Read Cover Shot (A Headlines in High Heels Mystery Book 5) Online

Authors: LynDee Walker

Tags: #mystery books, #murder mystery books, #amateur sleuth, #women sleuths, #murder mystery series, #murder mysteries, #cozy mystery

Cover Shot (A Headlines in High Heels Mystery Book 5)

BOOK: Cover Shot (A Headlines in High Heels Mystery Book 5)
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Praise for the Headlines in High Heels Mysteries

  

DEVIL IN THE DEADLINE (#4)

 

“Walker’s journalistic background fuels her snappy dialogue, thrill-of-the-chase plotting, and A-List fashion sense. Headlines in High Heels is a top-notch cozy mystery series readers will enjoy slipping into.”

– Julia Spencer-Fleming,

New York Times
Bestselling Author of
Through the Evil Days

 

“Nichelle proves herself to be a standout. She has the cynicism of jaded police officers but also the hope of a champion and advocate for justice. Of course, a healthy sense of humor always helps. Readers who enjoy the outstanding novels of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Edna Buchanan will find themselves similarly entertained by this stellar series.”


Kings River Life Magazine

 

“When the answers are all revealed, they come together in a nice little package that is wrapped up neatly for the reader. Even so, it leaves questions for Nichelle, which, I am sure, will be carried into the next book in this series. Recommended.”


Any Good Book

  

SMALL TOWN SPIN (#3)

 

“A riveting mystery with big ideas and wonderful characters.
Small Town Spin
is a treat not to be missed, a fantastic addition to the Headlines in High Heels series.”

—Duffy Brown,

Agatha-Nominated Author of the Consignment Shop Mysteries

 

“Nichelle Clarke jumps headlong into any situation with courage and tenacity, not giving up until she gets the answers she wants.”

—Maggie Barbieri,

Author of
Once Upon a Lie
and the Murder 101 Mystery Series

  

BURIED LEADS (#2)

 

“Mafia hotties, corrupt politicians, old flames and murder…all this in her incisive exposés and her aubergine Manolo Blahniks. A smart and sassy heroine.”

—Patricia Smiley,

Bestselling Author of
Cool Cache

 

“Intrepid reporter Nichelle Clarke is back again, tracking down a killer, sniffing out political corruption, and juggling studmuffin boyfriends—all in impossibly high heels. Very smartly written and cleverly plotted, with a nifty surprise ending!”

—Laura Levine,

Author of the Jaine Austen Mystery Series

 

“This book has a great mystery, a ton of humor (I know I’ve already said that, but it was worth repeating) and really wonderful characters...I really hope there are more books in this series.”

— CriminalElement.com

  

FRONT PAGE FATALITY (#1)

 

“Nicey’s adventure kept me guessing. Goes down as smooth as hot chocolate with whipped cream.”

—Alice Loweecey,

Author of the Giulia Driscoll Mystery Series

 


Front Page Fatality
is delightful, with engaging characters, a crackling good mystery, and of course, high, high heels. LynDee Walker writes with wit and intelligence and the confidence of a newsroom insider. What fun!”

—Harley Jane Kozak,

Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Award-Winning Author

 

“Fast, funny, [and] action-packed.”

—The
Virginian-Pilot

Books in the Headlines in High Heels Mystery Series

by LynDee Walker

 

Novels

 

FRONT PAGE FATALITY (#1)

BURIED LEADS (#2)

SMALL TOWN SPIN (#3)

DEVIL IN THE DEADLINE (#4)

COVER SHOT (#5)

LETHAL LIFESTYLES (#6)

(
Fall 2016
)

  

Novellas

 

DATELINE MEMPHIS

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Copyright

   

COVER SHOT

A Headlines in High Heels Mystery

Part of the Henery Press Mystery Collection

 

First Edition

Kindle edition | November 2015

 

Henery Press

www.henerypress.com

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever, including internet usage, without written permission from Henery Press, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. 

 

Copyright © 2015 by LynDee Walker

Cover art by Stephanie Chontos

Author photograph by Sarah Dabney-Reardon

 

This is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

ISBN-13: 978-1-943390-23-6

 

Printed in the United States of America

Dedication

  

For Gabriel, who can always make me laugh.

Never stop smiling. I love you.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

  

Every time I open a blank file, I wonder if I can really turn all that whitespace into another novel. But no book is a solo project, even though there’s only one name on the cover.

 

Always, big thanks to the wonderful team at Henery Press: Erin, Kendel, and Rachel for making this a better story, Art for connecting readers with Nichelle’s world, and Stephanie for putting a pretty face on my words.

 

My favorite computer experts, Elliott Cutright and Andy Hallberg, thanks for explaining things in terms my not-very-technical brain could understand and use.

 

Gretchen and Ris, what would I do without you girls? Thanks so much for holding my hand through another one. Hugs.

 

One of the best things about this “job” is the writer friends I’ve made: Wendy Tyson, Susan O’Brien, Barb Goffman, Craig Lancaster, Art Taylor, Mollie Cox Bryan, Ellery Adams, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Laura Levine, and Mary Burton—thank you for offering advice, listening, and just being your wonderful selves.

 

The other best thing? The amazing readers. Thank you to everyone who’s come to an event or sent me an email or online message—knowing that you connect with the stories and the characters keeps me writing on the harder days. And special thanks to the Mystery Minions, definitely the most fun street team in all of cyberspace.

 

Julie Hallberg…well. Just, thank you. For all the things. None of this would be here without you, doll.

My littles, who I love with the fire of ten thousand suns: thank you, monkeys, for understanding when mommy needs to play with her imaginary friends. You are the best children any mom could ever ask for.

 

My husband, my partner in adventure, and my very best friend: thank you for believing in me, and helping me find time and motivation to finish this one. I love having you in my corner, and I love our life together. Always.

1.

  

Slow news jinx

  

Number one rule of local news: if it bleeds, it leads.

Rule number two? Timing is everything. When nothing is bleeding, reporters pay attention to things they might ordinarily ignore.

Like, for instance, the Twitter message flashing in the corner of my screen late on a quiet October afternoon.

TIME GROWS SHORT. THEY WILL PAY.

I slumped back in the chair in my little ivory cubicle at the
Richmond
Telegraph
, my eyes scanning the words again.

Sure, every crime reporter in America has picked up a few nutjobs—the internet just makes it easier for them to find us. My habit of sticking my nose into some of my more tangled stories makes me a bit of a troll magnet, too. But three messages in two weeks, all in the same harsh all-caps characters, all just ominous enough to be interesting—my eyebrows jumped to my hairline as I scrolled back to reread the first two.

Thirteen days before, at 3:47 in the afternoon: SECRETS=DEATH. THEY WILL TALK.

Five days later, at 4:19: LOVE>MONEY. THEY WILL HELP.

They who? Pay for what? Help with what? Asking questions is my job, which works out nicely for my borderline-nosy nature. My fingers inched toward the keyboard, and I jerked them away.

Journalism in the age of the Internet 101: never engage with a creeper. Whoever LCX12 was, he had the upper hand, because he knew exactly who I was. And where I worked.

Two good reasons to stuff my fingers in my pockets and go back to blowing off the messages.

But the lack of anything better to do combined with a surge of what-if-itis (What if someone gets hurt? What if I can help?) kept my attention on the screen.

I clicked to the profile.

No name, no tweets to show, no followers or following.

Strike one.

I studied the handle: LCX12.

Initials? Couldn’t be but so many last names beginning with X. I clicked over to the DMV site (my paid subscription to their records service often comes in handy) and logged in. Search parameter: twenty miles around Richmond, last name, first letter. Find.

Thirty-nine matches. More than I hoped for, especially since I had no clue if this goose trail went anywhere.

No one would be so stupid as to send stuff like that from an account with their initials on it, my inner Lois Lane whispered.

Then again, criminals usually aren’t the smartest people drawing breath.

I copied the names into a file and checked birthdates: nine in December and three on the twelfth of another month.

I made another list for those, clicking back to the messages.

A few minutes of staring at them later, I reached for the phone, my fingers clumsy as I tried to dial a once-familiar number.

Kyle Miller.

A ring trilled in my ear. Deep breath. My long-ago ex had grown up to be a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives SuperCop. The kind who’d saved my life more than once. And he no longer wanted to be my ex. Which would be great, absent one super-sexy boyfriend-type guy.

Kyle had kept his distance for weeks—nursing some emotional wounds after his physical ones healed, I figured—but he’d help. I hoped.

Fifth ring.

Voicemail.

Dammit.

“Kyle, it’s Nichelle.” I forced brightness into my voice. “I have a…situation here I could use your help with. Can you give me a call back when you have a second?” I tapped my pen on the desk. “Business. That’s all. This is weird.”

I hung up, unsure what was stranger—the vaguely threatening DMs or me being nervous about talking to Kyle. Kyle, who’d taught me to drive a stick, taken me to prom, and taken my virginity two months later.

Lacking help from my favorite ATF agent, I dialed my favorite police detective.

“I thought you’d forgotten about me,” Aaron White said when he picked up his cell.

“Slow news week.” I leaned back in my chair. “A nice seat in a courtroom, going home at dark—it’s been lovely. What’ve you been doing with yourself?”

“Working. I’m still buried in cases you’re not writing about anymore, when I’m not fielding reporters’ phone calls. The joy of budget cuts.”

“Preaching to the choir, Detective,” I said. Days at the courthouse covering trials are easier than ones spent poring over fresh crime scenes, but work is work. “I have something that might be interesting enough to talk about here, though. Wondering if I can pick your brain when you have a few minutes.”

“I’m tired of looking at this file.” Aaron’s voice held thinly disguised curiosity. “Want to grab a drink?”

“Perfect. Meet you at Capital Ale in twenty?”

My scanner bleeped just as an ear-splitting pop of static issued from something in Aaron’s office. I set the phone down and turned the scanner up.

“Remains discovered.” Shit.

I picked up the phone.

“Rain check?”

“Slow news week. You jinxed us,” Aaron growled. “That’s a condo complex on the river. See you there.”

“Sorry. I’ll buy you a beer after.”

“Two.”

“Deal.”

I clicked off the call and slung my bag over my shoulder, the messages taking a backseat to the first possibly newsworthy corpse we’d had in over two weeks.

So much for quiet.

BOOK: Cover Shot (A Headlines in High Heels Mystery Book 5)
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