When Henry Wordsworth Longfellow wrote the words, "Into each life some rain must fall," the Portland poet must have been inspired by April on the coast of Maine.
A steady shower pattered against Liv's red umbrella as she crossed the street against the light. There was little traffic downtown on such a raw Sunday morning. Only a few automobile lights reflected red and yellow streaks off the slick, wet roads criss-crossing Portland's Old Port.
At least it wasn't snow, she thought, but anyone with sense would be home curled up in their squishy chair, reading the Sunday Telegram, and drinking tea. If not for her mandatory once-a-month Sunday brunch with her parents, that's just what she'd be doing.
The historic Portland Regency Hotel was just ahead, and Liv was late. She'd tried on and discarded several outfits, finally settling on skinny jeans, an oversized sweater, and a pair of high-end rainboots. A brown fedora completed the look. Her mother would frown at the jeans. Her father would compliment her on the hat. And her feet would stay dry. Win. Win. Win.
Liv made it to the Regency and entered the hotel restaurant, Eighteen95. She checked her raincoat and umbrella, glanced in the mirror to make sure her lipstick wasn't smudged, and made her way to her parents' usual table in the center of the room.
A cheery fire blazed in the brick fireplace. The subtle clink of utensils against tableware blended with the groovy jazz playing on the sound system. The familiar aroma of bacon, good coffee, and scones smelled delicious. Okay, so maybe she didn't completely hate Sunday brunch. In some ways, it was a comforting ritual.
Comforting, with one major exception.
"Hello, Olivia," her mother said, holding out her cheek for a kiss.
"Hi Mom. Hi Dad." She took her seat and placed a linen napkin in her lap. "Sorry I'm late. Did you order already?"
"Of course not," her mother said, sipping her mimosa. "We did tell the server to bring coffee and scones as soon as you arrived. In case you arrived."
"Mom, you know I would call if I couldn't make it," Liv said, turning to her father. "How have you been, Dad?"
"I've been fine, Olivia," her father said. "Just fine."
"The hospital merger still on track?"
Gilbert Lively nodded. "Yes, thank you for asking. It's going to be very beneficial to our staff and patients once the MainePatientCare merger is finally completed."
She narrowed her eyes, noting the exhausted droop of his face. "Still having PR problems?"
"Oh, just the usual. There are a few glitches with systems and whatnot, and some of the newspaper editorials have been brutal, but we'll manage. How's the investigation business going?"
"Oh, let's not encourage her, Gilbert," Tiffany Lively interrupted. She turned to Liv. "I understand you attended the Glitterati Ball last night? The Telling Room is a wonderful organization, Olivia. I'm so pleased." Tiffany smiled at her.
Feeling a little guilty, Liv nodded, played with her spoon. All her mother ever wanted was for her only daughter to graduate from a prestigious university, marry well, and take her place in Portland society. Not only had Liv failed to snag an appropriate husband, but also she'd chosen an embarrassing and potentially dangerous profession.
In Tiffany Lively's world, a career as a detective, snooping around in other people's affairs, was low class, certainly not a topic for polite conversation.
Then again, Liv rationalized, no matter she did, her mother found something to criticize. She might as well please herself. At least one of them would be happy. Ish.
YOU ARE READING
DISGUISEDMystery / Thriller
A new case thrusts private investigator, Olivia Lively, into the cut-throat world of academia. Not only does she have to vindicate her client but also give her love life a much-needed makeover. ...