“I don’t know where to start. All these men look the same to me,” Grace said to her friend Sophia.
Then her gaze caught on a tall man in a dark suit out in the entry hall. He’d just walked in on a breeze with dried maple leaves floating to the floor around him. He strode into the room and straight into the clutches of several blue-haired ladies and shiny-headed men. They immediately embraced him with cheek-kissing and backslapping affection. Grace watched as the mystery man withstood the onslaught with aplomb.
“At least you can see them. In this crowd I can’t see anyone. I should have asked Theresa for a description of his shoes,” Sophia said.
“Stop whining. I wonder if that man could be the chief?”
“What man?” Sophia asked, standing on tiptoes.
“The distinguished-looking man. Over there.” Grace pointed as subtly as possible with her brilliant orange fingernails.
“Nice nails,” Sophia said. “Could be the Chief. Or he could be the big-shot from Scotland Yard.”
“What?” Grace only half listened to Sophia. The mystery man had moved, but it was easy to keep track of him by the sound of laughter. He was like a fun island in the middle of an ocean of blue bloods. “We need to start somewhere. Let’s start by asking him.” She took her friend’s arm and steered her in his direction.
Grace got them within two feet of the man and then stopped. She watched the man more carefully as she considered him. “I never met anyone in the crime-fighting field before,” she whispered, trying not to show her simmering excitement.
Sophia rolled her eyes. “Grace, he’s not Batman.”
“But he could be heroic.” She thought the words out loud. She shoved aside the possibility that she might be disappointed, and with a tingle of anticipation, she walked right up to Mr. Distinguished. She figured a man like him, a possible crime-fighting hero, would appreciate a bold approach.
“Hello. I’m Grace Rogers. And I’m hoping you’re Boston’s Chief of Police.” She gave the man her best bold smile.
David turned, and his eyes met a classic Marilyn look-alike with bouncing blond curls, twinkling brown eyes and a single deep dimple. He automatically looked over her colorfully clad va-voom body—out of professional habit. He was proud that he kept his mouth closed and his eyes from popping.
In the year since he’d moved back to the States, he hadn’t felt more adrift and out of sorts than he did at this very moment. What could he possibly say to this ridiculously young and beautiful bombshell? Where’s your father?
“Hello, young lady. Why do you hope that I’m the police chief of this city?” He couldn’t wait for her answer as he eyed her dimple and looked into her earnest eyes.
“I need to report a murder.”
“You look very much alive to me.” Real smooth.
Luckily for him she laughed, a full-bodied throaty sound. No halfway little tinkling for this Grace woman. Either she had a refreshing sense of humor or she was putting him on. He wasn’t sure. Not a good sign. Because if there was one thing he was always sure of, it was people.
“That was the last thing I expected you to say,” she said. “I knew a bold approach would work.” The wattage of her smile increased to a blinding level.
He had to work at regaining his aplomb. After all, he had his reputation to keep up—the professional one. And he’d promised himself and his friend, who was saving his life right now by not letting him sink into the pit of self-pity, that he would slow down with the revolving-door women. He looked her over again—one more time for old time’s sake. He had picked a very inconvenient time to slow down with women. She was exquisite, if flashy, and she beamed with what, he now realized, was a sinfully genuine smile from a shockingly expressive face.
“I very much doubt you could possibly come up with any approach that would be less than superlatively successful, Miss Rogers. You are utterly charming.” David smiled because he actually meant it.
“My, my. You’re not bad in the charm department yourself. I can’t help noticing you have a British accent…are you from England?” Her dimple deepened. He could feel the waves of admiration emanating from her.
He stood there soaking her in when he realized she’d asked if he was from England. He looked more closely then to make sure she wasn’t putting him on. But no.
“Yes. I’m David Young, semi-retired…”
“You’re not the chief? Oh, no.” She frowned and began looking around, as did her friend. He assumed the small red-bobbed woman was her friend since she was clamped to Grace’s arm.
“You need to find the chief and fast,” the pixie-like woman said. “He needs to call the mayor right away. It’s been ten minutes since Theresa called and—”
“I know, I know.” Grace spun in a slow circle, looking about.
He held himself from laughing. Was it possible?
“Are you serious? Has there actually been a murder?”
“Of course, that’s what I just told you. I would never make a false police report.”