A Touch of Death Ch. 14byWine_Maker©
Of course it wasn't really over. The police and EMTs swarmed us within minutes of Ginger's call about shots and dead men. Frank was treated and hauled away, lights flashing and sirens screaming.
They separated the rest of us and started grilling. Cooper arrived when I was into the third repetition and took charge. By the time he was done with me, he made sure I regretted leaving him out of the loop. The only upside to his tongue lashing was that he let me know the grand jury was unlikely to indict us, since there were enough witnesses to the self-defense aspect of the shootings.
I didn't get to see anything of Ty for almost a week after the shooting. Cooper dragged him off to the recovery ship and kept him there until the wreck was raised. He wanted that gold and the body recovered before anyone else did anything stupid. I couldn't really blame him, even though that did screw up my plans and my hormones.
Frank was quickly stabilized and pretty soon sharing a room with Josh, when they let him out of intensive care. The two of them amused themselves by telling anyone that came in how dangerous it was to know me. The rats.
Mom was a fixture at Josh's side and, as I guessed, Ginger was around Frank an awful lot. Frank, while grateful for her attention, seemed oblivious to the more subtle signals her presence was sending him. He was going to be in for quite a shock when she finally let him in on their relationship.
Being around two women focused on their men made me cranky. Ginger's suggestion on how to make the problem more bearable made me laugh and blush. She only grinned and called it "professional counseling."
The Sheriff's Department used the next week well, completely going over Stanton and Damien's holdings and the cabin area where Jake had been killed. They recovered the matching pendant from the yacht and got a confession from a doubly devastated Elsa Manchester about her affair with Steven. I felt badly for her, even if she had been cheating on her husband.
Of that, there was no evidence but our witness statements. He didn't leave any incriminating evidence or notes. If he hadn't panicked at the last, my seeing him as the killer would've been the only indication of his guilt. If he'd have bluffed it out, he would probably have skated free.
Elsa didn't doubt he did it, though. She was shocked and hurt, but unsurprised.
On the other hand, Edward Stanton's wife was screaming his innocence from every tree top she could find. The evidence the police dug up from Stanton's home office told a different tale, but that didn't seem to deter her one bit.
Stanton and Jake had gone so far as to draw up a contract on how the gold was to be split when they recovered it. Stanton, it turned out, was planning to bring in divers of his own when they ran Damien Manchester off. It wasn't clear how they had determined the gold was on the wreck. Probably through Jake, since there were piles of notes on his missing grandfather. DNA testing might eventually identify the bones as a relative of his some day.
As for the gold, God only knew who was going to be the last to try and lay claim to it. People were coming out of the woodwork to try for a share. Frankly, I was glad it was someone else's problem.
I had enough of my own. Not only was the story of my Mom's dating all over town, Stanton's widow was filing suit for everything from defamation to murder against all of us, including the late Damien. So were Calvin and Dora, at least for defamation. I told their attorney that anything I could possibly have said or inferred was no doubt better than the truth. That didn't seem to help.
At the end of the stressful week, I was sitting on the back patio of the Lodge, looking out on the lake in the quiet hour just before dark when Ty came through the door and plopped down on the seat next to me.
I smiled and turned to face him. "Hey, stranger! All done out on the lake?"
"Deputy Cooper is stubborn," he said with a quirked smile. "He wasn't letting anyone go until he had it up. The ship is on the surface and he will get it all out as soon as they have it stabilized. My job is done, which brings me back to you."
A thrill ran up my spine. I liked the sound of that. My smile widened. "Tell me more!"
He leaned forward until his eyes were less than a foot away from mine. "First, tell me what really happened this last week. You may have everyone else snowed but you're hiding something."
My stomach fell like a lead balloon. "I have no idea what you mean," I squeaked. Dammit, even I thought I sounded like a liar.
He smiled smugly. "Oh, I think you do. I have no idea how you figured out where your mother was hidden, with Jake dead, or how you knew Armstrong was cheating with Elsa, but you did. One way or another, I'll eventually get to the bottom of what's really going on."
I pasted on a sickly smile. "I don't suppose you'll take women's intuition as an answer."
He shook his head. "Nope, but you don't need to freak out about it right now. I have a plan."
"What plan," I asked suspiciously.
"I'm going to take you away from here, on a long cruise to the Caribbean," he said. "I figure a few weeks without people trying to kill us, with days full of different sights and nights full of passionate lovemaking will wear you down."
My libido wasted no time in agreeing wholeheartedly with his plan. The rest of me wasn't so sure.
"And if I don't want to go on a cruise?" I asked with a raised eyebrow.
He leaned back and grinned. "Then I make you go on triple dates with your Mom and Frank."
"Well," I laughed, "that's a stark set of choices. What can I say?"
"Say yes, Candy," he said in a low, sexy voice.