Cover & Excerpt Reveal
She had every reason to kill her husband. After all, he deserved killing. Convincing the local police, especially one handsome detective in particular, she is innocent, is another matter.
Detective Martin O’Connell is good at his job, but he never seems to fall for the right woman, and he’s a sucker for redheads.
Anne Reynolds is an ordinary suburban housewife, with two adorable kids and a husband who’s been cheating on her for almost a year. She wants out, but she’s trapped.
When her husband, Jake, turns up murdered in a cheap hotel room along with his current one-night-stand, it’s Martin’s job to catch their killer. And his prime suspect is Jake’s wife.
Anne is a beautiful green-eyed redhead who Martin is having a hard time resisting. But can he trust her when she says she didn’t do it? And does he really care if she is guilty?
Genre: Contemporary Romantic SuspensePurchase links: Taliesin Amazon ARe Kobo B&N
Content/Theme(s): Murder, Second chances
Release Date: May 1, 2014
Publisher: Taliesin Publishing
Martin frowned when Detective Morales brought Anne Reynolds into the empty interview room. He told her to sit in the chair on one side of the table, and he’d be right back. She looked around the room, letting out a short laugh when she saw the large mirror on the wall. She sat back in the chair and sighed.
Schaffer and O’Connell watched her from the other side of the one-way mirror. Schaffer shot Martin a look that said it all. She was pretty, very pretty. Morales came into the room and stood next to Martin but wouldn’t look him in the eye.
“What’s wrong, Morales?” Martin asked. “She give you a hard time?”
“Let’s get started.” Schaffer waved them out with his hand, and he took a seat to watch behind the glass.
Martin and Morales left and went to the interview room. Anne nodded to him but gave him no smile of recognition. He nodded back, all business as they sat across from her. He’d rather be undergoing an IRS audit than this interview, but he needed to be here in case she needed him.
Morales placed the small recorder on the table in front of Anne, turned it on, and said, “This is the interview of Mrs. Anne Reynolds, Friday, September fifteenth, five p.m., in the matter of the death of her husband, Jacob Reynolds. Present are myself, Detective John Morales, and Detective Martin O’Connell. Mrs. Reynolds, do you waive your right to counsel?”
Anne sighed. “I’m not sure. Detective Morales, are you married?”
“What would you tell your wife to do?” She spoke quietly, and Morales looked into her eyes.
“I’d tell her to get a lawyer,” Morales said. Martin gaped at his partner’s unexpected answer.
“Then I want a lawyer.”
“Do you have one? If you do not have a lawyer or cannot afford one, we will provide one to you.” Morales spoke the words as he’d done hundreds of times before.
“I don’t have a lawyer and I can’t afford one.”
“Get her a lawyer, Detective Morales,” Martin told Morales. John got up and left the room, leaving Martin and Anne alone. Except for Schaffer watching through the glass.
“I don’t understand why I’m here. I already gave you a statement and answered all your questions.” Anne frowned.
“The lieutenant wants to get it down on tape, just to cover our bases.” He opened his hand and waved it toward the mirror.
“Oh okay. Afterward, will I be able to go home? My neighbor Connie is staying with the kids, and my mother is due later this evening.” Anne clutched her hands together in a white-knuckled grip.
Martin glanced quickly at the mirror. “I’m not sure. I can’t tell you right now which way it will go.”
“Oh.” Her eyes looked worried and scared.
Morales came back in with a man, about fortyish, dressed in a navy sport coat and tan slacks. He had a briefcase and placed it on the table, next to her.
“This is public defender Mr. John Spencer.” Spencer stuck out his hand to Anne, and she took it.
“Hello, I’m Anne Reynolds.”
He nodded without smiling and sat in the chair next to her. “Go ahead, gentlemen. She has counsel now.” He pulled his own recorder, a pen, and a yellow legal tablet out of the briefcase.
This was the part Martin dreaded, the questioning. If he had been doing it, he could have made it easy for her, led her around the landmines, but Morales was in control and Martin could do nothing but sit back and watch.
“Mrs. Reynolds,” Detective Morales started, “where were you on the night your husband died, from approximately midnight to three a.m.?”
“I was at home in bed sleeping.”
“Do you have any witnesses?”
“What? Do you mean was I sleeping with someone in my bed? No, I was alone.”
Morales regarded Martin’s report. “Did you know of your husband’s affairs?”
“How long had you known he was cheating on you?”
“For a little less than a year.”
“What did you do about it?”
“You can’t mean nothing, Mrs. Reynolds. You didn’t feel angry, mad, yell at him? Ask for a divorce?”
“No. Yes, I felt all those things, but I didn’t take any actions.”
“I didn’t want to lose the kids.”
“Why would you lose the kids?” Morales asked.
“If I had gotten indignant and left, where would I have gone? I don’t have a job. He paid all the bills, and the house is in his name.” She shrugged. “I would have had to leave the kids with him.”
“So you stayed with a man who frequently cheated on you?”
“Must have made you furious. Mad enough to kill him? Mad enough to kill his girlfriend?” Morales pushed, and Martin hated it, but he knew it was what Schaffer had ordered Morales to do.
“No. It just made me sad.” She looked sad and lost.
“Sad. That’s a mild reaction to cheating.”
“It wasn’t Jake,” she whispered.
“What do you mean, it wasn’t Jake? It was your husband we found in the hotel room dead, wasn’t it?”
“Yes, but that’s not what I mean. All this behavior of Jake’s, it wasn’t like him. We were very happy.”
“Well, he must not have been too happy with you.”
“I just didn’t understand why he was acting this way. It wasn’t like him. I kept telling myself he would stop. It would get better.”
“No. It got worse.” Her voice was so low Martin wondered if the tape recorder could pick it up.
“Please speak up, Mrs. Reynolds,” Martin said. Anne glanced at him and nodded.
“How did it get worse? Did he start hitting you?” Morales asked.
“No.” She paused and turned to the PD. “Do I have to answer?”
Spencer thought for a minute. “No, you don’t. But if he was abusing you in any way, it could play in your favor.”
Anne looked at Martin. He knew what she had told him and he nodded slightly. “He started telling me about the women. About how they were better than me. Sexually.” She stared at her hands, still clasped together on the table.
Morales wiped his hand across his mouth. “He was abusing you emotionally? That what you’re telling us?”
“Yes, I guess. He told me he hated me.”
Morales looked through the report again. “Mrs. Reynolds, do you own a gun?”
“Have you ever owned a gun?”
“Have you ever fired a gun?”
“Mrs. Reynolds, did you love your husband?”
“Yes, I did love him, very much. But I haven’t loved him for a long time.”
“When did you stop loving him?”
Anne looked up at the ceiling of the little room, lost in thought.
“I think it was the day I was sitting in my doctor’s office, getting blood tests done.”
“Can you explain?” Morales leaned forward.
“When I found out Jake was cheating on me, I went to the doctor and had blood tests done.” Her voice lowered again. “For sexually transmitted diseases.” Martin tensed.
Morales sat back.
“Did that include HIV?” If she had it, that would be a motive.
“Mrs. Reynolds, what were the results of those tests? You know, we can get them from your doctor.”
The PD finally spoke up. “Not without a court order, you can’t. You don’t have to tell them, Mrs. Reynolds.”
“It’s all right. The tests were all negative. No STDs and no HIV.” She glanced at Martin. He wanted to smile at her, reassure her, but he had to be careful.
“Mrs. Reynolds, after going to the doctor, did you continue to be sexually intimate with your husband?”
“No. I told him he had to stay in the guest room, and that I was off-limits.”
“He didn’t mind that?”
“He told me he never wanted to touch me again.” She looked down at her hands again.
If Jake Reynolds hadn’t already been dead, Martin would have killed him for saying that to Anne.
Morales wasn’t going in the right direction, so Martin leaned over to Morales, flipped the report, and pointed to a section.
Morales nodded. “How much money in insurance do you stand to get?”
“Jake had an insurance policy through the bank. It was equal to his salary, about eighty-five thousand dollars.”
“That the only one?”
“Yes. Jake had a heart defect and was twenty-five when he had open-heart surgery. It made him practically uninsurable. We couldn’t afford the premiums.” She shook her head.
“No mortgage insurance on the house?”
“No, that falls under the same guidelines as health issues. Too expensive.”
“Mrs. Reynolds, is there a savings account?”
“If you’re hinting that money was a motive for killing him, you’re way off base. Money was a motive for keeping Jake alive.” She gave a harsh laugh.
“What do you mean?”
“There isn’t enough insurance to pay off the house. No savings that I know of—Jake went through most of that this year. I don’t have a job, and the most I can expect to find is a minimum wage office job. I have two young children and will have to pay daycare in order to work.” She sighed, slowly letting the air out. “There is no money. Without Jake, we’re broke, penniless. I’ll have to sell the house.” Her eyes filled with tears again, but Anne blinked them back.
“So to the best of your knowledge, you have no idea who killed your husband?”
“I have no idea.”
“And you deny you did it?”
“Did you contract out your husband’s death?”
“What? You mean hire someone to kill him? No! I didn’t want him dead.”
“Maybe you had a lover, Mrs. Reynolds? Maybe you talked him into getting rid of your husband?”
“No, I didn’t have a lover! I didn’t want my husband killed. I wanted him back!”
Morales glanced at the mirror and took a deep breath. “Mrs. Reynolds, have you ever met Detective O’Connell before yesterday?”
“What? No…” Anne gaped at him.
Martin jumped up and faced the mirror, his fists clenched. “What the fuck are you getting at?” he yelled.
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