Sequel to Scandalous Lies
In Cane's Inlet, located on a barrier peninsula along the Jersey Shore, the lucrative summer season is fast-approaching, as is the Opening Night celebration of the Medusa Lounge, where Noah has secured a job. But working alongside the Hatcher's at their exclusive resort is complicated by his own investigation into the scandal that might connect them. With a family secret uncovered during a surreptitious visit to their mansion, Noah's quest to seek the truth behind his mother's deathbed confession takes on sudden credence. With the aid of his new lover, Demetri, as well as Cane's Inlet busybody Cilla Cane, the questions only deepen.
When another murder shocks the coastal village, Noah realizes that what's happening no longer concerns only himself, but perhaps all of Cane's Inlet. With a mystery dating back to the village's founding and the raising of the old pirate ship Medusa, no one is safe from being exposed, or from a desperate killer. For Noah, the truth might come at a price higher than he's willing to accept.
Noah awakened in the middle of the night, his body twisting in the sheets, as restless as his mind. There were so many details swirling around him, not least among them Roy Hatcher’s warning to him yesterday. At least the chief hadn’t impulsively arrested him, as he’d done with Demetri. The same judge would have thrown out the case for the same reason.
Lack of evidence.
But that didn’t mean the suspicion wouldn’t linger.
Still, the chief’s inept police work wasn’t anything Noah could focus on, not when the start of a new week -- and a new job -- was fast approaching. What consumed his dreams was the new life dawning before his eyes, he ironically thinking of it as a rebirth. This, in the face of two brutal and senseless murders. But those had nothing to do with him, he was convinced. He’d never met Donna Eldreth, and had only once encountered Cassie Lancaster Her refusal to answer his questions hardly qualified as motive for her killing. Chief Hatcher was trying to put a square peg in a round hole.
It didn’t stop him from thinking about the crimes. Cane’s Inlet had seemed so peaceful. On the surface, at least.
Distracted and unable to find sleep, he concentrated on how his first day at Hatcher’s would go. Would he have any interaction with Ginette, or Emerson? Surely he would with his immediate boss, Parker St. John. How awkward would that be considering their dangerous exchange aboard the Medusa? Would Parker act like his threat had never happened? Time would tell, as only a few more hours remained till his report time. Because it was three-thirty in the morning, and he had to arrive at the resort by nine o’clock. Noah dropped his head back to the soft pillow, closed his eyes and wished sleep would claim him. Five minutes passed, ten minutes, and cruelly, it hadn’t.
He flicked open his eyes and found himself staring at shadows creeping out over the ceiling, his thoughts drifting to last night at this same hour. He and Demetri locked in an embrace, kisses the finishing touches after making love. He felt a smile dart across his face in the darkness. Reaching over for his phone, charging on the bedtable beside him, he opened his messages icon. He reread the chain of texts from earlier.
Brunch shift over. Finally can check in. U OK?
Hi. Yes. Sorry to run off. I’ll explain. When i see you.
Hope that’s soon.
Not tonight. Start new job tomorrow.
I’m not going anywhere. Later this week. I’ll be in touch.
OK. Thx demetri. I had an amazing time. With you.
It won’t be the last. XO.
Their digital dialogue had occurred mid-afternoon, the only comforting moment of a rather unsettling day. He’d avoided any discussion of the second murder, not wanting to know whether Chief Hatcher had come to question Demetri, too. Given how his last encounter had gone with his initial suspect, Noah was sure the police would avoid going after Demetri until they had concrete evidence. For which they’d come up empty on that front. Noah and Demetri were each other’s alibi.
A blast of wind off the ocean smacked against the house, shaking the windows, rattling the shutters. He hoped another storm wasn’t brewing, not on the first day in which he had to cross the channel to Hatcher’s Island. Would the wind rile up the waves, jeopardizing the trip? It was a short boat ride, sure, but still Noah could see himself getting seasick. Not a good quality in a person who would be working aboard a ship, even docked as it was. Noah felt a new chill pervade the stark quiet of the room, so he put the phone down and burrowed deep under the covers. It took a minute before warmth returned to his body, but unfortunately, sleep remained elusive.
He’d never suffered insomnia before, and it was frustrating him to know he had to be at his sharpest in a few hours. Learning the job while keeping to his agenda was enough without adding yawning. Not accustomed to dealing with such duplicity, it was possible, he questioned during these lonely hours of the night on whether he’d taken on too much. He’d uprooted his entire life, moved to a place where no one knew him and where he knew no one. So much had happened in the past weeks, and yet there was so much yet to happen; too much to uncover. When the summer season began, would he even have time for himself? He had to spring into action, literally.
Suddenly he tossed back the covers, got out of bed. He walked over to the small wood desk in the corner, where he’d set up his laptop, and sat down. Thankfully the Ocean’s Breeze had free Wi-Fi, so he was quickly online. Not that he knew what he was looking for. He wasn’t even sure where to start his search. He’d already exhausted the links at the Hatcher Resort website, but he realized, in the sheer clarity that comes when all the world has gone quiet, was that whatever was going on here, it went beyond the Hatchers. It involved the entire town.