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Previously… Camilla, the governor’s mistress, has just revealed that the puppy the governor gave her as a gift has been dognapped. She’s sure one of her enemies is out to blackmail her. She’s asked Beth and Richard, owner of a private eye agency, to take her case.
A light breeze drifted through the open door and moved like soft prickling whispers across Beth’s forearm. She looked through the detective agency’s storefront façade, scanning the highway for Camilla’s car. Nothing. She glanced at her phone. “It’s 2:07 p.m.”
Richard sent a pen flying high above him and caught it, a game he’d been playing for the last half hour. “Why don’t we stop by her house?”
“We can’t just show up at her personal residence. Is that really how you do business?”
He rose out of his office chair, like a bear coming out of hibernation. “She had an appointment with us, though.”
“If you miss your haircut appointment, does your barber come looking for you?”
“I’m a detective,” he countered, as if that explained everything.
“That doesn’t mean you get to stalk people, who don’t want to do business with you.”
“Stalk?” he scoffed.
“Obviously, she changed her mind. Or maybe she found that damn dog.” She was tired and hungry, which wasn’t the best combination when waiting for a no-show client. She hastily fished through the sea of contents in her purse, looking for her keys.
“But she’s not answering her phone.”
“We have to go see her then.” He eyed her. “Are you leaving?”
She dug her hands into her pocket and sighed, pulling out her key ring. “Loan Some called, and I need a paycheck, so…”
“This case is a paycheck.”
“What case?” She dramatically gestured to the empty office.
“Let’s go.” He grabbed his bag. “Put your keys away. I’m driving.”
“Sorry, Richard, I’m—“
“She may need our help,” he pleaded.
“Then why isn’t she here?”
“Listen, if she doesn’t need us, I’ll never bother you again.” He raised his hand like a proud, Boy Scout.
Beth sighed. “But we don’t even know where she lives…”
“You underestimate my detective skills.”
Camilla’s Mediterranean styled bungalow was nestled behind a long, winding drive that snaked through a few small hills and what appeared to be an apple orchard. Stout lines of shrubbery and hedges flanked the outskirts of the surrounding yards like fortresses, flush with budding hints of spring.
“This woman has money,” Richard commented, turning into the drive.
As they drove through the orchard, a shiver shot up Beth’s spine. The orchard was sprinkled with blossoms, peeking into bloom. The sweet smell of the hyacinths that lined the front yard were now wafting through her open window. The house looked like a veritable paradise. Why then, did everything feel wrong? Terribly wrong… A weight pressed against her chest. They needed to stop. “Stop the car.”
Richard raised his eyebrows. “Are you feeling sick?”
“Just stop the car.”
He slowly came to a halt, leaving the motor running.
She scanned the front yard, and then slowly moved to the house. There was no movement behind the windows, but she couldn’t see all that much with the afternoon sun reflecting off the panes. Something told her to look to the right. Sure enough, beside the far garage was… WIN $50 Amazon gift certificates by voting WEEKLY! Enter your address each time to be eligible to win. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading by email click view poll.
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