Read Relative chaos Online

Authors: Kay Finch

Relative chaos

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For their invaluable help with this novel, I thank my fabulouswriting group-Amy, Bob, Charlie, Dean, Heather, Joe, Laura,Leann, and Millie. Special thanks to Susie and Isabella for sharingtheir home with us every week, to Scotty Harris for policeprocedure advice, and to Sherri Saunders for her probate know-how.Any mistakes or misstatements made in the novel are mine. Fortheir encouragement and advice, I also thank Chelsea Gilmore, JuliaWeis, and my agent, Mike Farris. Special appreciation to myhusband, Benton, for always being there.


I clomped over Aunt Millie's threshold in my black steel-toedsneakers, wedging myself into a crowded, mildewy foyer that lookedlike the Goodwill drop-off after closing. My seventy-year-old aunttook one look at my yellow hard hat and rolled her eyes.

"You know, Poppy, everyone does not love a comedian," she said.

"Wasn't trying to be funny."

Heaps of papers, boxes, stuffed garbage bags, and stacks of bookssurrounded us. Millie's black cat, Jett, picked his way through themess like a soldier negotiating a minefield.

I rapped on my hat. "This is self-preservation."

Millie tossed her head, making her tight gray curls bounce. "I callfor help, and you insult me?"

"Nothing personal, Aunt Millie. Professional-organizer trainingstresses brutal honesty."

Okay, I had added the hat for a touch of humor, hoping to startthis project on a light note. Guess that tactic bombed.

Millie puffed out a breath. "Training? Huh. You came out of thewomb speaking your mind."

"Part of my charm," I said. "Besides, wouldn't be much help tomy clients if I didn't tell the truth."

"Doesn't mean I have to like it."

I inspected an unfamiliar box labeled microwave oven. Next to thebox, a sixty-four-piece set of stainless steel flatware sat atop anunabridged dictionary. "Where'd all this stuff come from? You promised to lay off the garage sales."

"I have." Millie took a calculated step to her right, but even herwide girth couldn't hide the set of rusty wrought-iron nesting tables,the misshapen throw pillows, or the cartons of yellowed paperbacksI knew hadn't been there last week. Jett hopped up onto a stack offresh cartons near the front door-recent UPS deliveries.

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