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Dan and Nancy reside in the peaceful suburbs just outside of Portland, where they're living out their golden years. And though they met later on in life, their marriage spans over two decades and is seen as a pillar of the community. It's a love story pulled right off the shelf. Nancy is a struggling romance novelist. She likes to write about betrayals, sex, and even murder. As for Dan, he's a chef and culinary instructor who enjoys foraging through the woods for fresh mushrooms and growing edible flowers. But when Dan is shockingly found dead inside of his classroom, Nancy's once simple life is turned upside down, because as the investigation unfolds, Nancy finds herself at the center of a murder case that could be ripped right from the pages of her novels. I'm about to play a clip from Happily Never After, Dan and Nancy. Follow Happily Never After, Dan and Nancy on the Wondery app or wherever you get your podcasts.


Nicole Herman was lounging on a beach in Croatia with a perfect view of the ocean.


It looks a lot like Oregon, with the exception that the water is turquoise.


It was nice and sunny. Exactly how Nicole pictured her honeymoon. Nicole's new husband got up to take a swim, but she didn't join him. She was in the middle of a novel. The man on the book cover had a square jaw and a come hither stare. All day, Nicole had just been waiting to get back to him.


He sat on the floor and gestured for her to sit between his legs. He showed her how every gun worked, then loaded and unloaded each of them.


Are you showing me this so I can kill my husband?


Travis spoke slowly, choosing each word with care.


Maybe in the beginning, you meant something to him, but now you're just another loose end. He will know a hundred ways to kill you and make it look like an accident.


She pressed her forehead against his and closed her eyes.


Don't make me like you. I'd rather you were a knuckle dragging Neanderthal. Unless I'm dead. When this is over, I'm leaving. But I do plan to use your body until I leave. Scandalous.


I was probably reading anywhere from 150 to 300 pages a day.


Nicole had been laid out on the beach for hours reading. She was already Book Number Two in the Wrong Never Felt So Right series, and she was determined to get through all five books by the end of her trip. Every book was more or less the same. Burley, former Navy SEAL, comes to the rescue of beautiful young woman on the run from her dangerous husband. It was an odd choice of reading for a honeymoon. But away from the beaches of Croatia, back home in Portland, Oregon, Nicole was a Deputy district attorney.


Those are things as a prosecutor that you sometimes want to get ahead of and in front of.


And for months, she and her team had been trying to solve a murder. But progress had been slow. Direct evidence kept eluding them. As the pressure mounted, Nicole and her team had turned to an unlikely lead. A series of romance novels written by the dead man's wife.


It was a little bit meta in terms of what we were dealing with.


Her books were packed with details borrowed from their own lives as a local Portland chef and a romance novelist. Details that the DAs had no other way to get their hands on. So now Nicole was doing homework on her honeymoon.


I wasn't so sure there would truly be anything, but it was in the back of my mind, what if something similar to this has played out in one of her novels, and it's all written right there for us to find?


More shirts were going to be unbuttoned. More dresses were going to get unzipped, and every new chapter, every new scene, could potentially be the one to crack the murder case that was waiting for her back home.


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