Murder in Saint-Germain by Cara Black (Aimee Leduc Investigations, #17) Read Online (FREE)
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Paris, Jardin du Luxembourg · July 1999
Tuesday, Early Morning
The beekeeper rolled up his goatskin gloves, worried that the previous day’s thunderstorm, which had closed the Jardin du Luxembourg, had disturbed his sweet bees. He needed to prepare them for pollinating the garden’s apple trees, acacias, and chestnuts that week. Under the birdsong he could already make out the low buzz coming from the gazebo that sheltered their wooden hives. As he approached, he passed gardeners piling scattered plane-tree branches, their boots sucking in the mud.
What a mess. On top of the cleanup, he had a beekeeping class to teach here this afternoon. The buzzing mounted—had a hive been knocked over in the wind? As he adjusted his netted headgear, he felt a lump, something squishing under his boot.
Pale, mud-splattered fingers—a hand. Good God, he’d stepped on a human hand protruding from the hedge surrounding the apiary. Horrified, he stepped back, pushed the dripping branches of the bushes aside. He gasped to see a woman sprawled in a sundress. One hand clutched her swollen throat; buzzing bees, like black-gold jewels, covered most of her body.
Even before he shouted to the gardeners for help, he knew it was too late.
Paris · Tuesday Morning
Aimée Leduc’s bare legs wrapped around Benoît’s spine as his tongue traced her ear. His warm skin and musk scent enveloped her. Delicious. Early morning sunlight pooled on her herringbone wood floor.
She didn’t want him to stop. A sniffling cry came over the baby monitor. Non. The cry grew louder.
“Yours or mine?” Benoît sighed.
She’d know her daughter Chloé’s cry anywhere; these were the cries of Benoît’s niece, Gabrielle. “Yours.”
One of the phones on the floor beeped. He looked at her again.
“Mine,” said Aimée.
Benoît nuzzled her neck, disentangled himself, and found his shirt. She reached from where she lay on the duvet to the pile of clothes on the floor and found her cell phone.
A voice mail. Unknown number. She dialed in, heard the tone, and waited. “It’s Dr. Vesoul.” A clearing of the throat. “Our patient, Commissaire Morbier, went into emergency surgery. We’re calling the family. He was asking for you.”
Aimée’s heart scudded. A knifelike pain wrenched her gut. Morbier. Her godfather . . . the man responsible for her father’s murder.
The man she’d gotten shot two months earlier.
The man who had taken her to ballet lessons when she was a child. The man who’d lied to her for years.
Go hear him lie again? Never, she told herself. Kept telling herself that as she slipped into the work outfit hanging in her armoire—a black pencil skirt and white silk blouse—and as her shaking fingers struggled with the straps of her Roger Vivier sandals.
Bronze sunlight stippled the worn tiles on the kitchen floor. Miles Davis, Aimée’s bichon frise, licked the spilled milk under Gabrielle’s high chair. Holding her bébé, Chloé, on her hip, Aimée handed Benoît a freshly brewed espresso. He responded with a long kiss on her neck.