Good morning. If you are looking for the A to Z Challenge post for the letter Q, just scroll on down, but feel free to read this post as well.
For this week’s tease, I thought I’d take you back to a scene in Echoes of the Past because that book is in a cover competition this week, and I’d appreciate your votes. Nothing to buy–well not unless you want to. LOL
If you’d like to vote for the cover, here’s the link.
And here is your tease:
Tony, eyes closed to avoid the bright, white, fluorescent glare of the lights, waited on the uncomfortable wooden church pew outside the mayor’s office. He wondered if this form of torture was intentional or accidental. His headache had eased thanks to the third dose of analgesics. The door opened. He opened his eyes, alert once more.
A heavy-set, middle-aged dragon, whose nametag read Mildred Stanton, walked over to him. “His Worship will see you now.” There wasn’t a hint of warmth in her voice.
Tony followed dragon lady down to the mayor’s office. She knocked on the door and opened it.
“Professor Steele is here, your honor.”
“Thank you, Mildred.” The petty dictator didn’t look up, but continued to shuffle papers on his desk as if he were looking for something in particular. “You can leave now. I won’t need you any more today. As soon as this interview is over, I have to go to the winery for a few hours. Put the answering machine on, and we’ll deal with anything that comes up tomorrow. The pathologist from Toronto will be here late in the morning.”
“Yes, sir. I’ll see you tomorrow.” She closed the door behind her.
Tony stood impatiently waiting for the mayor to acknowledge him. Stress always made his headache worse.
“I’m sorry for making you wait, Dr. Steele, I won’t keep you long. There were some urgent matters I had to settle.” Mayor Ron Davies didn’t sound sorry one bit, in fact, he sounded smug. He glanced up and removed his reading glasses.
Something about him left a bad taste in Tony’s mouth. They’d met a couple of times in passing, but the man gave him the same feeling he got when confronted by a snake. He hated snakes.
The mayor, in his mid-forties, was young for the job, but as owner of one of the more successful wineries on the island, he commanded a lot of respect. He was part Mohawk and had recently cropped his hair so short it looked like moss growing on his head. Unlike Tony’s overly-casual attire, the mayor wore a navy suit, white shirt, navy and silver striped tie, and his chain of office. He wore a Rolex, not a knock-off, on his left wrist and the gold signet ring on his finger held the largest Ray Star garnet he’d ever seen. The man took his responsibilities seriously, but there was something about him Tony didn’t like.
Normally, he got along well with others. He ran cross-country or skate-skied depending on the weather, but in truth, he had no life beyond his lab and liked it that way. He enjoyed the company of women, dated occasionally, but no one had ever appealed to him—well, the mysterious woman did, but he couldn’t count a dream sex life as real. There was something about the mayor … It had to be the eyes—cold dark eyes that never looked into his when he spoke to him. He didn’t trust a man who wouldn’t look him in the eyes.
Coming to Prince Edward County to study the water in the Lake of the Mountain had been Tony’s dream, and when his grant proposal had been accepted last year, he’d been thrilled, but the mayor had blocked him every step of the way. Why? Proving an unlimited aquifer ran under the Canadian Shield would be a great accomplishment, and it would bring scientists here from around the world. Their money was as good as anyone else’s. It was unlikely he would finish the project now. He had never expected his dream to end in tragedy.
The mayor stood and crossed the floor. He didn’t offer his hand, but stopped a few feet in front of him, too close, as far as Tony was concerned.
He didn’t like people invading his space. His head had begun to throb again, and he’d already taken more medication than he should have.
“I’m afraid I have some bad news. They won’t be able to release the bodies to the parents as soon as we’d hoped. Dr. Slaney, the local G.P. you met this morning, is filling in for our medical examiner and didn’t run things through me. Unfortunately, he reported to the Provincial Coroner’s Office, and they’ve latched onto the case. The bodies have been transported to Belleville pending the arrival of a forensic pathologist from Toronto. I don’t know when he’ll release the bodies. I trust you’ll inform the parents. That’ll be all.”
Tony saw red. He was being dismissed?
Who the hell does this guy think he is?
“What the hell do you mean he won’t release the bodies? You said this morning the police were calling it an accidental drowning. I have grieving parents on their way. They’re going to want to know what’s going on.”
The mayor pivoted and stood even closer.
Tony smelled the coffee and stale cigarette smoke on the man’s breath.
“Then maybe you should ask them. I understand one of the family members caused this delay. It’s out of my hands.”
Don’t forget to check out the rest of this week’s teases.