This is the last installment and Caron Smith is the writer who gets to wrap everything up. I hope you enjoyed this series that appeared in a local newspaper here in Oklahoma. We are in a critique group and decided to do this little "adventure."
Caron Smith is a Jenks alumni. She writes romantic suspense and is a member of RWA, WIN, RWI, KOD, OWFI, ACFW and Tulsa Night Writers.
Murder on Main Street-part 6 (last installment)
By Caron Smith
KINGFISHER ANNUAL RATTLESNAKE HUNT: The words stamped on the burlap sack jumped out at Tory. Her heart pounded in her throat as she pulled the empty bag into the front seat. What did this mean? Slowly, an ugly suspicion filtered through her mind. The same fear that had erupted when she’d found the rattlesnake clogged her senses. Barry was her fiancé. Had he tried to kill her?
At that moment Barry burst through the tea shop door. A glaring look of sheer contempt covered his face as he glanced at the sack in her hand. Instantly, she knew the truth. Barry was guilty. But, why?
He rounded the car and jumped into the driver's side, shoving her hard onto the passenger seat. He flipped on the child locks, trapping her in the vehicle.
“What's going on? I thought you loved me. We're supposed to get married."
"That was only a backup plan. Think about it. I'm a banker. I bought your loan. With you out of the picture, all of this will be mine." He swept his arm out, indicating the tea shop and the land adjacent to it. I've got millions riding on this deal."
"I don’t understand."
"There’s nothing for you to understand. It’s all legal and above board. When they find your body in the lake, they’ll simply think you fell off your favorite lookout. Then, I’ll be rich.” He pulled out a revolver and jammed it against her ribs.
Tory gasped. "You don't have the guts to kill me in cold blood."
"I prefer the lake, but I'll do whatever I have to do to get my hands on your property."
Choking back tears of disappointment, Tory straightened and met his gaze. "You murdered Gilford Richards, but his death was a mistake. You intended to kill me with that poisonous tea. The bookcase didn't simply fall by accident, you pushed it. Then, you put that snake in my car. But you failed, and you're going to fail again."
"Don't underestimate me. Give me the keys, Tory. We're getting out of here right now. "
"In a pig's eye," Tory yelled. She jumped forward, keys poised in her grip, aiming straight for his eyes.
Barry dodged the blow, dropping the gun. With only a moment's hesitation, he grabbed the keys and started the car. The car lurched forward, but a police cruiser zoomed into his path. Detective Jamison jumped out, his weapon drawn and ready to fire.
Barry threw the car in reverse, but a fire truck raced up behind, blocking his getaway.
Detective Jamison nodded at another officer, who moved toward Barry.
Tory reached down for the gun. Barry shoved her hand away and grabbed the weapon. He unlocked the door and jumped from the car. Outside, a deputy was waiting and knocked the gun from Barry's hand.
Before Tory knew what was happening, her door was wrenched open, and Detective Jamison pulled her out of the car and into his arms.
"Thank God you're okay. Mrs. Beavers used the fire extinguisher to put out the fire and then called 911.”
“She did? I was afraid Barry had hurt her.”
“No, he tried, but she faked him out. When her 911 call came in I was afraid I'd be too late to save you."
"No, you're right on time," Tory murmured as she settled into his embrace.
"You're pretty shaky," he said. “You need to sit down and relax.”
"So do you. I’ll ask Mrs. Beavers to fix us a cup of my specialty tea."
He smiled when he saw the promise in her eyes. "If that's 'tea for two,' I'm your man."
You certainly are, Tory thought.