Maybe the judge will go easy on me. No one got hurt. Yes, I flower bombed a couple of government officials, but how bad is that?
Yeah. I’m screwed.
I looked up at the blue summer sky. It was over 90°F, but the marble bench on which I sat felt cool on my palms. I glanced at the brick courthouse across the green lawn. It might have been a beautiful day in a sleepy Midwest town. If I wasn’t probably going to jail.
I nervously ran a hand over my shoulder-length dark hair. On a job for my boss’s two person Chicago-based detective agency, I’d only brought blue jeans. But I’d found a white sundress with red roses in a thrift store. Hopefully it made me look more small town innocent than big city delinquent accused of vandalism, assault, attempt to poison and littering. That latter charge was bogus; Hunter had it added for spite.
Hunter is my boss’ best friend, a rich, handsome, complex, and infuriating man nearly two decades my senior. And, no, I’m not into him. Yes, he’s hot—Gerard Butler hot—and he’s challenging. But he’s a jerk. I would have to have some real daddy issues to be attracted to him.
I’d been on a case in the small town of Clark with my boss, Jake. Hunter came down so he and Jake could go on a kill-something-helpless-in-the-woods weekend. Anyway, he was being even more condescending than usual, so I had to teach him a lesson. Understandable.
Given that I nearly have my doctorate in Physics, I generally resort to high-tech revenge. But I was in a hurry. I got a can of air freshener and wrapped a plastic zip tie around the trigger to which I tied twine, attaching its end to the driver’s door of Hunter’s car. I wedged the can between the seat and the center console so that when Hunter yanked open the door, the zip tie would lock up and fill his car with a cloud of “summer fields delight”. Harmless.
But how was I to know that Hunter was meeting the mayor and sheriff and the regional FBI chief? I didn’t arrange it so that they were already in the car when Hunter pulled open the door!
But here I now am, waiting to see the judge. Normally, there would be little chance of charges sticking. But given the people involved. . .
The wet snuffling sound of a toddler drew my attention right. It came from a blond boy of about four. He stood by his mother, who was professionally dressed in black slacks and a blue blouse. I scooted over and the woman smiled as she sat beside me, pulling the boy on her lap. She looked at him with the same bright green eyes as his. “Brandon, please finish your orange slices,” she said, as she pulled out a plastic bag of segments from her purse.
Lowered his head on his mother’s shoulder, he closed his eyes. “Don’t wanna.”
The mother jostled him lovingly. “What is going to take?”
I pulled out a napkin, a paperclip and my breakfast banana from my purse. Catching her attention, I straightened the clip and poked it through the skin of the banana, moving it in a slicing motion without breaking the skin. Withdrawing the clip, I rubbed the hole shut and made several more slices while Brandon’s mom looked on.
“Brandon,” I said, “Do you like pre-sliced bananas? They’re yummy!”
The boy raised his head. “No such thing.”
“Here’s one.” I peeled the banana slowly, letting the slices fall onto the napkin on my lap.
Brandon’s eyes shot wide.
I popped a piece in my mouth. “Yum! If you are good, I’m sure your mommy can find some for you.” Brandon beamed, as did his mother, nodding to indicate that she knew what to do.
My phone alarm beeped and I tossed the banana into my purse. I stood. “Got to go.”
“I have to give him back to his nanny and get to work, too. Thank you. You’re a nice young lady.”
“I hope the judge thinks so.”
“I pranked a guy who was being a jerk. It was harmless. Mostly. But he’s powerful and I’m not.”
“Maybe you’ll get off lightly if the judge believes you’re truly sorry and will make amends.”
“Oh, I am so sorry! I would personally detail his car and hand wash his clothes. I was being a brat. But this guy is very rich.”
“A fair judge won’t let that matter.”
“Let’s hope I get that judge.” I waved goodbye as I sprinted away.
Soon, I was sitting beside my lawyer, fretting. What if the judge was good friend with the mayor? What if I got the maximum? I’m such an idiot!
“All rise,” came the bailiff’s sonorous voice.
I stood, licking dry lips and looked into the green eyes of the judge, her blue blouse peeking above black robes. So, maybe it wasn’t going to be my worse day ever after all.
The Last, Best Lie is the first book in the NEW Madison McKenna mystery series, published by Five Star Publishing, February 2016.
Not many could save a man’s life with lip gloss, car keys and condoms while under gunfire. But Madison McKenna can.
And it’s not the least of the devices the sexy young physicist-turned-detective kludges together in The Last, Best Lie, first in the Chicago-based McKenna Mystery series. Blending wit, sensuality and science into a unique and exciting new format, this female-MacGyver uses counter-top technology and fierce determination to solve the attempted murder of her boss, Jake Thibodaux. It won’t be easy; science-savvy she is, street-smart she isn’t. Worse, Jake’s powerful ex-partner, Hunter, is determined to freeze her out of the investigation, and the local police would happily toss her in jail to keep her out of their hair.
As Jake clings to life, Madison and her helpers—a charming bull-rider and his prize calf, Spinal Snap, a pair of bickering cops, and Jake’s hard-bitten mistress—delve into Jake’s past, revealing a man very different from the one she thought she knew. Even her subconscious comes to her aid, infusing her dreams with tantalizing, surreal, clues. Driven by need, Madison and Hunter form a steamy, antagonistic, partnership; until she learns that he his own motives for murder. As even more allies fall under suspicion and innocents are killed in her stead, the increasingly-desperate Madison uses science, cunning and doggedness to find the killer. And she’ll continue to school all around her in the power of technology, fueled female ingenuity, as this distinctive new series evolves.
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About the author
Kennedy Quinn has a Ph.D. in Physics and Master’s in Nuclear Science and is a director of research by day. But this scientist-turned-administrator didn’t get there the easy way. She enlisted in the Air Force immediately after high school and served as an aircraft mechanic before achieving an officer’s commission and earning her multiple degrees. After a diverse military career, she retired to federal service where she continues to lead research on a wide array of science and technologies. By night, she grows roses in Northern Virginia with her family; they’re owned by two rescue cats. Kennedy can be reached at kennedyquinn.com.
Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of The Last, Best Lie. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end July 26, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!
All comments are welcomed.