Read Death by Proposal Online

Authors: Jaden Skye

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Mystery, #Women Sleuths, #Romance, #Romantic Suspense, #Mystery & Suspense, #Suspense

Death by Proposal

D E A T H   B Y   P R O P O S A L

 

(book #7 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, a
#1 Bestseller, 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
© 2013 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

 

 

 

Standing
atop the jagged cliff, Clay watched the setting sun throw a flaming blanket of
color over the ocean below. It was hard to believe that this moment had
actually come. Slowly, he turned to Kate as the breeze rippled across her
beautiful face. They were here, together, at last. He stood without moving,
taking it all in. Dreams did come true. He’d always believed it, but it had never
happened for him until now.

As
the breezes blew, Kate raised her hands, pushing her ash blonde hair off her
face. Her eyes shone as they looked into his.

“We’re
better together than I ever imagined,” Clay murmured.

Kate
smiled back.

Dressed
in a light blue, filmy dress, slender and sensuous, Kate was more wondrous than
Clay had ever dreamt. He gazed at her now, entranced. This was the moment he’d
always been waiting for. He couldn’t let it pass.

Kate’s
mouth opened slightly, as if about to respond, when suddenly, he fell to his
knees and took out the small box he had in his jacket pocket.

Kate
looked stunned.

“Kate,
Kate,” he said, “this is forever. I knew it the first time we connected. I knew
it right away.”

A
look of puzzlement flitted across her perfectly sculpted face. Each moment with
her was different, her moods flowed into one another like the clouds drifting
above. She could be elegant, nurturing, mischievous, inviting.

Clay’s
mind was spinning as he looked straight at her. He opened the small box in his
hand and stretched it towards her. In it was an incredible three carat diamond
engagement ring.

“Kate,
when I came down here I wasn’t sure, but now I am positive. You are the woman I’ve
been waiting for, searching for, praying for. I don’t know what I did to
deserve you, but I do know that I want us to be together forever.”

Her
face seemed to turn ashen as he spoke. She was shocked, of course. He was as
well. She hadn’t expected it. Neither had he.

 “Marry
me, Kate! Marry me!. I am only half a person without you. Whatever I did,
wherever I went, I always felt something missing. Now I know, it was you. As
soon as we touched, I became whole.”

The
sun glistened more intensely off the water, reflecting its hues back upon them.
Clay wasn’t sure why Kate was silent; but he knew she felt the way he did. Why
waste another moment waiting when the life they would have together as man and
wife stretched out before them?

“Marry
me, Kate!” his voice grew louder, over the sound of the surf hitting the rocks.

Kate
lifted her hands lifted swiftly, like little birds, covering her face. It was
an odd reaction, but she was unusual. That was exactly what he loved about her,
he never knew what to expect.

“Promise
me, Kate that we’ll be together forever.”

Was
she crying from the sudden emotion? Was she afraid to face the raw love in his
eyes?

“Kate,
Kate, answer me!” his voice called out by itself.

Suddenly
she took her hands off her face, her eyes were shining.

“Clay,
Clay,” she could barely breathe.

Clay
smiled. He could see the love in her eyes. The hope. The expectation. He could
see that she was about to say yes.

 

CHAPTER
1

 

 

 

The New Beaupres Hotel in Aruba was a
perfect choice. Located a few steps from the ocean, on the white sandy shores,
surrounded by palm trees, exquisitely designed to blend into the Islands
topography, it was every honeymooner’s dream. Cindy and Mattheus walked into
the glittering dining room that was filled with people dressed in full evening
array. Everyone was happily seated at tables, chatting, laughing or dancing on
the dance floor in the center of the room. Of course Cindy and Mattheus weren’t
on their honeymoon, but it almost felt as if they were.

Cindy tossed her long hair back over her
shoulders and looked up at Mattheus with the excitement she’d felt when they’d
first met. He looked particularly handsome tonight, in his dark suit and blue silk
shirt. With his arm around her waist, he guided her gently to their table. They’d
planned this vacation for several weeks and it was hard to believe that the
time had come. This was finally their time alone together, a time to unwind,
bond, make new choices. No interruptions allowed. Cindy smiled realizing that
Mattheus’s promise had become a reality. Clearly, this was as important to him
as it was to her. He had taken charge of all the arrangements, wanting to
surprise and please Cindy in every way. It had been lovely letting him take
over, feeling his strength and commitment, waiting to see what was coming next.

The two of them were guided to their
table by a hostess. When they got there, Mattheus pulled out Cindy’s chair. It
had been such a long time since he’d done that and Cindy had missed it.  It
felt wonderful to have the old Mattheus back. She looked at him across the
table. His, handsome craggy, suntanned face relaxed and smiled at her, enjoying
her delight.

Cindy reached out her hands, and he took
them. This place was so magical, she couldn’t help remember being with Clint on
their honeymoon down in the Caribbean as well. They’d also held hands in the
dining room. They’d also felt relieved to finally be alone together, away from
the pressures of family and friends, after preparing for the wedding,

Cindy sighed lightly and brushed the
memories aside. Enough time had passed. She was ready to start again now. Oddly
enough, even though she and Mattheus had been working together awhile and had
already been lovers, she felt as though they were starting fresh tonight.

“This is long overdue,” Mattheus said
softly, as Cindy felt a chill. “I don’t know why I waited so long to do this. I
must have been on a different planet.”

“Preoccupied,” said Cindy, “both of us.
We couldn’t help it.”

Mattheus relaxed. “It’s good to hear you
say that.”

“I’m just happy to be here with you,”
Cindy answered without hesitation. “It feels as though we’re starting new.”

“We are,” Mattheus liked that. “We’ve
been through a lot, but we’ve learned from it, and what’s past is behind us
now.”

Cindy held his hands tighter. It was
both scary and wonderful to realize that the past could be over, that it was
possible to start anew. She looked around in the dining room which was filled
to the brim mostly with couples and a few families and singles sprinkled here
and there. The place was lit with bronze chandeliers and lovely breezes blew in
from the ocean. Everywhere you looked you felt a sense of exhilaration and anticipation.
Cindy smiled. It had been such a long while since she had let herself unwind
and take a vacation. She hadn’t really, since Clint had died.

As she looked around, Cindy noticed the
table next to theirs. A startlingly beautiful, young couple sat there, looking
at each other. The young woman, who had ash blonde hair, wore an incredibly
beautiful amber bracelet that captured Cindy’s attention.  

“Look at that bracelet,” Cindy said to
Mattheus.

He looked over. “The bracelet is
beautiful and so is she,” Mattheus said softly, “but nothing here is a match
for you.”

Cindy smiled, “Thank you.”

“My pleasure,” said Mattheus as the
waiter approached and they ordered. When the waiter left, Mattheus pulled his
chair back, “let’s dance,” he said, mischievously.

Cindy was astonished.  She loved to
dance, but they’d almost never danced together.

Mattheus laughed at her surprise. “I’m
not all that bad a dancer.”

“Who said you were?” Cindy grinned. Mattheus
was going all out, doing whatever he could, to make her feel special. “Let’s
go.”

They stepped onto the dance floor and as
his arms circled her, Cindy felt transported to a place she’d always wanted to
be, connected, united, wanted. She put her head on his shoulder, he put his
head over hers and they circled the floor as though they’d been dancing
together their whole lives.

“You never told me you could dance like
this,” Cindy whispered, delighted.

“I haven’t you told you lots of things
about me,” Mattheus played with her.

“I can’t wait to hear,” said Cindy.

“Everything in its time,” Mattheus ran
his hand through her hair. “If I tell you too much, it could spoil things. I
don’t want to lose you again.”

Cindy lifted her head and looked in his
eyes. “Nothing is going to spoil things again,” she said, her eyes teary.

“You never know,” said Mattheus.

“I do know,” Cindy said.

“Well, I like that,” he replied.

After dancing for what seemed like hours,
Mattheus led her back to the table where their dinner sat waiting for them.

“We can do this, Cindy,” Mattheus said
as they sat down.

“Do what?”

“Everything,” he said, “we can dance, we
can work, we can play, we can love.”

This was the first time he had actually
said the word love. It was both frightening and beautiful.

“Let’s eat,” Mattheus said, softly then.
“There’s nothing to be afraid of.”

Cindy picked up her water glass and as
she did, her attention couldn’t help being drawn to the table besides theirs
again. A young man and woman suddenly came over to the table, surprised to see
the couple there. The young man who arrived was agitated.  The ash blonde woman
was stunned to see him. The boyfriend who’d been at the table had no idea what
was going on.

There was such sudden intensity at the
table that Cindy couldn’t but help watch. After greetings and introductions,
the new couple seemed to invite themselves to sit down. Cindy thought about how
lovely it was to meet old friends on vacation. It seemed as if many people came
to this hotel regularly, it was a popular watering spot. Cindy sat transfixed
watching the four of them.

“No snooping,” Mattheus laughed.

“I can’t help it,” said Cindy, “it’s
fun.” Of course both Cindy and Mattheus always had to be incredibly vigilant
about what went on around them. It was part of the business, an occupational
hazard for private detectives. It wasn’t so easy to let go of that vigilance
now.

Cindy smiled. “I’m not snooping, just
noticing,” she went on. “It’s nice to run into people you know by surprise down
here.”

“Yeah, everything is nice,” said
Mattheus, “but right now, it’s just you and me. We don’t want to run into
anyone. We don’t want to care about what’s happening anywhere else. Not now.”

Cindy felt sobered. Obviously, Mattheus
had turned a corner. Now that his wife’s disappearance was solved and he knew that
she was dead, he could put the past to rest. For the first time he was able to
focus his attention fully on Cindy. This was new for her. Cindy wasn’t used to
it.

“I haven’t been this happy in a long
time,” Mattheus went on, leaning towards her. “I haven’t felt this relaxed.”

“Me, too,” said Cindy, fully meaning it,
thrilled that she and Mattheus could come together again in this way, could
provide each other the warmth and connection they once had. The spark between
them wasn’t gone. In fact, it seemed possible that it would even grow stronger,
and that a long road together stretched out before them.

As she and Mattheus talked, Cindy
noticed the young woman with the ash blonde hair look over at them
beseechingly. What was she thinking?  Was she wishing that she, too, could be
alone with her boyfriend?   

Cindy smiled at her briefly and she
smiled back - two summer guests at the same hotel, two young women, with a man
they loved. The young woman had a lovely smile, though there was edge of
sadness about it. Cindy thought she probably felt cornered by the other couple.
Cindy thought of all the paths that criss crossed in the world, people who meet
briefly and parted, people who meet again accidentally, needing to say
something more to each other. She thought of people who longed to meet and
connect and somehow couldn’t. She also thought of Clint who she’d loved deeply,
and was killed on their honeymoon. They’d only been allotted a short span of
time together. Was she really being given a second chance with Mattheus now? It
certainly felt that way. Would she be able to take it? She wanted to, she knew it
was time to move on and love again.

Mattheus put his warm hands over hers, “Cindy,
stop watching them,” he laughed. “Every table here has some kind of story. We’re
on vacation now.”

Cindy turned her attention fully back to
Mattheus. “You’re right, you’re right,” she quickly agreed. “But, remember, you’re
the one who taught me how to tune into everything and be a great detective.”

“Tune into me now,” said Mattheus. “It’s
my turn. It’s our time.”

*

After
dinner, when Cindy went back to her room with Mattheus, she stopped at the
entrance, amazed.  The room had been strewn with roses and softly lit candles. Romantic
music was playing and the doors to the patio were open, so she could see the
full moon that hung in the sky.

Cindy
took a deep breath as tears filled her eyes and she took a step in.

“What
is all this for?” she murmured.

In
response, Mattheus pulled her to him and they kissed, a long, lingering kiss.

“You’ve
got to know how much you mean to me,” Mattheus said as they slowly pulled
apart.

 “Tell
me what it is you need from me,” Mattheus continued. “I want this vacation to
be perfect.”

“It
is perfect,” said Cindy, “just as it is.”

“But
tell me,” he continued, “I need to know.”

Cindy
felt strange. This was unlike Mattheus.

He
turned away for a second and made the music louder. Then he took her back into
his arms.

“I
realize that I never knew what she needed,” Mattheus murmured slowly.

He
was talking about his ex-wife. Since he’d discovered how she’d lied and
cheated, Mattheus had refused to say her name.

“I
thought I knew what she needed, but I was wrong,” he continued.  I don’t know
if it would have made a difference, but I never really asked her.”

Mattheus
was trying to repair what had happened, Cindy realized. This time he was
determined not to let any detail go by.

“Who
you are is what is important to me,” Cindy answered, “not your giving me
everything I need.”

Mattheus
listened intently, then slowly guided Cindy over to the luxurious King size
bed, covered with a satin bedspread over which roses were strewn.

“What
I need is for you to be who you are, to talk to me truthfully,” Cindy added as
they approached.

“That’s
a tall order,” Mattheus smiled.

“It’s
an easy order,” Cindy replied, as they eased down onto the edge of the bed. “Just
be yourself. That’s what’s wonderful.”

“You’re
saying that I’m wonderful?” Mattheus’s eyes creased into a warm smile.

“Yes,
I am,” Cindy replied. “More than wonderful.”

Mattheus
took it in and then engulfed her in another long kiss.

As
they kissed, the fleeting image of the young ash blonde woman flickered before Cindy’s
mind. Somehow she reminded Cindy of herself years ago. Was she also having a
beautiful night? Did her boyfriend want to give her everything she needed or
was there struggle between them? Cindy thought of all the nights she had
struggled with relationships. It had never been easy for her, things had never
flowed this way before. There had always been unwanted surprises.

“What
are you thinking?” Mattheus asked. He was always too sensitive to Cindy’s
feelings, could always tell when she was drifting away.

Cindy
couldn’t tell him she was thinking of the young woman at the table next to
theirs. He would be insulted. And he had a right to be. All her thoughts should
be focused on him and their beautiful time together now.

“I’m
thinking of how you’ve planned so many wonderful touches,” said Cindy, “the
rose petals, the candles, the beautiful music.”

“No
you’re not,” Mattheus laughed. “I know when you’re here with me and when you’re
far away.”

“I’m
not far away, Mattheus,” Cindy smiled, pulling him closer.

“Then,
prove it to me,” he said, his arms clasped tightly around her, pulling her back
down with him onto the bed.

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