Read The Wedding Caper Online

Authors: Janice Thompson

Tags: #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Mystery, #Cozy, #Religion & Spirituality, #Fiction, #Literature & Fiction, #Religious & Inspirational Fiction, #Contemporary

The Wedding Caper

BOOK: The Wedding Caper
13.48Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

The Wedding Caper

Bridal Mayhem Mysteries

(Book One)



Janice Thompson




Copyright 2014 by Janice Thompson




is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This
may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you
would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an
additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not
purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase
your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.







loving memory of Kay Malone, “Super Sleuth Extraordinaire!” Thank you for being
the “real” Sheila in my life.

my four daughters: Randi, Courtney Rae, Megan and Courtney Elizabeth: Four weddings
in four years? Crazy! But you were worth it, and so were those amazing fellas!






I’ve had an
aversion to Tuesdays ever since the day my husband robbed the Clark County
Savings and Loan.

Okay, I
can’t prove it was my husband—at least not yet. And I guess you couldn’t
exactly call it a robbery, since no one witnessed the crime. But I’m fairly
certain it happened on a Tuesday. My mind is a little clouded where the facts
are concerned. That’s what happens when you go into shock. Details slip right
out of your head.

This much
I do remember for certain: Warren arrived home from work at six thirty in the
evening, as always. Loosened his navy blue tie. Grumbled about the unseasonably
warm weather. Shrugged off his jacket. Scratched our dachshund behind the ear.
Muttered a “How was your day, Annie?” Planted a kiss on my cheek.

unusual about any of those things.
Nope, my suspicions didn’t really kick in until he pressed a 9 x 12 manila
envelope stuffed full of cash into my unsuspecting palm.

to pay for both weddings,” he said with a smile.
A knowing
A suspicious smile.
And the wink that
followed did little to squelch the knot that suddenly gripped my belly.

Now, I’ve
heard people talk about how your whole life flashes before your eyes right
before you die, and I’m pretty sure I thought my small-town world had come
crashing to a halt right then and there. But somehow I managed to muster up two
words: “W–What?” and “H–How?”

He just
shook his head and kept walking.
Into the bedroom.
Away from my questions.
Away from my
probing stare.
Away from the envelope, which now vibrated in my
outstretched hand like a pit viper waiting to be tossed into the fire.

I hurled
the demon thing onto the kitchen counter and stared in disbelief. He’d done it.
Sure, I’d heard him joke about robbing the bank for weeks, ever since our twin
daughters, Brandi and Candy, both announced their engagements on the same
night. With two weddings to pay for, who wouldn’t have kidded about such a
thing, especially with college loans to cover and a teenage son in football?
But, to actually do it?
That was another thing altogether.

I stared
at the envelope once again, the bills inside peeking out, tempting me—no,
begging me—to count them. My palms sweated in anticipation as I reached
to finger the first greenback, to make sure my imagination hadn’t gotten the
better of me.


I began
to count. One hundred. Two. Three. Four.

minutes and still counting.
By the time I reached $25,000, my palms had completely dried out. Handling cash
can do that to you. I guess that’s why bankers always kept that little
container of fingertip moistener available. Made sense to me now.

my tongue seemed to have dried up, too. I wanted to call for
Warren—wanted to ask him where in the world this cash had come
from—but didn’t dare.

I knew.
In my gut, I knew. He was the one the police had been looking for, ever since
last Tuesday. And now I had the proof.





Chapter One


Two days after
I tucked the manila envelope into my underwear drawer, I paced the house and
prayed. Pleaded with the Almighty to show my husband the error of his ways.
Begged Him to give me peace if I’d somehow misinterpreted the situation.

Just ask
him where the money came from.

How many
times had those words flitted through my brain? A hundred? A thousand? A
logical person would have done so, surely. And yet, every time I worked up the
courage to approach Warren about the $25,000, an image from the past flashed
before my eyes. The third year of our marriage, I’d made a royal mess of our
finances. With frustration mounting, I’d approached my husband with great
dramatic flair. “You’re the banker,” I had announced with tears in my eyes.
“And I’m not. It’s just not my calling.”

On that
day, I passed my Peterson Family Budget folder off to Warren, vowing never
again to pick it up again. Never.
No matter what.
could have it—lock, stock, and barrel. I didn’t want to know the
, whens, and
of budgeting or investing.

When it
came to the planning of our family finances, I’d taken a hands-off approach. To
be honest, my darling husband had handled things with such finesse over the
years that I scarcely thought about money at all.
something big came up.
Like two weddings, for

Even so,
with $25,000 residing beneath my lingerie, I needed answers and I needed them
quick. Where and when would I find them, though? With two weddings to
coordinate, a new freelance editing business to expand and a tight-lipped
husband to absolve, I found my plate completely overloaded. How could I keep up
with it all?

I settled
down at the computer and signed on to the Internet. After deleting some
unnecessary e-mails, I read through my morning devotional, focusing on the
verse of the day, Philippians 4:6-7: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything
by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to
God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your
hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

I leaned
back against the chair and spent a little time in prayer. I needed to rid
myself of the anxiety, and I did my best to present my petition to God. I
couldn’t help but wonder how many other wives had prayed the Dear-Lord
please-show-me-if-my-husband-robbed-the-bank prayer like I
now found myself doing. It did make me feel better to share my concerns with
someone else, though. I no longer felt alone.

A wave of
peace rushed over me, and with newfound determination, I set out on what I
believed to be a God-ordained course of action—a sure-fire way to put an
end to my anxiety.

I browsed
the World Wide Web for information on crime solving.

When I
stumbled across the site:, I almost fell out of my
chair. Ah ha. Here, a world of information awaited me. Perhaps, with the help
of the experts, I could determine my husband’s guilt or innocence. And if
proven innocent, maybe I could catch the real perpetrator in the process.

for a small one-time fee of $150.00.

I read
through the fine print, curious to see what I’d get for my money.
is proud to offer this amazing course for professional and novice
investigators, alike. Increase your skills in crime solving with ten concise courses.
For a small fee of $150.00, you will receive one e-mail lesson per day for ten
days. Each day’s teaching will bring you one step closer to solving crimes,
large and small. Don’t be fooled by other companies claiming to offer similar
services. can teach you everything you need to
know—and more.

whispered a quiet Praise the Lord as I reached for our credit card. What was
$150.00 in the grand scheme of things? This money—albeit borrowed at 21
percent interest—would buy my husband’s freedom.

I entered
the required information and clicked the “send” button. Less than two minutes
an e
-mail arrived in my box with the first
day’s lesson. I glanced at the title and smiled. LESSON ONE: A GOOD
INVESTIGATOR STICKS TO THE FACTS. I skimmed the article, gleaning as much as I
could from the teaching.

Stick to
the facts, eh? Visions of Joe Friday danced through my brain as I took it all
Just the facts, ma’am.

Just the facts.
And I would make note of every
single one. I would purchase a new spiral notebook just for the occasion. And I
would fill it with information that would eventually lead me to the
truth—the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

As a
professional copy editor, I certainly knew how to come at things from a
left-brained, logical approach. I’d go back through the details leading back to
Tuesday—one by one. I’d contemplate every suspect, turn over every rock,
and examine every motive.

In short,
I would do this thing right.

Oh, and one
more thing. I would do it all without raising suspicions. If my daughters
learned their mother had taken on the task of crime fighting—even on the
local level—they might think she didn’t have time to devote to their
weddings. My editing clients might be a little nervous, as well. And if my
husband found
. . .

A shiver
ran down my spine. What would I do if Warren discovered I suspected him of

Or was it
burglary? I still hadn’t quite figured that one out.

note: Check the Internet to find out if your husband will be tried as a first-
or second-degree felon.

With new
resolve, I made my daily trek to our local Super Center, anxious to find just
the right notepad to house my newly discovered facts.
too frilly, not for the wife of a vicious criminal.
nothing too ordinary, either.
Heaven only knew who might stumble across
my scatterbrained ramblings years from now. I wanted them to look sensible,
with a decent cover and flowing handwriting. That way, when the folks from
Hollywood decided to turn our story into a Movie of the Week, they wouldn’t
have any trouble deciphering my notes. Naturally, I managed to select the only
cart in the store with a broken wheel. I clack, clacked my way along, doing
everything in my power to still my fractured nerves. As a temporary
distraction, I glanced over my list. Laundry detergent—Mental note: get
the new lavender scent—toilet paper; 300 bottles of wedding bubbles, the
kind guests blow at the bride and groom; spaghetti sauce (there’s clearly no better
place to examine your husband’s alter ego than over a bowl of steaming pasta).

Oh, and
the notebook. I couldn’t forget that.

With my
Super Center know-how firmly in place, I raced about, gathering up most of the
necessary items, then headed over to the school-supply aisle to select one last
thing. My notebook. As I rounded the corner, I ran my basket headlong into
another customer.

“Hey, why
don’t you watch where you’re—” She stopped almost as soon as she started
and laughter rang out. I stared up in disbelief at my good friend, Sheila.


nothing!” Sheila stammered. “You almost gave me a heart attack.” She clutched
her chest with dramatic flair—not an unusual move on her part. “And I’m
too young to go. At least yet.”

truth be told, I had no clue as to Sheila’s real age. She’d pressed forty-nine
for so long it was pleated.

your hurry, anyway?” she asked. “House on fire?”

“No, I,

perceptive gal that she is, must’ve grown suspicious from the hesitation in my
voice. Her narrow eyebrows arched and she leaned in to whisper, “Whatever it
is, you can tell me, Annie. I have no problem keeping secrets.”


only the people I tell.”

erupted in laughter and I couldn’t help but chuckle. Leave it to Sheila to bring
a smile to my face. However, it didn’t take long for my façade to crack. She
dove into a lengthy discussion focused on an article she’d read in today’s
Clark County Gazette about the “bank job” as she called it. Then she said the
one thing I’d avoided for two days. “They took $25,000, you know. Twenty-five

I’d known
the amount all along, of course. But hearing it spoken aloud made it even more

And my
husband even guiltier, if that were possible.

“It’s the
strangest thing, isn’t it?” she pondered “Almost as if the money just got up
and walked out of the bank on its own. And the police can’t seem to get a
handle on who’s to blame.”

struggled to answer, “Oh? Didn’t I read something about a drifter being
arrested? Haven’t they focused their investigation on him?”

now.” She shrugged. “But I think—” she lowered her voice and drew closer
to share the rest “—it was an inside job.”

I didn’t
mean to gasp, but couldn’t seem to help it. She clamped a hand over her mouth,
realizing what she’d said.

“Oh, my
goodness. I hope you don’t think I’m
. . Well,
of course I’m not. You know me better than that. And I know Warren better than

unnerved, Sheila turned her attentions to the stack of spiral notebooks on the
bottom row. She selected one with a lovely rose on top. “This is so pretty. I
think I’ll buy it for my grocery lists and new recipes. Not that I do much
cooking these days. Now that the kids are grown, Orin and I have discovered the
world of take-out.” As she flashed a crooked grin, her perfectly sculpted
eyebrows arched.

I reached
down and came up with a black and white notebook with a puppy on the front.
Dachshund. Ironic. “I’ll take one too. You just never know when the Lord will
lay something on your heart.”

the facts, ma’am.

We said
our good-byes and I headed to the checkout. Afterwards, I opted to drive
through a nearby fast-food joint for chicken nuggets and a diet soda.

I arrived
home at two fifteen, checked on the package of hamburger meat I’d set out to thaw,
took the puppy for a walk, and then settled down onto the sofa, notebook in

“Just the
facts, ma’am.” I spoke the words to the dog, whose ears perked up, as if in
response. “Just the facts.” My Joe Friday impersonation improved with each

ever my faithful companion, leapt into my lap, nearly knocking the notebook to
the ground. I scooted over in the chair to accommodate her then pulled the cap
from my pen to begin my list.

Fact #1:
Clark County Savings and Loan is missing a cash night deposit in the amount of
$25,000. Said depositor,
telephoned the bank in advance to provide a heads-up of their plan. The owner
of the catering company claims to be in a panic over the missing funds.

Fact #2:
My husband, Warren J. Peterson, is a personal banker at the Clark County
Savings and Loan, where he has been employed for twenty-three years. He often
handles the night deposits.

Fact #3:
Said husband has mysteriously turned up with $25,000 in cash to cover the cost
of two weddings.
Without explanation.

I gnawed
at the end of my pen and did everything in my power to ignore the nausea that
now ripped through my tummy. Was it the chicken nuggets, or had coming face to
face with my husband’s future behind bars caused this sudden rumbling? I
pressed the feelings aside and focused on my list. More facts remained; facts
that could not be ignored.

Fact #4:
The police have already interrogated all bank employees, who came up clean as a
whistle. Whew! Warren, I knew you were innocent!

Fact #5:
The Clark County Electric Company has verified that a power surge on the night
in question left the bank without electricity for several hours, thus disabling
all cameras.

Fact #6:
The police have turned their attentions to a male drifter from nearby
Philadelphia, approximately twenty-four years of age, who was seen hanging
around outside the savings and loan at all hours of the day and night. Mental
note: Check date of arrest and question police regarding grounds.

Fact #7:

Hmm. No
Fact #7, at least not yet. Of course, there was that matter of the bank’s new
security guard, the pretty little blonde who had sashayed into town just one
month ago. Nikki. What kind of name was that for a security officer? And what
kind of security guard spent her evenings doubling as a waitress at a diner?
Sure, she was rumored to have come from the quaint town of Lancaster, just a
little more than an hour away, but one could never tell. No—something
about Nikki felt wrong.

Fact #7:
New security guard raises suspicions.

Just the facts, ma’am.
I chewed the end of my pen as I contemplated what I’d written. Was a suspicion
a fact? The editor in me opted to reword.

BOOK: The Wedding Caper
13.48Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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