Please enjoy the end of Episode 6!
Charisse wanted to leave. She could call Marie tomorrow and catch up about Armand, but her father pulled her away from Conor like the wind carrying a leaf.
“Daddy, everything went well at the banquet. I don’t want to press my luck.”
Her father didn’t answer. He kept pulling her through the crowd. At last, he pushed her into a chair at one of the tables, grabbed a glass of wine off a waiter’s tray and put it down in front of Charisse.
Roy stayed standing and said, “Charisse, this is Dale. He’s done some investigating for me, and I want you to hear him out.”
“Investigating? Into what? I just want to leave.”
The man in the chair next to her was about her father’s age and only a little less round. He put his hand on her arm. “It’s okay. Your father’s just trying to protect you.”
Charisse shoved her chair away, yanking her arm from his grasp. “I don’t need protection.”
Where had all this been when Josh was hitting her? She’d never told anyone, but at least Marie had suspected. A glance at the head table showed Conor deep in conversation with Becca. It was obvious she wasn’t going anywhere for a while. Remembering her father had been the one to get rid of Josh, she tried to relax and listen.
“How long have you been dating Conor Grishin?” asked Dale.
“That’s none of your business.”
Roy sat down and said, “For Christ’s sake, we’re just trying to help.”
“I don’t need help when it comes to Conor.”
“Has he told you how his wife died?” asked the investigator.
Something flashed through her mind. Daddy had mentioned Conor’s wife earlier at the salon. “No, it hasn’t come up. I can tell he’s still recovering from it.”
“Lower your voice,” her father urged the man. “I just want Charisse to hear this, not the whole room.”
“Sorry,” Dale whispered. “She died in a zip line ‘accident’. Conor paid off a reporter who overheard the police say they were investigating it as a murder.”
Several scenes flashed through her mind. Oddly, Josh punching her eye was the first one, followed by Conor cradling her in his arms.
“And what did the police decide?” She heard herself ask the question in a faint voice.
“They decided it was a tragic accident. But Conor paid off the reporter. I’m sure he had plenty for the police as well.”
“Did you find it?”
“Excuse me?” asked Dale.
“Did you find evidence of Conor paying off the police?”
“No, but I talked to his wife’s sister tonight.” He leaned in further and lowered his voice to where she could barely hear. “Becca says Elise wanted a divorce. She thinks Conor murdered her instead.”
Charisse shoved her chair back and stood up. She stormed through the banquet hall, away from her father’s pleas for her to stay. She needed to get out of the hotel. She felt like there was no air. All the people in the room had stolen the oxygen from her. Guests blocked her way, but she pushed through and out the door into the hallway.
Josh had been so smooth and nice when they first met but turned into a rat bastard later. Conor had been a rat bastard to begin with but had turned kind and thoughtful when they’d been alone together. Had the request for a divorce driven Conor to murder the way she’d driven Josh to hit her?
She rushed down the hall in her gold heels. Maybe Raul was already outside, waiting with the car. Maybe she could talk to him. Raul wouldn’t work for someone he thought was a murderer.
“Charisse!” Conor’s voice echoed through the hallway.
She stopped, turned and tripped on her gown, landing on the floor. Conor jogged to her and lifted her to her feet.
His sapphire eyes were bloodshot, and she wasn’t sure if he was holding her up or she was propping him up. “Why are you running away? I was just about to come get you.”
“I was going to wait for you in the car. I wanted to talk to Raul.”
He frowned. “Becca said you and Roy were talking with a private investigator.”
“We were.” She stared at him, wanting to trust him. But she thought of all the times she’d had poor judgment.
He stood up straighter and gripped her arm in anger rather than as a crutch. “I see. I assume Roy wanted you to know you were dating a possible murderer.”
“Yes, but I didn’t want to believe any of it. That’s why I wanted to talk to Raul.”
“Why not me?”
“Because I’m a terrible judge of character.”
Conor stepped forward and dragged her behind him.
“Ow, you’re hurting me. Where are we going?”
“You’re still mine. We’re going wherever I want.”
He loosened his grip to where it didn’t hurt anymore, but she wouldn’t be able to get away. She could make a scene and attract enough attention that she might be able to make a break for it, but she didn’t want to. Becca was a bitch, and she didn’t know anything about Dale.
She needed quiet. She needed time by herself and time alone with Conor. His words from earlier that night echoed through her head. “And if you’d told me you were in pain or sick, I would’ve gotten you to the hospital right away.”
Their footsteps rang through the empty lobby. She needed to say something to him to defuse his anger, but her emotions jumbled her brain. He pushed the doors open, and a gust of wind whipped back her hair, chilling her skin.
“Is everything all right, sir?” said Raul from the car.
“I have a migraine,” said Conor. “Charisse will be sitting in the front with you. Take us to the Hamptons, where I allegedly killed my wife.”