Unlocking Lies (Keys to Love Series, Book Three)(6)

By: Kennedy Layne


“Shae Irwin?”

She’d all but been standing in the middle of the street. A quick look over her shoulder revealed Calvin Arlos—a man who the police had suspected might be involved in her sister’s disappearance.

Then again, so was everyone else in this accursed town.

“Hi, Mr. Arlos,” Shae greeted softly, dropping her keys in her purse as she rounded the back end of her vehicle. He ran the hardware store a few blocks over and used to give her a lollipop every time she accompanied her dad into the shop. She didn’t believe for a second this man was involved with what happened to Emma, but the Smith & Wesson model 360 loaded with 158 grain .357 magnum Federal Hydra-Shok rounds sitting in her purse assured her personal security all the same. It was amazing how a person changed after a tragedy. “How are you feeling? I heard you were in the hospital recently.”

Shae might have purposefully maintained her distance from the residents of Blyth Lake, but that didn’t mean she didn’t check in from time to time. Mr. Arlos had been taken in for questioning by a detective by the name of Kendrick all because Calvin had taken a few pictures at a summer camp her sister had attended a few months before her abduction. The pictures weren’t even his idea. He’d taken them for inclusion in the local community business association’s brochure. Back then, the camp had been a part of the town’s business collective.

The stress of the whole investigation had been too much for Calvin. He’d suffered a heart attack. Honestly, Shae was surprised to see him out and about so soon.

“Oh, you know how it is. These people around here make a big deal out of the inanest thing possible.” Calvin gingerly stepped off the curb, seemingly surprised when Shae lifted up on her tiptoes to kiss his cheek. “My ticker just needed a little fine tuning, if you know what I mean.”

“I’m glad to hear that it was nothing,” Shae replied with an understanding smile, figuring it was best to go along with him. “Are you still fishing up at the lake? Anything biting?”

“I was, though I’ve been under house arrest for the last few weeks. I’ve still got the trolling motor battery on the trickle charger.”

For a brief moment, Shae believed Calvin meant he was literally under house arrest. His throaty laugh and how he held his chest to ease the ache from his recent surgery proved otherwise. He was referring to his doctor’s orders.

“I thought I’d hit up the Cavern this evening and show everyone that I’m not some weak-kneed old man who’s about to kick the bucket.” Calvin adjusted his John Deere baseball cap, still seemingly a bit unnerved to be around her. “I’m sorry that your family has to relive the pain from losing Emma. I hope they catch that stupid son of a bitch who’s been terrorizing all those young girls. Would you be interested in an escort, if you’re heading inside?”

Terrorizing was nothing compared to murder, but Shae understood what Calvin meant in his expression of remorse. She’d come to town for that very reason.

She wanted justice.

“I appreciate that, Mr. Arlos.”

Shae couldn’t bring herself to go into Tiny’s Cavern quite yet. It was still relatively early—maybe around seven o’clock in the evening—but it was a Friday night, after all. The whole town would be here within the next couple of hours. Everyone and their father would be hitting this bar.

Unfortunately, her temporary sleeping arrangements for her stay was the apartment above the Cavern. She’d have to go inside and see Brynn Mercer for the key eventually, but not right this second.

“I’ve been driving most of the day, so I’m going to walk to the diner for a bite to eat.”

“You be careful,” Calvin warned, his gaze leaving her and scanning Main Street. “Keep your head on a swivel. After what happened to Whitney, you’d think the town board would add more deputies to the department. People need to feel safe in their own neighborhood.”

Shae nodded her agreement, but she wisely remained silent. She wasn’t ready to talk about Whitney Bell or the fact that another murder had taken place.

Honestly, she wasn’t so sure she was ready to be back here in Blyth Lake.

Shae looked both ways before crossing Main Street, stepping up onto the sidewalk away from the few oncoming vehicles looking for a parking spot. The bar’s small lot was full, though that wasn’t unusual for a Friday night. Main Street would have cars lined up by the night’s end. Some from the bar, and others from the two-screen movie theater down the street.

Neon lights denoted both of the nighttime attractions here in Blyth Lake, more so for the theater. The owner had just finished a renovation, and the place was lit up like a mini-city. There wasn’t one car, truck, or SUV parked along Main Street that she recognized right off, but then again, she’d been gone for a very long time.