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Authors: Carrie Carr

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Chocolate Girls with Golden Hair

BOOK: Chocolate Girls with Golden Hair
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Chocolate Girls with Golden
Hair

 

By Carrie Carr

 

Smashwords Edition / Copyright 2014
Carrie Carr

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

No part of this book may be used or
reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical,
including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information
storage retrieval system without the written permission of the
publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodies in
critical articles and reviews.

 

[email protected]

carriecarrsblog.wordpress.com

 

This book is a work of fiction. Names,
characters, places and incidents are the products of the author's
imagination and are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual
events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is "entirely
coincidental."

 

 

Praise for CHOCOLATE GIRLS WITH GOLDEN
HAIR

* * *

"An enjoyable read with nonstop
suspense."


Romance and More
Blogspot

 

"Bianca is such an intriguing
character, I just wanted the story to go on forever."


Chicago Public
Library

 

"If you're looking for a fast-pace
whodunnit, this is it."


Literary, etc.
Reviews

 

"The last quarter is nonstop action and
suspense."


Svetlana's Reads and
Views

 

"First-rate mystery that will keep you
guessing."


Chicago Book
Review

 

"Classic murder mystery with a blend of
chick lit and psychological thrill."


Devoted Mommy of 3
Blogspot

 

 

Other Titles by Carrie Carr

 

Single Black Female, Original
Version

 

 

To Maxwell Bloomberg, oh,

the fun times we had at Skadden,
Arps

 

 

To every woman who, at one time or
another, wanted a new life

 

 

Chapter 1

 

NOVEMBER 25

As the bus traveled across the LaSalle
Street Bridge, an eerie police siren rang in Bianca Bell's ears,
which sent a frost through her. Her exit was approaching, but the
bus stopped moving in the midst of a monstrous traffic jam,
bringing morning drivers to a halt. On the corner of LaSalle and
Lake Street, a clump of people surrounded the office building where
she worked. She studied the female traffic cop as she rerouted and
directed vehicles onto Wacker Drive. Bianca had not seen this many
police cars since the last action movie she viewed on cable. The
bright blue and white flashing lights seemed almost
hypnotic.

In awe, Bianca absorbed the chaos on
LaSalle Street, as two police officers carried a body bag from the
office building. She could only imagine the identity of the
unfortunate soul. She dreaded the possibility that it could be
someone from her office, or worse yet, someone she knew
personally.

Finally, in motion again, the bus made
it to the corner and made an abrupt stop. She squeezed past the two
overweight women who stood near the rear door and exited along with
four other passengers. Upon reaching the street, a disturbing
sensation came over her as the autumn air brushed against her
face.

Could this turmoil have anything to do
with her?

Paranoia set in.

Although many companies, corporations,
and firms occupied her office building of more than sixty floors,
she couldn't help but worry that her firm was the target of this
disorder. Bianca raised the collar of her unbuttoned wool coat and
stuffed her hands into her pockets as she waited at the corner for
the light to turn green. Normally, autumn was her favorite season.
It was one of the things she loved about Chicago, its changing
seasons. But today was frigid and dismal, more like a reflection of
what she felt inside.

With her hair pulled back into a
ponytail away from her dark almond skin, Bianca stood just under
six-feet tall, and her long slender legs made her appear much
taller and much thinner. She had been a bleached blonde for all of
three weeks and enjoyed every minute of its glory until last night.
Blonde hair on a black woman was not the norm, but it was still
popular for its striking effect.

As Bianca reached the other side of the
street, she glimpsed inside the paramedic vehicle, but there was
nothing to see. Her imagination was in disarray as she whisked past
the curious spectators. All she could think about was the night
before, how she had made a fool of herself. She had left things in
an uproar, and that same uproar seemed to have come to haunt her
this morning. She tried to pause the disturbing thoughts, at least
until she gathered more information. This, after all, could have
nothing to do with her. She inhaled a deep breath and hurried
inside. Just as she came through the revolving doors, a police
officer stopped her. "Excuse me, ma'am," he said.

Bianca felt her dimpled cheeks bruising
fast.

"Do you work in this
building?"

Her heart raced as she wondered why he
singled her out. Then it dawned on her that he was probably
questioning everyone who entered the building.

"Yes," she said softly.

"And your name?"

"Bianca."

"Last name?"

"Bell."

Her eyes followed his pen as he jotted
down her name on his tiny note pad. "What company are you with?" he
asked her.

This abrupt manner of questioning
evoked mild sensations of guilt, which shifted through her at an
increasing pace. She swallowed hard, shifted her eyes left, then
right, to see who was watching, then returned her attention to the
police officer and answered his question. "Whitley &
Austin."

As Bianca observed him writing down the
information, her coworkers, Bruce Colby and Camina Givens, came to
mind. They were the last two people she saw before she left the
night before.

Something had happened to one of them.
She knew it, just as surely as the breath exhaled from her
mouth.

Bianca gazed at the police officer,
expecting him to ask her another question, then. "You can go," he
said.

"It's okay?" Bianca asked with a sense
of relief.

"You can go on up."

Tempted to ask about the commotion, her
fear of looking suspicious prevented her from doing so. As she
headed towards the bank of elevators that serviced the forty-fourth
floor, she glanced back and saw the police officer studying her. It
was as if he suspected her of something. Their eyes met and her bag
slipped from her shoulder, but quickly, she caught it in
time.

Bianca began working with Whitley &
Austin, one of Chicago's most prestigious law firms, two years ago.
For the most part, she enjoyed her legal secretary position, being
part of a team. But as she stood on the elevator, she sensed that
her days with the firm were numbered. This morning's disturbance
seemed to symbolize the end of something, and the beginning of
something as well.

 

 

Three Weeks Earlier

 

November 3

It was time to let go and move
on.

Late Saturday afternoon, Bianca stood
over three tombstones, holding three bunches of red tulips in her
hand at St. Lucas Cemetery. Several months passed since Bianca lost
her family, and this was the first time she visited her family's
gravesite since the funeral. It was tough going there knowing what
her family had suffered. Within a matter of days of each other, she
lost her mother, father and only sibling. Bianca believed it would
destroy her. And it almost did. Her sleep patterns were thrown into
a flux. She wasn't painting as much as she used to, and she closed
herself off to everyone but a select few. Every day she walked
around with a dark ghost that hovered over her, reminding her of
ruin and just how risky life was.

After the tragedy, she distanced
herself from work and sought counseling from her psychologist.
Since then, things improved some, but not much. She returned to
work, returned to her art class, and even met a few new friends.
But still she was paralyzed from moving past her anguish, which
haunted her.

After she brushed aside the colorful
dead leaves from her family's adjacent tombstones, her eyes panned
over to the words, Sandy Bell and Terri Bell. Gently she laid the
tulips on her mother and sister's tombstones, but she could not
bring herself to place anything on her father's grave. Her eyes
locked in with his name. Maxwell Bell.

How could someone she loved so much
have brought her so much pain? But he did. She hesitated, pushed
her animosity aside, and then laid the flowers on his grave.
Already having forgiven him, now was not the time to rehash old
resentments. The tombstones brought back useless memories, memories
that chartered her to an ugly place of despair, a place she had
gone many times before. She loved her parents like any normal
person would, but she was most affected by the death of her sister,
Sandy. Bianca was only a few years younger than her sister, and
they looked almost exactly alike, except for the difference in hair
color.

Her sister was a bleached
blonde.

 

 

Daylight savings time brought in the
night sky earlier this time of year. At five o'clock, darkness had
already fallen when Bianca arrived home. It would have helped to
open her mini-blinds once in a while. Instead, they remained closed
while she enjoyed the sense of freedom it induced, freedom to do
whatever, without being watched.

Her visit to her family's gravesite
seemed to have worsened her mental state. She believed that maybe,
just maybe, if she traveled there a second time, she might finally
move past her anguish. She wanted to move forward, but at that
point, all she wanted to do was go to sleep and never wake
up.

Her once semi-contented spirit was now
replaced with a somber one, and she considered taking a nap in the
early evening. After she thawed out from the cold, she poured
herself a glass of Chardonnay in her rose-colored champagne glass.
She didn't even bother to remove her coat as she stood at the
kitchen counter. She began drinking after the death of her family,
probably because her sister used to drink wine with her dinner all
the time. Somehow Bianca adopted that habit as her own. Only in
Bianca's case, more times than not, no dinner accompanied this new
practice. Though not a permanent solution, it served its purpose
for now.

Bianca hung up her coat and after two
long sips of Chardonnay, she found herself standing in the center
of the living room. Her eyes panned across several eclectic
hand-painted pictures of flowing water, which lay on the floor
against the sofa.

With the temperature outside reaching
almost freezing, winter made its presence to the city early, but
she found great comfort from the intense heat that circled her
apartment. Her eyes perused the mantle of the framed family
portrait. She couldn't help but focus on her sister. The picture
seemed to stare back at her as she remembered how her sister Sandy
always cared for her, looked out for her and encouraged her to
value herself for her own unique abilities and talents. Now Sandy
was gone, all because of the secret life she chose to live, a
secret life which led to her demise.

Encouraging, compassionate, adventurous
and free-spirited were the words that best described her sister,
Sandy, which explained Bianca's private wish to be like her. Bianca
felt her eyes well up with tears; so much that she could barely see
the picture in front of her. She then headed into the bathroom and
stood in front of the bathroom mirror. She stared at the bun in her
hair, which gave her the appearance of an astute and very
plain-Jane librarian. When she removed the large hairpin, her black
hair splashed against her shoulders. A few grey strands patterned
the sides of her head, and it could only be stress because she was
only a few days shy of her thirtieth birthday. With a somber
expression on her face, Bianca stared at her reflection in the
mirror, the tears trailing down her face.

BOOK: Chocolate Girls with Golden Hair
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