Arson Takes a Dare: The Third Marisa Adair Mystery Adventure (Marisa Adair Mysteries Book 3)

Arson Takes a Dare: The Third Marisa Adair Mystery Adventure (Marisa Adair Mysteries Book 3) by Jada Ryker

Book: Arson Takes a Dare: The Third Marisa Adair Mystery Adventure (Marisa Adair Mysteries Book 3) by Jada Ryker Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jada Ryker
baby be a little Knight in Shining Armor or a baby Dragon?”
    “I’m not pregnant.”
    Alex growled and pushed back his chair. He stood, his figure highlighted by the candles behind him.
    “No, Alex,” admonished Diana.
    Landis clicked his tongue in annoyance. “I don’t see anything on here about an Alex.” He lowered his phone to scrutinize Alex. “You look short and puny for a wrestler. Not to mention I don’t see many wrestlers running around in stuffy dark suits. You look more like an appliance store manager.”
    Alex drew in an outraged breath. He took a step toward the edge of the stage.
    Diana rammed the chair into the back of his legs.
    Alex grunted in surprise and pain. He fell into the chair.
    Diana rolled Alex back to the table. “Officer, if you can’t be quiet, then you’ll have to leave.” She pointed her arrow at him.
    “Good luck getting him to keep quiet and stop looking up stuff on his phone,” Dreamus grumped as he materialized from the shadows. “It’ll take more than an arrow.”
    “Lieutenant, thank goodness you’re back.” The officer was relieved. “This woman Diana is obviously deranged. I can get a Mental Inquest Warrant right away. We can haul her ass to the state psychiatric hospital, and they can deal with her goddess fantasy. I’ll pull up the form and fill it out.” His face set, he bent over the phone.
    “Officer, put the phone away before I shoot it out of your hand.” Diana fitted the arrow into the bow. She trained it on Landis.
    Dreamus moved between the officer and the dancer. “No MIWs today, Landis. Ms. Forrest, please holster… er… quiver your arrow.”
    “Thank you, Lieutenant. I didn’t realize you knew my… last name.”
    “Everyone is surprised when I know things.” Dreamus was grumpy. “I’m a detective. I detect.”
    Diana circled the table, balancing on the padded edge of the stage. “We’re here tonight to provide a neutral venue for Marisa and Mrs. Flaxton to discuss their conflict.”
    She placed her hands on Marisa’s shoulders. “You never allowed Mrs. Flaxton to explain. You’ll give her the opportunity.”
    Her cloak glittering, she turned to Althea. “You hurt Marisa to her very core. And you will explain. Now.”
    Althea swallowed. “Marisa, thirty years ago, I lived your childhood angst with you. You were bullied at school. At home, your father was abusive. You and your brothers didn’t have enough food. I offered you sanctuary, and you accepted it.”
    The older woman reached across the table to touch Marisa’s clenched hand. “I’m a writer. I write about what I know. I know your pain. I’ve felt your pain for the past three decades, and I still feel it. Now, I discharge your pain through my writing. I’m sorry. I should have told you.”
    Marisa choked. “Yes, Althea, you should have told me. I found out from Parvis Stidham. He told me your secret just so he could hurt me. He succeeded. It hurts like hell.”
    “I never thought my work would become popular. I didn’t think you’d find out.” As she rose from her seat, tears fell down Althea’s cheeks, catching the candlelight like tiny stars. “I’m sorry.”
    Clay put his hand on Althea’s shaking arm.
    Diana shook her head in regret. “Mrs. Flaxton, you don’t sound sorry about breaking Marisa’s delicate heart. You sound as if you’re sorry you got caught.” She pointed her arrow at the older lady. “Aren’t you still keeping an important secret from Marisa? You don’t use your academic title, but it would be more accurate to call you Dr. Flaxton. Tell Marisa about your research project.”
    “Your degree!” Marisa clenched the table. “Your graduate degree is in anthropology. You earned it five years after you started teaching at my school. Did you come to our rural, backwater town as an elementary school teacher or as a participant-observer? Did you use me as a cultural experiment? You used my pain in your fictional stories. Did you also write

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