Death by Betrayal (Book #10 in the Caribbean Murder series)

D E A T H   B Y   B E T R A Y A L

 

(book #10 in the CARIBBEAN MURDER SERIES)

 

 

Jaden Skye

 

Also
by Jaden Skye

THE CARIBBEAN MURDER SERIES
DEATH BY HONEYMOON (Book #1)
DEATH BY DIVORCE (Book #2)
DEATH BY MARRIAGE (Book #3)
DEATH BY DESIRE (Book #4)
DEATH BY DECEIT (Book #5)
DEATH BY JEALOUSY (Book #6)

DEATH
BY PROPOSAL (Book #7)

DEATH
BY OBSESSION (Book #8)
DEATH BY DEVOTION (Book #9)
THE TOM’S RIVER SAGA
A PERFECT STRANGER (Book #1)

 

Copyright
© 2014 by Jaden Skye

All
rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no
part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any
form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the
prior permission of the author.

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

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product
of the author’s imagination or are used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual
persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Chapter 1

 

 

Cindy
boarded the plane home from Anguilla alone. She didn’t want Sean accompanying
her back now, it was too much. Someday, maybe? She also realized that Mattheus
had to remain in the Caribbean with his daughter and her mother to keep them
safe. How long would that last? No one knew. The time had come to make
important decisions and Cindy wanted to make them alone. She was through with being
influenced by circumstances or passing emotions.

Dressed
casually in khaki slacks and an azure blue sweater, her long, auburn hair hanging
loosely over her shoulders, Cindy stepped onto the plane. She walked down the
aisle, found her seat and then she placed her old familiar carryon bag in the
overhead compartment. It was hard to believe this moment had actually come. She
and Mattheus were actually separated. He would be staying with Andrea, his
daughter and Petra, the mother and former girlfriend. Even though Mattheus had said
Petra was just a friend now, the three of them were still a family. And where
did Cindy fit in? She really wasn’t sure. How in the world would she explain
this turn of events to her sister, Ann? Ann would be waiting for Cindy in the
airport as usual to pick her up. Undoubtedly, Ann would barrage Cindy with questions
about her relationship with Mattheus right away.

Cindy
took her seat at the window, put her head back and closed her eyes. A thousand
thoughts toppled over one another, each demanding attention. This visit back to
the States was going to be different from the others. Cindy’s life had come to
a shifting point. This was a definite juncture in the road and Cindy wasn’t
sure which direction to take. Should she hit the pause button on her work as a
detective and take the cushy job waiting for her as a crime reporter on a top
paper in New York? It was an amazing opportunity and Cindy realized it. Yet, calls
to solve murder cases kept coming in, and each call stirred her, made her feel
alive. By now Cindy knew the Caribbean like the back of her hand. She had
developed rare skills in sniffing out killers wherever they hid. When she was
on a case she felt was needed and wanted. She was able to get justice in cases that
would otherwise go cold and protect innocent people who’d been falsely accused.
 That made her feel wonderful. But could she take on these cases alone? Would
she and Mattheus ever work together as a team again? These questions hung in
the air like smoke.

Cindy’s
thoughts were rudely interrupted as the flight attendant began announcing
instructions for takeoff. Cindy pulled the seat belt on around her and smiled.
She was ready for takeoff, ready to go home. She definitely needed something new.

*

The
flight went easily and to her surprise, Cindy slept lightly through the trip.
There would be plenty of time for thrashing things out when she got home. She
wanted to feel fresh and rested when she landed. It was important to start off
on the right foot.

As
they’d arranged, Ann was right there at the airport waiting when Cindy walked off
the plane. As they ran to each other and embraced Cindy wondered how she would
ever have gotten along all these years without her wonderful sister. It made
such a difference to be welcomed home, to know there was somebody waiting for
her who really cared.

“I
can’t thank you enough for being here,” Cindy said to Ann as they started
walking towards baggage claim. “You’re always here for me, don’t miss a thing.
You’re an angel, Ann.”

Ann
grimaced slightly, “Hardly an angel,” she replied. Then she sighed and looked
at Cindy out of the corner of her eye. “What choice do I have, anyway? You’re
my little sister, you’re important to me.”

Cindy
knew it was so.

“I’m
hoping that maybe this time you’ll stay for a while,” Ann continued, “that we
won’t have to keep meeting at airports like this.”

Cindy
smiled. “I’m sorry,” she said softly, looking over at Ann. Ann looked more
tired than usual, as if she’d been under a strain. “I’m afraid I’ve become a bit
of a burden.”

“Of
course you haven’t,” Ann replied quickly. “I didn’t mean it that way. It’s just
that this visit is a bit different. Believe it or not, I have to go back to the
airport tonight. I’m leaving on the seven p.m. plane for Bermuda.”

Cindy
was surprised. Ann hadn’t mentioned a thing about trip before. “Really?” Cindy
said, “how come?”

Ann
shrugged lightly, “Frank and I are taking a much needed vacation. He’s been
promising me one forever, as you know. This one was actually planned very recently.
It’s a spur of the moment thing.”

“Lovely,”
said Cindy. Spur of the moment vacations were not like Ann, but it was a good
thing, thought Cindy. Everyone needed their time in the sun.

*

Both
Cindy and Ann fell silent driving home to Oyster Bay in the cab. Cindy waited
for Ann to start asking about Mattheus, but, to Cindy’s surprise, she didn’t.

Ann
finally broke the silence lightly. “Glad to be coming home?” she asked.

“Very,”
said Cindy so definitively that Ann looked up at her, surprised.

“Good,”
Ann remarked, “very good. I hope you take the job, Cindy. It’s still waiting
for you.”

“I
know it is,” said Cindy.

“I
hope you stay, plant a root, build a new life, either in Oyster Bay or in
Manhattan,” Ann continued. “I know Clint’s family wants you to sell the house to
them. What’s so bad about that? It’ll force you to make a new start.”

“I
plan to keep the house,” Cindy replied.

“You
plan to stay and live here?” Ann jumped in.

“I
didn’t say that,” said Cindy. “But this house is important to me. I’m not ready
to part with it.”

“Keep
it if you want to then,” Ann replied, “but don’t keep running back to the
Caribbean. Don’t keep running after Mattheus.”

Cindy
felt stung. “I’m not running after Mattheus. We’re a team – we work together. I
go back to solve cases.”

“I
know all that,” said Ann, her voice dipping down, wearily. “I’ve heard it over
and over. It’s true and it’s not. I’ve always believed it’s Mattheus that draws
you back down there. You run down there to be with him.”

“That’s
insulting, Ann,” Cindy replied. “It invalidates the work I do.”

“I
have no desire to invalidate the work you,” Ann replied wearily. “Just do it
here, help crime victims in a big way. Write about them in the paper, take the
bad guys down. Don’t go running around in the Caribbean, putting yourself in
constant danger. You deserve more, Cindy. You really do.”

Cindy
didn’t want to get into a fight about this now, especially after Ann had gone
to the trouble to come to New York and prepare her home for her. Ann arrived a
couple of days early, aired the place out, filled the cabinets and fridge with
food, and taken the trouble come to the airport to pick Cindy up, even though Ann
herself had a flight to board tonight. Cindy knew Ann only wanted the best for
her. What Ann never understood though was how wonderful it felt to solve a
case, the meaning and power it brought to Cindy’s life.  Sure there was danger
in the Caribbean, thought Cindy. But there are all kinds of dangers in life, the
danger of not doing what you’re meant to do, the danger of taking the easy way
out, just marking time instead of really living.

“I’ve
arranged for a few people to drop in tomorrow afternoon to see you,” Ann changed
the topic as the cab took the familiar exit off the highway and turned towards
the street Cindy’s home was on. “I let some folks in town know you were
returning and they’re excited to come by and say hello. I prepared finger
sandwiches and cookies for them and plenty of fresh lemonade.”

There
was never a detail that Ann overlooked. Cindy hadn’t expected her sister to be
gone so quickly though after she came home. It would be nice to have a few
visitors then come over the next day. Ann was right, being with others would
help Cindy acclimate to her new environment.

The
cab pulled up to the cottage Cindy had lived in with Clint. It was always there,
a haven to return to. Now Clint’s family suddenly wanted to buy it from her, or
claim it as their own. But as Cindy got out of the cab and walked up to the
front door, she knew the place belonged to her. It always would. Clint’s spirit
was there and would always welcome her, give her a place to call home.

*

A
cool breeze greeted Cindy as she entered and looked around the fresh, cheerful space
she so loved. As soon as they entered Ann went into the kitchen to prepare
something to eat and Cindy brought her bags to her room.  It was early spring
and Ann had opened Cindy’s bedroom windows and placed a fresh bunch of daffodils
in a slim blue vase on a table beside her bed. It was good to be here, better
than she’d imagined. Ann was probably right about everything. Cindy should
probably settle awhile and take this opportunity to start again.

“Dinner’s
ready,” Ann called from the kitchen.

It
was only four o’clock in the afternoon, but Cindy was hungry, hadn’t eaten a
thing on the plane.

“Coming,”
Cindy called back, going to the familiar, pine wood kitchen.

Ann
had placed two egg salad sandwiches and small bowls of salad on the rectangular
table, along with glasses of fresh lemonade.

Cindy
sat down, surprised. Usually there was a warm dinner waiting.

“It’s
all I had time for today,” said Ann, noticing Cindy’s reaction.  “It’s been so
hectic getting ready for the Bermuda trip.”

“Of
course, of course,” Cindy suddenly remembered. “Where’s Frank? Is he meeting
you down there?”

“Yes,”
Ann replied. “Frank goes down to Bermuda from time to time these days to do a
little business. So he got down there a day or two earlier and I’m going to
meet him tonight.”

“That’s
wonderful,” Cindy was happy for her sister. “It’s good to get away.”

“It’s
crucial,” Ann echoed as she bit into her crunchy sandwich.

“Yup,”
Cindy agreed, biting into her sandwich as well. “Crucial to go and also crucial
to come home again.”

*

They
ate quickly and Cindy cleaned up, to free her sister to get ready to leave. Suddenly,
Cindy felt upset by her sister’s departure. “I have an idea,” she said, as Ann
rolled her suitcase into the living room. “Why don’t I drive you to the
airport?”

“There’s
no reason for it,” Ann seemed touched. “You’ve just taken a long trip
yourself.”

“But
I’d really like to,” Cindy objected. Ann had driven her so many times, she
wanted to return the kindness.

“Thanks,
sweetheart,” Ann replied, “but I’ve ordered a car to take me. It’s simpler.”

It
was simpler, and it made perfect sense, but Cindy felt sad at the thought of
her sister leaving so abruptly. They usually had more time together to catch up
on things. Cindy needed those few extra moments.

“I’ll
do it anyway,” Cindy insisted.

“No,
really, it’s better this way,” Ann repeated. “I’ll feel better thinking of you
settling back down, unwinding, taking the time you need. You run around too
much as it is already.”

Cindy
couldn’t bring herself to tell her sister that she just wanted a little more
time with her now.

“And
besides,” Ann said in a lighter tone, “Frank and I can stop back in New York
after our trip on our way home. He always enjoys being here. It will round out
the vacation. You and I can catch up then.”

“That
sounds good,” Cindy agreed and hugged Ann as the car arrived. Ann spotted it
through the window and waved at the driver. Then she turned around, blew Cindy
a kiss and rolled her suitcase out the front door.

*

After
Ann left the house felt strangely silent and empty. Cindy unpacked slowly, looking
at the photos of her and Clint that were still up on the walls. Their arms were
around each other, they were happy, carefree, looking forward to a bright life
together. It was as if no time had passed, as if everything stayed the same
forever, the way you had hoped it would be.

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