Here's how we’ve started No. 5 in The Val & Kit Mystery Series (and now only about 200 pages to go!):
When I heard the loud rat-a-tat on my front door, I bolted up in bed at lightning speed. The bright red numerals on my digital clock read 1:05. I grabbed my reading glasses, as if they would offer some protection, and prepared to wait. For what? To get a closer look at any intruder? After a few seconds of silence I sucked in a big gulp of air, the kind doctors instruct you to do just before they shove one end of a cold stethoscope against your skin.
Okay, whoever was knocking had bypassed the super security system in the entrance of my building. But the dead bolt on my front door would keep me safe. If only I had remembered to lock the darn thing. If only I had remembered to plug in my cell phone for recharging, or, even better, had brought it into the bedroom with me.
Rat-a-tat-tat started up again, and my breathing was becoming dangerously shallow. I’d surely pass out before any would-be housebreaker, no matter how courteous, assumed there was no one home and kicked the door in.
When the knocking started a third time, I had a sudden burst of bravery, no doubt brought on by a lack of oxygen to my brain. I jumped out of bed and grabbed the aluminum baseball bat I kept in my closet, the one I’d found discarded next to the dumpster outside my building.
With the bat gripped tightly in both hands and held high over my left shoulder, I crept out of my bedroom and across the twenty or so feet to the front door. I did at least have a peephole in working condition, and stretching up the inch or so necessary to peer through it, I got a good look at my interloper.
Kit. Kit James. My best friend of over forty years. She was staring straight at the peephole, one hand on her hip, the other waving an envelope in my direction. She looked pissed.
“Will you open this door, for crying out loud? I know you’re standing there, Val.”