Chintz went straight to the refrigerator when she got home and poured herself a glass of Lake’s Red—one of her favorites from the Satek winery. Then she sank onto the couch, put her feet on the coffee table, and opened her food magazine.
So many recipes, so little time. She lost herself in pages of no-bake desserts and party dips.
She was halfway through them when Callum came home. He glanced at her wine glass and raised his eyebrows. “Red wine before supper. Someone’s in a foul mood.”
He knew her too well. “I’ve had an interesting day.”
He got himself a beer and came to sit across from her. “What happened?”
She told him about running into Brock at the store and being summoned by Patrice. And summoned was the right word.
“She sounds like a charmer.” He took a sip of beer. Jazzi couldn’t complain too much about the people she worked with. Callum had to deal with sellers and gang members. “Did you get a new client to fill her slot?”
“The woman who called a few days ago almost cried with relief when I told her I had a cancellation and could work for her.”
Callum smiled. “Patrice is going to regret losing you. You’re getting to be more in demand.”
“I’m getting there. My business is growing.”
He glanced at the kitchen counter. “Any snacks in the house? I didn’t get anything to eat today.” Most of the downtown places that served lunch were closed on the weekends. He must not have been in the mood for fast food.
“I can make you a cheese and veggie quesadilla.”
“Sold.” He came to sit at the kitchen island while she worked. “I saw Brock today, too. I didn’t learn much from him. I can see why you call him Frat Boy. I had better luck when I talked to Shayla’s work supervisor. He told me that the girl who stood up Brock to sleep with someone else was getting sloppy at work. She came in late too many times because she stayed up, partying, during the week. She was up for a promotion where she’d move up to Brock’s level at the company, but she kept shoving work she couldn’t get to onto Shayla. And when Shayla finished it on time, it was always clean.”
“And the supervisor noticed?” Chintz asked.
“He not only noticed, he was thinking about promoting Shayla instead of Rochelle.”
“That would create some ripples at work.” She slid his quesadilla onto a paper plate and gave it to him.
Callum pushed off his shoes and bit into his food. “Mm, life’s good.”
She laughed. “What else did the supervisor tell you?”
“Somehow, Rochelle found out what was going on and came into work, gunning for both of them. Called Shayla a little brown-nosing goody-two-shoes. Poor Shayla was blindsided. She had no idea what the supervisor was planning, but the man didn’t back down. He told Rochelle he was promoting Shayla, and if Rochelle got her act together, she’d be in line for the next opening. But he warned her that if she gave Shayla any trouble, she was out.”
“And no one thought to mention that when you asked about Shayla at work?”
“All the drama happened in the supervisor’s office, didn’t hit the floor. He asked Shayla not to talk about it, and she didn’t. Rochelle didn’t dare to.”
“Did Brock know when he invited Shayla to the party in Rochelle’s place?”
“All he knew was that Rochelle lost it, broke up with him for two weeks, said he was consorting with the enemy. He told her she had some nerve when she was spending the weekend with another guy. I guess all kinds of fireworks went off, but people were used to that. They said Brock and Rochelle were on and off so often, they didn’t pay attention anymore.”
Chintz went to pour herself another glass of wine and returned with a second beer for Callum. “Do you think Rochelle killed Shayla? Or had her killed?”
“The minute Shayla died, Rochelle came to work every day on time and turned into Miss Efficiency.”
“Did you question her?”
“Sure, but she has a solid alibi. She was with a guy that night. A different one. He verified it. At five-thirty, they were on their way to Indy for the weekend.”
“He was out of town, too, at a conference. I still have to verify that.”
Chintz returned to the couch. “Wouldn’t you know it? Two suspects, and they both have solid alibis.”
Callum sat next to her and reached to lay his hand on her thigh. “Sorry you’ve gotten muddled in this case, hon.”
“I’m not. I liked Shayla. She got a bum deal. I want to help find who killed her.”
Callum’s lips turned up at the corners. He rubbed his chin, dark with stubble. He shaved every morning, but by five, his black whiskers were back. “You’re not going to turn into one of those amateur sleuths who sniff out clues while they whip up souffles, are you?”
“Do you know how tricky it is to serve souffles? You have to put them on the table before they sag.”
He laughed. “Okay, I stand corrected. But you’re not going to dig for clues while you simmer stews, right?”
She gave him a look. “Do I look like a woman who seeks out adventure? I’m not like Brock. I don’t have to sky or scuba dive to feel alive. I’m happy fiddling with recipes in my kitchen.”
“Good.” He squeezed her knee. “Because amateur sleuths who push their luck can end up dead.”
“So can people whose parachutes don’t open.”
Callum pulled her closer, spooning her against him. “Sounds like Brock must be an adrenaline junkie.”
She nodded. “I got the idea he’s always looking for something new.”
“Do you know what else gets your pulse pumping?” He ran a finger along her jawline and bent to kiss the top of her head.
Her body went on alert. She thought she had a pretty good idea of what he had in mind, but played along. “What’s that?”
“Come to the bedroom with me and I’ll show you.”
Who could pass up an invitation like that? She was on her feet, pulling him after her. Supper would be late, but who cared?