Released October 1, 2008
From Forbidden Publications
Cover Art by
Be sure to check out my website for more releases
Dark revelations and secret love lead to personal resurrection.
Carolyn Madison didn’t kill her husband but didn’t mourn him either. The rapist deserved to die, or at least she thought so. Beneath a myriad of family secrets, Carolyn drags the skeletons out of the closet and in the arms of her true, learns to love again.
Walt Tollhouse has pined for Carolyn since she was a shy seventeen-year-old. Little did he know Robert Dubois would steal her away, and then destroy the beautiful spirit he still loved. Beneath the guise of clean-up man, the martial arts instructor never pushes his battered love but gives her silent support she deserves.
The Odyssey Mysteries Book One:
Carolyn observed the mammoth oak trees that shaded them from the morning sun and the fake flowers in vases on the stones. The sweet smell of peony bushes planted around the graves and the scent of freshly cut grass provided a tranquil scene. What a peaceful spot to be put to rest.
It hadn’t surprised her that none of the people who were at the visitation last night were here. Most of those people were business associates, doing their duty. Robert’s funeral was a vast difference from her father’s, where hundreds of people from all over the country had shown up to pay their condolences.
Now there was just family and Walt. They’d even decided not to use the limousine; everyone was going their separate ways afterwards. Watching the event, the detectives stood several yards from them under an ancient green-branched tree.
The priest stood at the head of the casket, read the Twenty-third Psalm, and said a few words of prayer for Robert. Carolyn walked to him and thanked him for being there. He walked away with his head bowed.
She was glad she’d strong-armed Alan into coming to his father’s funeral, even though fury darkened his face instead of sadness. It was important for him to put in an appearance to allay the detectives’ suspicions.
Her concern was to get this charade over with and to hold her family together. Jolene stood beside Alan, and both presented a stoic profile.
Carolyn saw Melanie standing apart from them, her body taut, and realized she held herself together with iron control. Her heart went out to all of her children, but especially to this one. The father she’d loved had let her down—in ways that Melanie wasn’t aware of, and Carolyn hoped her daughter never learned of them.
The casket was lowered; Melanie moved forward to toss a red rose in her father’s grave, then stood forlornly gazing on the pale green casket. She swiped at the tears on her face, then backed away.
Jolene hovered near the grave, wiped the tears trickling down her cheeks. She mumbled, “How could you do it, Daddy?”
Carolyn cast a glance into the hole, then stepped back beside Melanie, putting an arm around her. Her daughter stiffened, and Carolyn dropped her arm. She knew her daughter must be thinking, ‘You don’t love him.’
She’d had the same thoughts about her father when her mother died. Although a beautiful woman, Carolyn remembered she’d been an alcoholic and difficult for him to deal with. She’d not understood what each had gone through then.
How time changed the way you think.
Jolene shifted to Melanie’s side, picked up her hand and held it.
Alan stooped beside the grave, snatched a handful of dirt and hurled it into the grave. Carolyn heard the ping of rocks against the steel coffin.
“Here, you old bastard, this is what I think of you.” Alan rose and stood there a moment, then muttered, “May you go to hell and rot,” before he walked away, stone-faced.
Carolyn darted after her son. “Alan, please wait.” How sad. Before his tenth birthday, he’d adored his father more than anyone else.
He froze, but when she drew abreast he faced her. “I won’t apologize.”
“I don’t expect you to. I just wanted to know if you’ll come to the house to eat.” Carolyn leaned in to embrace Alan, hugging him in an attempt to alleviate his anger. He withdrew from her, and she whispered, “Please.”
“No way. I won’t stand around and reminisce.” He marched across the green lawn.
Carolyn shifted around to walk slowly toward her daughters. Would her children ever get over this? As she came closer, she overheard part of the conversation.
“Alan didn’t mean it, Mel,” Jolene said.
Carolyn knew Jolene told a lie before seeing her fingers crossed at her side. Damn Robert, damn him for tearing their family apart.
“Yes, he did,” Melanie cried.
Walt stood in front of Carolyn and murmured, “I won’t offer condolences to you, Carolyn.” Turning to the girls, he placed a hand on Mel’s shoulder. “Miss Melanie and Jolene, I’m sorry for the lost of your father.”
Melanie shrugged him off with a look of contempt and swiped at her tears.
She watched helplessly as her daughter cried, and wished she could hold her, but knew Melanie wouldn’t accept her offer of sympathy.
“Our church will be delivering food to our house for the family, so please come and help eat it,” Carolyn said, anxious to move on.
“I can’t come. I need to be at work,” Jolene answered.
She thought Melanie was going to hug her when she leaned into her, but instead she hissed into her ear.
“Don’t pretend to be sorry. You weren’t even faithful to him when you were married.” Melanie turned and ran for her old clunker.
Shocked, she stared after her daughter. “I was too faithful,” she mumbled. What did she mean?
Jolene stood stiffly in front of Carolyn. “I have a meeting to go to. She turned away, then glanced over her shoulder. “You and Walt have lunch together.”
Swaying slightly, she tried to compose herself and turned to watch Jolene walk away with rare grace over the bumpy ground, then watched as Detective Martin ran after her. A shadow crossed her vision, and Detective Holmes rushed across the cemetery. She thought he was after Jolene, but witnessed another woman running from the scene as Holmes hot-footed after her.
Carolyn squinted at the female and recognized her, the woman in the red sequined dress at Robert’s apartment. How dare she come here after what she’d done to Kyria.
“I wonder what’s up,” Walt murmured.
Carolyn stared angrily at the scene. “She’s the woman who left Kyria at Robert’s apartment the night of the murder.”
“Her contempt for people is too much.”
She heard the hard edge to Walt’s voice and glimpsed his rigid jaw and stern expression. With a momentary glance Carolyn’s way, he strode toward the stranger and the detectives.
For a moment, she admired his long strides and athletic body, but determined not to miss out on the event taking place, she rushed after him. From the corner of her eye, she saw Jolene turn in the direction of Detective Holmes.
Carolyn drew near to Jolene, and her daughter asked, “What’s going on?”
“I-It-It’s...” Carolyn put her hand to her chest and breathed deeply before continuing. “She was at your father’s with Kyria.”
“Ooh.” Jolene’s dark-chocolate eyes widened and watered. “Could she be involved in killing him?”
“That’s what I intend to find out.” Thankful Alan wasn’t here, Carolyn scurried over to where Holmes and Walt stood over the woman with Jolene behind her.
She arrived in time to hear the tearful woman. “I’m sorry. I was afraid. I didn’t know he was going to be killed.”
“What was supposed to happen?” Holmes asked, angrily.
“I didn’t know, and I didn’t care. He raped my baby sister when she was only seventeen.” The woman raised her hands imploringly. “She was innocent, and she couldn’t live with what happened. S-she jumped into the Missouri River.” She covered her face with her hands and wept.
Oh, no. If only she’d come forward when Robert had raped her years ago, this could’ve been prevented. No--the police wouldn’t have believed a female saying her spouse raped her. It’d happened so long ago, and people didn’t know about such things then. Carolyn clenched her hands. Her own father might not have believed her then.
Walt’s face looked like storm clouds. Carolyn dug her nails into her palms, remembering the story he’d told her about the young girl who committed suicide. Was this the girl’s sister? Her daughter’s eyes filled with tears, and Carolyn wanted to scream or stomp on someone. Robert may be dead, but the scars he’d left behind would take years to heal.
“Please come with us,” Holmes said gently, holding the woman by the elbow. “We need to ask you a few questions.”
“Okay.” She gulped and asked, “Am I in trouble?”
“We only have a few inquiries for you at this point.” Holmes waved at Martin. “Drive our car, and I’ll go with Ms. Smith.”
“I’m coming in my car,” Jolene said.
“We’re going, too.” She looked at Walt, wishing she’d driven.
He nodded, his expression darker than before.