First Page: Unnamed Contemporary
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Jackie Rutledge awoke to the abrasive grind of sand against her bare breast. She groaned and turned, feeling it abrade between her thighs, her shoulder, the cheeks of her butt. She was sleeping on sandpaper. Then the abrupt and shrill peel of her phone threatened to rupture the tenuous strands of sleep that still held her head in one piece. Oh, the joys of hangovers.
The phone blared again, announcing to her along with the blinding slice of light beaming between the curtains, that it was indeed morning. Or midday perhaps. Again the phone teetered dangerously close to making her head explode. A deft fling of the pillow that had been covering her head from the glare was rewarded with a soft thump and a meow. Bickerstaff, the captain of all things comfort, blinked at Jackie from the end of the bed, a decidedly distasteful look on his face.
"What?" He blinked but otherwise did nothing. "Don’t give me that look." The phone beat into her skull once more, and Jackie turned over to grab it off the nightstand. "Oh, my God. Shut up!" In the dim, morning light, she poked at the buttons on the phone and managed to miss the mute button entirely.
It was Laurel, her soon to be dead partner. "Have a good reason to call me at the crack of dawn or I will stumble over there and throw up all over you."
"It’s almost nine, you nit. I know you’re hung-over and blinded with a headache, but get your ass out of bed now before Belgerman drives over there and drags you out.”