“It’s been over a year now Mauricio. I knew she’d look for a new way to meet her next victim, and an internet hook-up would provide the anonymous identity she requires. Remember that the detective from Cleveland is also anxious to question her about the suspicious death of one of his city’s wealthy older men.”
Peter continued, “Even though she’s slimmer and wears a different hairstyle, when I saw her picture, I recognized Monica from the videos and photographs you gave me. She calls herself Molly now.”
“Well I’d call her by an altogether different name! Stay on track Peter. I want my brother Lalo’s death to be avenged. I want her behind bars.
The Panadini brothers had always been close. Growing up poor, they’d had to hustle since boyhood and their determination to see the family safe from poverty had been all-consuming. Neither of them had married but the two men felt content knowing that they’d made a rousing success of their restaurant chain. Their twelve large bistros had a steady local clientele and tourists also flocked to the “Bella Vita” locations close to the ski hills.
The opening of a high-end tavern had been the beginning of the end. Lalo had told Mauricio, “We need a classy gal to manage the new place… someone who can handle the snooty tourists from upstate.” Both brothers looked ecstatic when Monica sashayed into their office and applied for the position.
Every day Mauricio asked himself how he had failed to see that his brother had fallen like a stone for the long-legged opportunist. Lalo married Monica and almost immediately, his health began to decline. She put who knows what kind of drugs into his food and drink until poor the besotted fool was a hopeless addict. He died of an overdose and of course, his wife inherited half of the family holdings. Mauricio gave Monica a lump settlement and “the grieving widow” quickly disappeared.
Two months after she had been long-gone, Mauricio put two and two together. He hired Peter, who tracked down Monica’s dealer and collected other incriminating evidence. They had a case now, but no perpetrator! The search began… “Don’t let her slip away,” the distraught man begged. “I dare not,” the private investigator told him, “I didn’t want to tell you but she shook something into my wine last night, if I don’t stay on my toes, I’ll also be lying six feet under.”
The next morning, as Molly stretched and twisted herself into a Yoga pretzel, the phone rang. She jumped up to answer… she knew it would be last night’s sexy suitor. Peter Brown was a handsome man… maybe she’d hang onto him a little longer than the other two?
“Molly, I feel so stupid for falling asleep in my cups last night; how can I make it up to you?”
“No need to feel bad; it happens. But here’s an idea… why don’t I meet you for lunch and maybe a drive afterwards? “Las Mañanitas” is a favorite of mine.” She knew just where she’d take him afterwards… to the mountains. he’d be excited… and she’d let one thing need to the next.
“Where do you live Molly, I’ll pick you up.”
“Not necessary Peter, I have some errands in town. I’ll meet you at “Las Mañanitas” at 1:00 pm.
They both rang off, and Molly smiled in anticipation of the game about to unfold… But Peter held the trump…she had no idea that he was a player too.