A mystery novel, now in paperback, as well as kindle at Amazon.
I am thrilled to tell you about my new paperback book now available on kindle at Amazon. This prequel introduces two of the main characters and gives you a glimpse of the changes about to take place in their lives. The mystery that follows will leave you on the edge of your `seat.
Prequel to Charade
Amid the noise, the ringing phone could hardly be heard. “Hey, Pearson, it’s for you. It’s your sweetie,” the voice announced loudly through the fifth floor of the college dorm. Someone else pounded on the door. “Don’t tie up the phone. I’m waiting for a call,“ a voice blared outside his room.
“I don’t want to talk right now…cramming for the ancient history final.” Marsh stuck his head out of his door. “Tell her I’m tied up and can’t come to the phone.” He was bleary eyed with a pallor that said he was past tired. Usually considered a ‘hunk’, he was not up to his usually handsome image. Weary, almost beyond recognition, but giving it all he had.
“Tell her yourself. I’m not your messenger boy, and hurry up.….third time this week. She’s soon gonna write you off as a no show.” A fist rattled his door.
Marsh came out of his cluttered room, standing in the chilly hall in his underwear, clenching his fists, disgust on his face. The phone dangled beside the box on a wall that was riddled with messages and numbers, written in desperation by well intentioned classmates.
Mash reluctantly picked up the receiver, glad the college had not yet gone to coed dorms, like some of the ones in other states. His underwear was frayed in several places.
“Yeah,” he blared into to the mouthpiece. He was having a bad day and he was wondering which, ‘sweetie’ was bothering him this time, since he tried taking a break for final exams.
”Who is this?”
“You mean, which sweetie?” her sarcasm carried through the wall..
He finally recognized the voice as the cute little blond he had gone out with several times.. “You know these guys, always joking. Told you I had to study tonight.” He knew she was still mad by the tone of her voice. She expected him to drop everything, whenever she called.
“Well, this can’t wait. I want to see you now. It’s pretty important,” her voice had taken on the petulant little girl act she used to get her way.
“Look Barb, I have to pass this exam. It’s a final. It’s the last one for the semester. Damn it. What’s so important this time?”
“All I can say is that you’ll be so sorry if you don’t show up. I mean it. Five minutes and you better be there.” The loud bang in his ear left no doubt in his mind. Trouble was brewing..
She was waiting at their usual meeting place near the campus bookstore, half way between their dorms. The campus light gave half circle to the nearby bench.
“Well, I’m here. What ‘s so important that will be worth me flunking out?” He was in no mood for her tantrums.
She offered her cheek for his kiss, instead of her lips.
“What have I done this time?” He pulled her closer.
“It’s what we have done, Marsh…you and me,” Tears spilled down her cheeks.
“Well, tell me. I’ve got to go study.” They sank to the bench and she cuddled up to him.
“Not now, Barb. You know what I’m up against. I can’t afford to flunk out. It’s the end of the year. I an afford to take an extra semester.”
She blurted, “I’m late. I know I’m pregnant. This changes everything for both of us. I have to tell Daddy. He’ll be furious.” She stared up at him. “Don’t you get it? Don’t sit there with your mouth hanging open. Say something. There isn’t going to be an exam tomorrow or any other day. When Daddy finds out, you are going to have to make things right.”
Marsh drew back on the bench and closed his eyes. “What do you mean?”
“You are going to marry me, Marsh. End of discussion. End of school. End of everything.”
“Wait, wait, wait. I know other guys who said….I’ve heard about …How do you know it’s me? I know I was drunk one night but…?”
“Those guys are all lying. You know how they love to brag. I never…I’m sure it’s you. No getting out of this. Tomorrow I have to face Daddy. I want to be able to tell him you will do the right thing and marry me.”
“Barb, I only have a year to go and then I can teach……how can I…? You know I’m in here by the skin of my teeth.”
“I’m sure Daddy will give you a job in his company…….I’ll be waiting for you after your exam, though It really doesn’t matter if you pass, does it?”
“It matters to me.” He sat on the bench long after she left. Finally he walked slowly back to the now quiet dorm. Knowing he would be unable to sleep in spite of his exhaustion. He spent the next few hours cramming for ancient history, which is how he thought of himself.
CHARADE opens to a time twenty years later. Those two main characters are unhappily married, their discord affects family and friends, leading to a murder, and a mysterious disappearance. Give it a whirl. Can you solve the mystery as you read??