Read No Such Thing as a Secret: A Brandy Alexander Mystery (No Such Thing As...A Brandy Alexander Mystery) Online

Authors: Shelly Fredman

Tags: #Romance, #Mystery, #amateur sleuth, #Evanovich, #Plum, #Philadelphia, #Brandy Alexander, #funny, #Fredman

No Such Thing as a Secret: A Brandy Alexander Mystery (No Such Thing As...A Brandy Alexander Mystery)

BOOK: No Such Thing as a Secret: A Brandy Alexander Mystery (No Such Thing As...A Brandy Alexander Mystery)
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The Brandy Alexander Mystery Series
No Such Thing As A Secret
No Such Thing As A Good Blind Date
No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
No Such Thing
As A Secret
A Brandy Alexander Mystery
by
Shelly Fredman
 

This book is a work of fiction. People, places, events, and situations are the product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or historical events, is purely coincidental.

© 2008 Shelly Fredman. All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the author.

Printed in the United States of America

Bloomington, Indiana

This book is printed on acid-free paper.

For Rosebud and The Ace

 
CONTENTS
 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
 

This book could not have been written without the support of the following people:

Marty Schatz—
my friend and editor. Thank you for countless hours of consultation, commiseration and coffee.
“Marty, we need an adventure!”

Corey Rose Fetzer
—the sweetest kid on Earth, who went without meals so that her mother could hole up in her bedroom and write, and, who rescued said mother, every time she had a computer-illiterate moment.

Franny Fredman
—my mom and, coincidentally, my biggest cheerleader!

Dudley Fetzer
—whose unconditional love and support, good humor and infinite patience are a constant source of strength to me.
To our long and happy life together!

Special Thanks to:

 

Judith Kristen
—a wonderfully talented author, who so generously shared her knowledge and resources with me.

And to:

 

Susan Jaye, Dana Pupkin, Meyera Robbins, Julie Sayres, Sandi Sherman, Amanda Silver
and
Debbie Swartz—
Thank you all for taking the time to preview my book. Your input, enthusiasm and encouragement were so appreciated.

CHAPTER ONE
 

M
y name is Brandy Alexander. Swear to God. I wish I were kidding, but I’m not. What were my parents thinking? Apparently, that naming me after a cocktail
and
a porn star would somehow enhance my life. They’ve always wanted the very best for their little girl. My mother remains fascinated with the cleverness of attaching Brandy to Alexander, “which co-incidentally is our last name,” as if I could have somehow missed that bit of family trivia. I love my parents despite their oddness. Or maybe because of it.

I thought about this as I wended my way through the Philadelphia Airport terminal, trailing bits of silver foil from the two hundred Hershey Kisses I’d consumed during my five-hour flight out of L.A. I’m what you’d call a reluctant traveler and chocolate calms my nerves. It also clears up acne, prevents colds and builds strong bones, so I eat as much as I want and feel really good about it.

Even at six in the morning the airport teemed with activity. I’d taken a night flight—the only way I could fly nonstop. I’d been awake the entire time, just in case the pilot needed me for some reason. Although the bag of corn nuts they’d provided midway over Tulsa
really
filled me up, I was still hungry. I stood in the middle of the food court, debating the merits of eating a cheese steak at the crack of dawn and decided it was a good thing. Then I hopped in line behind a woman with a gigantic ass and rethought my decision. The woman was holding the hand of a sleepy three year old with very wet pants.

“Didn’t Mommy say, ‘Go potty’ before we left the plane?” she harped in a voice that could cut glass.

“A bit late for that, eh?” I thought I’d muttered under my breath, but apparently not.

She whipped around and shot me a dirty look before turning back to her kid, who was, by now, standing knee deep in urine. I guess the no sleep thing was really catching up to me, because that yellow puddle just cracked me up.

I was still laughing as a familiar voice called out to me. “Yo, doll face.” My friend, Johnny Marchiano, all five feet, three inches of him came striding forward dressed in fashionably autumnal rust and gold. He wrapped his skinny arms around me for a surprisingly strong hug and then stood back and eyed me critically.

“You go out in public lookin’ like this?”

I glanced down at my jeans and “travel sweatshirt” feeling slightly ashamed. “Is that any way to greet your best friend? I haven’t seen you in forever. Tell me I look amazing.”

“You look amazing,” he said, rolling his eyes. Johnny and I are the same age—twenty- eight, but he was born an Alter Kocker, that’s “old geezer” in Yiddish. I picked up my carry-on bag and swung it over my shoulder.

“So, what are you doing here? I thought Paulie was going to pick me up.” Paul is my brother. He’s two years older, tons nicer and infinitely better looking.

“We drew straws,” said John. “I lost. I mean won!”

“You love me,” I said, throwing an arm around him. “You couldn’t wait to see me. Admit it.” I kissed him, big, wet and sloppy on his thin cheek.

“Eeewww!” he grumbled, wiping his face on his designer sleeve. Smiling, I headed for baggage claim.

It was definitely weird being back. I hadn’t set foot on east coast soil since the day I boarded the plane for Los Angeles, over four years ago. I’d left the South Philadelphia neighborhood I’d grown up in, heartbroken and disillusioned after the demise of an intense, ten-year relationship, determined to put time and distance between me and the source of my pain. I missed my friends and family like crazy, but they made their yearly pilgrimage to southern California, and we’d meet sometimes in Vegas or Florida. Last year my parents retired, bought a condo in Boca and now spend winters there.

I work for a local news station in L.A. I’m the hard hitting reporter who brings you up to date coverage on “How to Turn Your Bedroom into a ‘Boudoir,’”or “Ten Things You Should Know About Termites.” My grad school journalism professor would be so proud. It’s a stupid job but it pays well, and it’s as close to investigative reporting as I’ve gotten, thus far. Anyway, it was a terrific excuse for not coming back to visit. It usually worked. But not this time.

The voice on the other end of the line meant business. “I’m gettin’ married.”
The voice belonged to Franny Di Angelo, one half of the hell raising DiAngelo twins, my best girlfriends from the neighborhood. She informed me of her plans in her typical, no nonsense way.
“No, you don’t know him…He’s okay…yeah, I love him…you gotta come in for the wedding, you’re in it, and I’m not takin’ no for an answer…don’t give me any shit, I’m your best friend…”
So, that was that. She really didn’t have to say it. I wouldn’t have let anything scare me away from Franny’s wedding, not even a six foot one inch cop with a crap load of heartache and my name written all over it.

“So, how’re ya doing?” John asked, knowing me only too well.

“Fine. No problem,” I lied and he let me.

“Well, you look great, apart from that whole ‘anti-fashion statement’ thing you’ve got going on.”

“Thanks, I think.” I was going to make up something about seeing Brad Pitt in a restaurant wearing white after Labor Day, when suddenly John stopped walking and grabbed me by the arm.

“Listen,” he said, sidling closer to me. “Don’t look now, but see that guy over by the water fountain—the one in the tan jacket?”

Oh, goody, we’re going to play “Celebrity Look Alike!”
I studied the man for a nano second. “Okay, I’ve got it. Wayne Knight.”

“Who?”

“You know, Newman, from Seinfeld. Hellooo.” I nudged John, who hissed back at me.

“First of all, he doesn’t even come close to looking like Newman and secondly, we’re not playing Celebrity Look Alike.”

“We’re not?” I asked, disappointed.
Some homecoming.

“No. I think that guy has been following me.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. I noticed him down in the parking lot.”

“Maybe he thinks you’re cute. Maybe he likes you.”

“Shut uh- up!” Johnny shoved me, two handed, palms flat against my shoulders, but I could tell he was flattered.

“So what do you want to do about it?” I asked, my nosy nature starting to take over. “We could reverse the tail, start following him around.”

“Okay, settle down there, Harriet the Spy. We’re not even sure he’s following me.”

“Settle down? You’re the one who brought it up in the first place.” We would have spent the next fifteen minutes arguing about it, as was our way, when the point became moot. The little soggy pantsed kid from the airplane ran headlong into the guy’s arms, followed by the woman with the big butt. A happy family reunion ensued. John cast a nervous glance around and shrugged.

“What’s going on, John?”

“Whatdya mean?”

“Well, you seem on edge, and—oh, here’s the luggage carousel,” I interrupted myself, my ADHD kicking in.

I stationed myself next to a burly guy wearing a Philadelphia Eagles ski cap. He looked like he lifted cars for a living, so I figured he’d come in handy when my suitcases came around. I was planning on a two-week stay, which naturally meant I’d packed enough for two months.

Twenty minutes later I tossed the last of my suitcases onto the floor.

“Can you
believe
that guy standing next to me? Asked me if I’d mind grabbing his eighty-pound duffel bag. Said he had a bad back. Bad back my—John?”
Where’d he go?

I found him just outside the sliding glass doors, hovering over a sleeping homeless man who was blanketed in old newspapers. John carefully lifted the newspaper off the man’s head, folded it neatly and tucked it under his arm. He then reached into his pocket, took out his ever- present Purelle and scrubbed his hands.

“John, if you wanted a newspaper that badly I’d have given you the quarter.”

“Very funny. And FYI they’re fifty cents now.”

“What is going on with you? You’re acting so weird.” The homeless man shifted in his sleep.

“Not here,” John whispered dramatically, sweeping the area with his eyes. He looked so silly I wanted to laugh but somehow felt he’d be hurt. Instead, I handed him three of my six bags and said, “Lead the way.”

Once outside the terminal, John put down the bags, opened up the newspaper and pointed.

“Okay,” I said, scanning the article, “I agree public transportation is an important issue, but do I really have to be kept abreast of it now?”

“Not that—
that
!” He stabbed his index finger at the headshot of a young man who looked to be in his late twenties.

“Who is he?” I asked.

“You mean, who
was
he.” The light changed and we made our way across the street, towards the parking lot.

“I don’t understand,” I said, shifting the weight of my bags from one hand to the other.

“What happened to him?”

“His name was Konner Novack. He was killed, four nights ago. Or more accurately, murdered.”

“Ooh.” I shuddered. “I’m sorry. But what does that have to do with you? Did you know him?”

“In a manner of speaking.”

“You mean you—”

“No! Does he look like my type?
Please!
The man had
sideburns!”

“Okay, so how did you know him?”

John did another slow scan and turned back to me. “I’m really not supposed to talk about this to anyone.”

“Says who?”

“The police. I’m sort of working with them.” He announced this last bit of information almost proudly.

“You know you’re dying to tell me,” I said, which was all the prompting it took.

“Alright, so here’s the thing. Last Saturday night I went to my friend, Daniel’s thirtieth birthday party. It was held at this pretty outrageous gay club downtown. Daniel asked me to take pictures for his party.” John is an incredible portrait photographer. He used to work for a studio but recently began freelancing.

BOOK: No Such Thing as a Secret: A Brandy Alexander Mystery (No Such Thing As...A Brandy Alexander Mystery)
12.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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