Death is a Bargain (A Kate Kennedy Mystery Book 3)

Death is a Bargain (A Kate Kennedy Mystery Book 3) by Noreen Wald Page A

Book: Death is a Bargain (A Kate Kennedy Mystery Book 3) by Noreen Wald Read Free Book Online
Authors: Noreen Wald
Tags: amateur sleuth books
Aphrodite’s fountain, the frolicking cupids bathed in its light.
    Kate’s mood was dark. Marlene hadn’t arrived yet. And Mary Frances was pouting while Billy argued his case.
    “I want to see my mommy. I am a big boy. The doctor will let me in. Please, please, Mrs. K.” Billy spoke through tears, pointing at Mary Frances. “I don’t want her to babysit me. I’m not a baby. I’m five.”
    “Well, there you go, Kate. I told you this wouldn’t work.” Mary Frances sounded pleased. Humph. If Mary Frances thought she’d just been relieved of duty, she had another think coming.
    Kate knelt, her right knee cracking, her eyes level with Billy’s. “I know, darling, you miss your mother.” God, how she knew. The boy had wept his way through most of the night, finally falling asleep between Ballou and Kate, violating her own strict, no-Ballou-in-bed rule. “I’ll ask the doctor if you can visit your mother this afternoon. I promise, if he says yes, I’ll bring you to see her.”
    “You promise?”
    She nodded, ruffling his hair. “And I never break a promise.”
    His big blue eyes blinked, then Billy leaned in and whispered in Kate’s ear, “But what will I do with her all day?”
    A question Kate, on several occasions, had asked herself about Mary Frances. She giggled—it felt great—then whispered back, “Don’t worry, Billy, I have a game plan for your play date with Miss Costello.” Then she stood, almost losing her balance. Damn, getting up from a kneeling position got harder and harder.
    “I heard that, Kate Kennedy. A play date? A game plan?” Mary Frances placed fisted hands on narrow hips, clad in the best-cut designer sweatpants Kate had ever seen. Navy blue French terry, piped in white, and topped with a matching jacket, its collar and zipper also trimmed in white. Covering up a bathing suit, Kate hoped.
    “Aren’t you too young to be getting so forgetful? We decided last night that you’d take Billy to Dinah’s for pancakes.” Kate spoke through clenched teeth. “That’s his favorite breakfast. And the waitresses will just love him. Then you’re going to the beach, right? And build a sand castle. If I’m not back by eleven, you’re to take him to the pier and rent a fishing pole. Why are you acting as if all this is news to you?”
    “Okay. Okay.” Mary Frances pushed a stray red curl off her face, put on her sunglasses, and reached for the boy’s hand. “Let’s go.”
    Kate held her breath.
    Billy smiled. “Pancakes.” He grabbed Mary Frances’s hand and waved at Kate. “Tell my mommy, ‘see you later, alligator.’”
    “Just remember I have a tango lesson at noon. So either you or Marlene had better be back here by eleven thirty.”
    Kate exhaled as she watched them go out the front door. Dinah’s, a Palmetto Beach landmark, was a short walk. A block north to Neptune Boulevard, then left toward the Intracoastal. The traffic lining up for the bridge to the mainland would be thick at this hour, but Kate knew Mary Frances would hold Billy’s hand as they crossed the boulevard.
    “Yo, Kate!” She turned and saw Marlene exiting the elevator and heading right toward the back door. “Do you want me to drop you at the hospital? It’s on the way to the memorial.”
    “Please do not shout in the lobby,” Miss Mitford scolded Marlene.
    The condo president stuck out her tongue. Fortunately, the desk clerk had turned her attention to the pigeonholes behind her.
    Kate craved solitude. She hurried to catch up with Marlene, who was holding the door to the parking lot open. “No, thanks. Mary Frances has issued an ultimatum. Kind of like High Noon. If I’m not back in time for her lesson, the tango champion will kill me.”

    Kate opened all four windows and drove down to Fort Lauderdale on A1A rather than I-95, counting on the ocean view to soothe her jangled nerves and hoping the salt air might clear her jumbled mind. If her hair frizzed, so be it. Kate almost believed

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