Morgan had planned the most amazing Christmas get-away for the two of them. It was to be a surprise for Misty. Nearly a full month of skiing in the Swiss alps. She had said something about wanting to see the mountains in the winter, and he had set about to make it a reality.
It was to be time away from the city. And from work. Business would still be there when the season was over. He was in no hurry to close any more deals.
He simply adored his wife. She had brought much happiness to his life. They had been married almost two years and he still loved her as if they had only started seeing each other yesterday. God, it felt good to be in love!
They were to leave just before Thanksgiving. They would have a special Thanksgiving meal in Bern, then go on to the resort and spend twenty-five days reveling in the snow–skiing. There was no better way to share two holidays. But skiing wasn’t the only thing he had on his mind. No, he wanted a little alone time with his wife.
Misty packed, thinking that she was just going with him on another business trip. She had no idea what lay ahead. Nor did she worry about it. She loved just being able to go everywhere with him. She loved seeing the world.
She had lost count on how many places she had actually been now. Two of those had been special. One had been an anniversary gift, the other had been their honeymoon. Those were the memorable trips. The ones that had been for them alone. Rio. Bali.
She hummed as she packed. And she only hummed when she was excited. She couldn’t wait to leave the city again. It was the only time she felt free.
Morgan was across from her, packing. She thought it odd that he was not putting any suits in his suit bag. No, he was taking casual clothes. Was there something he wasn’t telling her?
An hour later, they were headed down to the limo that awaited them. The limo would take them to the airport, where they would board the jet. Then, once the jet was in the air, they would be on their way to wherever their destination was. Perhaps he was waiting until they were in the air to tell her whatever he was holding back.
Michael, Reilly, and Danforth had been able to tie all the victims of the ongoing case to their Jane Doe. But just tying her to the men did not make her the killer. It just gave them all something in common. Someone in common.
Many of the servers they had interviewed all said the same thing. The men were drawn to the tattoo and the fact that the woman always sat alone off to the side. There was also something oddly seductive about her voice. Something that working with dancing that seemed to hook the men, almost like a drug.
She, they all claimed, was elegantly dressed. Or, at least, she tended to dress for the occasion and her surroundings. The upscale clubs demanded almost formal attire. The pubs and clubs frequented by college students were less concerned with a dress code.
All the servers mentioned only one drink request: Sex On The Beach. The vodka based drink had two different version, but both had about two ounces of alcohol mixed in fruit juice. The original called for vodka, Midori melon liqueur, and Chambord to be mixed with pineapple and cranberry juice. The other called for peach schnapps and vodka to be mixed in the same fruit juices. No telling which recipe was used to make her specific request. Nor did Michael ask.
Another point of interest was the mention of a perfume that reminded one server of incense and peppermint. Michael had been aware of a peppermint perfume that had been popular with some of the college girls. Hell. It had been popular wit many of the teens and preteens. Even his eldest daughter loved it.
But the incense made no sense to him, unless she tended to burn incense after spraying on her perfume. But that would imply a drug problem. Or an attempt to get rid of an odor that was of an external nature. Like something rotting.
And that didn’t make sense. Or did it? He wasn’t sure. Perhaps the reference to incense was just because the perfume was peppermint.
He scratched his head. This case was getting more weird as they dug. None of the clues made sense. The killer could still be anyone, even though the victims were all tied together by his Jane Doe. Sure, they had all left with her. But, perhaps, they had enjoyed sexual relations with her and were killed after she left. Still, maybe he was looking at it all wrong.
“Baby,” Morgan began, once the plane had taken off, “Merry Christmas. I have spent all year making one of your dreams come true. We will be spending Thanksgiving in Bern, but will head immediately to the resort to begin skiing the day after. You said that you wanted to see the Alps in the winter, now you will.”
“Oh, Morgan, Baby,” She sighed lovingly, “Thank you so much. But what about business?”
“Honey,” He smiled, “business will take care of itself for a while. This vacation is for us. Almost a month of nothing but making love, eating great food, and skiing. And all because I love you more than anything in this world.”
She laid her head on his shoulder. “I will remember this forever, Baby. Thank you.”
He raised her lips to his and kissed her, long and passionately. He slipped his arm around her as they got ready to enjoy the rest of their flight. This was going to be an unforgettable vacation. She would remember it for as long as she lived.
She closed her eyes and breathed in his cologne. He placed his lips on the top of her head and planted a kiss there, taking in the peppermint scent of her perfume. How he loved everything about her…and always would.