Lexi Graves Mysteries, Book 8
Copyright: Camilla Chafer
Published: August 2015
The right of Camilla Chafer to be identified as author of this Work has been asserted by her in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
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Lexi Graves Mysteries:
Armed & Fabulous
Who Glares Wins
Shock and Awesome
Weapons of Mass Distraction
Laugh or Death
Kissing in Action
Stella Mayweather Series (Urban Fantasy):
About the author
When private investigator, Lexi Graves, quit her job, she never thought working freelance would be so hard. Struggling to make a name for herself as a solo investigator, she’s intrigued when a wealthy, new client claims she’s being stalked and chooses Lexi as her last hope for help.
Without any evidence, the police don’t believe Juliet Hart is being victimized, and her boyfriend and best friend are also both skeptical. Yet, Juliet is convinced she is being watched and someone is playing tricks on her. Is she simply paranoid, or is there something more sinister at play?
Initially, the case appears easy: tail the client and find out if someone else is watching her too. Yet before Lexi can make serious headway, her client is arrested for a crime she claims she didn’t commit. Now Lexi’s case collides with her boyfriend’s, her ex-boss, Solomon, putting them on opposite teams.
The more evidence Lexi finds, the more convinced she becomes that her client’s stalker is not only very real, but has nefarious motives. Way in over her head, Lexi urgently needs to find out why her client is being stalked, and by whom, before it costs Juliet not only her freedom, but everything she values and holds dear.
"Well done! Another case successfully closed!" Lily raised her glass and clinked it against mine. Hers was a mocktini because she was six months pregnant. Mine was a cosmopolitan, the rim dusted with sugar. That was one of the perks for working in the back room of Lily's bar. As my best friend, sister-in-law, and most recently, landlord to my fledgling private investigations business, she had good reason to beam at my announcement that I closed a case.
"I wouldn't call it successful," I said, trying not to sound as low as I felt while sipping the cosmo.
"Did you close it?"
"Did you get paid?"
I looked at the check for three hundred dollars and my mood dropped even lower. "Yes."
"Then I call it successful!"
I closed the manila file on my desk and slid it into the card box that I nicknamed "the filing cabinet". The check was safely ensconced in my purse, ready to take to the bank, leaving my desk clear of everything, but our drinks. Sure, Lily was correct in all respects; I solved the case, I got paid, and my clients went away happy. The problem was: I wasn't satisfied. After successfully learning my trade at the Solomon Detective Agency, and working on cases that nabbed serial killers, fraudsters, and murderers, it was a huge step down for me. Now, I was just working the Mom-and-Pop cases, ever since starting up alone as Lexi Graves, Private Investigator. I missed my old job. I missed my colleagues, and I missed access to all the databases and technology I once had at my disposal. I probably could have asked to retain some access to those databases, but pride stood in my way. After insisting I could make it alone, that was what I was doing... albeit slowly. I probably could have even asked my old boss for my job back, but I wanted to see what our relationship was like when he was simply my boyfriend, and not my boss. Fact was, despite my job sucking, my relationship with him was great.
"You just had a thought about Solomon, didn't you?"
I blinked. "How did..."
"You smiled. Lexi, if you're not happy working solo, why don't you ask Solomon to hire you back? You know he would in a heartbeat."
"Uh-uh." I shook my head. "No way. I knew it would be tough starting up as a solo PI, but I can make it work. It's just going to take time. More time."
"Maybe you should advertise. You could get one of those big pictures on a bench!"
"So everyone can draw mustaches on my face?"
"C'mon! We don't do that stuff anymore!" Lily dropped her ink-stained fingers into her hand and looked up at the ceiling like it was the most fascinating thing ever.
"No," I replied firmly as I thought about the unnecessary drain advertising would inflict on my bank account. When I quit my job, I received a good severance package that I wasn't too proud to refuse; and I fattened my bank balance with a check from a freelance job I'd taken. I had to clear the name of a pretty popstar who got caught up in a blackmail and murder plot. Thanks to those two breaks, rather than my solo career, I managed to pay all my bills over the past few months, whereas my small cases merely helped out. "Plus, those kind of adverts are really expensive. I need a big case before I can go expensive."
"How are you going to get a big case?"
"That's the million dollar question."
Lily glanced towards the door. "Maybe one will just walk through the door." A knock sounded at the door and her mouth dropped open. "Wow! That was quick!"
I raised my eyebrows and gave her an incredulous look as I got up and walked over to answer the door. It was a small office so it didn't take long, about as long as my hope of earning a million bucks lasted.
A woman my height stood in the doorway, her hand raised, and ready to knock again. She was dressed in a navy, wrap dress with black pumps, and a trenchcoat was folded over her arm. Her bag was in the thousand dollar range and her manicure, like her haircut, looked new. Maybe, I was wrong, however. Maybe she wanted to fund my new life with a complex and pricey case.