Hello all! I thought I'd give you all another little taste of my newest novel Lies in Chance which is available for sale where you buy all your fine e-books. This is the second chapter, so go ahead and enjoy!
Bryan Jacobs looked forward to mornings with a relish that made his students nervous. The thirty-two-year-old fifth grade teacher loved the early morning quiet in the halls of Rock Harbor Community School, the stillness of the teachers' lounge. He could not bring himself to tell anyone, not even his best friends, not Drew, not Joanna, and certainly not Molly, why. Not even they could understand how mornings reminded him of Jenny more than any other time of the day.
Bryan settled into his favorite leather armchair, and reached for the remote control. A news junkie who watched CNN religiously, once a week, Bryan ignored the national news and focused on the local news for his Current Events class. Local news for Rock Harbor students meant Green Bay news, focusing on the Packers, or the grittier big city reports from Milwaukee. While Milwaukee was four hour and a cultural lifetime away from the rural confines of Rock Harbor, Bryan found that the students in his class felt in touch with any news that originated within the boundaries of their home state.
Bryan did not need to look up. The only other person awake and not milking cows at this hour was the principal of RHCS, Drew Shepaski, a quiet man who spent most of his life in the shadow of his perpetually verbal, and currently pregnant wife, Joanna. "How's Jo?" Bryan turned down the volume on the TV.
Drew switched on the coffee maker. "She sees a doctor today. A Green Bay channel? Did the cable go out again?" Drew tapped his coffee mug on the counter; a nervous habit picked up from every other teacher in the building who survived long night meetings by drinking a gallon of the bitter brew spewed out in the teacher’s lounge.
"Current events class."
"Oh. So what’s the big story?"
Bryan shrugged. "Nothing earth shattering. We have Packer news, of course. Sunday’s win makes the whole season seem rosy again, what’s new? I was actually about the change it to a Milwaukee station. You want four or twelve?"
"Doesn’t four have that blonde traffic woman?"
Bryan grinned. “Yes.”
Drew filled his coffee mug and stared at the dark brew. “Better go with twelve, then. Jo’s got enough paranoia about how she looks right now. Word gets out I’m watching the blonde traffic woman on four, I won’t be allowed in the house.”
"Twelve it is." Bryan grinned as he changed the channel. “Here we go.”
“Breaking news from the northern suburbs this morning. Prominent local businesswoman, Lydia Brandt, was found shot to death in the Shorewood Lexus dealership she owned early this morning. The cleaning crew found her body at about two...”
"It's always those poor cleaning people who walk in on stuff like that, isn't it?" Drew commented over the female newscaster’s voice as he sat at the table.
“Seems that way, doesn’t it.”
“Police confirm that Mrs. Brandt was killed by a gunshot wound to the face.”
“Oh that’s messy.” Bryan jotted a note on his note pad and looked back up at the screen.
“Also seriously wounded was Mrs. Brandt’s sales manager, forty year old Richard Bennett. Mr. Bennett spoke to our reporter, Blair Dailey, from his hospital bed at Froedert Medical Center this morning.”
“Ya know, I’ll probably get in a ton of trouble for saying this, but there are days I almost wish Rock Harbor had some kind of interesting news going on, just so Blair Dailey could come up here and interview the locals.” Drew stirred three sugar cubes into his coffee, his gaze never leaving the TV screen.
"You’re worried Jo will find out you’re watching the traffic girl on four and you’re sitting here wishing from some kind of drama in this town just so you can meet—ho-ly hell!” Bryan leaped from his seat and turned up the volume to maximum.
“What?" Drew stared at the man’s face on the screen. “You know that guy?”
“That’s the guy...the guy from the loft.” Bryan nearly gagged on the words.
"That’s Jenny’s guy?” Drew threw a glance at Bryan. “Sorry. I mean, that’s the guy...from the loft? Someone shot him?”
"I’ll bet it was some poor slob who just happened to have an attractive wife.” Bryan backed up from the television and stared at the face. He tried to ignore the twisted sense of satisfaction that washed over him as he studied the man who stole Jenny from him three years ago. Sucks to be you…
“Yes, Blair, I am blessed to be alive. Losing Lydia like that...” Richard Bennett stared right into the camera lens, a tear glistening in the corners of his blue eyes.
“Were you able to get a look at the assailant?” Blair Dailey, roving reporter, stuck the microphone back to him.
“No. It all happened so fast. And now...Shara is missing. And if anyone has Shara, please bring her back...to the people that love her.”
“Oh shut up you...you lying...sack of...bastard.” Bryan’s voice was a deep, heavy growl as he glared at the face on the screen. So smooth, even from a hospital bed. Ass.
Blair Dailey, obviously now outside the hospital, continued her report. “Mr. Bennett refers to Miss Shara Brandt, Lydia Brandt’s twenty-three- year old grand-daughter, who is also Mr. Bennett’s fiancé. Miss Brandt is wanted for questioning in the murder of Lydia Brandt, but she is currently missing. Police are asking for your help in locating this woman.” Here a picture, what looked to be a high school senior portrait, of a thin, pale girl flashed on the screen. The face didn’t register with Bryan, who was still stuck on the fact that Richard was engaged…and not to Jenny. “Son of a bitch.”
“Hey, Bryan? Take a deep breath and remember we’re at school.” Drew said in a low voice as he looked over his shoulder at the door. “We don’t need the rest of the staff thinking you’ve had a relapse, right?”
“Yeah, okay.” Bryan turned off the television. “Pity they didn’t get him in the face…One less wife stealing bastard on the planet wouldn’t be a bad thing.” His steps to the coffee maker were measured, almost painful. He noted the worried expression on Drew’s face. “Sorry. I wasn’t planning on airing out old wounds this morning.” He gave Drew what he hoped was a reassuring grin.
“I’m thinking maybe you should stick with the Packer news.”
“You’re no fun.” But you’re probably right.
“I know. The fine families of Rock Harbor Community School appreciate that fact,” Drew replied with a grin. “Not to mention the even finer folks of Rock Harbor Community Church, you know the group that pretty much signs your checks?”
"Daddy! Come quick!" Six-year-old Nathan Shepaski burst into the lounge. The sand haired boy was a younger, louder version of his father.
Drew, unflappable, reminded his son of the rules. "Nate, you’re not supposed to come in here. And what do you call me when we are at school?"
Nate swallowed hard, trying to catch his breath. "When we’re at school, I'm supposed to call you Mr. Shepaski. But Daddy-"
"Mr. Shepaski, Mrs. Hunter says to come quick. There‘s a girl, just walked out of the creek like a ghost or somthin‘."
Both men followed the boy out the door without another word.