In… kindergarten.”
His pity comes with a shake of his head. “What is that Robert Burns poem? Ah, yes!
‘Oh, what power gift ye gie us, To see ourselves as others see us…”
He pauses with a sigh. “But we don’t, do we?”
I long to answer,
I see right through you, Ratko Zoran. You’re a beast.
“Now, I take this memory card and put it in the computer, and
” He points to his computer screen. “All the circled areas have been digitized to show you at your best.”
Wow! Talk about the wonders of CGI. On his screen, I look like the
Okay, maybe if you squint through one eye.
Still, I’m a sight to behold. Perhaps I can stall Acme on this assignment until after Dr. Death performs these few nips and tucks.
Nah. I’ll live my life with the gifts Mother Nature gave me. Besides, only twelve more minutes to go before my appointment’s up. Time to give the doctor his medicine.
“It’s incredible! I can’t wait to be so beautiful!” I sigh, as if I’ve had my best orgasm ever. “Of course, I have to ask… How much will all this cost me, doctor?”
“How can one put a price on beauty?”
“Try, why don’t you? Hubby will insist.”
He counts up my circles, then sits down on a stool, where he pulls out a calculator.
While he tallies up the total on his lined patient prescription pad, I consider my options. Ideally, I should stab him between two toes, where the pinprick will be hard to detect. But that isn’t going to happen. Today I’m playing patient, not honeypot. Lesser options are behind his ear or a jab to the thigh. I’ll go with the latter, since it will be the easiest to reach.
To do so, I sidle up to him, needle ready to go. This isn’t easy to do, what with all the mirrors around, and the way he glances up periodically. If I had as many ghosts chasing me, I imagine I’d be nervous, too.
By the time he tears off his tally sheet and is about to hand it to me, I’m literally at his side. “Oh, here you are!” His eyes narrow with surprise. “Each procedure is a line item: lipo, tummy tuck, otoplasty—that is the ear pinning—breast lift, breast augmentation, face lift—”
“Whoa, wait! I thought we were talking about a little Botox here, a little Collagen there. Why would I need a full face lift?”