Today, I’m posting an excerpt from Death Vetoes a Chairman. In this book, Lizzie Crenshaw is used to being in the middle of murder in Brookdale. After attending a fundraiser with her friend, Jake Mathias, she embarks on the biggest emotional and physical journey of her life, leaving some of the residents of Brookdale reeling from the effects. And before it is all over, it could cost them someone they love…
The front door opened, and a bouquet of flowers preceded Nicole into the newsroom. She stopped in front of me. “You’re getting to be a regular customer, Lizzie,” she said, handing me the clipboard. I handed it over to Jake, who signed it and gave it back to Nicole. “You must have a very wealthy secret admirer. How does T.J. feel about that?”
“He doesn’t have a jealous bone in his body,” I assured her.
“You’re a lucky woman.”
As she left, I pulled the card out and read it. “Better luck next time. Ethan.” I gave the card to Jake. “What does that mean?”
T.J. and Steve came through the front door as I asked that. The looks on their faces told me they did not have good news. “We need to talk in your office.”
Frankly, I didn’t want to go back in there, not after listening to Jake recount the details to Dale. “Let’s go outside,” I replied.
The five of us – myself, T.J., Steve, Dale and Jake – trooped outside and stood on the right side of the building near the parking lot. “I honestly don’t know how to tell you this, Lizzie,” Steve said.
“Tell me what?”
“Winthrop’s lawyer has friends in high and low places. He drove down here, talked to a couple of people, made a few calls, and got the TRO cancelled.”
“What do you mean, he got it cancelled?”
“The clerk called to tell me. It was thrown out because of lack of evidence.”
“Lack of evidence?” I snapped. “How much more evidence do they need? My dead body?”
“Lizzie,” T.J. said, trying to wrap his arm around my waist. I stepped away from him, and he let his arm drop.
“His lawyer called another judge, who listened to the recording. She said that Winthrop clearly requested that you stop recording, and therefore you violated his right to privacy by refusing to stop it.”
“How could I? He had me pinned to the wall,” I retorted as I felt a tear roll down my cheek. I angrily wiped it away. “So what you’re saying is I’m basically screwed.”
“I didn’t say that,” Steve hastily replied. “But we’re going to have to come up with more proof.”
“Forget it,” I said. “Just let it go.”
“You can’t do that, Lizzie,” Jake said.
“Yes, I can, and I am. It’s easy for you to say ‘don’t quit’. You’re not the one who has to deal with telling the story over and over. No wonder so many women don’t report the harassment and the assaults. Who wants to keep living it over and over? I certainly don’t.”
“If you give up, then he wins,” T.J. said. “What about the next woman he goes after?”
“Don’t lay that on me, Thomas Jefferson Roosevelt. Don’t you dare lay that guilt trip on me. I’m responsible for one person, and that’s myself. And even that is too much to handle right now. If he wants to win so bad, let him. If you want to fight him, go right ahead. Leave me out of it. I’m done.” I turned and walked back into the building. The flowers were on the desk when I went into the office. I stared at them for a minute, awkwardly picked them up and threw them at the wall. The sound of shattering glass echoed off the walls. I shoved a bunch of papers into my bag and left.