Excerpt from upcoming Permanently Deleted

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“Mike was found dead Monday morning,” Juliet said.

Dusty was silent for a moment. Her face crumpled and she began to cry. “I lied. I know Mike. He’s my…he was my boyfriend. I thought his wife sent you to threaten me again.” Mascara tears tracked a crooked line down her cheeks.

“I’m sorry. Did you say Mike’s wife threatened you?” Juliet asked. “When was this?”

Dusty sniffled and wiped her nose with the back of her hand. “Saturday night. She climbed up on the stage and screamed at me right in the middle of my routine. She was crazy mad.”

“Did you know he was married? I mean, you can’t blame Nellie for being angry. You were having an affair with her husband,” I said. I hope this woman didn’t expect us to feel sorry for her.

“Not at first, but I figured it out soon enough. By that time, I was in love.” She shrugged her shoulders. “A girl wants what a girl wants. Now he’s gone.” She dropped her face into her hands and sobbed.

“Waz going on here?” A large man with a dull green t-shirt that failed to cover his ample belly slurred as he stumbled his way to our table. “Why…why you crying, Dusty? These folks botherin’ you?” He swayed back and forth.

“Hey, buddy, we’re having a private conversation with Dusty,” Wade said. “You can talk to her in a few minutes.”

“Do I know you?” He squinted at Wade and tried to focus. “Ima friend of Dusty and you’re making her cry, buddy.” He poked at Wade with his sausage fingers, but somehow managed to push the wheelchair away and lost his balance. He stumbled, caught himself and fell backwards against me. He tried to steady himself by grabbing my chair but grabbed my chest instead.

“Get your grubby paws off of me!” I yelled.

He gave me a sloppy grin showing off his missing front teeth. “No need to get angry, baby doll. Why don’t you give me a lap dance and I’ll forgive you for makin’ my friend cry?” He hiccupped and squeezed.

“Why don’t you go take a flying leap off a short cliff! And get your hand off my boob!” I picked up my purse and swung it hard. It hit the drunk on the side of the head. He dropped to the ground like a sack of potatoes.

“You killed Daryl! Bruce! Call the police! She killed Daryl!” Dusty screamed. “She killed Mike and now she’s killed Daryl! Police!”

“What? No! Wait! I didn’t kill anybody!” I jumped up to leave.

“You aren’t going anywhere,” Bruce said. “Sit down. The law’s coming.”

Fifteen minutes later, Clint and Lu walked into the bar. I cringed and sunk down into my chair. Juliet, however, waved at them and motioned them over.

“Lu. Clint. What brings you to this fine establishment?” Juliet asked. She turned her big blue eyes heavenward. If I didn’t know better, I would have sworn she was as innocent as a newborn baby.

“Cut the crap, Juls,” Clint said. “We had a call that a man was assaulted by two women and a man in a wheelchair. Imagine my surprise when the description that came across the radio sounded exactly like my girlfriend.” He turned to me. “Phee, what the hell are you doing in this dive and why are you assaulting people?”

Daryl was sitting at the bar and had a grungy bar towel filled with ice on his head. When he realized the law had arrived, he stumbled his way over to us. “Occifer. I want you to arres…arrest this woman for assaultin’ me.” He hiccupped and sat down.

“It wasn’t assault!” I protested. “It was self-defense. He grabbed the girls and wouldn’t let go! I only hit him with my bag to make him go away. He was so drunk it knocked him over.”

Clint hefted my bag. He flipped it open and pulled out two books. Two thick hardcover books. Oops. He clicked the mike on his shoulder. “Tina, Officer Gifford and I are on scene. Looks like we got an armed and dangerous librarian. Her books are deadly.”


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