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Authors: Jaden Skye

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Death by Marriage

BOOK: Death by Marriage
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DEATH BY MARRIAGE

 

(book #3
in the CARIBBEAN MURDER SERIES)

 

Jaden
Skye

About the Author

Jaden
Skye is author of the #1 Bestselling CARIBBEAN MURDER series, which includes eight
books (and counting). The first book in the series, DEATH BY HONEYMOON, was a
#1 Bestseller, and is now available as a
FREE
download on Amazon
!

Also
in the series are DEATH BY DIVORCE (#2), DEATH BY MARRIAGE (#3), DEATH BY
DESIRE (#4), DEATH BY DECEIT (#5), DEATH BY JEALOUSY (#6), DEATH BY PROPOSAL
(#7) and DEATH BY OBSESSION (#8). She is also author of the romance A PERFECT
STRANGER.

Jaden
has always been fascinated with mystery, wrongful death, lies, deception and
the power of the truth to prevail. Her romantic suspense/mystery novels feature
strong female protagonists who must overcome insurmountable obstacles, and
through them, she seeks to get to the very heart of the nature of justice and
love.

Please
visit
www.jadenskye.com
to find links to
stay in touch with Jaden via Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, her blog, and a
whole bunch of other places. Jaden loves to hear from you, so don't be shy and
check back often!

Books by Jaden Skye

THE CARIBBEAN MURDER SERIES
DEATH BY HONEYMOON (Book #1)
DEATH BY DIVORCE (Book #2)
DEATH BY MARRIAGE (Book #3)
DEATH BY DESIRE (Book #4)
DEATH BY DECEIT (Book #5)
DEATH BY JEALOUSY (Book #6)
DEATH BY PROPOSAL (Book #7)
DEATH BY OBSESSION (Book #8)
THE TOM’S RIVER SAGA
A PERFECT STRANGER (Book #1)

Tap
here to download Jaden Skye books on Amazon now!

Copyright © 2012 by Jaden Skye

All rights reserved. Except as permitted
under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be
reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored
in a database or retrieval system, without the prior permission of the author.

This ebook is licensed for your personal
enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If
you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an
additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not
purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return it
and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this
author.

This is a work of fiction. Names,
characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are
the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictionally. Any
resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

PROLOGUE

 

 

He
lay there alone, along the back alley of a narrow street that wound through the
marketplace in St. Thomas, dipped in a pool of red blood. For a long while, no
one noticed. The street he lay on was not well traveled, and the few people who
passed through it walked around him.

As
the sun rose, bringing the heat of the day, merchants began opening their shops,
and shoppers taking their first tentative steps. Suddenly, a shriek broke
through the quiet. The shriek sounded fiercely, like the call of a bugle, for a
long, long time.

People
came running. An island woman, walking through the alley, had stepped on the
man. Hands over her eyes, she could not stop shrieking. The dead man’s bulging
eyes stared back out at her, only adding to her terror.

“Why
me? Why did I have to find this? Lord, Lord!” she screamed, “Have mercy! 
Mercy!”

The
crowd closed in, peering.

“Who
is it? Who is it?” they demanded.

But
by now his face was so distorted, it was almost impossible to say.

 

CHAPTER
1

 

 

Cindy
and Mattheus sat on the veranda of the Grande Hotel, in Grenada, under the palm
trees, going over details of the case.  They sipped tall lemonades, as the
afternoon light faded and soft ocean breezes drifted over them. It had been a
long, tiring day. Cindy knew she would have to make a decision quickly, and had
grappled with it all afternoon.

Things
were moving too quickly, though. She felt caught in a whirlwind that didn’t
give her any time to catch her breath, to make wise choices. She had to remind
herself that she’d only come down to the island to help Dalia, an old friend,
who’d frantically called for help. Dalia’s husband had gone missing and she was
devastated, and there had been no way Cindy could say no.

It
had been a couple of months since then, an intense, crazy time, which only
became more so when Dalia’s husband turned up dead on the beach.  When Cindy
was the one to finally discover the killer, she had been all over the papers
again. Cindy didn’t want the notoriety. But calls came in for her from all
over.

Mattheus
tilted his head back, tapping his fingers on the table. It was something he did
when he was trying to think things out clearly, Cindy had come to learn. He’d
gathered lots of information on the new case, but he’d been half an hour late
to their meeting, something unusual for him. Cindy had waited for him uneasily,
going over everything that had gone on between them since they’d met about two
months ago.

She
had tentatively agreed to form a private detective agency with him.  It was at
a moment when she’d felt a particular connection both with him and the work. 
But what did she really know about him, she now wondered? He was on the police
force when they’d met and he’d been a wonderful help in her friend’s case. But
people on this island got too close too quickly, and no good ever seemed to
come out of it.

Cindy
took a long, deep breath. She had both looked forward to seeing Mattheus this
afternoon and also felt unnerved about it. Partially, she just wanted to run
away, go back to life as she knew it in New York, before her own husband,
Clint, had been killed. It had only been months since Clint was gone. She felt
odd now spending such intense time with another man.

“I
know you can do a great job with this case,” Mattheus continued, his voice full
of conviction.

“Mattheus,”
Cindy interrupted.

He
stopped tapping his fingers and looked straight at her, his beautiful, clear
eyes quieting her racing mind.

 “It’s
natural to be scared,” he said.

“That’s
not it,” Cindy replied.

Surprisingly,
Cindy did not feel scared of tackling another murder. Actually, she felt
invincible at the thought of taking another case on. It was that feeling of
power and service that drew her to the work. It made her feel more of who she
really was.

“What
is it?” Matthew asked, a small smile curling at the edge of his mouth.

“It’s
a huge choice to start an entirely different life,” she said.

“Yes,
it is,” he answered calmly, “but sometimes a new life chooses us. And you’re
not the only one. It will be a new life for me, too.”

He
looked up at her fleetingly, then looked away.

“I’ve
gathered articles and reports about the case. It’s fascinating,” he continued,
switching focus. “Kendra, the wife, called after reading about you in the
paper. She sounded desperate. Said she wants a woman detective on the scene,
someone who’ll understand her point of view.”

Cindy
perked up.

“There
aren’t too many of them down here on the islands,” Mattheus cocked his head to
the side. “Especially as thoughtful and as smart as you.”

Cindy
smiled.

“And
daring,” he added, “and beautiful.”

Despite
herself Cindy laughed. “You’re buttering me up.”

“I’m
speaking the truth. I’ve been thinking about our new company.”

“I
wasn’t even sure we meant it,” Cindy said hesitantly.

At
that Mattheus leaned forward.

“I
meant it,” he said, with no hesitation. “I mean what I say.” He looked at her
searchingly. “How about you?”

“You’ve
been a police officer for years,” said Cindy. “I have no training.”

“You
have an instinctive gift. You’re unstoppable. Let’s go over the details of this
new case before I say anymore.” He pulled out a file. “This woman’s husband, a
well know criminal attorney in St. Thomas, the father of a daughter. He was
murdered and thrown like garbage into an alleyway, behind the open markets.”

“Horrible,”
said Cindy.

“The
police are focusing in on the wife. She’s terrified. Not only by the loss of
her husband, but by being interrogated night and day. Her entire world has been
ripped apart. You can imagine why she’d love to have a woman helping.”

“Of
course I can,” said Cindy.

“She
insists that she’s completely innocent - knows nothing at all about what
happened.”

Cindy
suddenly felt as though she were hearing an echo from the past case she’d
worked on.  Dalia had also proclaimed her innocence, right up to the end. It
was startling for Cindy to realize that her natural trust in people was
disappearing fast. Her first reaction now was to doubt and to question.

“What
else do you have to do that’s more important than this?” Mattheus honed in on her,
refusing to let go.

“Nothing,”
said Cindy. “Except going back home and resuming a normal life.” Even as she
said it, she was aware that her life could never be normal again.

“Every
life is normal if you’re doing what you’re supposed to,” Mattheus replied.

Cindy
remembered then why she respected him so. Her heart warmed.

“We’ll
go together. I’ll back you up - you won’t be alone. We can call the company C
and M Investigation,” he laughed. “We work well together. We’re a good team.”

Cindy
could not deny that.

“The
woman in St. Thomas needs an answer right away,” Matthew was insistent. “It’s
almost hurricane season there and they have to work as quickly as possible now
to gather all the evidence. There are lots of lives at stake here, the woman,
her family, and who knows who else? Could be a killer is on the loose.”

“I
hear you,” said Cindy. “I hear everything.”

“I’m
surprised you’re not jumping in.”

“Give
me an hour or so,” Cindy said, her head suddenly reeling. It was too much for
her take in all at once. She needed just a little while to walk on the beach,
be with herself, and make sure this was the right decision. It was not only
about working on the new case, it was joining forces with Mattheus, creating a
private detective agency.  Cindy looked at him sitting there, handsome,
confident, rugged. It was as if he’d always been in her life. But he hadn’t.
Just five months ago, she’d been married to Clint, going off with him on their
honeymoon. They’d had a home and friends they’d loved. She’d worked as an investigative
reporter and had hopes of having a family one day-- not tracking down killers
in the Caribbean. 

Cindy
pushed herself away from the table and Mattheus stood up as well.

“Take
as much time as you need,” he said calmly.

“I’ll
let you know in an hour or so,” she said.

Mattheus
smiled and so did Cindy as the wind in the trees began blowing up, tossing
Cindy’s hair into her face.

“It’s
just that everything is happening so quickly,” said Cindy, pushing her hair
away.

“I
know,” Mattheus nodded, “New beginnings are often like that.”

*

Cindy
left her sandals at the edge of the beach and walked barefoot through the soft,
white sand up to the water’s edge.  The light was fading and it was definitely
cooler as the wind tossed against her face and arms. Cindy reached out her
hands as if to hold onto the breeze. Would she ever get home?  Would she ever
again be the person she was? A few small sandpipers flew to where she was
standing and looked up at her. Cindy smiled. The islands had taken everything
from her, but then had also given her one gift after another, in the most
unusual ways. Could it be that this was to be her new home?

Her
mind flew forwards to the woman on St. Thomas whose husband had been killed and
dumped in a back alley. Cindy could only imagine the pain she had to be going
through - the loss, confusion, and the police grilling her daily.  A sense of
outrage and strength flushed through Cindy’s veins.  She’d been there. She knew
how urgently the woman needed someone she could trust. Cindy also knew that
somehow she was the one to do it.  She was able to navigate her way through
this kind of maze, sense what was brewing beneath the surface, cut through the
lies and find justice. Cindy never realized before how important justice was to
her. Life wasn’t worth living without it, she realized, as the water rushed up
between her toes.

She
took a long moment, then to breathe deeply, enjoying the moment. There was no
need to linger any longer. Clint’s death had propelled her into a new place. 
She couldn’t go back home and rest when another person was going through the
same torture she had. Clint would have made the same choice that she did, to
fight for justice, find the culprit, stop the killer from striking again.

She
had no choice. She had to say yes.

BOOK: Death by Marriage
9.18Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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