Presented by SHANNON MUIR’S INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS

SPONTANEOUS CHOICES SHORTS features short serialized fiction by author Shannon Muir, that may be later released as part of e-book or print collections. In 2019, these serials will appear every second and fourth Thursday (and fifth Thursdays as they occur) beginning January 17, 2019. The story line featured over the next sixteen days is “A Spontaneous Kind of Mystery,” featuring the return of Marnie and Zane. This is part 11 of 16.

Once she got home, Marnie phoned Blake back up. She knew how late it was, but right now she didn’t care. Besides, she felt Blake owed her.

“Marnie?” Blake said, groggily.

“Look,Blake, I know it’s late, but I need your help. You are a librarian with access to research tools. I talked to my sister about all that’s been going on.”

“That’s great you two are still talking. But why are you bothering me in the middle of the night?”

“My sister thinks that the Colby kid we saw at the cafe might be an illegitimate son of Hampton Royale, the father of my sister’s ex-husband, who ended up not getting what he was promised in the will. As an illegitimate son yourself, I’m thinking you’d probably know how to look the quickest to verify a story like that. Tessa’s concerned we’re all in danger. Look, I’m still not happy at how you handled things with the police, but this is your chance to make up for it.”

“I’ll check remote databases from here and get back to you as soon as I can,” Blake promised her.

As she hung up from talking to Blake, Marnie knew what she needed to do next. She dreaded doing it, especially this late. Zane might not answer her, or get upset she called so late. However, this area would be his expertise.

Slowly, she dialed the numbers. Zane did answer.

“Marnie, do you realize how late it is?”

“Yes, yes Zane, I do and I’m sorry. But I need your help.”

“I can’t just drop everything and come rescue in the middle of the night!”

“Oh, sorry. That’s not the advice I mean. I need your expertise as a male nurse.”

Zane’s tone changed; this piqued his interest.

“What can I help you with?”

“Did the police ask you about some murder at the cafe we went to?”

“They did. I didn’t know a thing.”

“Well, that kid in front of us in line that caused a fuss, Colby? He might be related to my sister’s ex.”

“Whoa, that’s deep. But I’m not following what that has to do with me.”

“My sister thinks his mother might have been one of Hampton Royale’s care nurses not quite twenty years ago. If I needed to locate someone with a current or past nurse’s license, how would I go about it?”

“I can tell you, but shouldn’t you leave that to the the police?”

“I need to see if my sister’s theory is true before I go back to them. Please, give me a hint where to look. That’s all I ask. I’ll do the legwork myself.”

“You could ask Blake for help.”

“He’s on a different assignment, following the paternity angle. I’m verifying who his mother is. I can handle this if you point me the right way. Please, Zane.”

“There are some databases to do that,” Zane explained. “But you’ll definitely need a name for those, possibly additional information depending on what you are needing. And not all are open to the public. If you do come up with a name, let me know, and I’ll see how I can help.”

Marnie figured Zane must not be too upset with her if he was willing to help in some capacity.

“I’ll let you know if I find anything more. Sorry to bother you, Zane.”

“Looks like we’re in this together. Have a good night, Marnie.”

Zane hung up, but Marnie didn’t feel rejected – just concerned that they might be missing a very important clue and running out of time.

Now she decided to call Sophia.

“Marnie, I am so glad you are okay! The police have been asking so many questions about what happened. I still can’t get a straight answer, just a hint that it is someone who works with Suzette. They won’t even tell me if it’s Holly. I’m so concerned about my friend!”

Marnie told Sophia what Tessa shared with her.

“I’m so glad you went to your sister, but now I’m really afraid. What if you’re right and it is this Colby kid? If he’s taking out revenge on people who work for Suzette, Holly comes in and does contract work for her. Since she still needs to get paid, I’m sure she’ll go back. Oh, I hope she’s not in danger!”