Fear of exactly what her sister might have seen directed her steps out of the hotel and into a run down the street. Constance needed to collect her belongings and find a place to hide until she’d found justice for her sister and discovered if her death was connected to her investigation into the boats docking at Lynch’s Beach.
She hadn’t gone far when she abruptly collided with the firm figure of a man.
“Are you all right?” he asked, his hands on her hips steadying her.
Recognizing his melodic brogue, Constance looked up into his green eyes.
“It’s you,” he uttered softly, looking confused. Lifting his hands to her face, he gently wiped away the wet tracks on her cheeks. “What’s happened to drive a wee little beauty into my arms again so soon?”
His innocent question was the last reality needed for the true horror of what was happening to wash over her.
Losing all control, tears streamed down her cheeks, and her lips trembled as she surrendered to her grief.
“Now, lass, whatever it is, surely it can’t be that bad,” he said, his arm going around her, holding her tight as he led her to a street bench. Sitting her down, he brushed her hair back from her face. “Where’s the lady you were with last night? Your sister, wasn’t she? I can take you to her if you think that will help.”
She struggled to hold her tears at bay. “She’s dead.”
“What?” he gasped.
“Her body was found washed up on the beach this morning,” Constance blurted out, still unable to believe the words.
He squeezed her tight, holding her against him as he rocked her slightly. “My poor, sweet beauty. I’m sorry for your loss.”
He felt so strong, so safe, his words comforting her far more than she believed anything capable of in this moment.
“I think I should take you to the police station,” he stated, brushing her hair from her tear-drenched cheeks.
His words startled her. She didn’t want to be taken anywhere near the police station or Robert. She pushed away from him and stood up, wiping at her cheeks and straightening her dress. “You’ve been most kind, sir, but I can’t ask you to do any more than you already have.”
He stood, stepping toward her. “Someone has to investigate what caused your sister’s death.”
“And I will,” she assured him firmly.
“Please, I want to help you.”
Constance’s hands stilled, holding his gaze for several moments, her tears flowing down her cheeks again. How she ached to accept his offer, but she was too scared to put her trust in anyone.
“You can’t.” Her words were barely more than a whisper, but she could tell by his scowl he heard her.
“Where will you go?” he asked.