I was just leaving Shaneika at Comanche’s stall, when I spied a hot air balloon drifting overhead.
Shaneika and I watched it float past, wondering who was flying a hot air balloon so close to Churchill Downs on the day of the Kentucky Derby.
Then I saw Charlie Hoskins’ name on the balloon.
“You’ve got to be kidding,” complained Shaneika.
We looked at each other with disgust and then parted. I was going to get dressed in my finery, which included my new Derby hat, and join Lady Elsmere in her suite at Churchill Downs.
Shaneika and her trainer, Mike Connor, would go to her box to watch the Derby race, which was still hours away.
I hadn’t gone more than several steps when I heard a loud boom! Looking up, I saw a fireball in the sky with charred debris falling to the ground. I suddenly realized that the balloon had exploded and its gondola was plummeting to the ground.
I quickly muttered a prayer, “Oh, God, please don’t let anyone be hurt.”
Turning, I searched for Shaneika.
She stood rooted, watching the burning wreckage fall to the ground.
Within seconds pandemonium broke out. Screams erupted from the track and horses neighing as they tried to bolt. People were running to safety, trying to dodge the flaming debris from the balloon.
I blinked several times, trying to order my thoughts. Did I really just see a hot air balloon explode in the air? And if I had seen what I thought I had seen, had Charlie been in the balloon and fallen to his death?
I looked back at Shaneika. This was terrible. If Charlie had been in that balloon, it wouldn’t be long before the police would come to interrogate Shaneika.
Only several nights ago, Shaneika and Charlie had had a heated argument, and she had threatened Charlie in front of witnesses at Lady Elsmere’s Derby party.
Shaneika stared back at me.
I could tell she was thinking the same thing as I was.
Shaneika might be in big, big trouble.
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Charlie Hoskins was a self-made man.
Born poor as a church mouse, he was relentless in his pursuit of money to the point of being universally hated.
Oh, he was admired for his rags-to-riches story. He was admired for being a good businessman. But Charlie never learned tact and made many enemies in the process of realizing his goals. He didn’t care that in order to accomplish his dreams, he trampled on those of others.
So it didn’t surprise Josiah Reynolds when someone decided to kill Charlie. The only thing that bothered her was that her lawyer and friend, Shaneika Mary Todd, might have done the dirty deed!
Join Josiah as she discovers the truth in a world that hides its secrets among antebellum mansions and million dollar horses grazing in emerald pastures.
This is the world of the Bluegrass . . . a world of wealth, privilege, and now murder!