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Authors: Carolyn Arnold

Tags: #Mystery: Cozy - Homicide Detectives - Albany

Carolyn Arnold - McKinley 04 - Politics is Murder

Carolyn Arnold - McKinley 04 - Politics is Murder
McKinley Mysteries [4]
Carolyn Arnold
CreateSpace (2014)
Tags:
Mystery: Cozy - Homicide Detectives - Albany
For Sean and Sara, a local television interview turns into a high-profile investigation. The host's niece has gone missing, but the girl isn't just anyone, she's the daughter of Albany's mayor.
Not knowing whether she's run away, been kidnapped or—worse—murdered, Sean and Sara set out to get the answers. It will have them using all the resources at their disposal.

 

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Copyright Page

This book also includes a preview of

Family is Murder

 

In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, the scanning, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of this book without the permission of the author constitute unlawful piracy and theft of the author’s intellectual property. If you would like to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), prior written permission must be obtained by contacting the author at [email protected] Thank you for your support of the author’s rights.

 

 

 

 

Fifteen Minutes Of Fame

 

THE CAMERAMAN HELD UP HIS hand. “We’ll count it down. In three, two,” his arm lowered, “one.”

Sean squeezed Sara’s hand a little tighter and both of them smiled pleasantly to the host. Her name was Reanne Mable. Although she was famous in the local area, the show didn’t pick up the vast audience their appearance on
USA Today
and
Newsweek
had garnered.

While this would make their third on-camera interview, Sean’s nerves didn’t lessen with experience. Sara seemed to have it all under control, though, from her manicured nails to her designer dress. Even her nose didn’t shine under the bright lights casting down on her.

Reanne, a forty-five-year-old woman who hailed from Texas, carried her twang just as vibrantly today as she would have leaving the state. She smiled at the camera—a smile that was both sincere and enormous. Her skill was apparent, as it should be for a television veteran.

“Today we have a couple with us who are living proof that kind acts are rewarded, and graciously. Papers have said, ‘Watch out, Donald Trump.’ But before I go on any further, please welcome Sean and Sara McKinley to the show.”

“Thank you for having us.” Sean managed to blurt out the words, but his stomach swirled as if he had over-indulged in rich food. At least with a small station he didn’t have to worry about a live audience.

“Don’t mention it. It is our pleasure. On a personal note, it’s so nice to meet both of you. To hear the story about how you went from being one of Albany’s own, to overnight billionaires, it sounds like a fantasy movie.”

Reanne leaned forward in her chair, one hand resting on her thigh, the other gesturing to Sara. “And I understand there’s more to it than just the money.” She winked at Sean and looked back at Sara. “The whole world wants to know about two things. Your fortune, of course, but also your romance. Why don’t you tell us about that, Sara?”

Sara smiled, her brown eyes bright, the flecks of green and gold sparkling. She squeezed Sean’s hand and he picked up on her underlying nervousness. She was definitely much better at hiding it than he was. He mentally coached her that the world would love her.

Sara ran her one hand along her crossed leg, lengthening the fabric, while straightening her back. “Well, it wasn’t always what you see here. We used to just be friends.”

Reanne laughed. “So, you’re saying there’s still hope for the rest of us.”

“Absolutely. If you’re meant to be with someone, it will happen. The world, the universe, however, you like to term it, will come together and maneuver things into alignment.”

“I see you’re a big believer in destiny.”

“Destiny, law of attraction, both. I believe we all have a role on this earth. We are born for a purpose, and we will fulfill it whether we’re aware of it or not. The thing is, though, for those who don’t recognize their true calling, they might not be as happy as they could have been.”

“Oh, isn’t that the truth.” Another polite smile thrown in. “Tell us how Sean proposed.”

He watched as Sara told their story, not leaving out any details, all his romantic gestures resulting in
oohs
and
aahs
from Reanne.

“That would make it impossible for a girl to say no,” Reanne said.

Sara glanced at him and smiled. “It also helped that I knew he was my soul mate.”

“How adorable. Please, let us see the ring.” Reanne reached for Sara’s hand while she directed the cameraman to close in for the shot. “He’s romantic and he has impeccable taste in jewelry. The cut is divine.” Reanne angled her head and her lips formed a pout.

Sean watched that expression transpose quickly to one gearing back to business. She gestured her hand toward him.

“Tell us where everything started for you, Sean. How did you know Mr. Quinn? I understand you were surprised that he had you in his Will, let alone left you everything. It’s also true you are the new owner of several companies, including Universal Acquisitions Corporation in New York City.”

“That is correct.” His nerves had the first three words cut from his throat, as if removing stitches that had bonded it shut.

Reanne handed Sean a bottle of water and then settled back into her chair. “Why don’t you tell us about Douglas Quinn? What kind of a man was he?”

Sara glanced at Sean, the truth reflecting in her eyes. He had a limited number of memories to draw on and it pained him. His heart palpitated as he struggled to find words that would do Quinn justice.

He unscrewed the cap and took a sip of water. “In respect for his privacy, I wouldn’t want to disclose all that I know about him.” He hated that he had to disguise his lack of knowledge by such a blasé statement. “I will tell you that he was a caring and selfless man. He devoted his life to his companies, but not at the sacrifice of heart.”

Reanne shifted, crossing her leg toward them. She rested her elbow on the arm of the chair and hitched her hand under her chin. Her eyes settled on him, as if waiting anxiously for the next word to come out of his mouth.

His stomach performed another flip-flop. “Mr. Quinn was a believer in small acts of kindness. That is how we came to be friends.”

“Please tell us about the day you met,” Reanne said.

He endured her questions for the next twenty minutes, the odd one being deferred to Sara. There was no preparation that could have been made. Reanne insisted that her interviews be unrehearsed and conducted with a relaxed, conversational quality.

With the parting words spoken to her audience, and the confirmation from the production crew, Reanne stood, beaming. She held her hand out to each of them.

“Well, that’s that. You both did excellent by the way.”

Sara smiled at Reanne. “Thank you for having us on your show.”

“Like I said, don’t mention it. This story really touched me, well, I know it touched a lot of people. It goes to prove our actions have consequences.” Reanne’s eyes diverted to Sean.

His skipped to the floor, briefly, before rising up to meet her gaze.

She offered a parting smile. “Have a wonderful rest of the day. The show will air this evening at nine.”

 

 

The Compromise

 

SARA KNEW FROM HIS EXPRESSION this interview wasn’t an easy one for Sean. Somewhere in the line of questioning, he had tripped backward in time.

She pulled her seatbelt across and looked over at him. His lips were on a slight downward angle. “Darling, are you okay?”

He turned the ignition and then reached for her hand. “Why wouldn’t I be? I have you.”

She kept her eyes on him as he put his focus behind them and backed out of their parking spot.

The car lurched back and forth, sputtering as if wheezing.

“Oh.” Sean took his hands off the wheel.

The engine shut down with one last moan.

“Did it finally die?”

The sadness that had etched his features eased up, his attention seeming to be diverted to patching his emotional wounds with a retail-therapy fix. As badly as she wanted to see a sincere smile on his face, she knew better than to press him about his feelings. If she did, it would push him away.

She smiled at him instead. “Time to go shopping.”

“Sounds like a terrific idea.”

“Wonderful, but as soon as we get our new ride, I want to go by our house.”

“We drove by yesterday,” he teased.

“And we will, every day, until we move in. You know you love it too.”

Sara let her mind dwell on the beautiful estate, the large, bright rooms, the parlor with the piano—which they’d convinced the previous owners to leave behind—and the kitchen, worthy of a professional chef. Now, she had to enroll in culinary classes to convince Sean she was deserving of such a setup.

He tried turning the motor over again, but all it offered in response was a screeching rumble that ended as quickly as it began. “Looks like we’re going to need a ride to the dealership.”

“What kind of car are you thinking?”

“Ferrari maybe, but there’s probably a long wait.”

She laughed. “Be serious. We need something practical.”

He angled his head toward her. “But a little flashy?”

“A little.” She loved fine things too, but not quite to the extent he did.

He continued the negotiation. “Let’s think this through. We’re thinking practical, flashy. Two doors or four?”

“Two.” The response came without any thought. There was a glint in his eyes, but she wasn’t sure if it was surprise or rejection. They had never talked about kids, what if he wanted a houseful? She swallowed deeply. “Or we could get a four-door?” She presented the peace-offering with a gentle smile.

“A two-door sounds great.”

“You sure?” She settled back into her seat, immediately wondering why she did so knowing they’d be getting out soon enough.

“Of course. We don’t have little people and if we ever did, we could get a minivan then.”

She burst out laughing. Just the expression on his face, the marvel in his eyes, the amusement tracing his features—she had placed too much importance and thought to the subject of children. Maybe that conversation could be pushed off further.

“It’s not doing us any good sitting here,” he said.

“Suppose we look kind of silly.”

“You, darling? Never.” He touched a fingertip to her nose and then kissed her, as a knock came on the driver’s side window.

Sean rolled it down.

“Car trouble?” Reanne adjusted her purse strap as she hunched over to peer inside.

“You could say that.” Sean shared his smile between the two women.

“I can give you a ride to wherever you like. I was just headed home anyhow.”

Sean looked at Sara. “Darling?”

She raised her hands with a smile. The whole thing was a matter of convenient timing.

“We would love to take you up on your offer.”

“Great. I’m parked over there.” Reanne stepped to the side and pointed to the right. “The red Impala.”

“We’ll be right behind you.”

“I’ll call the tow truck on our way,” Sean said.

She smiled and walked toward her car, then unlocked the doors, and Sean and Sara loaded into the back.

Reanne laughed. “I’m playing chauffeur, am I? You truly are a couple who is meant to be.”

“I just don’t want to leave her side any more than is absolutely necessary.” Sean doled out a waggish smirk, which had Sara’s heartbeat speeding up. She didn’t think that would ever change. Smiling, she did up her belt and reached for his hand.

Reanne’s car started without hesitation. “So where to?”

“The Mercedes dealership in Latham.”

Sara stared at his profile until he looked at her.

He shrugged. “What? Yes, I know where they are. But their cars are practical, reliable, and a bit flashy.”

“I’ll trust you.”

“Not to mention, unlike a Ferrari, they’ll be there and we’ll drive off the lot with one today.”

Reanne was reversing out of the spot, but Sara noticed her eyes dart to the rearview.

“Would you listen to him,” Sara said.

“Oh, don’t worry about it. You two are living the dream. Although, you would think, for billionaires, you’d have an amazing car already.”

Sara rubbed Sean’s arm and responded. “We’ve been busy from the moment he proposed.”

“I bet.” Reanne flashed another glimpse into the rearview. When her eyes met Sara’s, she diverted back to the road.

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