FRAMED: A Brand New Serial Mystery Begins This Month!


Violet Sterling straightened the red bow before handing the package to her customer. “Merry Christmas.”
One down. Fifty more to go.
“Thanks so much.” The man took the gift-wrapped parcel. “My wife is going to love it. She’s been asking to have this picture framed for years.” His eyes sparkled when he smiled. “Merry Christmas,” he called over the shop’s chiming bells as he stepped out of her store.
A blast of cold wind blew in, and she sucked in a stunted breath against the chill as she gave the man a wave through the window. Once he was out of view, she rubbed her hands over her arms then down her aching back. She stared at her daunting pile that threatened to topple over if it hadn’t been for her bookshelf side holding them all up straight. Fifty more frames to go before she could shut down a couple of days early for Christmas. Despite Christmas still being two weeks away, she couldn’t take any more orders. Not working alone. She’d never get them done.
Be thankful for the work, Violet. January will be slow.
Always was.
She moved her neck from side to side as Alvin and the Chipmunks whined a version of “Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas” through the store’s speakers. That’s exactly what she planned to do. Have a holly, jolly Christmas, on her couch. Alone.
She pushed the melancholy thought aside. First Christmas without Grams. She blinked away her tears as the sadness settled in her heart.
The bells above the door chimed again, and she looked up, removing her hand from her aching back. “When are you ever going to hire help?” Her best friend and at one time almost sister-in-law, Kim Young, shivered her way into Violet’s frame shop with two steaming cups of coffee. Kim owned the children’s boutique, Forever Young, next door, and like her store’s name, Kim’s face stayed forever young. Thirty years old and the woman didn’t look a day over twenty. Violet wanted to hate her, but she couldn’t. The woman brought her coffee. Every day. Sometimes twice a day. How could she hate a person like that?
Now Kim’s brother…the verdict was still out.
“Maybe next year.” Violet shrugged. Hired help wasn’t a luxury she could afford. Not this year at least. Maybe after tax season.
“You’re working yourself to the bone. Here. This’ll keep you going.” Kim passed over the cup.
“Thanks. How’s it going next door?”
“Oh, you know. Everyone wants something on sale or for free. Same as always.”
Violet encountered the same thing herself. Owning a business was no cakewalk.
“We still on for drinks after work?”
“If by drinks you mean more of this.” Violet held up the coffee cup, “then yes. I’ll be working late every night until I get these done.” She pointed to the pile of pictures behind her.
Kim pivoted her head to look behind Violet. “Geez. That pile has gotten bigger since yesterday.”
“Has it?” Violet cringed.
“You didn’t, did you?” Kim pointed her finger. “You said you weren’t taking any more orders.”
“I know.” Violet’s shoulders slumped and she nodded her head. “But my third-grade teacher came in and begged me. I couldn’t turn Mrs. Reynolds down.”
“Yes, Violet. Yes, you could have. No more orders. I mean it.” Kim smacked the counter.
“Fine.” Violet held up her hands. “No more orders.”
 “Good. Besides, you need a break, and a life other than this shop. I heard James Jackson was single again.” Kim wiggled her eyebrows.

Read the entire exciting first installment in the July/August 2019 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

You can just click on the magazine image on the left hand side of our home page to open and enjoy!


If you would like to receive the magazine every month (for FREE!) , just sign up on our home page. Once you do, an e-mail validation notice will be sent directly to you. Just open and click the link and you're in - forever!  Each month the magazine will be delivered directly to your inbox to downlad and read!