Days that start with a ringing phone seldom turn out well.
I fumbled for the nightstand, a dull pain in my ribs when I reached too far reminding me that I’m not twenty-five anymore.
Thirty-one years in uniform, and I’ve been shot twice. The first time, I was back to tossing my baby girl in the air four weeks later. This time, seven months have ticked by and I still wince when I raise my arm too high.
Finding my cell phone, I cracked an eyeball at the clock.
“White,” I grunted, putting the thing somewhere in the vicinity of my ear.
“You’ll be getting a visit from a Sheriff Jim Rutledge this morning, detective. He had a murder out in Augusta County this weekend that’s of particular interest to some important people,” Deputy City Manager Matt Finderman, more commonly known as the Mayor’s favorite lackey, barked without so much as a “sorry for the ungodly hour.”
I sighed, patting an apology on my wife’s shoulder and sliding out of bed. Finderman made everything sound like high-level espionage, usually for no reason.
“Good morning to you, too, Matt,” I said, pulling the bedroom door closed and padding toward the kitchen in bare feet. “Why don’t you go ahead and tell me what this guy wants while I get some coffee?”
“What he wants isn’t nearly as important as who he needs to talk to.”
I flipped the switch on my Mr. Coffee and took a seat on a wooden barstool, the smell coming from the burbling machine chasing enough cobwebs from the corners of my brain for me to get good and annoyed. Who wakes people up before five in the morning to be cryptic?
I waited for him to elaborate. He didn’t.
“And who would that be?” I didn’t even try to keep the irritation out of my tone.
“Grant Parker.” He stopped again, and I drummed my fingers on the countertop. Both my daughters were home from college for the summer, currently at war over a boy. I had enough drama in my life with that nonsense.
Rubbing my temple with my free hand, I felt a massive headache coming my way. “Grant Parker. The sports columnist, Grant Parker?”
“By the end of the day, he’ll be the murder suspect Grant Parker.” Finderman waited a beat, plowing on when I didn’t take his bait. “You will assign the best homicide detective in your department to help Rutledge with anything he needs. You will have Parker hauled in for questioning, and you,” there went the pausing again, “will handle Nichelle Clarke.”
The big vein in my temple throbbed under my fingers.
Yep. Headache dead ahead.
“Who’s the victim?” I’ve met plenty of murderers, and couldn’t think of much that might push Grant Parker over that particular cliff.
Well. Much besides that.
It hadn’t even been a week since Parker’s boss called me in an uncharacteristic panic. Because of Burke.
Scrubbing my free hand over my face, I wondered just exactly what I was about to get pulled into.
“I expect to find Grant Parker in a jail cell by this time tomorrow, detective.” Finderman snapped. “Help Rutledge get his man. And keep your nosy reporter friend in line.”
I touched the end button without bothering to respond, dropping the phone to the tabletop.
Could Parker be mixed up in Burke’s death?
Tough one. Maybe.
But if City Hall wanted Nichelle out of the way, something was shady. Figuring out what without tipping my hand was the tricky part, since my job as the public information officer meant people recorded just about everything I said.
But for Nichelle, I’d find a way. My fingers brushed across the still-pink scar over my ribs. I’d never trusted a reporter so completely. And last time I checked, Finderman and his cronies hadn’t saved my life last Fall.
I shuffled back to the coffee maker and filled a Richmond Police Officers’ Association mug, checking the clock. Five-oh-four.
Nichelle would be done with her morning news meeting by nine.
That gave me four hours to study up on Mitch Burke and Grant Parker. And why the Mayor might want Parker behind bars.
Thanks so much for having me and Detective White today, Dru Ann! I have some goodies for your readers: TWO commenters will win the Headlines in High Heels e-book of their choice.
Lethal Lifestyles is the sixth book in the Headlines in High Heels mystery series, published by Henery Press, September 2016.
Wedding bells are ringing at the Richmond Telegraph, and maid of honor Nichelle Clarke is determined to give her friends the perfect fairytale beginning to their happily ever after. So when a corpse crashes rehearsal weekend, Nichelle ditches her wedding coordinator shoes for her crime reporter ones, and a little poking around turns up a big problem: the victim and the groom have a history, and it’s not a pretty one.
Evidence against groom Grant Parker piles up, leaving Nichelle wishing a hostile bridesmaid was still her biggest worry as she tries to fend off Richmond’s favorite TV reporter—and her own scheming publisher. At odds with the cops, her beloved editor, and the ticking clock, Nichelle races to uncover the truth and save the day before this perfect wedding turns into a funeral.
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About the author
LynDee Walker is the author of the national bestselling Headlines in High Heels mystery series, beginning with the Agatha Award-nominated Front Page Fatality (2013).
Before she started writing mysteries, LynDee was an award-winning journalist. Her work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the U.S.
She adores her family, her readers, and enchiladas. She often works out tricky plot points while walking off the enchiladas. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she is either playing with her children, working on her next novel, or admiring beautiful shoes she can’t wear. Connect with LynDee at lyndeewalker.com.
All comments are welcomed.
Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win. The giveaway will end September 30, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!