The Appleton, WV Romantic Mysteries
by Carole Brown
Antonietta DeLuca’s glance probed the dark shadows in the front yard of the Wisecup job. The streetlight lit up the orange-leafed maple tree, setting it on fire. The tree limbs dipped and swayed to the whispering music from the autumn wind. Fallen leaves crackled to the left of the empty house she faced. Something moved, and Toni shifted to stare at the spot. With a screech, two cats shot past her and crossed the street, yowling like demons in the night. Hands shaking, Toni glared at the scattering offenders and leaned against the mailbox, dragging in deep breaths.
She shouldn’t have come by herself, but she’d never worried about that before. Her supervisor had begged her to avoid lonely places by herself. Yet she’d needed to do the final inspection of the repairs before signing off on one of their last big projects of the year. With Christmas coming and a long winter ahead, that meant money in her pocket and her employees’ pockets.
Drawing in another deep breath, she started up the sidewalk and pulled from her pocket the key to the house. The lock clicked, and a faint, far-off shuffle brushed against her senses. Head cocked, she listened. Had that sound come from inside the house? Her lips whispered a prayer even as she twisted the knob and gave the door the slightest push.
Down the long hallway a light bounced from one of the side rooms.
A candle? No, a flashlight. Someone was in this house.
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Hope Shining Through the Shadows of Suspense
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