But things go from bad to worse when, while on assignment at the Mayor's house, Mandy finds herself in the attic amongst cobwebs, Christmas decorations, and...a corpse? Suddenly Mandy's life is turned upside down with one missing body, a high school nemesis turned police detective, a mysterious stranger, and a town full of long buried secrets. If Mandy's not careful, this could be one dead end job where she may not make it out alive!
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From Remote Consequences (Book #1 Working Stiff Mystery Series) by Kerri Nelson
A knock on the door awoke me from a sound sleep. The digital clock confirmed that it was six thirty in the morning. I peered over the covers at Pickles, and he raised his head to peer back but made no effort to leave his comfy spot. I couldn't blame him.
Another knock on the door.
What was it about early-morning visitors around here? Did no one sleep past sunrise anymore?
I shuffled out of my warm cocoon and back into the now too-cold morning air of the house. I snagged Patty's rose-patterned housecoat from the back of the door and pulled it on as I headed to the kitchen.
I opened the door, and there stood my mystery man holding two to-go coffee cups and a bag that was emitting sensuous smells, like bacon and sausage.
I'd forgotten to set an alarm, and I'd left my cell phone in the bathroom. Obviously, I'd missed our early a.m. breakfast meeting, and obviously he'd tracked me down at home anyway.
He smiled. "Nice robe."
I returned the smile with some trepidation and motioned for him to enter. The idea did cross my mind that I was admitting a complete stranger into my home. As he entered, I stealthily made my way to the counter and removed a rolling pin from the ceramic utensil holder. I moved it behind my back as I turned around with a look of utter innocence and nonchalance.
It was an unsettling feeling, having him show up like this, but I kind of wanted to trust him. I wasn't sure why, but I did.
His compliment had made me aware of the old-lady-style floral housecoat I was wearing. It came complete with a zippered front. My hair was probably very interesting about right now, as I'd had fallen asleep with it semi-wet. Probably looked a bit like Einstein's hair on a good day.
I shrugged. "Thanks. Is that bacon I smell?"
Pickles let out a resounding bark at my question. I saw he'd made his way to the kitchen to inspect our visitor and offer me protection. Oh, who was I fooling? He had smelled the food and had come running. He was no dummy.
"Your dog?" the international man of mystery inquired.
"No, he belongs to my sister. His name is Pickles, or as I like to call him, Señor Drool. I would introduce you, but I'm not privy to your name."
He ignored my question and began to set the Styrofoam boxes of food out on the kitchen table in a precise manner, folding napkins and arranging the plastic utensils as if preparing for a formal dinner party. I watched and caught myself admiring his muscled arms, which bulged from the sleeves of a pressed white golf shirt. As he reached across the table to set down my coffee cup, I thought I caught a hint of a tattoo on his left bicep, but the sleeve covered it before I could make out the design.
My eyes moved down his back to note his crisp khaki trousers fit snugly in all the right places. He turned, and I redirected my eyes upward to a more appropriate vantage point. But he'd caught me checking him out. Thank goodness he had the manners not to point it out.
Nonetheless, I clenched the robe a little tighter as a blush crept up my cheeks. Dang Irish heritage—it was impossible to hide a blush on this fair skin. It wasn't like me to be embarrassed, but this whole scene playing out before me was beyond odd. Of course, what in my life wasn't odd these days?
He pulled out a chair for me, and I took a seat. Pickles moved to me and placed his heavy head on my thigh. His eyes twitched up at me with immense longing. I pushed the rolling pin between my legs. At least I had some sort of weapon handy in case he was bribing me with food just so that he could distract me before he murdered me. What if he was the murderer?
I swallowed back my nerves as I opened the box of food and gasped with surprise.
It was loaded with scrambled eggs, home fries covered with cheese, crisp bacon, long links of sausage, and a huge buttered biscuit. It was…perfect.
I hand-fed Pickles a piece of bacon and then sliced up a link of sausage and placed it on a napkin. I slid it to the floor, and he made quick work of it.
I looked up at my guest and found he was watching me under hooded eyes.
"Aren't you going to eat?" I asked as I scooped mounds of peppered eggs into my mouth. I'd never been one to act shy around guys when it came to eating. Hated it when girls acted all silly about not wanting to eat when they went on dates. I'd never ordered "just a salad"—ever. No one would ever call me a cheap date.
Born and raised a true southern belle, Kerri holds many useful secrets: how to bake a killer peach cobbler; how to charm suspects with proper batting of the eyelashes; and how to turn your parasol into a handy weapon.
Kerri is an active member of Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America which includes various volunteer positions such as Board Member at Large and Daphne Published Contest Category Coordinator of Kiss of Death RWA (Chapter for Romantic Suspense Authors).
Learn more about Kerri and her new Working Stiff Mystery Series, at her website: www.KerriNelson.com
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