I'm working on a different kind of story. The tagline is Dexter meets The Golden Girls. In sensible shoes and pearls, these women are carrying out their own brand of vigilante justice. I'm halfway through the first book in what will probably be a series, and here is an excerpt.
Today wasn’t her day to kill, but Marge Hardy couldn’t say no to a friend. Bess Majors hadn’t missed one day doing her civic duty until she’d been struck down by the horrible strain of flu that had hit their hometown of Fairview, North Carolina. It had even caused the poor dear to miss Bridge Night, and everyone in the neighborhood knew how much Bess loved bridge.
With a sigh that was both resigned and reluctant, Marge put aside her knitting, shuffled down the hall to her bedroom, and stepped out of her slippers. She changed her clothes—one must always greet a guest with the proper attire—and patted her hair into place. Then with a pinch of her cheeks, she left her bedroom.
Halfway down the hallway, she realized she’d forgotten her pearls. “Oh for the love of Pete, Marge, you’d forget your head if it wasn’t attached.” She retraced her steps to gather the long strand of pearls her late husband, Felix, had gotten her for their last Christmas together. A tear sprang to her eye at the thought, but she quickly chastised herself. Now certainly wasn’t the time to be thinking about love and romance.
Humming below her breath, Marge fastened the pearls around her neck and checked her image in the hall mirror. “Not bad for an old gal.” She winked at her reflection and made it to the living room just as the doorbell rang.
Oh, good. That would be Mr. Livingston now. Perhaps she’d still have time to catch Lives Unfulfilled. The soap was her one guilty pleasure of the day, and her two favorite characters had spent the last few months in a tumultuous relationship that just might get resolved today as long as her appointment cooperated.
She just hoped the geezer would drink his coffee quickly and be on his way. She hated laggers, but more so today with it closing in on three o’clock. Missing the first few minutes of her story would simply ruin today’s viewing. Usually, a show picked up right where the cliffhanger had left off, and she’d no doubt today’s episode was going to be a doozie.
As much as she’d been encouraged to get a DVR, she should have listened by now, but since she spent most of her time at home, she didn’t think it was worth the investment. For times like these, though, one definitely would come in handy.
With a smile on her face, she swept open the door and greeted Ben Livingston warmly, beckoning him into her two-bedroom home with its “Welcome” sign over the foyer table.
“Ben, it’s so good to see you again. Bess told me you’d be stopping by. I’ve just put on a fresh pot of coffee. Come on in and make yourself comfortable. Do you take sugar or cream with yours?”
She barely heard his response as she hurried into the kitchen. Was he a talker? She hadn’t thought to ask Bess. Quite frankly, she didn’t know much about Ben except what she and the girls had learned from their former handler.
A trafficker in women and drugs, he’d topped the FBI’s most wanted list for decades but had managed to elude capture. He’d finally been arrested, but his slimy attorney had managed to get him acquitted when the evidence had magically disappeared. Livingston had sauntered out of the courtroom with a smile on his face and had gone back to his old ways, even having the audacity to move into the Mountain Reserve Retirement community under an assumed name. And had sealed his fate.
Though technically retired, she and her three colleagues, that she now considered friends, worked now more than they ever did. None of them would sleep a wink, though, if they allowed a threat to society like Ben Livingston to go unpunished. And it had been up to Bess to carry out his termination…until today.
“Stupid flu,” Marge muttered, banging cabinet doors as she searched for the creamer. Now where on earth had she put that stuff? When had she used it last?
She snapped her fingers. “Oh, yes. Mr. Shelt.” He’d been her last visitor, expiring several hours after leaving her home, but not before he’d used up all of her coffee creamer. Apparently, he’d preferred the cream over the taste of coffee which had forced her to buy another container which she hadn’t yet put away.
Ben said something to her, but she didn’t really listen. There wasn’t much he could say that would interest her, and once he drank his coffee, she’d shoo him out the door. Marge always found a good dose of rudeness tended to send visitors on their way, and she was always rude to criminals who made a mockery of the justice system.
She touched a hand to her deceased sister’s picture, held against the refrigerator by matching pink magnets. Dear Carolyn’s life had ended early at the hands of a drug dealer who’d mistaken her for one of his customers. He’d served fifteen years in the state penitentiary, not nearly enough in Marge’s opinion. Fortunately for him, she’d been on assignment when he was released from prison, or she might have been tempted to carry out her own brand of justice.
“Time to stop wool-gathering, Marge.” The admonishment sent her into a frenzy of activity. She finished adding the extra ‘spice’ to Ben’s coffee and returned the tiny vial to its safe place in the far corner of the cabinet.
Then squaring her shoulders, she lifted the two mugs of coffee and carried them to the dining room table. The clock was ticking, and she simply had to see if Claudia was going to accept Brock’s marriage proposal.
I've been a writer for a long time, a published author for over twenty years. Along the way, I met a wonderful woman who helped me learn to promote my books, market myself, and be a better author and friend. An author herself, she has accomplished so much in her career, but she has never forgotten that once upon a time, she was a struggling writer.
Many of you know this author, and if you don't, you should because Lisa Renee Jones is one of my favorite people and one heck of a writer. She's funny, smart, talented, driven, and an absolutely incredible person.
She's a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, and one of her series, The Secret Life of Amy Bensen is now a series on Passionflix. And even with all her successes, Lisa is one of the most humble people you'll ever meet. And I share all of this with you today because every writer should have a Lisa in their lives. I'm just lucky enough to have found mine early in my career. Here's hoping you find yours!
My thoughts, experiences, challenges, and goals. Right here. At least once a week or so. Oh, and opinions, too. Those will definitely come in. Join me!