Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Three Lovers on the Grift - 16

Vaughn walked into Mr Leigh's front office three minutes after Page had left. He stopped at the receptionist's desk, flashed a badge, and told her that he was Detective Sinclair and he needed to speak with her boss. She immediately let Mr Leigh know and then told Vaughn to go right in.

"Thank god," Mr Leigh said. "I was just going to call the police."

"About Ms Alexis Del Gado?" Vaughn asked.

"I guess that's her name. She never actually told me. About so tall"—he held up one hand—"shoulder length blonde hair, pregnant?"

"That's her, although she's not really pregnant, that's just part of her con. We've been after her for the past year, but until now we haven't found anyone who's willing to help us stop her. I'm hoping you might be the one."

Mr Leigh frowned deeply. "She's a criminal then?"

"Oh yes. She runs confidence games on married men, like you. Her favorite one is pretending that she's pregnant and blaming her victim. Once she's got him believing her, she asks for money. The problem is, as I said, none of the men have been willing to help entrap her."

"I—how would I be able to help do that?"

"First, I need to know how she asked you to deliver the money, presuming of course that you didn't already give it to her."

Mr Leigh shook his head. "Believe me, I don't keep that kind of money here. I'm supposed to withdraw it from my bank and then meet her at her hotel."

"Perfect," Vaughn replied, smiling. "I need you to do exactly that."

"I don't know," Mr Leigh replied hesitantly. "How will I explain withdrawing that much cash?"

Vaughn seemed to be thinking for a moment, and then told him to tell anyone at the bank who might question it that he was in the process of making a down payment on a vacation home and the owner requested it be in cash.

"I can do that," Mr Leigh said slowly. "And then what?"

"Take something with you to carry it in, obviously. Do you have a briefcase?" Mr Leigh nodded. "Excellent. From the bank, we'll go to her hotel. As soon as you hand over the money, I can arrest her." Vaughn checked his watch. "We should get moving. The sooner we get this done the sooner I can get her off the streets and you can stop worrying."

Mr Leigh still hesitated. Then, with a sharp nod, he put on his suit jacket and picked up his briefcase.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Three Lovers on the Grift - 15

Mr Leigh listened, a horrified look on his face, and then asked tautly, "What do you want from me?"

"My husband lost his job. We can't afford the doctor bills and, well, much of anything actually, so I was hoping you'd understand and help me out with this."

"No." He shook his head almost violently. "I'm not paying you one red cent for a kid that only might be mine."

Page leaned back, crossing her arms over her belly as she stared at him. "I didn't want to do this; I was hoping that you'd see reason. But since you seem fit to pretty much call me a liar without coming out and saying it—" She took another envelope from her purse.

He tore it open, took out two more pictures and a folded sheet of paper.

"The letter is a copy of the one I will send to your wife," Page said quietly, "along with the originals of those pictures."

"You bitch!" he barked out.

"I have to think of the baby."

He stood up, looking down at her angrily, his fists clenched. She pulled back as if afraid he was going to hit her. Turning away, he paced angrily to the door, started to open it, obviously changed his mind and went across the office to stare out of the window, his hands fisting and relaxing spasmodically. Finally he turned around to look at her. "How much?"

She named a figure, telling him she wanted it in cash. "After all, you might have a problem explaining to your wife why you'd written a large check to some strange woman," she pointed out when he seemed ready to protest.

He nodded, his shoulders slumping in resignation. "It will take me a day to get that much cash together."

"You have three hours. I'm sure you can get to the bank and then to my hotel room in that amount of time."

"I—I don't know."

"I do." She used the arm of the sofa to help her stand up. "Three hours or I send the letters and the photos to your wife."

"This is blackmail," he growled. "How do I know you won't contact me again, asking for more money?"

"That," she replied softly as she walked to his desk to write down the name of the hotel and a room number, "is a chance you'll have to take. Honestly though, all I want is enough to see me through until our baby is born and this should do it quite nicely." With that said, she handed him the slip of paper and left.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

It's release day for 'The Elevator Murders'!

The Elevator Murders
When Tony Watkins discovers a dead man in the elevator of his apartment building, he has no idea there will be more murders. When the second body is found, he and his friends at the club he goes to put their heads together to try to figure out what's happening and who the killer might be.

Kirk Logan is a man with problems. At twenty-nine, he still isn't out to his parents. On top of that, Tony thinks he's easy -- which is true -- and will have nothing to do with him, even though he wants to help Tony solve the murders. That is until he finally opens up to Tony about why he's the way he is.

What Tony learns about Kirk, in addition to a third murder, changes everything. Can Tony deal with his feelings for Kirk while trying, if possible, not to become the next murder victim?

    "So how was your day?" Dan asked as soon as Tony took a seat at the table in the club Monday evening.

    "You do not want to know," Tony told him, flagging down a waiter to order a beer.

    "Story not talking again?"

    "It babbling, thank God." Tony nodded at Greg, who had just taken another chair at the table. "And I finished the article on upcoming events and attractions for the local tourist magazine, so that's out of my hair."

    "Then what's wrong?" Dan asked.

    "As soon as I get my drink I'll tell you." As if Tony had said the magic words, the waiter showed up seconds later to put the bottle on the table. Tony paid, then took a deep drink. "I needed that." He noticed his hand was shaking as he set the bottle back down.

    Greg rested his elbows on the table, staring at Tony. "Problems?"

    Tony nodded, lowering his voice as he said, "Someone was murdered in my apartment building and I found the body."

    "The hell you say." Dan practically shouted, before clapping a hand over his mouth. "Tell all," he said, keeping his voice down.

    "I thought I heard someone in need of help, so I went looking. I got as far as the third floor, walking up because the elevator was ... well, being the elevator."

    "Meaning slower than molasses," Greg said, having ridden in it a time or two.

    "Yeah. That's what I figured, anyway. I was going to knock on doors to see if anyone else had heard the same thing. Actually, I did knock on a couple of them but no one answered, so I decided everyone was probably at work because if they had heard what I did, they'd be out in the hall. Anyway, I tried the elevator again and while I was waiting a guy who lives on three appeared. Older man, maybe in his sixties. Not that that matters. So we talked until the elevator came. The door opened ..." He shuddered and took another drink.

    "The body was in there?" Greg asked with macabre relish.

    "Yeah. Damn. Thank God Alan, that's the old man, was there, too, or I'd probably have lost it. We called the cops. When they showed up I had to explain what I'd heard. I think they believed me."

    "Or they think you killed the guy ... It was a guy, right?" When Tony nodded, Dan continued. "They don't, do they?"

    "They didn't act like it, and I'm here, not in jail, so I sure hope not."

    "Was there lots of blood?" Greg asked ghoulishly. "How was he killed?"

    "I think ... stabbed. I sure didn't go in to check but that's what the wounds looked like," Tony replied, shooting him a look of disgust. "You're getting too much fun out of this."

    "Blame it on my misspent youth, watching too many horror movies."

    "Youth?" Dan eyed him. "You went to one just last week if I remember right."

    Greg shrugged. "So I'm a fan of blood and gore. Shoot me."

    Tony hissed in a breath, finishing his beer in one big gulp then holding the bottle up to let the waiter know he wanted another.

    "Is your name going to be on the news as a witness?" Dan asked.

    "I hope not. I'm not a witness. I just found the body. I snuck out the back door of the building to the parking lot, as soon as the detective said I was free to leave. When I say snuck, I mean it. I didn't want to be accosted if there were reporters hanging around. Got my car and beat it the hell away from there."

    Dan smirked. "And came here to cry on our shoulders."

    "No, I came to get a drink or ten so I can forget what I saw. It was horrible."

    "What was horrible?" someone asked from behind Tony.

    He turned to see who it was and wished he hadn't. The man who stood there was beyond handsome -- and a real prick, in Tony's estimation. "Nothing you need to know about, Kirk," he replied coldly.

    "Sorry I asked," Kirk muttered, starting to walk away. Then he said, "You looked angry, or upset."

    "So of course you had to find out why so you'd have a story to tell whoever you decided to take home tonight. Well, that's not happening."

    "Fuck you, too," Kirk spat out as he turned on his heel, heading toward the bar.

    "Also not happening," Tony said under his breath.

    Dan eyed him, almost smiling. "Still got a thing for him?"

    Tony snorted. "I've never had a thing for him, the conceited asshole. Thinks he can have any guy he wants just by snapping his fingers."

Three Lovers on the Grift - 14

"I have an appointment to see Mr Leigh," Page said softly when the man's receptionist finally took notice of her. The receptionist asked her name, checked the book, and then buzzed Mr Leigh to let him know his next visitor had arrived.

When Page entered the office the man looked up, took note of her condition and immediately stood, suggesting that she might be more comfortable on the sofa than at one of the visitor's chairs in front of the desk. Once she was seated he pulled up a chair and sat down opposite her, asking, "Just how can I help you?"

Page's face was woebegone as she said, "You don't remember me, do you, Jonathan?"

"Well, no. Should I?"

"I was hoping—" She opened her purse, taking out an envelope which she handed to him.

He frowned, turning it over in his hands for a moment before lifting the flap and taking out a series of photographs. "What the hell!" He looked at her, and then back at them, as if to make certain she was the woman in the pictures. "What's the meaning of this?"

Rubbing her belly, Page told him, "I'm pregnant, and the baby is yours. Or at least I'm ninety-nine percent certain it is. The timing is right, I'm afraid." Looking directly at him, a tear running down her cheek, she said, "I thought I could do this on my own but—" She lowered her gaze.

"Why should I believe that the kid is mine?" He sounded angry, but his hands were gripped together so tightly his knuckles were white and his face showed a trace of fear.

"Because I say it is, and I should know. We met at—" she named the convention that she knew he'd attended. "You seemed like a nice man and I was lonely so when you asked, I agreed to go back to your room with you." She sighed softly, wiping away another tear. "My husband and I were in the process of getting a divorce although I never told you that. I just needed—needed to know a man could find me attractive." She smiled then. "You did. And before you ask, you were the only man I slept with while I was separated from my husband."

"You just said you were divorcing him," Mr Leigh said, thinking he'd found a lie in her story that could save him from what he thought was coming.

"I was, but when I returned home from the conference we decided to take another stab at making things work."

"Then this baby could be his."

Page shook her head sadly. "I wish the baby was my husband's, but, well, I was honest with him about what had happened, especially since you didn't use protection, which was stupid on both our parts but in the fever of the moment... Anyway, he said we would have to wait until I was tested, you know, and so we did and—" She rattled that out as if afraid if she didn't she'd never get it said.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Three Lovers on the Grift - 13

"Okay, we've narrowed it down to two, so which one will be more likely to fall for it?"

Nigel and Page reread the two sheets of information Vaughn had put together with their help. "I'd say this one. He's definitely more of a player, and has more to lose if his wife finds out," Nigel said, tapping one of the pages. "Gotta love cheating husbands."

"Agreed." Page rubbed her swollen belly thoughtfully. "And as many times as he's stuck it in one female or another the chances of his remembering if I was one of them are slim to none, especially after six months give or take, which is what I'll claim. God only knows the twins are making me look that pregnant."

"Him, it is then. Now we have to set up the approach." Vaughn turned to Nigel. "Where are the pictures from the security camera?"

"There." Nigel pointed to one of several folders sitting at the end of the table. "You just have to insert Page's picture into them."

"Use the ones of me in the blonde wig," Page suggested, getting a nod from Vaughn as he picked the folder up and went to the computer. Half an hour later, while Page made lunch and Nigel did some quick vacuuming, he was finished. After Page set out lunch and they sat down, Vaughn passed the finished pictures around.

"Perfect," Nigel said, smiling. "These will make it much harder for him to deny that he's met her, to say the least of sleeping with her." He laid one hand on Page's stomach. "The evidence of his peccadillo is right here."

"Been reading 'Word of the Day', Nigel," Vaughn asked with a grin.

"Yep, and the one for today is 'wiseass', with your picture to illustrate it."

"I'll show you wiseass," Vaughn growled, pushing his chair back and coming around the table to pull Nigel to his feet. Nigel looked at him in surprise just before Vaughn's mouth descended on his in a searing kiss while his hands kneaded his ass. Then Vaughn stepped away and went back to his seat, a 'cat who ate the canary' grin on his face.

"Umm, damn." Nigel dropped down in his chair, grumbling that Vaughn had better be ready to do something about the 'problem' he'd created as soon as lunch was over.

With a laugh, Page ran her hand up the obvious erection bulging behind the zipper of Nigel's jeans. "We both will." She kissed him slowly, still stroking him before saying, as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening, which it wasn't, "When do we start setting our plan into motion?"