by Michele Lynn Seigfried
“I saw him,” she said. “He handed an envelope filled with money to the tooth fairy.”
The ramblings of eighty-nine-year-old woman with dementia. The government employees are used to her regular phone calls and dismiss the crazy old lady; but the new municipal clerk, Chelsey Alton, isn’t so sure the woman is off her rocker. Something’s amiss in the Village of Coral Beach, a small, New Jersey shore town community, and Chelsey’s determined to find out what it is.
The former clerk of Coral Beach, Vinny Buttiglieri was murdered and dead bodies keep popping up all over town. Between being a single mom to a temper tantrum throwing two-year-old, bosses who humiliate her in public, the dead bodies, and a man named Mike Nero that is stalking her, she has her hands quite full!
Chelsey recruits her good friend, Bonnie, a voluptuous woman with an off-color sense of humor, to assist her on a few recon missions. The deeper they dig, the more they put themselves in danger, becoming entangled with sinister mobsters, criminal activity, and government corruption.
Not everything is as it seems. Chelsey thinks she’s doing the right thing, trying to uncover the truth and protect herself at the same time, but can she save herself when she becomes entrenched too deep in this Jersey shore mystery?
I stopped by Take Ten and ordered a double espresso to go. From there, I drove to work and pulled in the parking lot. I looked in my rear view mirror to see how bad my dark circles looked. They were bad. I added some extra powder makeup to them and headed on inside. Bonnie had arrived before me. I passed by her desk and gave her a little wave as I took a sip of my coffee. In return, she rolled her eyes. I gave her that look, like what? She nodded toward Dingo’s office. I glanced in. He was sitting at his desk, picking toe jam out of his left foot. I looked back at Bonnie with a facial expression like, eww, then continued on my way. I didn’t have many dealings with Dingo, but from what I had seen of him so far, I didn’t like him much. He was a weirdo.
I spent the rest of the morning keeping busy with paperwork, while I intently watched the clock. I couldn’t wait for noon to roll around so I could go somewhere else and get some more coffee with caffeine in it. To my grave disappointment, those in charge of ordering coffee for the municipal building were only stocking decaf this week.
My phone rang. It was an interoffice call, except I didn’t recognize the extension.
“Hello.” I said.
“Nero alert!” Bonnie said.
“What? Where are you calling from?”
“The conference room. I can see Nero coming into the building from the parking lot. Run for your life!”
“Gotcha!” I said as I hung up the phone.
I darted out of my office and into the ladies’ room. I waited a few minutes and wondered how long I’d have to wait until the coast was clear. I might as well use the latrine while I’m in here, I thought. I entered the stall, lined the seat with a disposable seat protector, and sat down to do my thing. My tush no sooner hit the seat when I heard his voice.
“Hello? Chelsey? Hello?”
You have got to be kidding me! I thought as the blood boiled up through my veins.
“Chelsey? Are you in there?” I heard as the door began to crack open.
“Seriously? Seriously?” I screamed. I certainly can’t pee now, knowing that jerk is trying to come in here!
“Chelsey, it’s me. Mike Nero.”
“I know who the heck it is, and if you don’t get the eff out of here, I swear I’m going to march right down to the police department and have them lock you up for being a Peeping Tom!”
“All right, geez, calm down. You must be PMSing.”
That was the last straw. I pulled up my pants, slammed open the stall door and marched out of the bathroom, grabbing Nero by the ear and pulling him straight out of the building. I was fuming mad. The man was psycho. I couldn’t even pee in peace with him around. It was my breaking point, and I had had enough.
“Nero, I’m warning you, I am going to slap you with a restraining order, then I’m going to go to all the newspapers and tell them that you are a stalker. I imagine that won’t be too good for business.”
“Did you wash your hands in there? I didn’t hear the water running.”
“Nero! Concentrate! I…want…you…to…leave…me…alone!”
“Please,” Nero pleaded. “I have something important I wanted to tell you.”
Michele Lynn Seigfried is an award-winning novelist, children’s book author/illustrator and public speaker who was born and raised in New Jersey. In her mystery novels, she draws from her personal expertise in the area of municipal government, in which she has served for over 16 years in two different municipalities. She holds a B.A. in communication from the College of New Jersey with a minor in art. She obtained the Master Municipal Clerk certification from the International Institute of Municipal Clerks in 2010. She also holds the Registered Municipal Clerk certification and Certified Municipal Registrar Certifications from the State of New Jersey. In combining her love of writing with art, Michele began writing and illustrating children’s picture books in 2013.
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To Purchase Tax Cut (Jersey Shore Mystery Series #2)
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To Purchase Red Tape (Jersey Shore Mystery Series #1)
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