Dark Carousel (Dark Carpathian #29)(2)By: Christine Feehan
Twice, when they were together, the two women had become aware of someone trying to enter their house late at night. They’d locked all the windows and doors, but whoever was after them had been persistent, rattling the glass, shaking the heavy doors, terrorizing them. The police had been called. Two officers were found dead in the courtyard, both with their blood drained and their throats torn out.
Charlotte received word a couple of weeks later that her only sibling, her brother, had been found dead, murdered in the same way. He was in California. In the United States. Far from France. Far from her. He left behind his business and his daughter, three-year-old Lourdes. Lourdes’s mother had died in childbirth, leaving Charlotte’s brother to raise her. Now it was up to Charlotte. Genevieve had decided to come with Charlotte to California. Whoever was after the two of them was in the States and Genevieve wanted to find them.
Genevieve laid her hand over Charlotte’s. “I know Lourdes is your first priority. She’s mine as well. She’s a beautiful little girl and obviously traumatized by what she saw. Her nightmares wake me up and I’m not even in the same house.”
Charlotte knew Genevieve wasn’t exaggerating. Genevieve always knew whenever Lourdes had nightmares, even if she wasn’t staying with them. At those times, she always called to make certain the child was all right. Lourdes had been present when her father was murdered. The killer had left the child alive and sitting beside her slain father. She’d been alone in the house with his body for several hours before she was found by her nanny, Grace Parducci, a woman who had gone to school with Charlotte.
“The police aren’t any closer to solving the murders, Charlie. Not here and not in France. Lourdes is in danger just as much as we are. Maybe more.” Genevieve leaned her chin on the heel of her hand as she hitched her chair closer to Charlotte’s in order to be heard above the music. “I’ve been thinking a lot about this and how it all got started. What we did to draw some crazy person’s attention.”
Charlotte nodded. She’d been thinking about it as well. What else could she think about? Both of them had lost every family member with the exception of little Lourdes. Charlotte didn’t want to lose her, and lately, in spite of taking every precaution, she hadn’t felt safe. At. All. Grace had reported being followed and feeling as though someone was watching her as well.
Charlotte knew there was a part of her that had come with Genevieve to the nightclub in an effort to try to draw the murderer out. She’d certainly come prepared. She had weapons on her. Several. Most were unconventional, but she had them. She honestly didn’t know if the people stalking them were the same ones who had murdered her brother, but it seemed likely.
Charlotte wasn’t the type of woman to run from her enemies and it upset her to think her brother’s murderer was going free – that he or she was trying to terrorize them. Not trying – she was terrified for Lourdes. She had no idea why the little girl had been left alive, but she wasn’t taking any chances with her. Coming to the nightclub without her was a chance to draw the killer out without endangering her.
“That stupid psychic center we went to together for testing,” Charlotte murmured. “It gave me the creeps.”
Genevieve nodded. “Exactly. The Morrison Center. We went for a lark, but it wasn’t the least bit fun. They got interested in us way too fast and kept asking very personal questions. When we left, I thought we were followed.”
Charlotte had thought so as well. The testing site had been a little hole-in-the-wall, but in a high-traffic area, so neither had thought anything of it. They both often said they were psychic, and thought it would be so much fun to go in and test it, just like having their palms read. Something fun to do. It hadn’t turned out to be very fun.