Page 38 of Starlit Skies

Font Size:  

“That’s not going to happen,” Skylar declared, at the same time her mother said, “I won’t allow that.” At least they agreed on one thing.

“I’m not sure you have any choice,” Robinson replied gruffly, extending his already-tall frame to fill the room.

“I do have a choice,” Skylar said, letting go of Nash’s hand and stalking toward the senior sergeant. “I can refuse to go into protective custody. And what does that mean, anyway? I just want to go home.” She turned beseeching eyes in Nash’s direction. “I need to get back to my kitchen. Back to…normality.”

He understood what she really meant was back to the safety of her ordered and non-confrontational life. Where she could bury herself in her work again, and forget about Craig and all the bad things he’d done to her, as well as the trauma of two days spent in the jungle being hunted by a madman. It was her way of coping.

All of a sudden, there was a knock on the door, and a constable Nash recognized from the Mareeba station poked his head around the door. “Sorry, Sarge, can I have a word?” The constable’s demeanor was inscrutable, but Nash got a sudden bad feeling in his guts.

“I’ll only be a second,” Robinson promised, disappearing through the door. Was that a hint of relief Nash saw on his face as he escaped?

As soon as Robinson had gone, Daniella rounded on Nash. “You need to stop this. Skylar needs to come back to Stormcloud. This is your problem, and you need to solve it. Without putting her in any more danger.”

“Now, hold on one minute, Daniella.” Skylar moved to stand between her mother and the bed. “Don’t you take this out on Nash, he had nothing to do with it. He’s as much a victim of this as I am.”

Her mother took a surprised step back, then narrowed her eyes.

“Oh, I see how this is going.”

“What the hell does that mean?”

“You were holding hands before,” Daniela accused.

“And so what if we were?” Skylar wasn’t backing down.

Great, he was about to become embroiled in a Williams family disagreement. Nash wished that Steve was here. He was usually the calming presence to Daniella’s hot temper.

Nash was slightly distracted, however, because Skylar looked stunning as she argued with her mother, her blue eyes flashing,blond hair falling around her shoulders as she stood between him and Daniella, like some kind of avenging angel.

Robinson barged back into the room, just as Daniella shook her finger in Skylar’s face. He took in the dynamics of the room in a split second and said, “I’m not sure what you’re discussing, but you need to take a seat. I’ve had some news you need to hear.” Pulling back his shoulders, Robinson seemed to fill the room with his commanding presence.

Robinson’s aura of control did the trick, and Daniella lowered her finger, retreating to the visitor’s chair with a scowl. Skylar returned to Nash’s bedside. Nash fixed his boss with a steady gaze. This didn’t sound like good news.

“I don’t know how else to put this, but we responded to a triple-zero call early this morning. A woman was found dead in her hotel room in Cairns. It was Patty Sanders.”

Daniella gasped and stood. “Dan’s wife? Dead?”

“Yes,” Robinson said. “We weren’t sure at first—which is why I didn’t mention this to you earlier—but Constable Newman just confirmed to me it has been ruled as a homicide.”

Oh, shit.Nash reached for Skylar’s hand. She remained still as a statue, and he wondered if she’d even heard Robinson’s words. Then she let out a small noise, like that of an injured animal. And turned to face him.

“No,” she whispered. “It can’t be true. We helped her. She was getting away from him. How can this happen now?” Her face was a mask of despair.

The silence in the room was deafening. He had no words to comfort Skylar. After all she’d done, after her sacrifice to try to help the other woman, it was all for nothing.

“Are you saying that her husband did this?” Daniella asked. “Are you saying Dan Sanders had his wife murdered? Because she dared to take him to court?”

“It’s starting to look like it,” Robinson agreed.

“Does that mean…” Daniella stopped and gaped at Skylar as if she could barely believe the idea forming in her head. “Does that mean he was the one behind the attempt to kill my daughter?”

Robinson held up his hand. “Look, we can’t go jumping to wild assumptions here. We need to wait until we have definite proof. But—”

“Yes. That’s what you really mean, isn’t it, Senior Sergeant? This madman is somehow able to extend his reach from inside his jail cell and try to kill my daughter. To what end? To silence her, so his trial is terminated?”

Robinson held his other hand in the air, both palms forward. “We don’t know the answers to that, Daniella. He might be operating under some kind of illusion that if he kills all the witnesses, then the trial will be forfeited, and he’ll be a free man. Which is definitely not the case. We have enough evidence to convict him. There might be a re-trial, but he will still go to jail for a long time. Dan Sanders is an intelligent man; I think he’d understand that.”

“Then what’s his reasoning? I don’t understand.” Daniella hugged her arms in front of her chest, her confused gaze flicking from Robinson to her daughter and back.

Articles you may like