I rushed to open the bookstore’s front door.
Connor strode inside. He pulled me into his corded arms, and for a moment, it was only us. No dead man. No book pointing to me as a possible killer. Just me enfolded in his woodsy scent.
His sheriff’s parka rustled as we broke apart.
I smiled up at him. “About time you got here, Hernandez.”
He walked with me to the counter and laid a dried leaf on the book open upon it. “I’m sorry I couldn’t get here sooner. The sheriff had me tied up – a traffic accident on the Four.”
“She took you off the murder?”
“How could she not?”
It was my fault he’d been sidelined. “I’m sorry.” Selfish, too. The plummeting feeling in my stomach wasn’t only about him. I wanted to know I was okay.
“So I am a suspect.”
“She knows you didn’t do this.”
But McCourt couldn’t ignore evidence, and Connor was off the case. I told him about my unexpected visitor.
Connor rubbed his jaw, his fingers making scratching noises over a five o’clock shadow come early. “Did he leave a name?”
“All right. I’ll let McCourt know.”
“Will she believe me?” I asked.
“She’s a good cop,” he said gently.
I sighed. Connor had faith in the system. He had to. He was part of it. But I wasn’t so sure.
He drew me close again, his hands lacing at the small of my back. “Dead body aside, how did your year walk go?”
Unexpectedly, my eyes warmed, and I blinked rapidly. “Nothing. It was a long shot.”
His mouth twisted. “So, you didn’t see this guy’s ghost hanging around the clearing.”
“No.” The word lay bitter on my tongue. I hadn’t seen a spirit in months. Not since my sister had nearly gotten killed. Again. Being a Doyle witch isn’t easy.
I forced cheerfulness into my voice. “It’s unlikely I would have. Ghosts don’t manifest that quickly. Who was Harry, the man who died?”
He hesitated. “His full name was Harry Mason.”
“Sounds like a wizarding lawyer.”
“I know it’s hard, but try not to worry about this.”
Hard? Try impossible.
But Connor kissed me then, and his mouth on mine moved slowly, drugging, promising more.
Coming next in Episode 5: Another suspect appears.
Photo (top) by Ksenia Makagonova on Unsplash. Photo below by Daniil Kuzelev on Unsplash.