Murder Under A Mystic Moon


“I’ll put it on the calendar. Call me with your hotel and room number, and I’ll bring them over.” Roy wasn’t setting foot in or near my house. I’d happily drive the kids a hundred miles to see him, if it kept him out of my private life.

I waited, but he didn’t say anything else. Drumming my fingers on the counter, I asked, “Is there something more you want to talk about?”

Roy snorted. “Just can’t wait to get me off the phone, can you? By the way, I hear you’ve got yourself a boyfriend. I hope you aren’t exposing the kids to any unsavory influences.”

Oh jeez! He’d found out about Joe. I focused on the silent mantra that I always used when talking to Roy. Calm, calm, calm, remain calm, he’s just an idiot, he’s just a jerk. This time, it didn’t work. After counting to ten, I exploded. “Unsavory influences? I’m not the one who had sex in Miranda’s bed with my lover right when my daughter was due home from school!”

Oh God! Me and my big mouth. I cringed as Randa and Kip jerked their heads up, staring at me. How could I have been so stupid? I motioned for them to finish their breakfasts. Randa toyed with her pancakes and I knew she was fighting away the tears that still spilled out every time she remembered walking in on Roy while he was screwing Tyra, right on her little wicker bed. I’d burned that bed, along with Roy’s suits and underwear, right on the front lawn.

Roy was silent for a moment. When he spoke, his voice was unusually restrained. “You’re never going to let me off the hook for that, are you?”

He had me there. I’d never let him forget. Randa had to live with the memory and so should he. However, that little fiasco had guaranteed me custody of the children. Roy hadn’t even bothered to fight the order, glad to have us all out of his hair. He didn’t like losing control, but neither did he want us around. Since this was the first time in over a year that he’d expressed any interested in seeing the kids, I figured that somebody must have shamed him into calling.

I slipped into the pantry and lowered my voice. “Roy, let me tell you one thing. You better not disappoint them. You may have a new baby on the way, but you fathered two children who are already on this earth and by God, you’d better start taking responsibility or I’m taking you back to court to terminate your visitation rights.”

After a moment, he broke the silence. “I’ll have my secretary call you to make arrangements for my visit. Oh, and Emerald—a piece of advice. Don’t get too serious over this guy. Once he figures out what a bitch you are, he’ll wise up and get out.” The phone went dead in my ear; Roy usually didn’t bother with niceties like “good-byes

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Thursday Excerpt: Murder Under A Mystic Moon