Book One of the Greg Tenorly Suspense Series
A beautiful, sexy redhead sat across from Greg Tenorly. He was nervous about the closed door, but she had insisted. The slightest hint of impropriety would spark a blaze of rumors.
Greg tried to concentrate on her story. But his mind wandered to his 34-year-old receding hairline and bulging stomach. The part-time music minister had been feeling good about himself ten minutes ago. Time to start exercising again.
“I grew up in Marshall. Graduated from East Texas State, and got a job at a bank in Greenville. Three years ago, I moved here so I could be closer to Mom. She still lives in Marshall. I met Troy at a high school football game. He was fun, down-to-earth. We’ve been married for two years.”
Cynthia Blockerman was a vice president at First State Bank, yet only in her late 20’s. She certainly looked the part, dressed in an expensive brown business suit, matching shoes and tasteful jewelry. And her shoulder-length hair was the kind you only see in shampoo commercials. Greg felt underdressed in his faded golf shirt, baggy slacks, and generic running shoes.
“Everything was fine for the first six months or so. But I guess he was just playing the part of a good husband. Then I started to see his real personality. As soon as he gets home from work, he goes straight for the beer. By nine, there’s a pile of cans next to his recliner, and he’s calling me names, and throwing things.
“Sometimes he hits me. He did it one time before we got married, but he said he was so sorry. And even broke down and cried. He promised he’d never do it again.”
“Is there anything in particular you say or do that seems to set him off?” It was a dumb question, but the only one he could think of.
“No. It doesn’t matter. I can be extra sweet, or mean, or just ignore him. He still gets mad and crazy. I don’t know what to do. I want to leave him, but I’m afraid he’ll come after me.”
Greg could already hear the voice of Daniel Duretsky, Channel 7 Eyewitness News.
A friend says that the husband had threatened to kill her if she called the police. So, she moved out of the house while he was at work. But he found her apartment, kicked down the door and brutally stabbed her 57 times. His family says he’s a hard worker and a good husband. They can’t believe he would do something like this.
Greg had no business acting as a marriage counselor. His own marriage had failed five years ago. And he shouldn’t have even been at the church—it was Monday, his day off. But he couldn’t just turn her away.
“Could you give me a couple of days to think about this, and try to come up with some ideas for you? I know it’s tough when you’re dealing with this every day, but…”
“Sure. That’s fine. I’d really appreciate any help you could give me.”
“But don’t you want to talk to the pastor about this? He’s had a lot more experience—”
“—okay, please don’t take this the wrong way.” She leaned in, and spoke more softly. “But Dr. Huff seems a little too judgmental. I like him. His messages are very good. But I thought you’d be more understanding. And not make me feel like it was all my fault.
“A lot of times, men, and even women, treat me differently because of my looks and my job. They think: What could she possibly have to complain about? Anyway, I was right. You are a compassionate, understanding man.”
Greg felt his face starting to turn red. “Thank you.”
She checked her watch. ”I’ve got to get back to the bank.”
Greg was walking her to the door, when she turned, and moved toward him. Surely she hadn’t intended to get quite that close. She would step back a little. Wouldn’t she? But as he stood paralyzed, she leaned in even closer. Their lips were nearly touching. Her eyes were a shade of blue he’d never seen before.
“Thank you so much, Greg. You don’t know how much it helps, just to have someone like you to talk to.”
“You haven’t told anybody else?”
He needed to move back, yet he didn’t want to offend her. But if one of the church members could see the two of them standing that close in his office, with the door closed—what would they think? God could see. But he could also see Greg’s pure heart. At least he hoped it still looked pure.
“The only other person who knows is my mother. I don’t have any brothers or sisters. And I wouldn’t dare tell anyone at the bank.”
As he felt her warm, sweet breath passing through his nostrils, and deep into his lungs, his pulse began to race. He was not doing anything wrong. Yet he was about to have a heart attack, and fall dead right there on the church carpet. He stumbled back a bit, and reached awkwardly for the doorknob.
Even after she was gone, her fragrance lingered all over his body. How does that happen? He never even touched her. She was gone, yet she was still with him. And would be for some time.
Now he would slip out of the building, covered in sweet-smelling guilt. He just hoped the church secretary wouldn’t get a whiff.