C. L. Kraemer
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1
Buy at: www.roguephoenixpress.com
As she turned her phone on, it immediately began to ring. Alexa sighed, checked the time-11:30-and answered. Not soon enough her time would be her own.
"Ms. Bond? Are you still on the property? This is Cyndi Palmer, and I really need to speak with you. Can you spare a moment? I promise it won’t take long."
Something about the note of desperation in Cyndi’s voice touched Alexa.
"Okay, but I’ve got a noon meeting with the mayor pro tem, and I can’t miss it."
She turned and walked back into the spa’s lobby. A piercing scream rent the air. Alexa’s skin prickled in goose bumps. She stepped aside of the uniformed employees running in the direction of the Vitamin Verandah. Spotting Cyndi Palmer, her normally tanned face ashen, Alexa raised an eyebrow. Behind Cyndi was the spa’s assistant manager, Marilyn, who strolled to Alexa’s side.
"I’ll bet it’s just Vonnie Spencer trying to get her session for free. That woman is a menace. She’s badmouthed and scared every employee here except the head masseuse. He’s so stoic even she can’t ruffle his feathers. Why don’t you wait here? I’m sure this will take only a moment." Marilyn winked, her bright, green eyes twinkling as she strolled in the direction of the current crisis.
Alexa watched as Cyndi dashed past Marilyn nearly knocking her over in the process and instructed the receptionist to call 911. She picked the microphone up and flipped the switch.
"Ladies. I’m sorry but we’ve had an emergency arise. I’d like to ask all of you to please dress and come to the lobby. I’ll explain in more detail when everyone is out front. Your appointments today are courtesy of the spa. Thank you." Returning the microphone to the desktop, head in hands, Cyndi faced the wall mural located behind the reception desk of a serene Tahitian beach.
Alexa moved to her side. "Cyndi? Is there anything I can do to help?"
Sighing deeply, the tall, elegantly muscled, tanned spa manager offered a lopsided smile.
"No, Ms. Bond. I’m afraid you’re going to miss your meeting. When my appointment secretary went to notify Ms. Spencer it was time for her Swedish sauna, well, she, she found her…dead."
Alexa felt the blood drain from her face. "Dead? Are you sure?" She shook her head. "I’m sorry. That was a stupid question. Why is it necessary for me to stay?"
Cyndi pulled in a deep, centering breath.
"I’m sure the police are going to want to know who was where and what they were doing for the last hour. At least that’s the way they do it on TV. Ms. Spencer had an appointment for Vitamin Invigoration about the time you were set up for your massage.
"I requested you come back because I wanted to ask you about an item that is going to be put before a city council vote, but I think my hands are going to be full for a while.
"I’m so sorry. I think this is the one time I’ll allow everyone to use their cellphones inside. Have a seat. It looks as though it’s going to be a long afternoon."