MURDER TAKES THE HIGH ROAD
Librarian Carter Matheson is determined to enjoy himself on a Scottish bus tour for fans of mystery author Dame Vanessa Rayburn. Sure, his ex, Trevor, will also be on the trip with his new boyfriend, leaving Carter to share a room with a stranger, but he can't pass up a chance to meet his favorite author.
Carter's roommate turns out to be John Knight, a figure as mysterious as any character from Vanessa's books. His strange affect and nighttime wanderings make Carter suspicious. When a fellow traveler's death sparks rumors of foul play, Carter is left wondering if there's anyone on the tour he can trust.
(His strange affect... (Not something you hear every day) ;-)
“Hey, you’re back,” I said.
“Hey, you’re sneaking out of Rose’s room,” he returned.
I looked around, making frantic shushing motions. His eyebrows rose.
“Rhymes with gurgleyme?” he suggested.
“No! Of course not.” I was both charmed that he played charades and irritated that he thought I was the world’s worst burglar. “Can we discuss this elsewhere?”
He turned the doorknob to our room and made an gesture. I slipped inside our room and turned to face him. “Sally told me Rose’s journal wasn’t found among her personal effects. She suggested I have a look for it just in case Rose might have hidden it.”
“If Sally suggested you jump off a bridge, would y—”
“Funny. No. I wouldn’t. And I wouldn’t have done this either except…”
“You read too many mysteries?”
“That’s not possible. And no.” I admitted grudgingly, “I know it’s a crazy thing to have done. I’m not sure why I gave in to temptation.”
He looked taken aback. “is your idea of temptation?”
“The opportunity arose, that’s a lot of it.”
“Other opportunities have arisen. I didn’t see you jump at those.”
At first, I didn’t understand what he meant, but as I gazed into his solemn—too solemn?—brown eyes, I remembered the night before and that very casual suggestion we strip naked and share a sleeping bag. Not even a suggestion. A joke.
Or maybe not.
Judging by the faint twinkle in the back of his eyes, it seemed not.
I felt a totally unexpected—and probably inappropriate—rush of elation. I’d figured after he’d blown me off that morning, I’d misread John’s invitation of the night before. I’d been, well, disappointed. And now I was…not.
I did my best to tamp down my revived, um, interest. “Ben confirmed at lunch that there was a mysterious death on the last tour. A woman drowned in the bath.”
The twinkle in John’s eyes pinched out. He scowled. “There’s hardly anything mysterious about it. It might interest you to know that deaths from drowning in bathtubs have gone up seventy percent in the last decade. Someone in the US drowns in a bathtub, hot tub or spa Every Single Day.”
“No. I’m not kidding.”
“But surely most of those are little kids?”
He said severely, “The point is, drowning in a bathtub is not as mysterious or suspicious as you seem to think. Bathtub drownings are one of the most common causes of accidental death.”
It seemed he really did work for an insurance company. Not that I had actively doubted it, but I had started to wonder after the morning’s cloak-and-daggery.
“ you find the journal?” he asked.
He studied me for a moment. His disapproving expression relaxed. He seemed amused. “Do you really think Rose found some incriminating piece of evidence, and that piece of evidence got her killed?”
“No. Not exactly. I was curious though. The weird coincidences seem to be piling up. I feel like is going on. I can’t put my finger on it, but… If I may say so, your own behavior is a little sketchy.”
“Mine?” There it was again. The wary look. “How so?”
“Let’s start with the midnight rambles. Insomnia or not, that’s not normal behavior. Most people read a book or have a glass of warm milk. I take half a sleeping pill when I can’t sleep.”
His face took on a bland look. “I do have a preferred method of dealing with it. However, you weren’t interested last night.”
I guess he’d given up on innuendo.
I’m too old to blush, but there’s something undeniably warming about flattery. I studied his face. Yeah, I did find him attractive. No question. I liked him. I wasn’t sure if I trusted him, but I didn’t have to trust him. This was the equivalent of a summer romance. Minus the romance.
I flipped the lock on our door, and said, “That was last night.”
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