The link to buy Episode 7: The Mansion is live at Barnes and Noble!
A couple hours later they pulled into a private drive. Wind rocked the car, but the rain had stopped, leaving a fog over everything. She didn’t know how Raul was driving now that there were no lights except the car’s. The privacy glass blocked her from Conor like the fog blocked the view. She wanted to be with him and ease his migraine. They needed to fix the fractures in their relationship before they grew into fissures.
Raul drove slowly on a curvy path. At last she saw patches of lights in the fog that looked like a quilt. Maybe that was the mansion. They stopped, and someone opened her door right away. Raul was out before her, ordering somebody to help Conor inside. She stepped out to see two men hoisting Conor up with his arms around their shoulders. They tried to move him into the house, but Conor wouldn’t budge.
He stared at her but spoke to Raul. “Find a room for her. I don’t want to be disturbed.”
Conor turned away, pushed off from the two men helping him and walked forward alone.
Charisse wanted to slap him. There was so much to talk about, and he was just walking away from her. She didn’t care if he owned her.
“Conor!” she called, stepping through the fog toward him.
“What?” he growled, looking feral with his bloodshot eyes.
“There’s a lot to discuss.”
“Like all the stuff we should’ve talked about when you decided to run away from me instead?”
“I wasn’t running from you. I needed to get away from my dad and that investigator. I didn’t even want to go to that banquet, but you dragged me there. You had to make your point that I’m yours. Well if I’m yours, why am I sleeping in a guest bedroom?”
The servants had disappeared behind her, but they could be a couple feet away for all she knew. She just couldn’t find it in herself to care about what other people thought like she usually did.
Conor stepped toward her and leaned in. “Because I can’t be with someone who thinks I killed Elise.”
“Tell me what happened. You know all about Josh, but you won’t open up about Elise. I haven’t wanted to ask. I was hoping you’d talk about it on your own, but you never do. No wonder you get headaches.”
Conor narrowed his eyes like he was about to yell at her, but then he turned and walked away.
Charisse wrapped her arms around herself, realizing she was shivering. Raul came up beside her and gently put his arm around her shoulder.
“This way,” he said. “Watch the steps. There’s a handrail here.”
She managed to get up the steps with Raul’s help. Inside, her eyes took a moment to adjust. A large living room opened up before her with polished wood floors. The walls were white, and paintings hung on them with lighting just like in a museum. Unlike a museum, it was a hodgepodge of time periods.
White leather couches and chairs that appeared untouched had been placed here and there. Her nerves tightened even more as she stood and stared. This wasn’t welcoming like his apartment. The mansion intimidated her. A double staircase at the back of the room was so elegant with a gold banister curving around that it seemed like more artwork.
Raul led her to the right side of the double staircase and up. At the top of the landing, she saw a hallway leading off to the left that was completely dark. The landing had a railing between the hallways and seemed to overlook another room at the back of the house. A giant crystal vase stood at the railing with huge glass roses in a stunning deep blue. She wanted to walk to the vase to get a better look, but Raul turned her to the right towards a dimly lit hallway with only one sconce shining in the middle. She saw a door at the far end close.
Raul opened the first door on the left and said, “We always keep this room ready for guests. I’ll have your bags brought up. There’s a TV in the armoire and plenty of books. I’ll text you so you have my number in case you need anything.” He left before she could ask any questions. She knew he regretted talking so much earlier.
Charisse sat on the edge of the queen-sized bed, sinking into a blue satin comforter. There was no footboard, but the headboard was flat with white leather. The armchair in the corner matched the bed. White leather seemed to be a theme. Two bookshelves on either side of the bed were packed with books. She’d look at them later. She lay on her side waiting for her bags so she could get some sleep. Tomorrow Conor would feel better, and they could talk. Really talk.