I hope everyone had a great weekend!
I'm starting out the week, introducing readers to author Jacqueline Vick, and her VERY FUN novella, Special Delivery.
When someone strangles the life out of cantankerous postal employee Abigail Watts, Deanna Wilder is certain that an odd phrase uttered by the victim on the day of her death holds the key to solving Abigail’s murder. Unfortunately for her daughters, Roxanne and Vanessa, Deanna turns the investigation into a family affair.
This 9,500 word novella introduces The Wilder Women, the sleuthing family featured in the upcoming novel, "Family Matters". A sneak peek at the first chapter of the novel is included at the end of the novella.
Just prior to the scene in today's excerpt, Deanna Wilder is enrolled in yet another class at WACKED (The Wilton Adult Center for Knowledge and Education). This time it’s Doing Vegas in Style. She’s set up a weekly Texas Hold-em game to help her practice for the final, and the players include obnoxious postal clerk Abigail Watts. Deanna puts up with her snide comments in order to practice against the best player in town. This particular Monday evening, Abigail is a no-show.
AND NOW, AN EXCERPT FROM Special Delivery by Jacqueline Vick:
Deanna Wilder nudged her daughter, Vanessa, with a sharp elbow to the rib-cage. “Stop squirming.”
Vanessa glared at the grandfather clock and said, “You promised I’d be home in time for NCIS. If we start playing now, we have time for a couple of hands.”
“It’s summer. It’s a re-run, for goodness sake.”
Ida Nichols, Deanna’s sister-in-law, shuffled a deck of cards with the skill of a Vegas dealer. “Young people aren’t the only ones with lives. Maybe we should call her again.”
“Yes. Maybe we should.” The woman who so readily agreed with Ida was her fraternal twin, Mabel. Mabel entered the world twenty minutes after her sister and was left to scrounge up whatever attributes Ida had seen fit to leave behind. Mabel stood two inches shorter than her twin, was less striking in appearance and manner, and lacked a mind of her own.
“Abigail didn’t pick up the last three times I called,” Deanna said. “What makes you think four is the magic number?”
“Who cares if she plays?” Vanessa chewed a hangnail on her thumb. “Why can’t we start without her?”
“She’s a good player to practice against,” Deanna admitted. “In fact, I wanted to replace her, but I can’t think of anyone as good. I might have to put up with her for a few more weeks.”
“I’m good.” Ida fanned her cards out and swept them up in one fluid move.
“You have a tell,” Deanna said. “You snort when you have a good hand.”
Roxanne, Deanna’s youngest daughter, had until now suffered the evening in silence. She set down her poker chips and said, “Since you won’t start without Abigail, I’m driving over to her house to see what’s keeping her.”
As the evening’s hostess, Deanna opted to remain behind in case Abigail showed up. She convinced Ida and Mabel to stay, primarily because she couldn’t trust the twins to return.
“I’m going with,” Vanessa said.
The drive across town took ten minutes, ten minutes filled with Vanessa’s complaints about her wasted evening.
“Just because Mother thinks I don’t have a life….” Vanessa fingered her curls. “Well, if I don’t, it’s her fault. Every time she takes a class, I wind up as her guinea pig. Today it’s poker. You watch. Tomorrow it will be mind reading and I won’t have any secrets left.”
“I don’t know why you bother to argue,” Roxanne said. “I just agree with her and do what I want.”
“Then why are you spending Monday night running around town looking for some old hag?”
“You mean instead of learning the finer points of military investigations from Mark Harmon?” Roxanne referred to the handsome star of NCIS.
She turned the Chrysler New Yorker into the driveway of Fourteen Harmony Drive and left the car idling. The windows of the house were dark.
“We probably just missed her.” She instructed Vanessa to wait and then ran up to the front door.
Roxanne might have knocked harder than she intended because the door creaked open after the first hit. She leaned her head in. “Abigail?”
The car headlamps cast a dim light over the living room, and Roxanne could see the outline of a large lump in the middle of the rug. She felt along the entry wall for a switch.
Blazing light filled the room and exaggerated the purple, bloated features of Abigail Watts. Her large arms were thrown over her head; the hem of her housedress rested in a position to expose the varicose veins threading up her plump thighs. Perhaps the worst element of the scene was a sickeningly sweet odor that hung over the room.
Vanessa appeared at Roxanne’s side. “What’s taking so long?” she asked. Then her eyes followed to where Roxanne pointed.
“I’m going to miss my show, aren’t I?”
Jacqueline Vick has been published in Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine, FIDO Friendly Magazine, Every Day Fiction Anthology Two, and various ezines. Her e-novella “The Groom’s Cake” is available through Wicked Ink Press. The e-novellas “Special Delivery” and “The Mystery of the White Revelation” are an introduction to the characters who inhabit the novels Family Matters and The Body Guy, which will be available in 2011. You can learn more about Jacqeline and her books at www.JacquelineVick.com and at her blog JacquelineVickAuthor.blogspot.com
Other books by Jacqueline Vick: