Authors: Debbie Viguie
Thou Art With Me
Other Books by Debbie Viguié
The Psalm 23 Mysteries
The Lord is My Shepherd
I Shall Not Want
Lie Down in Green Pastures
Beside Still Waters
Restoreth My Soul
In the Paths of Righteousness
For His Name’s Sake
Walk Through the Valley
The Shadow of Death
I Will Fear No Evil
The Kiss Trilogy
Kiss of Night
Kiss of Death
Kiss of Revenge
The Summer of Cotton Candy
The Fall of Candy Corn
The Winter of Candy Canes
The Spring of Candy Apples
The Thirteenth Sacrifice
The Last Grave
Circle of Blood
Tex Ravencroft Adventures (with Dr. Scott Viguié)
The Tears of Poseidon
Thou Art With Me
Psalm 23 Mysteries
By Debbie Viguié
Big Pink Bow
Thou Art With Me
Copyright © 2015 by Debbie Viguié
Published by Big Pink Bow
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Dedicated to Becky Lewis, a true fan of the series and a wonderful supporter.
Thank you to everyone who helped make this book a reality, particularly Scott Viguié, Barbara Reynolds, Rick Reynolds and Calliope Collacott. Thank you to all the fans of the series for your support, encouragement, and enthusiasm. Thank you to Susan George, a dedicated fan, who correctly guessed exactly who would be taking Cindy dress shopping in this book. Great job, Susan!
Detective Mark Walters had always had great respect for Wednesdays. He wasn’t sure why, but Wednesdays, though they were in the middle of the week, had always signified endings and beginnings for him. This Wednesday he wasn’t sure which one it was going to be. He just knew that his captain had ordered him into his office nearly twenty minutes earlier and had yet to join him.
Mentally he was going over everything he could have possibly done over the last few weeks that might have gotten him into trouble. He was drawing a complete blank. Things had been fairly quiet since just before Christmas. Now it was February and he had really been enjoying the respite. Liam and he had even managed to close two cold cases in that time.
The door opened and his captain stormed in. His face was like a thundercloud and he glared at Mark as he took his seat behind his desk. The captain didn’t like him, he’d never made any bones about that. Mark couldn’t blame him. In the last two years in particular he hadn’t exactly been the model detective.
His captain glared at him and Mark waited, knowing that sooner or later the man would have to tell him what this was all about.
“You’re a pain in the butt. You know that, right?” the captain finally asked.
Mark cleared his throat. “You’re not the first to suggest that.”
“I should have gotten rid of you over that whole Green Pastures incident.”
Mark took a steadying breath before saying, “But you didn’t.”
“You color outside the lines. You involve civilians in criminal investigations. Worst of all, you never know when to let something go.”
Mark was beginning to wonder if his ongoing investigations surrounding the mystery of his late partner, Paul, were at the heart of whatever it was that was eating the captain. He managed to keep his mouth shut, though. It was better to be told what was wrong than to start making guesses and risk really getting on the other man’s bad side.
“A friend of mine from college went missing from one of those tree-hugging wellness centers last week and I can’t get any straight answers about what might have happened to him.”
Mark had no idea what that had to do with him, but he just nodded, waiting for the captain to continue and hopefully shed some light on everything.
“Either no one knows what happened to him or no one’s talking. His wife is beside herself and she’s been after me to try and find out what happened.”
The man paused long enough to give Mark another good, long glare. Mark couldn’t stand it anymore, he had to at least say something. “Can’t you speak with the local police?”
“I’ve tried, but no one wants to touch this thing with a ten foot pole.”
“Why not?” Mark heard himself asking.
“Because this center is on an Indian reservation a couple of miles from one of the biggest casinos in this state.”
Mark shook his head. “The local police should be able to investigate.”
“They should be able to, but they seem very uninterested in doing so.”
“That sounds like a real problem,” Mark said, still wondering what this had to do with him.
“It is, and it needs solving. You know what the good news is? The center is hosting a couples’ retreat next week.”
“How is that good news?”
“I can put someone in there undercover and get to the bottom of this whole mess.”
Suddenly things made a lot more sense. “To a couples’ retreat? Look, sir, if I get the direction you’re drifting there’s no way I could ask Traci to do something like that, especially not with the twins to take care of.”
The captain narrowed his eyes. “I’m well aware of your family’s needs,” he said. “Besides, I can’t risk sending in a cop, violating federal laws and the sovereignty of the tribe.”
“Then what are you talking about?” Mark asked.
“I’m talking about your penchant for not doing things by the book. I want you to get your friends to do it.”
Mark frowned. “I don’t think Geanie and Joseph would be up for tackling something like that.”
“I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about the other ones, the church secretary and the rabbi.”
Mark was stunned. “You want me to send Cindy and Jeremiah in undercover to a potentially dangerous place where we have no jurisdiction?”
“That’s exactly what I want you to do.”
“You’re crazy.” The words slipped out before Mark could stop them. He cringed inwardly, but didn’t bother trying to take them back.
“I was crazy for keeping you on here after what happened. Now it’s time you did something for me.”
Mark didn’t like this and he didn’t want any part of it. Looking at the other man, though, he saw the desperation in his eyes, and that was something Mark understood all too well. The captain was right. He had played fast and loose with the rules before and this was what he had coming to him for it.
“They’re not going to like this,” he said.
“Make them like it,” the captain said. “I’ll provide what support I can, but given the circumstances...”
“It won’t be much,” Mark filled in. “Anything else?”
“Yeah, remember that this is strictly off the books.”
“I understand. I’ll go talk to Cindy and Jeremiah.”
Jeremiah was in the synagogue office having one of the more unpleasant conversations he’d had with his secretary, Marie, in a long time.
“You shouldn’t be with that Gentile woman,” Marie said.
Jeremiah had pointed out to her on multiple occasions that he was pretty sure she was the only one who used that word anymore, but it never did any good. Of course, defending his friendship with Cindy never worked either, but he knew he was going to try again to do so.
“Cindy and I aren’t together,” Jeremiah said wearily.
“Then you’re lying either to yourself or to me,” Marie said stubbornly.
Jeremiah had no desire to discuss his love life with anyone, least of all Marie. “What do you want from me?”
“I want you to trust that God will bring the woman he wants you to marry into your life. I want you to keep an open mind and ask for a sign.”
“I do trust God in this matter and I do want to follow where He leads.”
“Really?” she demanded, crossing her arms over her chest. “You’ll be open?”
“Then humor me, the next single woman who walks through that door I want you to give serious consideration to marrying.”
Before Jeremiah could say anything the door opened. Marie turned, a look of triumphant expectation on her face.
Cindy walked in and Jeremiah’s heart skipped a beat. Marie’s expression turned to one of dismay.
“You know, Marie, you were so right,” Jeremiah said, walking toward Cindy.
“Am I interrupting?” Cindy asked, looking hesitantly first at him then at Marie.
“No, your timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Marie just told me that I should give serious consideration to marrying you,” Jeremiah said.
“She did?” Cindy asked, clearly startled.
He glanced at Marie and couldn’t keep himself from smirking. He toyed with the idea of kissing Cindy in front of her just to get her goat. He decided against it, though. The relationship with Cindy was not something he was willing to share with the outside world. Not just yet.
“What’s up?” he asked.
“Can I talk to you for a minute?” Cindy asked.
“Sure, come into my office,” Jeremiah said.
Cindy walked inside and Jeremiah closed the door behind them. He had an almost uncontrollable urge to kiss her then, but he restrained himself.
“So, what did you want to talk about?” he said, standing as close to her as he could get without actually touching her.
“A week from Saturday the church has decided to host a big dinner.”
“Okay,” he said, not sure what that would have to do with him.
“Some of my coworkers have asked me to work that evening and help things go smoothly.”
“And you don’t want to work at the event? How come?” he asked.
She was staring at him like he was an idiot. A few seconds passed and then she said, “Are you seriously asking me why I don’t want to work at an event next Saturday?”
“Yes,” he said, still not following.
“Oh,” he said, suddenly realizing what was going on. “Oh, Valentine’s Day. I’m sorry, I didn’t realize...I mean, I’ve never had any cause to celebrate the day before.”
She just stared at him, clearly waiting for him to continue.
He took a deep breath. “Of course you can’t work that night. You’ll just have to tell your bosses you have a date.”
“I do?” she said, starting to smile.
“Can I tell them with who?” she asked.
He was a bit taken aback. He was by nature and by necessity intensely private. Of course, it seemed like everyone was already making assumptions about them.
“It’s okay, I won’t tell them with who,” she said before he could respond. She stood on tiptoe and kissed him on the cheek.
She stepped back just as his office door opened. Startled, he looked over, wondering why Marie hadn’t warned him he was about to have a visitor.
Mark walked through the door, his face grim, and shut it behind himself. “Oh good, you’re both here,” the detective said.
“And I’m guessing since you’re here in person and not just calling on the phone that something bad has happened,” Jeremiah said.
“Yes, no, maybe, that’s the heck of it.”
“Okay, what’s going on?” Cindy asked, exchanging a quick glance with Jeremiah.
“My captain has ordered me to ask you two for your help.”
There was definitely something off in the other man’s behavior, and Jeremiah was certain that whatever Mark was about to say he really wished he didn’t have to.
“What kind of help?”
Mark sat down on the couch with a weary sigh. “An old friend of his went missing while at a wellness center spa retreat sort of thing. He can’t get any straight answers and he’s naturally worried.”
“And that sounds like a job for the local police,” Cindy said.
“It should be, but they’re not cooperating. To complicate things, the center is on tribal land so we can’t send any of our people in there to investigate without risking a total and complete disaster.”
“So, you want us to go,” Jeremiah guessed.
“And the Samaritan wins the prize,” Mark said.
Mark hadn’t called him that in a long time and Jeremiah felt himself tensing. Mark wasn’t happy about the situation which meant that there was likely an elevated risk of danger. “Not a Samaritan, Jewish,” he replied perfunctorily.
“Frankly what you’ll be is a saint if you agree to go through with this,” Mark muttered.
“Why don’t you just tell us exactly what it is we’re supposed to do?” Cindy asked.
“My boss wants the two of you to go in undercover at the wellness center as just a couple of customers and sniff around and see what you can find out.”
“When?” Jeremiah asked.
“Why wait so long?” Cindy asked.
“Because that’s when the center’s week-long couples’ retreat starts. You can go in, pose as a married couple, and hopefully find out what there is to find out fast.”
Cindy blushed. “No,” she said.
“No, you won’t do it?” Mark asked.
“I can go in undercover if you really need me to, but we’re not going to pose as a married couple.”
“It’s not like you guys haven’t done that before,” Mark said, sounding puzzled.
Jeremiah struggled to keep his expression neutral. Back in Israel Cindy had told him that she wanted to stop pretending that she was his wife when they ended up in difficult circumstances. He understood why she was objecting to what Mark was suggesting even if the detective did not.
“Can non-married couples participate in the retreat?” Jeremiah asked.
“I would think so, but I’ll double check,” Mark said.
“If they can, then we’ll help,” Cindy told him.
“Give me a minute to find out,” Mark said as he pulled his phone out of his pocket.
While Mark made his phone call Cindy gazed intently at the ground, not wanting to meet Jeremiah’s eyes. She had meant what she’d said back in July. It was too hard masquerading as his wife and she didn’t want to have to do that again. She knew Mark didn’t understand, but there was no way she was going to explain herself to him.
A couple minutes passed before Mark ended his call. “You’re in. As a dating couple. Good?”
She nodded. Not trusting herself to speak.
“I swear, first the captain then you guys, everyone’s getting weird on me,” Mark muttered.
Now that it was settled another problem occurred to her. “I really don’t have any more sick time or vacation time coming to me for a while.”