Saturday, February 13, 2010
Killer Chocolate -- A Valentine Mystery (#13)
Part 13 by Cara C. Putman
Something in Rouen's voice stopped Lovey in her tracks. She followed him, almost blindly, as he helped her onto the ledge, but all she wanted to do was curl up in a corner with Cupid and pretend that everything had been nothing more than a terrible dream.
She shivered as her wet clothes soaked through to her skin. Cupid yowled in her arms, furious at being subjected to the water. Lovey clutched the cat more tightly, determined not to lose her feline friend as she'd lost her fiance and best friend. Though as she watched Rouen through her daze she wondered...what if she was wrong...what if he was Ryan returning to her like a phantom in the night. If he was, the man in front of her had five-years worth of explaining to do before she threw him off the ledge.
A hand grabbed her ankle, and Lovey screamed.
"Don't think you can get rid of me that easily." Athena pulled herself up next to them, shaking water logged hair from her eyes. Her hands were conspicuously empty, but her eyes held a venom that terrified Lovey. She wouldn't be surprised if her "friend" suddenly threw her from the ledge into the climbing water.
Rouen studied Athena, his body set on high alert.
"Give me that diamond." The words hissed from Athena's mouth.
Lovey stepped back until she felt sharp rock poke into her back. Maybe if she hid in the shadows that terrible woman would forget about her. She held her breath as she waited for Rouen's reply.
"You know I can't give it to you, Athena."
"Going to continue to play the game are you, Ryan? Well, I'm sick of it. This isn't the time to ride in like a white knight and save the day. If you haven't noticed we're all trapped."
Lovey stared at Rouen/Ryan. Yes, she'd begun to suspect but to learn the truth in such a manner. She didn't know whether to hug or beat the man. Ryan glanced at her out of the corner of his eye, an apology hidden there. It would take more than a look to right the last five years.
Athena lunged at Ryan, grappling for the diamond he still clutched in his hand. Ryan fell to the ground as she beat at him, and then rolled on top of Athena. Lovey watched, a firm grasp on Cupid, and wondered if she should try to help. All she could do was kick and she was as likely to land a kick on Ryan as on Athena -- though at the moment she'd like to do a lot more than that to the man.
"Lovey, here. Take this." Ryan handed her the diamond. Athena took advantage of his momentary distraction to wriggle away from him. He lunged for her, but she side-stepped only to step right off the edge into the rushing water. Lovey screamed -- the sound richocheting off the rock walls.
Ryan grabbed her, clutching her to him. Cupid meowed a protest then snuggled in. "I'm so sorry, Lovey. This isn't how I wanted to tell you."
She sobbed against his jacket, savoring the feel of his hands brushing her hair. Being in his arms felt like a homecoming. Even after all the time that had passed.
Water brushed her toes, and she startled. "Ryan, we have to find a way out. The water's risen to our feet."
Reluctantly he stepped away from her. "See that slit up there. It's wider than it looks. It's how I got in here once before. If we can reach it, we can squeeze through."
He boosted her onto a rock and then took Cupid from her. Patiently, he told her how to find hand and foot holds until she reached the carved out hole and could shimmy out. Then he handed Cupid up to her and pulled himself out.
A moment later they stood staring at each other...