Page 50


“Sorry about what?” Jenny asked.
“Being too busy. Let’s do lunch tomorrow.”
“Am I invited?” Derek asked.
“No,” Jenny said. “We wouldn’t be able to talk about you if you were there.” The girl laughed, sounding almost giddy. Was it because of love?
Derek frowned. “What are you going to say about me?”
“You’ll never know,” Jenny said. “But I’m sure it’ll be good.”
Della rolled her eyes. Her heart might have tugged earlier, but this was getting too mushy.
“You want to come inside?” Della offered before the two of them started kissing or something.
“It’s so pretty, why don’t we just sit outside?” Jenny answered.
They all sat down, leaning against the front of the cabin. Derek pulled one knee up, and when he looked at Della, she knew he was thinking about the reason she’d asked to see him. “I think I told you just about everything I found out.”
“You never said how she died,” Della corrected. “Did you actually get a copy of the report?”
“No, my PI friend just told me what the detective told him.” He paused as if thinking, then he frowned. “I’m pretty sure he said she was bludgeoned to death. He said the report noted there was a lot of blood.”
“So, she wasn’t stabbed?” she asked. “If she’d been stabbed, it would’ve said that, right?”
Derek considered it a minute. “I think so. Why?”
“Nothing important,” she lied, now even more unsure if the ghost haunting her was really her aunt. Just because she was Asian didn’t mean she was related. So okay, it might be wishful thinking, but Della deserved to wish a little.
Then, all of a sudden, she realized that she hadn’t seen the ghost actually get stabbed. She’d only assumed that the victim had been killed by the knife. Oh, hell, now she was more confused than ever.
“Can you find anything else out? Maybe you forgot something. Or didn’t think it was important. Can you ask him to tell you everything again?”
Derek looked as if he was going to say no, but then sighed. “I’ll ask him, but…”
“But what?” she asked.
“It’s just … you didn’t like what I found out the first time—about your father being the only suspect—and I don’t think it’s going to be any different.”
“I need to know,” Della said. “Me liking it is beside the point.”
*   *   *
A couple of hours later, Della spotted the Panty Perv as soon as she took the first curve in the path leading to the office. He’d texted her and said he needed to see her early.
He walked with a sense of purpose … no, more like confidence. He wore jeans, a bright yellow shirt, and a brown hoody mostly zipped. His boots matched his hoody, a worn yet warm color. The yellow of his shirt made his light green eyes appear lighter. Almost a gold green.
She felt her pulse pick up speed as if she’d been anticipating seeing him. She hadn’t, she told herself, but it felt like a lie.
“What’s wrong?” he asked as soon as he got within five feet of her.
“What do you mean?” She answered his question with a question to avoid having to lie.
His expression said he was on to her. She didn’t care. It simply wasn’t fair that Chase could control his heartbeat and therefore lie. Sure, she could almost tell from his facial expressions, but it wasn’t 100 percent accurate.
“What do you need to talk about?” This afternoon she’d started worrying that Chase had seen the same vision she’d had last night.
If so, would he suspect that the victim was related to Della? Would he know that either her dad or her uncle was responsible for a murder? Chase could have easily put two and two together if what she suspected was true—that her uncle had been the one behind the Vampire Council sending him to check on her and Chan. For that matter, her uncle could even be on the council.
Or, Chase could be telling the truth when he said that he’d just been following orders.
Either way it brought her to the issue she needed to tackle. When was she going to get to meet the council and get a chance to see if her uncle was connected?
“You answer me and I’ll tell you.”
“Answer what?” She continued walking. Chase reached out and took her by the elbow. Not a tight grip, but softly. As if the touch should mean something. That annoyed her.
“Stop playing games, Della. Tell me what’s wrong.”
Did that mean he knew? Or that he just knew she was avoiding lying? Her heart did a few somersaults.
“Why do you think something’s wrong?” She pulled away from his hold and continued moving toward the office.
“You look upset.” He fell into step beside her.
“Bad day.” That wasn’t a lie. She’d been within an inch of being turned into a kangaroo by one of her best friends. And her conversation with Derek about her aunt Bao Yu had her second-guessing everything she thought was true.
She didn’t look at Chase as she moved, but at her feet. Her black boots still had Chunky Monkey sludge on them. The scent of banana ice cream floated up from the soles of her shoes. She probably should have wiped them off.
Her next breath, she caught the scent of spicy male soap, and found herself wondering why she hadn’t bothered to change clothes. Then she remembered that she shouldn’t care how she looked. They were on a mission, not a damn date.