aisling grimlock 03 - grim discovery

BOOK: aisling grimlock 03 - grim discovery
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Table of Contents

Grim Discovery



An Aisling Grimlock Mystery
Book Three



By Amanda M. Lee


Text copyright © 2015 Amanda M. Lee

All Rights Reserved


Table of Contents




































Author’s Note

Books by Amanda M. Lee



20 years ago

“You can’t play with me, brat!”

“I can so.”

“No, you can’t.”

“I can so.”

“No, you can’t.”

“Mom!” Braden and Aisling Grimlock turned to their mother Lily expectantly, all pretense of pretending they weren’t tattling abandoned.

Lily sighed, pushing her hair from her face as she stood and stepped away from her beloved garden, regarding two of the loudest representatives of her five-member brood with feigned patience. “What seems to be the problem?”

“Braden won’t … .” Aisling attempted to tattle first, but her older brother beat her to the punch.

“She doesn’t know how to play right,” Braden complained. “I’m trying to build a castle and she won’t stop driving the truck through it.”

“I see,” Lily said, pursing her lips to keep from laughing. “Aisling, what do you have to say about this? Do you agree with what Braden said?”

Even at seven years old, Aisling was tiny. What she lacked in size she made up for in personality, though. She placed her hands on her hips and swiveled her head back and forth, her black pigtails flying. “No, I don’t.”

“What do you believe is the truth?”

Aisling tapped her finger on her lip as she decided how to respond. Lily didn’t have to be clairvoyant to know the little imp was about to say something nasty. She opened her mouth to head her off before she built up a full head of steam, but it was already too late.

“I think Braden is butthead,” Aisling announced.

Braden cuffed the back of Aisling’s head hard enough to knock her forward a step and cause Lily to frown.


Instead of being a “normal” girl injured by an overzealous brother – or even one who wanted to play up the tear factor to draw sympathy from a parent – Aisling swiveled quickly and punched Braden in the face.

Braden howled as he cupped his nose. “She hit me!”

“He hit me first,” Aisling argued.

“No one is supposed to hit each other,” Lily warned, wagging a finger in her children’s direction. “What have I told you about hitting each other?”

“Not to do it.”

“Then why did you do it?”

Aisling shrugged. “I forgot.”

Lily didn’t believe that for one second. “Aisling Grimlock, you know darned well that’s a lie.”

“I don’t think it is.”

“Well, I
it is,” Lily countered. “Apologize to your brother.”

Aisling wrinkled her nose, clearly deciding whether it was worth getting in trouble to put off the apology. “Fine. I’m sorry you hit me and I hit you back, Braden.”

“That’s not a real apology,” Braden whined. “Make her do it right.”

“You did hit her first,” Lily said. “That was good enough. You two will forget what you’re fighting about in five minutes anyway.”

“I’ll never forget,” Braden seethed. “She’s a girl and she shouldn’t be playing with my stuff.”

Lily pinched the bridge of her nose to ward off an oncoming headache. “Is there a reason you two can’t separate and play with other things? Where is everyone else?”

“They’re in the back playing on the swing set,” Braden grumbled. “I don’t want to play on the swing set.”

“I don’t either.” The tilt of Aisling’s chin was defiant.

Lily leaned to the left so she could scan the back yard, her eyes landing on Redmond first. He sat at the picnic table, trying to teach Aidan to play checkers. From the frustrated color creeping into Redmond’s cheeks, Lily had a feeling the lesson wasn’t going well. She shifted her attention to Cillian, but as always, he had his nose in a book. That left … . “Jerry, come here for a second.”

Aisling’s best friend Jerry was a people pleaser, and he raced around the corner the second he heard his name called. “Yes, Mrs. Grimlock.”

Lily smiled. As far as best friends go, Aisling picked the best one in the world. She was convinced of that. Of course, Jerry didn’t give her much choice. He walked into kindergarten, sized up each classmate, and then plopped down next to Aisling. They’d been inseparable since.

“Can you play in the sandbox with Aisling? She and Braden are … not playing nicely.”

Instead of acquiescing, Jerry shook his head. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Grimlock, but I can’t.”

Lily was surprised. “Why not?”

“I don’t play in dirt.”

“Oh … um … does your mother not want you to get dirty? She didn’t mention that when she dropped you off here for the afternoon.”

“Oh, she doesn’t care,” Jerry replied nonchalantly. “I’m the one who cares. I don’t like dirt. It’s gross and … well … these pants are new.”

“I see,” Lily said, fighting the urge to laugh. The boy was as sweet as they come and she knew it was wrong to pin labels on small children, but she had a sneaking suspicion Jerry would pick from the same dating pool as Aisling one day. “Well, Aisling, why don’t you play with Jerry in the back yard?”

“Because he’s doing dumb stuff.”

Lily frowned. “Jerry, you can go back to what you were doing. I’ll handle this.”

Jerry nodded obediently and took off for the back yard. Once he was gone, Lily fixed her attention on Braden. “Why don’t you go wash your face, Braden,” she suggested. “If your nose really hurts, tell Esmeralda she can put some ice on it.” As Grimlock Manor’s faithful cook, Esmeralda was a veteran of tending the wounded in small skirmishes and had treated more bloody noses than Lily could recall.

“I want her punished,” Braden said. “Are you going to punish her if I go?”

“I’m just waiting for you to leave so I can do it,” Lily lied.

Aisling and Lily watched Braden retreat to the house. When Lily finally turned her eyes back to Aisling she saw that the small girl was clearly plotting something evil.

“I hate them,” Aisling growled, gripping her small hands into tight fists. “All boys are bad!”

Lily smiled fondly at her youngest child, bending down so they were eye to eye. “Things aren’t always going to be like this. One day you’re going to find that you love your brothers, Aisling. Don’t shake your head. It’s true. You might be angry with them now, but I don’t believe for a second that you hate any of them.”

“Then you’re not looking hard enough,” Aisling retorted.

Lily tugged on her straining patience. “You’re not only going to find out that you love your brothers, you’re also going to find a boy of your own who – Lord help him – will be able to put up with your mouth and even take a punch from you.”

Aisling jutted out her lower lip into the adorable pout that managed to wrap her father around her tiny finger. “I don’t believe you.”

“You don’t have to believe me,” Lily said. “Just … remember this day. There will come a time when you love boys – and that includes your brothers. I can’t wait to see it.”

“You’re going to be waiting … forever!”

“We’ll see,” Lily said. “Now go get cleaned up for dinner … and when I say clean up, I don’t mean find your father and let him sneak you licorice. Do you understand?”

Aisling nodded, although Lily could see she was already contemplating a path that would take her by her father’s office.

“If you’re good and clean your plate, you can have two desserts after dinner,” Lily added.

“Does Braden only get one?”

Lily fought to rein in her laugh. Aisling didn’t really care about getting two desserts. She only cared about besting Braden. “Yes. Braden only gets one.”

Aisling brightened considerably. “Can I be the one to tell him?”

“I suppose,” Lily said, giving in. “You have to eat all of your dinner, and if I find out you got candy from your father the deal is off.”

“Okay,” Aisling said, turning and bounding toward the house.

Lily realized too late that Aisling had another plan and she called out to the child’s back. “That means you can’t con Redmond into getting you candy either!”

Aisling visibly deflated, her shoulders slouching. “How did you know that I was … ?”

“How did I know that you were going to go straight to Redmond to get what you want?”

Aisling nodded, her eyes wide. “Are you magic?”

“I’m your mother,” Lily countered. “That’s better than magic. I know you better than you know yourself. Redmond can’t say no to you any more than your father can.”

“That’s why he’s my favorite – well, most of the time. He wouldn’t let me play checkers, so I don’t like him right now.”

Lily smirked. “And he’s the one who will always take care of you,” she said. “Well, they’ll all take care of you. Redmond will have a special place in your heart, though.”

“If you say so,” Aisling replied. “Just so you know, though, I don’t believe I’m ever going to like boys … and Braden is always going to be a butthead.”

Lily tried to swallow her chuckle. She knew it would only encourage Aisling’s behavior. She couldn’t, though, and when she laughed Aisling knew she’d won. “You go inside and get cleaned up for dinner,” Lily ordered. “We’ll deal with Braden being a butthead another time.”

“Oh, I’ve got plans for Braden,” Aisling said, rubbing her hands together. “He’s won’t even see me coming.”

Lily wanted to argue, but she knew that sometimes in life children had to settle things on their own. “I’m looking forward to watching your revenge.”

“It’s going to be cool. I promise.”

“I’m never disappointed where you’re concerned, Aisling,” Lily replied. “You have a bright future in front of you, young lady. Now … go inside. I have a little work to finish out here and then we’ll eat.”

“And I still get two desserts and Braden only gets one, right?” Aisling pressed.

“Ugh … right.”

Aisling appeared happy as she skipped the rest of the way to the house. Lily heard the door open and was almost convinced the storm had passed until … .

“Oh, Braden … guess who gets more dessert than you tonight, you butthead?”

BOOK: aisling grimlock 03 - grim discovery
11.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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