Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Past Comes Back - Excerpt of Politics is Murder #SampleSunday


Excerpt from Politics is Murder:
The Past Comes Back

SEAN TURNED INTO THE RESIDENTIAL drive that belonged to the address provided to him. He was impressed that he remembered the directions, seeing as he’d received them at such an early hour. He stopped at the wrought-iron gate and intercom system.

Sara glanced over at him. “She does all right for herself, doesn’t she?”

“I’d say.” He lowered the window and announced their arrival to the guard.

“Come on up, Mr. McKinley.” The gates opened and the Mercedes drifted through, as a sole fishing boat would in a water lock built to accommodate yachts—with plenty of room to spare.

The estate was expansive, with a drive that wound in from the road, providing privacy to the residence.

Sean parked in the roundabout and went to get Sara’s door. She lifted out a slender leg, slipped her hand into his, and he helped her up the rest of the way. The Mercedes was a lower ride that his Chevy had been.

He tugged down on his blazer, straightening it out after bending over to reach for Sara.

The door opened before they had a chance to ring the bell, which Sean was certain would have sounded a beautiful chime throughout the home.

“This way.” A uniformed, middle-aged woman rushed them inside. 

Inside, it resembled the house they bought. Curved staircases wrapped along both sides of the entry, rising to meet at an upper-level balcony that overlooked the space. The woman led them into a room on the right.

Reanne got up to greet them. “Sean and Sara, thank you for coming.”

“Certainly,” Sean said.

“Would you like anything to drink? Juice, water, tea, coffee?”

“I’m good. Darling?” Sean directed to Sara.

“I’ll take a coffee.” She smiled politely at their host, the expression waning when she met Sean’s eyes.

His wife was a walking coffee addict, like many residents of North America.

“Ida.”

The uniformed woman nodded, and left to fulfill the request, but Sean didn’t miss the curt reflection in the woman’s eyes before doing so.

“Please.” Reanne invited them to take a seat again.

The room had a large fireplace with a mantle. The furniture was suited to a modern taste, which gave the indication it was more for show than comfort. Framed political photographs were displayed on the end tables and showcased on the walls. Sean noticed they all had one thing in common—Mayor Davenport. And Sara considered him politically-minded—obviously, she had made that conclusion before meeting Reanne.

Reanne slipped into a beige club chair and crossed her legs toward them. “I really do appreciate you two coming.”

“What can we do for you, Reanne?” Sean asked.

Her jittery movements culminated in her clasping her hands on her knee, but her one index finger kept tapping the other hand. 

“Reanne, whatever it is.” Sara dipped her head in an effort to encourage dialogue.

She sat ramrod straight then, and Mayor Davenport entered the room. 

The pictures clicked into focus. This wasn’t Reanne’s home, this was Davenport’s residence. 

“What is this about?” Sean asked.

Another woman came in behind Davenport, a close image of Reanne. There was a definite family resemblance there. The main difference being the tax bracket the two women lived in. While Reanne was polished, this woman exuded an air around her. Her long, layered blond hair had a finer sheen.

She slipped her hand into Davenport’s as they came farther into the room.

Reanne gestured toward them. “This is Wayne Davenport. You are likely aware he’s the mayor.” A pause to lick her lips. “To me, he’s my brother-in-law. And, this is my sister, Randi. Our parents liked their R names.”

“Mr. McKinley.” Davenport shook hands with him and then with Sara. His wife followed behind.

Making contact with the couple, Sean sensed something had happened. What, of course, he didn’t know, but it had stabbed the Davenports at the heart and soul.

Davenport sat down on a couch that faced them, his wife beside him. “Would you like anything to dri—?”

“I already asked them,” Reanne began, but her response became mute when Ida entered with Sara’s coffee.

“Thank you,” Sara said.

“That will be all, Ida,” Davenport said. “And, please, close the doors behind you.”

He waited for her to latch the french doors.

Sean glanced to Sara and found she was looking at him as well. The same questions likely paraded in her head, what was all this about that it required closed doors?

Reanne leaned into the side of her chair. “I’m why you’re here, so I’ll begin with telling you that I know all about you two, what you’re capable of, what you did in Cancun.” 

Sean looked to Reanne. Her hands were firmly clasped and rocking against her kneecap.

“I’m not sure I understand.”

“Before I bring anyone on my show, I conduct extensive research on them. Your names, well, they are all over the Internet. I know what you did for those people in Cancun. I never even would have said anything, except for this situation…” Her voice trailed off and she passed looks to the Davenports.

Sean’s eyes skipped, in turn, to everyone in the room. “What is this about?”

A few seconds passed, and Davenport’s mouth opened as if he were about to speak, when a ringing phone had him running from the room.

Randi’s eyes were full of tears and, when she connected with Sean’s gaze, she pressed on a smile to suppress them.

No one spoke until Davenport sat back down beside his wife. He took her hand. “Wrong number.”

Randi’s chin quivered and the emotion purged a few more tears down her cheeks, which she was quick to wipe away.

“Reanne, what is going on?” Sara’s face reflected their pain even though she didn’t know the details.

Davenport rubbed the back of Randi’s hand for a few seconds longer and then answered. “Our daughter’s been kidnapped.”

“Oh—”

He held up a hand. “It’s all right, there’s nothing much that can be said.”

“Have you called the police?” Sean asked.

Davenport nodded. “Yes, but, even as the mayor, it hasn’t been long enough. There hasn’t been a ransom call. Reanne told us about what you did for those people in Cancun.”

“I’m sorry, but that was a—”

Reanne uncrossed her legs. “Please, Mr. McKinley, Sean, we need your help. I never would have exposed your history otherwise. Unlike other reporters, I don’t like to dig deep and reveal things that are not relevant in the media.”

“We appreciate that, Reanne, but the police are your best bet in a situation like this,” Sara said, her phrasing and tone delicate.

“Is that what you told that couple in Cancun?” Randi asked.

Sean responded. “Actually, we did tell her to call the local police, but it was different—”

“How was it different, Sean?” Davenport asked. His stare, leveled with years of practice at manipulating its receiver.

“We were in a different country.”

“Wouldn’t that have made things more difficult?”

Sean captured the pain in the mayor’s eyes, drilling into him, but logic dictated this situation needed recognized law enforcement. Although, as communicated through eye contact, the mayor wasn’t used to accepting no for an answer.

Want to read more? Politics is Murder is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo.