Dorothy Howell, Mystery Author
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Excerpt from Beach Bags and Burglaries

For no real reason, the Sea Vixen beach bag popped into my head.

I gazed out the window again and—oh my God, I spotted a woman carrying a Sea Vixen. That’s the second time I’d seen it on the island.

Immediately, my senses jumped to high alert.  I had to get one.  I couldn’t be the only one here who didn’t have one.  If I caught up with her, I could ask where she got it and have Avery get me one, too.  She said to let her know if we needed anything.  That included beach bags, didn’t it?

“I’m going for a walk,” I announced as I sprinted for the door. 

No way was I letting that woman get away from me.

I hurried down the stairs to the lobby, then turned right figuring there had to be an exit that opened into the courtyard.  I went down a long, wide corridor, past all kinds of room, then out into the lush gardens. 

The woman with the Sea Vixen had disappeared, so I took off in the direction of the bungalows, where I’d seen her headed.  I figured she wouldn’t be walking very fast and I could catch up with her easily.

I followed the meandering path, my head swiveling back and forth so as not to miss her.  I spotted a few women, but none of them carried the Sea Vixen.  I kept going. 

I walked past the bungalows and—yikes!—what if she’d gone inside one of them?  An all-night stakeout flashed in my mind—which I had no problem doing, of course—but I decided I’d keep moving, just in case.

The sound of the surf grew louder as I pushed on.  Vegetation here was thicker and wilder, with lots of rocks and boulders and swaying palm trees.  Finally, the paved path gave way to a sandy beach and rolling ocean waves.  I figured that, even though I couldn’t see them, off to my left around the natural curve of the island was the helipad and the dock for the supply boats. 

I stopped and looked around.  No sign of the Sea Vixen.  In fact, there was no sign of anything.  This stretch of beach was deserted.  The waves were rough which, I guess, was the reason the swimming area was located on a different side of the island. 

Jeez, where was that woman?  Where could she have gone?

I jogged down the beach a short ways but didn’t see her, so I jogged the other way.  Still no sign of her.    

And why the heck would she be out here in the first place?  

Then I thought—ugh—maybe she was out here for a hookup with a man.  Yeah, okay, no way did I want to walk in on that. 

I figured I must have missed her somehow and that I was sure to run into her—or someone else with the bag—again; I’d seen it twice already and we’d only just arrived.  Plus, I could ask Avery if she would help me locate one.

I headed back toward the path.  A flash of color caught my eye.  I spotted a swatch of yellow fabric near a big boulder that was almost hidden amid a stand of palm trees. 

I got a weird feeling. 

I walked over.

My weird feeling got weirder.

I circled the boulder and spotted a young woman lying on the ground.

It was Jazlyn Gordon.

She wasn’t missing anymore.

She was dead.

 

All of Dorothy’s novels are available in paperback and ebook editions on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound.

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