Coming Home:Baytown Boys Series(109)

By: Maryann Jordan

As the crowd clamored for answers, Mitch held out his hand, responding, “Right now, Nelson is in the North Heron Hospital, under guard and under arrest. As soon as his leg is patched up, he’ll be escorted to the jail. The investigation is still ongoing, but I know he’s been arrested for murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, discharging a weapon, firing at an officer, and that doesn’t even touch what he’ll be charged with in relation to his financial schemes.”

“What the hell was he trying to do?” Nancy asked. “I still don’t understand!”

Taking over, Tori explained, “He said he married my sister because he found out that her grandmother owned one of the best beach-front properties in Baytown and he saw potential for a huge moneymaker. She also fit his idea of a country-club wife—not a socialite that might be hard to manage, but someone who put him on a pedestal. His plan was to turn it into condos, buy up other properties and do the same. He even had investors who had already paid him for the non-existent condos.”

“But the town’s building codes would have never allowed that!” someone shouted.

Just then Corwin pushed through the crowd, huffing as he tried to maneuver to the center. “Now, now, you’re right,” he said, his voice rising over the angry residents’. Mitch watched, narrow eyed, knowing the mayor was desperate to calm the crowd and separate himself from the actions of Silas.

“This town was never in danger of allowing someone to come in and turn our quaint city into beachfront condos,” Corwin assured, puffing his chest out in an effort to take control. “I assure you the town council will be reviewing the policies and will have strong words with the town manager, if indeed there was any impropriety.”

Most of the residents dismissed the Mayor as they turned back toward Mitch and Tori.

“What I want to know is what the hell was he doing with that other chick?” Aiden asked.

“Nelson had no money…not really,” Tori continued. “Everyone thought he was rich, but if he didn’t get his hands on some money quickly he wouldn’t last to see his scheme through. I have no idea how he and Hailey got together with the plan to kill me and then split the insurance money.” Twisting around to look into Mitch’s eyes, she added, “I think he planned on killing her no matter what. He would have never wanted to split the money with her.”

Cupping her face, he pulled her into his chest, offering comfort as well as to remind himself she was alive and in his arms.

Lifting his head, he added, “It appears that Hailey Bernard worked for the Hurkamp Company at one time, so she and Nelson were acquainted. “Thomas let his fiancé know about the insurance policy, but we don’t know exactly what happened then. Maybe when she realized Tori looked like her, she took that info to Nelson…or Nelson found out and recruited her to go in with him.”

“Hailey got pissed thinking that Thomas was trying to replace me with her. I doubt that’s true, but,” Tori said, giving a little shrug, “who knows?”

“We’ll know more as the investigation continues,” Mitch reminded the crowd. “For now, all that matters is that Tori’s safe and sound and he didn’t get his hands on a piece of Baytown.”

“Here, here!” Aiden called out, leading the gathering in more cheers.

The drinks and food were flowing as the laughter filled the pub. As Tori and Jillian headed to the ladies’ room, Mitch stood at the bar observing the crowd, especially the Baytown Boys. Aiden with his easy laugh, held secrets hidden inside. Brogan, surly and brooding, who served drinks but never took a drop of alcohol himself, always seemed to need control over every situation. Grant, in the corner holding court over three women at one time, all vying for his attention, but Mitch knew that his friend kept one eye out for Jillian while deep inside feeling unworthy of her.

Zac and Callan sat at the other end of the bar, surrounded with some of the older men from the American Legion as well as a few of the CG, sharing war stories. Jason, beaming since the town approved his garage, was standing at the bar with a few of the locals eager to see his shop open. Mitch had carefully noted some of the tattoos on Jason’s arms and saw war memories engraved into the young man’s skin, wearing his pain. Mitch watched Gareth approach Katelyn and selfishly hoped she would accept the receptionist job, freeing up the PI’s time to do more investigating. And if the young man could erase the sadness in Katelyn’s eyes, all the better.