The Women's Murder Club pursues two cases in an electrifying new thriller–chasing a deranged killer and searching for a murderer with a taste for fire.
Part One | BLUE MOON
"IT HAPPENED just like you said," Junie said, looking up at us with an anguished expression I read as fear and pain.
"Michael died?" I asked her. "He is, in fact, dead?"
"Can I start at the beginning?" Junie asked Conklin.
"Sure," Rich told her. "Take your time."
"See, I didn't know who he was at first," Junie said. "When Michael called to make the date, he gave me a fake name. So when I opened the door and there he was – oh, my God. The boy in the bubble. He'd come to see me!"
"What happened next?" I asked.
"He was really nervous," Junie said. "Shifting from one foot to the other. Looking at the window like someone could be watching him. I offered him a drink, but he said no, he didn't want to forget anything. He said that he was a virgin."
Junie bowed her head and tears spilled out of her eyes, dropped to the table. Conklin passed her the box of tissues, and we looked at each other in shock as we waited her out.
"A lot of boys are virgins when they come to me," she said at last. "Sometimes they like to pretend that we're having a date, and I make sure it's the best date they ever had."
"I'm sure," Conklin murmured. "So is that what happened with Michael? He pretended he was on a date?"
"Yeah," Junie said. "And as soon as we got into the bedroom, he told me his real name – and I told him mine!
"He got a real kick out of that, and then he started telling me about his life. He was a champion chess player on the Internet, did you know that? And he didn't act like a celebrity. He was super real. I started to think we were on a date, too."
"You got around to having sex with him, Junie?" I asked.
"Well, sure. He put the money on the night table, and I took off his clothes, and we had, you know, just started when – when he had to stop. He said he was in pain," Junie said, touching her chest with the flat of her palm. "And I knew about his heart, of course, but I hoped it would pass."
And then she broke down, put her arms on the table, her head in her arms, and sobbed as though she'd really cared.
"He got worse," Junie choked out. "He was saying, 'Call my dad,' but I couldn't move. I didn't know how to call his father. And if I had, what would I say? That I was a prostitute? His dad was Governor Campion. He would've put me in jail forever.
"So I held Michael in my arms and sang to him," Junie told us. "I hoped he'd start to feel better," she said, lifting her tearstained face. "But he got worse."
Copyright © 2008 by James Patterson
Carolyn McCormick has appeared in the films A Simple Twist of Fate and Enemy Mine. She has appeared on television as Dr. Olivit on Law & Order, and as a guest on The Practice and Star Trek. Her Broadway credits include roles in The Dinner Party and Private Lives. She read 4th of July, The 5th Horseman, and 6th Target by James Patterson for Hachette Audio.