Unzipped (Chrissy McMullen Series #1)

Unzipped (Chrissy McMullen Series #1)

by Lois Greiman

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Overview

ANALYZE THIS . . .

Chrissy McMullen has made a career leap, all the way from slinging drinks at Chicago’s most notorious nightclub to dispensing psychotherapy from her sleek new practice in L.A. Even if she can’t quite shed her too-loud, too-curvy alter ego–or the brawling family that insists on claiming kinship. So when her most famous client, buff football star “Bomber” Bomstad, starts chasing her around her desk and getting, well . . . unzipped . . . Christina gets just a little miffed–until Bomber has the bad manners to drop dead at her feet.

Enter Jack Rivera, a no-nonsense detective with a grim attitude and a great butt, who’s determined to prove this cocktail-waitress-turned-shrink was engaging in some very unethical behavior. Persuading Rivera that she’s not a murderer isn’t going to be easy. Plunging headfirst into a city full of people in need of some serious therapy, Chrissy will have to use all her street smarts, a good deal of sex appeal, and a little love to clear her name–and cancel an appointment with a killer.

Praise for Unzipped

“Lois Greiman is a modern day Dorothy Sayers.  Witty as hell, yet talented enough to write like an angel with a broken wing.”—Kinky Friedman, author of Ten Little New Yorkers

“This is an amazingly good book with tons of twists and turns.  And it's funny.  Chrissy's internal thoughts are hilarious, as are the situations she gets herself into.  Plus, the sexual tension between Chrissy and Rivera spices things up but never detracts from the pacing.  Greiman has put out a winner that will hopefully become a series.”Romantic Times, Top Pick  

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780440242628
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/31/2005
Series: Chrissy McMullen Series , #1
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 1,166,975
Product dimensions: 4.26(w) x 6.88(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Born on a North Dakota cattle ranch, Lois Greiman graduated from a high school class of sixty students before moving to Minnesota where she professionally trained and showed Arabian Horses for several years. Since that time she's been a high fashion model, a fitness instructor, and a veterinary assistant. She currently lives on a small farm in Minnesota with her husband, three children, fifteen horses, and a menagerie of pets, where she is at work on the sequel to UNZIPPED, Unplugged, which Dell will publish in 2006.

Read an Excerpt

1
Some people are street-smart, some people are book-smart, but most people are just dumber than dirt.
--Chrissy (Mac) McMullen, upon finding her boyfriend in the backseat of her Mazda with a majorette


MR. HOWARD LEPINSKI was an intelligent man. He was well educated, articulate, and precise. Unfortunately, he was about two aces short of a full deck.

"So what's your opinion?" he asked, peering at me through thick-lensed spectacles. He was a little man with a twitch, a mustache, and a strangely unquenchable need to discuss, in minute, droning detail, every decision that crossed his path.

I looked him full in the face. Dr. Candon, my psych professor, had once said he couldn't possibly overemphasize the importance of looking patients full in the face. It filled them with, and I quote here: ". . . the soothing reassurance that they have your undivided attention, not unlike that of a mother suckling her newborn." Perhaps I should consider the possibility that Dr. Candon had a few issues of his own, I thought.

"Ms. McMullen?"

"I'm sorry, Mr. Lepinski," I said, using my much-practiced nurturing tone. It was as far as I was willing to go on the suckling mother scenario. "I'm not certain I fully comprehend your question." The truth was, I'd become a smidgen distracted, but it was closing in on seven o'clock and I hadn't eaten since noon when I'd had a carton of cherry yogurt and a somewhat dehydrated orange. And if we're going to be perfectly honest, I wouldn't call that eating. It was merely something I did to prevent my mouth from committing suicide before dinnertime. On the other hand, the roll of flab that had engulfed my midriff since I'd kicked the nicotine habit . . . again . . . had become a rather ponderous problem and now threatened to droop over my waistband like rising bread dough--white, not wheat.

In some ways my life had been simpler as a cocktail waitress. True, delivering drinks to the town of Schaumburg's intoxicated populace had been hell on my bunions, and the propositions sent my way were often punctuated by belching of competition caliber, but at least in Chicago I'd had propositions. L.A. men were of a different breed. Which was what I had been hoping for, of course, but still . . . 

"The sandwiches," Mr. Lepinski repeated. There were, I noticed, several droplets of sweat on his forehead. "Should I take pastrami or ham to work?"

I considered his luncheon dilemma with all due sobriety, but feared my sagacious expression might have been ruined by my rumbling gut. "Perhaps," I said forcefully, doing my best to drown out the sounds of impending starvation, "the question is not so much what you should take for lunch, but why you are so concerned about what you should take for lunch."

"What?" His mustache twitched like hamster whiskers, and he blinked at me, as if distracted from a run on his exercise wheel.

"I mean . . ." I steepled my fingers. I'd seen Kelsey Grammer do it on Frasier once and thought it looked pretty classy. Classy was good. Even now I regretted the less-than-classy splotch where I'd dropped cherry goop on my silk blouse. It was a burnt-umber color and matched the freshly refurbished hue of my hair. The blouse, that is, not the splotch. Elaine, my part-time secretary and full-time friend, had suggested trying club soda on the stain, but now I wondered if I couldn't just suck the stuff out of the fabric until I found something more substantial to sustain me. "Perhaps you should give some thought to why you're obsessing about sandwiches," I finished, nodding with ruminative intellect.

His twitching stopped abruptly, and his bird-bright eyes flickered toward the door and back as if he were considering flying the coop. "I am not obsessing," he said. His lips were pursed, his tone stilted, and in that moment I doubted he would have been more insulted if I had suggested his mother had, in fact, belonged to another species. Touchy! Still, it wasn't good to offend one's clients, not when one is in my financial straits. But the man was paying a hefty sum for his Thursday evening sessions and spent most of his time discussing brown-bag options. It seemed a little strange to me, but who am I to say? I once knew a guy who used seventeen different toothbrushes every day of the week. Seventeen. I was never sure why, even though I knew him pretty well. Intimately even. Okay, truth is, I'd lived with him for eighteen months. He was as loopy as hell, but he had great dental hygiene, and if I've learned anything in my thirty-odd years, it's that sometimes a girl can't be too fussy.

"Perhaps obsessing is not the proper word," I said. "I only mean, surely you have more important things to worry about."

Lepinski shifted his gaze once more toward the door, then returned his full attention to me and said, "I don't," in a tone that challenged me to disagree.

So I did what any fledgling therapist worth her double-matted, mahogany-framed diploma would do. I fantasized about fudge mocha and gave him another maternal smile.

"And I take umbrage with your choice of words," he added. "I am not, nor have I ever been, obsessed."

I considered telling him the truth, that he was as wacky as a tennis racquet, but when I glanced at the clock on the wall I saw that his time was up.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Lepinski," I said and managed, just barely, to avoid ejecting from my chair like a maniacal jack turned loose from his box. Instead, I rose with dignified calm and extended my hand. Thanks to Monique the magical manicurist, it was magnificently well groomed except for that one damned nail that had popped loose on my frenetic flight to work a full twelve hours before. "I'll see you next week."

He scowled as if considering the possibility of canceling his standing appointments, but the thought of handling his sandwich crises alone must have been too daunting, because he slipped a noodly hand into mine and nodded. "Next week," he said, not meeting my gaze. "Say, you have a stain on your . . ." He motioned, limp-wristed, toward my chest.

I extracted my hand and tucked my blouse more firmly beneath its coordinated jacket. It wasn't as though I was self-conscious. After all, the man wore canary yellow socks with his rumpled tweed suit.

"What is it? Ketchup?"

"I beg your pardon?"

"On your shirt. Is it ketchup?" he asked.

"No," I said, and gave him a smile that was polite but dismissive. I'd had a good deal of practice with polite-but-dismissive working at The Warthog in Schaumburg, just around the corner and down the street from where I'd grown up. "Have a good evening, Mr. Lepinski."

His mustache twitched again as if he might catch a scent of the fascinating stain. "Barbecue sauce?"

"I hope you don't mind seeing yourself out. I'm afraid my secretary had to leave early tonight."

"Tomato juice?"

On my desk, there was a letter opener shaped like a sword and stuck into a fake stone. It was more ornamental than utilitarian, but I wondered now if it might not make an effective weapon. Surely I couldn't be condemned for defending myself from mind-imploding frustration in the wake of nicotine withdrawal.

"I'm afraid I have another client, Mr. Lepinski."

"You put a little Mexican soap on that, it'll come right out," he said, still staring at my chest. I'm not Dolly Parton, but I'm not Calista Flockhart either. Still, I doubted if Lepinski had even considered the possibility that there was flesh hidden somewhere inside my overpriced ensemble. The stain was all-consuming. "Unless it's grape jelly. It's not, is it?"

I found, to my surprise, that my fingers had closed around the letter opener. It felt good in my hand. I could see the headlines. Hungry Psychologist Attacks Crazy Loon with Miniature Version of Excalibur. Maybe they'd want to edit that a little. Woman with Stained Blouse Assaults Wacko.

"Or grape juice. Grape juice--"

I raised the letter opener.

"Hello."

I jumped. Lepinski twitched. We turned toward the door in breathless tandem.

"Sorry to interrupt." Andrew R. Bomstad leaned through the doorway and grinned shyly at me. It was a strangely innocuous expression for such a large man, especially considering his past. He'd played tight end for the Lions until a groin injury had sidelined him from the glory of his gladiator days. Now he appeared on local commercials and owned stock in companies that probably netted him an hourly rate that was more than I made in a month. It was something of a mystery why he had chosen me as his therapist. But he had secrets he didn't want aired and maybe he thought I wouldn't have anyone of importance to tell, even if I broke my vow of confidentiality. "There's nobody at the receptionist desk. Didn't know if you'd heard me come in."

"No, I didn't," I said, returning his smile. True, Bomstad had his share of problems, but next to 
Lepinski, he glowed with sparkling normalcy. "Sorry to keep you waiting."

"No. No problem. Take your time. I'm probably early," he said and smiling apologetically, closed the door behind him.

"Well," I said, and abandoned the letter opener with some regret. "Good night then, Mr. Lepinski."

He blinked. "Was that the Bomber?"

"Pardon me?"

"That was Andy Bomstad, wasn't it?"

"I'm not really in a position to say," I replied, but I've got to admit, it did my heart good to have a client who was recognized for something other than peeing on his neighbor's lawn. "Give some consideration to what we talked about this week, will you?"

Customer Reviews

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Unzipped 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought it was just as good as the Stephine Plum novels I have read. They are fun and witty.
LoveToRead1963 More than 1 year ago
Funny. I love reading these books. I laugh out loud each time.
vanedow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It's a fun and fast read, with lots of humor. Chrissy McCallum is a psychologist/PI wannabe. When one of her clients drops dead during a session (and attempted assault) and she is the #1 suspect in his death, Chrissy decides to do her own investigation. Alternately helped and hindered by the extremely sexy Jack Rivera, she bumbles her way into mishaps and maybe the answer to the mystery. Ok, I'm going to make the comparison you're already thinking. Yes, this is a little bit like Evanovich's Plum books. But in a good way. This is definitely one of the better "Plum-esque" books I've read. Having a background in psychology, I enjoyed having the main character in that profession. (I'm pretty sure I found a couple of misused terms and concepts, but oh well.) The banter between Chrissy and Jack is pretty darn funny, and yet the sexual tension is alive and well. This is a bit of an older title, published in 2006, so that means I can go out and get the next one ASAP!
TheLibraryhag on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Christina McMullen has worked hard to go from waitress in a seedy bar to getting her degrees to be a psychologist in LA. So the last thing she needs is for her most high-profile patient to drop dead in her office with his fly open. But that is just what happens. When suspicions turn to her, she decides to find out exactly who is responsible.I really enjoyed this book. It is very funny and the mystery is pretty good. I like Chrissy and the whole cast of characters. People who like Stephanie Plum will probably really enjoy this first book in the series.
bookwormteri on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not so much into mystery anymore, but recall reading another by her and enjoying it. A very fun read, likable heroine, worth picking up.
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
Dollycas’s Thoughts When I started reading this book I immediately thought of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum. She and Chrissy both have the worst luck. Imagine being a psychologist treating a football hunk for a certain dysfunction and have him say he is cured and gives you very private visual evidence as he chases you around the office. Yup, that happened to Chrissy, and then the guy keels over dead at her feet. A quick 911 call should bring help but instead brings Detective Jack Rivera, also a hunk, but he think Chrissy murdered her patient and nothing she says seems to change his mind. She is on her own to prove she did not kill her almost rapist. While classified as a cozy type mystery it has a strong chick lit feel with adult scenes and language. It is a zany story, Chrissy is a hilarious protagonist. Cocktail waitress turned psychologist, with a mother that just wants her to come back home, gets herself into some dicey and comical predicaments. Her friend and assistant Laney tries to keep her friend out of trouble. She also has a geeky friend Solberg, he can hack anything and has a high tech job that allows him to drive one sweet ride. Chrissy also checks in regularly with her mentor Dr. David, more now with the dead body in her office. The relationship with Detective Rutabaga, I mean Rivera, Chrissy never uses his real name, was the most enjoyable part of this book. While the plot is far fetched it was an entertaining read. The investigation by the police wasn’t too intense and there was no real evidence. Chrissy was trying to clear her name rather than find the actual killer. Her queries did make the murderer worry she was actually going to figure out the truth and that did put her in imminent danger. I was surprised totally by the reveal as was Chrissy. I wish there had been more clues throughout the story rather than the explanation at the end. As the first book in this series it is a good start. I am not completely sold on these characters yet but being the first book there is plenty of room for development. The dialogue between characters was good and the quotes the begin each chapter were quite humorous and gives us just a peek at others in Chrissy’s life. I definitely want to see where the author takes these characters as the series continues. A lighthearted read for a lazy afternoon.
grizzie430 More than 1 year ago
I love characters that have some realism to them - Chrissy is not perfect by any means, but has flaws you could see in your best friend! She is trying to fit into the LA scene as a psychologist when some days she just wants to go back home. Suddenly she is sucked into a murder with herself as prime suspect! She butts heads with the police dept - namely Riveria trying to clear her name. Solid story line with great character banter! Can't wait to continue reading the series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
love the "un" series! Can't wait for more
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
really funny. crazy characters in zany situations. it's no Stephanie Plum but i want more!
melbiddle More than 1 year ago
This is a good book. It has comedy, romance, and murder. A very good combination in a book I think. The characters are great. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not worth $8.
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