Just after one o’clock, sleep finally overtook Alexa. Her room, at the back of the hotel, buffered any latent noises from the sleepy desert town. A siren wailed somewhere outside—the merest trace of it piercing her subconscious. She stirred—and relaxed.
The ting of the small room refrigerator didn’t affect her. The air conditioner clicked on, buzzing and sending a fresh wave of cool air over the room. Her hand pulled the blanket up closer to her face.
The red glow of clock numbers tried to burn themselves into her eyes.1:59. She didn’t stir. Seconds passed. Slowly, the incessant bleeping of a clock ripped away the cocoon of sleep and woke her. Bleary-eyed, she tried to focus on the clock. 2:01.
Who would set an alarm at this time of morning—in a town like Ridgecrest? That’s just weird.
As much as she tried to ignore it, the rhythmic blare of the clock refused to let her sleep. She glanced at hers again. 2:04. If that thing changes over to 2:05, I’m calling the front desk. Some maid probably muffed it when she was cleaning. She hadn’t finished the thought before the clock rolled over another minute. 2:05.
Alexa grabbed the room phone and punched the operator button. Several rings passed before a sleepy-sounding clerk announced with fake chipperness, “Front desk, how may I help you?”
“Yes, I’m in room 204 and there’s an alarm going off in the room next to me. I can’t sleep.”
“An alarm? In 202 or 206?” The clerk didn’t wait for a response. “That doesn’t make any sense. There’s no one in either room. I’ll send up maintenance.”
Alexa sighed in relief. “Thank you.”
Ten more minutes, each second of which was punctuated with alarm blasts, passed before she finally heard keys in the lock of the room next to hers. Alexa’s body relaxed. Her eyes closed as she shifted, adjusting her pillow for perfect comfort.
Alexa bolted upright in bed as a scream—too masculine to be a woman and too high not to be utter terror—echoed in the room next door.
Two O’Clock Slump
When going home turns into a nightmare worse than Alexa had already envisioned, she's in a fight for time. Can she prove her own innocence even when all clues point at her?
It’s time for Alexa’s bi-annual trip to her hometown. In the wake of her dear friend’s arrest and her recent engagement, the trip should have been a welcome diversion. However, her trips to California’s Mojave Desert only bring pain and reminders of why she moved halfway across the country in the first place.
Any hope for a quiet rest away from the drama of recent months disappears as an alarm clock in the hotel room next to hers awakens her at two o’clock in the morning.
To her astonishment, Alexa finds herself under suspicion for the murder. When the evidence piles up against her, Joe decides it’s time for her to leave. While Alexa stays “off the grid” and out of the hands of her hometown police, Joe works quickly to find who is really responsible.
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