THE CASE OF THE BYGONE BROTHER
By Diane Burton
A PI mystery set in West Michigan
Available at: Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00P1GPR0Q
After taking over O’Hara & Palzetti, Confidential Investigations from her dad and his partner, Alex O’Hara’s bottom line has taken a plunge. So when a femme fatale offers her the case of a lifetime along with a huge advance, Alex sees her finances on a definite upswing. But someone doesn’t want her to find the long-lost brother. Complicating matters is the return of Alex’s old heartthrob, Nick Palzetti. Is he really there just to see her or does he have an ulterior motive? The Lake Michigan resort town of Fair Haven is abuzz with the news that O’Hara & Palzetti are together again.
I whacked my head on the display shelf.
Well, what would you do if you were lying across the top of a four-drawer lateral file cabinet, and your arm—yardstick attached—was wedged between the wall and the cabinet, trying to retrieve the license renewal application that if you mangled, crushed or couldn’t get would mean the end of your business, and the ex-love-of-your-life stood in the doorway looking at your butt?
The shelf shook on its braces from contact with my head. Never mind that the encounter didn’t do much for the aforementioned body part. The Fair Haven Chamber of Commerce awards rattled, and signed Detroit Tigers baseballs pelted my head, shoulders, and the back of my thigh. I dropped the yardstick and swore.
“I thought you promised your mother you wouldn’t swear anymore.” He would remind me of that vow.
“Relapse,” I muttered as I looked over my shoulder.
In that loose-limbed, cocky manner I once thought scary, sexy, and so cool, Nick Palzetti stood in the doorway to the spare office. He even dressed the same in a black leather jacket, black knit shirt, and jeans that molded his hips. Lordy, he could still make my mouth go dry.
As I wiggled back and sideways across the long cabinet, I felt my skirt ride up. Of all days to wear a skirt. With my foot, I searched for the desk chair I’d climbed to get on top of the cabinet. I’d kicked off my high heels before standing on the chair, probably the only smart thing I’d done so far.
“Red panties, you naughty girl.”
I clamped my legs together. “Quit looking up my skirt.”
“Need a hand?” he asked.
The way my luck was going, he’d start clapping. “No, thanks. I’m fine.”
My foot finally found the chair. It spun away. I swore again. Mom would understand.
“Don’t you know better than to climb on things that move?”
“Gee, I never heard that before.”
Thanks to said skirt and gravity, I started to slide. I grabbed the back of the cabinet and dangled, the front edge digging into my ribs. I could have let go. The cabinet was only five feet high and full. Otherwise it would have toppled over, crushing me. Now, that might have been a good thing. It would’ve put me out of my misery.
Two hands grabbed my waist. Normally, I liked a man’s hands on me. Just not the man who broke my heart fifteen years ago. “Okay, Lexie. I’ve—”
“Don’t call me that,” I snapped. “I go by Alex.” Probably not the best time to assert my name choice.
“Okay, Alex. I’ve got you.” He did. I tried to twist away, lost my grip on the cabinet and fell.
“Gotcha,” he said, a half sec before we tumbled to the hardwood floor. He must have twisted because I landed on top of him. That had to hurt. With my height, I was no light-weight. I looked through a curtain of red. My carefully arranged, very professional chignon had tumbled down. Like the song, thanks to Nick Palzetti, I’d come undone.
“Another fine mess you’ve gotten me into.” I hooked a hank of hair behind my ear and propped my elbow on his chest. “Just like Indiana Jones, hey, Nick? I always knew you’d come back through my door. Of course, I’d rather it was Indy, instead of you.”
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and The Case of the Bygone Brother, a PI mystery. She is also a contributor to the anthology How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and two grandchildren.
For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com
Connect with Diane Burton online
Goodreads: Diane Burton Author
Books by Diane Burton:
The Pilot: An Outer Rim Novel
The Chameleon: An Outer Rim Novel
One Red Shoe
The Case of the Bygone Brother: An Alex O’Hara Novel
How I Met My Husband (contributor)