Summer page-turner: Chevy Stevens' 'Still Missing'

Oh, and in case you were wondering? No, I wasn't always such a bitch.

I dozed in bed a little longer than usual that first Sunday morning in August while my golden retriever, Emma, snored in my ear. I didn't get many moments to indulge. I was working my ass off that month going after a waterfront condo development. For Clayton Falls, a hundred-unit complex is a big deal, and it was down to me and another realtor. I didn't know who my competition was, but the developer had called me on Friday to tell me they were impressed with my presentation and would let me know in a few days. I was so close to the big time I could already taste the champagne. I'd actually only tried the stuff once at a wedding and ended up switching it for a beer—nothing says class like a girl in a satin bridesmaid dress swilling beer out of the bottle—but I was convinced this deal would transform me into a sophisticated businesswoman. Sort of a water into wine thing. Or in this case, beer into champagne.

After a week of rain it was finally sunny, and warm enough for me to wear my favorite suit. It was pale yellow and made from the softest material. I loved how it made my eyes look hazel instead of a boring brown. I generally avoid skirts because at only a hiccup over five feet I look like a midget in them, but something about the cut of this one made my legs look longer. I even decided to wear heels. I'd just had my hair trimmed so it swung against my jaw line perfectly, and after a last-minute inspection in my hall mirror for any gray hairs—I was only thirty-two last year, but with black hair those suckers show up fast—I gave myself a whistle, kissed Emma goodbye (some people touch wood, I touch dog), and headed out.

The only thing I had to do that day was host an open house. It would've been nice to have the day off, but the owners were anxious to sell. They were a nice German couple and the wife baked me Bavarian chocolate cake, so I didn't mind spending a few hours to keep them happy.

My boyfriend, Luke, was coming over for dinner after he was done work at his Italian restaurant. He'd had a late shift the night before, so I sent him a can't-wait-to-see-you-later email. Well, first I tried to send him one of those email card things he was always sending me, but all the choices were cutesy—kissing bunnies, kissing frogs, kissing squirrels—so I settled on a simple email. He knew I was more of a show than tell kind of girl, but lately I'd been so focused on the waterfront deal I hadn't shown the poor guy much of anything, and God knows he deserved better. Not that he ever complained, even when I had to cancel at the last minute a couple of times.

My cell phone rang while I was struggling to shove the last open house sign into my trunk without getting dirt on my suit. On the off chance it was the developer, I grabbed the phone out of my purse.

"Are you at home?" Hi to you too, Mom.

"I'm just leaving for the open house—"

"So you're still doing that today? Val mentioned she hadn't seen many of your signs lately."

"You were talking to Aunt Val?" Every couple of months Mom had a fight with her sister and was 'never speaking to her again.'

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