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Excerpt for Clearwater Spring Break by , available in its entirety at Smashwords




Clearwater Spring Break


By

Al Rennie




Dedication

For my wife

Marsha



And to all the kind and supportive readers of the Clearwater Series.



Copyright © 2018 by Al Rennie

All Rights Reserved.



Cover Credit: Rita Toews – probably the most caring, patient and inventive cover creator ever!


Cover Image Credit: Creative Commons CCO 1.0 Universal


Formatting Credit: Lucinda K. Campbell – as always, just great … thank you!



Table of Contents


Prologue

Chapter 1 Monday, March 12th, 2018 – Spring Break!

Chapter 2 Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 - An Interesting Proposition!

Chapter 3 Wednesday, March 14th, 2018 – You Don’t Say

Chapter 4 Thursday, March 15th, 2018 – We sort things out!

Chapter 5 Friday, March 16th, 2018 – Things take a turn …

Epilogue

Note to Readers




Note to Joe and Mia fans



In today’s glutted writing environment, reader ratings and reviews can make a huge difference in the success of an indie author such as me If, as a reader, you have enjoyed any particular book, please take a few moments of your time to give it a favorable rating, and if you are so inclined, a short positive review. Your affirming assessment will mean a great deal to the author and to his or her chances of survival in the current literary marketplace.




Acknowledgements



Thank you Gerry Pielsticker, Sue Ross and Nancy Fox who, once again, supplied a few jokes that left me laughing so hard, I just had to find a place for a few of them.



Due to a long distance move and job change for a primary editor, Annmarie, and an ugly artistic dispute with another one, my wife, I had been reduced to having only three excellent editors on my team. It might be difficult for anyone to believe that, as a former English teacher, I would even need three editors. The news gets better for you. Sue and Amy have joined the editing team. So now there are five … How will I survive? In any case, the three remaining editors, Gail, Ben and Donna, aided and abetted by Sue and Amy, have returned to make my life miserable for a few weeks, but to make your reading experience that much better. I’d like to thank them for their masterful work in editing yet another episode of The Clearwater Series. The Tim Horton or Starbucks gift cards are in the mail … hold on, what Gift Cards?



Nancy’s Amendment to Annie’s Amendment – she’s blonde!

This is the Clearwater Series in the sequence that the titles were written.


1) Clearwater Journals

2) Clearwater Diaries

3) Clearwater Ambush

4) Clearwater Abduction

5) Clearwater Heat

6) Clearwater Kiss Off

7) Clearwater Showdown

8) Clearwater Magic

9) Clearwater Intrigue

10) Clearwater Danger

11) Clearwater Predator

12) Clearwater Extortion

13) Clearwater Killer

14) Clearwater Oops!

15) Clearwater Crazy

16) Clearwater Undercover

17) Clearwater Hunter

18) Clearwater Justice

19) Clearwater Skip Trace

20) Clearwater Assault

21) Clearwater Folly

22) Clearwater Homesick

23) Clearwater Hustle

24) Clearwater Stakeout

25) Clearwater Fit

26) Clearwater Double Cross

27) Clearwater Vice

28) Clearwater Escape

29) Clearwater Bubba

30) Clearwater Betrayal

31) Clearwater Penalty

32) Clearwater Deception

33) Clearwater Confession

34) Clearwater Promises

35) Clearwater Nemesis

36) Clearwater Glitz

37) Clearwater Mirage

38) Clearwater Witness

39) Clearwater Cowboy

40) Clearwater Retirement

41) Clearwater Spring Break




A very few Reader Responses to the Clearwater Series:



On the advice of the critics, editors and Ellen, I have limited the number of reader responses to a few of the more recent ones. The suggestion was that no one reads them anyway. I know that I do. Apologies go out to those critics who didn’t make the cut.


Al Rennie is still rocking in the world according to Doc!!! I eagerly await each new book and I am not disappointed. This one has another current storyline which lets you know that the author is on his toes and doing his homework. I am very glad that the youngest little fellow is finally being brought into the house....good move. Keep on writing Al Rennie and we will keep on buying, reading and enjoying. I have read many stand alone books and many series and this series rates right up there in the top two. Al Rennie rocks!!! M.M.S.


Al Rennie's Clearwater series always gets a 5 star rating from me. This series never gets old (even after the 32nd book), and the stories are clever and funny with mystery, thrills, and sometimes even a little sadness thrown in and romance the Joe and Mia way. Start at the beginning and read it, you won’t be able to put it down. Sharon R.


I love all of the Clearwater series books. Al you have created another great book that I will be thinking about for quite some time. I love that you brought out bullying, a lot of that going on. My sister's granddaughter was just bullied at school this past week. She nipped it in the bud. Lol All the jokes we're great, love each and every character in the book. If we all were more like Joe Holliday, this world would be a better place as he always wants to give everyone a fair chance. You bring each character in to grab our attention from the first chapter Until the End. Great read, can't wait for the next book. Bonnie W.


Oh Wow. Clearwater Confessions is awesome. I have read every book in the Clearwater series and they are absolutely my favorite books to read. Mr. Rennie is such an amazing writer and scores another hit with Clearwater Confessions. This story keeps you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. Joe and his guys search for a missing girl, stop an incident in a Starbucks, find a meth lab, along with lots of other adventures that make you laugh, hold your breath, and not be able to stop reading till the end. Mr. Rennie gives us characters we love with Joe and his chips crew, his great family along with his brother Frank. Thanks Mr. Rennie, I can't wait for the next story. Merle


I love this series. The stories make me laugh, cry, and dream of adventures. I am always excited for the next one.

I am always so excited to pre-order my books from you, Clearwater Confessions did not disappoint! I have to tell you that this series is the only series that I can read the book in a day and a half because it is so hard to put down. I have to force myself to slow down and savor every word. My husband says, ‘lets take a trip to Canada, eh”? I love the storyline of how Joe and Mia build their little, or should I say big family. The storyline of Mrs. F and Ken Jackson had me on edge, but I love the riding in and shooting Joe’s way in to rescue them. I will be impatiently waiting for your next installment of Joe and Mia.

Thanks Bubba and my B&N card is ready for the next pre-order. I will be watching for it!


I wish to thank Mr. Al Rennie for the complete Valentine gift package. I am just waiting for the T. V. Series to come along. I have seen television series without this much so together. The writing and the plot (plots) are exciting and oh no, what could possibly go wrong. Ha, ha, ha. The character development has reached a point that we know each and every one of them, and love them, even the bad guys. I love bad guys. Every red blooded woman wants a bad guy, even if he is really just a bad boy. I will not give a spoiler, but, the whole book is an exciting read. The editing is professional and outstanding. The plot flows seamlessly and makes one wish there was a bag of popcorn and soda handy. One drawback, the next one is not out. I look forward to seeing what my Clearwater and their extended family is up to and what is the next "speed bump" they will have to hop over. Only Doc would call a dire situation a speed bump. Please, Mr. Rennie, keep writing. The suspense is killing your audience. Next stop, ladies and gentlemen, The New York Times Best Seller List!

I have enjoyed and waited in anticipation of every adventure with Joe and Mia and Max and Frank and Fred and Jeremy and all CHIPs fellow cohorts in the Clearwater series. I have read Best Sellers and Mainline authors in the Publishing world, but these books are the ones that make me laugh, cry, hold my breath, and surprise me. I would be extremely unhappy if they stopped coming anytime soon. Please wait a little longer before you retire them and become a jockey, race car driver or whatever. Anything other writing these books would totally bore you to death!!

Cindy B


Clearwater Nemesis is the 35th addition to Mr. Rennie's Clearwater Series. I would highly recommend this series. First Mr. Rennie is one great storyteller. All 35 books of the Clearwater Series are easy reading, action packed, populated with memorable characters, loaded with humor and filled with clever twists. I look forward to each new addition. Keep them coming Al, if possible write faster! You are becoming the Mark Twain of Canadian writers! E.J.


Hi Mr. Rennie, Once again you nailed it with Clearwater Penalty. You have an amazing sense of timing and a creativity that can’t be topped. I read about 100 books a year and you are by far my favorite author. I am thrilled by your ability to keep me engrossed by every one of your books. I appreciate Grisham, Brown, Baldacci and many others; however, you are the guy that keeps me coming back as soon as you next book is released. You have an unbelievable gift and don’t let anything, or anyone, discourage you from “entertaining” your public. Thank you once again. Nancy


Love the books, can’t put them down and I even find myself slipping into some of the phrases!!! Not sure that will always be a good thing though! Carol


I found you first on Smashwords; after that, I kept hitting the buy button in iTunes. I laughed, cried, and told my patients how I almost went to You Tube to look for your video. I see patients in long term care facilities. I have shared your stories and with my patients living on the seawall in Galveston, Tx. You have brought life, love and a bit of silliness into the lives of my patients and have made me a better practitioner. I am forever in your debt. Katherine


Thanks Al for another chapter (Clearwater Hustle) in the lives of my favourite imaginary friends. I'll go and put some stars and comments on iBooks which is where I get my copies. Anthony Templeman


Double Cross is the most complex and surprising book yet. The plot lines completely surprised me, and I loved the twists and turns. His ability to describe scenes made me feel like I was right there in Florida! Best of all, his ability to create in-depth characters and make me care about them is a rare gift and makes his books so much more enjoyable.

If you love slightly wacky mysteries, this book - in fact the whole Clearwater series - is a must read for you.

Hi, I have been a big fan since I discovered Joe and his family a few years ago. When I first began I could just order the next book as soon as I had finished the one I was reading but now I have to wait until the next one is written, weeks and weeks! So, I have just spent the last fortnight (two weeks) rereading the entire series of 36 books back to back. Brilliant! I love the way Joe's family interact, and how he juggles all the elements of his life. Keep it up Mr. Rennie. I will just have to manage until the next book comes out in July. I am hoping for at least 36 more and don't you dare kill Joe or any of his nearest and dearest off. Jane


I have read the entire series more than once and it keeps getting better. Can’t wait for number forty… 5 Stars …Thanks again Al!


Loved it! Another great adventure in Paradise … Merle




Prologue



Paul Minter had used much of his time during the past four weekends and most of his after work hours during the previous two weeks looking for just the right combination of owner and house. Now, he believed that he had found exactly what he was looking for. The house was a, ‘For Sale by Owner’ bungalow with one, or possibly two bedrooms in a quiet, low traffic, neighbourhood with nobody living close enough to the home to bother him when he made his move. The icing on that cake was that it was only four point three miles north of his home in North Park and slightly less than three to his job selling shoes at ‘Lady Foot Locker’.

He had found the house with its hand painted ‘For Sale by Owner’ sign just over a week ago. From the time that he had identified his target, he had cruised around the area so that he would know all the ways of making a hasty escape and wouldn’t be seen parked for too long in any one place. He was supposed to be looking around for a house to buy. At least that was what he was pretending to be doing. In fact, his motive was darker and more nefarious by a long shot.

On one of his passes by the target home, he had been able to slow down and watch as a small, attractive dark-haired woman, likely in her early or mid thirties, had pulled away from her driveway in her eight year old white Honda Civic. A neatly dressed girl, probably her daughter, maybe ten or eleven and of small stature had been with the woman. They had been chatting away about something and laughing together. The daughter could pose a problem. He’d have to think about how to resolve that complication. Or, maybe the kid would be no problem at all. Maybe she would be an incentive … and a bonus.

On two more occasions Paul Minter had watched as the unsuspecting mom or daughter had entered or left their little house. He was getting more excited about what he knew he was going to do now. But he had to be careful. This was not a first for him. When he was seventeen years old, he had been sentenced to fourteen years for kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault. He had served five years and then been given probation. Considering the recent crimes, he knew that the police would try to watch him whenever they could afford the man power. But they had nothing on him … just suspicions and those counted for nothing. The time to strike would come and he would act just as he had planned that he would. But patience was needed for it to be the right time.

At four-forty-five on a sunny Sunday afternoon in January, Minter made his decision. He parked his car across the street from the bungalow and lifted his small packed backpack from the rear seat. He left the top flap open for easy access. When the moment was right, quick and easy access to what he had in the bag would be crucial. He slung it over one shoulder, took his first deep breath, and he was ready. As he walked up the short walkway to the front door, he took two more deep breaths to settle himself and then paused to scan the area for anyone who might be watching. Satisfied that there appeared to be no witnesses interested in him and what he was up to, he approached the plain wooden front door.

His heart was pounding. That never changed when he was getting ready to confront his victims. He took another deep breath before he rang the front door bell and followed with a set of three sharp knocks on the door. He didn’t have long to wait. The girl opened the door and asked him what he wanted.

“I’d like to talk to your mom about the sale of her house. The sign on the lawn says it’s for sale by owner. Is your mother or father available?”

“My father doesn’t live here with us anymore. Wait here … I’ll get my mom. She’s talking with George.”

“Oh my, I seem to have come at an inopportune time if she’s talking with someone else. I’ll try to drop back here sometime in the next week.”

“That’s okay … George is her brother. He lives in Rockport. She’ll get off the phone if she thinks that she has a buyer for the house.”

“Okay, I’ll wait here while you get her… This is a lovely house.”

A minute later, the petite dark haired woman, who Minter had secretly watched and coveted, arrived at the front door with her daughter at her side. She smiled at him.

“Can I help you, sir?”

“I hope so. And maybe I can help you … How much are you asking for your home?”

“One hundred and ninety- nine thousand … I’ve had a lot of renovations done to the interior in the last three years.”

“That’s close to the top end of my budget but manageable. If it’s not too much trouble, could I have a quick look through the place now?”

“We’re going to have our dinner soon, but, sure, a short walk through would be okay I think. Follow me …”

As the woman turned to walk back into her home, with the little girl running ahead of her, Minter let the backpack slip from his shoulder, down his arm to his hand. The better to have quick access to the things he was going to need.




Clearwater Spring Break



Chapter 1

Monday, March 12th, 2018 – Spring Break!



The craziness officially started last Friday when thousands of university students from across the northern, eastern and central states started pouring into the Clearwater/ St. Pete’s area. Many of them came with the idea of getting drunk, stoned or both, and partying with as many ‘new and quickly forgotten’ friends as they could handle. The intent was to stay that way throughout the entire next week before they resumed their serious studies back from wherever they came. And, as always, there were numbers of import, low life, drug pedaling, entrepreneurs looking to sell their product at inflated prices. These guys, and the occasional gal, arrived with their assortment of everything from weed - from three continents, mind you – to crazy making painkillers like OxyContin and Fentanyl, to cocaine and every hallucinogenic drug like LSD you might imagine in between … all of it to meet the heavy holiday demands of the partying entitled students.

This was also the time of year when the legitimate local retailers, particularly the ones who owned the restaurants and the beach souvenir and novelty shops, looked forward to - even more than Christmas, which was off-season in this part of the world. Three t-shirts for ten bucks and two bikinis for eighteen … I mean it doesn’t get any better than that when the actual cost of the product is less than half that amount.

Beyond those ‘fun in the sun’ moments among the students, it was the time of year when the local cops went nuts trying to keep a lid on the insanity. And that was why, on this beautiful, sunny, warm Florida Monday morning, Detective Sergeant Robb Pogue, wearing his freshly pressed police issue navy blue bicycle shorts and white short-sleeve cotton shirt, was meeting with the CHIPs guys on the top deck of the boat that just happens to also serve as our office.

“So you want us to keep an eyeball peeled for any of these drug dudes as we go through our regular day and let you know if we spot any of them,” I asked on behalf of our diminished, short attention spanned staff. That’s diminished in number, not in ability or intelligence … for the most part.

“You were paying attention, Joe … Yeah … this is the chief’s special initiative. We’re contacting all of the local retailers and the commercial outlets we believe that we can trust with this collection of mug shots. The idea is that if these guys are spotted anywhere in the vicinity, they are likely here to sell product. We want to know where they are, what they have, where they got it, and then our undercover guys and gals can watch and wait until a deal is going down. That’s when they’ll move in to make the arrest. As the chief said, ‘Nip it in the bud so to speak’ … We don’t need any overdose deaths this year although with the amount of knock-off Fentanyl available, it will be a miracle if we don’t have a few.”

“And CHIPs made the chief’s list of businesses that you can trust, Robb …? Given our occasional speed-bumps with the Clearwater PD, I’m so impressed.”

“I can’t lie to you, Joe … it was close with you guys, but yeah, you made the cut. But you are not to do anything more than simply report the sighting. Do not go all super cop or masked avenger bullshit. Do not intervene; and please, for the love of God, do not shoot anyone. Given your less than stellar history with the department, the chief told Simon, who told me, to tell you specifically, Joe that little part about not … repeat ‘not!’ shooting anyone. No more Starbucks Kid … if you know what I mean.”

“So, hurt my feelings why don’t you, Robb …?”

At the mention of the Starbucks Kid, my guys started to chortle like Robb had just told a great Rodney joke. I couldn’t see the humour of it at all and moved the conversation along by asking if he wanted to tell us anything else because if he didn’t, we had real work to do, and at least one major problem to resolve. ‘Major problem to resolve’ made Pogue smile like he knew something about what we do that no one else knows. I hate it when he does that. So supercilious if you know what I mean …!

Like a sudden earth shattering breakthrough in esoteric philosophy had just occurred to him, Robb added, “Just one more thing guys … turn to pages ten and eleven … James and John Bull. These two brothers have a number of out-of-state want warrants on them. They’re part of the Georgia Mafia working out of Atlanta. They’re considered to be heavily armed and very dangerous. As you can read for yourselves on the flyer, they are enforcers for the mob in Atlanta with numerous aggravated assault charges pending and there are strong suspicions by the Atlanta PD that they are not above committing murder. In fact, the best thinking is, that one, or possibly both of them, have committed a few killings already. They’re on the run right now because their strong arm stuff resulted in the death of one of their cash poor, but well connected, clients. These guys don’t know boundaries. If you see one of them, in all probability, the other one will be close by. Watch, call it in and then, keep your distance. We have SWAT on the full ready throughout the next week. They will be the responding officers if anyone reports that they have either or both of the Bull brothers in their sights.”

“Got it, Robb … it was good of you to drop by … Give my regards to Simon and to my new best bud, the chief.”

“Hold on …” Pogue stated. “Do any of you knuckleheads have any questions? I want to make certain we have a clear understanding of what the expectations are here. I don’t need any kind of blowback coming my way because one of you guys misunderstood something I’ve just said.”

“How much do we get paid for each sighting?” Luke asked in true short but knucklehead fashion, like he didn’t know the answer to that one.

“Consider it your civic duty …”

“Uh, huh, so nothing, then … and is there a reward for nailing one or both of these two Bull brothers?”

“There is a reward offered on both of them. At present, I’m not certain about the exact amount, but if you report a sighting, you would be entitled to a portion of that reward. Is there anything else ….?”

“Is the reward good like for both dead or alive? Or only on the alive option …?” Luke persisted.


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