Toxic Designs

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Nothing hits as close to home as having a loved one get sick, which means double trouble for Kate Stevens when her daughter, Vanessa, and her best friend, Vivi Lawrence, both become deathly ill within hours of each other. 

Vanessa is home for two weeks over summer break, and a shared meal between the three of them seems to be the source of the food poisoning. But why doesn’t Kate herself become ill? Is it just luck, or is something more sinister afoot?

Kate becomes all the more suspicious when Vivi has several recurrences of illness, and doctors cannot find the cause. Kate is sure that someone is out to harm—or worse, eliminate—her friend, but no one will listen to her protestations, not even Vivi.

Could the malefactor be Vivi’s new assistant who seems to be gunning for her job? What about the woman who a year earlier filed a frivolous lawsuit against Vivi and the Fort Worth hotel where Vivi is an event planner? Or is it the lawyer, who Kate believes is angling for leverage with Vivi on an inheritance she is set to receive?

Vivi and Vanessa are both sick, and Peter Matthews—the handsome Fort Worth detective who is also Kate’s friend—has been called away on a crucial case. So Kate turns to Paige Bryant, the owner of the Once Upon a Yarn needlecraft shop that is Kate’s home away from home, for help.

Kate is sure that someone has deadly plans for Vivi, but she must first figure out why before she can prove who it is. Will Kate and Paige solve the mystery before those toxic designs come to pass?

The Characters

Single mother. Accomplished crochet designer. Murder suspect!

At 42 years old, Kate would have never expected to be described as any of these. But sometimes life has a funny way of taking you down the path least expected. The one thing that has remained constant in Kate's life is her amazing ability to turn imagined crochet designs into beautiful creations that others can enjoy.

It's Kate's God-given talent that landed her an amazing book deal featuring her crochet designs ... but will it end up being one huge mistake?

Known as the neighborhood serial killer -- of plants, that is -- Vivi is full of energy and excitement, and is always happy to share one of her mom's delicious home-cooked meals with Kate. While she may be a few years younger than Kate and not quite as skilled at crocheting, Vivi proves to be a tried-and-true friend who is happy to lend a hand in getting to the bottom of Kate's latest dilemma.

One of Fort Worth's finest detectives, Peter's handsome dark blue eyes can sparkle with mischief at times. The epitome of a Western lawman with his tall frame and wide shoulders, Peter is a welcome face as Kate works to clear her name in her book publisher's sudden death. For his part, Peter is captivated by Kate's smile and wants to be more than just a friend.

The owner of Once Upon a Yarn, a needlecraft shop in Fort Worth, Paige is full of life and wisdom. She likes to stock her shop with a mix of traditional and trendy needle arts that are as beautiful as her colorful personality. Delighted to welcome Kate into her cozy crafters' boutique, Paige at times finds herself stepping away from the counter to help Kate with her latest mystery.

A longtime friend of Paige Bryant and her husband, Adam provides Kate with practical advice to guide her career and helps fill the void left by Kate's father who died during her childhood. Adam has known his share of grief as well. Widowed two years ago, Adam learned crochet from his late wife, Julia, during her final illness. The craft provides constant comfort for him.

The old adage says, "like mother, like daughter," and Vanessa has definitely inherited Kate's keen eye for crochet design. But right now Vanessa prefers to wear her mother's designs than create her own. She's more focused on enjoying and exploring life as a freshman at Regency College in Fort Worth with an occasional stopover to see how Mom is settling into her new home in Sage Hills.

With a pleasant smile and laugh lines around his eyes, Roger is Kate's good-natured contact at Creative Inspirations Publishing. Their popular new magazine, Hook and Needle Artistry, featured Kate on the cover with an exclusive story inside the first issue. Now, Kate has a regular column in this well-liked craft magazine.