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Round Robin Episode 9

Harriet’s Aunt Beth stood over the prone figure at the top of the stairs. You need to watch where you’re going, mister. You ran right into a broken vent pipe. Looks like you’ve got a nasty bump on your head, but I think you’ll live.”

“Who’s there?” Jackie called across the roof.

“My aunt and I,” said a voice that was much closer than Jackie expected. A flashlight flicked on and flashed her face. Jackie held her hand up to shield her eyes.

“How did you get up here?” Jackie asked. “You were supposed to be talking to the police.”

“Well, while you and this guy,” Harriet pointed at Jack, “were doing gymnastics on the fire escape and that clown,” she pointed to the man by the stairs, “was climbing ten flights of stairs and performing a do it yourself lobotomy, we took the elevator.”

“Why are you following us?” Jack asked. “This isn’t your business.”

“If you two are trying to steal the money Jackie’s mother raised for the women’s shelter, we’re making it our business; even if you are stealing it to fund the animal shelter.” Aunt Beth said.

“What on earth gave you that idea?” Jackie asked. This night was getting weirder by the minute.

“We talked to the guy across the street,” Harriet said. “You know– the big guy in the black coat– the one you left for dead. Turns out he wasn’t quite as dead as you thought.”

Go on to Episode 10

Arlene Sachitano – Author of the Harriet Truman/Loose Threads Mysteries and The Harley Spring Mysteries

http://www.arlenesachitanosblog.blogspot.com

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2010 in Round Robin

 

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Round Robin Episode 8

…kiss him?  kill him?  I didn’t know what she’d do.

I knew I shouldn’t get involved.  It wasn’t like this was even close to my jurisdiction–southwest Louisiana may as well have been on a different planet.  Still, I couldn’t just wander off knowing I might have prevented another person’s death.

Besides, she wasn’t bad looking.  And she climbed the fire escape without hesitation.  Not many women I knew could do that.  She wasn’t the woman I’d traveled so far to locate, but I felt compelled to find out more about her.  I’d waited ten years to follow Grace; I could wait a few more minutes.

When I was fairly sure I knew where these two were headed, I crossed the street and slipped into the massive building.  A stairway waited behind the first door I tried.

Flashing lights from the street below gave the night an unreal quality as I stepped out onto the roof, reminding me of the swamp gas that sometimes rose from the marsh in ghostly glows on winter nights.  Gravel crunched beneath my boots and I froze.

It took a moment to find the voices in the dark, and even longer to ease silently toward them.  Judging from their exchange, I was now fairly sure they weren’t working together.

“Look,” the woman said, “there’s a lot more at stake here than you know.”

“Oh?”  The man huffed a quick laugh.  “And I thought the stakes were already high enough.  What is it you’re not telling me?”

I suddenly felt a presence –a large, menacing presence.  I hadn’t heard anyone approach, but I knew someone stood right behind me.  And I had a strong suspicion that person wasn’t going to be friendly.

Damn, I knew I shouldn’t have left my thirty-eight in the hotel room.

As I turned, something smashed into the side of my head and I went down hard.

“What was that?”  The woman sounded farther away than she should have, but at least I was still conscious.

Trying to ignore the searing pain, I turned my head to look up at my attacker and found…

Go on to Episode 9

S. H. Baker writes the Dassas Cormier Mystery Series.  Visit her at www.SHBaker.com.

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2010 in Round Robin, Zumaya Publications

 

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Round Robin Episode 7

Help? Jackie needed a high profile lawyer and a giant shoe horn to get out of this. Or… She caught sight of Jack climbing the fire escape. Or one PI who could cough up some answers, like how he knew Matt and what he knew about her mother’s secret account. “Thank you ladies for your help, but I think you need to turn that quilt square over to the cops. Evidence, you know.”

“This isn’t our first murder, dear.” The two women looked at each other before easing toward the bar’s open back door. “Are you going to join us?”

Not in this lifetime. Inside, Jackie heard the police barging into the scene upsetting the already traumatized patrons. Red and blue strobelights sliced through the dark alley, tainting their faces in garish hues.

The woman on the left raised an eyebrow.

Jackie resisted the urge to cringe while slipping on her heels. Why is it that women of a certain age always managed to make her feel guilty with that look? “I just need to collect myself.”

Ignoring the body of her ex, Jackie tiptoed around the blood oozing along the debris strewn asphalt. She felt more than saw the two women head inside. Smiling, she ran to the lowered fire escape and set her hands on the cold metal rungs. When she caught up with Jack, she’d….

Go on to Episode 8

Linda Andrews writes romantic adventures with a paranormal twist

Visit her at http://www.lindaandrews.net

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2010 in Round Robin, Zumaya Publications

 

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Round Robin Episode 6

Jackie struggled to keep herself upright as she looked at the two women. “Robbing Peter to Pay Paul?  Interesting…”  Where was Jack?  And Matt?  She stood up, aching.  “There were two guys, fighting…”  Those who hadn’t run away were now setting tables back up, checking each other for injuries.

One of the ladies folded the fabric up carefully and placed it in her pocket.  “Who could tell, in all this confusion?”  She stood up and held out a hand.  “I’m Harriet, and this is my Aunt Beth. ”

Jackie held out her hand, looking at the two seemingly friendly faces suspiciously.  “Jackie.  I’m sorry but…this doesn’t seem like your normal hangout.  What brings you here?”

Harriet explained, briefly, about the quilt for the animal shelter.

“I approve of that cause…but since the cops are almost here, I think you’d both better get out while you still can.”  She strode towards the back door and threw it open.  She could hear the cars pulling up outside, but her head was clear, now…she could deal.  Now, to find Matt…

Finding Matt was the easy part…he was dead in the alley behind the bar.

“I think,”  Harriet said behind her, you’re going to need a little help.”

Go on to Episode 7

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Cindy Lynn Speer is the author of Blue Moon, Chocolatier’s Wife and Unbalanced.  More about her and her work can be found at www.apenandfire.com

 
 

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Round Robin Episode 5

“Honey, are you sure this is the place?” Beth Carlson’s brow furrowed as she looked at the wreckage in front of her.

“This is the address she gave me and look,” long arm quilter Harriet Truman pointed to the broken glass of the store front window. “It says ‘stones’. This has to be the place.”

“Why would Sarah’s cousin arrange to meet us in a bar, for heaven sake? We’re here to talk about the raffle quilt for an animal shelter benefit aren’t we?”

“It wouldn’t be the first time Sarah had things wrong,” Harriet said and pulled her aunt off the sidewalk and behind a large potted spruce tree just in time to avoid a large man in a black mackintosh as he pushed out the door and staggered across the street. She could hear the faint sound of sirens in the distance.

Harriet stepped to the door. “Wait here,” she said and went in. She followed the sound of a moan to an overturned table. A slender young woman lay on the floor at her feet, her eyes closed. Harriet kneeled and gently shook her shoulder.

“Are you okay?” she said.

Aunt Beth lowered herself on the opposite side of the girl and gently eased a black stiletto heeled shoe from the young woman’s clenched left fist, causing the girls eyes to fly open.

“Where am I?” she whispered.

A tall man with sand colored hair watched the trio from across the room, and when Aunt Beth had helped the injured woman to a seated position, he eased out the back door.

“What’s this” the young woman asked and dropped a folded piece of cloth from her right hand. Smaller sewn pieces formed a purposeful pattern.

“Where did it come from? It’s not mine.”

Harriet smoothed the square of multicolored cloth.  “Looks like a quilt block,” she said.

“Let me see,” Aunt Beth said and held out her hand. She studied the pattern.

“This block is called Robbing Peter to Pay Paul.”

Go on to Episode 6

Arlene Sachitano writes The Harriet Truman/Loose Threads quilting mystery novels as well as The Harley Spring Mysteries. You can find her at

http://www.arlenesachitano.com or

http://www. arlenesachitanosblog.blogspot.com

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2010 in Birthday, Round Robin, Zumaya Publications

 

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Round Robin Episode 4

…stood Matt, still holding the smoking gun. He took three steps closer to Jackie as his arm stretched towards her, Moses-like, and his lips widened into a sneer.

“This is it, you condescending bitch.” Matt’s voice was cold as death. “You’ve cheated on me for the last time.”

Jackie felt a bolt of electricity race up her spine and burst in her head. How could he have known? She had always been too clever for him, or so she had thought until now.  Her mind was spinning fast. She knew from the compassionless tone in his voice that pleading wouldn’t help.  She tried to swallow but her mouth had gone bone dry.  She croaked, “If you kill me, what will happen to the shelter? You’ll be killing all those animals too!”

Matt stood perfectly still. It was too dark to tell if his eyes were softening. She didn’t even know if he had heard her over the sound of the music and the other people screaming. But then she noticed a ray of hope. She saw Jack slowly rising from the floor, like a tiger ready to pounce.  She had to give him time.

“Matt, you got this all wrong. I’m here on business.”

Over the thump of LL Cool on the sound system, Jackie heard the wail of sirens in the distance.  Help was minutes away, but minutes might as well be years. That unwavering gun was pointed directly at her forehead. Screw this, she thought. Her body tensed as she made ready to jump.

In what seemed like super slow motion, she saw Jack lunge at Matt, arms stretched, pain twisting his face. She leaped at the same time, not at Matt, but to the side. A gunshot roared so loud in her ears it sounded like the ending of the world.  Pain screamed in her mind.

A moment later she lay on the floor, looking up at…

Go on to Episode 5

Alan Chin writes gay fiction. Visit him at http://alanchin.net

or http://alanchinwriter.blogspot.com and http://twitter.com/alanhchin

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2010 in Round Robin, Zumaya Publications

 

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Round Robin Episode 2

What the hell happened to the lights?

“It’s okay, folks.  Just stay where you are.”  The bartender didn’t quite manage to hide his panic.

Jackie’s heart pounded as she watched a flashlight beam swing around behind the bar.  At first she thought she’d heard a shot, but it must have been a transformer or breaker popping.  Not a big deal, and it gave her a few moments to pull herself together.

She couldn’t believe Jack had fallen for such an obvious fake.  If the woman had been any more plastic, she would have melted under the bar lights.  Her mother had been right; Jack was as superficial as the makeup caked on his date’s face.  He hadn’t even noticed Jackie watching him, and she’d worn her sexiest black jeans. Top notch private investigator, my ass.

Still, he knew where the skeletons were buried and she needed to dig up one in particular.  If she didn’t find her mother’s secret account, she and Matt would lose the shelter.  Jackie couldn’t bear the thought of all those kitties and puppies being put to sleep.

Matt would have a heart attack if he knew where she was and what she had planned.  At first she’d thought it would be easy to appeal to Jack’s good nature, but he hadn’t even returned her calls.  Plan two had been to charm the information out of him.  She’d learned a thing or two from her mother over the years.  But this dinner date had delayed that.  Maybe she should just strut past his table and spill her drink on him.  If nothing else, that would get his attention.

Tough Enough

The lights blinked on, and a collective sigh rose from the bar’s patrons.  Jackie sipped foam from her beer, grabbed her helmet, and slid from the barstool.  Taking a deep breath to steady her nerves, she started toward the table with glass in hand, then stopped.

Jack, half out of his chair, clutched  his date with one arm around her waist.  The woman’s blonde hair, cocked strangely to one side, verified Jackie’s earlier assessment.  But what made her gasp was the figure standing in shadows by the door…

Go on to Episode 3

Sarah Storme, author of Tough Enough, writes spicy contemporary and historical romance.  Visit her at www.SarahStorme.com.

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2010 in Round Robin, Zumaya Publications

 

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