I'm sharing a snippet from the 2nd Alex O'Hara mystery novel, The Case of the Fabulous Fiancé. Alex is a P.I. in the small Lake Michigan resort town near Grand Rapids.
She’s at it again. Alex O’Hara just can’t say no to a new investigation. What do a 45-year-old boyfriend, a deadbeat dad, and a teenage runaway have in common? All new cases. With no receptionist, phone and internet problems, and her own boyfriend in the wind, Alex has no idea how she’ll manage. But the question for the past three months is why did Nick disappear. Is this the end of O’Hara & Palzetti?
Normally after a run, I’d go in the back door of my business, O’Hara & Palzetti, Confidential Investigations since 1965, according to the sign on my building, not that I’ve been around since 1965. As I unlocked the front door, I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. A petite woman stepped out of a black Mercedes.
“It is about time you showed up,” she called out.
“I certainly hope your boss is prompter than you. Where is she? I have been knocking on the door since eight thirty-three.”
Now the rest of the scene:
Now the rest of the scene:
That was precise. Not eight thirty. Eight thirty-three. I silently groaned. A client. And she thought I was the receptionist.
Since I had no appointments that morning, I hadn’t been watching the time. Currently without a receptionist, I’d hoped for no walk-ins until I’d changed into professional attire. In my navy vest with orange fluorescent stripes I looked like an advertisement for Hope College. I’d even smushed my hair into an orange watch cap and wore orange mittens. While it beat getting hit by a car that didn’t see me, I felt more conspicuous than normal. Especially next to the fashion plate approaching.
Her black wool coat cost more than my entire clothes budget for the year. Same with her black leather gloves. And those boots? Ay-yi-yi. Who wore fine Italian leather in the winter? I may be a small-town girl, but I can recognize fine apparel thanks to my friend Ellen who owned a high-end boutique in Grand Rapids where the female movers and shakers hung out.
Biting back a retort about assumptions, I held the door open for her. “Please come in.”
After she entered, I quickly shut off the alarm system.
“What time do you open?” She pointedly looked at her watch—OMG was that a $16,000 Omega Constellation? “I have been waiting for twenty-nine minutes.”
Oh, my. She was going to be one of those. I could almost hear The Pops saying, “Play nice, Alex.”
“Please make yourself comfortable.” I indicated the two chairs in an alcove where visitors couldn’t be seen from the street. As a matter of privacy, I didn’t open the blinds covering the street-side windows. “I’ll just be a moment.”
“Call your boss. I’m in a hurry.”
Then you should have made an appointment. Of course, I didn’t say that out loud Wanted to, though.
I raised my eyebrow. I can do haughty when necessary. I’d learned from people like her.