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Book Feature - Hey Big Spender (Tahoe Tessie Mysteries, Book 2) by Gemma Halliday and T. Sue VerSteeg

When Tessie King inherited the Royal Palace Hotel, Lake Tahoe's biggest resort, she inherited a cranky board of directors along with it. A board that is demanding higher revenues, or Tessie's out. Faced with the possibility of losing her father's legacy, Tessie turns to her staff to help her come up with a plan: film the season finale of Battle Buffet, the hottest cooking competition show on TV, at the resort. It's a scheme sure to bring in the big bucks.

But is also brings big trouble. When one of the casino's wealthiest clients is found dead on the gaming floor, and the killer comes up incognito on the security footage, everyone is a suspect—from the television crew to the blue haired retirees at the slots. Tessie teams up with her stepmother-turned-BFF and her snowboarding teenage crush in a race against the clock to repair the casino's reputation, dodge mob accusations from the hot FBI agent on the case, and track down a killer before any more of her big spenders end up sleeping with the fishes.

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Learn more about the Tahoe Tessie series at Gemma's website:

I spent the rest of the morning knee-deep in accountants, going over the numbers for the previous quarter's returns in anticipation of my board review. To say they weren't pretty was like saying a bulldog needed a facelift—obvious to even my own untrained eye. I sorely hoped that the Battle Buffet finale was a hit, or else the Royal Palace might be saying its final adieu right along with Dubois's season. 
I was just leaving the conference room, visions of a lunch at the Castle Cafe dancing in my head,when my phone buzzed in my pocket. I briefly contemplated not answering it. But the truth was that whoever was on the other end knew where I lived. The hazards of living where you worked. 
"Tessie King," I answered.
"This is Maverick in security."
"Yes?" I asked.
"We have a small disturbance at the slots."
"Define disturbance."
"Mr. Taylor's passed out again."
I glanced at my phone read out. It was just past noon"Already?"
"'Fraid so."
"I'm on it," I said into the receiver as Maverick directed me to the particular bank of The Price is Right themed machines holding the snoozing vintner.
I glanced down aisle after aisle of clanging devices until I found him slumped against one at the far end. One of my regulars, Mrs. Schnatz, was standing in the middle of the row, arms crossed tightly over her chest and erratically tapping the toe of her Velcro-strapped tennis shoe.
"Finally!" the older woman said, jutting her meaty arm out toward Mr. Taylor. I tried not to look as the under part of her arm took way longer to stop moving that the rest of it. "That's my machine. He can nap in his room."
I set a comforting hand on her shoulder. "Give me just a minute, and it's all yours."
It was a little early in the day for a bender, but it didn't exactly surprise me either, considering the situation he'd outlined for me the previous night with LeAnna.
But as I approached him, something didn't look right. His complexion was blue, almost purple, and his drink was spilled on the floor. He would never allow that, no matter how many he'd already downed. Adrenaline-infused panic flooded my body. Instead of nudging him like usual, I put my fingers to his neck. His skin was cold and clammy, and his pulse was nonexistent.
"Call 9-1-1," I yelled to a now alarmed-looking Mrs. Schnatz. She complied, pulling out a cell. "Tell them we need an ambulance at the Royal Palace Casino."
She nodded, turning away as she put her phone to her ear.
I bit my lip, forcing myself to face the truth. It was too late for an ambulance. I tried to pat his face, and his head shifted toward me, revealing a small pair of scissors protruding from the side of his neck.
And blood.
A thin line of it trailed down the side of the slot machine, pooling between it and the neighboring machine.

I heard a scream that very well could have been mine.

About the Authors:
Gemma Halliday is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the High Heels Mysteries, the Hollywood Headlines Mysteries, the Jamie Bond Mysteries, the Tahoe Tessie Mysteries, as well as several other works. Gemma's books have received numerous awards, including a Golden Heart, two National Reader's Choice awards, and three RITA nominations. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her boyfriend, Jackson Stein, who writes vampire thrillers, and their three children, who are adorably distracting on a daily basis. To learn more about Gemma, visit her online at

T. Sue VerSteeg was born and raised in the small town of Grinnell, Iowa. At the age of 21, she moved her family—parents and all—to the beautiful Ozarks region of Missouri where they have lived since. She is blessed with an adoring husband, two wonderful kids, the best sister in the world, and amazing parents. Writing has always been a passion in her life, to which family and friends can attest. From her first attempt at a spin-off of Dick and Jane, to her latest novel, her heart and soul has been poured into each word. Her most sincere wish is that you will find as much enjoyment in reading her stories as she did in their creation. To learn more about T. Sue, visit her online at:


  1. Can't wait to read this. Loved the first one!

    1. I might, uh, know a gal who can hook you up. ;)


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