(Edge of darkness #3)
By Vanessa Skye
Fifteen years earlier…
Young police cadet, Alicia Raymond, watched as her mother, Mary Raymond, raged hysterically at the funeral home attendant.
“What do you mean, he was cremated?” she shrieked, almost losing her balance. “Those are not the instructions I gave!”
“I’m sorry, ma’am, but your husband was cremated yesterday, under your instructions. I spoke to you on the phone myself,” he said, his hands outstretched towards Mrs. Raymond as if trying not to inflame the obviously drunken woman in front of him. “Don’t you remember?”
Alicia felt sorry for the poor guy. Trying to calm her mother down now was pointless. She had been trying in vain to do the same since thing she could talk. By speaking, the attendant only made the situation worse.
Mary tried to focus on his face. “No, I do not! I have come here to pick up my husband’s body today. I have a plot all picked out at Greenhills cemetery, right next to mine!”
The attendant blanched as Mary’s breath hit his face, then sighed and crossed his arms. “I can release his cremains to you today, ma’am, and you can still bury him,” he said and glanced in Alicia’s direction.
She watched as he eyed her appreciatively and she returned the favor. He was a tall man, maybe in his early forties, with thick brown hair and deep brown eyes, much like Alicia’s own, punctuated with heavy brows. His last name was Rollings, but he definitely had the dark coloring of a man of Italian or Greek descent. She caught the smirk and raised eyebrow as he stared at her long legs encased in tight blue jeans.
She waited until he finally made his way back to her face and she nodded.
Maybe later, as a reward for doing such a good job.
Mary raged on, oblivious to her daughter and the attendant’s mutual attraction. “He was Jewish! He didn’t want to be cremated, it was against his beliefs!” she shrieked.
Alicia smiled slightly at the revelation that the bastard would rest uncomfortably for eternity.
An added bonus.
“Ma’am,” the man said and ice creeped into his inflection. “I cannot un-cremate a man. What’s done is done.”
“Well, you can guarantee I’ll be suing this funeral home, not to mention you personally,” Mary replied, trying to shove her index finger into the man’s chest, but missing and poking his shoulder instead. “This is a gross injustice! How dare you cremate my husband against his wishes!”
The attendant produced a folded piece of paper from his inner suit pocket and held it under Mary’s nose. “Is this your fax number?” He pointed to the digits at the top of the page.
Mary lost her balance for a moment as she tried to squint at the numerals.
Alicia caught her and held her arm until she steadied herself again.
Mary’s eyes widened. Even in her drunken state, she clearly recognized the number of her new fax machine, the machine she was so proud of as she was the first of her rich friends to get the latest, smaller model. “Yes. But—”
“And is this your signature at the bottom of the cremation order?” he asked, as if he were addressing a small child.
“It looks like it. But I did not sign that! I would never—”
“Ma’am, I hate to point out the obvious, but yes, you did. I distinctly remember speaking to you yesterday and you ordering his cremation immediately. You paid with your credit card over the phone—here’s the receipt!” He showed her the yellow credit card docket.
“I do not remember doing any such thing!” Mary cried. She covered her mouth to stifle a sob.
The man arched one dark brow. “Well, madam, you wouldn’t, would you? If you smelled anything like you do today, yesterday!” He turned on his heel and left them alone.
This time, Berg’s smile was impossible to stifle.
Oh, yeah. Definitely later.
Mary sagged against her daughter as she cried.
Alicia gently steered her towards the door, smirking to herself.
You don’t get though three years of foster care without learning how to forge a signature or two.
Praise for The Enemy Inside:
‘THE ENEMY INSIDE is dark, raw and not for the faint of heart or stomach. As fascinating as the whodunnit is, Berg and Jay are equally interesting. While THE ENEMY INSIDE is a dark read there’s a strong undercurrent of hope as it showcases the strength of kindness, caring, and resilience of the human spirit.’
‘The Enemy Inside had me shaking in my pajamas and I loved every bit of it.’
‘It was a mind blowing experience to see how the whole thing came together. If you want to try your hand at a serial killer cop drama, pick up The Enemy Inside today! You won’t regret it.’
Praise for Broken:
‘I loved this so much. The pacing was great, the twists very clever, and the characterization made you unsure of motives, which added to the suspense.’
‘Vanessa Skye has done it again with another amazing novel. ‘
‘This book .. whoah.. THIS Book!.’