Book 3 of the Kebab Kitchen Mystery Series
Ocean Crest, New Jersey
Lucy walked to the stairs leading from the boardwalk to the beach. The music from the bandstand was muted here, and the screams from the roller coaster on the sole pier seemed miles away.
A pleasant ocean breeze cooled her cheeks and teased the wayward strands of hair that had escaped her ponytail. She slipped off her sandals, and the surf sprayed her ankles. Gulls squawked and circled above. She stopped to pick up a pretty shell, then tossed it back into the water. She breathed in the fresh ocean air and felt her stress melt away. The beach always had this effect, calming and soothing, and she couldn’t envision herself living anywhere else than in Ocean Crest.
After fifteen minutes, she headed back, but at the last minute she decided she needed a bit more time, and rather than climb the steps to return to the boardwalk, she veered right and walked under it. In a couple of hours, high tide would begin and the ocean would reach under the boardwalk. But for now the sand was cool beneath her feet.
A few yards away, a large shadow appeared ahead on the sand. She stared. What could it be? A stack of boards? A sand dune bush? A large trash bag someone had illegally dumped?
She changed her mind as she crept closer and a shock of white hair came into focus, then an outstretched arm with a Wile E. Coyote tattoo.
It wasn’t a trash bag.
Oh, no. It was Archie.
“Mr. Kincaid?” she asked aloud although deep in her gut she knew he wouldn’t respond. He’d never speak again. Her gaze lowered to the bullet hole in the center of his chest.
She reached toward him and placed a trembling finger to his neck. She had to be sure.
Nothing. Oh, God.
Archie Kincaid was dead.