Without a Badge to Stand On… An #excerpt from SKIING IS MURDER
Enjoy this excerpt from Skiing is Murder:
WITHOUT A BADGE TO STAND ON
SARA WOULD RATHER SOLVE A murder than face another ski slope. Sean told her she did a terrific job yesterday, and her intact bones testified to the fact that she’d survived, but she wasn’t in any hurry to press her luck again. The truth was she’d mostly agreed to this trip for Sean. She didn’t hate skiing, but she didn’t love it, either. And she wished for Sean’s sake that the investigation hadn’t interfered with their vacation, but their stay could always be extended. Maybe she’d visit the resort’s spa while he hit the slopes. That actually sounded like a lovely idea.
As it was, she and Sean were still in their room. She was in front of the mirror applying a coat of mascara. While another cup of coffee was definitely on her list of things to do before going out in public, she was eager to get moving for the day. She had so many questions she wanted answered.
Like why was Dale Peterman so keen on having them investigate Adrian’s death, and why didn’t he trust the police with the matter? If he was hoping they’d rein in the news of Adrian’s death, he was wrong. That would be impossible. The news had probably hit thousands of blogs and social media sites already, if not actual news broadcasts.
“We need to call Mr. Peterman.” Sara paused with her arm in the air, the applicator mere inches from her lashes. “I think we need to call him first, find out his exact motivation for hiring us.” Her suggestion was met with silence, and she quickly finished applying her mascara and left the bathroom.
“Sean? Did you hear me?” She found him looking out the window again. Skiers were already dotting the mountain.
He slowly turned to her. “Sorry, my mind drifted.”
She tilted her head. “As soon as we get this wrapped up, you’ll go skiing. We can extend our stay.”
“What about the business? There will be more cases waiting for us back in Albany.”
“Yes, and they can wait.” She walked to him and put a hand on his shoulder. “It’s not too late to say no to this case.”
He took her hand in his. “We’re going to find out what happened to Adrian Blackwell.”
She peered into his eyes, and his resolve was clear. Maybe it had been her promise to extend their vacation, but seeing that Sean had changed his mind made her happy. She hated feeling like she had somehow destroyed his vacation.
“Why the change of heart?” she asked.
“I’ve just been thinking. I mean, you have this Olympic skiing champion who dies on a hill… It seems poetic in a macabre way. If he didn’t die from an accident, maybe the killer was trying to say something.”
“Do you think the killer was up on the hill with him when he died?”
He shrugged. “Without knowing more about how he died, I can only guess. But the rumor seems to be that he had an accident, so I’d guess he was alone. It doesn’t mean he wasn’t drugged or his equipment wasn’t tampered with.”
“We need to find out his cause of death,” she said.
“That would be a terrific start.”
“Do you think Detective Callahan would tell us?” Her question hung in the silence, but she sensed his response. It was in the way his eyes lit up and kept shooting to her lips and then back up to meet her gaze. “You want me to use what God gave me, don’t you?” It wouldn’t be the first time they used her looks to get information.
“It couldn’t hurt. Our PI licenses can still get us the databases for background checks, but otherwise…”
She sighed. “Why does this always happen to us?”
“You just want to flash that PI license, don’t you?” Sean laughed.
“Of course, and I don’t get to often enough. For every on-the-books case we take on, there are ones like this.”
“Dwell on the positive, darling. We can gather information legally on anyone we want.”
“I think we should have Helen start with Adrian Blackwell and Dale Peterman. Maybe we’ll find motivation for someone to kill Adrian.”
“I agree, and while Helen’s taking care of the background checks, we need to find out how Adrian died.”
“Well, no need to stand around here.” Sara tugged on Sean’s arm, leading him in the direction of the door. “I do remember you mentioning something about breakfast. We should probably grab a quick bite. I mean, especially if I’m going to use my looks to get in with Callahan.”
“Actually, darling.” Sean stopped. “I have an even better idea. Callahan probably won’t tell you any more, anyhow. Why should he? If we press him with questions, it will just put us on his radar. He’ll know we’re looking into things.”
“Good point, but how are we going to find Adrian’s cause of death?” She scanned his eyes and had the answer.
They spoke at the same time.
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