Drawing Close: The Fourth Novel in the Rosemont Series

BOOK: Drawing Close: The Fourth Novel in the Rosemont Series
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Drawing Close

Barbara Hinske

Copyright © 2016 Barbara Hinske

All rights reserved.

This book may
not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission of the author,
with the exception of brief quotations within book reviews or articles. This
book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead,
or places or events is coincidental.

 

Also by BARBARA HINSKE:

Coming
to Rosemont
, the first book in the
Rosemont
series

Weaving
the Strands
, the second book in the
Rosemont
series

Uncovering
Secrets
, the third book in the
Rosemont
series

The
Night Train

Available at Amazon and for Kindle.

 

I’d love to hear from you! Connect with me
online:

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barbarahinske.com
and sign up for my
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Facebook.com/BHinske

Twitter.com/BarbaraHinske

Search for
Barbara
Hinske on YouTube
for tours inside my own historic home plus tips and
tricks for busy women!

Find photos of fictional
Rosemont
,
Westbury, and things related to the
Rosemont
 series at
Pinterest.com/BarbaraHinske
.

[email protected]

ISBN-13:
978-0-9962747-1-5

ISBN-10:
0-9962747-1-5

Library
of Congress Control Number: 2016936739

Casa
del Northern Publishing

Phoenix,
Arizona

Dedication

To Judy Angulo, whose wit, grace, and courage
are an inspiration. I’m a better person for knowing you.

Chapter 1

Maggie Martin stared until the
image was seared in her brain. She recognized the eyes of the child in the
photo; the tilt of her chin. Even sick and in a hospital bed, Nicole Nash bore
an unmistakable resemblance to her father. The little girl was Paul’s daughter.
Her late husband’s mistress must have been pregnant when the cheating bastard
had died.

She dragged her eyes from the photo and looked at
the man she had married not more than twenty-four hours ago. John Allen held
her gaze, and smiled. She opened her mouth to speak but the announcement from
the gate agent drowned her out. “Flight 722 to Cornwall will begin boarding in
fifteen minutes.”

Maggie stood abruptly. “I’m going to the ladies’
room.” She was moving away from him, through the crowd, before he had a chance
to reply.

Maggie strode down the concourse, weaving through the
horde of travelers rushing to make their connections. All she knew was that she
had to move, to process this revelation of yet another of Paul’s betrayals,
before she embarked on her honeymoon. How was it that Paul always managed to
cast a shadow on her happiness—even from the grave?

She passed the women’s restroom, then turned back
and made her way to a sink. She put her hands in the basin. The water was far
too hot for a public restroom, but the stinging heat was therapeutic. She
looked at herself in the mirror as the water ran over her hands.

So Loretta Nash may have been pregnant when
Paul died of a heart attack.
Why was this throwing her for a loop now? She
was starting a new life with Dr. John Allen, DVM. What was wrong with her?
She
needed to get hold of herself.

She walked to the automatic towel dispenser and
attempted to dry her hands on the six inches of paper towel it provided. She
checked her watch and gasped. She had been away far too long—their
departure was in ten minutes. They couldn’t miss their flight. She wouldn’t
spoil the beginning of her new marriage.

Maggie shoved her way through the line of women
waiting to get into the restroom and broke into a run as soon as she got free
of them. She could see John, standing at the gate, looking anxiously in her
direction. She raised one hand over her head and waved at him. It took a
moment, but he finally saw her and smiled.

She pushed past a young couple trying to corral a
couple of toddlers into strollers, and rushed into the gate’s now-deserted
waiting area. John came forward to meet her as the gate agent announced, “Last
call for passengers of Flight 722 to Cornwall.”

“There was a long line. Sorry,” she said
breathlessly as she picked up her purse and carry-on.

“I was getting worried. I tried to call you, but
you left your purse here.”

Maggie nodded in the direction of the gate. “We’d
better hurry.”

They handed their boarding passes to the gate
agent and walked down the ramp to the plane.

“I thought maybe you had second thoughts,” he
said.

“Now you’re talking crazy, Dr. Allen. Nothing of
the kind. You know very well that there are never enough stalls in a ladies’
room.” She stood on tiptoes and kissed him squarely on the lips. “This will
have to hold you until Cornwall.”

***

Maggie pulled up the blanket the
flight attendant had given her and nestled against her new husband. John was a
proficient sleeper and being on an airplane was no exception. He was reclined
in his seat, sound asleep.

Maggie, however, was wide awake. Even though she
was exhausted from their wedding the day before, she couldn’t force her mind to
be quiet. Constantly thinking she needed to get to sleep wasn’t helping her,
either. They’d land at Heathrow at six a.m. local time, after the overnight
flight from the States. If she didn’t sleep on the plane, she’d be miserable on
the train ride from the airport to Cornwall.

She glanced at her husband. What a gem he was,
surprising her with this trip. Penzance. She’d wanted to go there since she’d
read
The Shell Seekers
more than twenty years ago.

Maggie closed her eyes and her mind seized on the
unwelcome revelation of a few hours before. Before she and John boarded their
flight, they’d been happily sipping coffee, scrolling through her tablet,
looking at the photos her kids had sent her of the events leading up to and
during the wedding. Susan had snapped a photo at Mercy Hospital, where she’d
taken her nieces and their new friend Marissa Nash to visit Marissa’s very sick
little sister. Their friend’s mother was also in the picture.

Maggie threw off the blanket.

Marissa’s mother was none other than Loretta Nash.
The
Loretta Nash from Scottsdale, Arizona. The woman her late husband, Paul
Martin, had been having an affair with. The one he had been supporting in
lavish style—probably the reason he’d started embezzling from the college
where he’d been the “esteemed” president for years.

Maggie released her seat belt and gingerly crawled
over John, taking care not to wake him. She needed to move, stretch her legs,
go to the bathroom—do something.
Why does this bother me so much?
Hadn’t she accepted all of these betrayals by Paul and moved on? Hadn’t she
just married the love of her life on the lawn of Rosemont?

Maggie paced in the dim aisle, passengers on
either side sleeping or reading quietly.

What could she do about this now? Nothing. She
owed it to John and herself to put this aside. She’d deal with it all when she
got home, at Rosemont.

Maggie returned to her seat, fished the natural
supplement out of her purse that Judy Young insisted would help her sleep like
a baby on the plane, and put it to the test.

Chapter 2

Chuck Delgado roused himself when
he heard the garage door open at the other end of the house—Frank Haynes’
house. Although he and Haynes were both successful businessmen and members of
the Westbury Town Council, his visit tonight was occasioned by their
clandestine dealings. Specifically, he wanted to discuss their mutual
involvement in the infamous fraud that had almost bankrupted Westbury. Delgado
checked his watch in the thin moonlight filtering through the closed plantation
shutters. Midnight. He’d been sitting in the massive leather chair in Haynes’
home office for more than two hours. He’d thought about leaning back and
propping his feet on the teakwood desk, but decided against it. He’d have
fallen asleep. Better to let Haynes find him waiting patiently—alert and
upright—in the dark room.

The back door opened and Haynes whistled to his
border collie, Sally, to join him outside for her last comfort break of the day
before he headed to bed.
Some watchdog,
Delgado thought. The mutt
grabbed the bone out of his hand the minute he jimmied the door open and hadn’t
made a sound since. Delgado smiled. He hadn’t done any breaking and entering
for decades, but he still had the knack. Like riding a bicycle—once you
learned how, you never forgot.

Footsteps along the hallway told him he wouldn’t
have long to wait. He took a deep breath. Haynes moved swiftly across the dark
room and tossed a stack of papers onto the desk before turning to retrace his
steps to the door. Delgado waited until Haynes was silhouetted in the door
frame before he spoke.

“Workin’ late again, Frankie?”

Haynes tripped on the rug and caught himself on
the mahogany molding framing the door. He spun to face the speaker.

“You been doin’ a lot of that, lately. Spendin’
too much time whimpering over that ‘financial analyst’ of yours with the sick
kid. Or are you busy covering your tracks so you don’t get arrested for fraud,
too?”

“How in the hell did you get in here, Charles?”
Haynes sputtered as he regained his footing and approached the desk.

“It was easy, Frankie. Haven’t lost my touch. And
that dog of yours is worthless,” he said, gesturing to Sally who was waiting
for her master in the hallway.

Haynes came around the side of desk and perched on
the corner, facing his partner in crime. The cliché about regret leaving a
bitter taste in one’s mouth was true; his mouth had tasted like bile for months.
He should have known better than to get involved with the Delgado brothers in
this scheme that Ron Delgado convinced him was a legitimate loan from the
town’s pension fund.
Some financial advisor and upstanding member of the
community Ron Delgado turned out to be
, Haynes thought.

The minute he learned that Chuck was involved, he
should have backed out. The fact that Chuck was a member of the Westbury Town
Council lent him an air of credibility he didn’t deserve. Rumors had circulated
for years that Chuck Delgado was connected to the Chicago mob. And now he,
Frank Haynes, was up to his eyeballs in this thing.

“Why are you here? We decided to lay low and avoid
each other, except for council meetings, until this investigation is over.”

Delgado nodded. “That’s why I’m visiting you here,
in the middle of the night.”

“Go on.”

“I got some very distressing news, Frankie.” Delgado
rose and stood nose to nose with Haynes. “Distressing for both of us. I think
maybe you set me up.”

Haynes swallowed hard. Delgado’s breath was stale
but without the customary aroma of alcohol. Delgado had come to deliver his
message sober.

“That Smith kid—the young attorney that’s on
loan from Stetson and Graham to help Scanlon—the one that we own? I met
with him and he gave me copies of all of the incriminating documents that the
town subpoenaed from the offshore banks.”

Haynes nodded.

“They mention me and our esteemed former Mayor
William Wheeler—may he rest in peace.” Delgado leaned in. “Not one word
about you. Anywhere.” Delgado scrutinized Haynes’ face. “Do you know how that
happened, Frankie? You’re in this as deep as Wheeler and me. How in the hell
did you arrange that?”

“Is that what this is about?” Haynes pushed
himself from the desk and began to pace. “Why do you think I’m not implicated?”

“Your name isn’t on any of the documents Smith
gave me.”

“And you think that ends the matter?” Haynes
turned away. He didn’t dare show his relief that his Miami contact had removed
any reference to himself or his bank accounts from the records of the offshore
banks. It had cost him an arm and a leg and been worth every penny. “Smith
wouldn’t give you everything. For all you know, the remaining documents mention
me. I could now be alone in their crosshairs. You may have extricated yourself
at my expense, Charles.”

A slow smile spread across Delgado’s face. “Hadn’t
thought of that, Frankie boy. You may be screwed.”

“Your concern is heartwarming.” Haynes paused and
regarded Delgado thoughtfully. “What did the documents show about you and
Wheeler?”

“I’ll give you a copy. Mainly just our signatures
on paperwork opening the bank accounts and authorizing wire transfers.”

“That may be too thin for them to prosecute on.
I’ll bet they’re trying to build their case with new evidence. This whole thing
is being orchestrated to induce us to do something stupid. Like this,” he said,
pointing to Delgado. “We don’t want to play into their hands. We need to stick
to our plan.”

Delgado shifted his portly frame from one foot to
the other. “You could be right about that.”

“I know I am. We’ve dodged the bullet this long
and I think we can continue to do so. If they had anything on us, we’d already
be in jail.”

Delgado nodded. Haynes took him by the elbow and
steered him to the back door. “Go home. Lay low, and don’t do anything stupid.
Leave the Smith kid alone.” He swung Delgado to face him. “And don’t ever break
into my home or anywhere else associated with me again. I can promise you I
won’t be the gracious host next time.”

Delgado straightened and pulled his arms free.
“You might want to get yourself an alarm system, Frankie boy. You and that mutt
of yours are easy prey.”

BOOK: Drawing Close: The Fourth Novel in the Rosemont Series
10.78Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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