Authors: Nancy McGovern
A MURDER IN MILBURN, BOOK 2:
Death Of A Deputy
Rights & Disclaimer
This is entirely a work of fiction. All people, places and events contained have been completely fabricated by the author. Any similarities to real people, places, or events are completely coincidental.
Death Of A Deputy, Copyright © 2016 Nancy McGovern
All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any manner or used in any way without advanced written permission by the author.
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The first book in this series was for my husband, Doug, for keeping the kids corralled for endless hours while I tapped away on my laptop.
This one is for those three kids, for going easy on their dad during those times.
“This is so exciting,” Nora exclaimed as she pulled her jacket coat tight around herself. “A real Viking Festival!”
“I’d say it’s a pretty major deal,” Tina Scott said. “The committee has been trying to make it happen three years in a row, but something always came up.”
Nora had set up her stall early that morning by the Crystal Lake’s meadow, where the fair was scheduled. She’d worked hard the week before, making sausages and kebabs from fresh ground meat and spices, preparing the batter for her crepes, and learning to make authentic
traditional soft Norwegian flatbread made with leftover potatoes, flour, butter, and cream.
Now, her stall was among the first ones up, a festive purple, with silver ribbons spiraling up its poles, and a large placard displaying photos of the goods.
“Mmm.” Tina took a deep sniff and smacked her lips appreciatively. “I tell you, Nora, you can chuck my paycheck and just start paying me in food. These kebabs smell divine. It’s like my nose has found a new reason to live. I’m trying to tear myself away from it all, and I just get drawn to it.”
Nora laughed. Tina’s words made her think of old-timey cartoons, the black and white kind, where a character wandering around the street would suddenly inhale a fluffy white cloud, and then get pulled by his nose to drool over the display of a bakery or restaurant.
“You’ve been a great help, Tina. I would never have been able to set up the stall without you. I might not even have participated if you hadn’t pushed me to.” Nora smiled up appreciatively at her new friend.
“Oh, It was the least I could do. To be honest, I felt genuinely bad about the way some of us treated you when… when the whole Raquel thing happened.”
She’d returned to her hometown of Milburn, Wyoming, a year ago, determined to begin a new diner with her best friend Raquel, but tragedy had struck when Raquel had been murdered by a psycho a few nights before their diner could open. Back then Nora had been new to town, and the town folk had looked on her with disdain when she had tried to persuade them that it was not the work of a passing drifter, but of someone closer to town. She’d alienated them with her behavior initially, but when she had helped unveil the true murderer, the same people who had been hard to her had come around and now looked upon her fondly.
Tina was one such townie. She’d sided with the others initially, seeing Nora’s protests as a way to discredit the town.
Now, she worked smilingly with Nora, helping her plan and set up the stall, and market it with fliers.
Raquel’s death had also almost killed Nora’s hopes of beginning the diner. Nora had sunk her own money into creating the enterprise. The bank loan they’d taken was supposed to be paid off with Raquel’s savings, but that substantial sum had instead gone off to her estranged parents after she’d died.
Now, with some luck, the money made at the stall, combined with the money she had saved up from catering jobs this last year, would help Nora pay off what she owed the bank, and finally, start the diner. It had been Nora’s fondest wish, and one she sometimes felt was impossibly hard to achieve. She struggled to achieve it just the same.
She stood behind the counter, wearing a red turtleneck sweater, dark jeans, and a bright purple apron that matched the stall. The chef’s hat on her head was parked at an angle, and proclaimed
“Eat like no one’s watching. Cook like everyone is.”
“Nora.” May Almand, the coordinator for the event, walked up. “I see you’ve used silver ribbons on the poles. Might I remind you that our rules state that all décor should be in keeping with the festival’s spirits.”
“Silver ribbons aren’t festive enough for you?” Nora smiled.
“The other stalls don’t have them,” May Almand said, holding her nose slightly higher than it needed to be. “They might be a little… out of place.”
“Oh May, don’t be a stickler. She’s fine,” Tina said. “The only thing we need to worry about is if she’s bought enough food. To be honest, I think she’ll be sold out by lunchtime.”
“Don’t say that.” Nora pressed her hands against her stomach, calming the jitters. “I’ve bought enough food to feed an army of hungry men.”
“Well, that’s exactly what you’ll be getting,” May said. “We’re expecting at least a thousand people, since we’re counting both townies and passing tourists.”
“We’ve advertised all over,” Tina said with a smile. “A lot of girls from Jackson are coming over just because of our band.”
“Who’s playing in the band?” Nora asked.
“Oh, just the local heartthrob and all around delicious JJ Johnson, aka our very own Wallis.”
Wallis?” Nora gaped at her. “Sean’s deputy Wallis?”
“Sheriff Dracon’s Wallis, yes. He’s in a band. A really good band at that.” Tina leaned over. “I’ve heard Dracon’s quite mad at Wallis lately–what with the reelection for town sheriff coming up, and Wallis trying to campaign against Dracon.”
’s supporting Wallis.” May leaned forward, all enmity forgotten in the hunt for good gossip. “That’s how Wallis was able to afford all the advertising he’s done.”
“Which Harvey? Not our super rich, super eligible town bachelor himself.” Tina giggled. “I heard he’s dating a model from Cody now.”
ought to know about it.” May raised an eyebrow at Nora, a smirk crossing her face.
Nora felt herself flush. “I try not to get involved in Harvey’s business,” she said.
“Why, I’ve never understood it,” Tina exclaimed. “Harvey’s business depends on you, doesn’t it? You’re the one that helped him out of that little mess he had with Santino. If you hadn’t uncovered definitive proof that Harvey wasn’t responsible for any fraud he might have gone right to jail.”
Nora shook her head. “I’d rather not think about the past,” she said.
“Of course, poor dear,” Tina said. “I think-”
But what she thought would forever be lost to the others, as a painful screech filled the air, followed by the bellowing voice of a man.
“I’ll kill you,” the man was screaming. “I’ll murder you right now!”
Nora, May, and Tina all ran toward the voice that had come from one edge of the field, where a makeshift platform was being set up in preparation for the concert.
“Heavy headed whale! Fat loafer!” the man was shouting.
Nora reached him first, to see a large, blonde man with clenched fists and a straining neck.
“I cannot believe anyone as incompetent as you is allowed within ten feet of equipment!” the man yelled.
Nora gasped as she recognized the man – Deputy Wallis. Then again, Deputy Wallis was a tall, broad-chested man of the law with a buzz cut and a proud handlebar mustache. The man in front of her was still Wallis, but Wallis in his alternate avatar – JJ Johnson, of
JJ Johnson and the Jackhammer Squad
. He was dressed now as a Viking, with a false sword dangling from his belt, a fake-fur-lined cape, and a horn-studded helmet. The helmet was dangling behind him, attached to his neck by a cord, clearly having toppled off due to his raging anger.
The Jackhammer Squad, three tattooed men dressed in somewhat medieval clothes, each holding their instruments close to them, stood anxiously in the background.
Meanwhile, Wallis screamed at one of the roadies, who had managed to drop a heavy speaker on his guitar. Not having had his fill of screaming at the roadie, Wallis advanced on him and began to shower blows on his head and shoulders.
Appalled, Nora jumped up on stage and tried to get between the two.
“Deputy Wallis!” she exclaimed. “Control yourself, I beg you. Calm down.”
Still trying to swing at the roadie, a boy of barely sixteen, Wallis let himself be pushed back as Nora grabbed him.
“Yeah, you better run!” Wallis called out. “If I see your face near here again, I’m going to kill you, you hear that? This was a 1970s guitar my father had left me! It was a priceless heirloom! I should have your
for what you’ve done.”
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” the boy whimpered, tears streaming down his face.
“Stop it now,” Nora said angrily to Wallis. “You’re a deputy, for goodness’ sake. This is not appropriate behavior. The poor boy made a mistake. You need to let it go.”
“Let it go?” Wallis got his face close to her and let out a big bellow. “Well, who’s going to give me a replacement right before the concert? Will you do it, Miss United Nations? Who made you peacekeeper anyway?”
“The name’s Nora Newberry,” she said. “I’d thank you to stop yelling at me. Let’s try and figure out a way to get you a new guitar.”
“Oh, I have a whole collection at home,” Wallis sneered. “I’m sure the manager will get me another too. The point is this careless, wretched boy needed to be taught a lesson.”
The manager, a harried, balding man named James Crenshaw, rushed up on stage and tried his hardest to soothe Wallis. “JJ, I’m so sorry about what happened. I’ll see that the boy gets fired immediately, with no pay.”
“No,” the boy protested behind them. “No, please! I’ll do anything.”
“Surely this can be handled without causing a public
,” May said, her upper lip curling slightly. “James, take the young man away to your office and do what you have to. Find Wallis a guitar too. As for you, Nora, the fair isn’t opened yet but I think I see someone at your stall.”
Aware that May was just trying to make her leave, Nora planted her feet firmly and glared. “I’ll go to the manager’s office with him. It’s not completely fair to fire the boy without learning what happened.”
“You should worry about being fired yourself,” May said. “Or did you forget rule 17, bylaw 3 of the committee’s rulebook for the Viking festival? It states that no stall shall be left unattended at any point in the evening. It’s a safety hazard, what with your cooking materials and gas stove.”