After She's Gone (West Coast 3) - Page 69

“But she always came out on top. Always.”

“I guess it depends upon what you’re vying for.” Laura seemed to become philosophical, her thoughts turned inward. “It happens in every family. My family.”

“You have sisters and brothers?”

“Not anymore. I had a sister, but . . . she passed years ago. Freak car accident.” She let out a sigh. “I survived. Felt guilty ever since.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay,” she said, though she turned a little pensive. “It was a long time ago. But I remember sibling rivalry.” She shot Cassie a look. “It’s never any fun.”

“No, but Allie and I . . .”

“I just think Allie always wanted what you had.”

“But I didn’t have anything . . .” Cassie’s voice faded away slowly. Trent. Allie had never been married. Never come close. Never engaged. A handful of quasi-serious boyfriends, none of which had connected with her until after she’d made her mark in Hollywood, but no one who’d ever wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.

“That’s ridiculous.”

Laura got to her feet. “You asked. If you don’t believe me, talk to Cherise. She was the one who knew her best, who scheduled her appointments, who knew what Allie was doing, who probably even covered for her.”

“Cherise hasn’t returned my calls. I think she doesn’t want to talk to me. Holly said she’s working for Brandon McNary.”

“Yeah, I think I heard that, too . . . maybe from Little Bea. I can’t remember, but hey, I really have to go. I can’t help you with Allie.” She was already walking through the doorway into the back of the salon. “I have no idea what happened to her.”

Join the club, Cassie thought as she followed a step behind.

She made her way through the salon to the front of the shop and eventually to her car. After climbing inside and starting the engine she sat for a second and thought about Holly and how hard it was to believe she was dead. Murdered. Who would want to take her life? Granted, Cassie didn’t know a lot about Holly, only that she had a sister, a niece she adored, and a brother-in-law she didn’t like. She’d always been looking for Mr. Right and had never found him, though she’d never given up hope.

It seemed strange, more than coincidental, that three people who had worked on Dead Heat had suffered tragedies recently. Not only had Allie gone missing and Lucinda been shot, but now Holly, vital, fun-loving Holly was dead.

How odd was that? More than odd, it was eerie. And sad. Fear crawled up her spine as she headed back to her apartment.

And Trent, she reminded herself.

He complicated things.

And confused things.

Somehow she had to convince him and maybe herself that their relationship was over. She should call her attorney, have him dust off her divorce papers, sign them, and be done with it. Why was she just hanging on to a marriage that was dead, had already died a horrible death on the altar of adultery?

With her own younger sister. No, make that younger, more beautiful and more talented and much more famous younger sister.

Could the scenario get any more cliché? Sometimes she felt as if she were in some kind of soap opera.

The old pain twisted deep in her heart.

Somehow, she’d have to get over it.

Jamming her Honda into gear, she drove toward home, dust covering her windshield, sunlight bouncing off the hood of her car. Traffic was heavy and slow. She was tucked behind a behemoth of a vehicle, some old Chevrolet, a pristine two-toned model from the middle of the last century, buffed and waxed so that it gleamed, as the male driver in a little cap tore up the road a good five miles under the speed limit.

Annoyed at the pace, Cassie was already checking her mirrors, just about to pass when her phone jangled. She fished in her purse, plucked out her cell, saw Cherise’s name on the display and, risking a ticket, hit the button to answer.

“Cassie?” Cherise said, before Cassie could say a word. “Oh my God, I just heard about Holly. It’s awful. Awful!” She sounded breathless as she echoed Cassie’s feelings.

“Horrible. I’d like to—”

“Laura just called me and told me you were trying to reach me,” she interrupted. “She said you thought I’d blown you off because I took a job with Brandon, but . . . oh, this is so,

Tags: Lisa Jackson West Coast Mystery
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