Sunday, April 5, 2015

Coffee is Murder--An Excerpt

Chapter 4
Blond And Determined

SEAN AND SARA TOOK THE file to the meeting room, which had a glass table and seating for six. The space had more sleek lines and chrome. A large screen was on one wall—the modern-day solution to a marker board. Adam’s enthusiasm about the technology of the interactive whiteboard was contagious and had Sean parting with the money.
Every time Sean entered the room, though, he was glad that he had made the investment. Adam’s praise was well-deserving. The board served a decorative purpose and was practical. Unlike the traditional predecessor, with this electronic one, it was possible to save any notes or doodles as images and PDFs.
Sean handed Sara the file. She was a faster reader, so, once she finished reading a sheet, she would pass it on to him and keep going. They still had more to read when two shadows graced the doorway.
It was Helen and a pretty blonde, who, Sean assumed, must be their prospective client, Sophie Hogan. He had read enough of the preliminary. Between the application and what Helen had told him, he was aware Sophie worked as a nurse in a retirement home. It was her mother, Beverly Sparks, who’d passed away. She was sixty-nine at the time of her death.
“Sean, Sara, this is Sophie Hogan.” Helen conducted the formal introductions as she guided the woman farther into the room.
“Hello. Nice to meet you both. Thank you for agreeing to take my case.” Sophie shook Sean’s hand.
He didn’t have the heart to correct her assumption. This meeting was a preliminary interview. She had made it past Helen, and now he and Sara had to decide if they’d accept the case, or if there even was one to take on.
Sophie clasped Sara’s hand in greeting now. “You are beautiful.”
“Thank you. So are you.”
Sean never tired of people saying that to his wife. She was attractive both inside and outside and had a quality that drew people. Jealousy periodically slipped in when it involved men, but he was working to root out the undesirable quality.
Sophie’s head dipped and she pulled out a chair, but hesitated. “I guess I shouldn’t assume. Is it all right if I sit here?”
“Of course.” Sara spoke gently and Sean admired, again, his wife’s ability to put people at ease.
Sophie was positioned across from them so it worked out ideally. Eye contact and being able to read a person’s body language was a big factor in conversation. Often, more was said through energy and movement than was communicated through words.
“I’m going to excuse myself, if that will be all.” Helen waved a hand, pointing toward the door.
“That will be. Thank you, Helen,” Sean said.
She closed the door behind her, and Sean settled his gaze on Sophie. She was thirty-two, according to the file, but she could have passed for mid-twenties. Her eyes were hazel and her hair was bottle-blond with dark lowlights. She wore it down at the back with the sides pulled up and clipped into a barrette. As a generalization, women freed their face of wandering strands when they were focused. And, despite her timorous mannerisms, Sean saw a person who was likely confident in her own right. He figured that consulting with private investigators ventured outside of most people’s comfort zones.
The business had opened its doors a month ago and had come together rather quickly—money equaled power, and, when the contractors found out it was multi-billionaire Sean McKinley requesting their services, they were more than efficient. A job that might have stretched out for months if they were working for someone else was condensed to the timespan of thirty days.
Three months ago, they had bought the property. Two months ago, they had hired the contractor. And one month ago, they had officially opened the doors. With the applications coming in from the moment they’d purchased the property, they were ready to start as soon as they found a case that matched their criteria.
“Would you like a cup of coffee or a glass of water?” Sara asked her.
Sophie shook her head. “Your assistant did ask me, but I’m good. I’m off coffee right now.”
“All right, well, we’ve read a good portion of your file and application, but it’s much better to hear things straight from the person. First of all, you have our sympathies for your loss,” Sean said.
Sophie’s lips quivered and she nodded.
“You don’t believe it was related to her age.”
She slid her bottom lip through her teeth. “Not at all. My mother was in good physical shape. She might not have been very active, but she was sixty-nine. Still, considering her age and all she had gone through in life, she had many more years left.” Her voice fractured on the last sentence.
“You’re saying that she was murdered?” Sara’s tone was soft.
“That’s exactly what I’m saying.”

COFFEE IS MURDER is available for pre-order from:
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COFFEE IS MURDER officially releases May 27th.

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