I’m beyond excited for you all to read the third book in the Cambria Clyne Mystery Series! This book was a blast to write, and I’m curious what #teamTom and #teamChase have to say about the ending :).
Here is a sneak peek just for you…
My cell buzzed in my back pocket, and I paused the television. Everyone did a collective “hey!” while I glanced at my phone. It was the emergency line. Crap. I thunked the heel of my hand against my forehead.
During my stint as an apartment manager, I’d learned the term emergency was subjective. Last week I’d received a three AM call from a resident because the wind was too loud.
FYI: not an emergency.
I placed the phone to my ear and waited for the automated recording. “You have a call on the after-hours emergency line. To accept, please press one.” The robotic operator had a pleasant British accent.
I did as instructed and waited until I was connected before saying, “This is Cambria.”
“We have a flood in our apartment!” a woman cried.
FYI: this is an emergency.
I handed Kevin my bowl of ice cream and shot upright. “Can you see where the water is coming from?”
“It’s raining down from the ceiling in the master bathroom!”
In the background I could hear droplets splattering against the linoleum. Great.
Water from the ceiling meant I had two flooded apartments. I sandwiched the phone between my ear and shoulder while I slipped on my shoes. “I’m on my way. Which apartment are you in?”
I kicked off my shoes. I managed a 40-unit apartment building in Los Angeles, and starting tomorrow, I also managed a 32-unit apartment building in Burbank. In short, no Apartment 105 under my stewardship and I could continue to party.
“Sorry, you have the wrong number,” I said.
“No. I meant to call you!”
“We don’t have an Apartment 105.” I grabbed my bowl of ice cream from Kevin.
“You called the wrong emergency line.”
“No, I didn’t. I live next door, and I called the manager’s cell, and she’s not answering. I need help!”
“Did you go to Violet’s apartment?” Violet Pumpkin was the property manager next door. We’d conversed on several occasions. Mostly during market surveys. I’d call and ask her what her current prices were and how many vacancies she had. All the other managers on my survey list either tiptoed around the last question, or they’d tell me they were at full occupancy. Then I’d ask the mailman, and he’d give me the real number. But not Violet. She’d give me her actual vacancy percentage, talk about decreased foot traffic, what advertising methods were working for her, and which weren’t. She was open and honest. A real team player.
“We did, and she didn’t answer,” the caller said. “How long ago did you call her?”
“It’s been at least five minutes.”
“You need to give her time to get back to you.”
“I don’t have time. There’s water coming from the ceiling.”
Good point. I covered the receiver and looked at Kevin. “There’s a leak in an apartment next door. They can’t get a hold of Violet.”
“Not your circus. Not your monkeys,” he said.
True. I had my own circus and plenty of monkeys to deal with.
“Have they tried Antonio?” asked Mr. Nguyen. “He lives on-site.”
Right, the maintenance man. “Did you try Antonio?”
There was a pause. “No, I haven’t. But—”
“If I were you, I’d go knock on his door and tell him what’s going on.”
“I’m positive Violet will call you shortly. She’s always on top of things. If she doesn’t get back to you soon, you can call a plumber.”
Call a plumber,” the woman echoed in disgust, as if I’d suggested she don a redwig, move to New York, and try out for a Broadway production of Annie. “Do you know how much I pay in rent? I shouldn’t have to call a plumber myself! I shouldn’t have to call around to get help! I shouldn’t have a leaking ceiling!”
“I understand your frustration, and I wish you luck. Good night.” I hung up before she could continue to yell. I was trying this new thing where I didn’t allow other people to take out their frustration on me.
Especially when it’s not even my monkey.
I searched through the contacts on my phone and found Violet’s cell number. My call went straight to voicemail, which meant Violet was probably on the other line already dealing with the leak.
I pointed the remote at the television and pushed Play. Amy finished her tango with a dip and a megawatt smile. The crowd cheered.
Amy beamed. Her partner did a fist pump. The two hugged. The camera zoomed in on Amy’s boyfriend, Spencer, who was in the audience, on his feet clapping. The judges prepared their scores, when my phone rang. The emergency line, again. I gave my forehead another thunk. Pressed Pause. Everyone went, “Hey!”
“You have a call on the after-hours emergency line. To accept, please press one.”
I did as instructed and waited to be connected. “This is Cambria.”
“Cambria!” It was Julia in Apartment 15. I recognized her voice. “Someone is trying to break into my apartment.”
I sat up. “Someone is breaking into your apartment right now, or someone broke into your apartment, past tense?” Surely she had to mean the latter, because if it were the former, why would she call me? Yes, I watched a lot of cop shows. But, as I’d been reminded many times, that didn’t make me an actual cop.
“Someone is breaking in. He’s on my patio knocking on the door and trying to get in. But…oh, wait…he’s gone.”
“Where’d he go? Or even better, how’d he get on your patio?” Julia lived upstairs.
“I have no idea how he got up here but…wait…he’s on the roof.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, I’m looking out my front window and can see someone running across the roof.”
“Julia, listen to me carefully. Stay in your apartment. I’ll be right there.” I put on my shoes and grabbed my keys.
“Where are you going?” Mr. Nguyen asked.
“This one is my circus, and I’ve got a monkey on the roof.”