In the midnight gloom of a residential street in Carmel, California, business owner
Kathryn Carlyle watched the city’s dim lights from the back seat of a speeding police
car. She gasped for air as dread tightened her throat. This can’t be happening to
The catering van she drove to billionaire software developer Conner Harrison’s birthday
party had been impounded by the police as evidence. She rubbed her throbbing temples
to release the pain accumulated there.
Two blocks from her beachfront condo, she snatched a breath of air. “Please stop.
I have to get out.”
The middle-aged officer guided the patrol car to the curb. “We’re not finished with
you. Go, but don’t leave town.”
He’d probably been waiting all night to use that cliché. Don’t leave town. She almost
laughed, except nothing funny had happened tonight.
She exited the car and inhaled the sea breeze as it rustled her hair. It was such
a welcome change from the stifling atmosphere that contaminated the police station
where she’d spent the last few hours. How long before the man came back to arrest
Relieved to be in her safe neighborhood, she took a deeper breath, kicked off her
black leather pumps and sat on a driftwood log overlooking the serene bay.
She swallowed as nausea swirled in her stomach. The fact that she hadn't eaten since
breakfast didn’t help. Always nervous before an event, she’d planned to eat after
Mr. Harrison’s party. Now he hovered near death. The thought of eating brought bile
to the back of her throat. Why did the authorities think she’d poisoned a man she’d
only met once?
A nightmare had snared her and was holding her in its grip. When Mr. Harrison died
the charge against her would be murder in the first degree.
As the realization crept through her, she tensed. Two deep breaths calmed her, but
didn't stop the headache forming over her right eye.