Lies and More Lies

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    When Lucy Derrider was laid off from her job as a librarian, father and son private

    investigative team, Harry and Danny Sullivan, hired her as their secretary. Withinmonths, her talent for lying earned her the unofficial title of assistant privateinvestigator.

    When Danny and Lucys latest case gets bungled, resulting in murder, Lucybecomes the prime suspect. In her quest to find the real killer so she can clear hername, Lucy encounters a plethora of roadblocks, including a dogged police detective,angry mourners, cheating spouses, and a lunatic in a red Camaro. The biggest barriersof all, though, are the lies she encounters, not only from strangers but from the manshe loves.

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    This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, and incidents are eitherthe product of the authors imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actualpersons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirelycoincidental.

    LIES AND MORE LIES

    Copyright 2011 by Beth Pontorno

    All rights reserved.

    Except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews, no partof this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without theauthors permission. Contact information can be found atwww.bethpontorno.com.

    http://www.bethpontorno.com/http://www.bethpontorno.com/http://www.bethpontorno.com/http://www.bethpontorno.com/
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    BETH PONTORNO

    2

    worth the extra money.The priest threw back the rest of his gin and tonic and slammed the glass on the

    bar. You two should be ashamed of yourselves. God is watching.If God is watching us, then hes also watching you get drunk. The bartender

    pointed to the priests glass. You want a refill, Father?Thank you, but no. Ones my limit. I just needed a change of scenery from the

    church.I almost choked on a sip of rum and Coke. I dont know if you came to the right

    place for a scene change, Father. Bars and churches are both filled with sinners.The priest huffed. My child, you should consider repenting and moving your life

    in a more Christian direction. If you continue down this path, I fear for your immortalsoul.

    The glass banged against the bar as I set it down. My immortal soul is none ofyour business. So take your concern and shove it where the sun doesntshine.

    The bartender chuckled.The priest stood, looking from me to the bartender and back again. You may be ahopeless case, he said to me. But Ill pray for you, nonetheless.

    Save your prayers, Father. I fumbled for my glass, and a drip of liquid splashedmy hand. I wont change. Im having too much fun screwing for money.

    With a shake of his head, the priest turned and walked away.I wiped my hand on a napkin. Then I checked my watch. Wonder where my client

    is.The bartender stroked the bar with a towel. Well, ifhe stood you up and youre

    free tonight, how about we hook up?

    I glared at him. Im sorry, but thats not how I work. No appointment, no sex. Butfeel free to contact me through my website if youd like to set something up.

    The bartender shrugged. Yeah, I might just do that.When my cell phone rang, I said, Would you excuse me? This is probably my

    client now. I answered and listened a moment before saying, I completelyunderstand. If youd like to reschedule, you can do so through my website. Idisconnected and took another sip from my glass.

    The bartender planted his hands on the edge of the bar. Let me guess. His wifeneeds him at home?

    I didnt ask, and he didnt say.

    My wifes done that to me before. Im cruising along Airline Highway, looking forsome action, and she calls and says she needs me at home. One time, she even calledwhile some chick was blow

    I held up my hand. Stop. Theres a chance you may be my client in the future, andI dont get personally involved with clients.

    He straightened and backed up a step. Oh.Well, yeah. I can see that.You have my card. I got to my feet and, in a nervous gesture, adjusted my purse

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    LIES AND MORE LIES

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    strap on my shoulder. Perhaps Ill hear from you soon.Yeah, maybe. But his attention had already returned to wiping down the bar.I left the bar, and as soon as the door closed behind me, the priest appeared in

    front of me. You should be ashamed of yourself, he said. Lying to that poor man.I know, but at least we got him to confess. His wife will be happy to have her

    suspicions confirmed. I wasnt so happywith myself, though. I feel like a whore,Danny.

    Dont. He stepped closer and ran his hands up and down my arms. Youre not awhore. Youre Lucy Derrider, undercover super spy for the Sullivan PrivateInvestigations Agency. You did good tonight. I think we got exactly what the clientneeded.

    I hope so, and I hope she gets the bar in the divorce. Mr. Cheaters just too full ofhimself. I rubbed the heel of my hand along my forehead where a headache brewed.What happens now?

    He hooked his arm around my shoulders and steered me toward his car. We gohome and get some sleep. In the morning, Ill call the client and ask her if she wantsany more evidence.

    God, I hope not.Now, Lucy. Be careful when you speak the Lords name, especiallyin the presence

    of a priest and while yourewearingthat outfit.Whatever you say, Father. I knew he was trying to be funny, but I wasnt in the

    mood for humor.We got in the car, and Danny pointed us toward home. As I watched New Orleans

    flash by outside the passenger side window, I thought back to my start as an

    undercover super spy.A little more than two years ago, I was working at the New Orleans Public Library.

    Then the library laid me off, and I had to scramble to find another job. Luckily, HarrySullivan, Dannys dad and the owner of the Sullivan Private Investigations Agency,took pity on me and hired me as the offices secretary. I was twenty-nine at the timeand still living at home with my parents because my measly salary from the libraryprevented me from moving out on my own.

    A few weeks after starting my new job, I was still too afraid to tell my parents Idbeen laid off from the library. I was on the phone with my mom, telling her a big lieabout a non-existent library staff meeting I had to attend later that day when Danny

    approached my desk.I stared up at him. I have to go, Mom. Theres a line of people wa iting to check

    out books. Okay, bye.I hung up, keeping my eye on him. He took a seat on the corner of my desk. My

    initial guess was that he would reprimand me for making personal calls while I wassupposed to be working. Instead, he said, You know, I might be able to help youwith the situation with your parents.

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    BETH PONTORNO

    4

    Although I was glad he hadnt yelled at me, I was wary of his offer. We hadnt evenknown each other two months. Why would he want to help me? I doubt it.

    No. Hear me out. How would you feel about moving in with me?My jaw almost came unhinged. Despite barely knowing him, Id developed a crush

    on him by the second day on the job. Yeah, he was thatgorgeous. So his propositioncatapulted a scary-exciting thrill through my gut. Are you kidding me?

    Not at all. I have an extra bedroom, and you can tell your parents that the roomrental came with a job offer.

    I dont know, Danny. My heart raced. Was this a freak show waiting to happenor a dream come true?

    I have to be honest, Lucy, he said as he fought unsuccessfully against a smirkinggrin. Its a little insulting that youhavent told them youre working here yet. Youmake me think youre ashamed to work for private investigators.

    Despite his joking expression, I squirmed and clamped my hands together in my

    lap. The only reason I havent told them is because they spent a lot of money on myundergraduate and graduate degrees. They wouldnt approve of me being a secretary.But you got laid off from the library. Theyd understand.Theyd be disappointed, and I wouldnt be able to stand living with their

    discontent.Then move in with me, and you can finally tell them you work here. Problem

    solved on both fronts.My foot wagged to a nervous beat. Whats the catch?He moved to the extra chair on the other side of my desk. I admire your ability to

    lie so effortlessly.Thats a useful trait in this business. So the catch is that, if you help

    me with my investigations, Ill give you a break on the rent.My foot stopped mid-wag, and I tilted my head, intrigued. What kind of help?I want you to take an active role in the investigations, do some undercover work.

    In my opinion, answering the phone and typing reports are not good uses of yourtalent.

    Since I was completely flattered by his admiration, I agreed after only ten minutesof contemplation. Two days later, I admitted the truth to my parents and moved intoDannys extra bedroom. In addition to getting me out of my parents house, livingwith Danny also provided me with an opportunity to see if my crush led anywhere,which was quite an exhilarating experience until

    The tires bumped the curb of our driveway and knocked the memory from mythoughts. As Danny shifted the car into park, I spotted the next door neighbor sittingon her front steps and rolled my eyes. She was a college girl, hot for Danny, and notshy about expressing her interest in him.

    I tapped Danny on the arm and, when I got his attention, pointed to her. Lookslike your girlfriends been waiting with b