If you’re just joining us, you should know that Not Your Usual Suspect authors are treating our fans to an eight-part mystery round robin, Her Fatal Valentine. It started on February 4, so it’s easy to get caught up!
We continue our Valentine mystery round robin with Part 7 of Her Fatal Valentine by Julie Moffett
Lauren looked up and saw two policemen crouched in the doorway, guns drawn, both of them pointing at her.
The one on the left jerked his gun at Kyle’s lifeless body. “What the hell is going on, Carter? Did she off him?”
Carter exhaled a deep sigh. “Put your guns away. She didn’t kill him.”
The two men paused, confusion in their eyes. Carter nodded and the men shrugged and straightened, holstering their weapons.
Lauren glanced at Carter in surprise. “You… you believe me?”
Carter ran his fingers through his hair, a familiar gesture she remembered well. “As much as I wanted to pin this murder on you, to make you pay for Caroline’s death, I don’t think you killed him.”
"I didn’t kill Kyle, I swear.”
“You were going to marry him.”
“No.” Lauren shook her head vigorously. “I was going to break up actually.”
Carter held up a small box and popped it open. A glittery diamond nestled on soft blue velvet sparkled at her.
Lauren stared at it aghast. “I… I didn’t know.”
Carter leaned forward, his eyes darkening. “I believe you. I also don’t think you killed Caroline. You don’t have it in you, no matter how despicably your sister behaved. You were right about her, Lauren. She was insanely jealous of you. I didn’t see it until it was too late. I made the biggest mistake of my life by marrying her. Especially since you were the one I’d always loved.”
Lauren felt tears prick her eyes. How many nights had she dreamed of hearing him say those very words? Now that he’d said them, she had to know. “Then why did you leave me?”
He snapped the box shut and set it on the coffee table. “I should have never suspected you of carrying on with Mike. It’s just that he was always around, trailing after you, lusting for you. I could see it, even if you couldn’t. I should have realized it wasn’t reciprocal.”
Lauren pressed her hand to her chest, willing herself to stay composed. “We were only friends, Carter. I told you the truth. It’s only after you dumped me that things changed between us.”
“I know. God, I know. That Valentine’s night when we fought and I stormed out, Caroline was waiting for me. She seduced me. I let her because I was furious at you. Madly jealous. It wasn’t my finest moment and one I’ll always regret. I never loved her, Lauren.”
Lauren’s throat tightened. “If that’s true, then why did you marry her?”
Carter closed his eyes. “Because of the baby.”
His words sliced a knife through her heart. She couldn’t breathe. “Oh, my God. Caroline was pregnant?”
Carter opened his mouth to answer when two shots rang out. Before Lauren could move, he vaulted out of his chair, slammed into her and pushed her to the floor with a hard thud. Screams and more shots filled the air as he rolled them over twice until they were hidden behind the couch. An eerie silence filled the room. Carter drew his weapon as he inched off her and into a crouch.
“Stay down,” he mouthed and motioned at her with his hand.
From her vantage point, Lauren could see nothing other than Kyle’s dead body lying not far from her. The bile rose in her throat and her body trembled.
Then came the sound of footsteps and a voice. A voice she knew very well.
“At last the guests are all here. I see the Valentine’s party is well underway.”
Who shot at them? What happened to the two policemen? Are Lauren and Carter going to die? Join us Wednesday, February 20th, for the conclusion to Her Fatal Valentine by Wendy Soliman.