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Authors: Jerilyn Dufresne

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2 Any Meat In That Soup?

BOOK: 2 Any Meat In That Soup?
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CONTENTS

Praise

Synopsis

Title Page

Dedication

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Acknowledgements

About the Author

Copyright Page

Praise for Jerilyn Dufresne and the
Sam Darling Mysteries

Dufresne has created a charming, nosy, and slightly irreverent character in Samantha Darling, the heroine in
Who Killed My Boss?
, a fast-paced cozy that takes place in the small town of Quincy, Illinois.

Beth Amos, author of the Mattie Winston Mystery series (as Annelise Ryan)

The plot kept me guessing until nearly the end and I am looking forward to reading further adventures! Fun and entertaining read…highly recommended…well done! 

Anne Kelleher, author of
A Once and Future Love
and
Wickham’s Folly

Dufresne shows her gift of storytelling as she moves the plot forward, introducing believable characters and a complicated plot. Recommended to everyone who enjoys a well-written, fun, cozy mystery!

Kimberly Shursen, author of
Itsy Bitsy Spider
and
Hush

And from Amazon reviewers:

…It’s like reading the old Nancy Drew books with others. Loved it very very much!

…This book was very well written and I loved all the humor sprinkled throughout the story. Characters were loveable, not to mention the dog. Great ending.


Sam Darling is the kind of gal you wish you could know in real life. Funny, quirky, entertaining. And her “partner,” Clancy the dog, helped make this book just plain fun to read. When’s the next one?! 

…Very exciting plot and hard to put down. Waiting for the next book to come out. I have told all my friends about how good the book was.

…I am one who figures out the guilty party before the author does. This time I was WRONG! Very enjoyable book, fast paced…Looking forward to the next one.

About

ANY MEAT IN THAT SOUP?

When a man falls down at Samantha Darling’s feet, she thinks it’s pretty funny. But she stops joking when he turns up dead. 

Social worker and would-be crime-solver Sam is busy trying to unravel the mystery as the death toll keeps mounting. She’s thrilled to be hired by the handsome local PI to work in the ER and investigate.
“I’m being paid to snoop! I’ve died and gone to heaven.”
Her elation quickly evaporates when she finds out that her sister Jen is being investigated for the murders.

A trio of other suspects, a poisoning scare for her best bud and canine companion Clancy, and the back-and-forth pull of Sam’s attraction to the dreamy Michael and the loyal George keep her unbalanced as she tries to juggle social work, secret sleuthing, and a romantic triangle.

As usual, Sam takes her snooping to extraordinary heights. She can’t seem to stop putting her nose where it doesn’t belong. And this time…she may have gone too far.

ANY MEAT IN THAT SOUP?

a Sam Darling mystery

Jerilyn Dufresne

To Rob Dufresne and Jill Dufresne Potrykus, the best kids (and adults) a mom could wish for.

ONE

H
e fell at my feet. Nice place for a man. Problem was, he was blue. Maybe dead.

It seemed like an eternity before a sea of color descended on him. One white coat checked for a pulse. A Mickey Mouse scrub suit listened for breath sounds. Someone in jeans and a sweater retrieved a gurney. Mickey Mouse put a finger in the man’s mouth, and swept it from side to side, looking for God-knows-what.

A green scrub suit said, “On my mark. One, two, three.” The sturdy group of four lifted my dinner companion and placed him on the stretcher.

My sister, Jenny—the guest of honor at this birthday party—orchestrated the procedure. As the nurse manager of the Emergency Department, she couldn’t enjoy the festivities while there were chests to be pounded.

My other sister, Jill—she was the one in jeans and sweater—joined her. Even though Jill was off duty today, she was an ER resident and couldn’t bear to sit and watch.

“Damn, Sam, when we tell ya to knock ’em dead, we don’t expect you to take it literally.”

“Shut up, Rob.” I said to my brother, the smart-ass cop. “He’s not dead. I saw him breathing.”

He grinned. He knew how to push my buttons. Too bad he was such a little cutie; I found it hard to stay mad at him.

After the hubbub subsided, the rest of us returned to the mundane task at hand. Eating the goodies.

A visitor might remark that we were eating in the midst of a crisis. Any one of us would reply, “Yeah. And…‌?” Crises were something we were used to.

I looked around. My brothers were being their usual selves, joking with each other and happily munching on chicken wings. Other Emergency Department employees and guests relaxed in the staff lounge as they also enjoyed the food. The small dark room was made more festive with Happy Birthday signs and crepe paper throughout. Danny Jacobsen and Connie Mumford were having a heated discussion about the importance of exercise to maintain good health, as Danny ate a pulled pork sandwich and Connie started on her second. As a paramedic and nurse respectively, their experience, both in the ER and with carry-ins, kept them calm during the crisis.

“Hey, you two. For a married couple, you sure argue a lot.” They both turned to look at me. “But it sounds like you were arguing the same point.” I smiled as I said it.

Connie replied, “We do that all the time. We think we’re disagreeing and then notice that we’re on the same side. Crazy.” She looked at Danny, her bright brown eyes practically disappearing because of her huge smile.

Danny didn’t say anything. Just grinned. He was a man of few words unless he was arguing with Connie.

I noticed a pale, thin guy sitting by himself in a corner. He wore a white shirt and pants, and it was hard to see where his skin ended and the fabric began. The guy would take a bite of food, and as he chewed, he kept looking from side to side and over his shoulder. He was attached to the corner and was mostly in shadow, so it wasn’t easy to see him. I moved closer to Connie and asked, “Who’s he?”

Connie replied, “Oh, that’s Carter. He was just laid off as an EMT, but he still stops by here every day.”

“I’m not one for talking about people,” I fibbed, “but he looks creepy.

“I agree,” she said, “but he worked here for several years. He’s harmless.”

At that point Jill returned, blonde ponytail pleasantly mussed, a confused look on her face.

“Who took my plate?”

“No one,” I replied. “It’s right where you left it. How’s my date?” I took another slurp of the vegetarian vegetable soup, which was almost the only thing in that room that didn’t stink of burnt flesh.

Jill’s brow furrowed, then relaxed again. “First of all, he’s not your date…”

I interrupted with, “Were we, or were we not, dining together?” Silence. “I think that constitutes a date.”

Jill ignored me as she started munching on the Buffalo wings again. “And secondly, he’ll be fine. We don’t know exactly what it is yet, but it doesn’t look serious. Heart looks okay, but his pulse is elevated, blood pressure is low, and he’s dehydrated. Smelled like alcohol. How lucky could someone get…‌passing out in an emergency room.” She smiled between bites. “They’re admitting him to run some tests. Dougie’s on duty.”

Dougie was Dr. Kareem Douglas Johnson. Short, dark and handsome. And young. A resident in the ER where his mom, Loretta, worked as a technician. He was a rising star, so I had no doubt he’d take good care of…”Hey, what’s the guy’s name anyway?”

Jill shook her head as she munched on another bite. “Dunno. He’s a homeless guy. One of our regulars. Says his name is ‘Pluto,’ so that’s what we call him. He was hanging around outside, so I invited him to join us for Jenny’s party. Gave him my plate and made another.” She smiled. “Looks like he wasn’t a vegetarian. He sure ate a lot of those wings before he keeled over.”

I looked at Rob again. “Can’t you quit licking your lips over those chicken wings? It’s practically making me ill.”

He made even more noise. “Just because you’re a vegetarian doesn’t mean that we carnivorous types can’t enjoy eating flesh.” He licked his lips again, but this time widened his eyes and chuckled a la Hannibal Lector.

“One of these days you’ll see I’m right. It’s a well know fact that people who eat meat get sick a lot more than vegetarians. And besides…”

Rob interrupted with a rather loud belch. “I don’t feel so good.”

I looked skyward and mouthed a silent, “Thank you, God,” but my sick sibling didn’t notice.

Jill quickly became a doctor again. “You want me to look you over?”

“Nope, think I’ll go home. Probably got a touch of the flu. I’ll be fine.” I knew Rob must feel really bad, because he didn’t make a wisecrack.

He exited, looking slightly green and holding his stomach.

I turned to Jill. “That sure happened fast. What do you think it is?”

“Probably just the flu. Lots of it going around. The ER’s been full of people who think they’re dying, but just have a stomach virus. Not much we can do for it. We just tell them to stay in bed, drink lots of fluids and to eat when they can.”

“Yeah, but they don’t seem to think that’s enough,” Jenny chimed in as she reclaimed her plate. “They’re feeling so rotten that they want antibiotics at the very least. And they’re disappointed when we say they need to rest and drink a lot of fluids.” She took another big chomp out of a chicken wing. “Gosh, most people left before we cut the cake. You guys want some?”

“Yeah, as long as there’s no meat in it.” They laughed at me but I didn’t react. Hell, the intense smell of chicken, pork, and beef in that small room was so overpowering it nearly grossed me out. But not enough to stop me from eating other stuff.

As Jen handed slices of cake to Jill and me, I asked again about Pluto. “So is the guy going to be okay?”

“Don’t know. I was going to wait a while and then call upstairs to check. If you have a few minutes, I’ll call now.”

I nodded, my mouth too full of cake to talk.

By this time the room had cleared except for Jill and me. Our other brothers left soon after Rob did, but not before making fun of him for taking off sick. Jill and I sat in companionable silence. Munching.

Jen returned, minus the grin. “Nurse in ICU told me that Pluto died just a few minutes after he was admitted.”

“What happened?” Jill looked up expectantly.

“Don’t know for sure. They might do an autopsy to find out what happened, but the nurse I talked to said he smelled like alcohol, so maybe that had something to do with it. Dougie’ll be down in a minute or so and we can ask him.”

“I don’t remember him smelling like booze when he was sitting by me, but the smell of this barbecued meat kind of kills my ability to smell anything else.”

“‘Shup’ about the meat.” Jen was the sibling closest to me in age. A year younger and normally a lot nicer than I was. Yet I wasn’t surprised at her “shut up.” The gang got tired of my carnivore comments.

I decided to ignore her retort. “Will the cops have to come to check out Pluto’s death?”

Jill and Jen both started talking at the same time, “Probably not.” “Maybe.”

They looked at each other and laughed. Jill continued, “It’s hard to say. This death will probably fall into the gray area. Since there was no sign of physical injury and no obvious cause of death, the police might feel they need to check it out. But we have lots of deaths that fall in the gray area, and they aren’t always investigated. Too bad Rob went home sick. He could’ve saved some other cop a trip.”

BOOK: 2 Any Meat In That Soup?
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