About the Book
Drowning Lessons (A Red Frog Beach Mystery)
1st in Series
Self-Published (May 21, 2019)
Number of Pages: ~290
Digital ASIN: B07PZRR8WC
You are cordially invited to a destination wedding to die for...
Welcome to Bocas del Toro, a remote chain of islands off the Caribbean coast of Panama. Five days of glorious sun and lush rainforest await the forty guests celebrating Bridezilla Olivia’s dream wedding—but will a murder sink the catered affair? Before anyone’s got time to start working on a tan, an unfortunate snorkeling accident eliminates a member of the wedding party. Maid of honor Lexie Marino smells trouble, and is thrust into the responsibility of investigating, needing to solve the case before her bestie’s trip down the aisle gets tropically derailed. The show must go on.
Lexie’s a little too tall, a little too awkward, and a little too brokenhearted, but she’s determined to nail the real killer. Can this unlikely sleuth stay afloat as she’s hit by wave after wave of wildly entertaining characters, including an alpha bride, surfing detectives, and a high school flame long forgotten? You’ll find yourself laughing until the very end of Drowning Lessons, a debut cozy mystery that makes the perfect beach read. Rub in some coconut oil, dangle your feet in the crystal-blue waters of Dolphin Bay, and sip a cool drink as Lexie discovers the deductive superpowers she never knew she had. Let the party begin!
ON WRITING THE MAID-OF-HONOR SPEECH
By Rachel Neuburger Reynolds/Drowning Lessons
Lies. I had been told there were very few requirements of me when Olivia had asked me to be her maid of honor for the upcoming week's destination wedding. I had initially said no, even though we'd been best friends since the age of five. Why no? Let’s just say I know Olivia.
“Lexie! Who else knows and loves me the way that you do? Who else can knock it out of the park like you do?” I had to say yes. Her requests were simple; a great bachelorette party, helping her look gorgeous, and the speech to end all speeches. Hypothetically, it shouldn’t have been too hard, but it’s never just going to be a few things with Olivia. The wedding is going to be forty people total for the better half of a week on some little islands off of Panama. I’d wrongly pictured running around in flip-flops, flipping burgers and hitting bridal piñatas.
I would very much like to hit a bridal piñata right now.
This is all running up for me to say that I am thanking the gods of rusty old planes that I was bumped from our connecting flight. Olivia, her three other bridesmaids, and I left New York City four nights before the rest of the guests for a little prep time in the tropics. We happily reached Panama City Airport, ready to switch planes and go onwards towards Bocas del Toro Isla Colon International Airport.
“Where?” you ask.
There were two flights from Panama City to the islands per day, on a Fokker 50 turboprop. They've been out of production since 1997, but that's just aircraft. They are built to last.
Not all of them it seems…
They had to bump some passengers from the flight. Eight of them to be exact. And one of them was going to be part of our group. There was a crazy rainstorm going on outside, and though the plane could take off, it looked like it was raining in the last two rows, and those passengers would be bumped, put up for the night, compensated and guaranteed a seat on the next morning’s flight.
“Guaranteed?” Olivia snapped. “What if there is a monsoon? Or a typhoon. Locusts, or what not?”
I took her gesticulating hand and got it under control. “You aren’t doing yourself any favors,” I whispered.
I momentarily had her calmed, but she quickly reverted to this new person who I knew lesser and lesser over the last six months. We had checked and cross-checked, and double-dare-me-triple-checked every last gasp of air at this wedding, yet I still had a bad feeling about the whole shebang.
She bickered with the woman at the ticket counter, I think embarrassedly threatening her with some ridiculously impossible consequence. I could sense that she thought I’d be defying her, when I volunteered, “I’d be happy to take the flight tomorrow.”
Olivia gave me a dirty look, but that had just become her default look of late. She could have been smiling for all we knew. She shook her head, “Nonsense. That one. She can sit in the rainy seat.” She pointed at Marianna, another bridesmaid, who looked shocked.
Marianna pointed at me, “Her. Her. She’s the one to sit in the leaky seat. You would hardly know the difference with her hair. Look at her.”
Welcome to my new world of the last six months. I needed that twelve-hours of respite.
More fighting was slowly killing us all, but I knew Olivia’s Achilles heel: her vanity. “I’m bowing out of this,” I benevolently told the bridal party, the employees of Air Panama, and all the annoyed people in line behind us. “I would like to take this time to devote to write my maid of honor speech for you. It deserves the attention that it won’t get on the island.”
It was the music that soothed the savage beast, and miraculously I was free, watching Olivia and her three other bridesmaids walk out to the wet tarmac. The silence was the most beautiful music I’d heard in ages.
The gate agent was all peaches and cream to me now, and happily handed me tomorrow’s boarding pass, a voucher for accommodations and food at the Crowne Plaza, and a $200 credit towards a future Air Panama flight. Win!
I had a day off. For the first time since I said yes to being part of Olivia’s wedding madness, I had the day off.
I found the perfect place to regroup and make a new plan. With a handful of quarters on offer, I plopped down on the massage chair in between the bookstore and the sports bar and watched the arrivals and departures of PTY airport from the pleasure of an aggressively rumbly chair. No brilliant homages to nuptial bliss came.
Eventually, I walked through the doors of the anonymous but comfortable Crowne Plaza and was shown to a high room overlooking the runway. Perfect. I hadn't been rained on, but it felt right to immediately change into the plush hotel bathroom. I ordered a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and a chicken Caesar salad, getting out my journal with which to start my epic ode to Olivia.
The meal was delicious, and the time was a secret alone moment just to myself. Though I had thirty years of ups and downs with Olivia, nothing came when I sat to write that day. Allowing myself the last treat I’d get that week, I let myself slide under the crisp white sheets, and fall asleep to Frasier dubbed into Spanish. Olivia’s speech could wait one more day. I had all the time in the world.
About the Author
RACHEL NEUBURGER REYNOLDS is the author of The Red Frog Beach Mystery Series. As a playwright, her plays have had been produced in London, Edinburgh and New York. After 25-years in New York City, she now resides with her husband between London and St Leonards-on-Sea in England. For news about Rachel and the upcoming Red Frog Beach Mysteries, check her out at RachelNeuburger.com.
Webpage and blog: RachelNeuburger.com
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