Authors: Carolyn Arnold
Tags: #Mystery: Cozy - Homicide Detectives - Cancun
In The Name Of Love
THE ELEVATOR CHIMED ITS ARRIVAL to the main level.
Sara looked up at Sean. “Where do you think we should start?”
“Earl’s mistress is apparently on the resort.”
“And you wait until now to tell me? Why not tell me upstairs when you dropped the rest of the bomb on me? I always thought we communicated well.” She hurried her pace, going past the travel desk and toward the lobby. “I can’t believe he brought his mistress here. When we get our hands on this man, I think I’ll kill him myself.”
“Calm down, darling. Although, you are rather adorable when you get all fired up.”
She narrowed her eyes and kissed him, and when she pulled back, she was smiling. “That’s one thing we never got to do on the job.”
“I can think of many more.” He hugged her.
She pressed her hands to his chest. “You’re going to have to behave, Mr. McKinley, at least until we save a man.”
“Whatever you say, dear, whatever you say.”
She resumed walking.
“Oh, please, do wait up.” Sean’s words came out fragmented by laughter. “Do you remember that woman who lost her hat at Earl’s feet?”
“You’re wondering if
Sara’s memory was one of her strongest assets—not discounting her looks by any means.
“Oh.” Her eyes widened. “She’s also the same woman that was on Isle Mujeres. The one I caught you looking at.”
“Correct again. Anyway, I believe that is Earl’s mistress.”
“What do you mean, no way?”
“Just that. She’s in another league. She’s young.”
“What does that say about Catherine?”
“Now don’t be like that. We don’t have any idea how charming and debonair the man was as a younger fella, but I can guarantee you he wasn’t any Sean McKinley.”
“You’d be right about that. I’m one of a kind.”
“That you are, darling, that you are.”
“How do you suggest we find her?”
“You must think I have all the answers.” She pulled back on Sean’s hand, her legs grounded to the floor. “You wished for a mystery and now you have one. Do you regret your wish?”
“We have all of our lives to take things easy, sweetie. Let’s have one last adventure.”
adventure? No, Sean, I want many more.”
“Then your wish is my command—once I have a coffee.”
“You, a coffee? I always thought I—”
Sara followed the direction of his gaze to where a grouping of tables sat on a raised landing, overlooking the pool. The woman from yesterday sat there, in her large-brimmed white sunhat, reading a novel. She wore a purple dress.
“I believe you’re right, and I think I just found the perfect place to sit.”
Sara placed her hand on his forearm. “You go and grab our coffees. I’m going to make a new friend.”
“In your words, what an excellent idea. Just be careful, darling. You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into.”
“You know I can watch my back.” She sashayed with drastic hip movements then angled back to look at him.
Again, it had Sean wanting to rescind his wish for another type of adventure.
Sara pointed at the chair across from the woman. “Good morning. Is this seat taken?”
“No.” She smiled, briefly, and went back to the pages of her book.
Sara deemed the woman beautiful by any set of standards. Her red hair reached past her shoulders, her skin was smooth and flawless, and her deep chestnut eyes hinted at an intelligent mind lingering behind them. But would her bright red lipstick match the wine glass from the Spencers’ room?
“Your hat is glorious,” Sara said as she slipped into the chair. “I’ve always wanted one of those.”
The woman glanced up.
“Oh, how rude of me.” Sara extended a hand across the table. “My name is Sara McKinley.”
“Amelia Wolfe.” She shook Sara’s hand and went back to reading.
“Just Miss, but Amelia will do just fine.” She spoke without looking up.
“Is this your first time in Cancun?”
This wasn’t going according to plan. Amelia Wolfe was the most tight-lipped person she had encountered at the resort. Most tourists were open to conversation with anyone.
“I’m from New York.” Sara thought she’d stick with the state. She knew Sean hated it when she provided their city.
“Nice.” The top of her hat dipped farther down.
“Oh, there you are, darling.” Sean came over and put the coffee in front of her.
As much as she had been craving some mystery, she felt guilty when she looked at him. He was all she needed. Well, him and coffee. She took a quick sip and licked her lips. “Sean, this is my new friend Amelia. She’s from—oh, I don’t think she said.”
“The United States,” Amelia answered.
Sean bumped Sara with his elbow. “You need to learn to hold things back like Amelia here.”
Amelia didn’t give any visual indication she heard them talking about her.
“I was telling her how lovely her hat is. Isn’t it gorgeous?”
“It is, but I’m not sure if it would suit you.”
“I’m just being honest, dear.”
Sara put tongue in cheek and leveled a playful glare.
“And her lipstick, isn’t it the perfect shade of red?” Sara leaned on the table and rested her chin in her hand. She kept her attention on Amelia until the woman lifted her head.
“It’s Estee Lauder, Extravagant Red.”
“What a name! You’ll have to get some for me, Sean. Or will I not suit that either?” Sara pinched Sean’s thigh beneath the table.
His leg jumped and he winced. “No, darling, I think you’d suit it just fine.”
Amelia glanced between Sara and Sean. “Maybe I’ll leave you two alone.”
“Don’t be silly. You were here first. Besides you’re probably waiting on your boyfriend.”
“I’d be waiting awhile. I am here alone.”
“No. Not in Cancun alone.”
“I’m afraid so, yes.” She dog-eared a corner of her novel and placed it on the table.
“Well, if you get lonely, Sean and I are staying here. We’re fun to hang around with.”
“I couldn’t interfere. You are on your honeymoon. Am I right?”
Either Amelia excelled at reading people or Earl had told her about them.
“We are.” Sean moved his chair closer to Sara’s and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
“I will go now,” Amelia said.
“Don’t leave on account of us.”
“I’m going to the beach. Have a nice holiday.”
Amelia left, walking off with a large beach bag in one hand, the novel in the other.
“Do you think Amelia Wolfe’s a sheep in wolf’s clothing or just a sheep?” Sara asked, playing on the common adage.
“Guess we better get some of that lipstick and find out.”
Break & Enter
SEAN KNOCKED ON THE SPENCERS’ door a second time.
“This is the right room.” Sara glanced down the hall. “Where would she have gone? Maybe I should have stayed with her.”
“But then we wouldn’t have gotten this.” Sean held up the tube of lipstick they had picked up at a mall, just minutes down the strip that had all the brand-name stores. “We both know I wouldn’t have found out Amelia’s shade of red.”
Sara smiled. “No, probably not.” She knocked this time. “Catherine, it’s Sara.” She waited a few seconds. “She’s not in there, Sean. Now, what do we do?”
Sean worked diligently to pick the lock. It wasn’t easy when it was a card key, but there was a bypass and he knew how to utilize it. The light flashed green and he twisted the handle.
“We’re breaking and entering now. This is just great.” Sara peeked over a shoulder.
“We’re only here because she asked us to be.”
“I suppose, but I still don’t know if I like it.”
Sean went in first. “Be careful.” He reached back for Sara’s hand.
The curtains were drawn and, even though it was mid-morning, darkness encased the room.
Sean flicked the light switch on.
He spun and held a finger to his lips to calm her. “Shut the door.”
She nodded and did as he had asked.
The room was torn apart. The comforter and sheets were on the floor and the contents of the closet were scattered about the room.
“It looks like someone was after something,” Sean made the summation.
“But it doesn’t make any sense—the kidnapping, the ransom call.”
“And the wine glasses.” Sean bent to a pile of glass shards that lie in liquid. “Looks like this is all that is left.” He found a piece that had lipstick on it.
“Does it match?” Sara hurried over and kneeled beside him, twisting the tube he had handed her.
He pulled out a handkerchief and patted a portion of the glass dry.
“They always come in so handy,” she said.
“It’s because of one of these, my dear, that we’re even here.”
“Yes, I know. Mr. Quinn thought you were a gentleman. He was right.”
Sean smiled at her, but his mind quickly went back to business. “Put some lipstick here.”
Sara smeared some across the glass. “It’s not a match,” she said dejectedly. “But it still doesn’t mean she’s not involved.” Sara snapped her fingers. “I know. We usually have more than one shade.”
“It seems to me you have to get closer to your new friend.”
“I think so.”
“Here.” He passed her the handkerchief. “Wrap the glass in that, careful not to rub off the original shade, and put it in your purse.”
“Okay. Do you think the same people that took Earl kidnapped Catherine?”
“I don’t know what to think right now.”
“Sean, I know that look.”
“It just seems odd to me—the amount of fifty thousand. Why not a million? I mean it’s obvious the kidnapper knows, or thinks, the Spencers have money.”
“Thinks they have money? I thought—”
Someone was at the door. Sean directed Sara to stand in the far corner and he picked up what was left of the wine bottle by its neck. Then he stood to the side of the narrow hallway that lead into the room and held it over his head, prepared to use it as a weapon.
The person dropped something to the tiled floor. Sean listened to each footstep as they approached. Two more steps.
“No!” Sara came running out of the corner toward the door. “It’s Catherine.”
Mrs. Spencer swayed side to side, reaching out to the wall for support.
“Sit down, hon.” Sara guided Catherine to the couch. “Someone must have broken in while you were out, but everything is all right now. And, Sean, put that bottle down.”
He didn’t realize he still held it over his head until she pointed it out. He shrugged and lowered it, placing it on a nearby table.
Catherine dropped onto the sofa. “Let him die.”
Sara glanced at Sean as she took a seat beside Catherine. “Why do you say that?”
Catherine didn’t answer but brushed her hands in a sweeping motion. “And the room wasn’t broken into. I did this.”
Sean stepped toward the women. “Catherine, it’s probably best that you don’t leave your room right now. Someone needs to be here in case your husband’s kidnapper calls.”
“Oh, please. It’s not like I can do anything to save him anyway.”