I’m so very excited to once again have TA Moore with us giving us a little prelude to her newest book series, Dirty Deeds. She’s bringing us Chapter 3 in the short story prequel. Make sure you check out all the blog posts in the series, and enter the giveaway!
Crime Scene Cleaner [kraɪm siːnˈkliːnə] – Cleans up crime scenes…before the cops know there is one.
People always say ‘you can’t go home again’. It turns out that doesn’t count as a guarantee…especially not during a global pandemic.
After the jobs in LA started to dry up, crime scene cleaner Grade Pulaski was forced to pack up and move home. He loves his family, but the last thing he ever wanted was to face the ghosts he’d left back in Sweeny, Kentucky.
Also, the place just sucks.
He certainly isn’t going to stay any longer than necessary. The plan is to save up enough money to move back to LA and give his business a kick-start. The problem is that, as previously mentioned, Sweeny’s a hole and the locals are anything but professional.
Now a body has gone missing, Grade’s reputation is being held hostage, and people keep asking whether his Dad really did run off with 100 grand of meth in the back of Dodge. Plus, even though you shouldn’t sleep with your employers, crime lord Clay Traynor is exactly the sort of bad idea that Grade can’t resist. Tattooed, bad news, and dangerous.
…oh, yeah. Grade’s job is to clean up the crime scene before the cops know someone’s dead. That’s why he needs to sort this out before he gets a bad review on dark net Yelp.
Author: TA Moore
Publisher: Rogue Firebird Press
Release: March 4
Thanks for letting me pop in to talk about my latest book, Dirty Work, which comes out on March 4. This is the first book in the Dirty Deeds trilogy and I had a lot of fun with it! It’s available online – https://books2read.com/Dirty-Work-Dirty-Deeds-Book-1 – and I hope you like it! I had a lot of fun writing it!
I also hope you enjoy ‘Clean Hands’ a short story prequel to the series.
Clean Hands – Chapter Three
“Do you want some jerky?” Shannon asked. They held up the vacuum packed baggie of meat and cocked their head to the side expectantly. “Original or spicy?”
“Neither,” Grade said.
“Well, I’m hungry,” Shannon said snottily. “And I’m getting the spicy.”
“Get the original,” Grade told them. “It’ll sting less when you puke it back up later.”
Shannon pulled a narked face and ripped the packaging open with their teeth. They gnawed on a long strip of it resentfully as they shuffled along behind Grade. The smacking wore on Grade’s last nerve, but he tried to ignore it as he navigated his way around the angles of the two shitty security cameras.
Back home Grade would have gone to the hunting goods store, or the gas station off the Wildcat Highway that stocked everything a hunter might have forgotten to pack for a month in the woods: MREs, ammo (you’d be surprised), and porn magazines. LA’s economy wasn’t quite so dependent on providing every convenience for someone while they shot shit in the woods.
So the local restaurant supply store it was. Lucky enough Shannon worked part-time on a couple of local food trucks, so they had a membership card to the Depot.
Grade had subbed out tarps for a couple of rolls of heavy duty black plastic bags, but he’d actually managed to get almost everything else he needed. Bone saw, pruning shears, a meat tenderizer, and now he just needed…
“Do they have cleaning supplies?” he asked.
Shannon swallowed the mouthful of chewed meat. They nodded and pointed to the far corner. “Yeah,” they said. “Over there.”
The wheel of the trolley squeaked, repetitive and annoying, as they headed that way. Grade kept his head down.
“It wasn’t our fault,” Shannon said.
“Yeah,” Grade said. “I don’t care.”
Shannon was silent for all of two seconds before they blurted out. “It wasn’t my fault.”
Grade stopped in front of the rack of cleaning supplies to look them over. He grabbed a bucket. That hadn’t been on his list, but now that he thought about it he didn’t think he’d ever seen a bucket at the house so better safe than sorry. Once that was in trolley he added two massive bottles of bleach and one of Ice Machine sanitizer, because it sounded particularly clean.
“Did you hear me?”
“Yeah,” Grade said. “I just still don’t care, and I definitely don’t want to talk about it in the middle of a store. Either shut up and live with it, or get a therapist. Leave me out of it. Got it?”
Shannon looked nonplussed. They fidgeted with the torn bag of jerky as they headed for the tills.
“Shit,” they muttered suddenly. “Are we going to look like a serial killer or something? Should we throw in, like…”
They cast around in a panic and grabbed a catering pack of toilet paper rolls off a shelf. Blunt, painted nails dug into the plastic and dimpled the paper below as they held it up expectantly for Grade.
“Then we’ll look like serial killers with the shits,” Grade said. “Put it back. It’s past one am. You think whoever caught the night shift in here cares what the hell we buy? They want to go home tonight, not deal with the cops. Let them have that.”
Shannon stared at Grade over the top of the pack. “We might be out,” they said.
“Then use your hand,” Grade snapped. “Put it back.”
He didn’t bother to wait to see if Shannon did as they were told. The back of his neck itched persistently as he got to the till and started to move everything onto the belt. The tired looking girl behind the register didn’t even bother to look as she scanned things through. Grade watched the total on the register go up with each purchase and his chest tightened uncomfortably as he did the math in his head. It wouldn’t leave him broke, but his safety margin would be down to fifty quid and sleeping in bus stations on his way back to Sweeny.
Shannon wouldn’t have it. They spent money like they were allergic to it. They probably didn’t have enough in the bank for the now empty bag of jerky that was sheepishly added to the end of the belt.
Grade didn’t even bother to ask. He just paid in cash, took his receipt, and headed to the car.
“That bone saw was 80 bucks,” Shannon said, his voice thinned to a squeak from the shock of it. “Couldn’t you have got a cheaper one?”
“Don’t skimp on your tools,” Grade said. “That’s what my mom taught me.”
“Usually that’s a dad thing to say,” Shannon said with a nervous chuckle. “You know, dad wisdom is always about cars and shit.”
“Yeah,” Grade said. “Well, mine’s dead.”
That shut Shannon up. It wouldn’t last, but Grade leaned into it while it did. He needed to focus on not thinking about what he was about to do. There was only so much disassociation could do for you, he didn’t think it was a good time to test it. They packed their haul into the back of the car in silence.
“Shit,” Shannon said abruptly as they froze in place, the only thing moving their lips and the nervous twitch at the corner of their eye. “It’s the cops.”
The police cruiser turned into the parking lot and rolled slowly along as the cops inside checked the shop fronts and alleys.
“Yeah,” Grade said. “It is.”
Shannon stank of spicy jerky and the sudden hit of sweaty, panicked adrenaline. They licked their lower lip and shifted their weight as they glanced toward the road. Grade could feel the tension as Shannon got ready to do something stupid.
“Calm down,” he said. “We’re not doing anything wrong.”
Shannon gave him a panicked, disbelieving look and leaned in close. “Are you fucking kidding?” he hissed. “There’s a dead drug dealer in the garage, and we’re going to…going to get rid of him.”
Nope. Apparently disassociation was still going strong. Grade calmly tossed the black plastic bags into the back of the car.
“Yeah, but right now we’re just putting stuff in the car,” he said. “Nothing illegal about that.”
4th March – mmromancereviewed
7th March – Reading Reality
9th March – Two Chicks Obsessed
10th March – Boy Meets Boy
11th March – Love Bytes Reviews
TA Moore is a Northern Irish writer of romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and contemporary romance novels. A childhood in a rural, seaside town fostered in her a suspicious nature, a love of mystery, and a streak of black humour a mile wide. As her grandmother always said, ‘she’d laugh at a bad thing that one’, mind you, that was the pot calling the kettle black. TA Moore studied History, Irish mythology, English at University, mostly because she has always loved a good story. She has worked as a journalist, a finance manager, and in the arts sectors before she finally gave in to a lifelong desire to write.
Coffee, Doc Marten boots, and good friends are the essential things in life. Spiders, mayo, and heels are to be avoided.