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Housewife assassin Donna Stone must be more than just ready for her close-up if she’s to infiltrate a television reality show in order to stop the broadcast of a live terrorist attack.


Chaoxiang “Chucky” Chan joneses over three things: white-blonde blue-eyed kewpie doll pole dancers, Vancouver Canucks games (to which he has front row seats), and his $360,000 red Lamborghini Huracán.

Sadly, his car is in the shop getting some much-needed bodywork. It seems that its low-slung chassis ran over a fallen lamppost in the middle of the road. Chucky is the reason the lamppost was there in the first place. Cars seem to go bump in the night when you drink and drive while a stripper performs unmentionable acts.

Luckily, Chucky was wearing his seatbelt. However, the stripper’s bucket seat contortions left her with even more bodywork than the car’s. At least Chucky picked up her medical bills. She’ll always have a rod in her back, but the doctor assured her she’ll have a better nose than the one that got smashed when she was propelled through the windshield.

I’ve correctly guessed that Chucky would haunt Vancouver, Canada’s largest Lamborghini showroom in search of a replacement vehicle. And because my latest mission dictates that I be his replacement girlfriend, I got there a few minutes after him. To make it easy for him to see me in the role, today I wear a platinum blonde wig styled in a gamine cut. My contact lenses—really video feeds monitored by Ryan Clancy, my boss at the black-ops organization that employs me, Acme Corporation—are vivid blue. It’s also why I’m wearing a black push-up bra under my low-cut sheer white silk blouse, and a tight white mini-skirt with six-inch heels.

If you saw me, I wouldn’t blame you in the least if you thought my attire left nothing to the imagination. Bingo! That’s the point. To assure that Chucky gets it too, I sink into the passenger seat of a sleek black $1.9 million-dollar Lamborghini Centenarios roadster with my legs parted just wide enough that his imagination goes wild and his fifth appendage hardens. This is a predictable reaction since, as we circled each other in the showroom, he stared at my ass long enough to notice that there was no visible panty line.

I reward his smirk with a come-hither wink and a crooked index finger that invites him to join me.

My interest in Chucky has less to do with his bank account than that of his father’s: Huang Fu Chan just so happens to be China’s Minister of Natural Resources. During his administration, graft has boomed to new heights, thanks to too many collapsing mine shafts, and too few honest owners.

That is, until now. Chucky doesn’t know it yet, but Daddy Dearest disappeared about six hours ago. Acme’s guess is that he’s now the guest of the MSS—China’s espionage agency, the Ministry of State Security—and is being interrogated in some black site located deep in the Tian Shan Mountains. The lives of miners and the reputations of China’s current administration may be gone, but Huang Fu’s ill-gotten gains are an acceptable substitute.

Vancouver is bulging with fuerdai—superrich second generation trust-funders who, like Chucky, have no qualms spending their parents’ hard-stolen money on hot wheels and fast women, in that order.

Or is it the other way around? Not that it matters. In either case, today’s his lucky day.

When it comes to staying in his father’s good graces, Chucky’s sole responsibility is to hold onto the safety deposit box key that contains a list of the banks where Daddy has salted his cash stash. Chucky wears it on one of the silver chains around his neck, but not for long if I have my way.

Of course, at the same time, I won’t let him have his way with me.

After stealing the key, I’ll snatch the list from the safety deposit box so that Acme’s COMINT liaison, Emma Honeycutt, and our tech ops leader, Arnie Locklear, can hack the accounts. The CIA will then trade Huang Fu’s funds for a couple of Chinese-Americans who are being held as political prisoners.

After exchanging lascivious winks with me, Chucky saunters over to the car, leans in, and asks, “Want to go for a test drive?”

“Are you the salesman?” I purr. “Don’t count on me for your commission. In the club where I work, the tips aren’t that big.”

His chest puffs up. “I don’t sell ’em, I buy ’em.” To prove his point, he snaps his fingers at one of his two bodyguards. “Yo, Tong, grab the keys to this ride from the showroom manager.”

The goon shuffles off. A second later he returns with the key fob and tosses it to Chucky, who hops into the driver’s seat. Revving the engine, he asks, “Where to?”

I tweak his nipple under his skintight T-shirt. “Let’s hit the open road—say, up the coast? I know of a little cabin in the woods off the 99, right over Brunswick Beach.”

Chucky takes the requisite two-point-six seconds to prove the roadster can hit sixty miles-per-hour from zero.

We’re off.

We have a shadow: Chucky’s goon squad.

They have one too: my mission leader and main squeeze, Jack Craig. He follows in a nondescript black Lexus—a ubiquitous vehicle in well-heeled West Vancouver, and certainly not as ostentatious as the Lamborghini.

In case Jack loses us on the open road, Abu Nagashahi, another Acme operative, is several miles in front of us, in a white paneled van. Thankfully, the sluggish mid-day traffic over Lion’s Gate Bridge affords both cars excellent visual surveillance.

The whole time, Chucky won’t shut up. He rambles on and on about his assets and holdings, as if I’m a banker who can grant him a mortgage. No, it’s more like he’s got something to prove to a woman who isn’t acting at all impressed.

The babbling is to be expected. At every red light, he takes a hit of the cocaine in the vial dangling from the longest silver chain around his neck. It’s next to the one that holds the coveted safety deposit box key. Now and then I’m rewarded with a glimpse of it. I ache to jerk it off his neck and then shove him out the door into oncoming traffic, solving our problem in a quick and dirty way. But, no, I must follow Acme’s much more discrete plan for Chucky.

Traffic loosens up when we hit Highway 99 on the West Vancouver side of the bridge. Suddenly Chucky is doing his best to break the sound barrier—or at least achieve the speed claimed in the Lamborghini’s spec sheet: two-hundred-and-seventeen miles-per-hour.

Ten or so miles zip by us. In a flash, we’re as far north as Horseshoe Bay, where 99 becomes the appropriately named Sea-to-Sky Highway because of the way it clings to the cliff that winds its way around Howe Sound.

Can Jack keep up? I look in the side-view mirror to reassure myself that he can. Yes, he’s there, about a hundred yards behind us. Unfortunately, so are Tong and his buddy.

Suddenly, Chucky realizes I’m not paying attention to his boasts. Worse yet, I’m slapping away his groping hands. His eyes narrow as he blurts out, “Hey, um…how ’bout giving me some head?”

I snort. “What…are you kidding? So that I end up with a broken nose, like your last girlfriend?”

He looks over sharply, completely ignoring the fact that we’re weaving to and fro on hairpin curves. “Who told you that?”

I shrug. “Dude, it’s all over town. Sorry, but if I’m going to distract you, it’s going to be someplace we can both enjoy it”—I nod at the car with his bodyguards, now right on our heels—“but not with your cheering squad tagging along. What’s with the chaperones?”

“Haven’t you heard a word I’ve said, bee-hatch?” He takes his eyes off the road to lean in close. “I’m a very important guy! They come along to protect me.” He puts his hand between my thighs. “Look, sweet cheeks, if you make me happy, I’ll make you happy—”

He grabs me by my neck and shoves my head into his lap.

He figures out quickly that it was poor judgment on his part when I bite him—hard—on his thigh.

Chucky’s howl is cut off by the sound of glass breaking. A barrage of bullets shatters the rear window.

I duck onto the floor of the passenger seat.

Instinctively, Chucky looks behind us. As bullets hit his head, it explodes, sending skull fragments and brain matter in all directions.

When his body jerks in my direction, I see that his right eye is dangling from his optic nerve. His seatbelt holds him in place, but his foot has stiffened onto the accelerator.

I scream, “What the hell?”

Jack yells into my earbud, “Chucky’s bodyguards are shooting at the car!”

“Driver down!” I shout back.

The car is now racing along out of control. To take the wheel, I lean over his body and jerk it out of its counter-clockwise trajectory—

And off the road we go.

(c) 2016 Josie Brown. All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the publisher, Signal Press. (


What is the name of Chucky’s goon?


If you want, answer the TOTLANDIA question as well, and then




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Winter’s chill isn’t just in the air. It also runs through the veins of all the women in the Pacific Heights Moms & Tots Club…


8:49 a.m.

Bettina Connaught Cross abhorred tardiness in any form, especially as it pertained to gatherings of the organization she’d founded: the Pacific Heights Moms & Tots Club.

The fact that she was already six minutes late to a very important meeting of the club’s Top Moms committee had her seething. Granted, her excuse was valid enough: she first had to walk her daughter, Lily, to kindergarten at the local public school, Lincoln Elementary.

They walked swiftly because the school was in the opposite direction from the Golden Gate Valley Library, where the meeting was taking place. Bettina would have given anything to have driven instead. But, because her deadbeat soon-to-be-ex-husband had embezzled from his financial clients and then skipped town, her car, along with all of their joint assets, had been seized by Federal agents. Despite providing information to the Justice Department investigator assigned to the case—Daniel Warwick—everything would be auctioned off in March.

A statue that held tremendous value to her was among the items seized. Documents containing scandalous secrets were concealed in its base. Bettina was using the files to blackmail the longest-serving members of the club’s Top Moms committee. It assured their votes on the club’s business would mirror hers, as opposed to siding with her sanctimonious co-Chief Executive Mom: her sister-in-law, Lorna.

It had been almost two months since she last heard from Daniel. If she were to be honest with herself, she’d have to admit she found him attractive. Although he’d been the epitome of legal and moral decorum, she thought he’d felt something for her too.

So why hadn’t she heard from him?

Because he was just using me to get to Art, she realized.

My God, get a grip on yourself! You’re acting like a bottom.

Angrily, without thinking she muttered, “My life is all a tangle.”

Lily frowned. “‘All a tangle’? Mummy, is that the same as, ‘O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive’?”

Bettina stopped short in order to stare at her daughter. “Where did you learn that?”

“From Professor Pudberry. It’s from an epic poem by…by…Sir Wally Somebody.”

Bettina rolled her eyes. “Sir Walter Scott wrote it. Why, pray tell, did he even mention it, since it isn’t Shakespeare?”

Lily’s nod came with a smile. “He was making a point—that it is often mistaken as a Shakespearean quote. I can see why. Weaving lies gets people into trouble in Romeo and Juliet and other Shakespeare plays.”

“Pudberry—ha!” Bettina declared, while trying hard not to frown. Now that she could no longer afford Botox injections, she was terrified at the thought of getting wrinkles and scaring her daughter.

Time for bangs, she thought miserably, a style that would do nothing for her except hide the evidence of her grief. And since she could no longer afford to go to her stylist, she’d have to cut them herself. Art’s abhorrent actions were enough to give her gray hair, but the thought of using color out of a bottle made her even angrier at her current situation—and at those who seemed to relish in her plight.

Including Reggie Pudberry.

The last time they’d seen him was after an ill-fated trip to the Ikea showroom in Emeryville. To assuage her horror at being recognized in such a downscale emporium so close to Oakland, she and Lily then stopped for lunch in Berkeley, only to run into one of the PHM&T Top Moms: Jade Pierce, who was also Reggie’s new girlfriend. From what Bettina could tell, Jade was spying on Reggie as he ate with his gorgeous teaching assistant. By shouting Jade’s name, Bettina made sure Reggie saw her too. Jade guessed rightly that Bettina was trying to embarrass her. Jade’s way to retaliate was to taunt her regarding some threat that another Top Mom, Kimberley Savitch, had made against Bettina—

Or perhaps Jade was threatening to tell Kimberley something? If so, what could that secret be?

As if reading her mind, Lily asked warily, “Is Oliver’s mommy—Mrs. Pierce—still mad at you?”

Cold dread ran through Bettina’s veins. The thought of Jade in cahoots with Kimberley had her hurrying down the street even faster, despite her very high heels. “Who, Jade? I don’t know. I guess I’ll find out today. We must hurry, Lily! I’ve got to get to the meeting!”

“Grandmother would have driven me to school—if you’d have asked her,” Lily gasped as they ran. “You should be nicer to her, Mummy. In fact, you should be nicer to everyone. Maybe they’ll finally start being nicer back to you.”

She told herself that she was too winded to answer. But in truth, for once Bettina was beginning to believe that her daughter might be right.

Not that she’d ever admit that to Lily.

“Mummy, why don’t you ride the bus there?”

Bettina blanched at the thought. “The Connaughts have never taken public transportation,” she sniffed.

“That’s what I told Uncle Matt. He laughed at me. Then he dared me to ride it with him.”

Bettina scowled. “Who does he think he is, putting you in danger like that? The minute I get home from my meeting, I’m calling him to give him a piece of my mind!”

“It wasn’t bad at all. In fact, it was fun. And it was quick. My friends at school ride it all the time. They say a bus shows up every few minutes.” She pointed west, toward the next block, Van Ness. “They catch it there. Won’t that take you just a few blocks from the library?”

Lily was right. The bus stopped near Green Street, ten blocks north. Bettina could get off there and walk three blocks to the library. The whole thing would take ten minutes, tops.

“It’s only two dollars and a quarter,” Lily insisted. A sudden insight shifted the look of misunderstanding on her face to sympathy. “Is it that you don’t have the money? It’s a shame you pack a lunch for me every day instead of giving me lunch money. Otherwise, I’d have given it back to you, Mummy. Really.”

“I have the two dollars, thank you very much,” Bettina huffed. The thought of Lily eating a public school lunch was galling enough; that her daughter would have given up her lunch money so that she could ride the bus made her heart break. Smoothing Lily’s hair, she muttered grudgingly, “I’ll…think about it.”

She’d do it, but she didn’t want Lily to know—or worse yet, for her to tell Eleanor or Matt. And certainly not Lorna. She’d never survive such embarrassment.

They reached the school door just as the final bell rang. The last students were streaming in. Lily’s teacher, Liz Vanderbilt, was just about to close the door when she spotted Lily running up to her. Bettina winced as Liz beckoned her over as well.

“I’m so happy I caught you,” Liz said with a smile. “I wanted to ask you a special favor.”

“What is it?” Bettina asked impatiently. “I running late—”

“I’ll make it quick. It seems we’ve lost our volunteer class mother. I was hoping you’d honor us and take on the task.”

“Class mother?” Bettina frowned. “I don’t know, Liz. I mean…I’ve got my hands full with the Pacific Heights Moms & Tots Club—”

“Oh? But…Lily mentioned you’d relinquished some of your duties there, now that Lily is in school.”

“She has,” Lily insisted. “My Aunt Lorna is now in charge.”

“No, I’m still in charge!” Bettina muttered in a low growl. “She’s just helping out.”

“Which is why you’d be perfect in the role—and the duties are simple, really,” Liz insisted. “You’ll accompany me on our one field trip every month, and encourage the other parents to participate too.”

Me—riding herd over a bunch of welfare mothers? Bettina recoiled at the thought. That will be the day! “Liz, to be honest, I really don’t think it’s a good match,” Bettina said coolly.

Liz shrugged. “Not a problem. I guessed it might have been a long shot, but Lily insisted you’d be just right for it because you’re such a renowned leader.” She held out her hand to the girl. “We had better get to class.”

Bettina bent to kiss Lily, then turned away before her daughter’s pleading gaze made her say something she’d later regret.

She waited just long enough to watch Lily and Liz walk halfway down the hall before running down the street again.

She got to the bus stop just as a bus was pulling out. The driver must have heard her shout because he stopped short.

She scurried up the bus’s steps. She fumbled in her purse until she found two one-dollar bills, but no quarters. He sighed loudly, but let her on anyway. He also handed her a slip of paper.

“What’s this?” she asked warily.

He stared at her as if she were an alien from another planet. “Bus pass. Allows you to ride any bus for the next few hours.”

She nodded and started down the aisle, but almost lost her footing as the bus lurched forward. Every seat was taken, so she held onto an overhead strap.

Noting her pregnancy, a man stood up to offer her his seat. She nodded gratefully and sat down—

But a quick sniff made her realize why the man’s decision wasn’t chivalrous at all. Her seatmate, an older gentleman, probably hadn’t bathed in a week or more. The old man, toothless, smiled at her. Then he lifted a flask from his tattered jacket and took a swig.

Oh, my God, Bettina thought, by the time I get to Green I’ll smell like a brewery!

Realizing that Bettina was staring at him, the man winked and nudged her with the flask. “Wanna drink?”

“Thank you, but I’ll pass,” she muttered, then held her breath to avoid the stench of booze and his body odor.

Bettina’s timing was perfect. A second later, the man let loose with a long, loud fart.

Bettina sat straight up, mortified. To her surprise, no one else on the bus had any reaction at all. They were too busy scrutinizing their cell phones. Are these people inhuman? Where is their sense of decorum? For that matter, where is their sense of smell? I must be in Purgatory!

“Was that me, or you?” The old man’s question to Bettina was loud enough that even the bus driver could hear him, all the way in the front.

The teens in the seat in front of them snickered as they exchanged glances.

“I won’t even dignify that with an answer,” Bettina hissed back.

The old man looked down into his lap. “Did you hear that, Jolly Roger? She thinks she’s better than us.”

Bettina mustered the courage to see what the man was talking to—hopefully, not something that should have been zipped up—and if so, then certainly snipped off for horrifying anyone with whom he came into contact.

To her relief, it wasn’t any part of his anatomy. To her horror, it was a large brown rat.

Her shrill scream sent the rat scurrying off. Bettina leapt up so quickly that she turned over her purse. She grabbed her belongings as quickly as she could before heading toward the front of the bus.

The rest of the ride seemed interminable. If passengers weren’t ringing for stops at every corner, the driver would still somehow miss the next traffic light.

Finally, they reached her stop. She leapt off and practically ran the three blocks to the library, all the while gulping in fresh air to offset the stench of her seatmate. If only it could whisk away the memory of him as well.

She thought she’d pass out before making it to the library’s side door, but she didn’t. I survived, she reasoned. With shoulders straightened and her head held high, she took a deep breath and walked through the door—

Until she smelled it.

Really, not it, but her. She smelled just like the rancid old man.

Just at that moment, all heads turned to her. It was too late to turn back.

She thought, God, I hate being poor! That will have to change.

The sooner the better.

(c) 2016 Josie Brown. All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the publisher, Signal Press. (


What is the name of the old man’s rat?

If you want, answer the question to


Good for any and all of Josie Brown's print books purchased at the 
Book Signing takes place Saturday, April 29, 2017, 3:30-4:30pm, 
Mitchell Room, Clarion Airport Hotel, 5311 S. Howell Ave, South Milwaukee, WI 


1. No purchase necessary.

However, to be entered, you must CORRECTLY answer the question based on the excerpts of either of these two books:

For THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN”S TERRORIST TV GUIDE: What is the name of Chucky’s goon?

FOR TOTLANDIA 6: (WINTER, THE TWOSIES): What is the name of the old man’s rat?

If the questions are answered INCORRECTLY, your name will NOT appear below. However, feel free to try again.

2. The above-mentioned prize will be awarded to one entrant noted in the Potential Winners List seen below.

3. Only one entry per household. Forgotten if you’ve entered? Check the list below…

4. YES, you can gain bonus points! All you have to do is provide links for any reviews you’ve given for ANY of the Housewife Assassin or Totlandia books, in such online bookstores as Amazon, BN, iBooks, and GoodReads. Each and every book you’ve reviewed — previously or during this contest — will count toward a bonus point.

5. This contest is open worldwide.

6. Contest ends Midnight Pacific Time, Sunday, February 26, 2017.

7. All correct entries will be placed in a random drawing, to take place within 72 hours of the contest’s close. (If you DON’T find your name on the list, your answer may be wrong. Feel free to try again.)

8. The winning entry will be chosen from the drawing, and contacted within forty-eight hours of the drawing. Agreement to accept the prize will be given by winners before publicly announced, and updated here.  If you haven’t accepted the prize within 72 hours, another email will be sent to you reminding you of your prize. You’ll have 24 hours to accept it. Otherwise, we  will release it to another randomly drawn name.

9. All entries are put on Josie’s permanent mailing list, so that you’re informed of her next books and contests. Of course, you can opt out at any time.




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