“So what about Mr. Griffin?” Caleb prompted.

“He can’t still be living,” Will said.

“He is. He wandered into my house,” Sarah said.

“What? Impossible—he has to be dead. He was older than time twenty years ago,” Will told her.

“He’s one hundred and two,” Sarah said.

“And off his rocker, I’ll bet,” Will said. “You might not remember what happened, but I do. I was grounded for a week when he called my mother. Just for running through his yard!” He snorted indignantly.

“Why are you so bothered by seeing him tonight?” Caroline asked.

“I’d like to know how the hell he got into your house,” Caleb added.

Sarah looked at him, the silver in her eyes shimmering like mercury. “I just stopped by the house to see if anyone was still working, and they weren’t. I was on my way back out when he walked in.”

“You didn’t lock the door?” Will demanded.

“Sarah!” Caroline said.

“Please, you should know better,” Barry told her.

“Oh, come on. Don’t start on me!” Sarah protested, turning to stare at Caleb. It was obvious in the way she looked at him that she thought this was all his fault for asking how the man had gotten into the house.

Well, she might be pissed, but too bad. He was glad that he had spoken. With this much pressure from her friends, she wasn’t likely to make the mistake again.

But it sure as hell wasn’t going to help him any in his quest to get to know her better.

“What did the man say?” he asked quickly. Maybe if he shifted the conversation’s focus, it would improve his position with her.

She hesitated briefly, then shrugged. “He said that my house is evil, that it’s haunted. He’s convinced that it…did something to his daughter back in the nineteen twenties.”

“He thinks the house did something to her?” Will asked, confused.

“What? Does he think your house eats people or something?” Renee asked, bewildered.

“No, no. I feel sorry for the man, actually. His daughter was on her way to my house to meet a friend—a mutual friend of one of the Brennan girls, the people who were living there then—and she disappeared,” Sarah explained.

She had finished off Caroline’s beer. Caroline picked up her empty glass and studied it sadly.

Caleb turned around and motioned to the waitress, making a circle in the air to indicate a round of drinks for the table. She nodded.

“Poor man,” Caroline said. “Imagine, living all those years—and never knowing what happened to your kid.”

“What if her bones were in the walls?” Sarah said.

“What?” Will demanded, grimacing.

“We don’t know anything yet, really,” Sarah told him. “Maybe his daughter was killed and put into the walls eighty years ago.”

Caleb leaned forward. “Floby thought the bodies were all from around the same time period, back around the Civil War,” he told her.

“I hope he’s right,” Sarah murmured.

The drinks came. When the waitress set a beer in front of Sarah, she frowned, as if wondering how it had gotten there. Then she shrugged and drank.

“Here’s the thing,” Renee said. “You really shouldn’t go back to that place.”

“That place has my life savings invested in it,” Sarah said.

“Stop being a cliché,” Caroline said, exasperated. “Every stupid horror movie aggravates the audience for the same reason—if a place is that bad, get the hell out! Come on. Your life is worth more than some building, even one you’ve coveted since we were kids. Come and move in with me.”

Sarah laughed and hugged her friend. “Caroline, my life hasn’t been threatened. Nothing bad has happened to anyone in that house for…well, maybe ever. I mean, dumping bodies out of coffins and stashing them in the walls is gross, but if Floby is right, it all happened a long time ago, and that means there’s nothing for me to worry about.”

“But you’re not going to stay there tonight, are you?” Barry asked her.

“The house hasn’t done anything,” Sarah said again, reaching for her drink.

Caroline was holding onto her own glass tightly now.

“That old guy startled me, that’s all,” Sarah said, looking around from one to the other of them. “It’s terrible of me to be so upset.”

“Not so terrible. He was a mean old bastard,” Will said.

“That’s a horrible thing to say!” Sarah protested.

“Well, he was.”

Sarah looked at Caleb. “So how was your day?”

“Not very eventful,” he said, keeping his new information to himself for the moment. “A lot of running around. But it was a start, and at least I’m not going to have to do it again.”

“Nothing in Jacksonville?” she asked.

“Just a lot of legwork,” he said.

He had a feeling she was trying to get him to talk because she didn’t want to be pressured anymore; he had a feeling, though, that she hadn’t told the group what she was really thinking, or maybe she hadn’t told them everything Mr. Griffin had said. But he wasn’t about to say that he might have taken a few steps forward and was certain now that Jennie Lawson was dead, and that she had been killed here in St. Augustine.

He lifted his glass to Sarah and turned the topic right back to her. “So how did your encounter with Mr. Griffin end?”

“His nurse showed up looking for him. Her name is Cary Hagan, and she’s the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen,” Sarah told them.

“Oh, yeah?” Caroline said. “Well, you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.” She looked at Caleb as if for confirmation.

Sarah turned to stare at her friend, completely baffled. She had confidence in herself, Caleb realized, but she had a complete lack of vanity and was genuinely dumbfounded by what Caroline had said.

“No, I mean she was perfect. Like walk-off-a-GQ-cover perfect. If you ever see her, you’ll know what I mean,” Sarah said. “I bet she’ll show up in here one night.”

“Come on, the city isn’t that small,” Will argued.

“Shh, don’t look now,” Renee said suddenly. “I think she just came in.”

Of course they all turned to see.

“I said don’t look,” Renee said. “And she’s not just here—she’s here with Tim Jamison.”

“You don’t know that,” Caroline argued. “She walked in and he walked in, but that doesn’t mean they came together. Besides, we don’t even know if we’re talking about the same person.”

“That is one of the most gorgeous women I’ve ever seen,” Barry said, and Renee whacked him playfully on the arm. “Hey! I’m not blind, you know. And as a totally objective observation, she’s stunning. So, Sarah, is that the woman you were talking about?”

Sarah, who was staring wide-eyed at the door, simply nodded.

“Look,” Caroline said. “She’s talking to Tim. Maybe they did come in together.”

“Tim is married,” Renee pointed out.

“I’ll go say hello and introduce you all,” Sarah said.

“You don’t need to do that,” Caroline protested.

“Why not?” Sarah asked, clearly puzzled.

Caleb hid a smile. She obviously didn’t realize that Caroline was trying to steer the two of them together.

“Well, because—”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Sarah said, and left them, winding her way through the tables. All of them were silent, staring at Cary, who seemed startled when Sarah reached her. She quickly smiled, though, and then, as Sarah spoke, she looked toward their table—and caught all of them staring at her. She smiled and waved, and they had no choice but to wave back.

Sarah led Cary over to their table. As they approached, Caleb stood, followed by Barry and Will.

Sarah was smiling like a cat with a canary as she introduced everyone. “Cary Hagan, I’d like you to meet my cousin Will, and my friends and coworkers Renee Otten, Barry Travis and Caroline Roth. And this is Caleb Anderson, who’s just in town for a visit. Everyone, Cary Hagan.”

“Hello, everyone. It’s a pleasure to meet you. I haven’t lived in the area very long, and on the rare occasions when I get out, I usually head up the coast. Now that I’ve met you guys, maybe I won’t feel like such an outsider coming in here.”

The woman really was stunning, Caleb thought, right down to the dimples that flashed when she smiled. They added a touch of mischief to her features and countered her regal stature.

“Consider yourself an insider now,” Will said gallantly. “Come and hang with us anytime. In fact, join us now.”

“Really? Thank you.”

Caleb had the sense that Sarah was feeling proud of herself, certain she had proven that the other woman wasn’t there with Tim Jamison.

“So you’re a nurse?” Caroline asked.

“Yes. The thing is, Mr. Griffin is in excellent physical health. He moves slowly, but he’s never broken a bone, he exercises every day, and he takes his medicine without complaining. He’s the perfect patient. Most of the time, anyway. Today…well, I guess Sarah told you what happened? The news keeps going on about that missing girl and the bones in the walls of the old Grant house, and his daughter disappeared years and years ago on her way there. I think all this talk has caused a mental…tremor, I guess. He’s a real sweetie, really. I swear.”

“Well, if it isn’t a class reunion,” Tim Jamison said, suddenly looming up beside their table. He didn’t seem pleased as he pulled up a chair, nudging in between Caroline and Sarah.

“You look grouchy,” Sarah told him.

“What can I say? I get cranky when a local girl disappears without a trace,” he said, shaking his head. “I see you’ve all met Cary.”