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Author’s Note

Her quest for the truth pits her against errant husbands, a modern-day madam with a taste for blood, a horny landlady, a vicious attack dog,& the lies she tells herself.

Several readers have mentioned in reviews and in emails that parts of this book seemed “far-fetched.” The examples they gave were, ironically, events I took from my own life. I actually did do some amateur private investigations, and did want to be a P.I. I used events and experiences from that time in this book, and in fact, it was that set of experiences that inspired the idea for this story.It just goes to illustrate, once again, what i said in a blog about this (Stranger Fiction, Reviews & Truthiness) –that we all have our own sets of experiences, and just because we haven’t known something to be true, doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t. It’s often difficult to suspend the disbelief of the reader, when you don’t know what every reader believes. A Quote from that blog:First, an opinion isn’t always a fact.

Second, you can’t please everyone.

And third, and most importantly, (and with the most paradoxical irony), this concept: I may have failed to do the best job on a book, if I didn’t make the fiction seem like truth, even if the truth seemed like fiction. Truth is, as the adage goes, stranger than fiction, and thus, when it appears, it is perceived as lacking credibility, even though FICTION is, by definition, NOT TRUE. So there will always be readers who lament the lack of credibility in some aspect of fiction, when many times the depiction is accurate, it just doesn’t SEEM accurate.

So therefore, we, as fiction writers have to be careful to be credible and realistic, while lying our collective asses off. Are you following this?
(Where is my medication?)

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“Simply put, this book was one of the best reads I’ve had in a while. The phrase, “I couldn’t put it down” has lost its significance due to over use, but I’ll say that I couldn’t wait to get into bed at night and get my Baeli fix before falling asleep.

This book was a blessing and a curse. -A blessing because it was so satisfying, but a curse because I was sad for it to end. So…I read it once, went back and read “Armchair Detective” again and then read it again. It is a sequel to “Armchair Detective, but it could be read as a stand-alone. I would recommend reading “Armchair Detective” because the character development in that first book really helps cement the reader’s understanding of Jobeth and Phoebe’s remarkable relationship.

The book is written in both the first person and the objective third person. Baeli moves deftly between the two conventions. Jobeth’s (and everyone for that matter) sense of humor is both smart and funny and she is a charming lead character. The author writes wonderful dialog that is keen, witty and original.” ~Vix Reader

“Damn good. A treat to read. It was touching; suspenseful; joyful; and most of all, hilarious. There is no one character I like more than another (except the ‘evil’ people; and they got there’s. hehehe). Thank you, Kelli Jae Baeli, for such endearing entertainment.” ~billw, on Amazon

“I loved Jobeth, Phoebe and Ginger from Armchair Detective and to have them back again is a true pleasure. Izzy has joined the three other women and her character has fit right in with the others. They all interact so well together and play an essential part in furthering the story.

I don’t want to add any spoilers in here, but suffice it say that the story is a rollercoaster ride of twists and turns throughout. There are so many ups and downs, the book is a real page turner from start to finish.”

There is a mixture of humor, gut wrenching terror and emotional heartbreak amongst the action and romance. If anything, this story is even better than the first one. Both books are standalone, but I would strongly advise reading Armchair Detective first. It gives more of the characters background. Plus you would be missing out on another good book if you don’t.” ~Telstar, on Amazon


 

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EXCERPT

 

 

 

I had the prepaid cell phone on the seat beside me. Huxley had provided that so he could keep in touch with me, and in case I had some emergency and needed to call him. It was a source of embarrassment for me that I didn’t have something as fundamental as a cell phone, but Huxley seemed to understand, and displayed no judgment on it. Until now, I saw little reason to have one. Who would I call? I kept to myself and didn’t have any real friends here.

Next to the cell phone, lay the .45 caliber Ruger SP-101. The gun was not for shooting anyone, necessarily, but for self-defense, or leverage to get out of any sticky situation that might arise. I wasn’t afraid of guns; I was quite good at handling them and hitting targets. I used to have a bumper sticker that read, Guns don’t kill people, People kill people. I hoped that no people would kill other people tonight.Yawning and stretching for the umpteenth time, I frowned down into the too-expensive cardboard cup with the well-known logo. The too-expensive coffee that had been in it was now cold.I grunted into the dark liquid, rolling down the window to catch some air. Though balmy, as if August wasn’t sure it wanted to be September, a cool breeze periodically felt like Freon on my skin; something I was not used to in the pre-air conditioning era of the Falcon.I sucked on my eCig, and watched the wind catch a wayward cheeseburger wrapper and propel it through the parking garage as I worked at the knot in my neck.What was taking so long? Were we being stood-up? Stacey’s goons might be toying with us. So this could all be for nothing. Or something could already be going awry, and that hundred bucks would seem less and less equitable.

I could see that surveillance work was tedious. Anyone who would sit in a parked car for hours and drink expensive coffee, waiting for something that might never happen, was not in it for the excitement. That wasn’t the reason I wanted to take up the investigative vocation; though inexperienced, I did understand there was little glamor to be had, here. Hopefully not just the coffee. But the events of my near-past segued naturally into the job. I needed a source of income, and couldn’t risk doing anything I’d done before. Presumably, I was on my way to something that might release me from the tethers of the past. Still, it was my first case, and I felt a little naked.I checked the layout in my head against the one in front of me. Second level, row C. I could see row A, near the elevator, about 50 yards in front of me and to my left. So where the hell is—

Just then, Huxley’s black Mercury Sable pulled into Row A and parked. Somewhere in the parking deck, I heard an engine start, and faint music playing, and soon, a silver Toyota 4Runner was moving toward Huxley’s car. Ah, the delivery boy. The SUV backed into the space beside the Sable. Its driver probably wanted to be able to make a quick exit if things got dicey.

I dropped my eCig in the seat, and slid down, peeking over the dash at the blond man who leaned over to open the passenger door. Huxley got out, carrying the bank bag of cash, and got in, closing the door. I heard the music get louder when the door was open, and knew the guy must have kept his radio on in case Huxley intended to record anything.

Using my binoculars, I got a good look at him. He wiped at his upper lip, his attention scampering around the garage, and I ducked when his gaze came my direction.

It was too dark for him to see me, as I’d been careful to stay away from the lights that were mounted at infrequent intervals on concrete pillars and crossbeams. And I had taken a moment to stand on the roof of the Falcon and unscrew the light above the crossbeam over me. Still, I didn’t want to take any chances on this case for the same reason I parked my butt and read reference manuals for hours on end. The pain was worth the gain. Maybe.

While I waited, I had an idea. Truly inspired. I removed the overhead bulb inside the Falcon and then my hand darted for the handle. I bumped my coffee in its holder on the door. The brown liquid splashed onto the top of my left Doc Marten, and ran into my sock. “Shit,” I growled, kneeing the door open quietly, and stepping out. Pushing the door closed firmly, I headed for the 4Runner in a crouch, periodically shaking my sodden foot in an effort to drain the spill. The glow from the lamps moved over me, bright, then dim, as I traveled between the cars, my attention momentarily snagged by the `66 Galaxie, waiting in all its antiquity for my adoring eyes as I passed by. I toyed with the image of the car with a new paint-job and some bodywork. The general population didn’t appreciate the value of these sturdy old behemoths; probably because they’ve never realized the true potential of a large back seat.

I ducked lower to travel the expanse of the concrete wall behind the Toyota 4Runner, until I reached a spot directly behind it. Careful to time it so that I couldn’t be seen in the rearview, I hurdled the concrete wall and crept over to the passenger side tire, taking out the tire gauge. Placing the pin on the valve stem, I liberating the tire of its air. I knew he wouldn’t hear it closed up in that SUV with the radio on.

Then I hurried back down to the bottom of the ramp and crossed over, and up the other side, hiding behind a concrete pillar, watching, and waiting.

Momentarily, Huxley got out, carrying a manila envelope, got in his Sable, and drove out of the garage.

The blond man began to pull away too, but paused as he felt the flat tire. He put the 4Runner in park and got out, looking at the tires on his side, and then headed for the other side. Finding the flat, he cursed loudly, and retrieved the keys to open the hatch. As he moved to the rear of the vehicle, I got out and shuffled toward the SUV, my head down below the cars. Thankfully, he had left the driver’s door open. When he opened the hatch and peered in, I dashed over, leaned inside the cab and snatched the green zippered bank bag. Pretty easy so far.

And it would have been the perfect ruse. But I have always had a strange intolerance for certain colognes, and I could smell the pungent odor of his, in the cab of the Toyota. In the inexplicable way that luck has a way of turning, I sensed a tickle in my nose, and before I could think about it, I sneezed.

The blond man’s head popped out from behind the hatch, and our eyes met, his darting to the bank bag I held, and back up to my, no doubt, stunned expression.

I launched into full-throttle retreat, first heading for the Falcon, but the last thing I needed was for him to be able to identify the car I was driving, and besides, I wouldn’t have had time to get in and drive away before he caught me. He was tall with long legs. Instead, I headed for the lower ramp, but he had jumped the wall and was running parallel to me, attempting to cut me off at the pass.

Turning to check his location, I didn’t see the car fender until I rammed my knee into it. Cursing, I jerked away at the popping sound, freezing for a nanosecond, then scanning to my right and behind me at the hole in the side of the Oldsmobile. “Holy shit!”

Looking back at him running up the incline, I saw that he held a pistol in front of him, and was firing as he ran. Several more shots whizzed past me.

Recognizing the need to put something between me and that flying lead, I vaulted to the hood of the Olds’ in true Rockfordesque style, and rolled over, falling off the other side, landing hard upon the pavement near the front tire, the smell of oil assaulting my nose. A searing pain shot through my side, and with great chagrin I felt the re-injury of my ribs; they had finally healed, and now I might be back in walking-wounded status. I raised myself painfully and squinted into the early morning darkness at the Falcon: my only hope for escape.

His advancing foot steps told me I was a clay pigeon, not yet airborne, but loaded in the trap machine, with a stranger’s finger on the release mechanism. I took as much breath as I could into my lungs in order to force myself to stand—the adrenaline dulling the pain in my side. I came up off the pavement and sprinted across the lot, my shoulder blades pulling together in anticipation of the bullets that would soon riddle me like the Delta 88. I was pretty sure the guy was using the type of pistol usually found on any given gang member. No one would think anything about a random shooting in this neighborhood. Gang initiations were common. Poor girl. She didn’t have a chance.

I tried not to look at the Falcon as I ran past it. Instead I headed up the opposite ramp, on the far side of the matching concrete wall.

Crouching there for a moment, I surveyed the area. An exit ramp was nearby, but I knew I wouldn’t make it with condition of my knee and ribs. My eyes darted to the large trash receptacle by the wall, in front of a big buttress. Please, God. I limped over, pried the lid off, and found just enough room in the garbage sack to nestle myself inside, and pull the lid back over me.

This is a mistake. This won’t work. He’ll know I’m in here. Fuck! What was I thinking? Trying to breathe through my mouth as quietly as possible, I waited, my heart pounding so hard, I was sure it was vibrating the trash can.

His foot steps got louder for a few seconds, and then stopped. I could hear him breathing. Cursing. He was so close. After an almost unbearable silence, I was jostled by the impact of his foot on the side of the receptacle.

Oh shit. I’m dead. He knows.

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Newly ensconced in the house on Manor Lane, Jobeth and Phoebe are enjoying the city of Lakewood, Colorado and Jobeth’s newly licensed AKA Investigations.

After a fresh start in the Denver Metro region, life seems idyllic and full of promise.

The dream is soon shattered by ghosts from the past, appearing to tear the fabric of love and trust. With the company of their friend, Detective Ginger Grant, a crecendoing battle of survival will test their courage, as they discover the darker permutations of DNA.

One reviewer said: “…in true AKA Investigations style, events conspire to spiral out of control, testing the fortitude, depth of feeling and sheer courage of each of the characters. Nail-biting action and heart-stopping tension take the reader on a roller-coaster ride through the pages, piling one catastrophe on top of another and testing the characters to the limit. I wasn’t sure they’d all make it out alive in this one, but it sure had me turning the pages to find out. Baeli is at the top of her game here, delivering a book at once touching and full of odd, often humorous bits of wisdom and a storyline of exciting misadventure and action.”

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