Authors: Lynn Emery
Tags: #louisiana author, #louisiana mystery, #female sleuth cozy mystery southern mystery murder
A Triple Trouble Mystery
All names, characters, stories, and incidents
featured in this novel are imaginary. They are not inspired by any
individual person, incidents or events known or unknown to the
author. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is
Copyright 2014 Margaret Emery Hubbard
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Jazz stood outside leaning against the
police cruiser watching the festivities. Nine o’clock on a Thursday
night, the start to the weekend when she made sixty-percent of her
profit. Candy Girls didn’t have “exotic dance interpretation” every
night like some clubs. Instead Jazz opted to have two quality
dancers rather than a stable of hard looking girls that she could
pay less money.
She tamped down the urge to cuss out the
police officers strutting around on her property. At least they’d
turned off those damn flashing blue and red lights on top of the
three cruisers. After years of working in broken down clubs as
first, a waitress, then a bartender, and last a dancer, Jazz had
managed to pull together money to buy her own club. Okay, so Candy
Girls wasn’t the classy place she wanted, but it was a start. Now
these damn cops...
The three waitresses working that night
stood in a huddle with the weekend bartender, Tyretta. Two smoked
cigarettes as they sneered at one uniformed officer in particular.
He kept glancing at them. Dressed in the requisite tight, sexy red
body suits and shiny black shoes with red bows, Jazz had to smile
with pride. All three had figures that made men stare. Chyna, a
petite twenty-year-old Chinese-American, crossed her arms over her
enhanced breasts. Her given name was Hua, but she never used it.
Chyna eyed the police officer as though keeping him in sight would
ward him off. Jazz walked over to them.
“Y’all just be cool. This should be over in
a minute,” Jazz said. When Tyretta snorted, Jazz moved closer to
her. “I mean it, Ty. Don’t let your smart mouth write a check I
have to cash. There is nothing for them to find.”
“You better hope none of your customers are
holding,” Tyretta muttered and sucked in more smoke from her
cigarette. Holding was her way of saying they had drugs on
“Then that’s on them.” Jazz frowned when
Tyretta gave another snort and added a grunt at the end for
“They’ll take us all in, girl. Why you think
they showed up? Cops don’t care about loud music in this hood,”
Tyretta replied and went back to work making her long cigarette
“What? I-I can’t be arrested. My parents
can’t find out I’m working here,” Chyna blurted out as her eyelids
The police officer that had been eyeing the
waitresses up and down popped out of nowhere it seemed. His hands
rested on his duty belt. “Don’t worry about it, Miss...”
Silence stretched as he waited for Chyna to
fill in her name for him. She inched closer to Jazz and mumbled,
“What I mean is we’re just here enforcing
the noise ordinance. Two of your customers were fighting in the
parking lot when I pulled up. Another one has an outstanding
warrant.” He spoke in an officious tone, trying to convey that he
was somehow in charge of something. “I’m Officer Tim Mathis by the
“Thanks for the information Officer Mathis,”
Jazz said with a smile. She moved a little to partially block his
line of sight on Chyna. “The other officers over there patrol here
often, so they know my club is usually no problem.”
“Yeah, right,” Officer Mathis said gruffly.
He was about to go on when the supervising officer on the scene
called to him. He walked away, but looked over his shoulder before
“He keeps staring at me in a way I don’t
like,” Chyna whispered.
“What you expect with them twin volleyballs
you got?” Tyretta retorted, once again baiting Chyna about her
breast implants. “Besides, guys stare at all of us all night. Hell,
you oughta be grinning right back at that cop. We always could use
a friend in on the po-po squad in this part of town.”
Chyna ignored the dig about her newly
acquired “C” cups. She didn’t get any bigger implants because of
her slender frame. Still, because she was so tiny and just under
five feet five, even in heels, she looked voluptuous. She grabbed
Tyretta’s cigarette and took a puff.
“Yeah, you could be right. He’s not bad
looking either,” Chyna said. She looked at the brown-haired man
with interest. “For a white guy and all.”
“You gonna go for it?” Rochelle, the third
waitress, nudged Chyna with an elbow.
“I don’t want no cops, on duty or off,
hanging around my place,” Jazz cut in shortly. She tapped Chyna’s
arm to pull her attention away from the officer in question. “Hey,
you heard me?”
“Yeah,” Chyna replied, still looking at him.
Her tone said she wasn’t listening. She’d given the policeman a
slight smile, and he’d smiled back.
“Damn it,” Jazz started but broke off the
beginning of her lecture when a familiar tall, dark frame came
“Well, looky here,” Tyretta whispered.
“Humph, now that’s what I call a nice chunk of change right
“Another cop,” Rochelle spoke low through
“I’ll be happy to be nice to this one.”
Tyretta stood straight to give him the full effect of her almost
six feet of curvy girl appeal.
Jazz sighed and wished she had one of her
smooth smoking, slender cigarillos. Then she remembered that she
was trying to quit. Detective Don Addison looked at ease despite
being built like a professional wrestler ready to deliver a beat
down. He wore a dark leather jacket over a sweater against the
cool, late, last April night air. Jazz figured he had to be at
least six feet four inches tall. Not that she was measuring him up
or anything. Detective Addison didn’t like her. She didn’t like him
either, not one bit. Okay, so maybe he looked good, but like one of
her former foster mothers used to say, “Everything that looks good
ain’t good for ya.” She must have been talking about Detective
Donald Ray Addison for sure.
“Evening ladies. Another exciting night at
Candy Girls I see,” Detective Addison said in his silky
“Yeah, we always have something fresh over
here,” Tyretta said. She smirked when Jazz shot a heated look in
her direction. With a jerk of her head, she led the other two women
away. They joined the dancer on duty.
“I was in the neighborhood and just dropped
by to say hello,” Detective Addison quipped. He crossed his arms
and watched his colleagues.
“Yeah, right. You moved from homicide to the
loud noise patrol.”
Addison’s solid milk chocolate face moved
closer to a smile, but it faded. “Nah, dude got killed over on
“I knew it. You showing up ain’t a
coincidence. Anybody I know?” Jazz’s heart sped up despite the
casual way she asked the question. “Or you can’t talk ‘cuz it’s an
on-going investigation like y’all tell reporters.”
“It’s already been on at least one news
show. Some guy name of Brandon Wilks. Got shot tryin’ to rob
another drug dealer. Do you know him?” Addison went from watching
the cops searching Candy Girls to studying Jazz.
“I don’t associate with drug dealers,
Detective Addison. At least not anymore,” Jazz added when his left
eyebrow inched up. “That kind of crap is bad for business.”
“This,” Addison swept a hand at the
nightclub. “This is not a business for you to be in. Not if you
want to stay away from bad things, Jazzmonetta.”
Jazz sucked in air and let it hiss out. She
bristled at his presuming he knew her well enough to use her full
name, and lecture her. “Well, thank you for that inspiring
mini-sermon, Deacon Addison, but my club is legitimate. I have
security, and I can take care of myself.”
“I’m not a deacon,” he replied mildly. “You
sure didn’t mind getting spiritual guidance from that slick
Reverend Fisher. Y’all still dating? I’m surprised his congregation
didn’t toss him out of that big fancy church.”
respectful and discreet.” Jazz tossed a section of her dark red
weave over one shoulder. She noted with satisfaction that Addison
looked at her with less than professional interest.
“So you didn’t answer the question,” Addison
“No, I’m not seeing Reverend Fisher anymore.
Not that it’s anybody’s business,” Jazz said, putting enough sass
in her tone to irritate him, she hoped.
“Humph, interesting. I meant you didn’t say
if you knew Brandon Wilks, the dead robber,” Addison said dryly and
gave a soft chuckle.
Jazz spun to face him. The twinkle in his
eyes inspired an urge to slap him. “You think I’m hooked up to any
crime within ten miles, huh?”
“Now, honey, don’t make me call out your rap
sheet.” Addison took a step back and held up two huge hands, palm
out. “Calm down now. You don’t want my fellow officers to come
storming over here.”
“You- you...” Jazz no longer saw a tall,
handsome, thirty-something man with the kind of muscles she liked.
No, he was another tool of the system looking to have fun messing
with other people’s lives.
“I’m just teasing you. I already know you
don’t. I’ve tracked down Wilks’ known associates in the last twelve
hours since they carted off his sorry carcass.” Addison titled his
head to one side. “Okay, so bad joke.”
Jazz spun until her back was to him. She
pushed down the anger bubbling in her gut. She’d spent a big part
of her youth having people play head games on her. First, her
mother. Vivienne had no business giving birth. Apparently God,
Allah, Buddha, or whatever deity in charge at that moment didn’t
give a shit about the poor kids she pushed out. Then a succession
of social workers, unfit adult relatives, and foster parents had
their turns. At sixteen Jazz decided she was done with people
screwing with her. In the twelve years since, she’d kept that
promise to herself.
“Bullshit. You wouldn’t be here if you
didn’t think he, or maybe the dealer that shot him, was connected
to me.” Jazz flipped back to street smart mode. “Well?”
“Just so happens the guy that shot Wilks,
Cleavon Bennett, goes with a woman that used to perform with you.
She works for your old boss now. But that’s not why...”
“Uh-huh, I knew you didn’t end up over here
cuz you took the scenic route on your day off. I haven’t seen
Kyeisha in almost a year since she took her thieving butt off my
property.” Jazz scowled at him and looked away again.
“You and Lorraine still have bad blood about
you buying Candy Girls out from under her, huh? Then Kyeisha
pretended to be your friend, but was spying for Lorraine.” Addison
shook his head. “Yeah, you got a right to still be pissed.”
Jazz clapped her hands slowly. “Give the man
credit. His investigation skills are still sharp. So now you’re
going to say I set up her man to get revenge. Like I’ve got time
for that kind of petty shit.”
“Hmm, you know, I hadn’t thought of that
angle. The case may be solved. Let me make a note,” Addison said
and pretended to write with an invisible pen on an invisible note
“Keep working the cop thing. Your comedy is
stank,” Jazz retorted.
Addison dropped his hands. “Okay, look.
Let’s call a ceasefire”
Jazz felt the heat go out of her animosity,
but she wasn’t ready to give much ground. She had to let him know
she wasn’t going to just melt because of his overgrown boyish
charm. And, he was still a cop.
“Whatever. Go on and ask your questions.”
Jazz crossed her arms and stared him down.
“I didn’t know there was a call over here,”
Addison said. He sighed when her expression didn’t change. “So,
have you talked to Kyeisha in the last twelve to twenty-four
“I haven’t seen her in almost a year
I told you
. Let me save you some time. Yeah, I knew Cleavon was
her boyfriend, and yeah, along with everybody else in the 70805 zip
code, I knew he was a dealer. No, I don’t know where she is, and I
sure as hell don’t know where Cleavon is. If they got sense,
they’re miles away, ’cuz the guy either has a gang or family
looking for them. Probably both.” Jazz finished by letting out a
hiss of boredom. She sure needed that cigarillo.