Sam and Rachel find themselves in a diner in Wisconsin Dells, WI in the middle of winter. The calm in the middle of the storm is looking to be long and non-profitable. Then they hear about Catalonia Shoals, a retirement community for the uber rich and bored. A new con is started, one that will give the residents what they most want. But as the game unfolds, it’s getting hard to tell who is the mark and who is the grifter.
(Note: Sam is using John as an alias)
Rachel hurried across the plowed parking lot, slipping through the narrow opening in the mounded snow, to the nearest entrance. She made her way to the main foyer with the idea of meeting back up with Sophia to return her car keys. Stepping into the Tuscan garden atrium, she spotted Sam stalking down the room, his cheek and eye swollen.
Joey trailed after him, dragging his oxygen tank. “You should be proud of yourself. You took the punch like a man.”
For all of the crazy, insane, and deadly situations they found themselves in, Sam rarely lost his cool. He was always thinking, always working out a solution. No matter how hot things got, her man was ice.
The look on his face said her glacier was in Global Warming meltdown.
Sam spun on his heel and took a step toward the old man. Rachel called out sharply, “Johnny!”
At the sound of her voice, Sam stopped and just breathed.
“Joey,” Sophie said, her soft voice once again. “What did you do this time?”
“Nothing,” he said, wearing an expression of angelic innocence. “John and I were leaving church when this bear of a man walks into me. I told him, politely of course, that those were my feet he was standing on. And then he punched John.” Joey went to Rachel, taking her hand. “You have a lot to be proud of in your husband. He stood up to a man twice his weight without breaking.”
“You could sue.” Paul crossed his arms over his chest. “We could get a million, maybe five.”
“We’re not suing,” Sam said with authority. “You,” he snapped at Joey. “You’re going to make me whole on the seven g’s he took off of me.”
Rachel gasped. “Seven grand! You lost seven thousand dollars? Wait. Where did you get seven grand to lose?”
“He didn’t lose anything,” Joey said. “The money was stolen and as I might have had a teeny bit to do with it, I’ll cover it.”
Sam snorted and started walking toward their rooms.
“Don’t be like that, son. I’m good for it. You know that.” While Sam kept walking, Joey turned to Rachel. “Your man hold a grudge?”
Rachel calculated her response. She slid into a sad expression and shook her head. “Not usually, but he’s been worried about money. We should get the prototype in soon and with it the estimate for production. He’s expecting a big number.” She looked down the hallway. “If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to check on him.”
Inside the cottage, Rachel found Sam sprawled on the couch, a towel filled with ice pressed to his cheek. She closed the door and let go of the grin she’d been restraining.
“That man is a menace,” Sam said, scowling.
She swallowed her smile and crawled next to him. “What happened?”
“What he said. He picked the biggest, meanest bastard in the casino to flop in front of. The guy was a cop.”
Rachel gasped. “Sam.”
“A crooked one, luckily. Says he’s seen every scam there is and if I don’t want my ‘pops’ to spend the night in lock up, I better pony up the bail. I paid him two grand and was good until Joey opens his mouth about the other five I’d won at black jack. The idiot.” He shook his head. “And you thought he might be a pro. There was nothing professional about the shit he pulled.”
Rachel moved to the corner of the couch and tugged until Sam’s head was in her lap. “Maybe it isn’t all bad,” she said, smoothing his hair back. “The more he feels he owes you, the more he’ll invest.”
Sam relaxed under her attention. “Maybe.”
“Did you hear their latest idea?” She waited until he shook his head. “Paul thinks we should sell shares of the company. Instead of taking good faith investors, we should sell stock. The more I think on the idea, the more I like it. I can create a certificate, get it printed on heavy paper.”
He removed the ice pack to stare at her. “Paul.”
She put it back. “He’s harmless.”
“He isn’t, but it’s a good idea.
Excerpt from Good For It by TG Wolff. Copyright 2023 by TG Wolff. Reproduced with permission from TG Wolff. All rights reserved.
Like you, I’m not one thing. I’m a writer, an engineer, a wife, and a mother. What is first on the list depends on the day. Beyond the title I claim, I’m a person who loves learning and thoroughly enjoys a good puzzle, is creative and gets bored easily. I hold a BS in Civil Engineering from Case Western Reserve University and an MS in Civil Engineering from Cleveland State University, which gives me absolutely no background in writing, but I do it anyway. Writing mysteries and engineering isn’t as different as you’d think. Both require using logic and process to get from a starting problem to a solution.