The Lady Has a Past (Burning Cove #5) by Amanda Quick



            “Assuming that,” Lyra said. “No, he’s not a threat. Not at the moment, at any rate.”

            Lyra walked quickly out of the conservatory and followed the flagstone path around the big house. A police car and an ambulance were pulling into the circular driveway.

            The passenger-side door of the car opened. A man in a rumpled suit and a battered fedora climbed out. She recognized him. She had met Brandon recently when her sister, Vivian, had become the target of an assassin.

            The sight of his hat made her realize that the fashionably feminine version of a fedora she’d had on when she arrived at the villa was no longer perched at a smart angle on her carefully pinned-up hair. It had come off during the short, brutal fight with Adlington.

            Detective Brandon had the tough, world-weary look of a good cop who has seen human nature at its worst but who is determined to do his job. He gave Lyra a short, crisp nod.

            “Miss Brazier,” he said. “Where’s Adlington?”

            “On the patio behind the house,” Lyra said. “I’ll show you.”

            Brandon didn’t wait for her. He took off along the flagstone path. Two ambulance attendants hauled a stretcher out of their vehicle and followed. Lyra had to trot to keep up with them.

            “Talk to me,” Brandon ordered over his shoulder.

            “I had an appointment with Mrs. Adlington this afternoon,” Lyra said. “Well, Raina had the appointment, but she thought it would be good experience for me to interview the client, so I came here instead. Mrs. Adlington expressed interest in hiring Kirk Investigations, but she didn’t say why. When I got here I found Mr. and Mrs. Adlington in the pool. It looked like Mr. Adlington was trying to drown his wife. When he saw me he climbed out of the pool and came after me.”

            “Yeah? What did you—” Brandon went through the garden gate, saw the body, the blood, and the three iron, and came to a sudden stop. “You hit him with a golf club?”

            “It was the closest thing at hand.”

            Brandon whistled appreciatively. “You must have a hell of a swing.”

            “It’s actually a pretty boring game, but my parents both play and so did my ex-fiancé and, well, it was expected, if you know what I mean.”

            Brandon shot her an unreadable look. “Right. We didn’t have any golf courses or country clubs in my neighborhood. We played baseball in the middle of the street.”

            “Sounds more interesting than golf, but then, almost anything is.”

            She wasn’t paying close attention to the conversation, because she was watching the ambulance attendants. They had positioned the stretcher beside Adlington’s unmoving form.

            “Hold on,” Brandon called to the two men. “I want to take a look before you move him.”

            He strode across the patio and crouched beside Adlington. Lyra stayed where she was. She had no desire to take a closer look.

            “Is he alive?” she whispered.

            Brandon looked surprised by the question. “Hell no. Several whacks to the head with a golf club would probably take down a small elephant.”

            “Several whacks?” Lyra forgot to breathe. “But I only hit him once.”

            Brandon shrugged. “It’s hard to keep track of stuff like that when you’re scared and fighting for your life.”