Amanda Case returns for an all new exciting mystery! Jump start your summer vacation with a lighthearted and wholesome fiction novel. From the back cover: "Amanda Case is back for a new mystery that starts out personal. When Christie Henley is arrested for murder at Fielding's Hospital, Liz must discover who would frame her sister and why. Liz sleuths undercover to unveil a motive among doctors, nurses, CEO's, and a janitor. Will Liz find the killer in a plot that gets deeper and deeper? And how will she handle a very unexpected family secret that surfaces during her investigation?"
Here's a sneak peek of the novel! And you can look forward to the third installment for Christmas!
Elizabeth Henley stormed into the police station early one Wednesday morning. Nearly a year had passed since that morning when she arrived at old Anderson Manor. Seven cases had come and gone, all solved successfully and rather uneventfully. Not one had been personal . . . until now.
It was a warm June day, but Liz was wearing long pants and a dress shirt. She was walking quickly to a room where she had questioned suspects so often over the years. However, the person she was meeting was the reason for her anger and surprise.
“Liz—” Officer Robert Gray began to say as she entered the room he was waiting in.
“Bob, how could you?” Liz cut him off.
“It’s not my fault—”
“Did you arrest her?” Liz said, crossing her arms.
“No—I—I couldn’t. Captain Walker brought her in.” Bob put his hands in his pockets.
Liz’s face softened. “I’m sorry, Bob.”
“She’s innocent, of course, but the captain is determined to put her in jail—”
“Not while I’m on the case,” Liz said emphatically. “There is no way that a sister of mine will ever be arrested for murder.” She left Bob standing there and opened a door that led into a small room. Liz bit her lip at the sight of her younger sister, Christie, seated at the small table, twisting the ring on her left hand. She didn’t even glance up when Liz walked in the room. “Christie?” Liz said softly.
Christie turned her head and her eyes flickered. “Oh, Liz!” She stood up and gave her a warm hug. “I’m so glad it’s you.” Christie wearily sat back down into the metal chair provided.
Liz took the seat opposite her sister and hesitated before speaking. “I—” She cleared her throat. “I can’t believe I’m sitting here.”
“At least that’s a familiar chair for you. I can’t believe I’m sitting here.”
“Tell me everything,” Liz pleaded.
“Oh what’s the point,” Christie exclaimed. “They all think I’m guilty—”
“Your fiancé doesn’t,” Liz remarked.
Christie looked down and fingered her ring again. “Bob is not going to marry me now—”
“He was just promoted to sergeant after Brown was fired. He’s not going to marry a felon—”
“You are not going to jail. I’m going to get you out of here.” She twisted her curly brown hair.
“How? All the evidence is against me!”
“Start at the beginning,” Liz answered.
Christie sighed. “It’s a long story.”
“I’m all ears.”
Christie shifted her position. “It was Monday that I had the argument with Brittany—”
“The victim?” Liz asked.
“Yes. Brittany Lewis was the head nurse in my unit.” Christie suddenly looked past Liz and stared at the wall. “That glass—is Bob behind it?”
Liz turned around and looked at the glass that acted as a double mirror. “I don’t know, Christie,” she said softly.
“Probably,” Christie said, “and I guess they are recording everything I’m saying?”
“Bob might as well know the whole story too.” Christie leaned her head on her arm. “He’s not going to be happy about it . . .”
“What happened on Monday?” Liz asked. “Do you suspect someone?”
Christie’s eyes met her sister’s. “I do suspect someone, but let me continue the story.”
Liz said, “Go on.”
“It was six months to the day that I had started working at Fielding’s Hospital. I was relieved that I had passed the probationary period and would remain full time. It’s all I ever dreamed of. You know I have been talking about this for weeks.”
“I remember,” Liz added.
“Bob took me out to dinner that Monday evening. I had mentioned the argument with Brittany then, never imagining it would lead to . . . this.”
“What was the argument about?”
Christie looked at Liz. “Brittany was neglecting her shifts—asking me to cover for her at times. That’s not an easy thing to do in an ICU.”
“I think Brittany thought she could get away with it because she was a senior nurse and I was the new kid in town. I wouldn’t complain because if I did I wouldn’t stay on at the hospital.”
Liz cut in, “I can see where this is going. Your probationary period was finally up, and you could say something to Brittany.”
Christie nodded. “And I did. I really wouldn’t have minded the extra work, except it was so often that I was endangering my own patients.”
“No one found out about this? No one tried to step in and stop what was happening?”
“Well there was one . . .” Christie continued, “Dr. Taylor. He’s the doctor we work with the most, and he started seeing me more often than Brittany.”
“He started asking questions?”
“Yes. He confronted me on the issue. I was trying to cover for her, but he started to see through it.”
“Why were you covering for her?” Liz asked.
Christie said slowly, “She knew something.”
The statement arrested Liz’s attention. “Knew something? About what?”
Christie didn’t answer. “Is there any way I could get a glass of water?”
Liz said, “Of course.” She walked out of the room and returned with a paper cup filled with water from the cooler.
Christie took the drink gratefully and sipped the water quietly. She then sighed.
“What is it, Christie?”
Christie looked across the room at the mirror. “I hesitate to say anything because I have a feeling Bob is listening to this.”
Liz’s mind was working. “It’s about someone he knows at the hospital?”
“His cousin actually,” Christie remarked.
Liz’s eyes widened. “The CEO?”
Christie swallowed the rest of her water. “Hill.”
“Andrew Hill has worked at Fielding’s for eleven years! He’s the founder of three different foundations and well respected in the community.”
“That’s why my word against his is nothing.”
Liz crossed her legs and paused to think. “What do you know about him? Or what did Brittany know?”
“I don’t really know what Brittany knew.” Christie sighed and whispered slowly, “I think that Andrew is the one who killed Brittany.”
A sound could be heard from behind the wall as if something was knocked over. Then footsteps came from outside the hall followed by the door opening. Bob was standing in the doorway. “Christie?” His mouth was open.
Christie looked away. “I knew you would react that way. I’m sorry, Bob. I have to tell the truth in here.”
“The truth?” Bob exclaimed.
Liz answered for her sister, “I know that Andrew is like a brother to you—”
“You are asking me to choose between believing you or believing Andrew?” Bob asked his fiancé.
“What has Andrew told you?” Christie asked.
“He was already questioned. His alibi is airtight,” Bob said firmly.
Liz looked back and forth between the two. “I wasn’t there for that, Christie. I’ve never seen Andrew other than in the papers.”
“So you believe me?” Christie looked desperately toward her sister.
“But how is it you were framed?” Liz asked.
Bob said uncomfortably, “The weapon was found in her locker, and she was caught on security footage.”
“Doing what?” Liz asked.
“Going in and out of the room where the victim was found dead,” Bob said.
“I found her dead!” Christie protested.
“I don’t doubt that for a minute, Christie,” Bob said sincerely, “but I can’t believe that my own cousin would have killed her. Why in the world would he do a thing like that?”
“I’m going to find out,” Liz said.
“As what? Amanda Case the detective?” Bob said, referring to Liz’s codename used on all the undercover cases assigned to her.
“As Amanda Case, the nursing assistant, who is replacing the accused,” Liz said playfully.
Christie smiled in spite of herself. “You think you can be a nurse?”
Liz looked offended. “I’m already a paramedic. Besides you have talked about it enough.”
“There’s a whole lot more to being an ICU nurse than talking,” Christie emphasized. “Do you really think that—”
“Look, Christie, someone framed you for murder. I’m not taking that lightly. One of us has to go in there and find out the why behind it all—and who better than me?” Liz said enthusiastically.
“Captain Walker is going to keep me here, isn’t he?” Christie looked at Bob.
Bob nodded with a frown. “But, in a sense, the killer can’t reach you here. So whatever he has against you, he’ll have to keep it to himself.”
“Bob—” Liz started to say.
“Liz, can I have a moment with Christie?” Bob asked. “I just need a moment.”
Liz nodded and left the room, closing the door behind her.
“Am I still being recorded?” Christie said, still sitting in the metal chair.
Bob shook his head. “I was the one—” He sat down across from his fiancé. “The captain was having me record you, but I was the only one in there. It’s just us now, Christie.” He reached out for her hand.
“Oh, Bob, what’s going to happen?”
“Liz is going to find the killer like she always does,” Bob answered reassuringly.
“I meant . . . about us?”
Bob’s eyes met Christie’s. “We are going to live happily ever after,” he said sincerely. “It’s only been put on pause, that’s all. This will be cleared up, and we can continue on with our plans.”
“I love you, Bob,” Christie whispered.
“I know you do, and I love you. I’m sorry you are in the middle of all this, and I’m sorry I found the knife in your locker.”
“What else could you have done? It was there . . . and the cameras . . .”
“There’s something awfully fishy about those security cameras.”
“What do you mean?” Christie asked.
“You didn’t kill Brittany—”
“Of course not!”
“I know. That’s what I’m saying. So, why didn’t the footage catch who did?” Bob said.