My level of patience was directly tied to the amount of coffee coursing through my veins. My tank was dangerously low, and I was in no mood for Mrs. Peterman.
“No, thank you, Detective.”
He gave me a slight wave then made his way down the gravel path to the sandy edge of the beach to continue his reelection campaign.
A warm breeze gusted through the trees sending the early spring leaves to whispering. I closed my eyes and filled my lungs with the sweet, warm spring air.
I rolled my head from side to side and heard my vertebrae pop in rapid succession. Sleepy tension stiffened my neck and shoulders sending dull pain shooting down my back. As soon as the BCA arrived I could curl up for a nap. After all, I am on vacation.
Okay, so technically, I was on administrative leave for an officer involved shooting, but any reason to sleep late, take afternoon naps and round the clock sweatpants attire was good enough for me.
A small white dog that had been nosing around the fish house all morning bound past me. He buried his nose in the fish house door, pawed the sill and whined.
“Hey, shoo! Get away from there you little mutt!”
The dog glanced at me, then turned back and continued to scratch at the door.
I clapped my hands together.
This time he ignored my protests like he’d suddenly gone deaf.
I looked around to see if anyone saw the little, white flop of fur humiliate me. As far as I could tell no one was watching and since it didn’t look there was a PETA member within fifty yards, I toed the little mutt away from the threshold – not hard enough to hurt him, but firm enough to skid him a safe distance from defiling my crime scene.
He growled and bared his teeth. I growled back and lunged at him for good measure. He jerked away then disappeared into a lilac grove at the edge of the tree line.
Isn’t there a leash law around here?
Up the dirt road toward the main house of the resort, Gavin in shorts, white socks and sandals jogged toward me kicking puffs of dust up behind him as he went.
Good lord the fashion police should arrest him.
I waved back.
Gavin’s dark hair matted to his head with sweat, and a tiny tire around his midsection waved up and down with each pounding stride. Maybe it was time to think about eating healthier. Gavin wasn’t the only one whose middle was getting thicker.
He skidded to a halt on the gravel next to me and panted to catch his breath.
“Hi honey.” I pecked his cheek. “What’s up?”
“They’re here.” He nodded toward the top of the road where a white cube van ambled slowly toward the fish house. “The BCA.”
Finally, a reprieve.
After a grilling about what I knew, which wasn’t much, I could get back to my vacation. My heart flopped wildly in my chest with anxiety. Vacations for me are notoriously bad. I had been suckered into this vacation by Gavin. When he’d heard I’d been in an officer involved shooting, his first thought wasn’t my safety, it had been to pack and get me out of town while he had the chance.
He knows me better than I’d like to admit. I would have found a reason not to go on vacation. Again.
“There’s a surprise for you.” A lopsided grin twisted his mouth.
He shook his head.
“Come on, Gav.”
“No, you’ll find out soon enough.”
He slid his arm around my shoulder and faced the van which crawled toward us like a top-heavy beetle.
“You know how much I hate surprises.” I tickled his tire. “Please.”
He slapped my hand away. “No.”
“I can’t stand not knowing what’s going to happen next. That’s why I read the last chapter of a mystery first so I know who done it. Come on, Gavin.”
“I hate to wait.”
The grind of the van’s tires coming to a stop on the gravel drew our attention.
“Lucky for you, you won’t have to wait long.” His eyes didn’t leave the big white bug.
The BCA was no surprise. I’d called for the BCA myself this morning after I’d been shown the body in the fish house.
I looked at Gavin. His lopsided grin grew to a face full of teeth. I squinted through the glare off the van’s windshield, to see what he was seeing that I didn’t. The glare obscured the face of the driver.
The driver moved into a sliver of shade, and I made out a pair of wire-rimmed glasses that I knew so well. Digs, the forensic pathologist who worked nearly all of my cases, sat behind the wheel of the van.
“What the hell is he doing here?” I asked. “He doesn’t usually leave his nice temperature controlled office.”
Gavin put his arm around my waist. “I have a sneaking suspicion it has something to do with his passenger.”
My gaze slid to the passenger seat. Even through the sun glint, I knew the silhouette of the person sitting next to Digs. There was no mistaking the rod straight posture and the tendrils of braids that looked like a veil in the shadows.
The irreverent detective is back, and this time she’s on vacation. God help us all…
St. Paul, Minnesota Homicide Detective, Catherine O’Brien, and her loving husband Gavin, are vacationing on one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes. When a local is murdered, Catherine is tapped to help the small town Sheriff until the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension arrives to take over the investigation. Catherine is surprised when her partner Louise and Diggs, the forensic pathologist, whose crush on Louise is only dwarfed by his own genius, show up to assist instead of the BCA. Before long, Catherine and Louise discover this sleepy little town has a dark side hidden beneath its placid lake charms. Somewhere in the tangle of cheating and deception is a motive for murder.
Genre – Mystery
Rating – PG13
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