Excerpt from Buried Secrets by A. Y. Stratton

March 13 2014


She gritted her teeth into a smile. “I just stopped by to pick up some papers for my poor old grandmother who’s in a nursing home.” A sliver of truth was always easier to defend and to remember—at least that’s what her father always said with a smirk.

The guy dropped his grip on her arm and wrinkled his nose. “Are you answering my question or telling me your tragic life story?”

“Answering your question, of course.”

“Your grandmother is in a nursing home? Which has what to do with breaking into this house?” His mouth twitched at the corners.

The man may not believe her, but at least his hand was away from the gun pocket. “I said it’s complicated. After my grandmother moved to a nursing home, my mother sold the furniture. My grandmother suddenly needed some papers, and she—”

“Wait.” He looked at his watch. “Papers? Or somebody’s jewels?”

“Papers, important papers.”

He squinted. “Right. Don’t we all burgle houses for papers?”

He wasn’t going to shoot her. He was going to let her stay. She was sure of it. “I don’t care whether you believe me or not.” She pulled her sleeve away from her watch. “Would you please take a hike so I can get to work here?”

He shook his head. “New plan. You waltz out of here, back where you came from, and I promise I won’t send Schmidt the photo I took of you spying outside in the yard.”

“That’s blackmail which, if you were thinking straight, could incriminate you, too.” If he’d really taken a picture of her, the game was over.

He didn’t jump on that statement. Just stood frowning at her. She sucked in more courage. “Give me five minutes to finish my job, and I’ll pretend I never saw you here. We’ll both be happy as… Wait, was that a car I heard?”

The man’s head whipped around, and he strode off to look out the window. Kate grabbed the chance to duck down the hall to the next bedroom. By the time he caught up with her, she was staring into the dark.

“Here…” He handed her the flashlight. “Make it quick.”