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After her favorite aunt is found dead and an alarming box is mysteriously left on the doorstep of her aunt’s house now legally hers, Lavinia Esposito wants explanations. But, having cleared the package of explosives, the local cops are dumbounded by the precious stones which came without an explanation, just an address─her Aunt Livvy’s. Frustrated by the cops’ refusal to share their theories, criminal justice instructor Lavinia Esposito, a.k.a. Vinnie, takes investigation matters into her own hands. Vinnie is soon dragged into situations beyond her control, finding herself in hot water with the law, the crooks, and her Italian father. Willing to put her life at risk to find out what really happened to her beloved Aunt Livvy, and why jewels would be addressed to her aunt, Vinnie plunges ahead with her usual tenacity, bravery, and keen wits to solve and survive this mystery.
Now enjoy an excerpt:
In the living room, I paced while awaiting the arrival of the state police. Within minutes a sleek, grey Crown Victoria pulled up to the curb out front and a tall, lean trooper got out. Broad shouldered and well built, he walked with assurance and a certain amount of swagger.
I stepped into the open door entry and watched him saunter through the front gate onto the walkway. He stared at the package and then at me.
“Did you call about this box, ma’am?” Keen hazel green eyes traveled over my face and down my body.
Craggy features, sculpted from granite, faced me and I felt my blood run hot as the breath caught in my throat. What was this about? I gazed at him admiring the neat package wrapped in the trim uniform.
“I did. Bill MacNert from the fire station thought it would be a good idea since it was mysteriously left on the doorstep. He checked to see if it was ticking, but it isn’t.”
“Are you Lavinia Ciano?” The trooper’s glance strayed from the name on the wrapper to me as his eyes showed a glint of humor and his mouth twitched.
Could that humor be over the name? I wondered, as I said, “No, my name is Esposito. Livvy was my aunt.”
Our eyes held and my heart pounded. I licked my parched lips and then glanced away.
An oversized van idled up behind the patrol car and the trooper glanced back. Two men stepped from the vehicle dressed in heavy gear and acknowledged him.
He turned to the lead man, mumbled a few words and then stared at me again. If this was an action film, I would have expected Bruce Willis to jump out of the truck announcing he was about to kick someone’s ass.
This wasn’t an action film, but a real life situation instead. The two guys angled through the front gate and hitched their gear as they hauled a peculiar looking lidded barrel toward the front door. By this time, a few neighbors had taken notice of the activities. Several people straggled along the sidewalk across the street to watch.
You’d think it was a freakin’ sideshow. I smiled and waved. Nobody responded, they just continued to gawk. A little excitement for them on an otherwise dull Sunday, I guessed. The trooper stood aside and watched the crowd, but said nothing.
The overdressed bomb guys corralled the box between them. With delicate finesse they lifted and stowed it into the metal container, loaded it into the truck and drove off. I stared in disbelief. Hell, I wanted to know what was in the package. I had a right to know, didn’t I?
J. M. Griffin is a student of the human condition, wielding the written craft to stimulate the imagination much like she wields her paint brush. The pages are a blank canvas on which J.M. draws vivid characters. J.M. is the author of the popular Vinnie Esposito mystery series featuring the sexy sleuth Vinnie Esposito and the engaging Deadly Bakery mystery series featuring the sassy baker/sleuth Melina Cameron. J.M. lives in rural Rhode Island, a state she considers colorful and interesting.