Title: The Bo(d)y Next Door
Genre: Romantic Mystery
Date published: February 15, 2014
All single girl Alison Brown really needs is to spend a week on the beach with her best friend, Frankie. But instead of margaritas and sunscreen, she gets a murder next door and death threats. Now, she's involved in a police investigation while trying to save her own neck and get the heck out of Dodge. And to top it all off, the hot new neighbor, Poindexter "Dex" Jones, is determined to keep her safe and maybe get her into bed. The question is, what's more dangerous: the killer or Dex trying to steal her heart?
It was a Friday night, but it was no ordinary Friday night. I was turning in my invoice for the week, early, because Frankie and I were preparing for our annual May vacation the following week. I am a work-from-home medical transcriptionist, and Frankie, my best friend, owns a salon. The last few weeks have been crazy busy for Frankie because it’s prom season. The last of the proms for the local schools was scheduled for Saturday night, and then Frankie and I were headed for the coast of Texas for a few well-deserved days on the beach before wedding season started up in June. But before we started thinking about bikinis, sunscreen, and margaritas, she had to pamper the last of this year’s juniors and seniors for prom.
The first few weeks of May every year are always stressful for Frankie, doing manicures, pedicures, and amazing hairstyles for these girls every Friday and Saturday afternoon and into the early evening to make sure they all looked perfect for their proms. In addition to the busy Fridays and Saturdays, Frankie had to do payroll, keep the place clean and well-stocked, and keep her regular appointments. It’s been exhausting for her, so I’ve spent the last few Sundays helping Frankie get everything restocked and ready for her Tuesday morning appointments so she could take Mondays off to rest.
As I hit send on my email to turn in my invoice, my phone rang. It was 8:00, and Frankie was calling.
“What’s up?” I answered. “Are you exhausted again?”
“Of course,” she replied. “I’ll be over in 10 to have a beer and some pizza. I’ll bring a movie, too. Cool?”
“Cool. See ya in a few,” I said.
I’ve always loved it when Frankie and I just enjoyed a night in, drinking beer and eating pizza. We live in an apartment complex that caters to single professionals. Most of the people who live here are young because children aren’t allowed, but there are a few older singles that live here, too. She lives two doors down from me, and we met when I first moved in two years ago. At the time, I was coming off a breakup with Dr. Grant Bishop, a resident physician who’d decided that I should follow him to Africa where he was going to work for Doctors Without Borders. I wasn’t interested, so he broke our engagement. Still depressed, I decided to move to the singles apartment complex and try to get back into the dating scene.
I was shutting down the computer when I heard the doorbell ring downstairs. Frankie was a little early.
“Door’s open,” I yelled down the stairs as I headed to my bathroom. When I heard the front door open, I said, “Brownies are on the counter if you want one. Down in a minute, gotta pee.”
“Um…thanks?” a male voice came back up the stairs. That was definitely not Frankie. Who the hell did I just invite into my apartment?