Just joining us? You may want to start at the beginning!
“Did you get the name of the maid from Phoebe, Wen?” JD let the initial intention of their visit slip his mind during Wendy’s recount of her conversation with Phoebe.
“Yeah, it was Tina. Tina Farnsworth. We can ask down in housekeeping if she’s working today.”
JD nodded. “Thanks, Wen.”
“Hey — anything for you, handsome.”
“Get a room, y’all.” Dillon scratched at his beard.
“We have a room, Dilly. You’re in it. So unless you want to watch …”
“Hey! Eeee-Yuh-uck, a’ight? Grue.”
Wendy and Dillon stood. “Should we go down there now?”
JD screwed his face up in thought, then shook his head. “No. Let’s find Hank first. I’m curious about why he’s avoiding Phoebe.”
“‘Cause he’s an ass?”
“He didn’t strike me as one. They seem to be a very happy, loving couple. It’s hard to imagine they’re hiding something. Mark was his son too. Any cracks in their facade would show before now, I’d think.”
“You can never tell what someone’s trigger is going to be.”
“An’a cat’s inna cradle, dudes.”
Wendy and JD locked on Dillon in confusion. His sheepish shrug made them glower.
“Come on, we’re wasting time. We’ll find Hank, then go see Tina Farnsworth.” JD led them to the door.
They trouped out of the room for the elevator, and JD double-checked the door per his habit. When the mirror-polished brass doors slid aside, a handful of bundled up visitors spilled into the plush hallway and shattered the silence. The investigators piled into the deserted car.
The lobby was much louder than the third floor corridor when the doors parted to it.
“Uh … what’s happening here?”
The lobby buzzed with activity. Three people staffed the reception desk, but lines stood six or seven patrons deep, and more poured in. People dressed in heavy down parkas, snow pants and boots, fur-lined suede coats and soft lambskin gloves, long furs of ermine or mink, wool caps and denim stood patiently waiting for the call “May I help you?” that never wavered in its happy, welcoming tone.
Wendy pointed to a standing sign near the hotel entrance. Elegant lettering against a soft gray background pronounced:
“Denise L. Meiers Writers’ Conference”
The three investigators approached and read the details.
By invitation only!
Keynote speakers include:
Clinics and intimate workshops. Lessons from the pros. Some of the best writers in the industry have invited you to learn from their experience, and offer aspiring authors insights unobtainable anywhere else. Learn the craft from the top of the industry.
Wendy whistled. “Wow. That’s quite a list.”
JD gave his scalp an absent scratch. “This is going to make our jobs harder.”
“These names are incredible, babe.”
“Really? I’ve never heard of any of them. Are they fiction writers or something?”
“Maybe you should try reading something that isn’t a text book or trade journal.” Wendy shucked him under the chin playfully. “Get out and read a book once in a while.”
“That’s good advice … and these are great people to read, too.”
All three of them turned. A woman with flowing brunette hair and piercing gray eyes flashed a seizing smile.
“Vanessa Tyler,” Wendy grinned. “I’ve read everything your husband’s written.”
The tall, regal woman laughed and offered her hand. “Nice to meet you. You are?”
“Wendy Lerner. And this is JD Burrows. The one drooling over you in the back is Dillon Sparks.”