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Nightshade Cases

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Blurb

When trans starlet Aisling is murdered, Detective Geraldine Meyers is assigned the case. With help from medical examiner Dr. Rachel Hunter, Gerri realizes this is no ordinary killing. While she might not want to call in over-eager anthropologist Dr. Kinsey DanAllart, the detective is forced to trust her friend's expertise in symbology, even though doing so means admitting "weird" things might be happening in Silver City. As the three friends unravel the mystery of the dancer's death, one thing is made absolutely apparent--something isn't right in their new hometown. And someone is doing everything they can to make sure the truth doesn't come out.

In Silver City, sometimes friendship can be murder.

Nightshade Cases is created by Patti Larsen, an EGlobal Creative Publishing signed author.

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Chapter 1
(FADE IN:) EXT. - THE STARLET LOUNGE - NIGHT The stage door squealed softly on unoiled hinges as Aisling's fake French manicure scraped over the edge. "Well, damn it all to hell, girl." She wobbled on her new Prada knockoffs, one knee buckling briefly before her natural balance kicked in. Her eyes struggled to focus on the partially torn edge of her nail. She turned with more enthusiasm than she should have risked in her mind-altered condition, upper body swaying as she flashed the offending gray, dented exit her damaged middle finger. And snorted out a giggle. "Showed you. Asshole." She'd only had one drink, shouldn't have been this messed up. Her nose twitched as she sniffed. Oh, right. And a whole lot of cocaine for 3AM. Aisling giggled again, hands sliding down the front of her skintight red dress. Her fingers skimmed over the tucked in package she did her best to hide from the world, pausing on the way back up on her newly inflated chest. The trip to Tijuana cost her a fraction of plastics in the States. And the handsome Mexican doctor knew his s**t. Gave her stunning breasts. She was lucky to find one who understood her particular situation. Who could turn a blind eye to what she lacked, no questions asked, who trained his nurses to silence and secrecy. Worth his weight in gold. She brought lots of drugs home with her, over the border, for her friends, naturally. But, for her, coke was better than painkillers. The filthy alleyway stank of decaying food, waste from the bar she'd just left. Didn't help the bums who lived under the bridge liked to peep at the dancers and used this place for a toilet after jerking off to the memory. Aisling's finely-crafted nose turned up, ruby lips parting as she half strutted, half wavered her way past the rusting dumpster, shoe slipping in a patch of reeking fluid leaking out of the damaged corner. She caught herself with a gasp, the loud clang of her heavy, metal bangle slamming into the side of the dumpster ringing like a bell. It made her pause after her start, hum the same note. Tottering on four inches of stiletto, she sashayed her narrow hips from side to side, spinning at last just past the dumpster with a flourish. "Use that sweet move tomorrow night," she told the open, humid air and dark California night. It made her smile, even as she wobbled on, deeper into the alley. Music and dancing were her life and had been since she was a little boy. Girl. She corrected herself by stopping, c*****g one hip to the side and waggling her finger in the air as though to admonish a stranger. "I," she said in a slurred and empty voice, "am a girl." Sure, she still had some junk to deal with. The patch of taut skin between her legs-the hated extra flesh tucked firmly back and taped out of sight-reminded her with every step she had a ways to go. Screw it. Small, fine-boned hands adjusted her new rack again. When she was done, she would give up the drugs and this crappy s**t-hole of a queer bar and go find a real job as a real dancer. On the East coast maybe. New York. London, even. Silver City could kiss her ass. Aisling giggled again at the visual image her stoned mind came up with. It took her a moment to drag her focus back, sniffing delicately, the faint tingle of the drug still in her nostrils. A giant bag-matching her shoes, of course-swung against her hip as she frowned down into it, swaying while she dug into the dark interior. Damn it. What did she do with her car keys? The door squealed for a second time, spinning her around. And, in that instant, everything changed. Fear raced through her, clearing her mind. Aisling's fingers located the small, square box of her Taser buried at the bottom. She hated being sober, and being afraid even more. Too many years of hiding, of having friends fall victim to haters. Worse, those who hunted, who tracked her kind for sport or out of "scientific curiosity." Her free hand settled over the center of her chest, pressing into the silence there. No matter the reason for her fear, it left her with a cold and terrible pit of anxiety she knew she'd never shed no matter how much work she had done to this body of hers. Or how well she hid what she really was. Until she spotted the person walking toward her, down the alley, with steady, reassuring steps. She smiled, ruby lips separating, feeling her body warm in response to the sight. The coke resurged and made everything all right again. That empty place inside her chest, under her quivering hand, filled with longing, a hunger so powerful she could barely stand it. That was the true hole she tried to fill. That only a certain kind of attention could feed. And here was the perfect meal, falling into her lap. "What are you doing here?" She licked her lips, chest tightening, heating in anticipation. "I wondered if you'd come looking for seconds." She was almost grateful for the loss of her full-on buzz. There were better ways to get high. Much better ways. It wasn't until shadow fell over her, the flash of a silver blade cutting through the dark between them, Aisling understood. And even then, she was so shocked all she could do was stare as the knife plunged, Taser forgotten in her hand, the vague and distant scream in her head only begging her killer to spare her brand-new boobs.

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