Hello! I hope you had a fabulous weekend. Mine was good, but totally overbooked. I had not planned on taking a break from blogging over the weekend, but unfortunately it happened. I have a bunch of stuff to show you, but I will try to stagger the blogs out.
Episode 7: The Mansion is out almost everywhere!
I don’t have a link yet for Barnes and Noble, but hopefully soon.
Now, on to the first scene of The Mansion:
Charisse wanted to blast the stereo in the car. The silence between her and Raul seemed louder than the wind howling outside and the rain hitting the windows. She knew why Conor was mad, but she had no idea what was wrong with Raul.
The privacy glass was up, so there was no talking to Conor. She didn’t even know if he was conscious. He’d looked like a demon before dropping into the backseat with his eyes red and practically glowing in anger.
Charisse was torn between compassion for Conor on seeing Becca at the banquet and her own anger. She was the one who should be mad—furious even. She hadn’t wanted to go to the banquet in the first place. Becca had called her a whore, and her father thought she was dating a murderer. What if Conor was a murderer? She pushed back the thought for the millionth time. It was absurd.
When they hit the highway, she reached out to turn the radio on. Raul spoke before she reached the knob.
“Did you actually accuse Mr. Grishin of killing his wife?” Each word was sharp like a needle. The red lights of the dashboard gave his tan skin an angry glow.
“No!” said Charisse, relieved that Raul had finally spoken. “Daddy hired a private investigator who dug up something about Conor paying off a reporter to not run a story about the police investigating him for murder. I was blindsided by it. I wanted to come out and talk to you, but Conor thought I was running away from him.” Her words spilled out in one long stream without a breath.
“Your father hired him?” asked Raul. Then he switched to Spanish. Charisse understood some of it. Her mother taught her Spanish, but she hadn’t stuck with it.
She caught something about Daddy paying off a few people to hush up speculations about her mother disappearing.
“Daddy paid people off when Mother left?”
“He shut down all the gossip columns. Fortunately it was before social media, otherwise it would’ve been a Twitter frenzy.”
Charisse fell silent. She’d only been seven, but it seemed like she should have some sort of idea how Mother leaving affected her social life. But she’d just focused on school and dance. Her father had even signed her up for extra classes.
“How do you know all this? You left.”
“I quit driving and doing other daily tasks for your father. It was just too…Anyway, I did other things for him before I quit entirely.” Sadness crept into his voice, and his face drooped, making him appear older.
She drew her eyebrows together and stared back at Raul. It had never occurred to her that he had feelings about her mother or the time he spent working for her family. He’d been a servant one day and gone the next. God, she was as bad as Marie. Not knowing how to respond, she snapped the radio on and twirled and untwirled a strand of hair to the jazz music. At last she brought the conversation back around to Conor. “What about Conor? Becca was at the banquet, and I was surprised that he put up with her bitchiness. Then the investigator told me that Becca said Elise wanted a divorce and Conor killed her instead.”
Raul drew in a sharp breath. “Becca has been holding that over Conor for three years. But she never approached the police to accuse Conor of murder. She just manipulates the guilt he feels for her own gain. Have you any idea how many business schemes he’s funded for her?”
“I didn’t know anything about her before tonight. I don’t know anything about Conor at all.” She kicked her heels off and drew her knees up to her chest, not caring if she might ruin a thousand dollar dress. Conor should’ve told her about Becca and what happened to Elise.
“I’m sorry,” said Raul with regret in his voice. “I’ve spoken out of line tonight. But Mr. Grishin is one of the finest people I’ve worked for. I wouldn’t want to be across the desk from him during a business deal, but he’s generous to his employees and those closest to him. He never fought with Mrs. Grishin until…sorry. I’m just trying to say he didn’t kill his wife.”
She laid her head on her knees, wishing she was in the back with Conor. “How did Elise die then?” she asked.
“That’s for Mr. Grishin to tell you.”
She let out a long breath. She’d probably never know.