Read Bike Week Blues Online

Authors: Mary Clay

Tags: #caper, #cozy, #daffodils, #divorced women, #humor fiction, #mystery, #mystery humor, #southern humor, #womens fiction

Bike Week Blues

BOOK: Bike Week Blues
11.11Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
Praise for Mary Clay’s
DAFFODILS* Mysteries

*Divorced And Finally Free
Of Deceitful, Insensitive, Licentious Scum

Witty and hilarious...”

Midwest Book Review

... a crisp pace with plenty of humor

Romantic Times BookClub

The Ya Ya Sisterhood
The First Wives Club
. A cleverly
done light mystery that’s a rare find ...”

The Examiner (Beaumont, Texas)

The Turtle Mound Murder is light and
accentuated with the familiar mannerisms of Southern women. ... A
fun book.”

Southern Halifax Magazine

Bike Week Blues is one of the funniest
capers this reviewer has had the privilege of reading.”

Harriet Klausner, #1 Reviewer,

Sometimes we just need something fun to
read. The DAFFODILS Mysteries fit the bill.”

The DeLand-Deltona Beacon

* * *

written as
Mary Clay

The Turtle Mound Murder

Bike Week Blues

Murder is the Pits

New Age Fiction
written by
Linda Tuck-Jenkins aka Mary Clay

Starpeople: The Sirian Redemption

* * *


*Divorced And Finally Free Of Deceitful,

Insensitive, Licentious

Bike Week Blues
Mary Clay
An IF Mystery

An Imprint of Inspirational Fiction

New Smyrna Beach, Florida

All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may
be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, graphic,
electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording,
taping or by any information storage or retrieval system, without
permission in writing from the publisher.

Published by IF Mystery, an imprint of
Inspirational Fiction

P. O. Box 2509

New Smyrna Beach, FL 32170-2509

Cover Design: Peri Poloni,

Quotations from
The Book of Answers
Carol Bolt reprinted by permission of Hyperion. Copyright 1999
Carol Bolt

This is a work of fiction. All places, names,
characters and incidents are either invented or used fictitiously.
The events described are purely imaginary.

Smashwords Edition

ePub ISBN 978-0-9710429-1-9

Copyright © 2009 Linda Tuck-Jenkins

* * *

Chapter 1

Duck—a bombing

Penny Sue’s screech pierced me like a
dagger. I yelped and bolted from my chair, sloshing coffee down the
front of my robe.

“Cover your drink!”

I turned slowly to face Penny Sue, my terry
cloth robe steaming in the cool morning air. She stood in the
doorway of the beachfront condo, staring up at a V-formation of
pelicans flying south from their feeding grounds at Ponce Inlet.
Locals dubbed the birds B-52s for their annoying habit of gorging
on fish parts at northern marinas, then lazily sailing down the
coast ... relieving themselves willy-nilly. No doubt, the birds
were the inspiration for the Predator drones the CIA used to hone
in on terrorists with missiles and smart bombs. Nothing was safe
from the pelicans’ foul, fishy projectiles. Penny Sue discovered as
much back in college. A group from the sorority was on the deck,
where I now stood dripping coffee, when pelicans passed overhead.
Bamm! A big splat on Penny Sue’s head that slopped into her wine;
hence, the dictum: “Cover your drink!”

Dabbing at the Colombian droplet on my chin,
I stared at Penny Sue. “Cover my drink?” I motioned to the stain on
my robe. “It’s a little late for that. Geez, Penny Sue, I was
meditating. You scared me to death.”

She pursed her lips. “I know that. You had
your head tilted back and your eyes closed. Why do you think I said
something? If I hadn’t been here, you might have gotten a nasty
load right in the face.”

“What in the world is going on?” Ruthie,
wearing nothing but a bath towel and a look of fright, appeared in
the doorway.

“A bombing run,” Penny Sue replied over her
shoulder. “If I hadn’t said something, Leigh would have gotten it
right in the kisser.” She brushed past Ruthie to the kitchen and
returned with a roll of paper towels. She handed me a wad and
ripped off a long strip that she dropped on the deck and patted
with her toes. “You didn’t burn yourself, did you?” she asked

My ire dissolved. It was hard to stay mad at
a slightly chubby, middle-aged woman dressed in a pink silk kimono,
whose hair looked like it had been chewed by a dog. “No harm done;
the robe will wash. You startled me—that’s all.”

Besides, the condo belonged to Penny Sue’s
father, Judge Warren Parker, who’d graciously allowed me to use it
after my house in Roswell, Georgia sold as a part of my divorce
settlement. I’d been in Florida for a little over four months,
gathering my wits and will to start life anew. New Smyrna Beach had
turned out to be the perfect prescription for a trampled ego and
broken heart. Of course, the stay got off to a rousing start when
Penny Sue, Ruthie, and I were stalked, threatened, and kidnapped by
an assortment of undesirables. Something like that puts your life
in perspective. A two-timing husband seems trivial when you’re
stumbling over dead bodies.

Though I’d made new friends and found a part
time job at the Marine Conservation Center, I was delighted to see
my sorority sisters again. There’s a certain comfort in being with
old friends. You don’t have to explain, sugar coat, or make excuses
because you’ve been through most of the bad times together and love
each other in spite of warts and blemishes. Not that any of us had
real warts—a few zits, maybe, but certainly no crusty, virus laden
skin eruptions.

Like the old joke about
opause, most of our troubles over the years involved
men. Besides being college sorority sisters, Penny Sue Parker,
Ruthie Nichols, and I—Rebecca Leigh Stratton—had one thing in
common—we were all divorced. I was the newest member of our small,
but growing, group called the DAFFODILS (Divorced And Finally Free
Of Deceitful, Insensitive, Licentious Scum).

Ruthie’s split came early—her ex was a
two-timing, heartless cardiologist. Penny Sue’d been around the
altar three times. Her first husband, Andy, was the well built, but
dumb, captain of the football team. Her second, Sydney, was rich,
artistic, and bisexual. The bisexual part didn’t sit well with
Judge Parker, who took that divorce very personally. Penny Sue is
quite wealthy today as a result of the huge settlement she got from
that parting. Her last, Winston, was the judge’s choice. Daddy
orchestrated that pairing, convinced Penny Sue didn’t know a good
man when she saw one. Apparently, Judge Daddy didn’t, either. It
was the judge himself who caught Winston in a compromising position
with a legal assistant. Winston doesn’t practice law in Georgia

Despite her dismal track record, Penny Sue
was always on the prowl for her
soul mate
, one of the
reasons my friends had driven down from Atlanta two days earlier.
Though Ruthie was in town to celebrate her birthday as well as
attend a conference on Ayurveda, an ancient healing system from
India, Penny Sue’s motives, aside from the birthday, were romantic.
Her newest love, Richard Wheeler, was a motorcycle enthusiast who’d
come for Bike Week. He was staying at the Riverview Hotel, an
ironic twist—and long story—considering our last visit. Naturally,
Penny Sue had recommended the Riverview to Rich because it was
close to our condo. After our last visit, she could also drive
there blindfolded.

I had to say that this man looked promising.
Recently widowed—his wife passed from cancer—Rich was a
good-looking, gentle guy who seemed to genuinely care about Penny
Sue. He also appeared fairly normal, in stark contrast to Penny
Sue’s prior loves, which is why I gave this relationship a chance.
Though Penny Sue usually equated normal to average, emphatically
“I am not normal!”
(God’s truth), an ordinary
person was actually what she needed. According to Ruthie, our
metaphysical expert, Penny Sue’s Leo penchant for drama and the
limelight meant stormy relationships with men whose egos were
similarly inclined—the exact type she usually went after. A
challenge thing, I suppose. But, this romance did, indeed, appear
to be a match made in heaven. Penny Sue and Rich had been
inseparable for the last two days, when she’d left early and come
home late with smudged lipstick and a smile so wide her gums

“Let me buy you another cup of coffee,”
Penny Sue said, a clear peace offering. Grinning, she nudged me
with her elbow. “Watch this.” She squinched her toes and lifted the
paper towels she’d use to blot up the coffee spill. “Prehensile
toes,” she said smugly.

Like a monkey
, I thought wryly. “I’ll
bet your blood is Rh positive.”

Penny Sue wadded the paper into a ball.
“Yeah. What does that have to do with anything?”

I motioned to her toes. “Rh stands for
rhesus monkey.”

Still standing in the doorway half-naked,
Ruthie choked down a chortle.

Penny Sue curled her lip at me and huffed
inside, stopping abruptly when she reached our friend. “What in the
world is that smell?” She looked Ruthie up and down.

Ruthie backed away, pulling her bath towel
tighter. “Sesame seed oil. Massaging with sesame oil is one of the
best ways to balance the humors—you know, Pita, Vatta, and

Penny Sue leaned forward and took another
whiff. “Honey, I think your pita patta’s outa whack-a.”

“Not pita patta. Pita, Vatta. Come on, Penny
Sue, this is serious. Ayurveda is an ancient science that dates
back over 6000 years. Almost everyone would benefit from a sesame
oil massage. The modern lifestyle, with fast travel, television,
junk food, and computers all tend to cause a Vatta imbalance.”

Penny Sue made a face. “If everyone smelled
like that, we’d all have bad humors.” She dashed behind the kitchen
counter to avoid a swipe from Ruthie.

“You wash it off, silly. Which, I would have
done, if you hadn’t caused such a ruckus. I almost had a heart
attack. The last time I heard Leigh scream like that, she’d tripped
over a body.”

Penny Sue hung her head with mock
contrition. “You’re right; I’d forgotten about that. Anyway, I was
only kidding. Deepak Chopra recommends sesame oil massages, and you
know how much I like him. Take your shower, and I’ll make bagels
with cream cheese and Jalapeño jelly. How’s that?” A devilish grin
stretched her lips. “Or, I could squeegee you off and do a stir

It took everything I had to keep a straight

Ruthie shook her finger at Penny Sue.
“You’re awful. See if I help when you get sick. I won’t lift a
finger.” She turned on her heel and headed for the shower.

I went to the bedroom to change out of my
soggy robe. When I returned, I found a steaming cup of coffee and
bagel waiting for me on the kitchen counter. I hopped on the stool
and sipped the brew, watching Penny Sue smear cream cheese on more
bagels. “What time did you get in?” I asked casually.

“Late,” she said without looking up. I
couldn’t help but notice her chest heave in a satisfied sigh.

“I take it that things are going well with

Penny Sue stopped what she was doing and
smiled broadly. “He’s the one, Leigh.” Ruthie joined us at that
moment. Penny Sue gave her a cup of coffee and set the plate of
bagels on the counter. “Three husbands, lots of boyfriends, yet
I’ve never met a man quite like Rich. He’s kind and gentle and
strong, but vulnerable.”

Vulnerable. Penny Sue’d always had a weak
spot for the underdog. In college she was constantly bringing stray
cats, injured dogs, and troubled men back to the sorority

“How did you meet him?” I asked.

“Ruthie was with me the first time. We were
having dinner at that new restaurant on Roswell Square. Rich was
sitting alone at a table by the wall. He seemed so troubled, I
couldn’t take my eyes off him.”

The fact that Rich was handsome in a rugged
way, no doubt helped. He was about six feet tall, brown hair, with
very green eyes. I’m sure Penny Sue’s radar locked on him

She canted her head at Ruthie. “Our waitress
told us he’d recently lost his wife and ate there a lot, always
alone.” She tittered. “Naturally, I started having dinner there
more often. We eventually struck up a conversation and a friendship
developed. Rich really loved his wife. Her death was quite a

“How long has it been?” Ruthie asked.

“Over a year, I gather.”

BOOK: Bike Week Blues
11.11Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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