Did you miss Chapter One?
From Lethal Lullaby
1. Pick up Andrew, Tracy, and girls from airport.
2. Play nice with Tracy, even when she’s being a pill.
3. Find new case! (But not until family visit is over.)
4. Final payment to contractor for renovation.
5. Interview Rachelle re: nanny job.
7. Pick vineyards for wine tour.
The sky was a glorious California blue as Andrew, Tracy, and I
drove to the second winery in Napa the next day.
“Did the photos turn out?” I asked, glancing at Tracy in the
“Yeah, they’re fine, thanks,” she said, swiping through her phone.
“I’m pretty sure I’ve found one usable one.”
In contrast to my empire-waist maternity blouse and slacks and
Andrew’s polo and khakis, Tracy had worn her usual attire of yoga
pants and a flowy workout tank top. “There will be some great
aesthetics,” she’d explained. “Perfect for Instagram photos.”
She’d spent half the first wine tasting in tree pose in the courtyard
while I’d snapped photos on her phone.
But I’d held my tongue. I’d determined last night that I was going
to befriend Tracy if it killed me.
And now, two hours into the outing, I was beginning to conclude
that it might just kill me. I already had a stabbing pain behind my
“You know where we should really go for photos, hon?” Andrew
said, turning around. “Cliff House. It’s gorgeous.”
A soft smile played on my lips. “Good memories there, huh?”
“The best,” he said with a grin.
I’d gotten married at the Cliff House, an elegant neoclassical
building that overlooked the ocean. It had been a nearly perfect day—
except that my dad had flat-out forgotten to show up. Andrew had
walked me down the aisle.
My jaw tensed at the thought of my dad.
He’s back in San Francisco!
Nerves jangled in my belly, almost a girlish excitement at the idea
of seeing him again, and then the old memories reared their ugly
My breath caught.
I can’t let myself care.
I won’t let him break my heart again.
“You know,” I said, “you and the girls should see Dad, of course,
but I think I’d prefer to be left out of it. Better to just skip the part
where he disappoints me.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Andrew grimace.
He seemed to choose his words carefully. “I know there’s a lot of
hurt there, Kate, but I really do think you should give him a chance.
His new wife has been an incredible influence, and he’s gone to ther‐
apy. He’s different now.”
My foot pressed a little harder on the gas pedal. We were only five
minutes away from the next winery. Would a little wine hurt the
twins? Between dealing with Tracy and all this talk of my dad, I was
starting to need some. When I was pregnant with Laurie, I’d read that
a single glass of red wine every now and again might actually be bene‐
ficial in the third trimester . . .
No, I wouldn’t dare.
But maybe half a glass? And since I was pregnant with two babies,
might half a glass per baby equal one full glass for me?
I chuckled at my logic. There was no way I’d ever sip any wine.
Even if it wouldn’t harm the twins, my own guilty conscious would
bring me to my knees.
“Hey!” Tracy cheered from the back seat. “I just hit thirty thousand
I bit down hard on my tongue.
The tires skidded on gravel as we pulled into the second winery,
parking next to a black Lexus with rental plates.
A staff member in dark pants and a starched white shirt came out
to meet us, ushering us to an outdoor table under a canopy of trees. A
gentle breeze wafted past us, and I took in the view of the rolling hills
with a long sigh.
What a perfect day for a wine tour!
Andrew stopped short and stared at a group of three people who
were already seated at the table. “Oh. Nick, Natalie. Hey!” he called.
A handsome thirtysomething man jumped to his feet. “Andrew!
What are you doing here?”
Andrew gestured to me. “This is my sister Kate. She’s touring
Tracy and me around. I’m looking forward to tonight.” Then he
blinked a couple times, taking in the older man at the table, a distin‐
guished, suit-wearing gentleman of perhaps fifty. “Oh! Mr. Branni‐
gan.” He stepped forward and reached out his hand. “It’s an honor to
meet you, sir. I’m Andrew Donovan.”
But something was wrong. Andrew was not happy to see this
group here. He was schooling his feelings, but I could read him like a
“Please,” said Mr. Brannigan, shaking his hand, “call me Denny.
You must be with Oliver’s firm.”
“Yes, sir,” replied Andrew.
Denny Brannigan gestured to Nick and Natalie. “Your coworker
and his lovely girlfriend have been great company. I’m really inter‐
ested in the opportunity to partner with the firm.”
Andrew had recovered his composure. “Denny, this is my wife,
Tracy, and my sister, Kate.”
We all shook hands and took our seats at the table. I sat across
from Nick and next to Andrew. The other group conferred in conver‐
sation for a moment, and I took the opportunity to lean in toward my
“Everything all right?” I mouthed.
“It’s fine,” he whispered. “I was just startled.” Then he made a face.
“Sort of feels like Nick’s trying to snag my big promotion by wining
and dining Denny.”
“The big promotion?”
“I’ll tell you later.”
That hardly seemed fair. But the three of them had turned back to
us, so I couldn’t ask more questions.
“Hello!” called a lovely young woman as she approached our table,
a bottle of wine in hand. “I’ll be your guide through today’s wine tast‐
ing. Our first wine is our 2017 Merlot.”
There were four glasses of different shapes in front of each of us—
plus, I was very pleased to see, a piece of chocolate next to the red
wine glass. I unwrapped my chocolate and popped it in my mouth
while the server began pouring the Merlot.
The chocolate melted on my tongue. It was rich and creamy, with
the perfect blend of sweetness. A wine tour to die for? More like a piece of
chocolate to die for.
When the server reached me, I waved her away and gestured to my
“Oh, would you like a soda?” she asked.
“Sprite would be great,” I said with a smile. “Thank you!”
She nodded. “I’ll bring it right out.” She continued pouring the
wine. “This Merlot has berry aromas, dried floral tones, and a hint of
vanilla. On the palate, the wine is bold but deeply layered, with a
When she withdrew, the others at the table all picked up their
wine glasses and swirled around the deep-red liquid, then sniffed it.
Andrew held his out to me so I could at least partake in the smelling
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”I couldn’t stop reading!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Fast-paced and fun. I love these mysteires!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Diana Orgain is my new favorite author!”
Share the love!