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On the Card: A Kira Brightwell Short Story

On the Card: A Kira Brightwell Short Story

Regular price 151.00 ฿ THB
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Kira Brightwell needs to pay.

A problem solver for hire and local hero in her own right, Kira never sought any acclaim for her actions. She only wants to track down the man who abducted her three years ago. And maybe celebrate her birthday with some ice cream cake.

But even an unintentional path to prominence comes with collateral damage.

...And some people can never forgive and forget.

A fast-paced, stand-alone story from the Kira Brightwell Quick Cases mystery series.

(This adventure takes place between the Kira Brightwell novels Split Decision and Black and Blue.)

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May 23rd, 3:37 P.M.

The card was perfect.

Each word had been chosen with care, and only a single name marked the envelope.

The metal mail slot fell shut with a click as the card was pushed inside, allowing a brief, narrow glimpse of the townhouse apartment’s front hallway before it closed. A slight breeze ruffled the warm, spring air, carrying the scents of flowers and soil from the haphazardly-tended front garden.

How long before the card was discovered and opened?

In some ways, it probably would have been better not to send the card at all. But then the actions that were about to follow might seem random and inconsequential.

No, she needed to know that what was going to happen was her fault. She needed to suffer—to be afraid.

Kira Brightwell needed to pay.

5:58 P.M.

Happy birthday to me…

Kira Brightwell uttered a long-suffering sigh as she tried to balance the large ice cream cake box in one hand and her gym bag over her other shoulder while fumbling for her keys as she approached her townhouse apartment. The cake box wobbled precariously and her keys gave a jingle as she steadied herself with a stream of muttered curses.

It had been bad enough having to pick up her own birthday cake. She hadn’t found out until after her training and sparring session that the women’s showers were out of commission due to a plumbing problem. (As the only woman at her MMA gym, no one had thought to put up a sign.)

She had been forced to ignore sidelong glances from the other Dairy Queen customers as she had waited in line in her sodden workout gear, her face and ponytail dripping with sweat. At least her deodorant hadn’t let her down, so she still smelled better than she looked (which was more than she could say for a few of the perfume-drenched women in line who had shown up to place their orders in high-heeled shoes and breathless voices for their young children).

She had almost decided to skip out on the cake altogether. After all, it wasn’t as if she had a party to share it at. Her boyfriend Jeff was sick with the flu, and Nick was working a double shift today, thanks to several other people down at the station suffering from the same illness that seemed to be sweeping through the suburban town of La Valentia. Kira’s father was out of town on yet another business trip, and her mother and sister were too busy working to celebrate with her until the weekend.

Normally, Kira wouldn’t have been too broken up about spending less time with her family, but considering the circumstances, she couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for herself. She wasn’t even going to get to see Kevin—her adoring (and adorable), young nephew and the only member of her family who seemed to accept her without reservation.

The only person she had left to celebrate with today was Rob. And while she had no doubt that she and her best friend and roommate would be able to put a serious dent in the large cake, it was less than what she had been hoping for—which hadn’t really been that much in the first place.

A quiet, romantic evening with Jeff, or maybe a small party hadn’t seemed like much to ask. Kira had always been an introvert with few close friends. She didn’t want anything big. And previous experience had told her not to expect much from Rob (who never left the apartment), or her mother and sister (who seemed to spend every get-together trying to point out all the various mistakes Kira was making with her life).

But this year’s birthday felt like a new low.

Kira shoved down a surge of self pity and tried to take comfort in the simple things instead. The feel of the warm, California sunshine on a beautiful spring day, the fact that she wouldn’t be forced to dress up since her family wasn’t coming, the cold weight of the fudge-centered ice cream cake against her hand through the cardboard box…

She walked up the front steps and went to unlock the front door, only to find it was already ajar.

She stiffened, shifting her keys inside her palm until she had a piece of pointed metal sticking out from between each knuckle.

She had locked the door before she had gone out.

She stepped warily inside the apartment, easing her sneakered feet down toe-first to avoid making any sound. She lowered her gym bag to the floor and placed the cake on the small, wooden table by the door before moving forward. 

If Rob was in trouble…

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