“Who’d want to be famous?”
Charlie and I are hovering in the airport’s baggage reclaim area, hoping our luggage has managed to find its way to France too.
“Before I got this job I thought being a star was all glamourous living, oodles of money in the bank and being worshipped by all your adoring fans.”
The baggage carousel emits several loud clunks closely followed by a high pitched screeching noise before slowly starting up.
“But now,” I continue, lowering my voice, “I know being famous makes you a target for all the stalkers, murderers and crazies out there. One minute Amelia Kingston is receiving her Oscar for best actress in the blockbuster movie Forever Mine. The next she’s well, you know….”
Beside me Charlie nods and grabs his battered holdall from the baggage carousel. Then we have to wait for what seems like an eternity before my bright purple suitcase puts in an appearance too.
“Still not got the hang of this travelling light business have you?” he says hauling my own case from the conveyor belt.
“We’re staying in a luxury mountain chalet in the French Alps. Who knows what outfits I might need? I can’t pack light for this,” I retort whilst feeling a tad guilty about just how much I have crammed into my case. I had to sit on it to force the lid closed.
He shakes his head. “We’re working, Amber.”
“Yes, but we’re working undercover and the other guests will be glam celebrities wearing designer outfits so I’ll need to have some half-decent clothes with me. I can’t just turn up for dinner every night in jeans and a sweater.”
“Why not? I am,” he replies as we head for the exit, Charlie tugging my suitcase behind him.
Outside the wind is bitingly cold and almost blows me off my feet as we exit the airport terminal and head for the car hire offices. We left behind a warm spring day in the UK but here it feels more like February than May. I pull on a jacket.
See, that’s another reason why I needed to pack quite so much. The weather in the mountains is notoriously fickle. A girl needs to be prepared for sun, snow and rain where we’re going.
This is my second case as a support officer for the Celebrity Crimes Investigation Agency (otherwise known as the CCIA) and I’m still nervous about the whole catch-a-killer side of my work. OK, it’s mainly for the fully trained CCIA agents to do that side of the job whilst I provide, as my job title suggests, support on the case.
I do have a tendency to get a little bit carried away sometimes though and find myself in, shall we say, tricky circumstances. Like on my first case when I ended up in a cave on a deserted beach with a murderer who had a knife at my throat.
Anyway, technically, it’s the agents who are the guys with the special ‘clearance’ to do all sorts of things (sometimes against the law) to solve a case and get murderers put behind bars. Charlie even carries a gun. Which, to be honest, freaks me out just a little.
Zanna Mackenzie lives on the Derbyshire/Leicestershire border with her husband, 4 dogs, a vegetable patch that’s home to far too many weeds and an ever expanding library of books waiting to be read.
Being a freelance writer and editor of business publications is her ‘day job’ but, at every opportunity, she can be found scribbling down notes on scenes for whatever novel she’s working on. She loves it when the characters in her novels take on minds of their own and start deviating from the original plot!