Page 38

Most of the funerary art was old, a lot of it broken, some covered with lichen, giving the cemetery a forlorn and haunting feel. Even the sidewalk that rimmed it was broken in places, tree roots cracking the concrete and breaking through. Too often the city looked to the new when it came to repairing things, seldom to the old.

She was just about to head into the cemetery itself when she felt the wave of cold rush over her, followed by the sensation of being followed. She turned around to look, but the sun was in her eyes, blinding her.

Suddenly she heard a car engine rev, and a vehicle went rushing by her, sending adrenaline jetting through her.

Had someone been planning to run her down? Or was she getting paranoid now, afraid of threats that existed only in her own mind?

She turned around again and saw a woman approaching her, a tall redhead, with stunning blue eyes, carrying a Jack Russell terrier. She was followed by another woman, and two men, one older and the other blond and extremely tall.

Maybe these people had been following her. They could have tracked her from inside the cemetery. Or had she been stalked by whoever was driving that car, and then they had hurriedly driven past because…

Because these people would have been witnesses if something had happened to her.

“Hello,” the redhead said. “Katherine? Katherine Kidd?”

“Yes. Who are you?” Katherine demanded.

“I’m Christina Hardy. I…well, I know this will sound very strange, but my grandfather was buried the same day as your brother. I…brought him some flowers.”

“How did you know who I was?” Katherine asked.

“You look like your brother,” Christina said.

“I look like my brother?”

“I’ve seen pictures,” Christina said quickly. “And these are friends of mine,” she said as the others caught up, then introduced them.

“How do you do?” Katherine said politely.

Should she be afraid? she wondered. There were four of them and only one of her.

But she no longer had that unnerving sense of being followed, the sense of danger that had tormented her before, and she realized that she had decided they meant her no harm, unlike the driver of the car, who…well, she wasn’t going to think about that right now.

“My brother was innocent,” she said without thinking. She should have recorded the words years ago, she thought. She could never stop herself from saying them.

“We know,” Christina Hardy told her. “Are you here to visit his grave? We’ll walk you back.”

Kathleen realized she must have looked spooked, because Christina spoke up again right away.

“I’m a…friend of Jed Braden’s, and I know you talked to him about looking into your brother’s case.”

“Yes,” Kathleen answered. She indicated the flowers in her arms. “Yes, I spoke to him about my brother, and yes, I’m here to visit Beau’s grave.”

“We’ll go with you,” Christina said. “And then we’ll see you back to your car.”

Kathleen felt a sudden fierce chill and wondered why she hadn’t felt it before. She was in danger. Grave danger. No pun intended, she thought, trying not to show her fear.

“Come in,” Michael McDuff said absently. He was busy planning a St. Patrick’s Day show for one of the parks. He thought if they worked on it, they could probably start right after Valentine’s Day and stretch St. Patrick’s Day out for an entire month.

Like Halloween.

“Hello, Mike.”

He should have sensed her coming; should have felt her. But he hadn’t. He’d been too absorbed in his project. He looked up.

Angela was back. He’d seen more of her in the past few days than he had in the past two years, he thought. And part of that time, they’d been married.

“Hello, Angela.”

She walked in and perched on the edge of his desk. He leaned back and asked, “What do you want?”

“Just checking in to see how you’re doing,” she said.

“No, you’re not.”

She crossed her arms over her chest and looked sullen for a moment, then apparently decided to be forthright for once. “I heard that the lead for Hera was hurt the other night.”


“Dan and I always got along pretty well, and I know he’s been cast as Zeus, so if they need another Hera…”

He shook his head, amazed at her gall. “I’m not the casting director. You know that. If I were, I certainly wouldn’t have put my own brother through the torture of waiting to hear if he got cast. And Marcie McDonnagh is going to be fine, not to mention that they cast her understudy, as well.”

Angela slid off his desk. “I just thought you should know that if, and I mean if, you discover that they need someone to cover until she’s ready to go back to work, I’m available.”

He shrugged. “Okay. You’re available.”

She smiled and, apparently thinking better of pushing further, left, swinging her hips as she went.

Once she was gone. he realized he had clenched his hands into fists in his lap. “I know where I’d like to have my hands,” he said out loud as he forcibly relaxed his fingers.

He stood, grabbed his jacket and started out of his office. No sense trying to work anymore today.

When they returned to the grave with Katherine Kidd, Beau was there. Christina saw his eyes as they lit on his sister. Saw the tears that welled in them.

“She’s beautiful, huh?” he asked Christina.

“Yes,” Christina replied without thinking.

“Yes?” Katherine Kidd looked at her, frowning.

“Is he here?” Adam asked Christina softly, but Katherine overheard.

Katherine’s eyes grew shielded, and she stared at Christina. “You’re not one of those kooks, are you?” she asked harshly.

“Tell her how much I love her,” Beau said. “Tell her how sorry I am that she had to suffer for what everyone said I did.”

Christina stood silent, swallowing.

Beau was nearly in tears, clearly wanting so badly to communicate with his sister in some way.

“Tell her that…that I had friends over my first year in college and we were drinking, and that’s why that stuffed dog she called Calliope wound up drenched in booze and had to be thrown away. I should have confessed to that sin a long time ago.”

Katherine started to turn away in disgust. The others were standing silent, waiting.

“Tell her. For the love of God, tell her!” Beau pleaded.

“Beau says…Beau wants me to tell you that you had a stuffed dog you called Calliope,” Christina said in desperation. “Beau had some friends over, and they spilled liquor on it, so you had to throw it away.” In her arms, Killer barked, as if for emphasis.

Katherine spun on her in sudden fury. “You’re horrible! A horrible person. I don’t know where you heard about that, but…you’re cruel. Stay away from me. Stay away from me, and stay away from my family!”

She walked away, her stride long and determined.

Silence followed her exit, except for Beau, who began to cry. But only Christina heard him.

Suddenly he stopped crying and said emphatically, “She shouldn’t be alone. Not right now.”

“Beau thinks we should follow her,” Christina said tensely.

“Follow her?” Genevieve said in disbelief. “She’d probably call the cops on us.”

“Call Jed,” Thor suggested. “Tell him to call her and ask her to meet him…where?”

“At O’Reilly’s,” Genevieve offered.

“Perfect,” Christina said. “We can follow discreetly and make sure she’s not in any trouble without scaring her even worse,” she said, already dialing.

Jed sounded both surprised and wary when she explained as much as she could. He was clearly hesitant to do as she asked. “Jed, I’m afraid for her,” Christina finally said, and that was all it took. He promised to call Katherine right away, and she hung up.

“He’ll protect my sister?” Beau asked anxiously.

“Yes,” Christina said, and Beau let out a sigh of relief. “What don’t you follow her? Why don’t you let someone else see you?” she demanded.

He stared at her. “Don’t you think I would if I could?”

Killer whined. Christina let him hop out of her arms, and he ran right over to Beau and lowered his head to nudge the man affectionately.

“Killer can see him,” Genevieve said.

“Great. Me, and my little dog, too,” Christina said. “Come on. Let’s go catch up to Katherine and follow her to O’Reilly’s. At least we can get lunch.”

Jed didn’t know why he felt such a sense of urgency, but he drove faster than he should have and arrived at O’Reilly’s within minutes of Christina’s call, grateful that Katherine had agreed to a meeting at the pub.

He entered and immediately saw her at one of the high tables near the bar. He was relieved to see that she seemed to be okay.

“Have you learned anything that can help Beau?” she asked him eagerly as soon as he sat down.

“Anything I tell you is my own opinion, and nothing official, you know that.”

“Of course. I know you’re not a cop.”

“I’m sure there’s a connection between the victims, but I’m not sure what it is yet.”

“Great,” she muttered.

“I think I know a few things that may get us closer to the truth, though.”


“Larry Atkins pulled his weapon too quickly, but I don’t think he’s a murderer.”

Her features hardened. “He is a murderer. He murdered my brother.”

“He shot him,” Jed said quietly. “It’s not the same thing.”

She waved a hand dismissively. “Beau is still dead. And despite the rising body count, most people still believe he was a psychotic killer. Larry Atkins received a nice pension, and he’s living out in the hills with his horses. Excuse me for being just a little bit bitter.”