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Authors: Margaret Van Der Wolf

Tags: #changes of life, #romance 2014, #mystery amateur detective, #women and adventure, #cozy adult mystery

Point of Attraction

BOOK: Point of Attraction
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PROLOGUE

 

“All you have to do is get in that shop
and take the stupid doll! Just how hard can that be?” he said,
holding out the fat white envelope.

He waited for an answer. None came;
only that steady, polar cold, stare. He shivered, almost pocketed
the envelope, and forgetting the whole thing, then decided to go
on. He must hold firm; not turn back; the die was cast. “I want it
clear. No one is to be hurt.”

He pointed to the Dare To Care Salon.
“I’m sure you can manage it. You should know all the ins and outs
of such things. That’s why I chose you... a ... professional, so to
speak.”

Only a deep intake of air and just as
long an exhale was the answer.

“Do you want the job or not?” he
snapped, then swallowed. He didn’t know anyone else, and he
softened his tone. “That’s all you have to do. Just take the doll
and bring it to me. Very simple.”

He held out the money filled envelope;
everyone needed money. It was the one thing he learned in life...
everyone needed money. At the unmoved facial structure, he began to
curl his hand, withdrawing the offering when it was wrenched out of
his hand.

“Done,” was the only word he heard
before his car door opened and closed with a slam that rocked his
car, leaving him alone in the dark.

The swallow came hard to
him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Margaret Van Der Wolf

5915 N. DENVER AVE.

PORTLAND, OR. 97217-4324

COPYWRIGHT 2012

 

POINT OF ATTRACTION

By

M. Van Der Wolf

 

Perhaps no one would have died had
Georgina Gainsworth not taken that last appointment for a hair cut
before leaving her Dare To Care Salon. Maybe it all would have been
different had she been out the door and on her way to her Wednesday
night writing class before Jeffrey walked in.

But Georgie did take the appointment
and nothing that followed could be undone.

~~0~~

Georgie barely heard all that Tonie,
the last minute patron, was saying beyond, “This is the way I want
my hair cut.”

Immediately, Georgie’s focus went to
the picture Tonie brought in with her.

“I need it out of my way,” Tonie said.
“You know, in and out of the shower and out the door I
go.”

“Got it. Let’s get you
shampooed.”

As she shampooed Tonie, Georgie’s nose
twitched at the hint of cigarette odor in the young woman’s hair.
Once she towel dried the clean hair, Georgie tunneled her focus on
how much length was to come off and how to make the chosen style
fit the face structure to make the cut Tonie’s and Tonie’s
alone.

Tonie was a referral, and no stylist
had too many clients; not if she wanted to stay in business.
Georgie had been a widow for three years and though Sam left her
well cared for, to her, each patron entering Dare To Care Salon
mattered. So fitting in Tonie had never been in question. The thing
to do now was work fast, give the cut she knew she was capable of,
and still be out of the shop with plenty of time to get to her
writing class twelve miles away. From the outskirts of Portland,
twelve miles could multiply in driving time during the evening
commute.

“This will do it,” Tonie said, looking
in the mirror and pushing at her new cut with a smile. “Thanks for
fitting me in on such short notice.”

“Worked out well. Who can I thank for
giving you my name?” Georgie asked.

“Actually, I heard the checker at the
market complimenting a customer on her hair cut and the woman
mentioned Dare To Care Salon and your name. So, here I am and they
were right. You are good and fast.”

Georgie handed her a business card.
“Nice meeting you, Tonie, and here’s my card. Hope to see you
again.”

“Oh, you will. Definitely.”

The glass door swung open with the ping
of the bell hanging from its frame, letting in the first cool hints
of autumn air accentuated with the slight odor of burning wood from
the fireplaces in the surrounding homes. It also let in Jeffrey
Sanders and his shy smile.

“Georgina, I thought I’d come in and
make an appointment to get my hair cut.” His arm slipped around
hers with a slight clandestine tug as he leaned into
her.

Georgie let herself be drawn away from
the prying ears of her two hairstylists, Emmee and Brandy, and from
Tonie, who was reaching for what appeared to be a dark gray suit
inside a Best Dressed Dry-Cleaning plastic bag hanging on the salon
coat rack by the dryers.

“I thought we could go to dinner,”
Jeffrey murmured.

But before Georgie could answer, the
door swung open again. This time the little chime announced
Cassandra Blanes, Georgie’s writing classmate, childhood friend and
her ride for the evening.

“Hey, Cassie,” Georgie said, grateful
for the interruption yet doing her best to keep from showing it. “I
am ready to go out the door. Just need my coat. Jeffrey, thank you
for the invite, but you know this is Wednesday, my writing class
night, and I’m late.” She looked to Emmee who was pulling at her
blond spiky-do while keeping her clear brown eyes on the scene
through the mirror. “Emmee, can you make Jeffrey an appointment for
me please?”

“Sure thing,” Emmee said, one eyebrow
lifting with a minute hint of a smile on her shiny glossed
lips.

“Brandy, you working late tonight?”
Georgie asked, ignoring Emmee’s look. Evidently her moment of
distress was bringing a little joy into her employee’s
life.

“Kind’a, sort’a,” Brandy said, from her
styling station. “I’m just finishing up this perm, then have a hair
cut and blow-dry coming in.”

“Emmee?” Georgie asked, without eye
contact.

“My color is just driving up,” Emmee
said, pointing at headlights shooting brightly through the shop
window. The car motor died and its lights slowly faded
out.

“Okay. Gotta go.” Georgie ran her
fingers through her own short hair to get it out of her face yet
keeping that little care-free flip-out look, then pushed her arms
through her coat sleeves. “Remember, try not to go out alone to the
car. Safety in numbers.”

“Yes, Boss Lady,” both hairstylists
said, Emmee tossing Georgie her hat.

Georgie caught it, shoved the knitted
headgear in her coat pocket and started out the door, then stopped.
She turned sharply and scanned the reception area.
“Damn!”

“Now what?” Cassie asked.

“Where are my chapters? I had them. I
know I had them. Last week’s and this week’s. Where are
they?”

“God, Georgie,” Cassie sighed, “get it
together, get it together.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Georgie said. “Don’t be a
nag. They’re here somewhere.”

“This them?” Tonie asked, picking up a
file folder from one of the hair dryer chairs.

“Yes! Thank you.” Georgie pressed the
folder to her breast and smiled at Tonie. “Nice meeting you, Tonie.
If you have any problems with the cut, you know where to find me.
See you all. Come on, Cassie, out the door.”

“Hey, hey, hey, you’re not the boss of
me,” Cassie scolded without malice while holding up her car keys
with a sharp shake. “I’m driving tonight, remember? I have the
keys. I have the power.”

“Spare me your delusions of omnipotence
please. Oops.” Georgie gave a turn on her heel and went behind the
reception desk. She placed a fingertip to her lips then planted the
quick kiss on Raggs, her twenty-four inch Raggedy Ann doll sitting
on the glass shelf next to the shop’s hair products display.
“‘Nite, Raggs. Don’t let the girls get into trouble.”

“Now can we go?”

“Yes, Cassie. Now we can
go. Bye all,” Georgie said, leaving Jeffrey staring at her then at
Tonie, and the girls waving their traditional
so go, already
wave.

~~0~~

“That chapter you submitted last week
was good,” Cassie said, steering her deep blue Cherokee Jeep out of
the Western Shopping Center onto the highway.

“Thanks.”

“That love scene should play havoc with
the guys.”

Cassie’s laughter was infectious and
Georgie joined in.

“So, who was the shy violet you left
stranded needing a hair cut?” Cassie asked.

“Jeffrey? Very sweet. His father’s
accounting office did Sam’s and my taxes. Since Sam’s death, my
taxes and shop books are still done by Jeffrey’s office; Sanders
Accounting, four units down from the shop. But Jeffrey refuses to
work on any of my bookkeeping.” Georgie didn’t wait for Cassie to
ask, but leaned over to whisper, “Conflict of interest, he
says.”

“Oh, my God! Straight and narrow as an
arrow. Is that boring or what?”

Georgie laughed, but shook her head.
“We went to dinner once; no, twice, two dinners about a week or so
ago. Or was it two weeks? Oh well...”

“You actually went out on a date and
didn’t tell me?”

“I’m telling you now, aren’t I.
Besides, it wasn’t really a date, or dates. It was a business
thing. We talked, but there was very little in common. He likes
foreign films with subtitles. I like mysteries, Sci-fi, and
fantasies. I’m a Trekkie. He thinks we Trekkies are
dumb.”

“Oooh, and downhill from
there?”

“Sort of. I tried talking
about my writing with him. You know, get feed back? Big mistake.
You remember Laurie in Little Women? Same problem. Jeffrey thinks
my writing is
Oh, what a nice little
hobby
.” A deep sigh filled the quiet pause
as Georgie waved a hand of surrender. “It’s just me, I tell you.
Sam spoiled me.”

“Sam was exceptional, I’ll grant you
that. But Kiddo, it’s been three years, and I won’t tell you that I
in any way know the pain in your heart, but... you’re my friend;
the closest thing to a sis I can claim.”

Georgie let a small laugh come out,
knowing what was coming next.

“Georgie, you’re going to have to let
go one day. With Steven in med-school, Paula trying to balance law
school, being married and pregnant; you need your life
back.”

“I know.”

“You need to get out, date, maybe even
get...”

“Stop,” Georgie said, her voice a soft
plea, her head pressed back into the seat headrest.

“I’ll stop. But you do need to get out
with the opposite sex.”

A long sigh whispered its way out as
Georgie said, “It’ll happen... maybe... Someday... but Sam’s a
tough act to follow. Don’t know how or why, but he just put up with
me and my... my... idiosyncrasies.”

“Oh, is that what they are?
Idiosyncrasies?”

They laughed again, then let the pause
lengthen into a quiet uneventful drive to the Community College.
Cassie’s swearing over the crowded parking lot at the college was
the silence breaker.

“Hey, what about M&M?” Cassie
asked, putting the car into a parking slot and pulling the
emergency brake.

“Who?”

“M&M. Mason Montgomery?”

It took Georgie a second, then pointed
a finger at Cassie as they got out of the car. “Aah... BADGE 747,
Detective Fletcher,” she said, referring to the novel and its main
character that Mason Montgomery, AKA M&M, was working on. “Good
story; a little gory, but very good writing. What about
him?”

“God, Georgie, you really, really do
need to get out more,” Cassie sighed, her blue-green eyes pinching
shut with a sad head shake, then snapped them open to give her a
sharp look, “but not with Shyness, the accountant.”

“Cassie, I’m fine with my life the way
it is.” Georgie wanted to stop the conversation from going where
she didn’t it want it to go.

“Hey, George.”

They both turned at the
call.

“Hey, BADGE 747,” Georgie
greeted Mason Montgomery. He was the only one she knew that called
her
George
. At
his approach, she refused to look at Cassie.

BOOK: Point of Attraction
13.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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