A Lime To Kill: A Key West Culinary Cozy - Book 1 (7 page)

BOOK: A Lime To Kill: A Key West Culinary Cozy - Book 1
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“I know what
happened Susan…I would be upset too. I can’t even imagine how difficult things
have been for you…” she began, only to be abruptly interrupted.

 

“Which is why
I need that,” she demanded, extending her hand for the container of filling.

 

“Why don’t we
step outside,” Marilyn suggested, trying hard not to panic. “We can talk about
what happened, we can talk about Wyatt—”

 

“—don’t say
his name,” Susan hissed, furious. “Don’t act like you knew him. You didn’t. You
have your family so you couldn’t possibly understand,” the enraged woman
snarled.

She reached
for the container but Marilyn stepped back, bumping into the strawberry shelf.

 

“Please, Susan,
let’s talk outside,” she pleaded. It felt as though Susan must have turned the
temperature down before she opened the door, and if she had…that could only
mean one thing.

 

“You can’t do
this, Susan, my daughter is innocent, and you have let the police know that. If
you don’t, you’ll be doing the same thing to me that Fergus did to you. You’ll
be taking away the person that I love most in this world…You’ll be just like
Fergus Susan, only you’ll be doing it on purpose. Please…for Wyatt,” Marilyn
said quietly, remembering in vivid detail the story that she’d seen on the
internet earlier.

 

Tears welled
in the unbalanced woman’s eyes. “Stop saying his name,” she screamed, spittle
flying as she became even more unhinged.

 

“You loved
Wyatt, and I love my daughter,” Marilyn persisted, her teeth chattering. She
had to get out of the freezer soon, she was so cold that it was beginning to
affect her ability to think.

 

“Stop!” Susan
lunged, hitting Marilyn with the full force of her weight. Marilyn slammed into
a shelving unit, her head knocking into the edge of the shelf as her feet slid
out from under her. The deranged woman ran for the door and slammed it behind
her as Marilyn stumbled, trying to get to her feet. She launched herself at the
door, trying desperately to open it from the inside. She heard the bolt click
in to place, her body wracked with pain and uncontrollable shivering. She
forced herself to focus, despite the numbing cold that seemed to be overtaking
her. There had to be a way to get out, a safety panel or an emergency system.

 

She felt along
the cold edges of the door and felt nothing but the searing pain jolting
through her fingertips. Tucking her hands under her arms, in a vain attempt to
bring some warmth back into them, she sat on the floor, conserving body heat,
her eyes scanning the other walls. Too cold to even cry, she banged her pitiful
fists on the door, screaming in frustration.

 

Hearing a
noise outside the door, Marilyn didn’t move, hoping that Susan hadn’t come back
to finish the job personally. Her face lifted to the handle as she heard the
bolt unlatch. The door swung open with amazing force, and towering above her,
the light illuminating him from behind was Detective Bernard Cortland.

 

“I…I’m…sssssooo…glad…ttttto…ssseeee…you,”
she shivered, tears of relief streaming down her face.

 

The handsome
detective lifted her effortlessly to a standing position, then moved her out of
what could very well have been her frosty tomb.

 

“Well, you
left a message saying you were about to break the law by tampering with
evidence. I couldn’t exactly ignore that, now could I?” he teased,
surreptitiously looked her over to make sure she hadn’t suffered any injuries
aside from being half frozen.

 

Marilyn smiled
faintly, “You knew I was right.”

 

“About what?”
Cortland raised an eyebrow.

 

She was trembling
violently and he wrapped his jacket around her, moving her away from the freezer,
out the door and into the balmy island evening.

 

“That I knew
who poisoned Fergus.” She handed Bernard the sour cream container that now felt
almost frozen to her fingers. “The evidence is in there.”

 

Bernard took the
tub and handed it off to the officer at the front door, instructing him to “bag
it.” He then called for an ambulance and for backup, handling it all so fast
that Marilyn was having trouble focusing on him.

 

“Ok let’s go,”
he said, steering her toward his patrol car.

 

“I’m fine,
just chilled,” Marilyn protested, enjoying the feel of his hand at the small of
her back.

 

“We’ll let the
EMT’s decide that,” the detective looked at her with concern, putting an arm
over her shoulders. “Let’s get you warmed up.” Too cold and drained to argue,
she nodded and walked in step with him.

 

“So tell me
what happened,” Cortland encouraged, loading her into the car and trying to
take her mind off of the cold.

 

“I was looking
for news, so I did an internet search on all of the suspects. When I searched
Fergus’s name, I ran into a story about four boys in high school who had been
drinking at a party and stupidly decided to get in a car. There was a tragic
crash. Three of the boys, Fergus Downey, Fulton Keller, and Bobby Buris, lived,
and one of the boys died…Wyatt D’Amico. It turns out that Wyatt had a little
sister named Susan. Things really got scary when I looked up the other boys who
had been in the car.”

 

Cortland
raised his eyebrows and took a notebook out of his breast pocket.

 

“Fulton died a
year ago and his cause of death was never determined. Fergus as you know, was
poisoned, and Bobby Buris is alive and living in DC, but probably won’t be for
long if you don’t find Susan,” she explained.

 

“But why would
she seek revenge for her brother’s death now, after so many years?” the
detective’s eyes narrowed.

 

“I don’t know.
She told the truth when I met her, her husband did die recently, maybe that
pushed her over the edge,” she guessed, shaking her head. “She broke down a
couple of times when she thought about him. Maybe she was so destroyed
emotionally that she just…snapped. And Fergus did try to flirt with her when
she first started working.”

 

An ambulance
pulled in behind Cortland’s cruiser. “Couldn’t you just drive me to the
hospital if we’re going to insist on this?” she sighed.

 

Bernard gave
her a look. “I have to stay here and secure the scene,” he reminded her.

 

Marilyn was checked
out by the EMT’s, and as soon as they released her, she headed toward home to
check on Tiara, stopping when she heard Detective Cortland calling her name.

 

“Aren’t you
supposed to be securing the scene?” she teased as he jogged over to her.

 

The serious
detective actually cracked a smile. “Thanks to your detective work, I was able
to wrap it up pretty quickly. Miami has their team in there for another sweep,
but my work here is done. We picked up the perpetrator as she was packing her
bags to leave town. Turns out she has more than a few aliases and has been on
the run ever since her husband died…of very suspicious circumstances. Your
simple internet search enabled us to catch a serial killer. I thought the least
I could do is offer you a lift home.”

 

“Oh my, that’s
scary, but it’s a relief to know that she won’t be able to hurt anyone else,”
Marilyn felt relief flood through her.  “Yes, I’d like a ride home, thank you,”
she replied, more than ready for quality one on one time with Bernard Cortland.

 

 Nodding, he
put his hand in the small of her back again, leading her to his unmarked
cruiser.

 

“I don’t
suppose you’d like to drop by for a piece of pie sometime?” Marilyn asked,
surprised at her own boldness, as they crossed the street.

 

“Only if I can
watch you make it,” the detective joked, raising his eyebrows.

 

 

A letter from the Author

To each and every one of my Amazing readers:
I hope you enjoyed this story as much as I enjoyed writing
it.  Let me know what you think by leaving a review!

I’ll be releasing another installment in two weeks so to stay
in the loop (and to get free books and other fancy stuff)
Join my Book club
.

 

Stay Curious,

Summer Prescott  

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