Two For The Price Of One

Two For The Price Of One

by Jim Spence, David Spence

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781475918595
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 05/15/2012
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.89(d)

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TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE

A Billy Michaels Mystery
By Jim Spence David Spence

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2012 Jim and David Spence
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4759-1859-5


Chapter One

I have to be the luckiest person in the entire world.

As the cool air from her personal wine chiller washed over her naked body, this thought came to her again. It wasn't the first time she'd had it; in fact, in the months she had lived there, enjoying the view, she had thought the same thing many times. To come from a small coal town in southern West Virginia to such a wonderful apartment in New York City was certainly a 'fairy tale' in the making.

She took the bottle of wine and two glasses to the couch, to watch the city below her, as she waited for him to join her for their celebration. She poured herself a glass and began to reminisce about the first time she'd met him.

Having seen his face on television, she knew who he was before he even got to her desk. He looked more handsome in person then he had on the screen, and when he smiled at her and asked if "Johnnie Mac" was available, she fell in love instantly. Eventually she was able to pull herself together long enough to buzz Mr. McFarland and get his permission to "send him on in."

When he came out he stopped and talked for over an hour. He wanted to know all about her ... where she was from, where she went to school, what she did for fun ... and then he spent another ten minutes telling her all about himself. When he left, he told her he would see her again soon, but she just thought it was the politician in him talking. She had just started her new position at work, the same week she was to headline a play at NYU, and was surprised to find a bouquet of four-dozen roses backstage on opening night; and he was there to congratulate her.

Eventually he asked her to dinner. She knew he was married, but she couldn't resist. They talked about themselves, their families, and their plans for the future ... just two friends sharing their most secret thoughts and dreams. When he took her home, he gave her a chaste kiss on the cheek. It was a perfect night.

The next day she had flowers sitting on her desk.

When he first began to talk about getting her an apartment, she resisted. He then began to bring her brochures to browse, but she still said "no." Eventually he quit asking. Then one night he picked her up for dinner and took her to a 'private dining room'. He hadn't told her it was the dining room in a penthouse apartment overlooking the park, the most beautiful view she had seen since she had moved to the city. She knew she would say "yes" when he asked again for her to keep the apartment. In a month's time it felt like home to her; soon after it seemed like home to him as well.

Thanksgiving arrived before she knew it. She flew home for the holidays and didn't return until the first week of December. She worried the time apart might cool his ardor, but when she returned he met her at the door and took her in his arms, and it was like she had never been away.

Next came the most perfect Christmas day ever. Not only did she awake to breakfast in bed, but he also spent the entire day with her ... and the final gift she received that night was the cap to a perfect holiday. As he handed her an engagement ring, he said, "I want you to be my wife ... to always be there for me, and I will always be there for you." Of course, she said, "Yes."

Then came his New Year's party. Traditionally held on the night of the 30th, he and his wife hosted one of the biggest events in the city, and this year would be no different. He told her this would be his "final act," that after the party he would tell his wife he was leaving her, and would then come to spend New Year's Eve with her. They would welcome in the New Year together, and never be apart again.

This is why she was sitting in the dark, nude, sipping wine and enjoying the view from her window. Her window ... she could finally say that.

She heard the door softly open and footsteps walk across the floor toward her. They stopped behind her, and slowly her hair was pulled back, behind her shoulders, removing the only obstruction to a view of her perfect breasts.

"Do you like what you see?" she asked, but before finishing her question she felt a pull across her throat, and suddenly couldn't breathe. Bright spots began to flash before her eyes, as the pressure in her chest grew greater and greater. It all happened so quickly, she couldn't fathom what was happening. Why? was the first thought that crossed her mind ... and the last thought she ever had was a modified form of the oft-spoken phrase:

I thought I was the luckiest person in the world.

Chapter Two

"It could be worse; it could be snowing."

No one listened as Detective Billy Michaels lamented for what must have been the hundredth time that night. He was nursing his third beer, amidst all the noise taking place around him in the pub, and outside on East 49th Street. This New Year's Eve was mostly similar to previous celebrations, except for one discernible difference: murder. Michaels had previously been in foot patrol, standing in the streets directing traffic, giving directions, getting puke on his shoes. But his recent move up to detective (with a decent bump in pay) meant that he now had to do real police work.

New Year's Eve two years earlier had seen the population of the city hit a staggering ten million residents, with the corresponding problems that accompany elbow-to-elbow living. Muggings, assaults, rapes and robberies all spiraled virtually out of control, one of the reasons Billy Michaels moved from traffic to foot patrol to detective in less than two years.

Billy had grown up in the city. He'd only been out of the boroughs a few times in his entire life; the city was his home ... his security blanket.

His first trip away from the concrete jungle came when he was just nine years old. He went to attend a funeral; the funeral of his mother. She had been found dead in their apartment, murdered, and the killer had never been caught. She was buried in the mountains near her birthplace, and Billy never forgot how it felt to be standing on a quiet hillside, where birds played symphonies and the sounds of city life were non-existent. From that day forward, any time Billy smelled fresh grass, or heard a bird sing, his memory of losing her returned.

Billy carried her death with him like a photo book, something to be opened when life was good, then put away when the memories became too hard to handle.

The loss of his mother was a life-changing event, as it would be for anyone, and the main reason he'd become a cop. And given the events of the day he'd just had, it explained, more than any New Year's revelry could, why Billy Michaels was sitting in a pub, nursing his third beer, when he rarely drank alcohol at all.

"Goodness, me boy," shouted Paddy from behind the bar, over top of the revelry taking place all around them. "If your chin drooped any lower, you'd be pourin' the drink on your shoes."

The detective was used to drinks on his shoes ... drinks and vomit and blood, from almost two years of being on the force. He was used to being overlooked and under appreciated, a soulless uniform with a badge.

"Yeah, I know it, Paddy. Just ignore me. It was a bad day at the office."

Yeah, murder is a bad day; bad for me, but worse for the woman left lying in her own blood.

The call came in a little after ten o'clock that morning. With a staff meeting behind him, Michaels was walking back to his desk to check his messages before going on to the detectives' meeting one of his bosses had scheduled for noon. No lunch again, he thought, as he made his way through the pine forest of cheap furniture and coffee stains in the crowded squad room. Being the rookie meant his desk was in the back, between the laser printer and the bathroom.

"Yo, Michaels, the boss wants to see you."

He turned to see who had beckoned, but with over thirty people crowded into one wall-less room it was impossible to tell.

"Which one?" he yelled back, to no one in particular.

Five different people pointed in the same direction: at the door leading into the Chief of Detective's office.

Billy Michaels worked his way through the crowd, bumping into one chair after another, stubbing his toe on a desk, and knocking a cold cup of coffee over onto a stack of papers.

At least it wasn't onto my shoes.

He hurried on without looking around to see if anyone had noticed he'd made the mess.

The Chief's name and title were painted over top of the smoked glass in the door. Michaels noticed it needed a touch up the first time he saw it; the 'i' in 'Chief' was barely visible, meaning everyone called him the "Chef of Detectives." It wasn't funny the first time he saw it, but Michaels smiled now when he read it for the hundredth time.

He knocked on the glass, heard a gruff, "Get in here," and opened the door.

Sitting behind the desk was a tall, thin sixty-something gentleman wearing a decent suit and a bad toupee. It wasn't the Chief of Ds.

"Close the door, Michaels." Sitting in the only other chair in the office was Chief Detective Rossi, all three hundred pounds of him.

"This is the lad I've been telling you about, Cappy."

The thin man in the Chief's chair remained seated but reached out a hand. Billy took it as the thin man said, "Michaels, I've heard great things about you. Great things."

The Chief broke in with, "Michaels, this is Captain Capshaw."

Michaels suddenly realized the Chief didn't call him 'Cappy' because of his rank.

"A pleasure, Sir," Michaels said, and he stuck his hand out one more time to shake that of the Captain.

But the Captain didn't take his hand this time. Instead he stood and said, "Michaels, sit down. We have an urgent matter to discuss with you."

The young detective looked around the small office for another chair, even though he knew there wasn't one. Chief Rossi didn't budge from the lone available seat, and Billy sure as heck wasn't going to move around the Chief's desk and sit there, so he said, "Thank you, Sir, but I'll stand."

The Captain paused, glanced at Rossi and said, "So be it. Michaels, we've had our eye on you. We're expecting good things from you, good things, my boy. We've got an assignment for you. And we're absolutely certain you're the man for the job."

And for the next ten minutes, Captain Capshaw and Chief Rossi spelled it out for him. His first real case as a detective. His first murder investigation. His first chance to shine ... or to fail.

After they'd laid out the case for him, Detective Michaels had but one thought:

Be careful what you wish for. You just may get it.

And so Billy Michaels sat in Paddy's pub, late on New Year's Eve, nursing his beer, complaining to the air, trying desperately to stay positive; and the best he could do was ...

"It could be worse; it could be snowing."

Chapter Three

Whether it was a holiday for everyone hung over from the previous night's celebrations or for those still on a bender, almost everyone had a vacation day from work. But not Billy Michaels; there is no vacation from murder.

Detective Michaels walked into the squad room shortly before seven o'clock on Sunday morning, ready to tackle the biggest case of his short career. He'd only gotten about five hours sleep, having left the pub where he celebrated the New Year a little after midnight. Of course, calling what he did a 'celebration' would stretch the boundaries of the word; Billy had spent the bulk of his evening mulling over what little bit of the case he'd been given the day before by the Chief of Ds and 'Cappy', Captain Capshaw.

I'm not sure if I like the cut of that man. Even though everyone in the squad knew who he was, it was the first time Billy had ever met Captain Capshaw, and he somehow knew it wouldn't be the last. The captain was condescending at best, and thinking the detective didn't see right through his bullshit was insulting.

"We're expecting good things from you, good things, my boy."

But he was the Captain, and Billy was the low man on the totem pole, so his opinion of the man didn't matter. He had a job to do.

He made a fresh pot of coffee, poured a cup and sat with the meager folder containing everything he'd been given about the case.

The victim was a young girl from out of state who had been murdered in her apartment during the early morning hours the previous day. Initial interviews at the scene were sketchy at best: the responding patrolman, after calling it in, talked to a few neighbors and to the doorman, but that was about it. The crime scene unit had probably made a cursory inspection of the murder scene and called it a day since it was, after all, the morning of New Year's Eve. Billy looked through the sparse contents of the folder and realized he didn't even have the CSU investigation report.

Oh, that's just great.

How could he begin any investigation when he didn't even know how she was murdered? The initial report by the patrolman at the scene listed the cause of death as a possible strangulation, because the victim had bruises around her neck, but she had a neck wound as well, which explained the massive amount of blood at the scene. The true cause of death would have to be ascertained by CSU and the medical examiner. The little bit of information he had was perplexing.

Detective Michaels had grown up in the city and knew it well. As a young man, he'd fallen in love with the idea of being a cop, as he watched the men in blue patrol his neighborhood and the surrounding boroughs, and saw how everyone respected and revered them. It was all he had ever wanted to be ... especially after the unsolved murder of his mother.

Be careful what you wish for. You just may get it.

At first he thought the address listed in the patrolman's report was wrong: condos on East 57th Street were normally priced in the millions of dollars. If what little bit they knew about the victim, Debra Miller, was correct, she was a college student; a partial list of inventory from her apartment included current textbooks and college playbills. There was also a driver's license in her purse with the condo's address, and a few letters with 'Engle and Stella Miller' handwritten in the return address from some little town in West Virginia. Probably her parents. Billy Michaels' heart dropped when he realized the only relatives of the victim lived out of state.

But the big question: how could she afford a condo in that neighborhood? A college student and she lived in a ten million dollar condo. Rich boyfriend? High priced hooker? Rich parents? Maybe, but from West Virginia? Once he had a chance to check through her financials, he'd have a better idea.

He was beginning to see why Captain Capshaw had singled him out for this case. The amount of work it was going to take was mind-boggling.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE by Jim Spence David Spence Copyright © 2012 by Jim and David Spence. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgements....................xi
Introduction....................xiii
One....................3
Two....................6
Three....................9
Four....................13
Five....................16
Six....................21
Seven....................25
Eight....................28
Nine....................32
Ten....................35
Eleven....................43
Twelve....................47
Thirteen....................50
Fourteen....................55
Fifteen....................62
Sixteen....................65
Seventeen....................72
Eighteen....................82
Nineteen....................86
Twenty....................91
Twenty-One....................95
Twenty-Two....................99
Twenty-Three....................103
Twenty-Four....................105
Twenty-Five....................109
Twenty-Six....................115
Twenty-Seven....................118
Twenty-Eight....................124
Twenty-Nine....................128
Thirty....................135
Thirty-One....................139
Thirty-Two....................149
Thirty-Three....................153
Thirty-Four....................157
Thirty-Five....................162
Thirty-Six....................166
Thirty-Seven....................169
Thirty-Eight....................174
Thirty-Nine....................177
Forty....................181
Forty-One....................187
Forty-Two....................194
Forty-Three....................200
Forty-Four....................206
Forty-Five....................209
Forty-Six....................210
Forty-Seven....................214
Forty-Eight....................218
Forty-Nine....................225
Fifty....................229
Fifty-One....................233
Fifty-Two....................237
Fifty-Three....................240
Fifty-Four....................246
Fifty-Five....................250
Fifty-Six....................255
Fifty-Seven....................261
Fifty-Eight....................265
Fifty-Nine....................269
Sixty....................272
Sixty-One....................279
Sixty-Two....................282
Sixty-Three....................286
Sixty-Four....................291
Sixty-Five....................295
Sixty-Six....................299
Sixty-Seven....................303
Sixty-Eight....................311
Sixty-Nine....................315
Seventy....................321
Seventy-One....................326
Seventy-Two....................330
Seventy-Three....................332
Seventy-Four....................336
Seventy-Five....................339
Seventy-Six....................344
Seventy-Seven....................349
Seventy-Eight....................352
Seventy-Nine....................357
Eighty....................363
Eighty-One....................369
Eighty-Two....................375
Eighty-Three....................381

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