Monday, October 3, 2011
NEW! Don't miss this great mystery
When the case of an alleged suicide of a local poet is handed to her detective boyfriend, and things just don't add up, Police department counselor Alayne Vaughan pursues the case, almost losing her love,
in the process.
“Yes, I mean, in the middle of a protective order, you don’t sleep with your ex. How can you do this kind of work?”
“Lance, we slept together in the middle of my restraining order.”
“Those restraining orders don’t mean anything.” Lance moved his chair back from the table so he could sit with his legs spread wide.
“My boss took it pretty seriously.” Alayne was in the last month of her six months’ probationary period at her job, so she could still get fired.
He flapped his hand. “The only reason Norma Jean got one—she knew the judge. What Norma Jean wants, she gets.” He frowned. “And now she wants me.”
“She has you.”
“Well, you knew there’d be a price to pay.”
“I would rather marry you than her.”
Another country music song yodeled to a close. “Can you see what you’re playing at?” When she was mad, Alayne occasionally slipped into her mother’s phrasings. “When it’s safe, you come forward. If I
moved one step toward you, you’d run a mile. Angel does the same thing.”
“If he was here, he probably wouldn‘t even let me talk to you, right? You know I never stopped you from talking to whoever you wanted to.”
“At least I know he cares.”
“Then why are you here all alone?”
“He’s mad because I keep wanting to find out what’s happening in his case. Remember that night we went to the poetry reading—Kaitlin Sommers?”
“That girl who killed herself?”
She nodded. “Did you think she was beautiful?” She had been jealous of Kaitlin that night at the reading. She had accused Lance of staring at her, but he pointed out that as Kaitlin was the only person on stage, who was he supposed to look at?
“Sure…what a waste.” At his words, she realized she experienced no jealousy. She was over him!
“It might not have been suicide.” Alayne pitched her voice lower. Not that anyone had returned from the dance floor. “Supposedly, she had coke residue in her nasal passages, and there was a dirty condom under the bed, freshly used.”
“Why would you kill yourself after having sex?”
“I can think of all sorts of reasons,” she said. “But Angel won’t even try to find out who it was.”
“He’s the investigator?”
“Yeah, but he’s convinced it’s suicide—the gun shot wound, the suicidal tendencies.”
“And you don’t think so?”
“I’m going to look into her death, find out what happened.”
Alayne was about to tell him more when, suddenly, a flash of white descended on them—Mary Beth in her wedding dress. “You can’t spend the whole night talking to people you already know. Circulate!”
After Lance left, Alayne pretended to be absorbed in her wedding cake, but the granules of sugar coagulated in her throat. As she convulsively tried to swallow, she told herself she had done the right
thing by leaving Lance. He had cheated on her with Norma Jean.
Then why was she sitting at a wedding reception alone while he danced with a rich, blond lawyer? And why, on the nights she had been unable to sleep, had she driven out to West Lake Hills to see where they now lived together? That last night—she still couldn’t think of it as stalking even though that’s what Norma Jean had called it in the police report—the sleek black BMW in Norma Jean’s slanting driveway had invited Alayne to stop her own little Toyota, grab the jack from the back, and smash in the head and tail lights of
the BMW. Alayne would have broken the windshield, but hadn’t known until she took a big thwack, that it was basically impenetrable. She had scuttled away, horrified at how far she had gone. Norma Jean’s house had been dark, but at the sound of glass breaking and neighboring dogs barking, lights flickered on before Alayne drove off, her foot shaking on the accelerator.