Sunday, April 27, 2014


James Harshell and Kerri Benedict are the Party Snoopers, Incorporated--they plan the party (because criminals can never resist a good birthday bash), capture the crook (because the party is just a trap, after all), and collect the dough (what's hard work without a little reward?).  Join them as they tackle on their biggest case yet, involving a wedding, a couple of mischievous ring-bearers, and...rock stars?  **Told in alternating first-person perspectives

Previously on Party Snoopers...

“Kerri, are you all right?” James is right by my side, his fingers brushing my shoulder.
“Well that wasn't rude.” I shield my eyes from the glare of the sun. “Isn't this supposed to be a private beach? Jakkab's?”
“Maybe they sneaked in. They looked kind of suspicious.” James' eyes light up. “Kerri! We need to get back to the house! This could be a--”
“I know, I'm not a bozo.” I whoosh out a sigh, but at this, my heartbeat quickens.

This could a lead!

Sunday Serial Part Four

“So this kid in a baseball cap comes and dumps sand on me,” Kerri is saying as I jolt back to Earth, “and since it's a private beach and all, I was wondering, like, what if he's the criminal we're talking about?” Her hands are twisting behind her back, and she's still shedding sand onto Jakkab's wood floors. I wonder if she even realizes it.
I smirk. When she finds out, she's going to freak. Kerri is fanatical about keeping things clean. Especially other people's things.
Jakkab just yawns. He's sitting at the dining room table on his laptop. “Was the hat a snapback?”
Kerri blinks. “Um, yeah, it was.”
“Did it have the Angels' logo on it?”
“The Angels?” Kerri blinks again. “Are they a baseball team?”
Jakkab shoots me an exasperated look, and I grin. “No, Kerri, they're a curling team,” I say. “They have Albert Pujols, who won the National Pepto-Bismol Curling Award three years in a row. They also picked up Ham Joshilton, who--”
“Okay, okay, whatever.” Kerri crosses her arms and glares at me. “Can we get a move on now?”
Something internal punches me in the stomach as her eyes—they're green—level at me. I struggle for breath.
“Sure.” I turn to Jakkab. “Do you have anybody else besides us and our families staying here?”
He's tapping away at his laptop. “Sorry, what?”
I walk over and look at the screen. Facebook. Much more important than your wedding being potentially endangered.
“Do you have anybody else staying here that you haven't told us about?” I repeat a little bit louder.
Jakkab just looks at me. “Oh, yeah. My twin stepbrothers. Garin and Gaven Spellman. They're staying in the Blue Suite. Did I not tell you?”
“The Blue Suite?” I try to remember which room that is, just as Kerri squawks, “That's right across the hallway from my bedroom!”
“You can move if you're uncomfortable,” Jakkab offers, his eyes still glued to the screen.
Kerri juts her hip out, like those sassy mean girls you see on TV. Come to think of it, she'd be great playing one of those. “Don't you care that your wedding to Henrietta might get ruined because of this note?”
Jakkab shrugs. “You want to know what I think?”
“What?” I pull out my notebook, sensing something big here.
“I think Henrietta's overreacting, is all.” Jakkab's fingers fly across the keyboard as he talks to us. “It's cool that she hired you kids and all, but I honestly think it's just a stalker note. It's great that you're working towards what you want to be when you grow up, though.”
I paraphrase what he said on paper, but I can hardly believe my ears. Probably that's the most words he's ever strung together in front of us—and this totally gives him a motive for sabo—wait. He can't have sent Henrietta the note. Why would he do that? “But Henrietta seems to think that the note indicates something dangerous,” Kerri protests. “Did you hear what she said? The note arrived two seconds after you proposed.”
Take that, Jakkab. Kerri Benedict is taking you down. I feel like a commentator on a WWE throwdown show, my finger muscles working into overdrive.
Jakkab shrugs. “We were surrounded by a bunch of other couples at the White House Cafe. There are people who have nothing better to do than stalk other people, you know. One of them could have easily sent the note right after seeing me propose.”
Yeah—but—my thoughts are whirling. I can barely hear myself ask, “So basically, we're here just to make Henrietta feel safer?”
“I didn't say that.” But Jakkab keeps his eyes away from us. “Oh, and hey, if you need something to eat, just let me know.”
“Thanks.” I usher Kerri away from the room before she can explode. We walk upstairs in silence, managing to get to the hallway before she spontaneously combusts. “I can't believe she's marrying that guy!”
“Kerri.” See, this is why I should do the snooping. Girls are so irrational, and they jump to the oddest conclusions. “He was cool about it.”
“But if it matters to Henrietta, then it should matter to him, too!” She pounds her fist against the wall. “I want to get back on a plane and fly back to California if it means we're going to be treated like this!”
I suppress the urge to roll my eyes. “Kerri.”
“Seriously, though. How can he not take us seriously?” She sounds like a wounded animal.
“He took us seriously, Kerri.”
“Then how come he blew us off like that?”
Cool it, Kerri.” I lean against the nearest door, trying to think of a way to convince Kerri that Jakkab is not the bad guy. “He said it was cool that we were doing this, right? But he didn't think that the note led to anything. He didn't say that we were incompetent teenagers. He just didn't think the note led to anything.”
“But he totally trashed us!”
“Kerri, you looked like Sandman from the X-Men. I don't blame him.”
She opens her mouth to respond, looking slightly mad, but just then something behind me caves, and I stumble back as the door gives way. Some guy snickers above me and steps over my body. “Dude, next time, don't lean against my door.”
I jump up. “Who are you?”
“Wouldn't you like to know.” The guy looks past me and at Kerri, who's standing in the hallway openmouthed. “Who's she?”
I don't like the tone of his voice—snarky, or sneaky, or whatever. “Her name's Sarah,” I lie, jumping up, “and I want to know your name.”
Kerri's just gaping at him.
“Well?” I try to get in his face, but the dude just stands on tiptoes. “What's your name, man?”
A small voice comes from behind me. “Garin,” Kerri says, “or Gaven. One of the stepbrothers.”
“Smart girl.” He whistles, and behind me I feel Kerri bristle.
Anger rises in me, but I force myself to stay calm. “Jakkab's stepbrothers, huh?” I cross my arms. “I can slap a lawsuit on you like a pinwheel on a--”
“Save it.” Garin-or-Gaven pushes past me and stares down at Kerri. “I didn't know a girl was staying in my house.”
“Three girls, actually.” Kerri cocks her head up at him, and his face opens with interest. “His mom, my mom, and me. Oh, James, his dad, and my dad too. Along with my big brother, Jeremy. A bodybuilder.” Liar. Both of us are only children. “Nice to meet you, Garin-or-Gaven. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some arrangements to make with your utterly disgusting stepbrother.”
“No.” Garin-or-Gaven smiles down at her, showing all of his teeth. Something boils in my stomach, and I battle the urge to strangle the guy. “Why don't we--”
“Fight each other?” Kerri crouches down in her bathing suit, sand falling off her like snow. “Yeah, man. Show me your everlasting kung fu skills. Just be aware that I took lessons from Gracie Barra.”
I suppress a snort.
Garin-or-Gaven blinks. “Who?”
“Famous taekwondo master,” Kerri bluffs without moving. “Plus you don't want to mess with a bridesmaid, ring bearer.”
His eyes practically pop out of his head. “How did you know I'm a ring bearer?”
Smooth job, Kerri. And how...?
“I'm psychic.” Kerri stands up and dusts off her hands. “You know what, James?” She has this really innocent look on her face.
“What?” I expect something super-sassy, like in the movie—is it Lean Girls? Mean Girls? Kerri made me watch it with her.

“I think I'd better vacuum the hallway.” She walks away, keeping her eyes on the guy, who's staring at her openmouthed. “It's really getting way too sandy.”

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