Authors: Jaden Skye
Jaden Skye is author of the #1
Bestselling CARIBBEAN MURDER series, which includes 14 books (and counting).
The first book in the series, DEATH BY HONEYMOON, a #1 Bestseller, is now
available as a
FREE download on Amazon
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.
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
by Jaden Skye
CARIBBEAN MURDER SERIES
DEATH BY HONEYMOON (Book
BY DIVORCE (Book #2)
BY MARRIAGE (Book #3)
BY DESIRE (Book #4)
BY DECEIT (Book #5)
BY JEALOUSY (Book #6)
BY PROPOSAL (Book #7)
DEATH BY OBSESSION (Book #8)
DEATH BY DEVOTION (Book #9)
DEATH BY BETRAYAL (Book #10)
DEATH BY REQUEST (Book #11)
DEATH BY ENGAGEMENT (Book #12)
DEATH BY SEDUCTION (Book #13)
DEATH BY TEMPTATION (Book #14)
THE TOM’S RIVER SAGA
A PERFECT STRANGER (Book #1)
© 2015 by Jaden Skye
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.
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.
was hard for Cindy to believe that she and Mattheus were sitting on a plane
again, close to one another, streaming across the azure sky. Mattheus had taken
control this time and arranged the trip completely. It was a vacation for them
in St. Lucia—the honeymoon capital of the world.
leave it all to me,” Mattheus had pleaded after the last case they were on had
finally come to an end. “Trust me, Cindy.”
wondered if she could. She was hesitant about future plans.
going to make this trip perfect for us, I promise,” Mattheus had insisted. “I
know what you like, I know what we need.”
glad you know, Mattheus,” Cindy had murmured, “because I’m not exactly sure.”
interrupted then, not really listening to what she said. “I know that we’re
finally being granted this time together,” he insisted.
thought it was an odd way of putting it. “Being granted the time?”
Mattheus had repeated. “We’ve tried to get away alone together before and a
thousand things always get in the way. All of a sudden the field is clear now.
You’re ready, I’m ready. Let’s not miss this time together.”
course there was no way Cindy was going to tell Mattheus that she was not at all
sure she was truly ready. Not yet anyway. Things had been so difficult between
them; if there was even the least little chance that they could find a way back
to one another, this was it. Cindy didn’t want to squash the possibility before
it ever had a chance.
need time, Cindy,” Mattheus had insisted. “We have it now. In fact, as luck
would have it, I know exactly where we should go. Destiny could be calling!”
laughed. “Destiny?” Was this truly Mattheus speaking? Destiny wasn’t something
he’d ever believed in. Not so far as Cindy could tell.
recently heard from Rod, a good friend back in the States,” Mattheus continued.
“He and I used to be best buds, but we lost touch after I settled in the
Caribbean. He didn’t want me to go. Anyway, all of a sudden Rod contacted me
again to invite me to his daughter Kara’s wedding. He was making a big shindig
in the States and wanted the old gang to be together again. God, I remember
when Kara was just born.”
was surprised. “You never mentioned anything about the wedding to me,” she
was no reason to,” Mattheus continued, “I had no intention of going. There was
too much going on down here.”
had wondered why Mattheus was telling her about this now.
Mattheus answered Cindy’s unasked question, “I sent a wedding gift to Kara and
Rod just called to thank me. Then he said that she and her new husband were
honeymooning down in St. Lucia’s. In fact, they’re probably there now.”
laughed. “That’s what I said to myself when Rod mentioned it. Then Rod went on
about how fabulous it is in St. Lucia. It’s one of the main destinations for
honeymoons and also magnificent, magical, romantic weddings. And get this—you
can actually get a marriage license there in one day. It’s called Same Day
froze. Was Mattheus actually thinking of going down to Lucia and getting
married secretly, fast?
the perfect next step for us, Cindy.” Mattheus’s eyes shone.
married down there the day we get there?” Cindy was horrified. “Just the two of
had laughed. “Not the same day we arrive,” he’d murmured. “But there’s all
kinds of possibilities once we’re there.”
Cindy’d stood up tall. “I’m not ready to elope. I don’t want to elope!”
know, I know,” he quieted her. “Just let’s go down there and enjoy ourselves.
It’s lush, it’s gorgeous, there are rain forests, mountains, a live volcano,
and all kinds of beaches including some with black sand.”
Cindy was impressed. Mattheus knew that Cindy had always wanted to visit
beaches with black sand.
sulfur springs, great diving, wonderful night life,” he went on, “and delicious
food. Who knows how we’ll feel once we’re there?”
Mattheus, stop!” Cindy had put her hand over his mouth.
caught her hand, grabbed it, and kissed it hard. “If we’re going to give
ourselves time, let’s do it at a honeymoon paradise. Let’s do it where we have
a chance to go further, take another step.”
trust me on this one,” Mattheus insisted. “I’ll plan the details from top to
bottom. You won’t have to do a thing.”
Cindy had finally murmured. “You plan it and I’ll go along for the ride.”
had smiled gratefully. “It will be more than a ride, Cindy, I promise.” His
voice dropped. “It will be everything the both of us having been wanting for a
long time. It will practically be a honeymoon of our own.”
wanted to say something in return, but her voice caught in her throat. The
memory of her honeymoon with Clint suddenly rose in her mind. She thought of
him disappearing while surfing in Barbados. She remembered running out on the
beach, calling for him, and receiving no reply. Cindy had refused to believe it
was an accident and had searched relentlessly for Clint’s killer. And found
him. It had been the start of a whole new life for her.
seemed to feel the swift change in Cindy’s mood. “This won’t be anything like
your honeymoon with Clint,” he insisted. “That was a nightmare, not a
couldn’t help but agree.
time on St. Lucia will be a real honeymoon,” Mattheus continued fervently, “the
first one you’ve ever had.”
smiled. Last time, with Clint, she’d had the wedding without the honeymoon.
Now, with Mattheus, she would have the honeymoon without being married.
take this slow, Mattheus,” Cindy urged. “It’s a vacation, that’s all.”
give me a day and I’ll make all the arrangements.” Mattheus was obviously
thrilled that Cindy even agreed to go.
were about half an hour from landing now and the flight was on time.
skies up ahead on the enchanted island of St. Lucia,” the voice of the pilot
came over the loudspeaker. “As we fly over the rain forest, we’ve got warm
weather for you and sunshine. A perfect day to arrive in St. Lucia.”
leaned closer to Cindy and put his arm around her. “Almost there,” he
whispered. “I’ve booked a gorgeous hotel, right on the water. The number one
spot for honeymooners.”
felt at ease. This was the first time Mattheus had taken complete charge and it
felt good letting him do so. She was more tired than she realized and deeply
needed to unwind. She had taken on too many cases in a row and there had been
too much volatility in her relationship with Mattheus as well. It had taken a
toll. Also, these days the loss of her sister, Ann, was hitting Cindy hard as
well. She missed checking in with Ann regularly, as she used to do. She longed
to hear her sister’s reassuring voice and practical guidance on the other end
of the phone. But Cindy knew it took time to become adjusted to a loss of this
we’re settled on the island we’ll make a list of all the wonderful things to
do,” Mattheus went on. “It’ll be completely up to you. I want you to be really
felt grateful. It seemed as though Mattheus was dead set on making their
relationship right this time, doing everything he could to please her. Cindy
didn’t want him to walk on eggshells, though. She felt like telling him that he
didn’t need to work so hard at it. They just had to be themselves with each other,
natural, relaxed, and most of all, honest. Cindy wanted to say that what she
loved most about him was just who he was when he wasn’t running away.
love you so much, Cindy,” Mattheus murmured then, his tone half garbled.
love you, too, Mattheus,” Cindy whispered back, even though she’d promised
herself she’d play it cool, give it lots of time, be careful before she said
know it, I know it,” Mattheus replied. “We can’t really stay away from each
other. We belong together. It’s our destiny.”
Cindy and Mattheus finally got out of the airport and into a taxi, she felt as
if the pilot was right. She’d been transported to a magical world. As they
drove along, Cindy saw both sides of the highway glowing with the incredible
colors of the natural foliage there. As the taxi turned up into the lush
mountains, the exotic beauty of the landscape took Cindy’s breath away.
wildlife roaming in these mountains,” Mattheus mentioned, as they drove along.
shivered. It was thrilling to be close to wildlife living freely in their
island is only twenty-seven miles long,” Mattheus continued, “and it has
nineteen thousand acres of rain forest along with a steaming, sulfur volcano.
Can you believe it?”
awesome,” Cindy murmured, grateful to be part of it.
come from all over to bathe in the sulfur springs and relax on the fantastic
beaches. We’re lucky to be here,” Mattheus went on.
wonderful,” Cindy agreed. She had never seen Mattheus so taken by his
surroundings. Yet, this was the first time she and Mattheus had gone to an
island without a case to work on. Mattheus finally had the opportunity to truly
relish where he was now. And Cindy felt she would finally have the opportunity
to learn more about him now as well.
can go diving, horseback riding, dancing, hiking, anything you like,” Mattheus
you,” Cindy whispered. What she actually wanted though, was just to be with him
without all the demands and interruptions they’d always had to contend with.
“It will be great having no plans at all,” she went on. “Let’s just be together
and see what the moment brings.”
you want,” Mattheus repeated, a little strain creeping into his tone.
both of us want,” Cindy corrected him. She didn’t want Mattheus feeling that
this trip was a way for him to make up for the breakup they’d just been
put her hand on his gently. “Whatever trouble has happened between us is over
now. We’re here together, that’s what counts.”
held her hand in his. “I’m grateful for that, Cindy, I really am.”
can just start again from where we are now,” she continued.
that possible?” Mattheus seemed taken aback.
wouldn’t it be?” Cindy felt surprised. “Why would we even be here if it
we just forget everything’s that’s happened?” Mattheus asked. “Don’t we have to
learn something from what we’ve been through?”
learned we still want to be together,” Cindy answered softly.
for sure, anyway,” Mattheus replied, pulling her closer to him. “And we’ve
learned we can’t be magnets for trouble our entire life long.”
wondered if he was referring to her jumping into one case after another. Or,
was it possible he might be sensing something lurking up ahead?