It’s the first Friday of the month. Time for another fiction installment. (Links for this and all Fiction Features can be found on the Freebies page.)
Today’s feature is a little different. Instead of a complete story, I’m going to present a deleted scene from my recently published novel, Mystery Heir.
Mystery Heir follows amateur sleuth Naomi Dotson and her twin sister as they try to find a killer. The police have a man in custody, but Naomi thinks they have the wrong person. Her obsession to see justice prevail compels her to continue the investigation, resulting in dangerous and potentially life-threatening consequences.
Without further ado, I give you:
A Deleted Scene from Mystery Heir
Naomi’s sister woke her and sent her to the living room. Normally, Penelope would have gotten rid of any visitor when her sister was trying to sleep off the stress of having been robbed, but this caller was different.
No one turns the mayor away.
Naomi stumbled to the living room, trying to rub the bleariness out of her eyes. It didn’t work, so she kept trying. Her eyes would definitely be puffy and bloodshot in the morning, but that wasn’t the important thing at the moment. Dealing with Everett was.
“What can I do for you, Mayor?”
“Mayor?” Everett said. “So we’re back to formalities? Come on, Naomi. Give me a break.”
She sighed, rubbed her eyes again. “Everett, why are you here?”
“I just heard about the break-in. I wanted to be sure you were okay.”
“If you heard about the break-in, then you had to have heard I was fine. What do you really want? Did the chief send you? Or Ryan? I’m not giving up on this. The cops have the wrong guy.”
“No, Chief Clark hasn’t said a word to me. I bumped into Deputy Ryan, and he told me about the break-in. He did say you were okay, but I needed to see for myself.”
She looked at him, her vision finally clearing. His brow was furrowed into wrinkles of worry, and his gaze never stopped roving over her, like he was taking a mental inventory of possible injury sites.
“No one was there when I got home. The only thing damaged is my apartment. Well, that and my ego. I should have expected this and been more prepared.”
He raised a brow and continued to scrutinize her.
“I’m fine. Really. Look.” She flailed around like the inflatable air dancers companies used to catch the attention of passersby. “No injuries.”
He laughed at her display. “I guess we don’t need to rent those balloon people for the next festival. I can just hire you.”
“You couldn’t afford me.” She yawned and took one more swipe at her eyes.
“I’d better get going then. Let you get some rest.”
“I’ll walk you out.” She led him to the door and stepped outside with him into the chill of the October air. The night was clear, the crescent moon forming a smiley face with some of the brighter stars in the sky. Despite her ordeal earlier that evening, she found herself smiling back.
The laugh that had so easily claimed Everett just moments before vanished. He grabbed both her shoulders and held her at arms’ length. “Are you sure you’re okay, Naomi?”
“Yes. I’m really okay.”
“I was worried.”
“You don’t have to worry about me. I can take care of myself.”
He pulled her closer, looked down at her face. Their breaths mingled, a misty cloud of potential evaporating into the night. Was he going to kiss her? Did she want him to? Her heart raced, her breath caught.
“Good night, Naomi,” he said, his voice husky.
He walked away before she could react, respond.
She could no longer see him, but she could hear his footsteps, a rhythmic cadence fading away.
“Go inside and lock up,” he called.
She went inside, closed and locked the door. Only then did she manage to whisper, “Good night, Everett.”