by Maris Soule
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Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published by: Five Star Publishing
Release Date: May 20, 2015
Length: 281 Pages
P.J. Benson knows Sheriff’s Detective Wade Kingsley wouldn’t blow up his own boat to kill his ex-wife and her new husband, Michael Brewster. Sure, Wade wasn’t happy that his ex was taking their six-year-old son, Jason, to live in California, but Wade and Jason were also onboard the boat when it blew up. Wade would never have endangered his son that way. Nevertheless, the investigating detectives consider Wade their prime suspect, and Wade’s ex in-laws loudly accuse him and threaten to file for custody of Jason.
Under the circumstances, P.J. is certain this isn’t the right time to tell Wade she’s pregnant, but bouts of morning sickness give her away. Wade is upset by the news. P.J. wonders if it’s because he’s afraid he’ll be put in prison for a double homicide he didn’t commit, or if he’s afraid the new baby will cause P.J. to become schizophrenic, as was the case with her mother. Even P.J. is worried about that. Although Wade doesn’t want her playing detective, P.J. soon discovers that Michael Brewster wasn’t as great a guy as everyone thought. But did anyone hate the man enough to kill him?
As I headed for the room number Ginny had given me, I thought back over the four months I’ve known Wade. The first time I saw him, he reminded me of Nicolas Cage and Tom Cruise wrapped up in one man. He certainly didn’t look like a homicide detective. Back then he thought I’d murdered someone. That or I was crazy, like my mother. We've had a couple more misunderstandings since then, but for the most part we’ve gotten along quite well—in bed and out. On the other hand, there are times when he can be stubborn, irritating, and unreasonable. As I neared his room, it sounded like he was being all three.
“I’m fine,” he bellowed. “I do not need to be in bed.”
“Until the doctor releases you,” a feminine voice said, “you need to stay put.”
“Damn the doctor. I told them downstairs I need to get back to South Haven.”
“Are you giving the nurse a bad time?” I asked as I entered the room.
Wade made a grunting sound as he looked my way. “They’re treating me as if I’m sick. I hit my head, that’s all.”
The poor nurse looked at me and shook her head. “He’s supposed to rest.”
“Be a good boy, Wade. Do as she says. Put your legs back up on the bed and rest.”
He glared at me—at both the nurse and me—but he put his legs back up on the mattress and allowed her to pull a sheet up to his waist. He didn’t lay back, so I asked, “Can he have the bed cranked up, so he can be in a seated position?”
“If it will keep him in bed, I guess so.”
She didn’t make a move, and neither did Wade, so I stepped closer and pushed the button that raised the back so Wade could be in a fully seated position. “That better?” I asked.
He grumbled, but gave a slight nod, then winced.
He had a four-inch square bandage on his forehead, and I could see some discoloration along the side of his face, but it wasn’t until he went to lean back against the pillow behind him and grimaced that I knew it wasn’t just his forehead that had been injured.
“If you need anything, press that button,” the nurse said, indicating the red one on the corded remote.
Wade grunted, and she quickly left. I’m sure she was glad to leave him to me. He clearly wasn’t in a good mood.
“You seen Jason?”
“I just left him. He’s with Ginny.”
“He seems fine. They’re waiting for the results on a couple of tests, then, Ginny said, she’ll bring him by your room.”
“That or I’ll pick him up as I leave.”
“I don’t think they want you leaving today.”
Again the glare. “I’m fine. I hit my head, that’s all.”
“Uh-huh. And how many stitches?” I asked, pointing at the bandage on his forehead.
“I don’t know.” He gave me a crooked smile. “Maybe fifteen.”
“And the back of your head?”
“I have a little goose-egg, that’s all.”
I reached behind his head, but I’d barely touched his scalp before he let out a yelp. From what I could feel, his “little goose-egg” was more like an ostrich egg. “How did you hit both the back and the front of your head?”
“I don’t know.” He let out a deep sigh. “I don’t remember anything from the time Linda and that arrogant bastard she married finally arrived at the boat with Jason until I found myself on a stretcher, being lifted into a helicopter.” He narrowed his eyes. “I don’t even remember that very well. It wasn’t until they poked my head with a needle that I really started focusing on what was happening.”
“You don’t remember taking the boat out on Lake Michigan?”
He started to shake his head, but immediately stopped. “Not a thing.”
The pupils of his eyes were dilated, and since Wade doesn’t do drugs, and it was fairly light in the room, I figured the doctors were right, he did have a concussion. I’d heard how people who had concussions often couldn’t remember what happened before or even after the accident. Some lost entire days. Sometimes the memories came back; sometimes they never did.
“I do remember Linda said they didn’t want to fish,” Wade grumbled. “Here she insists she wants to go on this fishing trip with Jason and me, that both she and Brewster want to go along, and then as soon as she arrives—an hour late, at that—she starts making a fuss about going fishing. I’d even brought fishing poles for the two of them.”
“But they did go out on the boat with you? With you and Jason?”
“They must have.” Wade looked out beyond the end of the bed, and I could tell he was trying to remember.
“Do you have any idea where you and Jason were when the boat blew up?”
“No.” Wade looked back at me. “You haven’t heard anything about Linda?”
“So they’re not here, not in the hospital?”
“I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think so.”
From his expression, I knew what Wade was thinking. If Linda and her husband were on the boat and had been thrown to safety, Linda would be with Jason now. The woman had become paranoid since telling Wade that she and her new husband were moving to California and taking Jason with them. She was sure Wade was going to do something to stop her.
“If she was on the boat . . .” I started to say, but didn’t finish. The thought of what might have happened to Linda—to both Wade’s ex and her new husband—caused my stomach to lurch.
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Writer, teacher, artist, wife, mother, dog trainer, horse rider, boater. Maris Soule can list an array of occupations and avocations. Even as a writer her 29 published books span a variety of genres and subgenres, ranging from short stories to romances, romantic suspense, and mystery. A two-time RITA finalist, Soule has placed in and won several writing contests. Born and raised in California, Soule and her husband now spend their summers in Michigan and their winters in Florida.