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Authors: Jenna Bennett

Tags: #romance, #suspense, #southern, #mystery, #family, #missing persons, #serial killer, #real estate, #wedding

Unfinished Business

BOOK: Unfinished Business
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Savannah Martin has always been a good girl,
doing what was expected and fully expecting life to fall into place
in its turn. But when her perfect husband turns out to be a lying,
cheating slimeball - and bad in bed to boot - Savannah kicks the
jerk to the curb and embarks on life on her own terms. With a new
apartment, a new career, and a brand new outlook on life, she's all
set to take the world by storm.

 

If only the world would stop throwing her
curveballs...

 

When Savannah wakes up alone on what is
supposed to be her wedding day, she isn’t sure what to think. Did
her fiancé—bad-boy TBI agent Rafe Collier—decide he couldn’t face
being shackled to one woman for the rest of his life... or is
something more sinister going on?

 

Savannah’s mother Margaret Anne, in Nashville
for the nuptials, is certain she knows the truth: her future
son-in-law has always been an ill-bred cad, and leaving his
pregnant girlfriend practically at the altar clinches it. But the
people who know Rafe aren’t so sure. Wendell Craig with the TBI and
Tamara Grimaldi with the Metro Nashville PD suspect foul play, and
set out to prove it.

 

Shortly, a dead woman turns up in Savannah’s
house. Rafe’s son David goes missing from church camp on the
Cumberland Plateau. And a shadowy figure from Rafe’s past is
stalking them all—a knife-wielding serial killer who likes to hurt
women, and who has a score to settle.

 

Now Savannah must solve the murder, find
David, and avoid getting herself killed... or she can kiss her
happy ending—and Rafe—goodbye.

 

~ ~ ~

 

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UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Savannah Martin Mystery #10

 

Copyright © 2015 Bente Gallagher

All rights reserved.

 

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, 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 the prior written permission of the copyright owner of this
book.

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook
may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like
to share this book with another person, please purchase an
additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re
reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased
for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you
for respecting the hard work of this author.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents
either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used
fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or
dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely
coincidental.

 

~ ~ ~

 

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

 

Savannah Martin Mystery #10

 

 

Jenna Bennett
Chapter One

I woke up alone on what should have been my wedding day.

That might not strike you as unusual for a
bride, but I was living in sin with my husband-to-be, and it was
quite a while since I’d woken up alone in bed. Usually I woke up
with Rafe’s arm around me, his hand splayed protectively over my
stomach, and his nose buried in my hair.

Today, his side of the bed was empty and
cold.

Under normal circumstances, I might have
reasoned he’d just gone to work. But it was a Saturday, and he’d
taken the day off from working out to get married, so he wasn’t on
the clock.

And it was almost nine o’clock. He’s usually
an early riser. I’m not, since I’m four months pregnant and spend
much of my time feeling like I’ve been bitten by the tsetse fly.
But at this point of the morning, and especially given today’s
agenda, I would have expected him to have woken me.

I spent a few moments listening to the
sounds of the house. It was June, and approaching ninety-five
degrees outside, so the A/C was pumping cold air through the vents.
The system hummed. Other things hummed, too. Electrical things.
Things like the refrigerator downstairs, and the TV and computer,
even when they weren’t in use. It’s never entirely silent anymore
unless the electricity goes out.

But while I could hear electrical humming,
and birds singing outside, and the sound of a lawnmower somewhere
in the neighborhood, I couldn’t hear any sounds of activity inside
the house. If Rafe was up, and downstairs, he was being very
quiet.

I swung my legs over the edge of the bed.
The hardwood floors were cold from the air conditioning as I padded
toward the door. “Rafe?”

There was no answer from downstairs. I
grabbed a robe from behind the door and shrugged into it as I
walked across the landing to the stairs. I didn’t think anyone was
in the house, but I’m still well-bred enough that I don’t wander
around in the altogether with my breasts and pregnant stomach on
display. You never know when someone might be standing on the porch
with his nose pressed to one of the windows.

No one was. The foyer downstairs was
deserted, and the porch and yard were empty. I padded down the
hallway to the kitchen, glancing left and right as I went.

The first room on the right was the library,
where—ten months ago—Rafe and I had discovered Brenda Puckett’s
butchered body lying in front of the fireplace. We hadn’t been
living here then, of course. The house had belonged to Rafe’s
grandmother, and Brenda Puckett was a realtor colleague of mine,
who was trying to sell it.

There was no one in the library now. Ditto
for the parlor and the dining room. I ended up in the kitchen, at
the back of the house, and looked around.

The first time I’d walked in here, the
second week of August last year, it had had avocado green
appliances and a cracked and peeling linoleum floor. Now it was
gorgeous, with new cabinets, hardwoods, and stainless steel
appliances. The baby I was carrying had been conceived on the table
that stood in the middle of the room.

Though gorgeous, the kitchen was empty. I
walked around, peering at the table, the counters, and the
refrigerator, but Rafe had not left a note.

My phone was upstairs by the bed, charging,
but he hadn’t called, either. Or texted me. If he had, I would have
woken up.

I padded back upstairs to put on clothes and
brush my teeth. That done, I tried calling him. The phone rang
twice, three times, and then went to voicemail. “This is Rafe. You
know what to do.”

“It’s me,” I said. “Nine o’clock on
Saturday. You’re not home. Call me when you get this, please.”

And then I went back downstairs and ate
breakfast—bagel with cream cheese and chives, my go-to craving
throughout the pregnancy—while I waited for him to call back.

The logical part of my brain tried to
convince the other parts that he was probably just at the gym. He’d
woken up early—a little nervous about what would happen today,
maybe—and had decided to get in an early workout, to take his mind
off the fact that in six hours, he’d have shackled himself hand and
foot to the same woman for the rest of his natural life.

It made sense, and I wouldn’t blame him.
Getting married can be scary, especially when it’s your first time.
I’d been through it once already, and knew I wasn’t making the same
mistake again. But Rafe had never done this before, and it was
natural that he’d be a bit worried.

I would have thought he’d be home again by
now, though. We weren’t planning a big ceremony, just a quick stop
at the county clerk’s office. My first wedding, to Bradley Ferguson
when I was twenty-three, had taken place at the church where I’d
been christened as a baby, in Sweetwater, Tennessee, an hour, hour
and fifteen, south of Nashville.

But while Rafe was also from Sweetwater, I
knew he hadn’t wanted to get married there. He never goes back to
Sweetwater if he can help it.

No, we were going to the courthouse, and my
brother and sister were driving up from Sweetwater to witness the
ceremony along with our friend, Metro Nashville Homicide Detective
Tamara Grimaldi, and Rafe’s boss at the Tennessee Bureau of
Investigations, Wendell Craig.

It was going to be an intimate occasion, to
put it mildly.

Was it possible that he and Wendell had gone
out for breakfast before the big occasion? Or had just kept
partying through the night?

They’d been out together yesterday. Rafe
hadn’t wanted a bachelor party—nor did he have many friends he
could invite to one, after spending ten years undercover for the
TBI. The friends he’d made during those years were mostly in jail,
and wouldn’t wish him well if they’d known about the nuptials. But
he and Wendell and the rookies Rafe was training to be agents, had
gone out for a beer after work yesterday, to celebrate Rafe’s last
night of freedom.

Which was ridiculous, if you ask me, because
I certainly wasn’t going to stop him from going out for a beer with
the guys after we got married.

But at any rate, he’d been out last
night.

And now here I was. Alone, on my wedding
day.

I pulled the phone over and dialed Wendell’s
number.

Back in the day, when Rafe was undercover,
Wendell had been his handler, and Wendell’s phone had been the only
way I had of getting in touch with Rafe. I’d call Wendell, Wendell
would tell Rafe, and Rafe would call me. For a couple of months,
whenever I’d call, Wendell would tell me I’d reached a car lot, or
a grocery store, or a pool hall.

Those days were over. Now he simply said,
“Craig.”

“This is Savannah Martin,” I said. And just
in case he didn’t remember me, I added, “Rafe’s girlfriend.”

“I know who you are, Savannah.” He sounded
amused. “You getting ready for your big day?”

“I would be,” I told him, “if I could find
the groom.”

There was a beat of silence.

“He wasn’t here when I woke up. I thought
maybe...” I trailed off.

“No,” Wendell said, and I could hear the
tension in his voice, just as I could hear him try to sound calm so
I wouldn’t notice. “Last time I saw Rafe was last night around
eleven. He was going home.”

“I’m not sure whether he got here or not. I
sleep like the dead these days. But I didn’t see him.” And I was
surprised he hadn’t woken me up, if he’d been home. “He hasn’t been
in touch with you?”

“No,” Wendell said grimly. “Are you sure he
isn’t just at the gym? Working off some nerves?”

“He might be. And if he is, he’ll call me
back soon. But he isn’t here. I thought maybe the two of you had
decided to go out to breakfast or something.”

“No,” Wendell said. “I wasn’t planning to
see him—see either of you—until I got to the courthouse at
eleven.”

The courthouse at eleven.

Right.

My brother and sister were driving up from
Sweetwater for this. They were planning to meet us there. I should
call them and tell them the groom was missing.

“Thanks,” I told Wendell. “If you hear from
him, tell him to get in touch with me, OK?”

Wendell said he would. “And when he comes
back, let me know.”

“I will,” I said. “I’m sure he’s just
somewhere, doing something.”

Wendell agreed that Rafe was undoubtedly
somewhere, doing something. “I’ll give the boys a call, see if any
of them have spoken to him. And just let me know when he gets
there.”

I promised I would, and hung up. And tried
Rafe’s phone again. There was no answer this time, either.

My next call was to my brother, Dixon
Calvert Martin—Dix to his friends and family. All except Mother,
who calls him by his full name.

The phone rang a couple of times, and then
my brother’s voice came on. “I’m on my way, sis.”

“Oh,” I said. “Here?”

“Where else?” There was a pause while I
heard murmurs in the background, and then he added, “You haven’t
changed your mind, have you?”

“No,” I said. “Of course not.”

“Of course not,” Dix repeated, either to me
or to someone who was there with him.

“Are you in the car?”

“Just leaving Sweetwater,” Dix confirmed. “I
dropped off the kids with Jonathan, and now we’re on our way.”

“You and Catherine?”

Catherine is my older sister. Our older
sister, I should say. Jonathan’s wife. She’s a couple of years
older than Dix, who’s a couple of years older than me.

“And Mother,” Dix said.

Mother?

My mother—our mother—was coming to see me
get married?

Why, for heaven’s sake? She can’t stand
Rafe. In fact, if she heard that he was gone, she’d no doubt
consider it divine intervention and a personal victory.

BOOK: Unfinished Business
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