Home Sweet Home By Jude Willhoff

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Where’s Your Home Sweet Home?

Some say that home is where the heart is. My home sweet home is where ever I’m at with my honey. Married at an early age, we’ve grown up together. The house is empty when he’s not here and he feels the same when I’m away. It’s a blessing to be loved and appreciated. That’s what we all want. Jenna Myers has to solve a mystery, a murder and catch an arsonist before she can find her home sweet home. Where is your home sweet home?

Home Sweet Home

Jenna Myers inherits an apartment complex in Denver, Colorado after her father dies in a car crash. Even though there is evidence of foul play, the crime goes unsolved. She breaks off her engagement, sells her bookstore in Cedar Falls, and moves to Denver to manage her real estate investments. A few months later, a friend and tenant is murdered in her apartment complex. Jenna suspects the murder is related to her father’s death but it’s a case of mistaken identity. The killer is after her.

Homicide Detective Michael Locassio meets Jenna and sparks fly…literally. He saves her from a burning building. She wants to help solve the murder of her tenant. He wants her to stay out of his way. She’s attracted to his good looks, but turned off by his surly disposition. He’s surprised by the attraction he feels for her, but knows she’s trouble. Since his wife died he doesn’t need anyone to keep him warm at night. He has an electric blanket and it works just fine, but the last thing he wants is for Jenna to end up dead like her tenant--his undercover agent.

Jenna Myers stood on the dark crimson stain that had seeped into the hallway from under her tenant’s door. Panic rose like a freak desert flash flood. One minute everything was calm, the next, it was raging out of control.

“Torrie?” Jenna pounded frantically against the door, her pulse racing, her throat dry with panic. “Are you all right? Are you in there?” No answer.

Terrified of what she’d find on the other side, she forced herself to turn the brass doorknob. It wouldn’t budge. With trembling hands, she found the master key to her friend’s apartment. Hoping against hope, Torrie was okay she placed the key in the lock and pushed the door open. Near the entrance, Torrie Saunders lay on her side.

Sightless blue eyes gazed at nothing.

Oh God. Jenna choked back a frightened cry as she rushed forward to check for a pulse. Instinct took over as icy fear twisted around her heart. She scanned the studio apartment for an intruder and found none. A curtain flapped against the wall from the breeze of an open window as she examined Torrie. No pulse. No breath. Nothing. Torrie was gone.

Only Jenna’s ragged breathing broke the silence as she stood, grabbed her cell phone from her jacket pocket and dialed.

“This is 911. Is there an emergency?”

“Help friend has been murdered,” she said in a voice that seemed to come from a long way off. Closing her eyes, she saw memories of her father’s death float past her eyelids. She squelched them.

“Where are you?” asked the 911 operator.

“Aspen Valley Apartments...four twenty-eight East Vine, apartment twelve.”

“Stay on the line. A police car will be right there. Did you check for the victim’s pulse?”

“Yes, there isn’t one. And sh--she’s covered with blood. It’s everywhere.” Scarlet blood had splattered on the wall. Jenna took a deep breath and tried to control her nervous shaking.

“Is anyone else there?”

“No. It’s a studio apartment and I can see into all the rooms. It’s just me.”

Turning her back to the grisly sight, Jenna pressed the phone close against her ear and breathed in shallow, quick gasps, forcing herself to calm down.

"Don't touch anything. The police are on the way."

“I won’t.” Sirens wailed in the distance. Would the police help this time, or would it be like the last? Jenna had sold her bookstore and moved from Cedar Falls to Denver to try to solve her father’s murder and keep the apartment complex from being sold. She hadn’t been able to solve anything and was holding on to the complex by a thread. The real estate was all she had left of her family. She couldn’t sell it. And now this.... The shrill sound of a police car screeching into the parking lot jerked her from her thoughts.

“They’re here.” She snapped the phone shut and stuck it in her pocket. She had to get away from the clogging metallic scent of blood--Torrie’s blood. Jenna ran and slipped on the soaked carpet. Cringing and barely holding down her breakfast, she wiped sticky bloody hands against her jacket and rushed into the hallway.

Two uniformed policemen and a plain-clothes detective moved quietly down the sides of the hall with guns drawn. The detective whirled and aimed his gun at Jenna as she rushed toward them.

“Police. Up against the wall,” he shouted.

“I called. Thank goodness you’re here.”

“I said, up against the wall. Now.”

She noted the hard suspicious glint in his eyes. Stunned, she quieted and stuck her hands in the air, her world seeming to spin, yet move in slow motion at the same time.

“What happened here?” the plainclothesman demanded as he patted her down, his voice threatening. He turned her around, searching for a concealed weapon.
She faced the white plaster wall.

“I don’t know.” Embarrassed, she felt the strength of his large warm hands through her thin jacket as he touched her body. He pulled the cell from her pocket.

“Who are you?” His voice was deadly calm as he yanked her arms down and roughly handcuffed her hands behind her back. She guessed he was taking no chances since she was caught running from the crime scene covered in blood.

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