Wild Wild Death
Her job has been cut, she's low on cash, and her detective sometime- boyfriend refuses to even talk about her ability to see the dead and solve their murders. So Pepper is most certainly down for a vacation to get her spirits up. But when her cute scientist friend Dan is kidnapped, Pepper soon stumbles upon another deadly mystery that brings her to New Mexico. And she's after a clever murderer-one whose idea of Boot Hill has nothing to do with Jimmy Choo.
It’s tough to decide what to wear to a body snatching.
On one hand, there’s the whole thing about being inconspicuous and blending in with the shadows. On the other . . .
Truth be told, in my heart of hearts, I feared the night might end with questions, accusations, and yes, mug shots. If that was the case, I didn’t want to go down in history in the Cleveland Police Department arrest records archives looking like some frumpy reject.
I compromised, and even though it was a sticky night, I chose jeans for practicality along with a black jersey T. Good camouflage and flattering lines, and both looked just right with the oversized Jimmy Choo multicolored print tote I slipped on my shoulder. What private investigator for the dead could ask for more? Since it started to rain just as I left my apartment, I grabbed Quinn’s blue windbreaker, too, and shrugged into it. If worst came to worst and I ended up against a wall with hash marks on it, I could always take off the jacket for the pictures.
Without going into the ugly details, let’s just say that getting over the stone wall that surrounded Garden View Cemetery wasn’t the most graceful thing I’ve ever done. It was also more exercise than this girl is used to, and by the time I finally had both feet on the ground of the place I used to work, I was breathing hard. As much as I hate to admit it, I may have been sweating, too. Well, just a teensy bit. No matter. Within a couple minutes, I was outside the marble mausoleum where Chester Goodshot Gomez rested in peacebut hopefully not for long.
All I had to do was figure out which of the keys I stole from Ella fit the mausoleum door.
Long story. For now, let’s just say I’m not cut out for a life of crime. Especially when it comes to stealing from fluffy, lovable Ella. I swear, the guilt was what made my hands shake and my heart beat a jackhammer rhythm. Then again, thinking that Dan Callahan’s life depended on me and what I was about to do didn’t do much for my composure, either.
The very thought made me feel as if I’d chugged a Slurpee. Or maybe that frozenstomach sensation came when I heard the crunch of car tires against the road that wound through this section of the cemetery with its centuryold mausoleums and headstones that stood as tall as my five feet eleven inches. Security, and yes, I was on a firstname basis with the entire crew. Something told me that did not mean they’d take it kindly if they found me lurking there in the middle of the night.
I darted to the far side of Goodshot Gomez’s mausoleum, flattened myself against the marble wall, and waited for the white patrol car to cruise by. They were on a fortyfiveminute schedule so I knew exactly when they’d be back. By the time they were, I planned to be long gone.
Keeping the thought firmly in mind, I clenched my pocketsize flashlight between my teeth and tried key after key in the rusted lock on the mausoleum door. When one finally fit and the ancient lock clicked open, I took a second to congratulate myself. Right before I stuck my head into the mausoleum.
“Hello?” Okay, it might have been crazy for anybody else to peek into a musty tomb and call out a greeting, but in my world, it’s just common courtesy. “Hello? It’s me, Pepper.”
No answer. And no sign of Goodshot.
So far, so good.
Not that I have anything against Indians or anything. It’s just that this was not the moment to run into the former Wild West show star who’d died in a tragic accident in Cleveland and
How do I know? About Goodshot?
Well, like I said, I used to work at Garden View, and not just answering phones or selling plots or anything like that. I was the one and only fulltime tour guide at the historic cemetery, and I’d brought plenty of people past this mausoleum.
I knew Goodshot’s story, all right. It went something like this.
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