My air conditioner broke and it is triple digits here. So instead of trying to come up with something for the blog I thought I would post the first page of my short story for Christmas. The Christmas Con will be in a collection with the other members of Authors of Main Street group blog. We hope to have it out late October/early November.
The Christmas Con by Jill James
“Tell me why I should risk my life to steal your necklace?” Robin Cappington sat back in her chair, fully prepared to be bored to tears by another sob story of priceless jewels and rich ladies too stupid to hold onto them.
“It . . . it was a present from my husband on the birth of our son.” The woman cried as if her heart was broken. “It means the world to me.”
“I’m sure you have insurance on it, Mrs. Scarlett.” Robin sighed and barely restrained herself from rolling her eyes. Probably a cool million, at least.
Willa Scarlett sobbed louder. Great rolling wails echoing across Robin’s office. “It isn’t the money. Money can’t give me back that necklace and money can’t give me back my dead husband.”
The woman dug in her Coach bag and came up with a matching Coach checkbook. “I’ll pay you anything. I was told you could get it back for me. Please.”
Robin sat up straight. Her gaze boring into the rich widow in front of her. “What is the value of the necklace?”
Mrs. Scarlett hesitated, her teeth nibbling on her lip. “Fifty thousand dollars.”
Her brow shot up and Robin glared at her. “Try again.” The figure Uncle Tucker quoted her was ten times that amount.
The woman sighed. “Five hundred thousand. But Mr. Tucker assured me you would get it back for half that amount.
Robin smiled. “Yes, I will. Write a check for two hundred fifty thousand and I’m on the job.”
The pen poised over the checkbook. “Who do I make the check out to?”
Robin’s smile grew. “The Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco.”
An hour later, her smile was much less prominent as she pulled up to San Quentin for visiting day. She made her way to the parking lot and sat there. She so didn’t want to do this. But the man would know the name of the best safecracker in the business and she would need the best for this job. Her sources said The Tao gang had the Christmas Rose necklace locked up tight in their Nob Hill mansion.
She turned off the car and got out. Slamming the door, she leaned against the cold metal of the vehicle. Every week. She went through this routine every week for the past two years.
She dragged her feet through security. She dragged her feet down the row of windowed cubicles until she got to number 7 that the guard had pointed out. An enormous man sat on the other side holding a phone handset. His shoulders touched the sides of the cubicle. His hand enveloped the phone, making it disappear into tanned flesh.
She picked up the one on her side. “Hi, Little John.”
“I’ve told you repeatedly to call me Dad.”
The Christmas Con is my play on the legend of Robin Hood.
Hope you will look for it and the other stories this Christmas.
Jill James, writer of contemporary and paranormal romance