Undercover Bubba

Mischance & Calamity Mysteries Book 3

Trouble carves a spot out of the Bayou and threatens to sink Felly, Cal, and the Bent Society sleuths into its murky depths.

Bubba―a.k.a. Felonius Chance―calls Felicity when one of the Brothers at the monastery goes missing. The monks think Brother Mike was pulled into the Bayou by Aristotle, their pet gator. But Felonius doesn’t believe Brother Mike was killed by the gator. He thinks his friend got on the wrong side of a whole different kind of predator. And he’s hoping Felly and the courageous Cal can find him before he ends up feeding the fishes in the muddy waters of the Bayou. 

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I patted the ugly concrete alligator in front of the Backwater Inn in Bent, Alabama on the head. “Did you miss me?”

Cal slid me a look, which appeared to reinforce his opinion that I was well and truly crazy and disappeared into the manager’s office at our home away from home on the Bayou. I preferred to wait outside while he acquired our room at the charm-challenged Backwater Inn. The room the ever-efficient Cal was at that very moment procuring for us was likely depressing enough, I didn’t feel the need to subject myself to the dank and depressing armpit of the place known as The Office.

My gaze caught on the dirty brown ribbon of water behind the motel and narrowed as an airboat sailed past with three figures aboard. The person sitting in the driver’s seat was staring straight ahead, a towel around his or her neck whipping in the wind like a scarf. The other two appeared to be holding on for dear life, their hair stuck straight out around their heads like clay sun sculptures. The scenario reminded me of my adventures with the BSers ─ otherwise known as the Bent Society Ladies. The boat-not-touching-water thing was classic BS move.

The office door slammed shut, and I looked up to find Cal descending the stained concrete steps. To my vast surprise, he held two keys in his hand.

“There were two rooms available?” I asked, incredulous.

He smiled when he saw my surprise. “I know you don’t believe me, but I always try to get two rooms.”

“It’s not that I don’t believe you…”

He shook his head. “These aren’t right next to each other, but they’re close. Hopefully, we won’t need to use them for longer than a night or two.”

Clasping my chipped alligator keychain in a suddenly damp palm, I nodded, swallowing back disappointment. The feeling made me want to smack myself upside the head. I’d been unhappy when Cal and I had been forced to share a room the previous two times we’d traveled to Bent together because sharing a room with my yummy Greek PI was just too much of a temptation for one flawed woman. So why wasn’t I happy to learn that I wouldn’t have to fight off temptation once again?

Because I was an idiot. And…well…it was Cal!

I glanced at my watch, seeing it was almost nine o’clock. The sun was low on the horizon, and it was too late to go to the monastery. I frowned, my gaze sliding toward the ugly brown door to my room. I suddenly realized that, without Cal’s delicious distraction, the room was going to be a cold and depressing place.

“You want to walk down Main Street and get ice cream or something?”

“Yes!” I exclaimed in relief. Cal reared back just a little at the exuberance in my response. “Sorry. It’s just…”

“Yeah,” Cal flung an arm over my shoulders. “I’m not looking forward to sitting around in the dank dungeon known as the Backwater Inn, either.” He leaned in and kissed me on the temple, letting his warm lips linger for several pulses of my wildly beating heart.

When he finally moved away, I sighed, feeling much better.

We walked in companionable silence for a few minutes, slapping at mosquitoes. The road leading from the Backwater to Main Street was growing darker by the minute, and the only sound we heard for several moments was the slow trudge of muddy liquid along the Bayou and the throaty croaks of what had to be the world’s biggest bullfrogs. Occasionally, the air sifted past and deposited the unpleasant stench of dead fish on my nasal mucosa.

As we neared Main Street, the quiet was overridden by a variety of sounds. Somewhere down the road, somebody was playing music. It was a drowsy kind of Blues that made me smile. Cars slipped past at regular intervals, most of them being driven by younger inhabitants of Bent who were, no doubt, bored out of their skulls and looking for something…anything…to entertain them. As we turned the corner where Backwater Street met Main Street, we found ourselves two blocks from the ice cream parlor and less distance than that to Bent’s true entertainment.

Mayor Helene Trudeau was stomping after another woman, whose giant purse slammed against her wide behind with every angry step. The bad-tempered mayor stabbed a thick finger into the air as she proceeded to turn the air blue. Helene was so mad, her usually pasty face was a terrifying shade of purple. There were red splotches showing high on her cheeks.

For her part, Dorrie Tae looked very pleased with herself as the mayor stepped down off the curb and stopped.

Dorrie Tae stopped too and turned, grinning widely.

A heartbeat later, Helene’s skirt lifted skyward on a gust of unexpected air that appeared to come from the grate she was standing on and, Marilyn Monroe-like, sent the ugly gray fabric fluttering around her shoulders.

Helene shrieked as laughter erupted all around her and attempted to pull the skirt back down around her thick legs. In fact, she was so panicked that it didn’t seem to occur to her to move off the grate until, fully enraged, she shot toward Dorrie Tae, fists pumping.

Cal pointed to the orange electric cord running from the nearby bus stop to the grate. “It looks like the mayor was set up.”

I rolled my eyes. “She’s going to throw them all in the slammer for this one.”

Cal started off again, tucking me under his shoulder. “I hope not. We’re probably going to need their help with this disappeared monk thing. If anybody knows what might have happened to Brother Mike, it’s those two.”

I had to agree. But I also knew that it wouldn’t be as simple as just asking them what they thought. If we went to Irene and Dorrie Tae with our monasterial intrigue, they’d be on it like white on rice. After all, there was only so much Helene torture they could do to pass the time in Bent, Alabama. 

“Do you want to go see your friends?” Cal asked me.

Watching Helene stalk toward the diner where the terrible twosome had hunkered down to await her assault, I shook my head. “I’m not walking into the middle of that. I’ll find them tomorrow and let them know we’re here.”

“Sounds like a plan.” Cal steered me toward the cute little ice cream shop down the street. I nestled into his warmth, sighing softly. A creamy, sweet treat and Cal Amity for dessert. What more could a girl ask for?