- Looking for Death of a Jaded Samurai?
- It has now been rebranded as part of a great new series called Gilda Wright Mysteries!
The same great story now has a whole new cover!
When Sensei Mick Williams dreamed, he dreamed big—much to the chagrin of his receptionist Gilda Wright. After spending a late night designing fiery logos for the new Phoenix Martial Arts school and printing off scorecards for Mick Williams’ MMA Extravaganza, Gilda had fallen asleep on top of her covers with nightmares of martial arts clip art coming to life and chasing her through the new training hall.
Mick had finally texted at two in the morning to apologize for being tied up. By then Gilda was no longer concerned with where he was and why he hadn’t bothered to show up. She needed sleep more than snuggling up to her handsome boyfriend. Well, that was only partially true. While she would have loved to fall asleep with his strong arms around her, rebuilding the school had taken him away from her several evenings lately.
So had dozens of mysterious phone calls that he’d taken behind his closed office door. Practically everyone in town had warned her against falling for her boss and sensei, but she’d convinced herself they didn’t know him like she did. After working alongside him for over two years, she was sure his womanizing and secrecy were things of the past.
Tired and grumpy, Gilda got up early and shuffled into the kitchen to stare at the screen of the laptop she’d borrowed from work. No fresh ideas. No motivation. Just a stiff neck and deep frustration. She needed fresh air and something to get her blood circulating.
Since the old Yoshida school had shut its doors over the summer, Mick and his good friend Razi Mauli were determined to build an even bigger and better martial arts school to attract more students. Working on the new school side by side with Mick was fun at times. When they weren’t painting walls and building changing stalls, however, Gilda was glued to the computers, redesigning all the invoices and other stationary they’d soon need.
She ate a banana then called her best friend. “You want to go for a run?”
“Are you crazy?” Marion Yearly snorted. “I want coffee and a couple Danish.”
Gilda sighed. “Come on. You keep saying how much you want to get in shape. This would be a great morning to get started. Meet me at my place. We’ll go for a run on the beach.”
“In view of handsome hunks in Speedos? Don’t you have somewhere no one would see me flopping and jiggling? A big-boned girl like me might scare people.”
“You’ll be fine.” Gilda smiled as she poured a glass of water. “Come on. We’ll go slow and easy.”
Fifteen minutes later, Marion arrived on the front porch. Baby-faced and built like a fifty-pound overweight linebacker, she grimaced. “You know you have a warped sense of fun, right?”
“I know, but you keep showing up for karate classes so I guessed you were somewhat serious about getting in shape.” Gilda led Marion out the back door, cutting through her garden toward the shores of Lake Erie . “You ready?”
Marion scowled then nodded. “Let the fun and torture begin.”
The beach was so close to Gilda’s house the ground had barely changed from rock to light sand before Marion puffed, wiping a hand across her pasty forehead. “Can you slow down a little? I’m getting a side cramp.”
“Seriously?” Gilda rolled her eyes. She and Marion had left her house only three minutes earlier, including the time it took her to lock the door. “You know you should drink more water.”
Marion wheezed. “Don’t need it. I think I’m dying.”
“You’ll be fine, just slow down a bit.”
“Nope.” Marion gasped. “Not going to make it. Go on without me. Tell Razi…” She wheezed and clutched her chest. “Tell Razi I tried my best.”
Gilda sighed. If she forced Marion to run any farther, their friendship might be short-lived. “We’ve only run a hundred yards. You can’t be cramping up already. Besides, you were the one who wanted to get in shape to wow Razi so he’d ask you out.”
Marion doubled over in the middle of the path still wheezing. “I know, I know, but that was before I thought things through.”
“What do you mean?” Gilda hopped up and down on the spot to warm up. Her usual five-mile run might have to be postponed due to her best friend’s change of attitude.
“Well, if I run, I’ll lose weight.” She paused to cough. “If I lose weight, all my clothes will be too big.” Another pause to suck in a deep breath. “Then I’ll have to go shopping…”
Not averse to the occasional shopping trip, Gilda shrugged. “What’s so bad about that?”
Marion didn’t answer. She seemed to look past Gilda toward the beach. Her jaw dropped, and her unblinking eyes widened. It was the same look she got when faced with a buffet dinner.
“Are you okay?” Gilda knitted her eyebrows together and waved a hand in front of her friend’s ruddy face. ” Marion ?”
She released a long, slow sigh. “Oh, Gilda. I think I’m in love.”
“Yeah, with Razi. I know. We’ve had many wine-fuelled, in-depth discussions about how you imagine your future together.”
“No.” Slack-jawed, Marion shook her head and pointed. “Him.”
Gilda spun around so fast she tripped over both feet then lay sprawled in the sand with her eyes wide. A brilliant flash of light briefly blinded her. As the spots faded from her eyes, she made out the figure of a half-naked man, with loose, long blond hair, swinging a sword on the beach ahead. Her arms twitched, and she fought the urge to make sure her head was still attached to her shoulders. The bare-chested man wielded his weapon well over a hundred feet away.
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