SHORTS FROM THE SHELF features short serialized fiction by author Shannon Muir, administrator of SHANNON MUIR’S THE PULP AND MYSTERY SHELF, that may be later released as part of e-book or print collections. The story line featured over the next  fourteen days is “Shining a Light on Crime”. This is Part 7 of 14.

Roxane couldn’t believe ShadowLyte Enterprises didn’t even have a website, nor did she find Zella Lytene with a personal site. So then she decided, maybe if she tried an internet search looking for Lou and ShadowLyte somehow mentioned together, Roxane might get results that way. It seemed unlikely because Lou never stuck her as that Internet literate.


The results weren’t what she expected. Hits came back about a Lou Lytene and his wife Zella founding ShadowLyte Enterprises several years earlier. However, the articles painted a picture of an extremely unsuccessful company, one that didn’t last long. So why did Zelle now have an agency handling all her publicity? How could she afford it?


It also opened a whole new set of questions. The man she married wasn’t Lou Lytene; Roxane knew him as Lou Carlton. She’d not taken his name largely for her older daughter’s sake and preserving the family business. With dread, she typed Lou Carlton Lytene into the search.


She came back with matches. Her husband and Lou Lytene were one in the same. So now she knew his connection, but it opened up a whole new mystery.


Who was Lou  really, and were Roxane and Lou legally married?


He’d arranged the minister; Lou claimed the two of them grew up together and he’d do it for a fair price. They’d married in her parents’ backyard, beautifully lit and showcasing her father’s lawn landscaping lighting handiwork. In the little over a year since she’d been married, Roxane never needed to provide proof of her marriage, and it helped that she hadn’t changed her last name and in fact Lou really supported her keeping it.  At the time, she thought Lou to be supportive and progressive.


Now, she wondered if there might be an ulterior motive to Lou’s actions. That sense she’d developed going all the way back to her childhood detective agency strongly resounded she was right to be suspicious. For her daughters’ sakes, though, Roxane sincerely hoped her gut just overreacted and turned out to be false.

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