At first, the death of William Baldwine, the head of the Bradford family, was ruled a suicide. Read more...
- Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Gr
- Date: Aug 2017
From the cover
Easterly, the Bradford Family Estate, Charlemont, Kentucky
There was someone trespassing down in the garden.
In the lazy, hazy Southern night, beneath the flower-tasseled fruit trees, and between the saucer-sized tea roses and the squads of trimmed boxwood hedges, a figure was inside the ivy'd walls, moving over the brick paths, heading for the back of the mansion like a stalker.
Jonathan Tulane Baldwine squinted and leaned closer into his bedroom window. Whoever it was . . . they were in a crouch and sticking to the shadows, and the efficiency with which they chose their way suggested they knew what they were doing and where they were going. Then again, it wasn't that hard to find a twenty-thousand-square-foot white birthday cake of a house in the dark.
Turning away from the wavy old glass, he looked to his bed. Lizzie King, the love of his life, was deeply asleep in the pillows, her blond hair gleaming in the moonlight, her tanned shoulder peeking out from the silk sheets.
Funny, these moments of clarity, he thought while he pulled on a pair of boxer shorts. As he considered who it might be, and came up with nothing good, he realized without a doubt that he would kill to protect his woman. Even though she could take care of herself, and he felt like he was relying on her now more than ever . . . if anybody tried to hurt her?
He would put them in a grave faster than his next heartbeat.
With that resolve, he went silently across the Oriental rug to an antique bureau that had been in his family since it had been made in the 1800s. His gun was in the top drawer on the left, under the rolls of finely woven socks he wore with his tuxedos. The nine millimeter was compact, but it had a laser sight, and it was fully loaded.
He disengaged the safety.
Letting himself out into a hall that was long as a city street and appointed with all the grace and formality of the corridors in the White House, he kept the weapon down by his thigh. Easterly had twenty or so family and guest bedroom suites under its prodigious roof, and as he passed by doors, he counted who was inside—or should have been: His younger sister, Gin, although not her new husband, Richard, who was away for business; Amelia, Gin's sixteen-year-old daughter, who had yet to go back to Hotchkiss for finals; Jeff Stern, Lane's old college roommate and newly appointed CEO of the Bradford Bourbon Company. And then of course, Lane and Gin's mother, Little Virginia Elizabeth.
It was possible that any of them could be down there for a two a.m. stroll. Well, except for his mother. In the last three years, Little V.E. hadn't been out of her room for anything other than his father's visitation mere days ago—and even though that occasion had warranted the effort, seeing her dressed and on the first floor had been a shock.
So it was unlikely it was her.
And as for staff? The butler had quit and none of the maids stayed overnight—well, and the maids had all been let go anyway.
No one else should have been on the property.
Halfway down the hall, he walked through the second-story sitting area and paused at the head of the formal staircase.
The security alarm was not going off down below . . . but he hadn't put the system on when he and Lizzie had gotten home from the hospital.
Hell, had he even bothered to lock the thousand or so doors on the lower level? He couldn't remember. It had been nearly midnight and his brain had been a mess, images of Miss Aurora in that ICU bed tangling him in knots. Dear Lord . . . that...