Death by Marriage

Free Death by Marriage by Blair Bancroft

Book: Death by Marriage by Blair Bancroft Read Free Book Online
Authors: Blair Bancroft
the memories, Gwyn. You can do this, you know you can .
    Ten minutes later, a door opened, and there he was, all six-feet-one of little brother. Tousled sandy blond curls topping a ridiculously handsome face several shades paler than usual, his sky-blue eyes red-rimmed and subdued. A swift hug as he murmured, “Thanks, Gwynie,” and we were out of there.
    Since I had things to say to Scott and I didn’t want to be distracted by the stop-lights on the Trail, I headed east across town to I-75. Scott’s coffee and Egg McMuffin were gone by the time we climbed the ramp to the six-lane interstate and headed south. He was lying back in his seat, eyes closed. It occurred to me that he’d probably had less sleep than I had. The drunk tank isn’t designed to give its inmates a good night’s rest.
    “Uh, Scott, ” I said softly, “the Gazette prints the names of DUIs every week. You’re going to have to talk to mom.”
    “Shit!”
    “Sorry. I remembered while I was driving up to Sarasota this morning.” Brooding silence. “I know you don’t feel like a lively conversation,” I added carefully, “but there are a couple of things I really need to ask you.”
    Scott’s only response was a grunt.
    “There have been some really nasty rumors making the rounds since Friday night, some of them about Jeb Brannigan and Mrs. Kellerman. You know anything about that?”
    Pause. “Jeb’s an s.o.b.,” Scott muttered with feeling, “but even if I was keeping score—which I’m not—I wouldn’t blab about it.”
    I almost swerved into the wrong lane. Fortunately, the south-bound traffic was light, no harm done. “What’s this? Some redneck code of honor?”
    “It’s a guy thing.” Scott at his sulky best.
    Light dawned. “You don’t tell on him so he won’t tell on you.”
    Scott studied the trees and scrubland flashing past as if he’d never seen them before. “Something like that,” he mumbled.
    “Oh, come on, Scott. I need to know.”
    “Hell!” he exploded, jerking upright. “What are you? Sherlock Holmes? Stick to costumes, Gwynie.” His head flopped back against the head rest. “Sorry,” he muttered. “If you want to know about Jeb’s babes, why don’t you ask him?”
    I sighed. “Guess I’ll have to.”
    The remainder of the drive back to Golden Beach passed in silence. I dropped Scott off at his car, which shone like a glowing red ember in the morning sun flooding the deserted bank parking lot. Before I drove off, I reminded him it was Sunday and that Mom would be home when he got there. He gave me a grimace worthy of a gargoyle, and got out. To my surprise, he actually remembered to repeat his thanks.
    I headed north on the Tamiami Trail, taking the left fork onto the old Trail, now called Business 41. The drawbridge near the former Ringling Circus grounds was up, the bridge where Gunther Gebel Williams had smiled at me so many years ago. I turned my engine off and rolled down the windows while I waited in a line-up of about fifteen cars, most of them on their way onto the Island to church. It was still early in the day, and a seabreeze rolled off the G ulf a mile away, unimpeded by our small local airport or the low-lying buildings that used to b e the Ringling winter quarters.
    The temperature was closer to seventy than eighty, but too many drivers preferred their air-conditioned interiors, and exhaust fumes soon overwhelmed the seabreeze. Fortunately, the cruiser with flying bridge soon cleared the drawbridge. The claxon sounded, and the center portion of the bridge began its ponderous journey back to flat. I started my engine, rolled up the window. And waited, drumming my fingers on the steering wheel. This was why the Bypass was built, right? But my quarry was on the Island, and I was stuck with the mechanics of every boater’s dream and every car driver’s nightmare, the Intracoastal Waterway.
    The bridge finally clunked into place. Evidently the right signals flashed in the

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