Dead on Delivery (A Messenger Novel)

3.74 avg rating
( 433 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780425238783: Dead on Delivery (A Messenger Novel)

View our feature on Eileen Rendahl’s Dead of Delivery.Read Eileen Rendahl's blogs and other content on the Penguin Community.

The author of Don't Kill the Messenger returns with her "strong and sassy heroine" (Publishers Weekly).

There are two men who have bitten the dust after a delivery from Messenger Melina Markowitz. As she tries to put together the pieces of this puzzle, she discovers that the two victims share common friends, common unexplained absences, and a common crime. Now, dark forces from the local community have been unleashed, drawing Melina into the web of a powerful woman, her voodoo, and her vengeance...

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Eileen Rendahl writes and lives in Davis, California, with her two lovely children, two annoying cats, and one lovely man. Don’t Kill the Messenger is her first paranormal romance novel.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

"Do you want to explain this?” Ted dropped a folded copy of that morning’sSacramento Bee onto my kitchen counter and jabbed a ?nger at an article in the Our Region section.

I picked up the paper and looked at the article. Some dude in Elmville had died under suspicious circumstances. Crap. Another one had bitten the dust. Neil Bossard was the second person I’d made a delivery to in Elmville in the past two months who had ended up dead. Coincidence? Possibly. I wasn’t crazy about the odds, though. Elmville was tiny. It had been weird enough to make two deliveries there within such a short time period—and both of them to ’Danes, to boot. To have both of the recipients wind up dead? Not likely to be a wacky ?uke. Still, I didn’t know for sure and there was no point in upsetting Ted before I knew that there was something to get upset about.

“Why do you ask?” I avoided looking up into his corn?ower blue eyes. Not because I couldn’t look directly into them and lie, though. I could do it. Probably. The real problem was the way my heart did that weird ?ip-?op thing in my chest every time I looked directly into his baby blues. The ?ip-?op thing made it hard to lie. I needed to focus to lie and Ted was nothing if not distracting to me.

“The case is weird, which always makes me think of you.” He took a step closer and lifted my chin. A smile quirked at the corner of his lips.

Now I had no choice but to look into his eyes and there went the damn ?ip-?op. “Is that a nice way to talk to your girlfriend?” That gave me a shiver. I was someone’s girlfriend. Who’d a thunk it was possible? It never had been before.

I am twenty-six years old, nearly twenty-seven. Ted Goodnight is my ?rst boyfriend ever. There have been a few dalliances before but never a boyfriend. I still can’t decide if it’s the best good fortune that has ever befallen me or the worst mistake of my short life, and there have been some doozies, starting with the day I decided to sneak into the swimming pool behind my mother’s back and drowned. That was pretty much the mother of all mistakes. It’s the one that started me down the road to all the rest.

On that day, I was legally dead for three minutes. They resuscitated me and everyone said it was a miracle that no harm had been done. The doctors couldn’t detect any brain damage. I would be “normal.” Ha! If only they’d known. Apparently, the ability to sense supernatural creatures and see all the crazy-ass paranormal doings that go on around most people without them noticing doesn’t show up on an MRI.

No other guy has been able to get past the freaky things that happen around me or my crazy schedule or what my mother refers to as my “moods.” In fact, the only guy I can remember making it past two dates was David Bounds in eleventh grade and he was bipolar. Even he couldn’t hang in there with me, not even with medication to help him.

I’m not saying Ted hasn’t had his occasional problems with who and what I am. The ?rst time he saw me truly in action almost killed our relationship before it ever really started. Maybe it’s because he grew up in such a crazy family (seriously clinically crazy). Maybe it’s because he’s amazingly accepting. Maybe he really, really likes me. I am the Sally Field of Messengers. Could be worse.

Whatever it is, it’s working and while I am not the type to skip joyfully through ?elds of daisies, I’m feeling pretty good about the whole thing. I do try to keep most of the woo-woo things I’m up to separate from him so I don’t freak him out too much, but I’m used to compartmentalizing.

The big drawback to having Ted Goodnight as a boyfriend? He’s a cop.

I have always mistrusted cops. Cops mean trouble. It’s not that I’m into breaking the law; it’s the order part of the police department that I have issues with. Or maybe order has issues with me. My very existence is about the disorderliness of things. I don’t ? t neatly anywhere. Trust me, I wish I did. I think I’ve spent most of my life wishing that, but this beggar isn’t riding and I never quite belong anywhere. All of which makes it even more interesting that I’m now dating a cop, especially one who I’m pretty sure wanted to hear that I had nothing to do with some guy running into traf?c on Highway 120 and being turned into road pizza by a semi, which was exactly what had happened to Neil Bossard. According to the article, they didn’t know what he was doing running onto the highway. I didn’t either. I didn’t like it, though.

“Looks like a traf?c accident to me, Ted. What could I possibly have to do with it?” It did look like a traf?c accident, but one that made me a little bit itchy and uncomfortable.

“Not every detail made it into the paper. The local cops think that maybe somebody was chasing the guy. Or, at least, he thought he was being chased. Someone saw him running down the road, screaming that something was after him, but he was all alone. Before the witness could do anything to help, the dude had run out onto the road and gotten creamed by a big rig.” Ted smoothed my hair back behind my ear and I felt a little gooey inside. “They were canvassing the guy’s neighborhood to see if they could ?gure out who might have been chasing him and somebody mentioned seeing a car that sounds an awful lot like yours. Weird plus an old Buick tends to equal you in my book, babe.”

Fabulous. What more could I want than to be the solution to a funky equation? He wasn’t wrong, though. I weighed my options. I could lie. Chances were that this whole thing would completely blow over and he’d never know. Of course, if it didn’t and Ted found out that I’d lied to him . . . well, suf?ce it to say, I didn’t think he’d be pleased. I could tell him the truth, as far as I knew it, which really wasn’t all that far. I didn’t have to mention Kurt Rawley, the other guy I’d made a delivery to who was now six feet under.

Come to think of it, his death had been weird as well. Had it been arson? I remember it had something to do with a ? re.

“I made a delivery to him,” I blurted. “It was days ago.”

“What was it?” Ted leaned back against the counter and crossed his arms over his chest.

I shrugged. “Hell if I know.”

“You don’t look?” He looked incredulous.

I shook my head. It wasn’t a rule, as far as I knew. Nobody had ever told me I couldn’t look inside the packages that were left for me to deliver. I chose not to peek. Peeking signaled curiosity and perhaps an interest in becoming involved. I generally had neither. Or, at least, I hadn’t had.

If someone handed me something, all unwrapped, then I knew what it was. If someone had taken the trouble to put it in an envelope or wrap it up in a little box, like whoever had needed me to make a delivery to Neil Bossard had, then I didn’t know. I didn’t care. Or, at least, I didn’t want to care. With information comes responsibility and I’ve spent almost twenty-seven years avoiding as much of that as I can and now have more than I ever wanted.

My last experience in getting involved with a delivery hadn’t gone well. I’d lost someone very dear to me and damn near gotten killed myself. It didn’t make me want to change my habits now. The fact that this particular package had given off a little hum of power didn’t exactly make me more interested in opening it. It did needle at me a little bit, though.

“How did you know where to take it?” He wasn’t quite using his cop voice on me, but it was getting close. I liked that about as much as I liked it when my vampire buddy used his vampire voice on me, which was not much.

I smiled at him, even though I didn’t totally mean it, and said, “Gee, I don’t know. Maybe it was some special magical divining process. Maybe it spoke to me. Or maybe I used the address that was written on the package.”

His eyebrows went up. “I don’t think sarcasm is called for.”

Norah, my roommate, strolled into the kitchen, hair disheveled and a pillow crease across her cheek. “She always thinks sarcasm is called for.” She made straight for the coffeepot and poured herself a cup.

I attempted not to let my jaw hit the ?oor. Norah hadn’t been herself lately and poisoning her body with the evil drug caffeine was one more hint that all was not right in the sunshine and rainbow-strewn world of my yoga-loving BFF. “You want some cream or sugar for that?”

She shook her head. “Black is ?ne.”

I looked at her closely. Had she been possessed by some other being? Would I ?nd a Norah-shaped pod in the basement of our apartment building if I ever got up the guts and energy to go through it? Stranger things had happened and some of them had happened right here at our apartment. My Norah had a sweet tooth and I couldn’t imagine her drinking coffee without girlying it up at least a little.

“Hey, Ted,” she said, and gave him a weak smile.

No, my Norah was not herself at all. She likes cops less than I do, or she had until Ted saved her soy-bacon last summer when we were ?ghting off Chinese vampires as they rose out of tunnels beneath Old Sacramento.

Now? Now she not only tolerated him but often seemed happy to see him and not in an icky I’m-going-to-steal-your-boyfriend way.

“Hey, Norah.” He smiled at her but then turned directly back to me. “Who gave you the delivery?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. The box was sitting on the hood of my car when I came out of the dojo one night.” Which was pretty much exactly how the package for Kurt Rawley had come my way, come to think of it.

“Was there a note?”

“No. Just the box with the address marked on it.”

“That was it. There was a box on your car, so you drove it all the way out to Elmville and . . .” He hesitated. “What did you do with it once you got there?”

“I left it on the doorstep.” Both times, I added silently.

“And then hung out long enough for someone to notice your car.” His eyes narrowed a bit.

“I hung out on the street for a little while and watched to make sure some guy who at least looked like he could be Neil Bossard picked it up. I don’t exactly ask for ID.” Again, contact with message recipients might constitute some kind of caring beyond ful?lling what was basically expected of me. Not my thing.

“Did he open the box?”

I was so done with the third degree. I threw up my hands. “How the hell should I know? And if I did know, what difference would it make? Someone needs something taken someplace, I take it there. End of story.”

“Until someone ends up dead.” Ted’s eyes narrowed.

Norah’s head shot up. “Who’s dead?”

I shot Ted a nasty look. Now he had upset Norah. Who knew how long it would take me to calm her down? “No one you know. No one I know. Some guy that I happened to deliver a box to last week got hit by a car.”

She blinked at me, her eyes big and round. “That’s it? No undead creatures ate him or anything?”

“Not according to the Bee. It was a simple case of man versus semi. The semi won. They pretty much always do.” I’d seen that a few times in the Emergency Department of Sacramento County Hospital where I work. It was never pretty.

“Well, okay then.” She went back to swirling her coffee.

“It’s a coincidence,” I said, with way more con?dence than I felt. Ted started to open his mouth, but I shook my head at him. “Not now,” I mouthed at him and tipped my head at Norah.

He pressed his lips together in a tight line and headed back toward my bedroom. As he brushed past me, he whispered, “I don’t believe in coincidence.”

I didn’t bother telling him that I didn’t either.



 

Ted left and Norah settled in on our futon couch with a bowl of Cocoa Krispies, making me increasingly convinced that an intervention was in order. I headed off to River City Karate and Judo to teach the Saturday morning Little Dragons classes. Out on the street, the Buick awaited me. It’s not an entirely good thing when the place a person feels most at ease is in their car. It used to be the dojo for me. I’d walk into River City Karate and Judo, my feet would hit that slightly scratchy gray mat and all my troubles would drain away. Or if they didn’t, they would seem more manageable. Like maybe I could roundhouse kick them into submission. I knew who I was there, what was expected of me and how to meet those expectations.

Now the dojo caused as much stress as it offered solace. In a move that had both honored and terri?ed me, my mentor Mae had left her karate studio to me in her will. I’d practically lived at the dojo before Mae’s death. Now it seemed like I really did. Small business owner was not a title I’d ever aspired to. My mother was inordinately proud and it wasn’t terrible to throw her the occasional bone, but it was a lot of freaking work.

I’d had no idea what kind of crap Mae had dealt with for all those years. It wasn’t only scheduling classes and training people and shaking hands. There were bills: ones that had to be paid and ones that had to be sent out. There were cranky parents and hyperactive second-graders and everything in between. There was insurance and business licenses and forms to ?ll out. The responsibility for making it run was all mine now. I’d always thought of myself as Mae’s apprentice, but apparently that was only true when it came to the actual martial arts part of the equation. The business-running part had escaped me completely.

I didn’t think there was ever going to be a day that I didn’t miss Mae, that the thought of something she’d said or taught me or done wouldn’t catch me unawares and startle me into missing her again. Walking into the dojo and having her not be there brought a special kind of pain, though, something both sharp and sweet.

I rubbed at the cold spot under my breastbone that formed whenever I thought of her, and pulled into the strip mall parking lot in front of the building.

I wondered if I should just close the studio, but I couldn’t bring myself to imagine that. Mae had spent so much of her talent and time building it. I felt that I would be dishonoring her memory if I didn’t keep it open.

Plus, without the dojo, what would I do with Sophie?

The question was ever present in my mind, but only more so at the moment as she opened the door to the dojo and greeted me. I’d made it her job to get to River City Karate and Judo by eight ? fteen every Saturday morning to open the studio, make a pot of coffee and sweep. I ?gured if nothing else, it meant she’d be getting home early on Friday nights and maybe it would keep her out of trouble.

Plus, it had been my job at the studio for years. I really didn’t know what more to do with her than what Mae had done with me, since I’m pretty sure Sophie is my replacement.

She’d shown up at the dojo this past summer, the scars on her face and neck from the car accident she’d been in nearly healed. She wasn’t entirely sure why the odd things she’d been seeing were telling her to come to River City, but Mae and I were pretty sure we knew.

Like me, Sophie had died for a few minutes and then been brought back to life. Like me, she’d started seeing and hearing things that no one else seemed to see or hear or sense. Like me, she was a Messenger.

Unlike me, Sophie was sixteen. I’d only been three when I’d drowned in the backyard. Her learning curve was go...

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Rendahl, Eileen
Published by Berkley 2011-03-01 (2011)
ISBN 10: 0425238784 ISBN 13: 9780425238783
New Paperback Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Ebooksweb COM LLC
(Bensalem, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Berkley 2011-03-01, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 0425238784. Bookseller Inventory # Z0425238784ZN

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 5.21
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Rendahl, Eileen
Published by Berkley
ISBN 10: 0425238784 ISBN 13: 9780425238783
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Qwestbooks COM LLC
(Bensalem, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Berkley. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0425238784. Bookseller Inventory # Z0425238784ZN

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 5.21
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Rendahl, Eileen
Published by Berkley
ISBN 10: 0425238784 ISBN 13: 9780425238783
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Bookhouse COM LLC
(Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Berkley. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0425238784. Bookseller Inventory # Z0425238784ZN

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 5.21
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Rendahl, Eileen
Published by Berkley
ISBN 10: 0425238784 ISBN 13: 9780425238783
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Vital Products COM LLC
(Southampton, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Berkley. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0425238784. Bookseller Inventory # Z0425238784ZN

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 5.22
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Rendahl, Eileen
Published by Berkley
ISBN 10: 0425238784 ISBN 13: 9780425238783
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
BookShop4U
(PHILADELPHIA, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Berkley. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0425238784. Bookseller Inventory # Z0425238784ZN

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 5.22
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Rendahl, Eileen
Published by Berkley
ISBN 10: 0425238784 ISBN 13: 9780425238783
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Booklot COM LLC
(Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Berkley. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0425238784. Bookseller Inventory # Z0425238784ZN

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 5.22
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Rendahl, Eileen
Published by Berkley (2011)
ISBN 10: 0425238784 ISBN 13: 9780425238783
New Paperback Quantity Available: 3
Seller:
Bookmonger.Ltd
(HILLSIDE, NJ, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Berkley, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000427892

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 2.57
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.00
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Rendahl, Eileen
Published by Berkley
ISBN 10: 0425238784 ISBN 13: 9780425238783
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
zeebooks
(Foley, AL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Berkley. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0425238784 Brand new. Any book may show light shelf wear from warehouse storage and handling. Bookseller Inventory # 41106

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 2.94
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.45
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Rendahl, Eileen
ISBN 10: 0425238784 ISBN 13: 9780425238783
New Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Paperbackshop-US
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 2011. PAP. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # VP-9780425238783

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 7.71
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Eileen Rendahl
Published by Berkley Trade (2011)
ISBN 10: 0425238784 ISBN 13: 9780425238783
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Berkley Trade, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0425238784

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 7.75
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book