The Feed Store Floozy (The Penelope Pembroke Cozy Mystery Series)

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Book: The Feed Store Floozy (The Penelope Pembroke Cozy Mystery Series) by Judy Nickles Read Free Book Online
Authors: Judy Nickles
“Look, you and I both know I don’t have any reason to take her blessed film, but if she was taking pictures of a crowd outside the feed store while the police were inside investigating a murder, doesn’t it stand to reason that somebody might not have wanted his picture taken?”
    Bradley’s eyes lit up with admiration. “You missed your calling, Mother.”
    “No, you’d have figured it out already if she’d told you the truth.”
    “I guess I would have. Now I guess I get to go back and see if she’ll tell it to me now.”
    “Go get ‘em, Tiger.”
    Bradley leaned down and pecked his mother’s cheek. “You used to say that to me before every football or basketball g ame I played.”
    Penelope swallowed the lump in her throat. “I’ll tell Daddy and Shana you wanted to ask me about the Pembroke jewelry. You are giving that to Rosabel, aren’t you?”
    “She’s not much on jewelry, but I’ll let her look at it and see if anything catches her eye.”
    “Right. You want to leave through the front?”
    “Yeah, I’m parked by the curb anyway. Thanks, Mother.”
    “Bring Rosabel next time you come.”
    Bradley waved over his shoulder on his way to the door.

CHAPTER FIFTEEN
     
    Shana went home just before ten, and Bradley called the B&B a few minutes later. “I just thought you might like to know Jill Jerome backed down.”
    “She admitted she lied about me?”
    “Not exactly, but when she realized I’d caught her in the lie about all the film, sh e said the woman she saw going upstairs looked like you.”
    “Uh-huh. What about Brice Dolan?”
    “I still can’t find him, and Jill swears she left before he did. She’s staying at a hotel on the interstate.”
    “So when did she discover her film was gone?”
    “According to her, she went upstairs to get it just before the shop closed—said she carries it with her everywhere for safekeeping—and it wasn’t there, so she came straight to the PD.”
    “Without mentioning it to Brice?”
    “She said he had a late customer.”
    “When I left at five, there were three people in the shop and not a soul on the street.”
    “She showed up at the PD around five-thirty. I’m more concerned about Brice than about Jill Jerome’s film.”
    “Surely you don’t think something’s happened to him like happened to Wally Powers?”
    “Parnell searched the store twice. He’s not there.”
    “Did Jill describe the customer he was supposedly with?”
    “She said it was a man, that’s all. She couldn’t tell me anything about him.”
    “She knows you’re my son. She knows you’re not going to believe I stole her blessed film.”
    “I don’t know what she knows, Mother. I think she’s a little strange, and I shouldn’t even be talking about to you about her.”
    “My lips are sealed.”
    “I appreciate it. Look, I’ll call you tomorrow.”
    “Tomorrow’s Sunday.”
    “I’ll make Mass, don’t worry.”
    “I’m not worrying.”
    “Goodnight, Mother.”
    ****
    When Penelope came out of the bathroom in her night shirt, still toweling her hair, a familiar voice came out of the semi-darkness. “Hello, Nell.”
    She dropped the towel and stifled a scream. “Darn you, Sam! I might’ve walked out of there stark naked!”
    He grinned. “That would’ve been all right with me.”
    “What are you doing here in my bedroom?”
    “It’s what I’d like to do in here that counts.” He fingered the hem of her short gown. “Nice.”
    Penelope slapped his hand away and picked up the robe she always kept handy at the foot of the bed. “Didn’t your mother ever tell you it wasn’t polite to barge into a lady’s bedroom?”
    “I knocked, but you didn’t answer.”
    “I was in the shower.”
    “I know. Give me credit for the restraint it took not to join you.”
    “Get out of here, Sam. I’m done with you already.”
    His face twisted into a mask of abject sorrow, making her laugh in spite of herself.
    “That’s better.”
    “How long

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