(Barb Jackson Mysteries, #1)
by Anna Snow
Release Date: January 25, 2016
★ SYNOPSIS ★
"Expect the unexpected" has been Barb Jackson's motto ever since the day she became a private investigator. But when a blast from the past in the form of her cheating ex-boyfriend shows up in her office and begs her to help him clear his name in an ongoing murder investigation, she fears this time she might have bitten off more than she can chew. But as Barb reluctantly takes the case, she uncovers deadly secrets, and it becomes obvious someone is now out to get her. Suddenly Barb finds herself in a race against the clock to clear her ex's name and keep herself alive. And to make matters worse, hunky homicide detective Tyler Black is nipping at her heels—in more ways than one! If anyone can get to the bottom of this mystery, it's Barb...if she can keep herself alive.
★ PURCHASE LINKS ★
★ EXCERPT ★
It's entirely possible to have both boobs and a brain.
It's not like I'm walking, talking, sex-on-a-stick or anything, because really, I'm not. I'm just your typical, barely five-feet tall, a-little-too-curvy (due to my love of caramel macchiatos and pizza) girl next door. But for some reason, a blonde woman with a little extra in the chest area tends to throw off the opposite sex, especially when I mention that I'm a private investigator.
When I opened Jackson Investigations I never imagined how judgmental some people could be.
My PI firm wasn't a big affair like some of the other firms in town. I'd just finished my training and dumped a cheating ex when I opened the office. Financially, I was still a guppy in a tank full of sharks. But my company was slowly growing.
As far as employees went, my besties, Kelly and Mandy, were it. Mandy acted as receptionist and assistant, while Kelly worked cases with me. She'd often go undercover to bust a cheating spouse without a second thought.
We'd been hard at work trying to make a name for the company for close to three years now, but so far the only cases we'd been trusted with were your run-of-the-mill cheaters. Still, I couldn't complain. These clients might not be high profile or bring in bank, but they paid the bills…barely.
Despite only making just enough to pay the light bill, I wouldn't trade my job for anything in the world. I loved what I did, even if it meant eating ramen noodles a few nights a week.
A knock sounded. Then my office door opened a few inches.
"Barb, there's someone here to see you."
I glanced up from the screen I'd been staring at for what felt like a century and spotted Kelly closing the office door behind her. Kelly was loud, sarcastic, and wonderful. She was a great girl and my all-time best friend. We'd met when I first opened the business three years ago and over the years had become so close an industrial-sized crowbar couldn't pry us apart. She was brilliant, witty, and didn't take crap from anyone.
I wanted to be Kelly when I grew up.
Kelly was tall and thin, sported a number of tattoos, loved the color black, and was amazingly pretty with her own set of full lips, high cheekbones, and long black hair.
She had men falling at her feet, while I stared at my feet when confronted by a handsome man. She was the polar opposite of my petite, slightly round, blonde self. But the physical differences never mattered to us.
We were sistahs from anotha mistah.
Her words, not mine.
"Who is it?" I blinked my eyes in an attempt to bring the room around me back into focus. Watching a surveillance camera did a number on a sleep-deprived person's eyes. At the moment I wondered if I'd ever get my vision back to normal.
I blinked and then rubbed my palms against my closed eyes.
"How should I know? I'm not Miss Cleo." Kelly shrugged with one palm pointed toward the sky.
Did I happen to mention that Kelly took sarcasm to a whole new level?
I slowly opened my eyes and cocked a brow at her.
"He said his name is Jason King and that he needs to speak directly to you about his situation." She air-quoted the word situation, which told me that she thought this guy was a total tool.
"That's about all he would tell me. He's determined to see you and a bit of an arrogant ass, if I do say so myself."
"You didn't tell him that he's an ass, did you?"
She smiled sweetly. "No, but the night's still young." She pressed her black-framed glasses up her pert nose with the tip of her index finger and waited for my response.
I shook my head. "You're a handful, you know that?"
She nodded. The smile never left her face.
I bit my bottom lip. "Jason King," I said while trying to dredge up where I'd heard the name before, but nothing came to me. "The name sounds familiar, but I can't place it right off the top of my head. Did you recognize him at all?"
She shrugged her shoulders. "Nope." She shook her head. "He looks just like every other businessman in this town."
I'd lived in the city since conception, and at times all the businessmen milling about appeared carbon copied.
Suits, ties, shiny black shoes, and there was often either a shiny bald head framed by thinning white hair or a full head of over-gelled hair sitting on their shoulders. Neither of which I found the least bit attractive, but hey, whatever floats their boats, right? The look obviously did something for the gorgeous women on their arms. Or maybe it was their money not their appearance the women found attractive. Who knew?
"Do you know if I have any other appointments today, Kelly?" I asked.
"Nope. I asked Mandy before I came in here. She said that you're all clear today, that you're only supposed to review tapes and make calls," she answered.
This mystery guy had piqued my interest, so I relented.
"All right, I'll see him since I have some time, but I want you in here on this one. Who knows what this guy's story is." I looked up at the clock and found that it was only a little after ten o'clock in the morning. "Follow him in please."
Kelly gave me a two-finger—which was much more polite than her one usual finger—salute and left the room.
I stopped the surveillance disk I'd been reviewing for a client and powered off my monitor, then leaned back in my oversized desk chair and frowned.
I'd already seen all that I needed to see on the disk in order to know the guy I'd been tailing for the last week was cheating on his wife. The last thing I needed was for some busybody to come in my office, take a look at the computer monitor, and see his bare bum bent over the hood of a car before I told his wife that her husband was indeed having an affair with his assistant…his very male assistant.
"Jason King. Jason King. Jason King." I repeated the name as I tapped my bottom lip with the tip of my pen. I tried like crazy to figure out why that name sounded so familiar, but nothing came to me. I couldn't pin the name to a face.
If I'd had time, I would've done a quick Google search, but Mr. Pushy was already in the lobby demanding an audience. That alone was enough to make me consider telling the guy to hit the road, but like I said before, I had bills to pay, and just because the guy was pushy didn't mean I could tell him to hit the road before I met him. I have to admit my curiosity was a big deciding factor for meeting him.
My Aunt Mona often warned me that curiosity killed the cat, but I couldn't ever seem to help myself. When a puzzle presented itself, I had to solve it.
A few moments later, Kelly opened the door, and the bottom dropped out of my happy little world.
My legs shook. I stood slowly and stared into the eyes of the one man who'd always sent my brain flying out the window.
★ ABOUT THE AUTHOR ★
Not only is Anna Snow a wife, mom, and lipstick junkie, but she's also a multi-published bestselling author of several romance, mystery, erotica, fan-fiction, paranormal, chick-lit, and thriller works.
Anna began writing as soon as she could hold a pen and hasn't stopped since. She loves life and can think of nothing she enjoys more than spending time with her family and friends. She loves reading, writing, kitties, spending time outdoors, and did I mention kitties? *Big grin* Anna also loves to hear from her fans and answers all correspondence she receives.
★ SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS ★