For Old Crime's Sake (Chase Charley Mystery Book 1)

BOOK: For Old Crime's Sake (Chase Charley Mystery Book 1)
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For Old Crime’s Sake

Rose Pressey

TV investigative reporter Chase Charley is tired of probing small assignments. A routine investigation leads to something major when she stumbles on what she believes is murder. Rival reporter Bill Dangerfield is interested in the case too. Chase doesn’t need him getting in the way of her solving this mystery.

Marc Marquez the rookie police officer offers to help Chase, but she doesn't know how deep the New Orleans Police force are involved in the criminal activity. Chase is positive she witnessed a cop disposing of a corpse.

Voodoo, intrigue, dirty secrets, and the temptation of two gorgeous men won’t stop Chase from scooping this hot report.

"Rose Pressey’s book are fun!” Janet Evanovich

Praise for Me and My Ghoulfriends by Rose Pressey

 

“Rose Pressey spins a delightful tale with misfits and romance that makes me cheer loudly.”

Coffee Time Romance

 

“Her characters are alive and full of quick witted charm and will make you laugh. The plot twists keep you turning the pages non-stop.”

ParaNormalRomance

 

“I absolutely loved this book! It had me chuckling from the beginning.”

Fallen Angel Reviews

 

Rose Pressey’s Complete Bookshelf (click title to preview/buy)

Coming December 2014: For Old Crime’s Sake

Haunted Vintage Series

Book 1 – If You’ve Got It, Haunt It

Book 2 – All Dressed Up and No Place to Haunt (July 2015)

Book 3 – Haunt Couture and Ghosts Galore (December 2015)

 

Maggie, P.I. Mystery Series:

Book 1 –
Crime Wave

Book 2 –
Murder is a Beach

 

The Halloween LaVeau Series:

Book 1 –
Forever Charmed

Book 2 –
Charmed Again

Book 3 –
Third Time’s a Charm

Book 4 – Charmed, I’m Sure

 

The Hadley Wilds Series:

Book 1: Dead Girl’s Guide to Style

 

The Rylie Cruz Series:
Book 1 –
How to Date a Werewolf
Book 2 –
How to Date a Vampire
Book 3 –
How to Date a Demon

 

The Larue Donovan Series:
Book 1 –
Me and My Ghoulfriends
Book 2 –
Ghouls Night Out
Book 3 –
The Ghoul Next Door

 

The Mystic Café Series:
Book 1 –
No Shoes, No Shirt, No Spells
Book 2 –
Pies and Potions

Book 3 — Coming 2015

The Veronica Mason Series:
Book 1 –
Rock ‘n’ Roll is Undead

 

A Trash to Treasure Crafting Mystery:
Book 1 –
Murder at Honeysuckle Hotel

Book 2 – Honeysuckle Homicide

 

The Haunted Renovation Mystery Series:
Book 1 –
Flip that Haunted House
Book 2 –
The Haunted Fixer Upper

 

All rig
hts reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form, (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, incidents, places, and brands are the product of the author’s imagination and not to be construed as real. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners. 

Dedication

This is to you and you know who you are. 

Acknowledgements

To my son, who brings me joy every single day and is the love of my life. To my mother, who introduced me to the love of books. To my husband, who encourages me and always has faith in me. A huge thank you to my editor, Eleanor Boyall. And to the readers who make writing fun. 

 

Chapter One

 

I’d been staking out the mansion for several minutes, but based on the darkened windows and lack of movement, there would be no party tonight. Too bad because I’d dressed up in my best red dress. I’d even spent extra time on my hair. That was a big deal considering I usually just pulled my hair back with a barrette.

The historic building had once been a boarding house, but it had been turned into a multi-million-dollar home several years ago. Shifting on the leather seat of my restored red 1984 Porsche 944 convertible, I tapped my fingers against the steering wheel. A Hall and Oates song spilled from the car’s speakers.

Since I’d been born in the Eighties, I’d developed a passion for the decade. Don’t worry, ‘totally’ and ‘rad’ weren’t part of my everyday vocabulary. The big hairstyles were cringeworthy, but I loved the music, movies, and most of the fashion—minus the legwarmers.

I turned down the volume and listened instead to the sound of passing traffic. My patience had all but disappeared. A carton of Rocky Road ice cream and a steamy romance novel was calling my name.

Tall brick walls surrounded the courtyard in front of the mansion. In the middle of the space a stone fountain bubbled. A couple magnolia trees popped up from inside the walls. Through the gate I spotted a moss-covered cherub statue that looked as if it had been there since the building had been built in the mid-eighteen hundreds. Streetlights shone nearby, casting a spooky white glow over the area, but it was still hard to see most of the details.

I’d gotten a tip from one of my sources that a big party was taking place here tonight. So much for that so-called reliable source. I’d been investigating the local police department, where a select few officers were clocking in overtime, but not putting in the hours. This was having a major effect on the police department budget. I’d gotten an anonymous tip, and I still didn’t know who had given me this information. It wasn’t my job to find that out though. My job was to get to the bottom of this discrepancy.

I had my own segment on WDSO-TV.
Troubleshooter for the Big Easy
was my title, although I had competition. Our rival channel WSTU had hired a new guy for troubleshooting and my boss thought he was doing such a great job that our segment was in danger.

Of course I’d told my boss there was nothing to worry about. Mostly I investigated shady businesses around the Big Easy, but this case was a little more in-depth.

This television gig was good, but I felt my talents weren’t being utilized to their full potential. My boss thought otherwise. I held out hope that one day I would prove him wrong. Today just might be that day.

Coincidentally, a sign for our station with a photo of all the news anchors was on the nearby bus stop. The photo appeared with my name Chase Charley listed underneath. It didn’t show the highlights in my dark hair or the specks of green in my hazel eyes, but overall it wasn’t a horrible picture. I’d taken much worse. At least it didn’t look like my driver’s license photo. A fly had decided to buzz my head just as the woman had snapped the picture. There were no do-overs at the Office of Motor Vehicles.

I was on Jackson Avenue at the edge of the Garden District. Hardly any people strolled down the sidewalk, only a middle-aged couple holding hands. Their conversation carried across the muggy mid-August air, but I couldn’t make out what was said. Fewer people roamed the sidewalks here compared to Bourbon Street. For a fleeting moment, I thought I smelled jasmine as opposed to the liquor tinge of the French Quarter. A damp heat covered the city like a heavy blanket.

My hand was on the ignition when I spotted something peculiar. Across the street, a dark-haired man wearing dark clothing stepped out from the shadows. He struggled to carry a large bundle of something in his arms. The thing must have weighed a ton because it was more like he dragged the item. It looked like a body wrapped in a blanket.

Taking my hand off the key, I watched the man. Being nosy was part of my job.

He lowered the body to the ground and looked around. It must have been my lucky night because he didn’t notice me. The man opened the trunk and then hoisted the body into the black Lincoln. After a little rearranging of the object so that it fit into the space, he lowered the lid down, but didn’t shut the trunk all the way. Was he bringing out another body?

After scanning the surroundings again, the man sprinted back toward the house. This was my opportunity to do real investigative work. If there was a body in that trunk, I could break this story wide open. Okay, I didn’t know there was a story, but it wasn’t every day I saw a man dump what looked like a wrapped up corpse into his trunk.

I climbed out of the car, peered around the darkened area, and then sprinted across the street toward the Lincoln. My shoes clicked against the pavement in rhythm with my beating heart.

When I reached the Lincoln, I paused, unsure of what to do next. Did I have the nerve to actually look in the trunk? If I didn’t at least take a quick peek, I could kiss the investigative reporter job goodbye. I inhaled and then released my deep breath. With a shaky hand, I grabbed the lid and shoved it open. As I reached down to whatever was hidden in that blanket, someone yelled.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” the man screamed.

I yanked my hand away from the trunk as if I’d just touched a hot stove. The dark-haired man who had dumped the body ran toward me. The snarl on his face was anything but friendly.

In one swift movement, he grabbed my arm. “Are you trying to steal something?”

“No. Let go of me.” I jerked my arm from his grasp.

Without giving him a chance to stuff me into the trunk too, I dashed toward my convertible. I fumbled with the door handle for what seemed like an eternity before getting it open.

I took one last look back at the man. His gaze was focused on me. He stepped off the curb and was headed my way when another man approached him. Now was definitely the time for me to get out of there. I wondered what they were discussing. There was no way that I’d ever find out.

I yanked my car door all the way open. Thank goodness I had pepper spray on my key chain. If the two men decided to come over, I would not hesitate to use it. Wielding pepper spray with ease was one of my better skills.

My hand was still on the car door when someone grabbed my shoulder.

Without even thinking, I spun around and doused my attacker with the pepper spray. He screamed out in pain. For good measure I gave him a swift kick in the leg as he fell to the ground. I hadn’t taken self-defense classes for nothing. I didn’t want to end up in the trunk of a car. This jerk would be sorry he ever messed with me.

Now that I had him on the ground and crying like a baby, I needed to get out of there. I couldn’t help one last smirk though. It was for my own satisfaction in knowing I’d taken down this jerk.

The man on the ground was holding his hands to his eyes and moaning. Every few seconds he would reach for his leg in the spot where I’d kicked him. Yeah, that was definitely going to leave a nasty bruise.

He moaned again and then said, “Will you please get water for my eyes?”

“Fat chance, buddy. I’m not falling for your lame trick. You expect me to feel sorry for you? I got some more pepper spray for you. How would you like that?” I waved the container in his direction.

He was lucky that I hadn’t kicked him again. If he tried to get up I would. 

As the man rolled on the ground and I prepared to leave, he moved his hands and I recognized his handsome face. Even as he suffered in pain his presence was even more compelling up close.

He wasn’t a stranger to me. No, we’d had several encounters over the past couple years. I tried to avoid him as much as possible though. It wasn’t a surprise that he would grab me like some kind of deranged lunatic. As a matter of fact, I was almost certain he
was
a deranged lunatic. Never mind that he had a not so subtle aura that drew the glance of every female.

Bill Dangerfield worked at WSTU and was my direct competition. That was the main reason I tried to avoid him at all costs. He was a solid, six-foot-three hunk of a man. Chiseled features, high cheekbones, and sparkling blue eyes. Short blond hair and a perfect smile. Yes, he was that good-looking. Usually I saw Dangerfield wearing a suit and tie on television. Tonight he wore jeans and a chocolate-colored T-shirt that fit his athletic body in all the right places.

The second reason I avoided Dangerfield was because he was convinced that he was the most charming man on the planet. I was determined to prove him otherwise. Proving him wrong wasn’t hard. In fact, it was stunts like this that made it completely easy for me.

“Why did you do that?” he managed.

I looked over to see if the men were still there, but they were gone. Great. Now I had no idea where they were. They could be watching us for all I knew.

“I did that because you grabbed me from behind. It’s a darkened street and I am all alone. What do you expect?” At least I’d finally taken my finger off the pepper spray’s trigger.

“I’m not a predator.” 

I grabbed a towel from my gym bag in the back of the car. Fortunately for Dangerfield, I hadn’t been to the gym in a couple weeks and the towel was still clean. “Here,” I said, handing him the towel. “Are you okay?”

Dangerfield pushed to his feet and wiped his face. “I’ll be fine, although I may need a cast for my leg.” He rubbed the injured spot.

“That’s what you get for attacking me.”

“That wasn’t an attack. I merely wanted your attention.” He wiped his face again. 

“I politely disagree,” I said through gritted teeth.

His blond hair wasn’t perfectly in place anymore. It was a little mussed, but some might consider that sexy. 

“At least you can take care of yourself, I guess,” he said with a pained smile.

I wondered how long the burn from the spray would last. Even through his pain he still had that million-dollar smile that he flashed for the camera every night.

“Why are you here?” I asked.

I couldn’t help but look over to where the two men had been standing. Dangerfield followed my gaze.

I narrowed my eyes. “You were here for the same reason as me, weren’t you?”

That made me madder than ever. I had almost felt guilty for spraying his face and kicking him, but not anymore.

“What did you see?” Dangerfield asked.

I waved my hands. “I can’t share that information.”

“It looked as if he had a body in the trunk, right?”

I did not want to get involved with Dangerfield, but I did want to know what he had seen. He had a way of sucking people into his world.

I released a deep breath. “Yes, I saw something in the trunk. Where were you?” I asked, looking around.

Dangerfield rubbed his face again. “I have ways to hide. Here’s your towel back.”

I took the towel from his hands. “I have my ways too.”

“If you’re referring to hiding, then you may want to reevaluate those tactics, because I saw you plain as day. It’s like you had a spotlight focused on you.”

I glared at him. “You are not amusing.”

“I’m a little amusing. You have to admit I have my moments.”

See how he sucked me in? I had better change the topic before it was too late.

“What do you think was going on?” I asked.

Dangerfield ran his hand through his disheveled hair. “I don’t know exactly, but it didn’t seem on the up and up.”

“You think? The man had a body in his trunk. I’d say that wasn’t on the up and up.”

“We don’t know for sure that it was a body.” Dangerfield leaned against my car.

I pushed his arm off, feeling his muscles underneath his shirt. “I know it was a body. What else could it have been?”

He wiped dirt from his pants. “A sack of laundry?”

I wasn’t even going to discuss this with him anymore. He probably just wanted me to tell him what I knew. Of course I knew nothing, but it would be fun to make him think that I had a ton of information. Okay, maybe I would discuss it with him a little more. If I asked enough questions he may tell me what he knew.

“No way was it a sack of laundry,” I said.

Dangerfield studied my face. “What do you know? Are you keeping secrets?”

“Are
you
keeping secrets?” I eyed him suspiciously.

“You’re not telling me everything you know.”

I’d make him think that I really did have important information.

“I’ll just keep this information to myself.” I grinned.

He smiled in return and I knew he was amused with me.

I slid behind the wheel of my car and then closed the door. Dangerfield leaned down and rested his arms against my car door. Underneath the pepper spray I smelled him—that masculine scent, whatever it was. Something spicy. Maybe soap or aftershave. It was intoxicating. I forced the thought from my mind.

I studied his face. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

He nodded and grinned. “I’ll be fine.”

“Do you need a ride somewhere?” I motioned toward my car.

BOOK: For Old Crime's Sake (Chase Charley Mystery Book 1)
6.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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