FINALIST in the EMERALD PRO AWARD
Angeline Martin tried to run away from her past. But the past has a way of catching up with you.
After ten years of living in Hong Kong and working for a magazine, editor and food writer, Angeline Martin is drawn back to Australia after her twin sister Dany is involved in a car accident that has claimed a man’s life. The sisters were once the closest of confidants, until an event drove them apart; and it now seems that Dany, a talented and eccentric artist, is keeping her secrets close. Only this time, it’s dangerous.
The town has changed beyond Angie’s recognition, making Angie feel out of place, and Detective Inspector, Nick Alexander is digging. It’s clear he suspects foul play. Angie, or Angel, as her sister calls her, finds herself caught between her sister and the attractive cop she can’t seem to ignore.
DI Nick Alexander is fighting to stay in his job. To move to another station now would be disastrous. The present case is keeping him here, but he’s torn between solving a murder and protecting someone he’s come to care about. Either way leads him down a path to misery.
After Paul left, Angie tidied the kitchen. When the Chinese cleaner arrived, who knew very little English, Angie chatted to her in her language, then ran upstairs to change. Slipping a shirt over the top of her white bikini, she grabbed a towel. The sun burned the top of her head as she walked carefully across the grass, instinctively remembering to tread lightly to avoid stepping on a bindi-eye, the sharp-needled burrs one’s foot always seemed to find in Australian grass. A pair of sun lounges with brightly colored sun umbrellas sat on sandstone paving beside the swimming pool. Angie removed her shirt and arranged her towel over a lounge. Too lazy to return to the house for a hat, she struggled to open one of the yellow-and-white floral umbrellas. The catch was tight and she broke a nail, pinching her skin in the process. She swore and shook her hand.
“Such language. My ears are burning. May I be of help?”
Startled, Angie swiveled. A man in a grey suit had walked up behind her, the grass smothering his approach. Annoyed, she eyed him. He might have alerted her to his presence before this. She examined his detective badge with some relief. “That was not meant for your ears,” she said hotly. “If you creep up on a person, you deserve what you get.”
“I didn’t mean to startle you.”
Still slightly unnerved, she was caught by his blue eyes. Her gaze dropped to his riotously colored tie, which seemed inappropriate for a cop.
He reached across her and opened the umbrella with a flick of his long fingers.
An inappropriate glimmer brightened his eyes. “Great view from here.”
Unsure if he referred to the panoramic vista, which took in a sweep of Pacific Ocean, or to her, she grabbed her towel and self-consciously looped it around her body. “As you’re obviously not the pool guy,” she said coolly, “I wonder why you’re here.”
He grinned, creating an attractive array of lines in the tanned skin around his eyes. “There was a bit of a language problem with your cleaner. I expected to find Mr. Schofield….” He studied her. “You can’t be Mrs. Schofield. I’m told she’s still in hospital.”
“I’m her sister, Angie Martin.”
He held out his hand. “Detective Inspector Alexander.”
“Nice to meet you, Ms. Martin. It is Ms.?”
She nodded, wondering if she had single tattooed on her forehead. As she shook his big warm hand, her towel slipped. She flushed and grabbed at it. Her bikini wasn’t that brief, but his roving glance made her feel naked.
Perhaps, sensing her modesty, DI Alexander politely turned away as she readjusted the towel. “When is Mrs. Schofield leaving hospital? I’d like to talk to her about the accident.”
“Not for a few days.”
“Then I’d best visit her there.”
She wished he wouldn’t. Dany seemed so fragile. “Can’t it wait until she comes home?”
“That water looks inviting.” He smiled. “Enjoy your swim.” She admired the breadth of his shoulders as he turned away, then gathered her wits. “Detective Inspector?”
His alert blue eyes met hers. “Yes, Ms. Martin?”
“Who was the poor man who died in the crash?”
“So far, no one has come forward reporting a missing person fitting his description. Has your sister remembered anything more?”
“No. What about the thug who drove her off the road?”
His dark brows rose. “You’re assuming it was a man, Ms. Martin?”
She shrugged. “Figure of speech. They might have been drunk, but that doesn’t excuse them any for not stopping. Who else would do such a thing?”
“Who indeed?” he said refusing to be drawn. He pulled aside his coat revealing a broad chest, slim waist and a gun in a holster. Digging into his pocket, he held out a business card. “In case you need to contact me. You’ll get me on my mobile, or ring the station.”
She watched him stride away over the grass, then glanced at the card in her hand. Nicklaus Alexander. Not a trace of an accent and he didn’t look like the Greeks she’d met. He was tall, his brown hair sun-streaked. Stripped of that suit, he’d blend in with the bronzed lifesavers patrolling the beach.
Alarmed at the direction her thoughts took, she ran to the poolside and dived in, coming up with a gasp of shock at the cold water.