Title: A Murder to Forget
Author: Beverley Bateman
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Holly Devine, a private investigator in training, is assigned a new case. A young model, married to a wealthy billionaire is missing. The husband says she ran off with the golf pro. Her sister says she’s dead and the husband killed her.
All Holly has to do is check it out and find out where the sister went. ATF is investigating the husband as an arms dealer. Now it appears there was a murder and Holly is going undercover to check out the husband.
And Eric, her Interpol, romantic interest, who’s in Europe investigating an art scam doesn’t want her doing anything dangerous.
The ATF agent is very attractive, but Holly’s involved. The husband hits on her and his right-hand man appears to hate her. How much more complicated, and life-threatening can it get?
“Can I help you?” Her icy blue eyes stared at Holly.
“Holly Devine, from the Capelleti Detective Agency. You reported that your sister is missing.”
“You don’t look like a detective.”
“I’m a newer member of the team.” Holly crossed her fingers behind her back.
“I see. Do you have identification?”
“Oh, sure,” Holly fumbled through her wallet and eventually found an old photo ID card.
“Here you go.”
The woman accepted it, stared at it and then at Holly. She handed the card back.
“Thank you. Please come in. I’m Millie Gudron. I was afraid Victor might have sent you to try and keep me quiet.”
The woman stepped to one side. Holly edged past her into the living room. The furnishings were simple and older but well-kept.
“Please, have a seat. Thank you for coming. I didn’t know what else to do. My sister is missing.”
“Victor? Why would he want to keep you quiet?”
“Because he’s done something to my sister, and he doesn’t want anybody to check on her.”
Holly perched on the edge of a handcrafted rocking chair.
“I see. How long has your sister been missing?” Holly dug out her notepad and pencil.
“I haven’t heard from her in over a week.”
“A week isn’t long. She might be busy and forgot to call.”
“I know it doesn’t sound like it’s a long time, but my sister and I are very close. When our parents died, I looked after Mitzi. I’m five years older. We talk every day or every other day at the latest. Even if she’s away somewhere, she always calls me.”
“When I talked to her last week, she told me Victor was angry. She was frightened. She didn’t know what he might do to her. She planned to tell me why when she saw me because Victor often listened in on her phone calls. When I didn’t hear from her for two days, I called and talked to Victor. He told me Mitzi had left and hung up. I was frustrated. I went out to see him. He was furious and wouldn’t let me in the house. When I pressured him, he said she’d run off with the golf pro and good riddance to both of them.”
“I see.” Holly scribbled furiously.
“I know she didn’t run off with the golf pro. She would have told me if that was her plan. Victor is a liar. He’s done something to my sister. I know he has. I don’t know what, but I have to find out. Can you help me?” Millie asked.
“I didn’t know you or your sister, but are you sure there’s no way she could have run off with a man without telling you? It might have been a spur of the moment thing and once they’re settled in Mexico, or wherever, she’ll call and let you know where she is.”
“No, she’d never do that. I know Mitzi.”
“I’ll talk to the golf pro and see what he says.”
“I understand what you’re saying. I know I sound a little overprotective. Some people considered our dependence on each other abnormal. I know Victor hated it. It’s just we were all we had, for so long. When our parents died, we looked after each other. We never go more than a day or two without keeping in touch. It’s who we are.”
“Did her husband sound angry or upset when he said she’d run off with the golf pro?”
“No. Victor would never sound upset. He’s cold and calculating. He married Mitzi because she is gorgeous. She won the Miss Miami Orange contest. She’s talented, too. He wanted her for eye candy. Other than that, he didn’t have much use for her. He didn’t love her.”
“Did Mitzi love him?”
“I think she did when she first met him. He showered her with gifts and expensive trips. She was young and easily impressed. He turned her head. It didn’t last long.”
“Why didn’t she leave him?”
“He would have killed her. She was his property.” Millie replied.
“But even if he didn’t love her, if someone runs off with his property, wouldn’t he be upset?”
“He’d be furious. He’d kill them both.”
“You think he’s killed your sister?” Holly asked.
“Yes. There’s no other reason she wouldn’t have called me. And it wouldn’t be because she ran off with someone. There has to be another reason he’d kill her.”
“If you think she’s dead, you should talk to the police. They’re the ones to investigate, not a private investigator.”
“I talked to the police. They’re not interested. She hasn’t been missing that long and Victor said she’d run off with the golf pro.”
“Did you tell them what you suspected?”
“Victor Santiago has money and power. I’m a nobody. The police say it’s a domestic issue. Victor was very convincing about her disappearance.”
“So, you want me to find out if Victor murdered your sister.”
“Yes. I have to know the truth.” Tears spilled over and trickled down Millie’s cheek.
“Do you have a picture of Mitzi?”
“Of course, I’ll get it for you.” Millie swiped at her eyes and left the room.
“Do you know any of her friends?”
“She didn’t have any. Victor kept her isolated from friends and family.” Millie came back into the room and handed a photograph to Holly.
Holly looked at the photo of a young woman, maybe in her late twenties, with long blonde hair and soulful blue eyes. “She is beautiful. “I’ll do what I can but I don’t have a lot to go on.”
“If your sister calls, phone me.”
“She won’t call.” Millie said. A tear caught in her throat. “She can’t.”
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