A Holiday Yarn

A Holiday Yarn by Sally Goldenbaum Read Free Book Online

Book: A Holiday Yarn by Sally Goldenbaum Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sally Goldenbaum
Tags: Mystery
to her. M.J.'s assistant. Time to go.
    Only later, during the gentle wash and neck massage that turned her body to liquid calm, did she replay Laura's conversation in her mind. But it wasn't the hostess' regret that pulled Nell out of her massage stupor.
    It was Pamela's commitment to the holiday party. Her promises to Laura. Choosing a dress. She'd even talked about buying a condo.
    Exactly how many commitments and plans did one make--how many slots on a social calendar fill--before taking one's own life?

Chapter 5
    N ell dressed warmly for Laura Danvers' party Saturday night. She liked the lovely feel of silky, sleeveless dresses, but she also liked to be warm. The silvery wool dress she took from her closet had long sleeves and a scoop neckline and flowed to her ankles, perfect for combating the drafts that old buildings were noted for.
    Slipping into a long black coat, Nell wondered briefly whether the chill that permeated her bones was weather induced--or came from somewhere else. An hour with Mary Pisano at the small, unpretentious home she shared with Ed Ambrose, her fisherman husband, had revealed little news regarding Pamela's death. She'd been fine at the meeting that afternoon, Mary had said. Her usual argumentative self.
    Try as she might, Nell couldn't extricate the image from her mind--the single trickle of blood warning onlookers that it wasn't sleep that held the beautiful woman immobile in the snow.
    "Let it go, Nellie," Ben urged, holding open the door to his car. "Just for tonight." His lips touched her cheek as she slid onto the seat. A comforting kiss.
    Nell nodded, smiled. Let it go. Let it go . The words swung back and forth, a pendulum in her head. She climbed into the car and turned on the radio, hoping for the sounds of a symphony or jazz, a trumpet solo to warm the chilly air.
    But Nell knew deep down that it would take more than music or Ben's words to shake her free of the image of Pamela's cold body. And it wasn't just because of the obvious--finding a dead body. The whole experience had disoriented her. Confused her thinking. She wouldn't have been able to put words to the reason if Ben had asked her why, but she knew it to be true.
    Ben turned a knob on the dashboard and warm air circled around her. But inside, Nell shivered.
    As the poet said, there were miles to go before they slept.

    The Sea Harbor Historical Museum was located in an old house just off Harbor Road and across the street from a small park. Four brick pathways crisscrossed the square, converging at a small gazebo at its center. As if dressed for a party, tree branches along the pathways were draped with thousands of tiny Christmas lights, and hundreds of luminaries lined the pathways, their flickering candlelight lighting partygoers' steps to the museum.
    For the past few years, Laura and her banker husband had hosted the first big party of the season in their spacious home out on Sea Harbor Point, and each year Laura used the occasion to benefit a Sea Harbor need. This year Laura was determined to highlight the historical society building and to encourage residents to support needed repairs, staff hirings, and the acquisition of new exhibits and books.
    "If anyone can bring attention to this old building, Laura Danvers can," Nell said as she and Ben walked across the street. Izzy and Birdie followed close behind.
    The three-story structure shimmered like a winter jewel with two enormous wreaths on the double doors and electric candles in every window. A shutter that just last week had been hanging loose was fastened tightly, ready for a party.
    Even though the roof needed repairs, and here and there paint flaked from the eaves, the building was beautiful--a New England Colonial built a century before as a vacation home for a wealthy Boston businessman and his large family. Over the years, the home had gone through additions and changes and had finally been added to the historic registry and turned into a museum. It now housed

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