The Sweet Madeline

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Chapter One

Chapter One

Detective Mike Conroy usually took Sundays off to relax and recoup from his job with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s office. He had his coffee, his copy of the Times-Union, and his first Marlboro of the day as he enjoyed the quiet of his apartment on the south side of town. Cigarettes were a bad habit, but it helped him deal with the stress of the job. The same stress that had cost him his only marriage. Being a cop’s wife was difficult, and Monica hadn’t been able to handle it.

The stillness was ruined by the jangling of his cell phone, sounding like a muted landline. It was his partner, Detective Sheila Ganz, and he knew that particular Sunday in mid-April was not going to be the usual.

“We just got a very interesting call from the Coast Guard station at Fort Pierce,” she said. “It seems a sailboat from here in Jacksonville has run aground off the coast of West Palm Beach.”

He placed his Marley in a brass ashtray. “And that concerns us how?”

“It’s a derelict. No one on board but a cat.”

“Odd, but still…”

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