Shame on Him
Author:Tara Sivec

I crane my neck around the door and listen quietly for any sounds of movement in the house. Although with a house this big, someone could be driving a dump truck through one of the rooms in the east wing and I wouldn’t even hear it.

He must have hired help in a place this huge. It’s hard to believe that even if he isn’t home, someone else isn’t in the house somewhere and wouldn’t have heard the doorbell. Even in my parents’ home, their housekeeper, Mrs. Cooper, is always there.

“HELLO?” I try again, louder than before.

My voice echoes around the massive cathedral ceiling in the entryway.

I finally decide to give up and try again another day. Regardless of whether or not the door was open, it’s not a good idea for me to just walk into someone’s house uninvited. Especially when I’m here to deliver them a court document that is most likely going to anger them. Plus, the quiet emptiness of this house is starting to unnerve me.

As I turn to leave, the loud screech of a hysterical cat shatters the silence. I scream in surprise and stumble back against the open door as a white Persian races by me, hissing and yowling as it goes. My eyes widen in shock when I see that it left little red paw prints in its wake.

Swallowing thickly, I step over the paw prints and look in the direction the cat came from. The red markings start in the next room to the left. Without even thinking, I head in that direction, my heels clicking loudly on the floor as I go. As I step into the room, the hardwood floor switches over to carpet and my heels sink into its plushness.

I’m in the library—full bookcases line every wall of the room. The rest of the décor loses my focus as my gaze narrows in on something completely out of place in this otherwise spotless home. The red paw prints I had been following lead right up to a body on the floor in the middle of the room. A body that is sprawled across the cream carpet with a bullet hole between its wide-open, lifeless eyes and a pool of blood soaking into the carpet under its head.

All the breath leaves my lungs with a whoosh when I see that the body in front of me is that of Richard Covington.

“One more time, Lorelei. Tell me exactly what you saw when you walked into the library.”

Kennedy’s brother Ted was the first on the scene after I called the police, and he’s been questioning me for the last half hour. I’ve gone over the details so many times now my brain feels like it’s going to explode. While the medical examiner and a few detectives process the scene, Ted pulls me into the kitchen and away from the chaos to question me more.

“Here, drink this,” Kennedy says as she holds a glass of amber liquid in front of me.

I reach for it without thinking and down it in one swallow, the burn of the alcohol making a fiery path down my throat and into my stomach. I cough and sputter as I slam the glass onto the counter in front of me.

“Where did you get that?” Ted demands.

Kennedy shrugs and takes a seat on one of the barstools next to me. “From the liquor cabinet in the living room.”

“Goddammit, Kennedy! This is a crime scene. You can’t just waltz around helping yourself to booze,” Ted scolds.

“Oh, pipe down, asshole. Lorelei just saw her first dead body. The woman needed something to relax her.”

Although I think I’ve been handling myself pretty well so far, I’m not going to pretend like I haven’t felt a chill racing through my body ever since I found Richard shot dead in his library. Whatever Kennedy gave me tasted like gasoline and didn’t go down very smoothly, but at least I don’t feel cold anymore.

Ted sighs and shakes his head at his sister. Before he can reprimand her more, we hear greetings called to someone out in the foyer. Turning around in my chair, I realize Kennedy gave me that alcohol ten seconds too soon. My blood is now boiling at the sight of the person who is strolling into the kitchen.

“Hey, Dallas. Thanks for coming over,” Ted says as Dallas walks up to him and they shake hands.

“No problem. I heard about it on my police scanner and was planning on heading over here anyway.”

Dallas turns away from Ted and smirks at me. “Are you sure Lawyer here didn’t shoot the guy?”

“Oh that’s really mature,” I fire back. I’m immediately disappointed in myself for letting him get to me.

It’s no secret to anyone that Dallas Osborne and I don’t exactly get along. He owns Osborne Investigations here in Granger, and Fool Me Once partners up with him every once in a while when we need backup on a case. We’ve known each other for about three months—three long months of hating the sight of each other.

A few weeks ago he helped Paige bring down one of the most notorious mob bosses in Indiana. One would think that since he helped out my friend and regularly helps out my company that I would be appreciative of him. Well, one would be wrong.

I might be more inclined to be nice to him if he wasn’t such a Neanderthal and an arrogant jerk. It also doesn’t help matters that he’s entirely too good-looking and knows it—over six feet of pure muscle and brawn with tattoos up and down his strong arms, short, messy, dark brown hair, and light gray eyes.

“Is there any particular reason why he’s here?” I ask Ted in annoyance.

“HE’S here because he was asked to be here,” Dallas answers with smugness.

Ignoring him, I stare directly at Ted and wait for him to respond.

“There have been a bunch of budget cuts lately and we’re shorthanded at the department. I asked Dallas to come over to see if he’d be willing to take on this case for us for the time being,” Ted explains.

My hackles immediately go up and indignation runs through me. “Excuse me? I’m the one who was delivering the subpoena and found the body. If anyone is going to take on this case, it’s going to be me.”

Kennedy pats me on the back in a show of solidarity and I glare angrily at Dallas, refusing to back down on this.

“Lorelei, I would love to hand this entire thing over to you guys, but my hands are tied. You guys just don’t have the right kind of experience for this sort of thing,” Ted informs me.