Did you miss Chapter One?
Did you miss part one of Chapter Two?
From Cereal Killer
Chapter Two Continued…
And with that, he knocked on the door.
A moment later, we were greeted by a lovely woman in her thir‐
ties, with olive skin and a warm expression. The family resemblance
to Vicente was undeniable. Her dark curls spilled around her shoul‐
ders, and her eyes were red-rimmed.
“Luz!” Vicente exclaimed. “What’s wrong?”
“Vicente!” she replied, barreling into his arms for a hug. “I’m so
glad you’re here.” She pulled back and reached out to shake my hand.
“And you must be Kate. Thank you so much for coming. I’m . . . kind
of desperate for help, to tell you the truth.
“It’s my pleasure, truly. Your brother Gary has gotten me out a lot
Luz smiled but Vicente looked affronted. “Gary? What about me? I
think I’ve gotten you—”
Luz shoved him before he could finish. “Kate, please, come in.”
Vicente held up a hand. “Hang on! You’re going to have to intro‐
duce Kate to abuela as my fiancée. My car broke down on the way
here, and that’s the cover story we gave to the tow truck driver.”
Luz stared at him, then glanced at me. “Please tell me you ran that
story by her first.”
Vicente shrugged, a gleam in his eye.
Luz smacked his arm, her warmth giving way to exasperation.
“Vicentito!” she scolded. “Esta embarazada!” Though her English was
unaccented, she’d switched effortlessly into scolding him in Spanish.
“Yes,” I muttered. “It was very embarrassing. Can’t believe he didn’t
have more common sense.”
Vicente grinned in my direction. “Embarazada means pregnant, but
it’s a common mistake.”
Luz continued, “Are you going to just let abuela think that you’re
going to have a child? She may be resigned to the fact that you’re
never going to make it to the altar, but she’ll be crushed if you tell
her she’s going to have a great-grandbaby, and it turns out it’s all a
He stopped cold, then offered a halfhearted shrug. “Didn’t think
through that part. I guess we’ll just have to tell her it’s not my baby.”
“Vicente!” Luz and I cried in unison.
Wrinkling his nose, he admitted, “I suppose that won’t do, either.”
“I don’t want to explain anything to abuela about what’s going on,”
said Luz, tucking a curl behind her ear. “You know how she worries.
And if she has another heart attack because of the stress, I’ll never
stop blaming myself.”
I raised my hands. “How about this . . . what if we tell your abuela
that I’m a client of Vicente’s? Tell her that he brought me up here so I
could hide out. A sort of . . . private witness-protection program, if
you will. And that we’re telling people we’re engaged so that no one
tries to follow me up from San Francisco.”
Luz rested her hand on the doorframe for a moment, then nodded
as if satisfied. “It’s a good story. Abuela will be eager to take you under
her wing. She has a soft spot for people in bad situations.”
I hoped we’d be able to keep this tangled web of stories straight,
but what choice did we have? And all because Vicente hadn’t kept his
As if on cue, a crackly, feminine voice called from within the
house, “Luz? Who’s at the door?”
Luz reached out and touched my arm. “Thank you so much for
coming,” she whispered. “And for putting up with my insufferable
cousin.” Then she turned and called, “Abuela! Vicente is here!”
With a sharp gasp, a gray-haired woman appeared in the doorway.
She was no more than five feet tall, with a face rounded by age. Her
eyes sparkled behind her glasses as she exclaimed, “Vicente! It is so
good to see you! Come in! You must be hungry. I’ll make you a
A tortilla? By itself? I wondered.
Vicente kissed his grandmother as we stepped inside. “Abuela, that
The old woman paused, her eyes landing on me for the first time.
“And who is this lovely girl you’ve brought home?” she asked Vicente,
her gaze darting toward my baby bump in hopeful expectation.
“Abuela, this is Kate,” he replied. “She’s a client of mine. I was
worried she wasn’t safe in San Francisco, so Luz said I could bring her
up here for a few days while things cool off.”
The woman gasped and reached out to grab my hands. “You poor
thing. I’m Gloria, and we’ll take good care of you here. Come, sit
down and make yourself at home. I bet you could use a tortilla too.”
The house was decorated in sumptuous colors, with paintings of
the Spanish countryside gracing the walls. But Luz and Gloria led us
through a pair of ornate doors into a simpler sitting area. On the far
side of the room, I caught sight of a small kitchen.
Gloria gestured to a sectional couch. “Would you like anything to
drink? Water? Wine?”
“Water for me,” I replied, gesturing down to my pregnant belly.
“I’ll take a red wine,” Vicente replied as he sank onto the couch.
“Anything that’s already open.”
Gloria nodded and patted him on the shoulder. “It is so very good
to see you, Vicente. I’m glad you thought to bring the poor girl here.”
Luz sat next to her cousin, and I chose a seat on the other side of
the sectional, facing them. The soft couch cushioned my burdened
joints, and I let out a little sigh of relief.
As soon as Gloria bustled off toward the kitchen, I gestured to
Luz. “Thank you for the warm welcome. It’s beautiful here.”
“Wait until you see the rest of the winery,” exclaimed Vicente. “My
cousin’s done an amazing job with the business.”
Luz offered a soft smile in return. “I’m trying to,” she said. “It’s my
life’s work.” Then a serious expression overtook her face. “But it’s I
who should be thanking you. Did Vicente explain the situation?”
I nodded somberly. “We talked about it in the car on the way up.
But you seemed . . . startled when we arrived. Has something else
“Another note,” she whispered. “Let’s wait to discuss it. We can go
to the wine-tasting cave after you’ve had something to eat, and we’ll
be able to talk more freely there. I . . . I was unnerved about every‐
thing before. That’s why I called Vicente to come help. But after today
. . . I’m genuinely afraid.”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”I couldn’t stop reading!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Fast-paced and fun. I love these mysteires!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Diana Orgain is my new favorite author!”
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