Hard to believe it’s the end of April. It seems only weeks ago, I was taking down Christmas decorations and bemoaning the snow, and now I’m looking at budding trees, knowing the worst of spring allergy season is right around the corner!
Today, I thought I’d finish off the month with a final taste of The White Carnation. So far, the reviews have been great. I’m putting the finishing touches on The White Lily as we speak, and will round off the series with The White Iris when I come back from vacation later this year.
So, once more I thank Sandra Bunino and those who faithfully follow this blog for the opportunity to share my writing with you this way, week after week.
The last person disgraced reporter Faye Lewis wants back in her life is Detective Rob Halliday, the man she blames for ruining her career and breaking her heart. But when she finds an old friend murdered, he’s the one she calls.
For the past year, Rob and his team have been hunting the Harvester, a serial killer who ritualistically murders new mothers and vanishes with their infants. What Rob doesn’t need is another case, especially one involving his ex-fiancée.
Then Faye is assaulted, and Rob realizes the cases are connected. She may hold the answers he needs to find the elusive killer. But the more they investigate, the more complex the situation becomes. Can they set the past aside and work together, or will the Harvester and his followers reap another prize?
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Faye hung her coat on the hook in the hall and walked into the living room. She stared at him as if she blamed him for everything that had happened, and, he supposed, in a way, she was right. She claimed the damn file had been on his desk, and even though he’d never seen it, she believed he’d torpedoed her career. He’d been too angry and hurt to investigate her allegations, and after she’d broken off the engagement, he hadn’t seen the point. If she could believe he’d do that to her …
“Can I change?” She looked down at her blood-covered clothes.
“Take a shower. I’ll make you some tea, but give me the clothes. I’ll need them for evidence.”
“Don’t bother bringing them back.”
She walked away from him toward her bedroom and its en suite bathroom. Moving into the kitchen, he filled the kettle and set the water to boil. In the year they’d been apart, nothing had been moved, but many things had changed. He reached for the box of tea bags—they were a cheaper brand than the ones she’d favored before. Opening the fridge to get the milk, he stared at the bare shelves, the generic yogurt, and the lack of fresh fruit and vegetables. Margarine? She hates margarine. He opened the freezer and saw hamburger and a couple of packages of chicken, but even it was almost bare. Where was the Rocky Road? She always had her favorite ice cream on hand.
The kettle whistled, and he turned off the burner. Pouring the boiling water into the brown teapot as she’d taught him to do, he rinsed it, poured the water out, and then added the tea bags and refilled it. He set it on the tray on the counter to steep. Opening the cupboard to get a mug, his hand froze when he saw the red, ceramic, Who loves you, baby? mug he’d given her, and he let sadness wash over him. Why had she kept it? He’d given it to her with the diamond ring she’d returned tucked inside it. He grabbed a yellow mug and slammed the cupboard door. Knowing how she felt about him now, she’d probably forgotten he’d given it to her in the first place.
When he heard her bare feet slap the oak floor, he picked up the tray that held the teapot, milk, and mug, and returned to the open-concept living room/dining room. He set the tray on the coffee table.
Faye entered the room at the same time he did. She looked like a lost little girl in the oversized Patriots jersey and pink plaid pajama pants she wore. Her bare feet, toenails painted hot pink, poked out of the bottoms. She dropped a plastic bag on the floor near the hall table, walked over to the green tweed wingback chair, and sat in it, curling her feet up under her.
She’d pulled her wet hair away from her face into a loose ponytail. When it was loose, her hair curled slightly and reached midway down her back. How he’d loved running his hands through her silky tresses. Her complexion, so fair she could get sunburn in the shade, was blotchy now, the freckles she hated standing out against the translucent skin. Her expressive eyes, sometimes blue, more often green, were shadowed as if she’d been losing sleep. Was she still haunted by nightmares? She was thinner than he remembered, her cheekbones more prominent.
He walked over to the liquor cabinet beside the breakfast bar that divided the kitchen from the dining area and pulled out a bottle of Irish whiskey. Like everything else he’d found, it was a cheaper brand than she’d preferred. He grabbed a glass and carried them both over to the table where he poured a generous measure into the mug before adding tea and milk. He handed it to her. He splashed a couple of ounces of whiskey into the glass.
He’d heard about her stepfather’s death and had meant to call, but each time he’d picked up the phone, he’d put it down again. He hadn’t known what to say. She’d been close to Ralph Edwards, the man who’d rescued her mother from poverty and shame. Glancing at his watch, he grimaced. Technically, his shift had ended twenty minutes ago. He lifted his glass and took a mouthful of whiskey. It was going to be a long night.