Monday, September 24, 2018

RELEASE DAY! FOUNDATIONS, FUNNY BUSINESS & MURDER (A Stacie Maroni Mystery) by Christa Nardi


The best of intentions shouldn't include murder. 

An HR specialist and trauma counselor, Stacie is on the board of a fledgling non-profit foundation set up to benefit victims of domestic violence. After a slashed tire, attempted break in, and a murder, Stacie isn’t buying coincidental bad karma. Someone wants her off the board - at any cost. Her fancy surveillance equipment, impressive alarm system, and a ferocious Maltese dog offer only so much protection. Enter Kevin McNair, a smooth talker with piercing blue eyes. Can she trust him with her heart or her life?

Read an excerpt:

For me, the whole point of yoga was to clear my head. As I exited the Yoga Pod, I looked up at the sky and exhaled another cleansing breath. I was lost in the moment a man barreled into me. The next thing I knew I was on my butt.
What?”  I looked up and saw a tall man, with an athletic build, black hair, and piercing blue eyes.
“I’m sorry. So sorry.” He extended his hands and easily pulled me up, gym bag and all. “Are you alright?”
I nodded.
“I don’t usually tackle beautiful women.” He scanned the street, and with a cryptic “Another time, another place,” he ran off.
As if I would know what he was running from or to, I looked up and down the street. Nothing jumped out at me. My cell phone buzzed and I groaned.
“Good morning, Senator.”
“Good morning, Stacie. We have a situation here, and I’ve called a meeting of the Foundation for this evening, six sharp.”
So much for my fleeting experience of a clear head. “What kind of situation?”
“I don’t want to discuss it on the phone or with each member of the Board individually. Be here at 6 o’clock and you’ll find out with the others.” 
He disconnected. Nothing I could do about it. I tried for another cleansing breath.
The Theodore Noth Foundation was funded by my deceased husband’s life insurance policy. The half-million dollars created the foundation to prevent and address domestic violence, one of Ted’s and my passions. Senator William Langford was designated to head up the foundation. He’d pioneered a bill on domestic violence and worked with the NFL and other groups to address the rising concerns.
I walked to my car, parked a block away from the Yoga Pod, and groaned. All the stretches and cleansing breaths weren’t going to fix the flat tire. Opting for the positive spin, that made for three downers, so I figured I’d be good for a while.
I called the auto club and walked over to the Starbucks for a Skinny Mocha while I waited. A quick glance at my watch and I placed a call to the office to let Rosie know I had car trouble and would likely be late to work.
Drinking my coffee, I thought about the Senator’s call. The board consisted of a myriad of people, including some with deep pockets who, like Ted, were entrepreneurial and could embrace the cause because it cut close to home. Someone I’d yet to meet represented the sports industry and Langford’s connections to the NFL. At the other extreme, the grass roots contingent included the first responders for medical services and police, victims and survivors of domestic violence, and others who worked with the victims, including me.
So far all we’d accomplished was reviewing Ted’s requests and instructions, including the stakeholders he wanted represented on the board. Langford or his staff drafted a constitution and bylaws for the Foundation. Legal counsel had been retained and an administrative assistant was hired to serve as a combined secretary and treasurer. I’d yet to see a final list of the board members. The last communication surrounded a draft announcement for potential grants directed at service and education. How could there be an “emergency” at this point? 
My reverie was cut short when the tow truck from the auto club arrived. I joined the mechanic as he examined the tire and shook his head.
“You the owner?”
I nodded and handed him my auto club card.
“You call the police yet?”
“Excuse me. Why would I call the police for a flat tire? I probably drove over a nail or something.”
“No, ma’am. This tire has been slashed. You need to make that call. And pop the trunk so I can get out your spare. You have one, right?”
“Yes, ma’am.” He glanced at the phone in my hand and must have noticed I was in “contacts” as he offered, “Police is 9-1-1. Then you can call whoever else.”
I’d actually considered calling a specific policeman. I decided the mechanic’s idea was better though and placed the call. With my luck, Rick Murdock would be the responding officer. We’d dated a few times and I liked Rick. Under different circumstances, it might have worked out. I just wasn’t ready for serious and he was. I hadn’t heard from him since I said the dreaded “Let’s be friends.”
The mechanic, “Gordon” from the name on his shirt, pointed to the trunk. I opened it for him and groaned. Upon seeing the contents, he rolled his eyes. He was nice enough to help me move everything to the back seat. We’d found the jack and spare when the cruiser pulled up. I released the breath I was holding when Officer Marina Napoli got out, Officer Tim Reardon behind her.
“Hi, Stacie. What’s the problem?”
“I came back to my car and had a flat. Gordon here says the tire’s been slashed.”
“Okay. Reardon, can you check and see if that’s been a problem around here lately?” She turned back to me as Reardon walked to the front of my car. Pointing to my coffee cup, Marina asked, “Did you happen to see anyone from the Starbucks?”
I shook my head. “Starbucks came after I called the auto club. I was at the Yoga Pod around the corner.”
Reardon joined us and cleared his throat. “No other reports. The sergeant said it was still early. He’ll keep us posted if any more reports come in.”
With Gordon’s help, Reardon took a picture of the slash for the report, while Marina took down the information. Both Gordon and I signed the report, then Gordon got the tire changed.
“Hold on to that tire if you can, just in case something comes up. We’ll probably never find out who did this. No cameras and no one called it in if they witnessed it.”
Marina shrugged and turned to leave.  She turned around and added, “Remember Officer Flatt? He’s retiring the end of the month. The Brick on Friday if you and your friends are interested.”
“Thanks, Marina. Maybe I’ll see you there.”
Gordon stared for a minute, his mouth open. Recovering, he handed me his clipboard to sign. I hoped that was the last of my excitement for the day. If only.

Excerpt from Foundations, Funny Business & Murder. Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.

Buy Links (Only $0.99 until 9/29, then $3.99):

Prestige, Privilege & Murder

Foundations, Funny Business & Murder

No comments:

Post a Comment