Authors: Marg McAlister
eorgie Be Good
Copyright 2015 Marg McAlister
All Rights Reserved
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This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.
hether she wanted
to believe it or not, from birth Georgie was destined to follow in her Great-Grandma Rosa’s footsteps—as well as inherit her crystal ball! Here’s your chance to find out more about the crabby old lady that Georgie sees as a kind of taciturn genie.
Join my Marg’s Updates list to find out about new books in the series, other great reads, new books in the pipeline… and to receive your complimentary copy of Rosa’s story in “Fortune’s Wheel”.
herself by solving her very first case, Georgie has packed up her vintage gypsy trailer (with cunningly hidden modern conveniences) and taken herself off to the Retro Rally in L.A.
Why is she going there? Well, to catch up with the fun retro crowd, for one thing – how could anyone resist gorgeous retro trailers and all those people whooping it up in 50s clothes? Sailor dresses, high-waisted shorts and cats-eye glasses – what a scene.
But something else has drawn Georgie to the West Coast, and she has no idea who or what until she gets there. Then someone comes to her gypsy trailer seeking help… and Georgie follows the trail with the help of her crystal ball and her fledgeling CBI team.
CBI Team… Um, don’t you mean CSI?
Nope, it’s CBI: Crystal Ball Investigations!
It’s an unlikely crew. As well as Georgie, the great-granddaughter of a gypsy vagabond, the team consists of Scott a forest ranger from Australia; Layla, who dresses in 50s clothes and sells retro trailers, and Tammy, the glamorous secret ally who is in love with Georgie’s low-down snake of a brother, Jerry.
ortune-telling had its moments
The woman sitting opposite Georgie frowned, cast a dissatisfied look around the trailer and pursed her lips. Her eyes darted from the candle flickering on the carved shelf to the stained glass windows and then to the soft drapes around the bed, before they returned to the Georgie herself. Her eyes narrowed. Every inch of her said:
You’re a charlatan and your gypsy trailer’s a fake.
She heaved herself up off the small bench seat tucked in behind Georgie’s compact kitchen table. “Well, I guess my time’s up. I have to tell you, though; I don’t really feel that I’ve got my money’s worth. I haven’t learned anything new.”
Her pronouncement didn’t surprise Georgie one little bit. The moment Marcie Kruger had heaved her bulk through the door twenty minutes earlier, wearing a look of permanent petulance, she had known that this wasn’t going to go well. That had been confirmed when Georgie rested her fingers on her great-grandmother’s crystal ball and picked up on a massive disagreement looming between Marcy and her family; an estrangement that would last for years. She had attempted to touch on the issue delicately by suggesting that diplomacy might be in order when interacting with her children, but that idea had been shot down in flames.
“I’m not pandering to that lot,” Marcie said with a ferocious frown. “All out for what they can get, always have been. I was delighted when they finally all left home.” She frowned at the crystal ball. “Are you sure you didn’t get anything about who I should live with?”
What she was really asking was which ancient relative would die quickly and leave her the most money in return for some grudging home care, and that particular information hadn’t been revealed to Georgie. Which was good, because she had no inclination to help Marcie Kruger at all.
“Sorry,” she said, smiling pleasantly. “Nothing at all. But you know this is principally for entertainment, right?”
“Huh. That’s what you all say, but some of my friends have been to fortune-tellers who
know their stuff. I’ll have to ask who they went to.” She wrenched the door open and lumbered down the steps, proclaiming loudly to anyone who cared to listen, “Waste of time, waste of money!”
Georgie sighed and looked at the antique clock on the wall. Marcie had been the only customer this morning, thank God. Sooner or later, the unknown person who had drawn her toward L.A. would turn up, but it didn’t look like it would be today.
She could go and find Layla and relax for a while; enjoy the balmy Santa Monica weather while they watched the crowds wander around the weekend market.
Even as the thought came into her mind, her phone rang. She glanced at the display and raised her eyes heavenward. It was her scheming, conniving, smooth-talking-salesman brother, Jerry.
Could the day get any worse?
! How are you?” Jerry’s voice was filled with manufactured excitement, which put her on guard immediately. “I’ve got some great news, kiddo. We’re moving the vintage and retro division to its own premises!”
Georgie scowled at the phone.
You’re an idiot, Georgie
, she told herself. The minute she’d agreed to let him handle vintage and retro she should have know how things would go.
“What do you mean, to its own premises? What are you up to, Jerry?”
“Georgie.” He managed to sound hurt and patronizing at the same time. “Give me some credit. You’ve been doing so well with sales that we thought it deserved to be a specialist unit. Anyone who wants one of our vintage trailers can go directly there. The reno team will be based there too. It’s perfect.”
Georgie moved the phone away from her ear and glared at his photo on the screen. “Vintage was perfect right where it was. You know we were able to pick up sales from people who were there to look at other RVs. Why move? And where to?”
“Not far away.”
“I’ve never heard of it. Where’s Pineberry Street?”
“Out near Vic’s repairs.”
Vic’s? It took her a moment to remember who Vic was, and then a picture of a scruffy, rat-like little man came to mind. He looked like a tramp, but Jerry and her father loved him, because he could work magic with engines. Aghast, she conjured up a picture of Vic’s run-down neighborhood.
? You have got to be kidding.” Then the light dawned. “You’re going to use one of those properties that Dad bought last year. The ones he was planning to
“Think long-term, Georgie-Porgie. It will be prime real estate when the market recovers.”
Georgie squeezed her eyes shut tight and recalled the tired streets with boarded-up businesses and overgrown lots. They couldn’t do this to her vintage and retro division. She wouldn’t allow it. “Not a chance, Jerry. I’ll fight you on this.”
“You’ll be fighting Dad too, then,” he said smoothly. “He needs the space for his VIP suite and Platinum Customer Care program.”
Dammit, she thought. If that was the case, she’d lost. Her father had been talking about this forever: something else to make the Johnny B. Goode RV Empire the only place to buy your RV. Luxurious guest rooms, a weeklong stay for premium customers, advanced driver training and complimentary coupons for five-star RV parks.
“Of course Dad plans to give the Pineberry Street place a facelift,” Jerry said, as though handing out a sweet to a fractious toddler.
“And does he plan to smarten up everything within six streets as well?” asked Georgie crossly. One of these days she really was going to do something horrible to Jerry. “This wasn’t part of the agreement when I agreed to let you manage the division.”
“Managing the division means doing the best thing for the whole RV Empire as well as vintage. It’s a done deal. I’m just doing you the courtesy of letting you know. C’mon, Georgie, be good now.”
Aaargh. If there was one thing she was heartily sick of hearing, after nearly thirty years of it, it was that tired old ‘Georgie, be good’ line. She’d heard every possible play on words associated with her family name.
Feeling steam coming out of her ears, she swiped at the red ‘end call’ button and sat there, fulminating. They couldn’t relegate her vintage trailers to a broken up ex-parking lot. Pulling up a few weeds and slapping a bit of paint on those decrepit buildings wouldn’t be enough.
The sneaky rat. This so wasn’t going to happen.
She would go and find Layla, the other member of her on-road sales team, and see what she thought.
about Jerry’s perfidy, Layla poured steaming tea from a buttercup-yellow teapot into baby-pink cups, pointed a finger at Georgie, and said “Phone Tammy.”
The teapot and cups picked up the delicate sorbet colors of Layla’s retro trailer. Sitting in it was like entering a simpler and happier world. Layla herself looked like a smart 50s housewife, decked out in comfortable scarlet capris and a raspberry red checked shirt with the tails tied at her waist. Her hair was tied up in a matching headscarf. She even had lipstick on.
“How can you look this put-together this early in the morning?” Georgie muttered, picking up the teacup and glancing down at her hastily donned dark gypsy skirt and blouse. She felt dowdy in comparison.
“Dress-up,” Layla said. “I love it. And it helps to sell retro trailers. It’s the whole look that gets people in.”
Georgie smiled in spite of herself, and then returned to the subject. “I can’t phone Tammy. She’s Jerry’s girlfriend, she’ll be on his side.”
“Wanna bet?” Layla said. “When have you ever seen Tammy dress in anything but vintage?”
Never, Georgie had to admit. “But she’s sleeping with the enemy. She’s back in Elkhart with Jerry more than she’s out with the road team now.”
“True. But she’s one of us at heart. She loves retro. She’s not going to want to see it relegated to some seedy area six miles away.” She nodded at the phone next to Georgie’s elbow. “Phone her.”
With a sigh, Georgie did.
The phone rang several times, and then Tammy picked up. “Hang on a minute,” she said immediately, and then Georgie heard her say “It’s Mom. I’ll take it outside.”
Georgie covered the phone and whispered to Layla, “Something’s up!” and angled the phone so she could hear too.
After a few moments, Tammy came on again. “Georgie?”
“You were there when he phoned me just then, weren’t you?” Georgie said.
“Yes. I’m so sorry, Georgie. I don’t know how he could do this to us! We’ve got to come up with a plan. This can’t happen.”
I told you so
, and sat back with a satisfied look.
Georgie’s heart lightened. “Tammy, I always said I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy… but will you please marry my brother? I need an ally.”
“Oh, he’s not that bad.” Tammy’s voice softened. “I know he’s a schemer, but he makes me laugh.”
“That’s what my mother said about my father,” Georgie said, “until she couldn’t stand it any more and they divorced.”
“Hmm. Yes, but I think I’ve got his measure. Give me some time to mull over this, and I’ll call you back. We’ve got a customer with us right now.”
“Great.” Georgie relaxed, feeling marginally better. Although he tried to hide it, she really did think Jerry was besotted with Tammy. If anyone could change his mind, she could. “Call tonight. Layla and I are busy all day.”
“Ask her what she’s wearing,” Layla said.
“I heard that.” Tammy laughed. “Vintage 1950s organza hand-painted dress. Cost a fortune, but I couldn’t resist.” Her voice dropped. “Jerry loves it. Drives him crazy.”
“Oh please,” Georgie said. “Too much information.”
“Think of it as a weapon,” Tammy said. “He’ll be putty in my hands. Gotta go.”
Layla sat back and popped a piece of toast into her mouth. “I always did like Tammy,” she said with a grin.