Authors: Cindy Bell
A Dyed Blonde and a Dead Body
A Bekki the Beautician Cozy Mystery
Copyright © 2013 Cindy Bell
All rights reserved.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents and locations portrayed in this book and the names herein are fictitious. Any similarity to or identification with the locations, names, characters or history of any person, product or entity is entirely coincidental and unintentional. All trademarks and brands referred to in this book are for illustrative purposes only, are the property of their respective owners and not affiliated with this publication in any way. Any trademarks are being used without permission, and the publication of the trademark is not authorized by, associated with or sponsored by the trademark owner.
Table of Contents
It looked like the stars were winking. The entire sky full of them. As if they were offering to keep her secret. She knew that it was just clouds filtering across them, ushered by a light wind, but she preferred to think they were winking just the same. The bed of the truck was bumpy against the thin long sleeved blouse she wore. Her comfortable jeans were bent at the knees as she pushed her feet down. It was a cool autumn evening and she could hear what leaves remained fluttering on their branches. There were a few crickets, buzzing mosquitoes, and various other natural sounds, but no rush of traffic, no blaring of horns. It still amazed her, how quiet Harroway could be. Her hometown was a place she had never appreciated enough when she was a teenager, a place she couldn't wait to get away from. But now that she was back, she couldn't imagine a better place to be. Of course, that might be because of the company.
"Are you cold," he whispered from where he lay beside her. Nick Malonie, her high school summer fling, was laying next to her beneath the stars, just as they had so long ago. When she tipped her head to the side to look at him, her clear blue eyes meeting his dark green gaze, she took a sharp breath. For an instant she wondered if it was a dream. Their lips dangerously close, their breath mingled in the chill of the evening.
"Yes," she heard herself lie. As she hoped he would, he slid his arm around her and pulled her body close to his. The warmth of his presence was something she never thought she'd experience again. She smiled a little, and turned her head away to hide it.
"Better?" he murmured, a few strands of his light brown hair fluttering across his forehead.
"Mmm," she replied without looking back at him. She didn't want him to notice the blush rising along her olive skin. It was bad enough to wonder if he could hear the pounding of her heart. She felt like a teenager again, nervously anticipating a first kiss. Since she had been back in town she could not deny the draw she felt to Nick, but after experiencing a recent heartbreak, she found it difficult to believe that anything about love was real. She had caught her boyfriend of two years cheating on her, that was what had sent her running back to Harroway, and her mother's beauty salon. And to Nick.
"So beautiful," he sighed as he looked back up at the sky. "Do you remember staying out here until dawn?"
"I remember," she replied softly, keeping her eyes on the stars above her. They both fell silent for a long moment as he had broached a subject they had been avoiding. Once their passion had been wild, of course they had been kids, but it had felt like forever in the moment. Then all of a sudden Nick had disappeared for two months.
"And here we are again," Nick muttered. She felt him shift beside her so that he was leaning up on his elbow and looking down at her. He trailed a few strands of her wavy dark hair away from her face so that he could look into her eyes more easily.
"Sort of," she smiled and studied his eyes.
"What do you mean sort of?" he asked, not showing any sign that he would look away.
"Well, back then we were on a blanket in the grass, because you weren't allowed to take the truck out after dark," she smiled affectionately as she recalled how strict his father had been with him. Maybe that was what had driven him into law enforcement, the amount of rules he had to follow as a youth. Her own parents had been more flexible, and trusting of their daughter.
"Right," he lowered his voice to a barely audible whisper, and casually drew his lips closer to hers as he did. "And as I recall, you weren't allowed to sneak boys in through your bedroom window, Rebekah."
When he spoke her name it sent a shiver along her spine. Everyone in the world called her Bekki, even her parents. Her mother had admitted once that if she could have gotten away with naming her Bekki she would have, but her own mother had insisted on something more traditional. Only one person ever used her full name aside from teachers and business contacts.
"True," she agreed breathlessly, noting the heat growing in his eyes.
"So, is that rule still in place?" he arched a brow mischievously. It was a good question, considering that Bekki was now living in a home that her parents had bought.
"It didn't matter then and it doesn’t now," she found herself grinning.
"So here we are, again," he reiterated and the flash in his eyes was as bright as the starlight shimmering above them.
"Well Nick, if I didn't know you were a fine upstanding police officer, I would think you were trying to seduce me," she smirked.
"I'm off duty," he explained and lowered his lips to the curve of her neck. He nuzzled them there for a moment, and she shuddered in reaction. The tension had grown between them, and though they hadn't officially started anything up, it was clear they both wanted to.
Still, it made Bekki a little nervous. When his lips trailed their way up along the side of her neck, she turned her head, intent on connecting them with her own. He lifted his chin, and in a split second the memories of their youth became the reality of their present day. The sensual caress was more potent than any embrace that Bekki could recall. Not that she could recall much of anything in the moment.
Her fingertips wandered up along the back of his neck to toy lightly with the hair against his collar. He smiled through the kiss, and deepened it.
"Excuse me," they both jumped as they heard a voice, followed by the rap of a flashlight against the side of the bed of the truck. "Are you aware that you're trespassing?" the man standing beside the truck demanded. He flicked on the flashlight in his hand and shone it in their faces. Nick glared in the direction of the flashlight as Bekki laughed and buried her head in Nick's shoulder.
"Oh Detective Malonie, I'm sorry," the younger officer stammered. He was a rookie. "I didn't know it was you, I just saw the truck, and I figured it was a couple of kids out after curfew, uh," he smiled faintly. "Hi Bekki."
"Hi Morris," she mumbled and tried not to laugh again.
"Were you planning on arresting me Morris?" Nick asked with a furrowed brow.
"Of course not, no," Morris shook his head quickly.
"Then get out of here," Nick demanded with a touch of his temper showing.
"Right, sorry, so sorry," Morris nearly tripped over his feet in an attempt to get back to his patrol car.
"You haven't given him a gun yet, have you?" Bekki asked nervously.
"No," Nick sighed and slumped back against the bed of the truck. "Now where were we," he murmured and leaned forward, ready to kiss her again.
"You were about to drive me home," she smiled at him and sat up. He stared after her with wide eyes.
"But it's still early," he pointed out as he sat up beside her.
"Nick, it's after curfew," she laughed and climbed out of the bed of the truck. He watched her for a long moment, and she knew that he could see right through her. The truth was she was relieved that Morris had shown up when he did. She wasn't sure she could control herself around Nick. She wasn't sure she was ready to risk getting hurt again, just yet.
"All right," he sighed as he jumped down from the truck. "I'll take you home," he kissed her cheek softly. "If you promise to go to dinner with me."
"Dinner?" she smiled a little.
"A real date," he clarified and held her gaze.
"Oh," she hesitated for a split second and then nodded. "Of course, I'd love to."
"All right," he smiled and held open the door of the truck for her. As Bekki climbed into the truck she smiled to herself. If there was ever a person she wanted a second chance with, it was Nick. She just wasn't sure if she was quite ready for it.
The next day Bekki slipped away from the salon at lunch to visit the new bakery in town. It was only a few stores down, but she walked around the block before heading toward it. She had a very special order to make, and she was trying to keep it a secret. When she had moved back into town she had been reunited with her best childhood friend Sammy, who worked at the salon with Bekki's mother. Tomorrow was Sammy's birthday, and Bekki wanted to surprise her with a small party and cake. The bakery was a recent addition to the quaint little town square. It used to be a flower shop, but had been purchased by a woman named Lydia Michaels who had recently moved into town from Chicago. Although the townspeople of Harroway didn't always react warmly to strangers, Lydia fitted in just fine. She was very friendly and always willing to take custom orders. When Bekki stepped inside the bakery she found Lydia decorating some cupcakes.
"Hi Lydia," Bekki said cheerfully as she walked up to the counter.
"Hi Bekki," Lydia smiled as she looked up at the woman. Lydia had dark red hair frosted lightly with gray that Bekki had taken the time to curl into a nice style. It looked very good on her, but then Lydia always looked very pristine. That was one thing that Bekki and Lydia had in common, Lydia liked the city style of fashion as much as Bekki did. On the first day Bekki had met her, Lydia remarked on the purse she was carrying, the newest one of the season. Bekki still indulged in keeping up with trends as, even though she had left the city life behind, she really enjoyed staying in fashion.
"Oh would you look at those earrings," Lydia gushed as Bekki leaned over the counter to look over the selection of cake styles available.
"Oh these?" Bekki arched a brow mischievously as if she hadn't purposefully swept her hair back away from them to show them off. They were silver spirals that spun endlessly with the slightest touch. Bekki thought they were a bit young for her, but she was entranced by the seemingly endless movement, so she had bought them anyway.
"So beautiful," Lydia sighed. "I'm sure I saw Angelina wearing those."
"Really?" Bekki gasped. "I must have missed that. Do you want a pair? I could order some for you. I'm friends with a woman who works on the jewelry line, and she can get me a discount."
"Thank you so much," Lydia replied. "But only if they come in gold, I'm allergic to all other metals," she tapped the small gold hoops she was wearing in her ears.
"I'll check," Bekki assured her. "I was wondering if you could whip up a special birthday cake for me, for tomorrow," she said apologetically, "I know it's last minute."
"No problem," Lydia smiled. "What type of cake would you like?"
"I was thinking two layers, Black Forest. It's her favorite," she explained and smiled as she recalled when Sammy and her had devoured an entire cake by themselves. One thing was for sure neither of them had ever lacked an appetite.
"My specialty," Lydia grinned. "I'll have it ready for you by tonight if you'd like to pick it up."
"That would be perfect," Bekki nodded with a smile of relief. "But I am closing the salon tonight, so it will be after the shop closes. Maybe I could pick it up in the morning?"
"Don't worry about it," Lydia waved her hand dismissively. "I'm always here late after the store closes. I'll just leave the back door open for you, and you come on in when you're done at the salon. Maybe we can have a coffee, hmm?"
"Sounds lovely," Bekki agreed. "Thanks again Lydia."
"Anytime," the warmth in her smile really made it seem as if she was pleased to be part of the party planning. "See you tonight."
"Bye," Bekki called as she hurried back out of the shop. She needed to get back to the salon before Sammy got suspicious.
As she walked in the direction of the salon she smiled to herself. She was sure her friend had no idea what she was planning, and that was just how she was going to keep it. After years of barely keeping in touch, she knew she had some birthdays to make up for.