Honeymoon for One

Honeymoon for One
Being ditched at the altar is the least of Lizzie Mancini’s problems. Sitting in a Caribbean jail cell accused of murdering her “pretend” husband, however, is at the top of the list.

After her real groom jilts her, Lizzie decides to go solo on their Belize honeymoon and meets handsome Michael Garcia, who is nursing his own heartache. To avoid the bleakness of dining and sightseeing alone, as well as questions from nosy, if well-meaning, fellow guests at the couples-only resort, the two agree to pose as newlyweds for the week—no strings (or sex) attached.

The plan runs smoothly until Lizzie enjoys the attentions of the local scuba instructor and Michael’s body washes ashore. Suddenly the “Mrs.” is mistakenly ID’d as suspect numero uno. With the Polizia Nationale ready to close the case and cook her goose, Lizzie will have to solve the crime herself.

Unexpected romance and international intrigue are center stage in this mystery caper that takes “’til death do us part” to a whole new level.

 

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Chapter One

“How exactly is an emery board supposed to help me break out of jail?”

“I don’t know,” Jane said. “It’s what they always smuggle into prisoners in the movies.”

At that moment I wanted to throttle Jane, but since I was on the inside of a jail cell and Jane was on the outside, it was unlikely to happen. “A metal file,” I hissed. “Not a paper one!”

“Where was I supposed to get a metal nail file in the middle of the night? You know they don’t let you carry that stuff on the plane anymore. Terrorists could use it as a weapon.”

And I could use it to kill you. But then I’d really never get out of this mess. While I was only being falsely accused of murder, there was still hope.

I moved from the louvered window, with its layers of chicken wire marring what otherwise would’ve been a beautiful view of the Caribbean, and sat back down on my make-shift bed—a beach chair covered with a towel. The only other accoutrements in my cell, which until a few days ago had been the police station’s storage room, were two metal file cabinets, a ceramic bowl filled with semi-clean water, a half used bar of soap, and a bucket for after-hours emergencies. During the day, the police officers were kind enough to accompany me to the bathroom. It wasn’t much cleaner than my bucket, but it had the benefit of indoor plumbing. Welcome to the Camus Caye police station and temporary women’s prison.

Jane and I froze. We’d both heard it. Something that sounded like metal scraping against rock. Jane, who was standing on an overturned garbage can so she could reach the window of my cell, pushed her face as close as she could to the chicken wire without actually touching it. Despite her revulsion at my accommodations, she looked like she wanted to join me on the inside.

I moved back to the window so we were face to face through the mesh.

“What was that?” Jane whispered.

Before I could answer, the scraping switched to a rustling from the edge of the clump of bushes separating the police station from the café next door.

“Oh my God,” Jane said. “What if it’s a murderer or a rapist?”

“Lurking outside the police station? It’s probably an animal looking for food.” Hopefully a very small, vegetarian animal.

“That doesn’t look like an animal to me,” she said, staring at the tall shadowed figure moving towards us.

The figure stopped just outside the pool of light emanating from Jane’s keychain flashlight and tossed his weapon onto the ground.

“Lizzie,” Jane whispered, as if the figure standing five feet away couldn’t hear her, “he’s got a machete. He’s going to slit our throats.”

Before I could point out that if he really intended to slit our throats, he’d probably still be holding the machete, the figure spoke.

“You ladies need some help?”