Read Honeymoon Online

Authors: James Patterson,Howard Roughan

Tags: #Fiction, #General, #detective, #Mystery & Detective, #mystery, #Suspense, #Police Procedural, #Fiction - Mystery, #Mystery fiction, #Government investigators, #Mystery & Detective - Police Procedural, #Suspense & Thriller, #Investment bankers, #Witnesses, #Women interior decorators, #Investment bankers - Crimes against


BOOK: Honeymoon

date. You could come to my office?"


"No, that's okay. Please, come inside."


Nora started toward the house. I followed. So far, so


good. I wondered if she was a good dancer. She certainly


was a good


"Vanilla hazelnut?" I asked.


She looked back over her shoulder. "Excuse me?"


I motioned toward the ground coffee peeking out from


the grocery bag. "Though I recently came across some of


those newfangled crème brûlée beans, which smell




"No, it's vanilla hazelnut," she said. "I'm impressed."


"I would've preferred to have been blessed with a ninety-


mile-an-hour fastball. Instead, I got a heightened sense of




"Better than nothing."


"Ah, you're an optimist," I said.


"Not these days."


I smacked my forehead. "Damn. That was dumb of me


to say. I'm really sorry."


"It's okay," she said, and almost smiled.


We walked up the front steps and went inside the house.


The foyer was a lot bigger than my apartment. The chande-


lier over our head was at least a year's salary. The Oriental


rugs, the Chinese vases. Jeez, what a spread.


"The kitchen's this way," she said, leading me around a


corner. When we got there, it too was bigger than my apart-


ment. She pointed to the granite slab of counter next to the


refrigerator. "You can put the groceries there. Thanks."


I placed the bag down and started to empty it.


"You don't have to do that."


"It's the least I can do after that optimist comment."


"Really, it's okay." She walked over to me and picked up


the bag of vanilla hazelnut. "Can I offer you a cup?"




I made sure it was nothing but small talk while the pot


brewed. I didn't want to do too much too fast -- the risk


being that
might ask too many questions. As it was, I fig-


ured a couple were already headed my way.


"You know what I don't understand?" she said a few


minutes later. We were sitting at the kitchen table, coffee


mugs in hand. "Connor had plenty of money and no ex-


wife or kids. Why would he bother with life insurance?"


"That's a
question. I think the answer lies in how


this policy originated. You see, Mr. Brown didn't come to us.


We went to him. Or rather, his company."


"I'm not sure I follow."


"Something Centennial One is doing more and more of


is workers' compensation policies. As a way of enticing


companies to insure with us, we offer the top people free


term life insurance."


"That's a pretty nice perk."


"Yeah, it seems to seal the deal a lot for us."


"How much did you say Connor's policy was for?"


As if she'd forgotten.


"One point nine million," I said. "That's the maximum


for his size company."


Her brow furrowed. "He really listed me as the sole ben-




"Yes, he really did."


"When was this?"


"You mean, when was the policy administered?"


She nodded.


"Fairly recently, it turns out. Five months ago."


"I suppose that would explain it. Though we'd been to-


gether at that point for only a short time."


I smiled. "He obviously had a good feeling about you


from the start."


She tried to smile back, but the tears coming down her


cheeks wouldn't let her. She began wiping them away while


apologizing. I assured her that it was more than okay, that I


understood. Actually the scene was kind of touching.


she's very good.


"Connor had already given me so much, and now


She wiped away another tear. "And what I wouldn't give to


have him back."


Nora took a long sip of her coffee. I did the same.


"So, what's supposed to happen? I assume I've got to


sign some stuff before the payout is made, right?"


I leaned forward a bit on the table and gripped my mug


with both hands. "Well, you see, that's why I'm here, Ms.


Sinclair. There's a little bit of a problem."



Chapter 31


like an insurance man, but he didn't


like one to Nora.


For starters, she noticed that he wasn't that bad a dresser.


The tie matched the suit, and the suit had actually been in


style sometime during this decade.


Another thing was that he had a nice personality. The


few insurance guys she'd met before seemed to have about


as much charisma as a cardboard box. In fact, all things


considered, Craig Reynolds was an attractive man. Nicely


put together. He also drove a pretty good car. Then again,


thought Nora, this was Briarcliff Manor, not the East Bronx.


To manage the field office for a big insurance company in


this neck of the woods, you'd kind of have to look the part.


Still, she wasn't about to let her guard down.


She'd been watching Craig Reynolds carefully and making


mental notes -- from the moment he first showed up to


when he wrapped his hands around his coffee mug and an-


nounced that there was "a little bit of a problem" with Con-


nor's policy.


"What sort of problem?" she asked.


"Ultimately, I don't think it will be much of one at all.


The thing is, because of Mr. Brown's relatively young age,


they've decided to investigate the claim."




"The home office back in Chicago. They basically call


the shots."


"You don't have any say in the matter?"


"Not too much in this case. As I mentioned, Mr. Brown's


policy originated in our corporate division, which is run


from the home office. Who services it, however, is based on


proximity to the client. Meaning, if it wasn't for the pending


investigation, I'd be the one handling everything."


"So if you're not, who is?"


"I haven't been told yet, but if I had to guess, it's going to


be a man by the name of John O'Hara."


"Do you know him?"


"Only by reputation."






"When you said that, you frowned a little."


"No, it's no big deal. Supposedly, O'Hara's a hard-ass --


pardon my language -- but that's par for the course with an


insurance investigator. From what I can tell, this should be


a routine inquiry."


As Craig Reynolds reached for his coffee again, Nora


made another mental note: no wedding band.


"How do you like the vanilla hazelnut?" she asked.


"Tastes even better than it smells."


She sat back in her chair. Having already turned off her


tears, she gave Craig Reynolds a pleasant smile. He came


across as caring and thoughtful. Better yet, she noticed that


when he smiled back at her, his cheeks produced a cute pair


of dimples.
Too bad he doesn't have any money.


Not that Nora was complaining. From where she was


sitting, Craig Reynolds the insurance man was worth $1.9


million. It was a windfall she wasn't about to turn down. The


only wrinkle was the investigation. Routine as it sounded, it


made her nervous.


But not overly so. She had a very good plan, and it was


made to hold up to scrutiny. By the police, by the coroner's


office, by the likes of anyone or anything that might stand


in her way. And that certainly included an insurance inves-




Just the same, after Craig Reynolds left the house that af-


ternoon, she decided it might be a good idea to make herself


scarce for the next few days. She was supposed to see Jeffrey


that weekend anyway. Maybe she'd go up a day early and


surprise him.


He was, after all, her husband.



Chapter 32


THE NEXT MORNING, a Friday, Nora walked out of the


house in Westchester and popped open the trunk of her


Benz convertible parked in front. In went her suitcase. The


weatherman on TV had promised nothing but blue skies


and sun with the temperature reaching a high of eighty. A


"top-down day" if there ever was one.


Nora pressed the button on her keyless remote and


watched as the roof of the car began to recede quietly. That's


when another car caught her eye.
What the hell?


Out on Central Drive, parked under towering maples


and oaks, was the same BMW as the day before. And sitting


in the front with his sunglasses on was the insurance man.


Craig Reynolds.


What's he doing back here?
One sure way to find out. Nora started to walk straight



for his car. She thought he'd been so friendly when they first


met. But now, this… watching her from his car. It was a


little creepy. Or worse, a little suspicious. Which was why


she cautioned herself not to overreact.


Craig saw her coming and promptly hopped out of his


Beemer. He began walking toward her in his tan summer-


weight suit. He gave her a friendly wave.


They met halfway.


Nora tilted her head and smiled. "If I didn't know any


better, I'd say you were spying."


"If that's the case, I probably should've chosen a better


hiding place, huh?" He smiled back. "My apologies -- it's


not what it looks like. Actually, you can blame the Mets for




"An entire baseball team?"


"Yes, including the general manager. I was about to pull


into your driveway when the Fan went to a commercial


break, saying the club was about to make a big trade with


Houston. So I pulled over to listen."


She gave him a blank look. "The Fan?"


"It's an all-sports radio station."


"I see. So you weren't spying?"


"Nope. I'm no James Bond. Just a long-suffering Mets


season-ticket holder."


Nora nodded. She figured either Craig Reynolds was


telling the truth or he was a born liar. "What were you com-


ing to see me about?" she asked.


"Good news, actually. John O'Hara, that guy I told you


about from the home office, has definitely been placed in


charge of the investigation into Mr. Brown's death."


"I thought that wasn't supposed to be such good news."


"No, but
part is. I talked to him early this morning


and he said he thought there wouldn't be any problems."


"That is good."


"Better yet, I got him to fast-track the thing. He gave me


his hard-line spiel about not giving special treatment, but I


asked him to do it since the Westchester office has been


such a rainmaker for the company. Anyway, I just thought


you'd want to know."


"I appreciate it, Mr. Reynolds. It's a nice surprise."


"Please, call me Craig."


"In that case, call me Nora."


"Nora it is." He glanced over her shoulder at the red con-


vertible in the driveway, the trunk still up. "Taking a trip?"


"Yes, as a matter of fact."


"Anywhere interesting?"


"That depends on your opinion of south Florida."


"As they say, it's a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want


to vote there."


She chuckled. "I'll have to use that one on my client in


Palm Beach. Or maybe not."


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