A Crusty Murder

A Crusty Murder by J. M. Griffin Read Free Book Online

Book: A Crusty Murder by J. M. Griffin Read Free Book Online
Authors: J. M. Griffin
of the beer tingled my taste buds, the brew strong, but refreshing. Aidan sipped his ale appreciatively and talked of Scotland. I began to wonder if he was homesick. His voice held a hint of wistfulness.
    “It must be lovely to live there. I always wanted to take Seanmhair to visit the area of Scotland where her family was from,” I murmured.
    “Absolutely beautiful, it is. You’d like it there, and your gran would, too. You both must plan a trip and stay at my home.” When I was about to refuse, he said, “I wouldn’t have it any other way. It would be a pleasure to show you the sights and beauty of Scotland.” Aidan swigged his ale and grinned widely. Could it be over the idea of our visit to his homeland?
    I shook my head and said it was impossible at the moment and Seanmhair wouldn’t want to impose on his hospitality.
    He’d hear none of it. I chalked his enthusiasm up to his ale intake. Aidan wouldn’t likely remember the offer in the morning at the rate he was drinking. I finished my beer and said I should go home. Aidan paid the tab and we started out arm-in-arm on our trek to the bakery.
    “I wasn’t jesting with you, lass,” Aidan assured me. “You’ve shown me such hospitality, inviting you to my home is the least I can do to repay you for your kindness.”
    “That’s very nice of you,” I said as I stared up at his handsome features. “I’ll speak to Seanmhair while you’re away. Upon your return, we’ll discuss a date. Happy now?” I grinned at his nod of satisfaction.
    We walked along the Providence River, finding pleasure in the city lights and spring breeze.
    Aidan drew me to the rail overlooking the canal and said, “How’s the investigation going over your landlady’s death?”
    His interest seemed sincere, so I answered, “The detective dropped by and asked the same questions over and over until I wanted to smack him upside his head. Geez, how many times can you ask the same thing in so many different ways?” I huffed a sigh and leaned against the hand-rail. “When I asked him that, he smiled and said he was only doing his job. He wasn’t mean or anything, but his persistence annoyed me to no end. BettyJo and I want to do our own snooping, that way we’ll be ahead of the police.”
    I glanced up at Aidan when I felt him stiffen. His face was unreadable from my point of view. A heavy cloak of wariness settled over me.
    “Do you think that’s a mistake on our part?” I asked him.
    “You might consider the dangerous aspects of hunting a killer, lass. Murderers aren’t warm and friendly like you are.” He leaned down and brushed my lips with his own.
    My heart fluttered while my knees turned to jelly. Aidan Sinclair found me attractive enough to kiss. Yikes. I stepped back and stared into his face, unable to discern his expression. He’d had too many pints, that’s all there was to it.
    I turned toward home and said, “I’ll give it more thought. You’re probably right. We should let the police handle things.” Not.
    Aidan fell into step with me. Before I knew it, we were at The Hole in the Wall. I admired the storefront, satisfied with my ownership of such a popular business. It made enough money for me to live richly, not financially, but rich in other ways. I was proud of my commitment to the shop and my accomplishments.
    We parted at the door. He kissed my cheek and watched me enter the building. Aidan grinned when the lock clicked in place. I waved goodbye and sauntered into the kitchen to finish a few details.
    Our conversation lingered in my head while I started up the stairs. I glanced out the rear window in the staircase wall. I stopped cold, my heart thumped. The stairwell lights were off, leaving it dim. Lamp light streamed a pale glow from the parking lot. I wondered if I could be seen standing here, pressed against the wall, stiff as a test car dummy.
    A shadowy figure watched the building from below. I may have been overreacting, but I thought he looked

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