I'm sitting at the Dome on Mullaloo Beach working on my Online story, and current WIP - Book 4 in the Jess Vandermire Vampire Hunter series. It's 36 degrees with a nice breeze off the ocean. The place is packed here. People enjoying the day, sitting in every pool of shadow on the green in front of the ocean.
Here is part three of my online serial ..... Hope you're enjoying it.
SHADOWED (c) Part 3
Verbena sniffed and was possibly crying when she dashed out of the woods in the opposite direction of Gravellia’s surveillance, at least. Damn it, she really hated disappointing the kid, but she had no idea what this assignment could turn into. She’d make it up to the kid tomorrow.
Sucking in a deep breath one hand felt for the loaded revolver in the holster under her jacket. No need for it now, but things could change.
Glancing back to make sure her niece really was on her way home, she forced herself to focus on the task at hand. Did she really need that money?
The honest answer. Yes.
She gritted her teeth. She’d been a damned good cop. Someone had it in for her, and she hoped someday she’d find out who. She’d been doing her own research ever since she’d been framed, but so far nothing concrete had turned up.
In the meantime, this job would pay a few bills.
A breeze tinkled through the leaves above her and from across the street the sounds of male laughter flirted on the breeze. Someone had opened a window in the house. Bonus.
She edged out of the woods and did a fake bout of stretches then jogged down the sidewalk toward the house. Making sure no one was nearby, she ducked behind a hedge and crept to the side of the building where the window had been opened in the kitchen. She saw a lot of empty chip bags and beef jerky containers but the men were in another room. Their muffled voices were accentuated with an outburst of raucous laughter every now and then. She thought they must be plotting something heinous when she heard one man say, “Just try to beat this!” Everyone groaned.
“A damned royal flush. How’d you get so lucky?” he asked suspiciously.
“It’s the dozen extra cards up my sleeve.”
“What sleeves?” The complainer asked.
“Exactly,” the winner responded. Shuffling and cards being played sounded, and everyone chatted normally again.
Grevellia leaned her back against the wall. “It’s a poker game? Damn it! Why would someone hire her for this? She frowned. Yeah, why would someone hire her for this? This stank to high heaven.
She’d been distracted. But why?
She crept around the corner of the house and took down the license plate number from the vehicle before going to the front door and ringing the bell.
A minute later the door opened. The man answering the door had a cigar in his teeth, and a bottle of beer in one hand. “Yeah? What?”
She smiled at him. “Hi, is Mary in?”
“Who?” The big man with a brush cut and grease under his fingernails frowned at her. “Mary. I’m here to visit my friend, Mary.”
“Ain’t no Mary here, lady.”
“Are you sure,” she asked, glancing past him to the group of men playing cards at a card table in the living room. It certainly wasn’t an underworld gathering.
“Yeah, I’m sure,” he said and started to shut the door in her face then halted long enough to say, “Sorry, but, I can’t help you. I just bought this place and I don’t know the neighbors.”
“Thanks, anyway.” She stepped away from the door and listened inside. There were no surreptitious whispers, just the sound of the men going back to their gambling.
Angry and a little more than suspicious, she made for her vehicle down the street.
It hadn’t escaped her yesterday, when the man had hired her that he’d looked nervous. And, in hindsight, probably not the kind of man who’d have money to pay a PI to do surveillance on a house. She pulled her cell phone out of her pocket. Immediately, she knew the number he’d given her would be a fake. It rang about three times before she got the message from the operator. “This number has been disconnected.“
“Of course it has.” She frowned. “What the hell is going on?”