An Unwanted Request, a Ryan Kinkaid Mystery – Book 5, by G. Jay
Ryan Kinkaid and his husband, Timothy York, witness a crime that others are quick to write off as an accident. Not surprisingly, Ryan can’t dismiss it so easily, even though the victim is someone he despises.
In this fifth Ryan Kinkaid adventure, summer has come again. Ryan is trying to stop thinking about the events of last spring and a diversion arrives when Lavinia Walsh-Preston, the older sister of Nicholas Walsh, comes back into his life – albeit briefly. With Ty’s help, they work together to discover the identity of the person who killed the cold-hearted woman by pushing her down a flight of stairs, with their only clue being the male voice they had previously heard speaking with her. Working under the radar at first, their pursuit quickly takes a new direction as the hunters become the prey.
Meredith and Lauren, Jason and Eric — even Brownie — are all here again, enhancing this tale.
The voices came again, only this time more distinctly and even Ty heard them. Like me he paused to listen. We stood silent, now able to detect muffled footsteps as well. One voice was high, one was low.
“Could it be Kathy?” Ty whispered.
I shook my head intently listening and I held up one hand to stop him from saying anything further.
Their words were indecipherable, but it was obvious by their tone that they were having an argument. Their voices grew louder and clearer as they approached the cellar door above.
“I don’t care what you want,” A female barked. Her voice was clipped and reedy.
I closed my eyes and grimaced. “Oh shit!” I said under my breath. “It’s her.”
The cinderblock wall kept Ty from hearing as clearly and he gave me an inquisitive look.
“Lavinia!” I mouthed.
He smiled and whispered, “Finally I have my chance to meet the woman.”
I shook my head annoyed, not sharing his interest.
She and the person with her were now in the kitchen, the sound of their movements and voices reaching my ears clearly. I tried to come up with a plan to avoid seeing her again, but I saw no way out other than the way we came in.
“Please, I beg you,” an unknown male voice implored.
Lavinia cackled. “Don’t bother me you freak!”
Ty had moved behind me and I turned to look at him. As soon as our gaze connected, his eyes widened in shock and alarm as a shrill scream rang in our ears.
I turned back in the direction of the shriek. As if in slow motion, I saw Lavinia falling, sailing over the wooden steps. She flailed, unable to grab hold of anything to stop her swift descent. Her body hit the hard basement floor with a loud thud. And all went quiet.
Ty and I rushed over to where she lay motionless on her side. I knelt next to her, checking to see if she was still alive. The force of her impact on the stone floor and her age made me think her odds were slim. Gently I touched her shoulder and she gave a low distressed moan. With little prodding from me, she rolled onto her back. Her eyelids fluttered and her lips formed inaudible words. There was a bruise already forming on her forehead, but no blood.
“Mrs. Preston,” I said, trying to capture her attention. “Just lie still. We’re calling for help.” I glanced up at Ty who was already calling 911 on his cell phone.
I could see she was trying to regain control, her will struggling not to give up. I took hold of her hand. It was cold, bony and frail, and it trembled in mine.
“They’re sending an ambulance,” Ty told me.
I looked toward the top of the stairs, expecting to see a concerned man looking down at us. All I saw was a vacant doorway. “Where’s the guy she was talking to?”
Realizing the possibilities, a look of anger came across Ty’s handsome features. Without a word he sprinted up the stairs, taking two at a time, to confront the uncaring companion.
As he left I turned my attention back to Lavinia. Her eyes were now wide open with fright and she was looking directly up at me. I couldn’t tell if she recognized me, but I could see she was trying to tell me something.
“What?” I asked and leaned down, my ear almost touching her pale wrinkled lips.
“Help me,” she quietly forced out.
“Yes I am,” I said loudly while drawing back, attempting to penetrate her confusion and pain. “Help is on the way. Just lie still.”
She mumbled again, and again I leaned in to hear her feeble words. “Get him.” Her skeletal fingers twitched against my palm to accentuate her request. Then her eyes closed and she relaxed, unable to fight any further.
For several long seconds I stared at her, thinking she was dead. But then I saw her shallow breathing and knew she was still holding on.
I sat back on the cold concrete floor, absentmindedly stroking her hand and remembering. When my father died I wasn’t there to comfort him. His heart attack was so quick that even though I was in the house, he was gone before anyone could reach him. And when my mother died of cancer I was sitting in a chair on the other side of the hospital room — not even close enough to touch her. So why should I find myself sitting on a damp basement floor consoling someone I hardly knew and wished I’d never met?
Ty came to the doorway above, drawing my attention away from my thoughts. “Whoever he is, he’s gone. By the time I got upstairs and outside, all I saw was the dust of his car as he sped away.” He continued, “I heard the ambulance sirens, so they should be here in a few seconds. I’ll wait outside for them.”
I nodded as he disappeared once more, leaving me alone — alone with Lavinia Walsh-Preston on the cold basement floor.