COMING LATE WINTER 2017
It had already been a long day…
Shortly after the noon hour, Cat and Marci had been called to the scene of a triple murder in one of Jupiter’s exclusive yachting communities -- Admiral’s Cove. This was no ordinary killing. The perpetrator had attempted to eat his victims’ faces.
The scene outside the expensive five bedroom/five and a half bath waterfront home was something out of a horror movie. The door to one of the four two car garages was up and blood splatters covered the driveway, interior walls and ceiling much like a Jackson Pollack painting. The victims, a husband and wife in their 50s, and a kindly neighbor who had attempted a rescue, lay dead – the savageness of the attack hidden from public view by a long line of police officers standing shoulder to shoulder.
All three had been stabbed multiple times with a screwdriver. When the police arrived in response to a 911 call, they found the killer – 18-year-old Camden Colletti – straddling Steven Delmonico and tearing off pieces of his face with his teeth. Mrs. Delmonico lay nearby, her earlobe with earring still attached was stuck to one of her cheeks. Their neighbor, August Weppler, 62, was coiled into a fetal position against the rear tire of the Delmonico’s Land Rover. The screwdriver that had pierced his heart still held in place by his pectoral muscles.
Neither the efforts of several strong police officers nor the sharp incisors of a police dog had distracted Colletti from his attempt at cannibalism. It took several hits with a powerful Taser to break the hold his jaw had on Steven Delmonico’s neck. Handcuffed but barely subdued, Colletti was taken to the hospital where he told a doctor, “I think I ate something bad,” and proceeded to spit out a hunk of human flesh.
Cat and Marci had followed the ambulance from the Delmonico house to the emergency room at Jupiter Medical Center. When the rear doors opened, Colletti made a mad dash across the parking lot. The many hours, days, weeks and months Cat and Marci had spent training at Tres Doulourex was finally paying off. It took but a few minutes to catch and tackle him… being careful to stay clear of his teeth.
While waiting outside an exam room for an opportunity to interrogate the clearly insane young man, Cat and Marci overheard him tell the doctor that he had missed his noon meal and was hungry. Not intending to sound the least bit funny, Marci remarked to Cat, “I’m never buying lunch meat again.”
Narcissus Street was crowded with police cars and emergency vehicles when Cat and Marci double parked nearly eight hours later. If not for the revolving lights on the city’s black and whites and the Sheriff’s Office crime scene van, the darkness would have been complete. Not even the marquee from the nearby Dramaworks Theatre could dispel the feeling of dread that crawled up Cat’s spine and exited at the back of Marci’s neck. They shivered in unison.
The banner over the entrance at the bottom of the dimly lit stairwell depicted the side profile of a woman's heavily mascara-ed eye. Reflected in the pupil was a long-legged female dressed in thigh high leather boots and a barely there crotch-covering tight leather dress. In her hands, long fingernails seductively caressing the handle, she held a whip – a cat o’nine tails to be exact.
Lashes, a members only club, was aptly named and not because beautiful women batted their eyes in a bid for attention. In the shadowy recesses of thissubterranean submissive’s paradise, the dark intentions of its clientele were serious business. Secluded booths and tables stood like sentries around the perimeter of the bar and dining room. The walls were decorated with medieval weapons of torture. The upholstery on the chairs and settees, which at first glance appeared to be tiny dots, were actually the letters S&M… the ampersand designed to look like a supplicant begging for mercy.
When Cat and Marci entered the crime scene, they were surprised by the similarities between it and Tres Douloureux. Both the gym and the club looked and felt like a dungeon… dark and damp… the sweet/sour odor of sweat subtle yet unmistakable in the air. The concrete walls and floors, under a black ceiling of exposed beams and pipes, conveyed a feeling of imprisonment, but there was no need for bars on the windows and doors. Those who entered came willingly, eager participates in the games of bondage that offered both pleasure and pain.
In the Tap Room, men and women ate, drank, danced and socialized while sizing up potential partners. Here is where they tapped the person with whom they hoped to spend a few hours of copulation ecstasy and where they chose their Mistress or Master for the night’s escape into forbidden territory.
A waitress with studs in her eyebrows and lips roamed the room like a jaguar in heat taking orders from members thirsty for more than liquor. No one seemed to care that just a few feet away, behind a black curtain emblazoned with the same logo that appeared over the front door, lay a dead man – the skin on his body flayed nearly completely off by means of nine knotted thongs of leather strips.
Across the room, Officer Keith McKinney stood talking to the bartender, a world-weary man in his sixties who understood the vaof seeing nothing, saying nothing and hearing nothing. Once the youngest member of the force, McKinney had earned his stripes working with Cat and Marci on a number of heavily publicized murders. His dedication on the Kalendar Killer case had earned him a reputation as a top notch investigator.
Making eye contact with Cat and Marci, he tossed his head to the side as if to demand “Come here!” The ramrod stiff way he held his body was a clear sign that a sex club was not in his comfort zone.
Based on the statements taken from patrons, the evening’s activities had never gotten beyond the tapping stage. When Lashes’ owner Sandefur had not arrived in the Tap Room to welcome guests with his usual punctuality, Clayton Reynolds, Sandefur’s long-time business partner, had gone to the office to look for him. On his way, he passed through the dungeon and found his boss face down in the Branding Room, his perfectly muscled body nothing more than a pile of torn flesh and broken bones floating on a river of red. The bartender admitted that Reynolds’ scream was hard to ignore.
Be sure to read the first two Cat Leigh and Marci Welles crime novels:
THROUGH THICK AND THIN
SILK SUIT/STONE HEART