Mysteries followed reporter Merry Kramer everywhere. Case in point: On a morning jog one day, she discovered the body of a murdered woman. The small-town journalist had to find out who'd committed the horrible crime. And the more she dug, the more she realized that whoever was hiding the truth certainly wouldn't stop at one murder to protect it.
Merry knew she had to decide--and decide soon--whether finding the killer was worth risking her own life, as well as her future with a wonderful fiance.
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August 06, 2007
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Excerpt from Caught Redhanded by Gayle Roper
"I need to get in shape," I said one mid-July day as I sat at my desk at The News: The Voice of Amhearst and Chester County where I was a general reporter.
"For the wedding."
My wedding was less than two weeks away and I knew that realistically not much could change in that short a time. It was more a case of hope springing eternal. After all, if the women's magazines could guarantee the loss of a bagillion pounds in one week, why shouldn't I lose a few by exercising a time or two before I said "I do"?
Still, I didn't mean for anyone to take me up on the comment, certainly not for anyone to challenge me to actually do something about it. It was more one of those rhetorical statements I tend to make, and I neither expect nor want a response.
"You need to take up jogging." Jolene Marie Luray Meister Samson looked me up and down from her desk across the aisle. "You could use it."
Just because she was beautiful and had a figure to die for was no reason to give me that condescending look. I might not be up to her standard of pulchritude, but I was hardly ugly. Curt, my one true love, seemed satisfied, and what more did I need?
"Thanks, Jo," I said dryly. "Just the encouragement I need."
She nodded, taking my words at face value. "I'll meet you in the parking lot at Bushay's tomorrow morning at six-thirty. It's still cool enough to run at that hour. We'll take the jogging trail they have through the woods. It's pretty, too. Goes beside a creek part of the way and through the woods the rest of the way."
I'm pretty sure my mouth dropped open, making me look addlepated. I couldn't decide which threw me more, the hour for the suggested run or the fact that Jolene seemed to be saying she jogged. I wouldn't have expected one scintilla of physical exertion from her, not even running for her life. And I was supposed to believe she jogged regularly?
"What?" she asked, somewhat huffily. "You think I got this figure by praying for it? I jog three or four times a week."
"Even in winter?" I was overwhelmed at the picture of Jolene in sweats and watch cap, breath pluming behind her.
"Then I use the track at the Y."
"At 6:30 a.m.?" Edie Whatley stared. She was the editor of our family page and a general reporter, a slightly plump, happily married woman with a sixteen year-old son. She looked as shocked as I did at the twin thoughts of Jolene jogging and the hour. "What is the matter with you two?" Jolene demanded, allowing a frown to mar her lovely face. "Just because you always see me when I'm beautiful..."
She let her voice die, but not because she was embarrassed to have called herself beautiful. She was a strong proponent of truth in advertising, even when it was self-promotion. Rather, she'd just had an idea. I could tell because she narrowed her eyes as she looked from me to Edie and back. The newsroom at The News was small and looking from desk to desk was not in the least difficult.
"I dare you both," she said. "I dare you to run with me. Prove you've got the guts and the stamina."
Edie and I looked at each other with more than a touch of disbelief.
"You've got to stay looking good for Tom, Edie. And you--" Jolene pointed at me with one of her lethal fingernails "--you need to keep Curt interested. You're not married yet."
But soon, I thought joyfully. Soon. "Is that how you keep Reilly interested?" I asked, not willing to tell her that I didn't think a few pounds one way or the other would make Curt lose or gain interest. He was too much a man of principle to be repelled by something as petty as a few pounds. Not that I planned on gaining any weight, but I was wise enough to know that life happened. After all, Mom had once been a size ten.
"Jolene," Edie said kindly, "Tom is fine with me the way I am, just as I'm sure Reilly loves you just the way you are."
Jolene grinned at the mention of her husband to whom she had now been married for several months.
"And I must tell you," Edie continued, "that I gave up dares in junior high school."
"Just because you're well past junior high doesn't mean you can't accept a challenge," Jolene said, either unaware or uncaring that she had just semi-insulted Edie.