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Forewarned is forearmed, they say, and in justice to — well, everyone! — I guess I must admit that I was forewarned. It’s just that when people told me that real estate is a cutthroat business, I didn’t think they meant it literally.

My name is Savannah Martin, and I sell houses. Or I should say that I try, because I’m brand new at my job, and truth be told, haven’t sold so much as a lean-to yet. I should have realized, when the call came in about 101 Potsdam Street, that it was too good to be true.

It was about 8:45 in the morning on the first Saturday in August, and I was at work. As usual. For the past six weeks I’d been on call pretty much 24/7 — not exactly what I’d had in mind when I looked forward to setting my own hours — and I haunted the office like the proverbial ghoul.

I guess I should also mention that I didn’t actually have anything else to do. I used to work at the make-up counter at the mall, but when I got my real estate license, I quit my job and started living off my savings in the hope that my dwindling bank balance would give me the incentive I needed to succeed. So far it hadn’t worked, and if something didn’t change soon, I’d have to crawl to Dillard’s to beg for my old job back. If it was still available, with the way the economy was going these days. 

But that was why, when the phone rang, I snatched it up on the very first ring, and had to take a couple of steadying breaths before I put the receiver to my ear. “Good morning. Thank you for calling Walker Lamont Realty. Savannah Martin speaking. How may I help you?”

“Savannah Martin?” a male voice repeated.

I nodded. “Yes, sir.”

I waited for him to comment, but instead he just continued chummily, like we were old friends, “See, Savannah, it’s like this. I was supposed to be meeting Miz Puckett at eight, to see 101 Potsdam Street, but I’ve sat here for 45 minutes, and I ain’t seen hide or hair of her.”

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