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Authors: Kylie Logan

Tags: #Fiction, #Mystery & Detective, #General, #Women Sleuths

Hot Button

More praise for

Button Holed

“Kylie Logan’s
Button Holed
is absolutely terrific! I love it, and can’t wait for the next installment in the series.”

—Diane Mott Davidson,
New York Times
bestselling author

“This is the opening act of an engaging amateur-sleuth mystery series, and if this book is any indication, readers have a special and original new series to enjoy. The protagonist is independent and resolute… She enlists a quirky crew to assist her on her quest. Kylie Logan overcomes the subgenre flaw of why the heroine must investigate with an entertaining plot and a strong cast led by a woman who refuses to be
Button Holed
.”

—The Mystery Gazette

Berkley Prime Crime titles by Kylie Logan

BUTTON HOLED

HOT BUTTON

Hot Button
KYLIE LOGAN

BERKLEY PRIME CRIME, NEW YORK

THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) • Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England • Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.) • Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.) • Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India • Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.) • Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

HOT BUTTON

A Berkley Prime Crime Book / published by arrangement with the author

PUBLISHING HISTORY

Berkley Prime Crime mass-market edition / June 2012

Copyright © 2012 by Connie Laux.

Except from
Panic Button
by Kylie Logan copyright © 2012 by Connie Laux.

Cover illustration by Jennifer Taylor.

Cover design by Annette Fiore Defex.

Interior text design by Kristin del Rosario.

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or
electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of
copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

ISBN: 978-1-101-58087-5

BERKLEY
®
PRIME CRIME

Berkley Prime Crime Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

BERKLEY
®
PRIME CRIME and the PRIME CRIME logo are trademarks of

Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

10  9  8  7  6  5  4  3  2  1

If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

ALWAYS LEARNING

PEARSON

For collectors everywhere who
understand the temptation of buttons!

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Readers often ask where story ideas come from. Honestly, it’s hard to say. Each book is different and so is every author. Sometimes, a story idea might spring from something I see on the news. Or a scrap of conversation I overhear in a restaurant. Other times, I’ll play with some obscure historical fact and see where my imagination might take it.

The idea for
Hot Button
originated back when I was first thinking about writing a mystery series about buttons. I was messing around online, doing research and indulging my interest in vintage buttons, when I came across the story about Geronimo and his buttons.

How could I resist!

As for the button enthusiasts portrayed within these pages…

When it comes to button collecting, I am the rawest of beginners. I am grateful for the advice and guidance given to me by all the collectors and dealers I’ve met. Their knowledge of not only buttons, but of their construction, their history, and their significance to fashion and society, is amazing. I am always impressed!

Table of Contents

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen
Chapter Seventeen
Chapter Eighteen
Chapter Nineteen
Chapter Twenty
Chapter Twenty-one
Mother of Pearl Buttons
Panic Button

Chapter One

W
ITHIN TEN MINUTES OF MEETING
T
HAD
W
YANT FOR THE
first time, there were two things I knew about him:

1. He was high maintenance.
2. He wasn’t going to let me forget it.

On the five-minute walk from where I collected him at O’Hare over to the baggage carousel where we’d pick up the luggage he’d brought with him from Santa Fe, I added two more items to the list:

3. It was going to be a very long week; and
4. Thad liked scotch. A lot.

“That showed that varmint a thing or two!” Finished telling the story he’d been recounting loud enough for everyone in the airport bar to hear, Thad slapped his thigh, threw
back his head, and laughed. No small feat, considering he managed to do it all while downing a glass of Johnny Walker Blue. Blue. That’s the expensive stuff.

“One more for the road.” He tapped the bar in front of my ice water. “And this young lady here, she’ll be paying for it,” he told the bartender. “Her and that cute little button club of hers.”

“That cute little button club…” I didn’t give the words the same sickeningly sweet twist Thad had. But then, that would have been tough since my teeth were clenched. It was no wonder why. The International Society of Antique and Vintage Button Collectors was a group near and dear to my heart. It better be. I was chairing this year’s convention and—I glanced at the time on my cell phone—I still had a heck of a lot to do back at the hotel before this evening’s opening festivities.

It was no easy thing to stifle my worries, but then, I reminded myself the delay was all for a good cause. The best of causes. Thad Wyant might be loud, pushy, and more worried about grabbing a drink than getting to the conference, but he was also reclusive—and legendary in the button business. The fact that I’d convinced him to come to Chicago at all was something of a coup. Now all I had to do was not murder him before we got over to the convention.

“Our membership is honored that you agreed to give our keynote address this year, Mr. Wyant.” Oh yeah, that was me, sounding as professional as it was possible for a woman to sound when she knew the Blue Line train to downtown was set to arrive in exactly four and one-half minutes, and there were a million little details that needed her attention, details that couldn’t be handled from O’Hare.

“Who you talkin’ to, girl? My dear ol’ daddy? He’s the only Mr. Wyant I know.” Another of his laughs rattled the
glasses on the bar. “I wouldn’a agreed to come to this here conference at all if it wasn’t for you sweet-talkin’ me with your letters. You won me over, darlin’, heart and soul.” To prove this, he pressed one hand to his heart. “That means you can call me Thad, just like all my friends do. We are friends, ain’t we?”

It’s a delicate line a conference chair walks.

An older-than-middle-aged man in ratty jeans, a worn flannel shirt, dusty cowboy boots, and a seen-better-days Stetson. Scotch on his breath. A leering smile and a slow, deliberate look that took in everything from my black skirt and jacket to my tasteful white tank, and yeah, it did kind of make my skin crawl.

Of course, all that was balanced by other attributes: keynote speaker at the most prestigious button event of the year. Expert extraordinaire on Western-themed buttons. Owner of the one-and-only-known-to-exist, coveted, and wonderfully historic Geronimo button.

Automatically, I glanced at the carry-on Thad had tossed on the floor beside his bar stool. Was the Geronimo button in there? Well, of course it was. I answered my own question because there really couldn’t be any other answer. No collector in his right mind would dare put the button into checked baggage. Not the Geronimo button.

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