A cozy mystery by…
Med school drop-out Mandy Murrin has returned home to care for her mentally handicapped, teenage sister. But despite having multiple college degrees under her belt, Mandy finds jobs aren’t easy to come by in small town Alabama. Now instead of a stethoscope, she’s forced to sport a tool belt as a technician for the local cable company, Flicks Vision.
But things go from bad to worse when, while on assignment at the Mayor’s house, Mandy finds herself in the attic amongst cobwebs, Christmas decorations, and…a corpse? Suddenly Mandy’s life is turned upside down with one missing body, a high school nemesis turned police detective, a mysterious stranger, and a town full of long buried secrets. If Mandy’s not careful, this could be one dead end job where she may not make it out alive!
Two hours, three sneezes, and a half a box of Tic Tacs later, I was crouched in the oppressive heat of the attic. After two phone calls back to the office to ask my boss questions, I’d finally deduced that there must be a faulty coaxial cable somewhere in the house’s wiring. Finding it was going to take time and patience. And I was low on both.
My stomach grumbled with hunger, and the dispatcher had radioed twice to ask when I might be able to take the next service call. But I was stuck here in the mayor’s dreadful attic until I could find the source of the problem.
I inched along the perimeter in the near dark. When it came to blood and anatomy, I could stomach almost anything. But when it came to bugs and creepy crawlies, I was as girly as they came.
Holding my Maglite XL at arm’s length to warn me of potential eight-legged predators, I scooted my knee forward another notch and winced as a splinter made its way through my pants leg and speared my tender flesh.
I eased back onto my bottom and surveyed the damage. A shard of laminated wood about three inches in length protruded from my pants leg. I yanked it free and tossed it behind me. I’d have to tend to my wound later. A brief daydream image of sitting on a sunny beach—margarita in one hand, and a hefty worker’s compensation check in the other—made me grin. Not a likely outcome for a splinter-induced injury, though.
Boxes of holiday decorations, an old baby crib, stacks of books, and a deep freezer cluttered the area. Standard stuff. Nothing special about His Honor’s attic.
Who had a deep freezer in their attic? My head snapped back to the opposite corner where a standard eight-cubic-foot, chest-style freezer sat in the shadows. I stood up, brushing off the back of my pants. Deep freezers were heavy suckers. I knew this because I’d once had the corner of one dropped on my toe in my aunt’s cellar basement.
As if in response to the memory, my toe ached deep inside my boot.
I’d never seen anyone lug a heavy deep-freeze up to an attic. It didn’t make much sense, but at the same time—wouldn’t it feel great to open that lid and feel the mist of ice-cold frost caress my face? Memories of homemade ice cream and preparing containers of summer vegetables for the fall trickled through my memory. Summers had been good once. A long time ago.
Back and knees stiff from the attic crawl, I limped toward the freezer. I doubted it was even running. Who would be stupid enough to run it up here? What if it defrosted and leaked down through the floorboards? Imagining worst-case scenarios was kind of like a superpower to me.
But as I reached out to touch the dusty lid, I heard the humming thrum of the motor inside.
Probably shouldn’t mess with it.
I looked around the attic as if someone were going to pop out and shake their finger at me for snooping. But when no one appeared, I lifted the lid.
The blessed frost hit my face, and I inhaled the frigid glory. But when the mist cleared—my breath caught in my throat. Lungs frozen in an ice block of silent shock.
There, among the Tupperware containers, curled into a fetal position was…one dead body.
MANDA’S CHARACTER INTERVIEW
What word best describes true love?
© Finish this sentence: When I think of love, I think of family.
© What’s your ideal romantic evening?
Mandy: A nice dinner and sharing a cuddle on the sofa. If you have some movie theater sized candy—I’m in hog heaven.
© What’s the perfect Valentine’s Day gift?
Mandy: Chocolate and other assorted sweet treats. Really, any type of food. I’m not picky.
© Did you ever think you’d found that perfect love? What happened?
Mandy: Once upon a time… What happened was…he was a man. Period.
© What are the ideal traits you’re looking for in a forever love?
Mandy: Loves to grocery shop. Prepare food. And do the dishes.
© What song title best describes your relationship track record: “Nothing but a Good Time,” “Turn Me Loose,” “Shot Through the Heart (You Give Love a Bad Name)”, “Money Talks/Material Girl”, “Looking for Love in All The Wrong Places”?
Mandy: I choose not to answer on the grounds that it may incriminate me. No, seriously…I’d like to choose “Hold on Loosely” by 38 Special.
© What do you find the most appealing about a committed relationship?
Mandy: Someone to talk to just before you go to sleep at the end of the day. That’s the lonliest time for me.
© Why are you still single?
Mandy: Too busy in school up to this point. Now, I’m just too busy trying to put food on the table.
© What type of man/woman are you instinctively drawn to?
Mandy: All the wrong kinds. And those with undesirable medical ailments.
© What’s an absolute deal breaker in a relationship?
Mandy: A man who wants a girl who eats daintily.
© What was your first opinion of each other?
Mandy: Who are we talking about here? Is this a trick question?
© What first attracted you to each other?
Mandy: His big muscles and bigger muscle car.
© What kept you from acting on that attraction?
Mandy: His big head.
© Who made the first move and what was it?
Mandy: Hard to say, but when he hoisted me onto the hood of his car—moves were limited.
© What would he/she have to change to make this relationship work?
Mandy: Probaby wouldn’t be that easy. We kind of have to start from scratch. And, speaking of from scratch, he could start by bringing me some homemade goodies.
© What would you be willing to change to make this relationship succeed?
Mandy: I tried changing my hair color already. Geez.
© What’s the best thing about the two of you together?
Mandy: We have history.
© What are you most looking forward to as a couple?
Mandy: Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Who said anything about being a couple here?
© What could stand in your way?
Mandy: Well, there’s that other really hot guy that has drifted into my life.
Kerri Nelson survived a fifteen year career in the legal field and then took her passion for crime solving to the page. But her journey to become a mystery author took a decade long detour into the world of romance where she penned twenty two novels and novellas in various sub-genres.
Born and raised a true southern belle, Kerri holds many useful secrets: how to bake a killer peach cobbler; how to charm suspects with proper batting of the eyelashes; and how to turn your parasol into a handy weapon.
Kerri is an active member of Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America which includes various volunteer positions such as Board Member at Large and Daphne Published Contest Category Coordinator of Kiss of Death RWA (Chapter for Romantic Suspense Authors).
Learn more about Kerri and her new Working Stiff Mystery Series, at her website: www.KerriNelson.com
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Kerri is giving away a gift bag full of goodies !!!