Authors: Jaden Skye
Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Suspense, #Thrillers, #Mystery & Detective, #Women Sleuths, #General, #Police Procedural, #Private Investigators, #International Mystery & Crime, #Contemporary
D E A T H B Y D E V O T I O N
(book #9 in the CARIBBEAN MURDER SERIES)
About Jaden Skye
Skye is author of the #1 Bestselling CARIBBEAN MURDER series, which includes 10
books (and counting). The first book in the series, DEATH BY HONEYMOON, a #1
Bestseller, is now available as a
download on Amazon
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), DEATH BY OBSESSION (#8), DEATH BY DEVOTION (#9) and DEATH BY BETRAYAL
(#10). She is also author of the romance A PERFECT STRANGER.
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
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!
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)
BY PROPOSAL (Book #7)
DEATH BY OBSESSION (Book #8)
DEATH BY DEVOTION (Book #9)
DEATH BY BETRAYAL (Book #10)
THE TOM’S RIVER SAGA
A PERFECT STRANGER (Book #1)
© 2014 by Jaden Skye
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respecting the hard work of this author.
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
plane back to New York was right on time. Cindy was the first to board, couldn’t
wait to return, see her sister, and make sense of what had happened between her
and Mattheus. What would she tell Ann had gone on between them? Cindy was
still in shock at the abrupt way he had taken off just as they were about to
become engaged. The last thing in the world Cindy had expected was for him to run
away to be with his long lost daughter, who couldn’t stand the sight of her.
walked down the aisle of the plane, looking for her seat. It was strange being
alone again. How did things turn out this way? From Mattheus’s point of view the
separation was for an undetermined amount of time, but temporary. Cindy didn’t
feel that way. Her sister Ann always said that Mattheus was a volatile
character who couldn’t be trusted, but Cindy had refused to believe it before.
tucked her bag into the overhead compartment and snuggled next to the window. Okay,
she thought, let Mattheus and his creepy daughter have each other. She was
exhausted, had been totally unprepared for the abrupt ending of their
relationship. She turned her head to the aisle, watched others board the plane
and listened to flight instructions. Finally, as the plane took off, Cindy closed
her eyes and quickly fell into a deep sleep.
her sleep Cindy felt herself floating through the air, wondering who she was
now, or where she was truly headed. It seemed as if she were stretched out on a
ragged cloud that dipped and turned through unstable gusts of wind. For a
while she felt comfortable, then suddenly, in her sleep Cindy felt herself
spiraling uncontrollably downwards. As she hung onto the cloud desperately, Cindy
suddenly saw gnarled arms reaching out for her from behind. The arms were
searching for her, eager to grab and toss her out into the empty sky.
Perspiration suddenly streaked down her face, as Cindy squirmed to get away
from them. Whose arms were they, what did they want of her? For a moment they
seemed to be surrounding the cloud.
Cindy cried out terrified, gasped and started moaning. Then, thankfully, she
felt her hands clutching onto something solid. It was the edge of her seat on
beside her was shaking her shoulder gently. “It’s okay, it’s okay,” a male
voice said.”You’re dreaming dear, everything’s okay.”
eyes shot open quickly. She was seated next to an older man who looked at her
kindly. She tossed in her seat and lunged forward a moment.
quickly placed his hands on her shoulders, pulling her back up. “Nothing’s
wrong,” he spoke more firmly. “All’s in order, the flight’s on time.”
in order, thought Cindy. Who is this man? Where’s Mattheus? What’s this man doing
next to me? Mattheus had been beside her for so long now, it felt strange
having someone else sitting there.
just having a bad dream,” he repeated, trying to calm her.
sorry,” Cindy murmured, embarrassed.
to be sorry for, everyone dreams,” the older man continued, “my wife has bad
dreams and so does my daughter. Just wake up.”
simple, Cindy thought, so natural. Just open your eyes and the horror ends.
landing in a few minutes,” he continued. “Fasten your seat belt.”
thank you, I will,” said Cindy, pulling herself together. She tugged her seat
belt around her, then craned her neck and looked out of the plane window. She
must have slept longer than she realized, they were already flying over New
York. The entire trip seemed to have taken only a few moments.
plane started descending and Cindy’s stomach lurched. She watched the bright
lights of the city growing closer as they rose up to meet her. In a few moments
they would be landing, and she’d be in New York, back to where she’d started
we’re okay,” the older man continued as the plane made a final dip into a
you,” said Cindy, relieved, to be back on the ground. It had only been a
dream, there’s been nothing to it. There were no arms out there waiting to grab
her and toss into the abyss.
meeting you?” the older man seemed concerned. “Would you like me to help you
get your things?”
was touched by his concern. “No, thank you, it’s fine,” she replied, getting
up and stretching. “My sister will be picking me up at the airport.”
I’m glad to hear that,” he was relieved. “You seemed to be having very bad
was embarrassed. “Very bad,” she agreed, softly, wondering if they were a portent
of something to come.
take no mind of them,” the older man responded, “A dream’s only a dream.”
Cindy expected, when she walked through the gate into the airport, Ann was
right there waiting for her. She was at the front of the crowd, scanning the
passengers closely, looking for Cindy. What would Cindy do without her sister?
Whenever hard times came, Ann was always there. All at once, she spotted Cindy,
started waving and the two of them ran to each other and hugged.
you so much for being here,” Cindy murmured. “You’re the best possible sister
anyone could want.”
know I am,” said Ann, smiling, “and so are you.”
so relieved to see you,” Cindy said, surprised at how shaken she felt.
relieved as well,” Ann said. “And not only me, everyone, but everyone is
thrilled that you’ve come to your senses and are coming home.”
shivered a moment. Ann could not shake the idea that the way Cindy had lived
since Clint’s death, as a detective in the Caribbean had been a crazy thing to
do. And Cindy couldn’t convince her sister otherwise, no matter how much good
Cindy had accomplished.
to my senses?” Cindy felt hurt.
hugged her again quickly. “I didn’t mean anything by that,” she backtracked. “Don’t
get offended. I’m too happy to see you.”
not offended,” said Cindy, deciding to let it go. And in truth, she wasn’t
offended, just very sad.
have a car waiting for us,” Ann continued in a chirpy tone as they followed the
crowd to baggage claim to pick up Cindy’s luggage. “When you told me you were
returning, I opened the house, filled the cupboards with food, bought your
favorite treats. And, I had the yard cleared of old crusty, autumn leaves.” Ann
seemed thrilled to be filling Cindy in.
you,” Cindy murmured. She had no idea what she could do for Ann in return.
yous are not necessary,” Ann responded as they got to baggage claim. “I always
knew this day would come. I can’t tell you how long I’ve been waiting for it.”
felt her body tighten. Did Ann expect that Cindy was coming home for good?
Frank and I have been waiting for you to come back alone, and start your life
all over again,” Ann continued. “We both knew it would happen one day.”
two must never have thought much of me,” Cindy murmured, as the luggage started
rolling in. Cindy’s suitcases came up right away and Ann pulled them off the
at all,” said Ann, “Frank and I both love and adore you. We respect you Cindy.
You’ve been on a journey that you obviously had to go through. But sooner or
later, we both felt that your nightmare would come to an end.”
was dumbstruck. “Working as a detective in the Caribbean hasn’t exactly been a
nightmare,” she replied, feeling the need to defend herself again.
been a nightmare for me,” Ann replied as the suitcases came rolling in.
sorry about that,” said Cindy as they each took one suitcase and started
walking together out of the airport, into the late autumn afternoon.
here now, that’s all that matters,” said Ann as she waved to the car that she
had waiting, to come and drive them home.
the car left the airport and drove along the highway to Oyster Bay, Long
Island, Cindy felt as though she were being transported backwards in time. She’d
never put the home she and Clint had shared on the market, though she’d thought
about it many times. Why was she keeping it, she’d wondered? Could she ever
bring Mattheus here? Probably not. Yet, there had always been something
comforting about knowing that the beautiful cottage, near the water would
always be there waiting for her. It was a place she could return to and never
lose the wonderful memories of the time she’d shared with Clint. It truly hadn’t
occurred to Cindy that one day, she would be coming back here possibly to live,
the car sped along, Ann reached out and took Cindy’s hand. “I’ve told lots of
people that you’re returning,” she said. “Everyone’s so excited to see you
was startled by the announcement. “Who?”
told the old friends you and Clint had. And, also, Clint’s sister heard that
you’re returning and wants to see you again, too.”
swallowed hard. That was a bit too much for now. She had no desire to see Clint’s
family again, or remember all the pain they’d put her through.
going a bit far,” she said to Ann, not wanting to hurt her feelings after all
her efforts to make Cindy happy. “Marge couldn’t stand me, ever. What in the
world does she want with me know?”
heard that things have changed for her,” Ann continued. “She and Ralph are
divorced and she’s dating an old flame who recently became available.”
had really done her homework. Cindy was surprised that she knew so much about
really have no desire to see Marge at all,” said Cindy abruptly.
now, Cindy, it’s good to forgive,” Ann chided her softly. “You don’t want her
holding grudges against you, dwelling on you negatively, when you two live only
a few blocks away.”
don’t live anywhere right now, Ann,” Cindy corrected her.
right now you live here. And Marge’s practically your neighbor.”
cringed. In her mind, she was only back here visiting, no matter what Ann had
told everyone. And she agreed that it was good to forgive, but was still
stinging inside from what had happened with Mattheus. There was plenty of hurt
to get over with him, she didn’t need old wounds from the past coming up for
her to deal with now.
arranged a little welcome party for you,” Ann barreled right along, “there’ll
be so many people here it won’t matter if Marge is somewhere among the crowd. I
think she wants to mend fences badly,” Ann smiled.
shook her head slowly. “It’s not as if I’m staying here forever,” she proclaimed.
patted her hand. “Of course I realize that nothing is forever. But you’re here
now and you told me that you have no plans to return to the Caribbean for a
long, long time. You said that era’s over.”
gulped. She had said that to Ann. She’d been in the throes of shock about
Mattheus. And, it was still true, she had no plans to return to the Caribbean
immediately, but she also had no plans to settle here, either. Cindy had no
idea what era she was in now. This was simply a place for her to land when she
felt too tossed about by life’s incessant surprises - when it was too hard for
her to go on.
take one step and then another,” Ann said soothingly. Ann always knew how to
take the edge off for Cindy, to bring her back to center. “Who knows what’s
waiting? It could be something wonderful,” Ann smiled, obviously so happy to
have Cindy back home.
leaned over and hugged her sister. “It’s wonderful enough being here with you,”
she said. Cindy was finished with looking for something or someone to rescue
her anymore. She’d been through too much, had learned too many lessons, grown
wiser. She’d watched events and people twist and turn into all kinds of
unexpected configurations. What she really hoped for now was to find her own
center of gravity, really feel the earth beneath her feet, and let life itself
show her how to go forward.
the welcome home party is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon,” Ann chirped as the
car turned the corner and drove up the familiar tree lined street to the end,
where the cottage she and Clint had shared, waited for Cindy unconditionally.