Real life crime solving can certainly put a damper on a romance.
When the biggest gossip in Newburg, Indiana ends up dead—with Sam Arnold’s dad the prime suspect—stuff gets real. It’s been a month and a half since she helped bring down a bad guy. It’s time to try her hand at a new case, especially since her boyfriend is out of town.
Special Agent Mitchell has been saddled with a sexy, driven partner. Cutting corners or covering shortcuts with charm doesn’t work on her. He misses brainstorming with Sam, and now that her dad’s reputation is on the line, the pressure’s on. Evading his watchdog--and snooze-fest new assignment--is top priority.
Time’s running out for Sam and Mitchell to solve the crime. His new partner’s special interest puts their romance in jeopardy and tries the relationship's trust, but an unlikely killer puts life into perspective.
All too soon he arrived at the display case. The length of a coffin, the rectangle-shaped box left nothing to the imagination regarding the body within. Bones, browned from the ages as well as embalming solution, rested on what appeared to be a custom-made mattress of sorts. There was even a pillow for the mummy's head.
He forced a swallow into his tight throat. The creeptastic fear -- or rather unholy respect -- for mummies had started in his childhood after watching too many episodes of Scooby Do. Then, once as a senior in high school, he and some buddies went to a local museum where a traveling exhibit on treasures of Egypt had landed. After entering a replica of a pyramid, his good for nothing pals had hidden themselves behind corners. Each had jumped out at Mitchell as he'd passed through the corridors. The shock, compounded with the dark and snug spaces, had propelled him forward, mute with terror, where he'd eventually careened into a sarcophagus. When he'd turned around to see what had broken his flight, he'd come face to face with a similar mummy. Though it had been under glass inside the coffin-like container, the sheer panic he'd felt at staring into the empty eye sockets and the slightly gaping mouth had imprinted onto his mind. To this day he actively avoided anything remotely Egyptian.
Of course, the tongue lashing he'd received from his father hadn't helped. "A Mitchell never shows fear, boy. Even in the most trying of circumstances, we buck up and hold the line. Never let the bastards see your fear, son. They'll use it against you every time. It makes you weak, ineffectual. Now, drop and give me fifty then go run your mile. Make it back in thirteen minutes this time."
Mitchell gritted his teeth against the memory. Despite disappointing his father time and time again, he didn't know if he could manage to ditch his irrational fear of mummies this go around. But, he pressed onward. As he passed the case, he couldn't help but glance inside. The brittle bones in the mummy's hands and fingers looked as if they'd crumble if someone coughed on them. The mouth, perpetually frozen in a horrible grin, showed off teeth and gaps where some had gone missing. He shook his head and gave it as wide a berth as he could in the crowded basement. One parting look put the shock of reddish-blond hair into his line of sight, and Mitchell's stomach clenched. Yeah, definitely freakish to see a skeleton with most of its hair still intact.
When he reached a line of credenzas along the wall behind the mummy case, he breathed a sigh of relief. This job couldn't be done quicker for his liking. The anxiety building in his system eased as he peered at the vast array of jewelry that ranged from Native American to Egyptian to Italian and finally European. They hung from jewelry trees, lay coiled like brightly colored snakes in piles or rested in small boxes padded with cotton. No rhyme or reason and definitely no cards near some of them. What a mottled mess.
As he reached for a collar made of chunky, rough-hewn turquoise stones, a hand landed heavily on his shoulder -- a boney hand that pressed into his flesh so that he felt each individual finger as it tightened its grip.
Mitchell jumped a foot off the floor. "Get off me! Get away!" Terror surged through his body as his pulse raced. He dropped his clipboard in his haste to scramble away from what his imagination told him was the mummy out to get him. Upon realizing the credenza cornered him and hindered an escape, he turned to face his doom.