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Be Kind to Food Servers—Or Else!
“Hello, my name is Rose Strickland and I’m a waitress at Ma’s Diner. You may not know this, but January is Be Kind to Your Servers month. So I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that servers are people, too and—”
“Get real, Rose.”
“Sorry for the interruption. This is my fellow waitress-slash-bestie, Roxy Block.”
“How you doing? What Rose is trying to say in her nice girl way, is tip your freaking waitress. Do you think we like schlepping around platters of food and getting stiffed? Do you? We have bills to pay, too, you know.”
“Again, sorry. Roxy has been a little cranky since she gave up smoking. And most people are really nice. Especially our regulars.”
“I’m only cranky when I don’t make bank. And what about Hermit Jim? He sits in the back of the diner, never smiles, and always leaves like, fifty cents. Look, we work hard, dudes. Fifteen percent and a smile. Is that so difficult?”
“But we enjoy our job, right, Rox? We like serving people and seeing their smiles after a short stack and a cup of coffee. And our boss, Ma, is the best. She’s owned the diner for almost fifty years. She’s an institution in our town.”
“Yeah, I love Ma. She’s good peeps.”
“What we’re trying to say is that servers don’t make much of an hourly wage. Your tips go a long way in helping us pay tuition or keeping us in ramen noodles—you know, the essentials. And we like a kind word as much as the next person.”
“And maybe if you’re nice, we won’t give you high octane when you ask for decaf. Just remember, we have our ways of getting even. Be cool to your waitress—me—and we won’t have a problem. Now tell them about Janelle, Rose.”
“I’m not sure they want to hear about that.”
“Of course they do. Who doesn’t love a dramatic story about jail and ex-cons and hot bad guys?”
“You got me. Okay, our friend, Janelle Johnson, is in jail, accused of putting her ex-husband in a coma.”
“But she’s totally innocent, right? Tell them.”
“Janelle is guilty of many things: bad judgment—”
“Terrible taste in men.”
“Indeed. But attempted murder? Uh uh. So it’s up to us to find out who tried to kill him. And there are a few other problems associated with this coma business.”
“Rose has a total crush on a criminal. And he’s in hot water.”
“Sullivan isn’t a bad guy and somehow, he ties into all this. But he’s helped me out more than once and if I can return the favor, so be it.”
“You are so blushing right now. She’s totally smitten.”
“Back to Janelle, we have to get her out of jail in time for Christmas. She has little kids.”
“You can do it, Rose. I have faith in you.”
“Ah, thanks Rox. Now everyone, go forth and be kind to your servers.
A Note from the Book Boost: Thanks for joining us Terri, and Rose and Rox! Nice meeting you, ladies. Getting out my tip calculator right now...
Rose Strickland is having a blue Christmas. Her friend is arrested for attempted murder, her sexy bad guy crush is marked by a hit man, and her boss is locked in an epic smackdown with a rival diner.
Determined to save those she loves, Rose embarks on an investigation more tangled than a box of last year's tree lights. With her eclectic gang at the ready, Rose stumbles across dead bodies, ex-cons, jilted lovers, and a gaggle of strippers as she searches for the truth. What she finds will leave her entrenched in a battle for freedom she might not survive.
There are some absolutes in this life that are irrefutable. If you leave the house looking like crap, you’ll see someone you know, usually an ex-boyfriend. If you’re running late for an appointment, you’ll hit every red light on the way. And a three a.m. phone call is never good news. Either someone’s dead, in the hospital, or you’re a drunken booty call. But that Saturday morning, I discovered another reason to avoid the ringing harbinger of bad news.
“’ello,” I answered, my eyes still closed.
“Rose, I’m in jail, girl.”
I sniffed and sat up on my futon. “Janelle?”
“Of course it’s Janelle. They think I tried to kill Asshat.”
Scrubbing a hand over my eyes, I glanced at the clock. “Asshat?”
Janelle lowered her voice. “Rose, wake up and listen. I’m in jail, Asshat’s in a coma, and they’re saying I tried to kill him. I need help.”
Her dilemma finally penetrated my sleep-fogged brain. “Oh my God. Where are the kids?” Janelle had two, Damon, nine, and Sherise, seven. Both so cute you wanted to pinch their little cheeks. But I wouldn’t recommend it—that Sherise was a biter.
“They’re staying with my cousin, Sondra. But I got to get out of here. If they think I’m spending Christmas in jail then I’m Halle Damn Berry.”
“What do you want me to do?”
“Call that fancy lawyer you know. He’ll figure it out.”
Dane Harker. “I’ll call him and come see you in the morning. Will they let me bring you anything?”
“Cigarettes and toiletries. These bitches trade everything for cigarettes. And Rose? Thanks.”
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