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By Amy Manemann
Average 4.8 STARS
Mystery, intrigue and double stuffed Oreos are back! On the hunt for her next big story, investigative reporter Taci Andrews stumbles into trouble yet again. When her best friend Annie calls with a medical crisis, Taci smells something - and it isn’t the fish market down by the river. To further complicate things, handsome fireman Tony Parsons is back in her life, armed with a devastating smile that still makes her weak in the knees. Equipped with her usual witty banter and a bag of Oreos, Taci dives head first into a medical mystery that is more than it seems. Can she stay on track amidst the chaos to solve a mystery, and get her story, or will she become the next headline?
I find it amusing to watch kids in this day and age as they learn the many lessons life throws at us. It draws me back to my own childhood and with it the many childish things that I’d done. Like the time my younger brother Reese and I talked our Dad into buying us skateboards from the new department store downtown. I couldn’t blame him for being skeptical, I was high into my skirt wearing phase at the time, but I refused to let Reese have one and not get one too. Let’s just say learning how to skateboard while wearing a skirt probably wasn’t the brightest idea I’d ever had, especially when I ended up with road rash on my rear from trying to sit while riding it down a hill.
My life since that time has been a never ending downhill ride and I’ve got plenty more skid marks on my rear to prove it. Not surprisingly so considering what I do for a living. My name is Taci Andrews and I’m an Investigative Reporter for the Riverdale Times.
For the most part my life is pretty good, save for the solitary status my mother often reminds me of. I pay my bills on time, keep food in the refrigerator and even have enough money left over for that occasional bag of emergency Oreos when needed. Thanks to the genes I inherited from my mother’s side I still have a few good years left before my metabolism will catch up with me.
I live in a respectable two bedroom apartment that is usually only occupied by myself, save for the times when my brother is down on his luck and needing a place to crash. While the building itself isn’t much to look at location is everything in a town like Riverdale, Iowa; I can make it to work in ten minutes give or take a stop over at Starbuck’s.
All in all I’d say I’m a pretty down to earth person. As I wear little make up and my shoulder length blonde hair doesn’t cause me too many issues I can usually get ready and be out the door in less than a half hour. I don’t tend to get overly stressed out over things either; I’ve heard that leads to grey hairs and the less I have of those the better.
I like to keep my life as carefree as possible so needless to say my carefree meter was thrown off track when my best friend, Annie Brown, called in a panic.
Hitting the brakes in the middle of traffic I came to an abrupt stop, ignoring the one fingered gestures I received from the drivers who had to divert around me. “Annie slow down and start over. What do you mean you have cancer?” I asked tightly, my hand gripping the steering wheel.
Annie inhaled a shaky breath, her distress evident over the phone line. “I had a pap smear taken at my gynecologist last week and it came back with abnormal cells. They said I have to go back for another test to rule out cancer for sure but I really don’t see the point. I have it, I just know it. Oh my God Taci, what am I going to do? How am I going to make it through this? What will happen to the girls?”
Annie recently divorced her cheating husband Bob after catching him pants down in his office with his secretary. It hadn’t come as much of a shock since he’d had a rumored track record a mile long before Annie married him, but I’d somehow managed to keep my tongue in cheek to support her. Bad choice or not us girls need to stick together, which is why I make it my daily routine to drive past the parking lot Bob parks his 2000 steel blue mustang in and do an egg toss. Childish, yes. Fun, definitely.
Amazingly enough Annie’s three daughters, a.k.a. the trio, came out of the ordeal a lot better than I had expected. They were still as well adjusted as they’d been before the divorce only now they actually seemed happier. Guess they hadn’t cared much for their Dad either.
“Take a deep breath Annie and relax, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Did they actually say you had cancer?”
“Well…..not exactly. The nurse who called used a lot of big words that I didn’t understand, but what I did hear was loud of clear; abnormal test and having to come back to get rechecked. Come on Tace, even I’m educated enough to know what that means,” Annie wailed into the phone.
The wail of a police siren in the distance made me suddenly aware that I was still sitting in the middle of traffic. Lifting off the break I tossed a glance over my shoulder to make sure there wasn’t anyone coming before pushing down on the accelerator.
“Ok, but they didn’t actually say you had cancer, right? I take that to mean it’s a slight possibility but a long shot. Come on Annie, it’s just another re-pap. They’ll bring you back in, toss you up in the stirrups, do a little scraping and send it off to the lab. No big deal,” I said as nonchalantly as I could.
“Easy for you to say, you aren’t the one whose feet will be up in the stirrups,” Annie replied flatly. I grinned. She had a point.
“My point is you’ll be fine, I wouldn’t stress too much over it. There are a lot worse things in life to worry about,” I replied out.
Annie sighed. “Oh yeah? Like what?”
I opened my mouth just as my car was hit from behind, jerking me forward. Lucky for me it wasn’t a hard enough hit to set off the air bags. Unlucky for me I had just gotten my car back from the last accident it was in, which I would like to point out was completely not my fault. Who would have guessed it’d get damaged by sitting too close to a building that suddenly exploded?
“Like getting rear ended. Uh Annie, I need to call you back,” I replied, snapping my phone shut before she could reply. Flinging open my door I slipped out of the front seat, walking around to the back of the car to survey the damage. It was just a guess, but I was pretty sure the back bumper was supposed to be attached to the rear of the car and not hanging in midair. Great. There goes another paycheck to the repair shop.
“Oh man, are you alright? I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you there. One minute the road was clear and then there you were out of nowhere,” a man was apologizing as he approached from the other vehicle. From the looks of his boyish features, character t-shirt and pair of faded jeans I guessed him to be in his early twenties if I was lucky. Then again I was really bad at guessing ages. I glanced at the offending vehicle who was responsible for landing me yet again in the repair shop. A pick up truck, go figure.
“It’s alright, I think I’m fine,” I replied with a shrug, instantly wincing at the pain that shot through my neck. The man’s face paled and he immediately was at my side, shoving me to the ground next to my car.
“Oh my god you’re hurt. I’m calling 911,” he insisted, whipping out his phone and punching in the numbers. Geez, were all men this dramatic?
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