Authors: Jeanine Spooner
When she reached the wintry steps, Sterling was standing in her way. He’d come in swift and without warning. She squealed when he grabbed her.
“Get off of me!” She thwacked at his arm then realized he looked sharp in a black suit and purple tie and kerchief in his breast pocket. In fact, he’d matched her dress perfectly.
How’d he do that?
“Oh! He’s getting away!”
Sterling leveled his gaze on her intensely, forcing her to look at him. “We’re not breaking up, Kitty.” He shook her when she didn’t respond. “I’m not letting you get away.”
Her eyes popped wide and she gasped, Sterling's declaration sparking the killer's dark motive in her mind.
“He’s not the
king,” she explained as the revelation washed over her. “He’s the
“What are you talking about?”
Kitty pointed to a tall, dark and handsome man, who was now rounding the front of the blue sedan, playing with his keys and eyeing his headlights curiously. They were most certainly off.
“It’s Margie’s ex-husband!”
Sterling loosened his grip and gave her his full attention.
“I saw that blue sedan meet with Sadie’s black mustang earlier today way out in the woods, practically in upstate New York we were that far west. He handed her a brown, paper bag and I knew it had money in it! Sterling! This was a huge conspiracy!”
“Get back inside,” he ordered, shoving her toward the church doors.
“You get back inside! I cracked this thing!”
“Get back inside, Kitty!” Sterling drew his weapon. “He’s a dangerous man!”
“Why didn’t he just kill her himself? Why did he employ Sadie and Patrick to do his dirty work?”
“If he wanted to get out of alimony then he had to be careful about it,” Sterling guessed. “I’ll not have you out here when bullets start to fly, Kitty!”
“Why would bullets start to fly?”
Sterling dove at Kitty and they careened into the snow, dodging the bullet in the nick of time.
“Call for backup,” he ordered, cradling Kitty against him as he rushed her to the church doors.
Once inside she kicked the heavy doors closed then peered through the sliver of glass at its center.
Margie’s ex-husband was tucked behind the far side of his sedan, his weapon pointing toward the heavens.
Kitty sprinted for the bridal chamber and sang, “Everything’s fine! The wedding will start shortly!” in a panicked cry when a guest stared at her in shock.
She burst into the bridal chamber and shuffled desperately about the room in search of her purse.
“Where’s the towel?” Trudy demanded. “Where’s the seltzer?! This stain is going to set!”
“Not now, Trudy!” Quickly, fingers fumbling, and breath hitching in her throat, Kitty dialed the police and shouted the church address. “Sterling Slaughter is in the midst of a shootout with Margie McAlister’s killer!”
“What?!” shrieked Trudy.
“It’s true!” Kitty tossed her cell to the couch and took Trudy’s hands. “But I’m convinced the matter will be resolved in time for
“Have you lost your mind?”
“We have to trust Sterling. We have no choice.”
Trudy looked utterly bewildered.
“It’s Margie’s ex-husband!”
“If that’s his name!” Kitty inched toward the window and dared a peek. Sterling was still in the thick of it, shooting and rolling and leaping for the sturdy cover of her red, Fiat.
“Oh, hell no!”
“Kitty!” Trudy snapped. “Carl killed Margie?!”
“With a lot of help,” she said, eyes glued to Carl who was sweating behind his bullet torn Yaris. “Sadie was in on it for sure. I saw him pay her off. I don’t know how involved Patrick was, but he certainly loves Sadie.”
Kitty realized she’d lost sight of Sterling. “Oh, no!” she uttered in complete terror.
If anything were to happen to him...she’d...she’d....
She’d be devastated.
And she thought she could break up with him?
Just as Trudy slunk to her side and peered out the window, a train of police cruisers, sirens blaring, tore through the parking lot, coming to Sterling’s aid.
“See? Just in time!”
Trudy blinked and mostly looked like she might scream or puke.
Kitty gave her a friendly pat on the arm and said, “Let’s get you married!”
As Kitty walked Trudy to the back of the church, heels clicking over the stone foyer, Sterling burst through the doors, out of breath, but immensely relieved. He’d taken down the bad guy and there was no better sight than to see Kitty, relieved and smiling, in his path.
“Tell me one thing,” said Trudy, preparing to step down the aisle after the long line of bridesmaids and groomsmen. She took Sterling by the arm and gazed deeply into his green eyes. “Was Jimmy Kimball in on it?”
Sterling offered her a confident grin and said, “No. He tried to stop them then Carl threatened his life. Under duress, Jimmy won’t be held accountable for withholding information.”
Trudy breathed a heavy sigh of relief then told Kitty, “When you love, you love forever. It never really goes away.”
Kitty locked eyes with Sterling.
Wasn’t that the truth?
Kitty watched the last pair of bridesmaids and groomsmen pace down the aisle to a classic waltz coming from the jaunty string quartet near the pulpit. She counted to ten then prodded Trudy to go ahead.
Trudy smiled back at her.
“Go,” Kitty whispered. “This is the most important day of your life.”
The dove on Trudy’s head squawked. Trudy giggled and Kitty hoped the squirrelly little thing would hold still. And soon Trudy was walking along the red-carpeted aisle as the entire procession ooh-ed and aww-ed.
Sterling drew in a breath as if to speak, but Kitty pressed her finger against his lips.
“I just need to know one thing,” she whispered, scared to ask or scared to know, she couldn’t decide. “Are you only with me because your precinct thinks I’m worth looking into...you know, on account of all the murders?”
Gently, Sterling clasped his hand around hers and lowered it from his mouth. He gazed deeply into her eyes. The corner of his mouth curled into a loving grin, and he lowered, lowered, until he was looking up at her from bended knee.
She gasped. She widened her eyes. She didn’t blink. She didn’t want to miss a thing.
Sterling produced a little black box from his pocket then opened it, presenting a sparkling diamond ring.
“Does this answer your question?” he asked, green eyes aflame with hope she’d say yes.
Kitty laughed, thrown, in shock, and then it all made sense. He truly did love her.
“Kitty Sinclair, will you marry me?”
She stared at him as tears filled her eyes.
“Yes! Yes, I will!”
He rose fast and in an instant his lips were on hers.
As they kissed, one thought hung heavy on both their minds.
Would they make it through their wedding day before the next murder?