When Parker Avery takes Olivia Nelson’s case, it sends her, Kay, and Iris to Nelspruit in search of a missing watch, but as they soon find out the watch is more than a sentimental possession. It is an efficient device used to disarm large safes and assist in burglaries, and Olivia Nelson isn’t the only one after it. The Avery Detective Agency finds themselves in conflict with a local group of criminals that want the watch just as much as they do, and in the midst of chaos, they are at risk of more than just losing a case.
After a devastating health issue, Macy loses her best friend Henry and finds out that he left the custody of his daughter in her hands. Without any experience, Macy instantly becomes a mother to three-year-old Ally and attempts to put back the pieces in the little one’s life. Just when she thinks that she is getting everything under control, she meets her new supervisor, Lynn. Within one meeting with the new woman, the two clash, and to make matters worse, Macy finds out that the woman is a member of her support group. Macy does her best to not mix business with pleasure, but as time goes by, she realizes that she might have a lot more in common with Lynn than she had originally thought.
Taton has spent the last five years dedicated to improving an invention that will help people deal with stress. She came up with the concept in order to deal with the guilt of her late friend’s passing. When she gets the opportunity to do a research study that might put the product on the market, she wastes no time in seizing the opportunity. With the help of her sister and Dr. Irene Campbell, Taton navigates the twists and turns of entrepreneurship, and in the process, she is faced with a whole new sense of self-discovery
Nancy is single, pregnant, and has a dead-end job when she meets Tai, a local food truck owner. Tai is suave and compassionate and can offer her the chance of a lifetime. Will their personalities clash or sparks fly?
Thank you for joining me for Book Bits. In this episode, we will begin to read the book “A Bit of a Pickle” by Nicole Higginbotham-Hogue. This is the second book in the Simmons Series.
A BIT OF A PICKLE
WRITTEN BY NICOLE HIGGINBOTHAM-HOGUE
COPYRIGHTED BY NICOLE HIGGINBOTHAM-HOGUE
This is a work of fiction. Similarities to real people, places, or events are entirely coincidental.
Edna sighed as she walked back into her house and put her bags down in the entry way. The trip to Branson had been a lot of fun, and she had a wonderful time seeing the sights and getting to know her brother. Nevertheless, now the fun was over, and she wondered when she would see her brother again. She knew that he had a job to perform, but she already missed him, and there were several questions that she still wanted to ask him.
“Home sweet home,” Gertie said, walking through the threshold and smiling at her wife. “I never thought that I would be so happy.”
“I’ll bet you are,” Edna replied, looking over at Gertie. “The whole ride home all I heard you talk about was your chair and how nice it would be to get a little rest.”
“You can’t blame me,” Gertie stated. “The trip was supposed to be relaxing, but you and Fredrick had me going all over town. I did everything but relax.”
“You’ll be thankful for the experience some day,” Edna retorted, watching as her wife walked into the living room and plopped down into her chair.”
“No, you’ll be thankful for the experience,” Gertie said, closing her eyes. “I’m quite happy right here.”
Edna shook her head as she watched Gertie drift off to sleep in a matter of seconds and looked over at the pile of bags. Her body was achy from the long ride, and though she wasn’t quite ready to fall asleep, she also wasn’t in the mood to put anything away. “It can wait until tomorrow,” she said, locking the door and walking passed the bags and down the hall. She could think of many other things that could occupy her attention at this point and putting away the items in the bags wasn’t one of them.
Edna walked into the computer room and sat down in the chair. She had been disconnected from her friends since she had left, and she was curious to see if anyone had left a message for her. Edna looked over at the answering machine and noticed that the red light was flashing rapidly. She pushed the button on the machine and sat back in the chair to take a listen.
“Edna,” Bonnie’s voice erupted. “I’ve been trying to get a hold of you. I know that you said that you were leaving town, but this is really important.”
Edna looked at the clock, wondering if it was too late to call the other woman back and decided that Bonnie would still be up. She picked up the phone and dialed the familiar number, waiting for the other woman to pick up the phone.
“Hello,” Bonnie said. “Edna?”
“Yes, it’s me,” Edna replied. “I’m sorry that I am calling so late, but we just got back into town and by the tone of your voice in the message that you left, I thought that what you wanted to tell me might be somewhat urgent.”
“It is,” Bonnie exclaimed. “I finally got my DNA results back!”
“Oh,” Edna said, not sure why her friend thought that the topic couldn’t wait until a later time. “I see. What did they say?”
“Well, the results told me information that I already knew, but the reason that I called you was because I thought it was odd that you had gotten your results almost a week before I did,” Bonnie commented. “I guess I just was curious as to why the time frame was so different as we live in the same town, and I mailed my test a week before you did.”
“This isn’t a competition, dear,” Edna said, somewhat irritated. “Who knows why my test came back sooner. Maybe, different people send them back, or maybe, they use multiple labs. There are so many factors that could go into the timing.”
“Well, I’m not trying to be rude, Edna Simmons,” Bonnie said. “I was just watching something on television the other day that indicated that people that were taking these tests were getting fake results sent back to them by cons. I just wanted to make sure that wasn’t the case.”
“That’s a bit outlandish,” Edna replied. “Here, I can pull up my results right now,” she said, turning on the computer and opening her email. Edna scanned through her inbox, looking for the message that had been sent from the DNA company. “Here it is,” she exclaimed, opening up the email.
“Well, what does it say?” Bonnie inquired impatiently.
“Hm,” Edna said as she scanned the message in front of her. “This isn’t the same email,” she replied. “This message states that my results were inconclusive, and it says that the company is sending me another vial so that they can collect another sample from me.”
“I told you, Edna,” Bonnie retorted. “I think one of those scammers fooled you. I knew that there was no way that you could have gotten your results before me. It just didn’t seem right.”
“Well now, Bonnie,” Edna said. “Wait just a moment. Maybe, this email is the scam. You didn’t think of that, did you? I mean, I did find my brother while I was in Branson, and the information that he gave me about my family was spot on.”
“Yeah, but in this day and age, anyone can find that information on the Internet,” Bonnie retorted. “Who knows, maybe the man that you met was one of those hackers that they are always talking about.”
“I don’t think that Fredrick is a hacker,” Edna argued. “The man seemed rather nice, and I’m sure that he is too old to be doing something like that.”
“Well, I thought that you and Gertie were old birds too until you two surprised me by stealing Jesse’s bracelet that one time,” Bonnie commented. “You never know what people will do.”
“Well, I do know Fredrick, and he seems very legit,” Edna refuted. “In fact, there is a way to find out which email is fake.”
“How?” Bonnie mused.
“I could just check my mailbox and see if there is a vial in there,” Edna explained. “If there isn’t, then someone was probably sending the email so that I would log into my account, allowing them access to my information. I think it’s called phishing or something like that. See, I watch the news as well. I’m not quite out of the loop.”
“Well then check your mailbox, Edna,” Bonnie persisted. “I’ll wait right here. I’ll bet that the first email that you received was fake, and besides, you told me that you didn’t even spit in the vial. You said that you sent a piece of an envelope. I’m sure that they couldn’t do a conclusive DNA test on the small bit of spittle that you left on that piece of paper.”
“Technology has advanced, you old bird,” Edna retorted. “But I’ll go check. Just wait right here.”
Edna put down the receiver and walked down the hallway. Gertie didn’t quite agree with her going outside when it was so late, but now her curiosity was overpowering her judgement. Edna picked up a flashlight from a nearby table and went out the front door and down to the mailbox. The night was quiet as Edna walked down the driveway and to her mailbox, the only light guiding her the tiny flashlight in her hand. As Edna opened the creaky mailbox, she thought that she heard a rustle behind her. She quickly grabbed her mail and turned around, but there was nothing behind her. Edna sighed a sigh of relief, amused at herself. “You nervous old bat,” she mumbled to herself as she made her way up the driveway. She had almost made it to the house when she heard the rustle again, and Edna could feel her skin tighten as the goose pimples made their way across her arms.
“Hello,” Edna called out, hoping that she would hear a familiar voice. She knew about everyone in the town, and she was sure that she would recognize the person that was creeping around if she could just hear them talk, but there was no answer.
Edna took a deep breath and continue to the door, looking around her as she did. She got to the stoop and heard the rustle again and decided to take no chances. Edna opened the front door, dropping her flashlight in the process and closed it hard behind her. She locked it tightly behind her and called to her wife.
“What is it?” Gertie grumbled, waking from her slumber. “It’s late, Edna. Shouldn’t you be in bed?”
“I wasn’t sleepy,” Edna told her. “So, I decided to check the mail.”
“The mail?” Gertie inquired, an eyebrow raised. “Couldn’t that wait until morning? I told you not to go out when it was dark. You could get hurt. You don’t exactly have the best night vision.”
“It’s not time to argue,” Edna replied, signaling towards the door. “There’s someone following me.”
“What do you mean?” Gertie asked, moving towards the door in an attempt to open it.
“No,” Edna protested. “Who knows who is out there? I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“I’ll be just fine,” Gertie said, picking up a hollow pipe that she kept by the door.
Edna used to think that her wife was crazy for keeping the dangerous item, but now that there was actually an emergency, she realized that Gertie was quite sensible. Edna watched as Gertie opened the front door, hiding behind her wife and preparing herself to come face-to-face with whoever was following her, but as Gertie pulled the large front door open, Edna noticed that there was no one in sight.
“Are you sure that someone was following you, Edna?” Gertie inquired, looking back at her wife. “Are you sure that it wasn’t just your nerves?”
“I’m sure,” Edna said, looking out into the black night. “I heard something, Gertie.”
“Fine,” Gertie replied. “I’ll go check it out. You just stay right here.”
Edna complied, watching as her wife stepped out the door, but as soon as Gertie had exited the house, Edna could hear her wife begin to laugh. “What’s so funny, dear?” Edna asked, upset that Gertie could be so easily entertained in her moment of trauma.
“Edna, come out here,” Gertie replied. “I think that you will want to see this.”
Edna complied. She knew that her wife wouldn’t lead her into any unnecessary danger, but she wasn’t quite sure what to expect. As she walked out the door, Edna braced herself for the worst, but when she saw what Gertie was looking at, she couldn’t help but join in the laughter.
“It was just a cat,” Gertie grinned, looking over at her wife.
Edna looked at the stray feline that was pawing at the flashlight that she had dropped. “He must have saw the light and decided to chase it,” Edna smiled, petting the small animal.
“I would say so,” Gertie said. “Why don’t you get him something to eat, and then, we can go inside. It’s late, and I think that we need to get a little sleep.”
Edna agreed and walked back into the house and into the kitchen, setting the mail in her arm down on the table, but as she started to prepare a small meal for the cat, she noticed something alarming. The bulky package on the top of the pile was from the DNA company. Edna stopped what she was doing and opened it, pulling out the bulky structure that had sunk to the bottom of the package. “A vial?” Edna commented as she held the clear tube in her hand. “Maybe, Bonnie was right.” Edna searched through the information that accompanied the vial and read the results off the first page. “This test was inconclusive,” she muttered to herself as she read through the rest of the information.
“What test?” Gertie asked, coming into the kitchen. “And why didn’t you bring me any food? The little guy is starving out there.”
“I’m sorry, dear,” Edna said, looking up at her wife. “I got a little distracted.”
“What are you holding?” Gertie inquired, coming closer to look at the letter in Edna’s hand. “Is this from the DNA company?”
“Yes,” Edna replied.
“I thought that you already got your results,” Gertie commented. “Wasn’t that the whole point of our trip?”
“Well, I thought that I had gotten the results as well,” Edna replied. “However, it seems like I was duped.”
“What do you mean?” Gertie asked, looking hard at her wife. “Does that mean that Fredrick isn’t really your brother? And how did you get tricked?”
“I suppose that we should sit down and talk,” Edna responded. “There’s a lot that I have to tell you. Why don’t you feed the cat while I hang up the phone? I have a feeling that you might want to hear this.”
About the Author
Growing up in a small town, Nicole Higginbotham-Hogue spent a majority of her time reading and writing, so when she was granted the opportunity to write full-time, she didn’t have to think twice. Since beginning her writing career, she has managed to pen several lesbian romances, while adding a little action and adventure to spice things up. As a newly graduated MBA student, she plans to use her recently discovered free time to craft the art that she loves. For more information on Nicole’s new releases or to find out what she has been working on, sign-up for her newsletter at higginbothampublications.com.
Also by Nicole Higginbotham-Hogue
Jems and Jamz
Don’t Tell Me Twice
A Second Chance
To the Beat of Their Own Drum
Finding a Voice
A Fan to Remember
A Stepping Stone
The Jems and Jamz Series: Books 1-2
The Jems and Jamz Series: Books 3-4
The Jems and Jamz Series: Books 5-7
The Jems and Jamz Series Boxset
A Brief Debacle
A Bit of a Pickle
The Catnip Conundrum
The Simmons Series: Books 1-2
The Avery Detective Series
Sentiment to the Heart
Thank you for joining me for this episode of Book Bits. Stay tuned for the next installment, and until then, be safe and well.