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Authors: Jaden Skye

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BOOK: Death by Temptation
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“What
a beautiful young couple,” Mattheus said, watching them walk out of the dining
room. “They’ve got it right so early. My friend Rod must be very proud.”

Cindy
felt a pang of regret. She wished she could have gotten it right the way they
had. If only she’d met her partner early on they could have built a life
together that naturally progressed from stage to stage. Then Cindy wouldn’t be
left at this time of life thinking about wedding destinations. A strange sense
of emptiness filled her as Kara and Rowley disappeared from view.

“Your
friend Rod’s a lucky man to have a family like that,” Cindy mused.

Mattheus
stretched out his hands and reached for Cindy.

“Yes, he is very
lucky. But we’re lucky, too. We have each other, don’t we? Better late

than
never.”

Much
better, thought Cindy, as she held Mattheus’s hands tight, wondering how late
it really was, and if it there was enough time left for them.

CHAPTER 3

 

The
breakfast with Kara and Rowley definitely lifted the mood between Cindy and
Mattheus, allowing them to thoroughly enjoy the rest of the day. For starters
they decided to rent a car and take a scenic tour of the majestic Pitons on the
way to the Diamond Waterfall. Cindy craved time in nature and the Diamond
Waterfall was located in a beautiful botanical garden surrounded by nature’s
finest plants and flowers. As she walked beside Mattheus through the gardens,
it seemed as if all her concerns gently floated away. They held hands, laughed,
and made the kind of easy small talk they used to do so freely. A day like this
brought back to Cindy all that she loved about him and their time together, how
warm and natural it could be.

After
lunch at the gardens, they decided to drive through Soufriererto, an incredibly
quaint town with a view of the world’s only drive-in volcano. As they passed,
its sulfuric waters bubbled wildly, thrilling Cindy. She’d always wanted to
bathe in sulfur springs and was excited to actually visit the volcano. The sour
smell in the air was difficult to take, but the power of the churning volcano
captivated her. Cindy was amazed and inspired by the incredible forces of
nature and the endless treasures and healing powers that came right up from the
earth.

“I
love it here,” Cindy murmured to Mattheus, who seemed to be thoroughly content
to be at her side.

“We’ll
come here often, all the time,” Mattheus whispered, delighted that she was
having such a wonderful time. “Do you have the energy to go over to Rodney Bay
and join the Friday night Jump Up, too?” Every Friday night a lively party,
called the Jump Up, spilled out onto the streets, and people came from all over
to join in the fun.

“Absolutely,”
said Cindy. She felt invigorated by having nothing else to worry about except
how to enjoy all the wonders this amazing island was offering them.

After
leaving the volcano, Cindy and Mattheus arrived at Rodney Bay just as the party
was beginning to roll.  As expected, the place was packed with honeymooners
laughing, dancing, drinking, and celebrating to their hearts’ content. Without
a moment’s hesitation, Cindy and Mattheus joined in the fun, drinking rum and
dancing along with everyone to the intense reggae music that rang out all
around.

“It’s
working, we’re wonderful,” Mattheus whispered to Cindy, as they danced under
the stars. “We’re happier than we’ve ever been!”

“It’s
true,” Cindy murmured, “this vacation is so perfect, we may not ever need
another honeymoon again.”

Mattheus
laughed along with Cindy as they allowed the joy of the island to embrace them,
making them forget everything else.

 

*

 

By
the time Cindy and Mattheus returned to the hotel it had been a long day. Both
felt somewhat tipsy, filled with music, laughter, and drink.

“Do
you want to get a nightcap before we go up to our room?” Mattheus asked as the
taxi pulled up to the hotel.

 “Absolutely,”
said Cindy, delighted.

Filled
with joy, they got out of the cab and entered the lobby, heading toward the
cocktail lounge. Then to Cindy’s horror, she saw swarms of police milling
around.

“My
God!” Cindy grabbed onto Mattheus’s arm as she felt him stiffen up as well.
“What’s happened?”

“I
have no idea,” said Mattheus, heading straight over to one of the cops, a tall,
wiry
[cl2]
 
Caribbean man. “What’s going on?”
asked Mattheus.

The
cop looked at Mattheus and shook his head. “Damn lousy, rotten luck,” he
muttered, genuinely disturbed.

“What’s
lousy, rotten luck?” Mattheus pressed him.

“Look,
I got to go, man. Time’s of the essence in cases like this.” The cop pulled
back.

“We’re
talking to everyone in the hotel to see if anyone saw something.”

“Stop
a minute!” Mattheus insisted in an authoritative tone. “Talk to me. We’re C and
M Investigations, detectives in the Caribbean.”

The
cop stopped short. “I heard of you guys,” he muttered, his eyes darting back
and forth between Mattheus and Cindy. “My name’s Abe.” He extended a long hand.

Mattheus
shook his hand promptly. “Okay, Abe, now tell me what’s going on.”

Abe
gazed around the lobby furtively. “Well, in truth, no one’s sure yet. From what
we know so far, seems like one of the guests went missing late this afternoon.”

An
icy chill ran up Cindy’s arms.

“One
of the guests?” Mattheus wanted more.

“Yeah,”
Abe continued, “one of the honeymooners. This place is loaded with them.”

“That’s
horrible,” breathed Mattheus.

“We’re
not jumping to any conclusions yet.” Abe tried to calm him down. “These couples
come down here and go crazy and all bets are off. They party all night long,
get wasted, and do something stupid. Sometimes they fall asleep where no one
can find them and wake up a day later and wander back. Could be this gal who
went missing was high as a kite and is wandering around as we speak. I’ve seen
it before plenty of times.”

Mattheus
suddenly seemed ill at ease. “I want details,” he insisted.

“I
told you, we’re not sure,” Abe went on. “The husband says his wife went out for
a late afternoon swim at the beach. He didn’t feel like going, decided to do
some stuff and wait in the room for her. When she didn’t come back in about an
hour and a half, he went out to the beach, looking for her. She wasn’t there,
though. There was no sign of her anywhere. Then he went back to the room to
wait, but she never returned.”

Tears
stung Cindy’s eyes. This was exactly the same scenario that had played out with
her and Clint in Barbados. He’d gone out to surf in the late afternoon while
Cindy had stayed in the room to nap.

“The
husband called the police about eight o’clock. The wife had been gone for about
four hours by then,” Abe continued. “We’re putting a search team together,
talking to people.”

“You
got anyone loose on the island who’s trouble?” Mattheus asked quickly. There
could be gang members of all kinds floating around, just waiting to spot a
woman alone.

“Nothing
like that.” Abe shook his head. “All that’s under control in St. Lucia. Right
now we’re talking to everyone at the hotel, putting posters around, scanning
the neighborhood from top to bottom. If she didn’t get in trouble when she went
swimming in the ocean and the tide didn’t take her out, someone’s got to have
seen this young lady. We’re worried about the husband, too. Right now he’s
freaking out.”

“Of
course he’s freaking out,” Cindy interrupted.

“Yeah.”
Abe backtracked. “But this guy’s a surgeon, he’s seen lots of stuff.”

Cindy’s
breath caught in her throat.“What did you say? A surgeon?” She could barely
speak.

“Yeah,
Rowley Flynn, ever heard of him?” asked Abe.

“Rowley
Flynn?” Mattheus sounded as horror-struck as Cindy felt.

“It’s
not possible,” Cindy barely whispered. “Kara and Rowley?”

“That’s
it,” said Abe, “the gal’s name was Kara.”

Cindy
felt Mattheus freeze up. “You’re absolutely positive her name was Kara?” Cindy
asked Abe.

“You
knew her?” Abe was startled.

“Kara
Flynn?” Mattheus repeated.

“Yeah,
that was her name,” Abe assured him.

“That
is
her name, not was,” Cindy interjected. “There’s no reason to think
she’s dead, is there?”

At
that Abe gave Cindy a long, strange glance. “You never know, you just don’t,”
he murmured. “She could come walking back into the hotel any minute and tell us
that she got lost. Or, for all we know she could have decided this marriage
wasn’t for her and took off on her own. Stranger things than that have happened
down here. I hear about them all the time.”

“She
didn’t take off on her own,” Mattheus corrected him emphatically.

“How
do you know?” Abe looked startled again.

“We
know the couple.” Mattheus’s voice became ponderous. “Cindy and I spent time
with them this morning. They were happy, rejoicing.”

“What?”
Abe’s eyes opened wide. “Oh my God. We’re gonna need to talk to you guys more
about this.”

“Sure,”
Mattheus agreed, “and Cindy and I are gonna have to talk to the cops, too.
You’re going to have to let us help out. This isn’t just some woman, it’s
personal.”

Abe
looked confused. “That’s not up to me. You’ll have to talk to the chief, Darrin
Frank.”

“We’ll
talk to anyone we have to,” said Mattheus. “Has the family been notified?”

“Not
sure,” said Abe.

“Where’s
Rowley now?” Mattheus dove right in.

“He’s
out on the streets, looking for his wife,” Abe whispered. “We told him to stay
put, that we were putting together search teams. But he’s crazed right now, out
there searching.”

“He’s
got to be going crazy. This is a terrible shock for him,” Cindy murmured.

“Yeah,”
Abe agreed. “Look, the best thing you could do now would be to go out there and
find him. Talk to him, calm him down. Last I heard he went to the beach she was
at. It’s right down from the hotel.”

“He’s
not going to find her there,” Mattheus muttered.

Abe
looked taken aback. “How do you know that?” He sounded suspicious.

“My
gut tells me he won’t,” Mattheus replied.

“Oh
yeah? What else does your gut tell you?” asked Abe, his eyes narrowing.

Cindy
put her hand on Mattheus’s arm. “I like Abe’s suggestion,” she said. “Let’s go
out there and try to find Rowley. It’ll help him to see us again.”

Cindy
and Mattheus gave Abe their contact information, took his, and got the direct
number for Darrin Frank.

“You
go look for him,” Abe encouraged, “and stay in touch. We need to know any
little thing you discover.”

“Absolutely,”
said Mattheus, turning to Cindy. “You’re sure you want to come, too?”

Cindy
felt incredulous. “Of course I’m coming,” she responded, “where else in the
world could I be at a time like this?”

 

*

 

Except
for the sound of the ocean lapping on the shore, the beach was silent and dark.
The light of few scattered stars shone here and there, creating glowing streaks
on the sand. Other than that, the beach seemed deserted.

“Rowley,”
Mattheus called out, his voice quickly taken up by the wind, echoing. “Rowley,
Rowley.”

Except
for the crash of the waves, there was no response.

“Rowley,
if you’re here, answer me,” Mattheus called out again.

“He’s
not here,” Cindy murmured.

“He
could be,” Mattheus replied. “We can’t see him yet, but where else would he
go?”

“He
could be anywhere, looking for her,” said Cindy.

“Rowley,”
Mattheus cried out once again, as the lapping out of waves grew louder. “It’s
Mattheus and Cindy, we’re here to help you.”

The
screeching cry of a passing bird responded.

Cindy
left Mattheus’s side and began walking down to the craggy jetties which rose
out of the water unevenly. She looked around the beach which was on the eastern
part of the island. The tides were definitely harsher here. Cindy wondered if
Kara had gotten caught in an undertow while swimming, or if the tide had pulled
her out. Would the ocean return her to her loved ones? There was no way to
know.

“Rowley,”
Cindy heard Mattheus calling behind her.

Cindy
took a step closer to the water when she suddenly saw a shadow move on the
sand. As Cindy turned toward the shadow, to her amazement, she saw someone
curled up near the jetty a few feet away. For a quick instant Cindy prayed it
might be Kara. Had she been tossed in the water and thrown back onto the rocks?
Was she waking up now, coming to herself?

“Kara?”
Cindy called, in a raspy tone.

Still
no response. There was definitely someone there though. Cindy tried again.

“Rowley?”
she called to the figure, who was actually starting to move. “Is that you? Are
you there?”

The
shadow grew larger on the sand. As Cindy saw the figure begin to uncurl, she
walked over toward it carefully. “Rowley?” Cindy asked in a louder tone.

“I’m
waiting for her,” he responded.

Cindy
recognized the voice immediately and moved quickly to Rowley’s side. “Do you
remember me, Rowley?” Cindy asked softly.

“I’m
waiting for Kara to come back,” he replied in a chilling tone.

 “Kara
may be somewhere else right now,” Cindy suggested softly.

 “Where?”
he asked nervously.

“I’m
not sure yet, but there are plenty of places on the island to search,” Cindy
replied.

BOOK: Death by Temptation
6.48Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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