Retired homicide detective Michaela McPherson and the aging Countess Dorothy Borghase team up again—this time to match wits with two serial killers stalking children, women and the elderly. When Dottie Borghase's friend Camilla Rothrock collapses at a lunch gathering of old friends, the countess's only concern is to dial 911 for help. But Camilla's subsequent death has authorities buzzing about international safety and retaliation, because her son is decorated U.S. Army General Stuart Rothrock.
As other restaurant patrons in Richmond meet similar fates, Michaela and Dottie join forces with the Richmond Police and the FBI to track down the pair of heinous murderers. But in order to catch the killers, they will put their own lives and the lives of others in in serious jeopardy.What Price Must a City Pay to Keep its Citizen's Safe?
How about an excerpt: Dottie turned off the main highway and headed south to Blackstone Virginia. Madame Toulescent lived just outside of Blackstone and that's where she conducted her psychic readings. She wished away the butterflies that cramped her stomach. She had a sense that what she was going to hear wasn’t good. She wished she didn't believe in the value of psychics or the unknown but she did, and that was that. She’d seen psychic readings and prophecies come true time after time during her life. Mic wasn’t a believer at all but had grudgingly admitted psychics had helped them in a case about ten years ago.
The speedometer on her car registered over sixty miles an hour on a forty-five mile limit stretch of highway. I'd better slow down. The last thing I need is a Virginia state trooper on my tail. She braked and her car skidded but she handled it skillfully. The Cadillac was a big, monster car but she really liked it. Since Dottie had lived in the US, she had always preferred German-made cars and previously owned multiple Mercedes Benz. Of course, when Count Borghase had been alive, they’d always driven Italian cars, mainly Ferraris. But now she was pretty much American and she loved her Caddy. There was something about the Cadillac that was so plush and so American that she bought a new one every couple of years.
She saw an old gray mule in the pasture out of the corner of her eye and saw the fence that was lying on the side. Dottie didn’t know what she’d do if they ever repaired that fence. She’d been looking at that fence on the ground for years and it was her landmark just before she turned onto Madame’s private road. She knew her turn was just up ahead. She slowed for a farmer carrying a load of hay in an old truck. He was hogging the entire road. Now where in the hell am I supposed to go? She steered her big car to the side of the road as far as she could without falling into the ditch. She cursed and held her breath as the farmer passed her. She swore the farmer missed her by less than an inch. The old codger hadn't even looked her way. She shook her head and cursed again softly. She threw her white Caddy into first gear and roared out of the ditch spewing gravel, dirt, and mud all over the road. She saw three rabbits running for their life and hoped she hadn’t interrupted their nest. Dottie drove a little further and made her left turn. She turned right on the first road and started the difficult trip along the horrible, rutted road to Madame Toulescent’s tiny home. The road was almost a mile long. Dottie's tall, thin frame bounced all over her plush leather seat and her hair fell out of her neatly arranged bun. I'm going to have to take a pain pill. All this jumping around is killing my hips. Secretly Dottie new she needed to have her hips replaced but there was no way she was willing to do that, at least not while she could walk. I wouldn't be able to help Michaela. And then, what would she do?
Madame Toulescent waved at Dottie from her front porch filled with flowers and beautiful hanging baskets of petunias and begonias. Her small white cottage was immaculate. Madame Toulescent watched her painstakingly steer her huge Cadillac down her battered road. Dottie brought the iron beast to a stop, looked in her rearview mirror and re-pinned a piece of white hair that had worked its way out of her perfect updo. Even though the Madame lived in a house that was little better than a house trailer, Dottie had been trained from birth to always look perfect when visiting. This task had become monumental at age 82. She reached for her purse and checked to make sure her Glock was nestled in its special pocket. She checked her lipstick in the mirror, pinched her lips together, cursed the fine lines around her mouth and got out of the car.
"Hello Madame Toulescent. Thank you for seeing me today on short notice." Dorothy smiled her gracious smile at the psychic, showing her beautiful white veneers, once available for a large price from the famous, dentist-to-the-stars Dr. Michael Smirkowitz.
"You are so welcome, Countess Borghase." Madame Toulescent looked around the empty fields and through the trees and gestured with her arm. "As you can see, there is no waiting line. Please come in. I've made us some tea." She paused for a moment and said, "Watch the steps. They're in need of repair," she cautioned.
In need of repair, my butt, they need to be rebuilt Dottie climbed the rickety steps dodging rusty nails and wood splinters. She grasped the loose railing and posts that held up the old front porch. The last thing she wanted to do was fall and break something. She followed Madame Toulescent into her small but neat and cozy home. There was a wonderful scent in the air and Dottie’s mouth watered.
"Please have a seat in the easy chair," the Madame offered. "I'll bring us some tea and sweet bread."
Dottie nodded and smiled her thanks as she carefully studied Madame Toulescent. She wasn't sure of her nationality. She thought she was Eastern European but she seemed very much like the French and her house had several amazing pieces of French country furniture. In years past, she had asked the Madame about her former life, but the psychic seemed unwilling to share her past. Her voice had a strange accent Dottie couldn't identify which frustrated her. Dottie had traveled the world and she knew the languages and dialects of most ethnic populations. But she couldn't figure out Madame Toulescent’s origins. That puzzled her.
Madame handed Dottie a cup of herb tea. The aroma alerted her senses and she immediately felt more awake and inspired. The tea had given her energy and awareness. She took a sip. It was delicious.
"Oh my, Madame Toulescent. Whatever is in this tea? I feel a million times better just from smelling it. You’ve got to tell me where you got it because I know Cookie would love it too," Dottie gushed as she sipped her tea.
Madame Toulescent smiled and said. "I made the tea. It's a blend of ginger, mint, lemon verbena and a few other things I grow in my herb garden. I'll send some home with you. It's sweetened with honey I collected from my bees yesterday." She smiled briefly, and her lips stretched over teeth that could benefit from a cosmetic dentist. "That's probably what you love so much."
Dottie nodded and studied the Madame. The years hadn't treated her so well. Dottie didn't know her age but her face was a mass of wrinkles that blended one into the other. Dottie guessed each wrinkle had its own story. Her skin appeared soft but deeply creased. Her jet black hair was streaked with gray and hung freely past her shoulders. She wore a simple blue shift with a silver belt and wore tennis shoes and socks. She smelled of lemon and freesia.
Dottie, as usual, smelled of Chanel #5. "It's so lovely out here, Madame. Do you ever come to town?"
Madame Toulescent shook her head. "Very rarely. My neighbor collects my groceries for me when I need them and as you know, I have a huge vegetable garden and I can and freeze most everything I need. I like it here and I like to stay with my animals - my dogs, cats, cow, mules and horses. It's quiet here and my love is nature."
Dottie nodded. She couldn't imagine staying in these four walls every single day. She supposed she didn't have the patience and gentleness of spirit that the Madame had. But that was okay. Dottie was very happy in her own way.
The two women shared a comfortable silence and continued to sip their tea until the Madame asked, "How can I help you today, Countess?" She smiled at her and said, "I can tell you have some significant things on your mind and that you are troubled."
Dottie put her teacup down and said, "Yes, I do. Have you been watching the news?" Dottie saw the woman pale under her sun-darkened skin.
Madame Toulescent nodded. "You’re here about the poisonings, aren't you?"
Dottie held Madame’s dark eyes with her own and said, "Yes, I am. Camilla Rothrock was one of my dearest friends and I need to know who poisoned her."
Madame shifted her gaze to the floor and said, "Countess Borghase, this is a very bad business that is happening. I've had some visions and they are upsetting. It reminds me of the evil work of Hitler in Germany."
This time it was Dottie who paled, her heart beating so hard she could hardly breathe. "Oh my God, Madame. We both remember his devastation in Europe and the millions of people he murdered."
Madame Toulescent rubbed her hands together, her face grim. "Indeed we do. A sad and sorry time. Let's move into the back where I work and see what we can see."
Dottie stood and followed Madame to the room in the far back of her modest home. It was a glass room with beautiful views into the forest. She left her teacup on the coffee table. Her heart thumped dangerously in her chest and she was short of breath. She was so terrified she almost lost her balance. She gripped her purse and cell phone in her hand. She was scared and just the idea of having the Glock made her feel safer. Could the evil be so strong it permeated her soul?
“Countess, why are you so upset? What can I do to help you?” Madame Toulescent looked at Dottie with concern.
Dottie stared at her but her eyes said it all.
“Let me get you something to calm you down so we can have a good reading. Please stay in the chair and I’ll be right back,” Madame Toulescent said as she left Dottie and walked to her kitchen. Want To Read More? Read Chapter 35 here!
The fiery pit of hell erupts, shooting scorching crimson
flames up through the different stations of hell.
Sofiel stops halfway down the ramp to glare at Lucifer. She
squares her shoulders and tosses her long dark hair over her shoulders. Her
glowing light gray eyes narrow and she lifts her chin up squaring her
“I’m here to do my job! I’m not here to see you! I’m glad
that you’re still here paying for your insolence!”
Lucifer laughs out loud at Sofiel.
“You’re a complete fool! Yeah, I paid for my imprudence.”
“I’m not the fool Lucifer! You think very highly of
yourself! That’s the problem with you! That’s what gets you in trouble, isn't?
I’m not here for you!”
Lucifer stands tall with his right hand on his silver sword.
His bicep flexes as he moves, and he stands straight with his feet spread wide.
He grips the silver sword, beautifully embellished with precious jewels that
glow as he moves. The silver bracers, embossed with an intricate pattern,
emphasis his muscular forearms.
Lucifer is a handsome man with dark black hair. His beard is
trimmed to enhance his square jawline. His nose is straight, and he has sexy,
full, sensual red lips. His beautiful bright blue eyes glow with his inner
power, shining brightly.
The expensive black slacks fit him perfectly snug
accentuating his wide shirtless shoulders. The hot flames cast a soft glow on
his golden skin. The soft black curls cover his chest, tapering down to
disappear below his pants. He looks sexy, dangerous, and beautiful.
Lucifer narrows his bright blue eyes and raises his eyebrow.
"I suggest that you stop looking for me, Sofiel."
“What the fuck are you doing here?”
Lucifer deep thunderous voice booms out as he walks down the
ramp. The fiery fire pit flares shooting fire balls up the stations of hell.
Sofiel stops, moves back against the black limestone wall
watching the fireballs. She then turns to look over at Luc raising trembling
hands to push back her long dark black hair. She tucks some locks behind her
ears. She then moves away from the wall and walks over to Lucifer.
“Angel Lucifer, I’m here to see how you’re doing. I was worried
Lucifer gazes down at her and shakes his head crossing his arms.
“Angel Sofiel, this place is not for the likes of you. You need
to return to the heavens before your tainted! You need to return before someone
notices that you’re gone. The time in the heavens and earth are different. The
time on earth passes swiftly.”
Sofiel takes a step closer and grasps her hands tight to stop
from trembling. Her huge light gray eyes glow and the silver specks flash
brightly. She slowly smiles up at him tilting her head to the right.
“Angel Lucifer, I’m lost without you in the lecture hall.
Gabriel doesn’t have time to teach me. I. . . .I . . miss. . . . .you.”
Luc shakes his head, glares at her, and looks away. He clenches
his jaw, the muscle twitches from the intense pressure that he’s inflicting,
and narrows his eyes to look at the fiery pit.
“Angel Sofiel, return to your station. Stop calling me Angel
Lucifer! I’m not an Angel!”
Lucifer turns to look at her, his brilliant blue eyes glow, and
his silver specks flash with the beat of his racing heart.
By: RP Momsen A very funny science fiction adventure that will change the way you look at life, the universe and why we're all here. Billions of years ago, our universe was born. Not really that terribly exciting for most life forms except of course yourselves… and, well, Phil. The poor bastard who’s had to watch over all you people the last billion or so years. Well, finally after years of listening to all your griping, bitching and whining, always with some imaginary being getting all the credit, he’s finally had it! Phil has decided to explain what the world is, why you’re here and how you can evolve finally into a species worth talking about at parties. In this hilarious actual account, Phil takes two unwitting Physicists on the adventure of their lives, which isn’t saying much for a couple of physicists, and shows them what life, the universe and lovely little corner pubs really is all about. They’re transported to other dimensions to meet their better looking selves, get taken prisoner by an evil but very good looking race, fly through black holes and help the creation of a new planet all while their greatest challenge hangs in the balance, saving earth from the most evil, and best dressed, species the universe has ever seen. Will they save earth? Has all the years of hard work Phil has done creating you beings be lost? Does any of this really matter?
“You gonna answer that?” Delphinia slurred. Typically an attractive female colleague, except now she had half a glass of Pan Universal Kumquat Juice down her front, and somehow an equal amount sprayed randomly throughout her hair. We were all drunk—she was winning.
“Just another idiotic human with some whiny ‘I can’t do anything for myself’ question.” “Are they still making you do that? Didn’t you create some god chat line for them to look up on their own?” asked Braithwaight, a much larger and uglier version of myself who had the unusual characteristic of having the largest nostrils in the universe. You wouldn't know them as nostrils, of course, given that their size and look is of one of your outhouses, massively uneven, bright orange and dripping with something I'd rather not discuss.
“Ya, but they seem to be using it mostly for porn and watching other humans or animals doing idiotic stuff, which is even stranger when you realize that the average human does 4.8 stupid things per week; you would think watching each other in real time would keep them amused enough,” I replied. Braithwaight was correct, after all—a number of years ago, I had instructed humans to create something called God Gab to answer all their questions and, hopefully, quit bothering me. As usual, they misunderstood, called it Google, and continued to harass me anyway.
“Slow... what dey say?” Delphinia slurred, spitting Pan Universal Kumquat Juice over both of us, which as it turned out was actually rather tasty; I decided to order one next despite it being a bit of a girly drink.
“Dear Lord.” (Dear Phil, it should have actually read.) Please give me strength in dealing with my two kids; I’m always so tired, they stay awake for hours on end, I seem to be the only one in the house able to nap, they eat all my food, hide my weed and are even messier than my 3 ex husbands. I can’t keep doing it. What should I do?”
“Signed ‘lame-ass, stoned and grumpy Mom.’ I added the last part.” I ordered my drink despite Braithwaighte’s sudden drunken episode of visualizing me in a short skirt with nice big perky ears; an odd and very unsexy effect of the alcohol.
“So, how do you answer it?” Braithwaight asked, refocusing himself.
“ I usually give some form of positive bullshit advice that they ignore, and then they continue doing exactly what they’ve been doing for years,” I replied.
“You should just sway what you twink then; who cares what they do?” Delphinia again slurred, though this time with more drooling than spitting, which was fine with me since I now had my own drink. Oddly enough, this had never occurred to me before, which just goes to show that the advice of a really drunk person should not be discounted even when slurred, spat, or dribbled. I took two large gulps of my drink, hoping to gain some more of this wisdom; my entire mind seemed to open up and swallow everything around me; my eyes fell out of my head, dropped off the table, and rolled under my now very short skirt, and then I spat the remaining mouthful onto my two companions, to which Braithwaight said ‘mmmm’ before promptly ordering one for himself.
If it had seemed like a good idea before, after two sips of Pan Universal Kumquat Juice, it became the most brilliant idea since the first crossing of the universe in a giant Easter egg with very slightly modified snowshoes and a six-pack of Grantham Planetary Beers. Without putting anymore thought into it, or in fact having any more thought left, I promptly replied to my lame ass Mom message “I would suggest refraining from drinking every night until near unconsciousness, or adoption, whichever ones easier. Signed, Phil.
PS. There is no Lord—Surprise!”
R.P. Momsen was lucky enough to meet Phil in a very lovely but rather smelly pub a few years ago. After listening to the most amazing story of his life, and a half dozen pints, Rick agreed to bring Phil’s story to the world and finally get Phil a vacation. Through an arduous process over the next couple years of intense notes, grand philosophical debates, lengthy trips through multiple universes and numerous beers this masterpiece of answers was named Phil and finally released. A great friendship has been created and Rick has agreed to continue to write the real truth about everything, why it’s kind of a good thing to know and what humankind could do to be invited to the really cool parties.
You’re young, living comfortably in southern California. You’re financially secure, though you don’t know why or how. Your husband simply ignores you when you ask too many questions. He’s hoping for another job overseas, doing something. You’re not sure what, but you suspect it’s not what he says.
You marriage is shaky. You survived a war in Cyprus together, and lost everything. Now you’re basically biding time.
A letter arrives from friends you knew in Cyprus. They’re sailing a new yacht from Taiwan to Europe for a Swedish millionaire. You’re invited to join them in Sri Lanka, as crew. Neither of you knows boats, but you’ll learn — it will be the trip of a lifetime, cruising the Indian Ocean in a pleasure yacht!
And, it turns out, in monsoon season. With no charts. And an emotionally unstable crew mate. What could possibly go wrong?
Holiday stories that will put a song in your heart!
♫♪Put a song in your heart with 20 all-new Christmas Romances from NY Times, USA Today, and national best-selling authors. Each brand-new title is inspired by a Christmas carol and will lift your spirits and bring on the holiday cheer.♫♪
A young woman disappears after a job interview at a
well-known dentist’s office in Richmond, Virginia and retired homicide detective Michaela McPherson, along with her close friend, the aging Countess Dorothy Borghase, and Richmond police join forces to solve the crime. This case pits them against evil and greed armed with tentacles that span continents and generations.
What Price Must a City Pay to Keep its Citizen's Safe?
A lunch gathering of old friends at Richmond’s historic Hotel Jefferson finds Countess Dottie Borghase dialing 911 to report the sudden collapse of her dear friend, Camilla. The subsequent death of Camilla Rothrock, the mother of decorated U.S. Army General Stuart Rothrock, has authorities buzzing with concerns about international safety and retaliation.
When other restaurants have patrons succumb to similar illnesses and death, the Richmond Police, local FBI and their Washington profilers assist Michaela and Dottie in the chase of two nefarious and heinous mass murderers without souls or conscious.
Help Support The Thunderclap Campaign For The Case Of The Dead Dowager!
The Case of the Dead Dowager
A Michela McPherson Mystery
“Perfecto, this stuff looks flawless,” Boris said in his thickly accented voice as he held a test tube to the light. The Russian smiled broadly, his thin lips stretched across his decayed teeth and skeletal face. The light from the window outlined his permanently crushed, but healed anterior skull that gave him the look of the monster he truly was. He agitated the test tube between his fingers and re-examined its contents. It was a masterpiece. “There’s enough here to kill everybody in Yankee Stadium and all the cops in Richmond,” he predicted from his tall, though stooped height of six feet, five inches. He reached for a small glass container and transferred a portion of the five gallons to a laboratory beaker. He held the larger quantity up to the window and examined the liquid. “And look, there’s no residue in the bottom and the fluid is perfectly clear.” He turned around to his partner and gushed, “Perfecto, my tovarich, perfecto!”
Snake laughed and clapped his partner on the back. “Way to go, tall guy. Good deal. You know we gotta maximize our efforts. Neither one of us wants to work hard or take extra chances, especially now since they’re lookin’ for me anyway.” Snake moved closer to the glass carboy and smiled as he saw the colorless, odorless and tasteless five gallon drum of liquid. “Man, that looks good. Does it have a smell?”
Boris bent his shiny, bald head forward and sniffed deeply. “No, not that I can tell. I can’t smell anything, but I haven’t got a good nose anyway. “You give it a sniff and see what you think,” he said as he gestured towards the liquid.
Snake moved next to the large glass container and noticed additional small beakers and test tubes of fluid sitting to the side. Each container was labeled and numbered. “You must’ve been a hell of a chemist back in the day,” he remarked as he finger-combed his greasy black hair off his face. Sometimes he wore it in a ponytail but he hadn’t pulled it back today. He bent over and sniffed the carboy. “Nah. Nothing.” He shook his head and said, “I can’t smell nuthin’ either. Good job, my man,” he said enthusiastically, a slow smile spreading across his swarthy, pockmarked face. “You’re a real scientist.”
Boris lit a cigarette, coughed and said, “Man, you have no idea of the stuff I can do. You ain’t seen nothing. I got more killing recipes than Carter’s got little liver pills.” He smiled ominously and showed his rotten teeth. Snake felt a tinge run up his spine. This guy even looked like the monster his reputation claimed he was. He decided to watch himself carefully around Boris and never give him the upper hand.
Snake nodded, “Yeah. Well, I got plenty of chances to see your talents this week!” Once again he checked out his partner and sized him up. He was a dangerous, unpredictable, scary dude.
“Yeah, but I’m never tellin’ you much,” Boris assured him. “There’ll most likely be one day I’ll wanna kill you,” he admitted, the broad grin again slicing through his pale, skeletal face. This guy’s serious. He is crazy.
Snake ignored him and brushed invisible lint off the front of his blue scrubs. “Shut-up man. No need for talk like that.” He knew Boris was a madman, totally wacko. His handlers had told him to be careful. But the money had been too good to pass up and besides, he could take good care of himself. His reputation spoke for him. He had no idea who his bosses were and little was known about the Russian scientist. Rumor suggested he’d long been a mortal enemy of the United States and other stories suggested he was an assassin. Snake didn’t want to push the point. He picked up the container of fluid and placed it in front of him, his face a mask of evil.
“You know what, Boris, old man, I’m thinking we can wipe out an army… or at least a police force with this stuff. Whatdaya think?” He gave him a half smile.
Boris stared at him, his cold grey eyes, bony face and crushed skull glistened in the low light from the barred windows. His eyes roamed the room to the large aquarium that housed all kinds of prickly fish and marine life. The huge tank glowed eerily in the fading light. Boris stared at his fish fondly and gave Snake a strange look and said in a quiet voice, “Of course we can. I already said that. What do you think the plan is?”
“Dottie, where did you get that marvelous Italian leather bag? I’d die for one like that,” Camilla Rothrock gushed in her drawn out Alabama accent. “I’ve just gotta have one.”
Dottie held up her newest leather pocketbook so all of her best friends could ooh and ah over it. “I had it made especially for me in Italy,” she bragged. The bag was beautiful, soft and buttery between her fingers. “I really love it. Look, it has a special gun pocket stitched in so I can carry my very own Glock,” she said proudly as she pulled her gun holster out of her purse and swiftly returned it before anyone noticed.
Margaret Massie glared from her from across the round table. “Oh for heaven’s sake, Dottie! Give it a rest! Whatever do you need to carry a gun around for? We’re a bunch of old ladies. No one is gonna mess with us,” she admonished as she rolled her eyes and batted her false eyelashes at her best friend of many years. “We’re hardly ever left on our own.” She glowered as her friend.
“Margaret Massie, how can you possibly be so short-sighted?” The Countess Dorothy Borghase exclaimed, disgust evident on her aging, but still lovely face. She flipped her head and a long piece of silver-white hair escaped from her elegant chignon. “After all you’ve been through?” She stared at her friend in disbelief and continued, “That’s precisely the reason we need to pack some heat. Because we are old and weak and can’t run as fast. We’re sitting ducks for most of the bad guys out there.”
Margaret squinted her eyes and frowned at her. “Pack some heat? Really. You sound like you’re in a …” Margaret paused for a moment and looked at her friends, “what do they call it, a gang. What is it? Gangsta talk, or however you say it?” she added sarcastically. As the wife of one of the wealthiest men in Virginia and a blueblood from birth, Margaret didn’t know much about gangs or crime. “But still, Dottie… really, a handmade purse… from Italy, nonetheless, especially designed for your gun? Puhleeze. That’s ridiculous, a bit over the top, wouldn’t you agree, Kathryn?” Margaret asked as she glanced over at Kathryn Lee who was watching her friends an amused look on her face.
Kathryn Lee of Wyndley Farm in Hanover County laughed, her blue eyes crinkling in the corners as she smiled over her water goblet at her friends of many years. Kathryn was the wife of law and order politician Congressman Adam Patrick Lee of Virginia and she clearly had an opinion. She was one of the best target shooters around and could shoot better than most men. She opened her mouth to respond when Dottie interrupted her.
Dottie rearranged one of the intricate wire combs holding her classic up do in place. Her silver hair gleamed under the brass and crystal chandelier in Lamaire Restaurant at Richmond’s historical Hotel Jefferson. “I didn’t design it just for my gun,” she said defensively. “I designed it for my cell phone, my makeup, for the color of the leather, the intricate stitching, the design, and beyond that, the label,” she replied in a snarky voice. Dottie paused for a moment and added, “Besides Vitrio Lanbrucci has been designing fine leather for the Borghase family for over a hundred years.”
Margaret rolled her eyes and turned to Kathryn. “So, Kathryn, what do you think? I know you’d tried to answer my question a few minutes ago,” she said pointedly as she turned to stare at Dottie, “but the Countess forgot her manners. Don’t you think Dottie’s gun purse is a little over the top?” Really,” she opined, a smirk on her face.
Kathryn opened her mouth to answer when Dottie interrupted again, her vivid blue eyes wide with concern. She stared at Camilla who looked strange, frightened, actually. Her pupils were wide and she seemed unable to speak.
“Camilla, whatever is the matter with you? Your face is flushed and your eyes are enormous. Are you ill?” Dottie asked as she rose from her seat.
Kathryn was alarmed as well since Camilla was unable to respond. Her eyes stared wildly at them and she opened her mouth but no words came out. Suddenly, she fell forward, and her head lolled on the table.
“Kathryn, call 911 on your phone. She must’ve had a stroke of something,” Dottie commanded as her heart raced with fear. It could be my head lying on the table and not Camilla’s. Life seemed very precious to Dottie at that second. I sure don’t wanna die in Lamaire restaurant in the Hotel Jefferson. What a spectacle that would be! Of course, she knew Camilla’s didn’t either and as she stood by her friend, tears popped into her eyes. I’ll have to call General Rothrock and tell him something dreadful has happened to his mother.
Kathryn flagged a waiter and moved closer to Camilla’s chair and checked her pulse. She could barely feel it as it was weak and irregular. Kathryn looked into Camilla’s eyes and her pupils that were huge and dark, liquids pools of fluid that saw nothing. Her face was flushed and red.
A moment later, a young waitress carrying a huge serving tray staggered forward and then fell to the floor, spilling food, water and wine all over the oriental carpet. She lay prone and unresponsive.
“Make that two ambulances,” Dottie motioned to the maitre’d who was on his way over.