Happy New Year everyone. Here is a great way to start out the new year. A new chapter to read for your enjoyment. This time the chapter is from my fantasy ‘Healer of Surflex’. The novel is full of magic, fairies, knights, demons, wizards, dragons and talking animals. You can find the complete novel at the following links:
Pomelia’s moans of anguish woke Terian out of a deep sleep. He groggily rose upon one elbow and searched for his wife in the dim shadows of their thatched cottage. She moaned again, and he focused in on her huddled form at the edge of the hearth. The embers of last night’s fire gave a faint glow as it bathed her creamy complexion in a pale red hue.
He rose swiftly, spanning the space between them and crouched beside her. Terian caressed her face and brushed back the satiny black curly hair. Her light brown eyes filled to the brim with tears.
“Pomelia what’s wrong?”
“It’s not fair! We’re kind, gentle, loving people, not like the miller or the innkeeper. They charge unfair prices, stealing from those of the idle minded and still God blessed them with children. God, what have we done to deserve this punishment?” She lifted her hands soaked with blood.
The metallic scent of blood mingled with the smoking ash of the fire as it filtered through his nostrils, exploding in the recesses of his brain.
Terian’s heart caved in, Pomelia had miscarried again. He gently picked her up and cradled her against his rock hard chest. Terian went over to the bed and sat her on the edge, removing her soiled gown and used it to wipe off most of the blood from her body.
He remorsefully returned to the hearth, lovingly shrouding the tiny form in the bloody gown to hide their son from his wife’s view. Tears crept down the leathery cheeks as he covered the perfectly formed face.
Terian laid the tiny body by the basin then poured cool water from the large pitcher in the basin. He gathered clean cloths taking the basin back to the bed and sat it on the floor in front of Pomelia.
Terian searched Pomelia’s eyes for any evidence of life behind them. She moaned softly at Terian’s gentle touch in spite of his rough, callous hands as he methodically bathed her and cleansed her body with prayer and water. As Terian dressed her in a clean woolen gown, she was unable to even lift her arms. He laid her against the down tick pillows then covered her with their heavy quilt to guard her from the chill of the night.
Terian picked up the basin and left through the back door to go the well at his blacksmith shop. There he disposed of the basin’s content and cleaned it before he returned to the cottage. He returned the basin to the stand.
Pomelia no longer moaned. Sounds of light breath in sleep wafted from their bed. Terian prayed, Thank you Lord for sending sleep to Pomelia. That is the best thing for her so she won’t dwell on our devastating loss. Forgive her blasphemy, for it was her grief wailing, not her faith in You. Please give me the strength to endure the mourning period and Pomelia’s sharp tongue as she again deals with the loss of another child. She is, as she stated, a kind and gentle soul. Find it in Your heart to grant her heart’s desire of a strong, healthy child.
He cradled his shrouded son, and left quietly to make sure the door did not creak to wake Pomelia from her rest. The dogs were not even awake to snap at his heels as he trudged up the winding cobblestone lane toward the main street past the still darkened cottages of his neighbors. Every step Terian took oppressed his soul. Grief racked his massive frame with this fifth loss. Doubt penetrated his heart that God would bless them with an heir. It seemed the prophecy of the local soothsayer would hold true.
Terian forbade Pomelia from seeking advice from the old crone after her first miscarriage. Pomelia, however, secretly visited her while he was away at the castle at Congor’s request to discuss the new designs for the battle armor for the king’s warriors. Congor was the king’s man of arms and chief counselor.
Terian returned to find Pomelia had given the old soothsayer a month’s worth of wages for a mixture of foul, musky herbs that were to be made into a drink and drank before each session of intimacy as they chanted to a small gross ebony carving of a fertility deity.
Terian’s rage exploded and for the first time in his life, he wanted to raise his hand to another human. He snatched the herbs and carving and heaved them into the flames of his forge. Pomelia ran wailing into the cottage. He pumped the bellows to engorge the flames and eradicated the abominations out of existence. He turned his frustration to his hammer and anvil. Terian shaped a pile of metal into various sizes of breastplates. The anvil’s clang echoed off the walls of the village cottages.
Several hours later, the shuffled tap of the soothsayer’s steps and cane interrupted him. She stood in the doorway, weaving heavily against the twisted knarred cane.
“Be gone, hag! There is no welcome at my hearth for you or your abominable deities. Leave my wife and me in peace before I dispatch you in my forge, as I did your graven image and poison.” The warning rumbled through the rafters of the shop and stable, causing the nesting doves to take reckless flight in fear.
She cackled with delight over Terian’s raging frustration. She crooned and leaned against her cane as she pointed a gnarled finger at him, “I’m not frightened of your ravings against me as one of the pathetic doves roosting in your rafters. Your wife came to me, begging me for my help, since your god wasn’t strong enough to hold a child within her womb full term to deliver a healthy son. I warned her if you had an inkling that she was going to be using my help, your pride in your worthless god would compel you to destroy her plans, dashing her desires for a son.
“You’ve done exactly as I foretold. Because of your blasphemy against Kernel, Pomelia will continue to try, but will never give you a live heir until Kernel claims her also, leaving you wallowing in your pride for your pitiful, minute god for the rest of your miserable life.”
Terian could stand no more of her threats. He hurled his hammer at the old crone’s balding scraps of hair, “Leave Pomelia alone. My God is greater than anything you can carve, witch.”
She disappeared, cackling, “We will see blacksmith, we will see.”
The hammer embedded itself in the massive oak door frame.
Terian’s mind swirled in self-doubt mixed with guilt that indeed these tragedies could have been diverted if he had cooperated with Pomelia’s plan, instead of relying on his faith in God. They could have five healthy sons if he had chosen differently.
The soothsayer’s cackle echoed throughout his soul, mocked his faith with ‘We’ll see blacksmith, we’ll see!’ With every step he took, it tried to divert him from his destiny. Soon every muscle in his body strained against his will, wanting Terian to stop, turn aside to the gnarled, vine covered trail that lead to the soothsayer’s tumbled down hovel, and beg her to lift her curse.
Still he stayed true to the course as it led Terian humbly through the village past cottage after cottage filled with slumbering children. He arrived at the ornate iron gate he designed with love. Terian lifted the heavy latch and pushed the gate inward. The gate groaned and shattered the stillness of the night. It woke the rectory guard dog. It bayed loudly at his approach.
A chorus of howls joined the guard dog’s baying seconds later. A light blinked on in the rectory window as the pastor groggily met Terian at the door. He held his lamp high in front of him to see who was at the rectory this late at night. The beam of light barely radiated through the darkness and revealed a hazy, gigantic form moving among the tombstones toward the rectory.
“Quiet whelp, before you wake the whole village with your baying. I’m awake. Who’s there? Terian, Terian is that you?” The pastor called out and peered in the darkness. “Terian, why have you come at such an ungodly hour? What are you carrying?”
Terian’s heavy shuffled steps mingled with the baying hound. It sent an eerie chill running through the pastor’s soul. Terian came into view cradling the bloody shrouded parcel tightly against his chest. Blood coated his chest and forearms. Terian kissed the cradled shroud. He held it out to the pastor, his chocolate brown eyes swollen under his knitted brow. Strands of silver glittered among the mass of ebony hair that four years ago had none. Terian’s tawny skin now held a sallow glow. Tears streamed down his cheeks unchecked.
His voice rumbled full of sorrow, “Pomelia miscarried another son. I need you to prepare my son for burial, as Pomelia is incapable to perform the necessary cleaning ceremony. I’ll be in the chapel.”
The pastor quaked as he reached out and took the shrouded infant from the grieving father. He passed it to his wife with the lantern, who arrived behind him for the needed ceremony. “Yes, yes go ahead Terian. I’ll dress and go to Pomelia. She needs to be cleansed, then I’ll be back to prepare your son.” He reassured Terian as he shooed Terian through the rectory to the chapel.
“No, there is no need to bother Pomelia. She is resting.”
The pastor drew back at the rebuff, “Terian, you know the cleansing ritual must be performed within an hour of the birth to ensure the mother’s health.”
An iron grip slammed around the pastor’s forearm and painfully halted his progress. “I said, leave her be. Do you think I am incapable of performing the cleansing ritual correctly after four previous miscarriages? She is fine. Sleep is what she requires now. It is our son’s body that needs attention.”
The pastor winched in pain, “Terian, my arm, you’re crushing my arm!”
Terian immediately released his grip and muttered his apologies. “Sorry, just let her sleep, please,” then went into the chapel. He moved slowly up the aisle to the altar. He lit two candles. He knelt deep in prayer. The pastor closed the door and left Terian in privacy to wrestle with his sorrow.
Moans of anguish escaped Terian’s trembling lips. Tears streamed along the crevasses of the sun-stained face. They soaked his chest and left trails through the caked blood. It pooled on the floor around his knees. His mind could only scream repeatedly, “Why, God?” His body was racked in grief at failing his wife once more, enforcing her fears of the soothsayer’s prophecy.
Streams of light filtered through the altar’s stained glass window. It cast a rainbow of color across the crumpled man. It grew in intensity, bathing Terian in its warmth.
“Terian,” a soft unseen voice shattered the silence, “Terian, rise.”
Terian slowly lifted his head. His swollen, bloodshot eyes dimly focused on the blurry shape behind the altar in front of the stained glass window. “Leave me in peace. I need solitude, not company.”
“Terian, rise, and hear the Words of God, for He has heard and felt your sorrow.”
Terian wiped his eyes with the back of his hand to clear the tears from his eyes. Terian tried to identify the intruder of his solitude. His eyes concentrated enough to view a tall, well-formed man, clothed in iridescent robes. The man lifted up his hand for Terian to obey him.
Terian shook his head, “I beg of you, leave me in peace.”
A brilliant light burst forth from the man and caused Terian to shield his eyes from the blinding light, “Terian, rise, for God has granted you His mercy. I am Moryx, messenger of God.” his voice reverberated throughout every molecule of Terian.
Terian raised his massive frame. It quaked in fear then he collapsed in a heap, “Forgive me Lord, for I’m but an unschooled oaf in the midst of grievous sorrow.”
Moryx unfurled a magnificent set of wings and arched them high over his chiseled bronze features, “Do not bow before me, for I am not God. Rise, Terian and view God’s glory through me.”
Terian rose, shielded his eyes, his legs quivered, barely able to hold him erect. “Who am I that God has felt my sorrow, and has mercy upon me?”
“You are who you are, no more, no less. God has chosen you to bear His healer to aid in the war against the evil ravaging Surflex. She will aid God’s warrior to free your kingdom from the evil grip that is tightening its coils around the kingdom’s soul.”
“A daughter, God will bless me with a daughter? Forgive me; but wouldn’t a son be a better candidate for a warrior of God? A daughter may not be strong enough to carry out God’s plan for freedom.”
Moryx’s wings spread out filling the space behind the altar. They blotted out everything else. “God has chosen His champion already to fight the battle with evil. Your daughter must heal the sorrow caused from the ensuing battle. To allow her to reach her full potential there is much preparation. There will be no other midwife but you to bring her into the world. You will wear calfskin gloves at all times in dealing with your daughter. She is not to be touched without gloved hands. Her mother or a wet nurse will not nurse her, for she will be unable to control the healing powers until she reaches maturity. It would drain her life force during the healing.
“You shall teach your daughter how to be genial and merciful. You shall show her how to love those who despise her, those who fear and envy her power. Keep her secret well, even from Pomelia, for even her mother will try to use her power for her own selfish desires.”
Terian fell to his knees, his hands clasped together and begged for leniency, “Please don’t condemn my child to a life without contact with another living soul. Every living thing craves contact with others. She couldn’t live without being able to feel another’s embrace.”
Moryx’s stern angelic features softened, “God knows of her need for contact and is not unfeeling. She may touch any animal bare handed, no matter the species. They will have no fear of her and will serve her slightest wish even unto death. Go now, for Pomelia is now awakened and the time of your son’s burial is at hand.”
Terian rose as Moryx vanished. He left the chapel and made his way home to collect his wife for their son’s burial. A large strip of silver hair hanging down in Terain’s eyes glistened in the dawn’s rose-colored light, a constant reminder to Terian of his conversation with Moryx.
Once again here are the links for ‘Healer of Surflex’ you can find it in eBook print and Audio format. :
Merry Christmas everyone! As you hurry along your way getting everything done for the upcoming Christmas season don’t forget to check out these month’s free chapter in the DeBois Series. The Title is Blizzard Terror. You can find it at the following links: https://www.books2read.com/u/31jMwm and https://amzn.to/1u92UUj. Enjoy.
Terror now coursed through Su. Her heart hammered within her chest as she heard the rumbles of the mountain lion anticipating warding off starvation. Running over the broken ground, her lungs burnt from over exertion toward the lightness lying before her amidst the darken forest. Su pressed her body forward bursting through into the brilliant light. It blinded her.
She stumbled forward trying to evade the terrible death gaining on her. Su heard the mountain lion’s screams of victory right behind her. She smelled its singed fur as the mountain lion pounced trying for the kill. She felt the heavy weight upon her shoulders dragging her down then she was weightless. The lion was gone as Su fell faster flipping through emptiness.
Suddenly, Su’s fall halted, as she crashed into the water and plunged beneath its dark frigid surface. The current drug her farther from the surface away from the precious needed oxygen her burning lungs craved. Su clawed her way toward the dim glimmering surface only to find her way impaired by a wall of ice.
She desperately tried to break through the ice. She searched for pockets of trapped air under the ice as the frigid water drained what little reserve of strength from her body.
A dark shadow crossed over her above the ice. Su pounded on the ice trying to draw attention but it continued away from her. Su felt the rest of her strength drain away as she let out one final scream. “Ah-h-h-h-h-h-h!”
Robert Williamson opened the bottom of his case and pulled out four thin vests looking similar to a bulletproof vest along with thin white parachute material parkas. He then pulled out three dart rifles complete with darts. He laid them on the table beside the rest of the items from the other two cases.
Jean DeBois picked up the small plastic case and took out the earpiece placing it in his ear before handing one to each of the rest. “Skyrider can you hear me?”
“You’re coming in loud and clear, boss man. I have Frank and his unit up already. The Canadians were generous in sending a whole four more men making the grand total twelve with the control head making it thirteen, an even baker’s dozen.
“I need you guys to sound off when you hear the pulse in your earpiece so I can make the proper connection with the name. That way, I don’t call out the incorrect name during the bust. When they sound off hand them the vest with the corresponding chip.” Janet Post sent the first pulse through making Mark Prix sound off with a yelp.
“Turn down the volume a little, Skyrider, you nearly broke my eardrum.” Mark held out his hand for his vest.
“Whine, whine, whine, that’s all you do any more, Eddie.” Robert held out his hand when the pulse sounded. “We’re going to have to wipe your nose for you, too.”
“I’ll wipe your nose with my fist.” Mark growled staring for Robert.
“Save it for the take down.” Janet activated Kyle’s earpiece.
Jean handed Kyle the vest then took the last one for himself. He placed it on under his shirt. Jean passed out the parkas to the group. Robert and Mark followed Jean’s example.
However, Kyle just stood there with vest in his hand. The group shot him a puzzled glance when he did not follow suit.
Kyle tried to hand the vest back to Jean, frustrated over the obvious joke they were trying to pull on him. “Come on now, you’re not trying to tell me this flimsy scrap of cloth is my vest. Where is the real bulletproof vest?”
Jean just gave Kyle a cockeyed grim, “What’s a matter Lee; the Mounties don’t have the cutting edge on Teflon technology? These are state of the art vest. They can even stop a large caliber bullet; however, I won’t recommend you try it. You end up in the hospital with massive bruising. You’ll be able to take the normal slug and finish your mission without too much pain so put it on. It also gives Skyrider a way to distinguish you from the rest of the bodies during the firefight. The chip in it gives off a certain frequency. The equipment we use with the technology is for our knowledge only, got that Lee?”
Kyle shook his head but did not like the feeling rising in the pit of his stomach.
“Skyrider what’s the position of the camp as you see it?” Jean moved to the edge of the window and peered out.
“The sentries are in their usual nest with five people in the main cabin’s office. There are four in the cabin nearest to the lake. The middle cabin has six milling around and the last, nearest your position has three.
“Frank and the unit are on their way in the Huey flying just above the tree line to keep under the radar. Your guest has settled in the nest, correct?”
Jean stared out through the flurry then moved to the back of the cabin to open the window. “He arrived a half an hour ago. He hasn’t surfaced from the main cabin.”
“Okay, the mission’s a go. Take out the sentries first. You have five minutes to zero staring now.” Janet signaled.
“You heard Skyrider, lock and load.” Jean barked under his breath then disappeared out the window.
Kyle shook his head following Jean out the window, muttering, “Man, is he always this quick?” to Robert.
“No, sometimes he’s in a hurry then he’s just a blur.”
“Stop yakking and start tracking.” Mark growled as he shoved Robert out of the way then crawled out the window. “We are late by three seconds.”
Mark checked to make sure the coast was clear then disappeared into the forest.
Robert came through signaling to Kyle to move out of the way so he could get into position. He heard a low signal from Jean as Robert slide in position. Robert leveled the dart gun at his target and signaled back. Seconds later, Mark’s signal came through loud and clear.
“On three gentlemen,” Janet ordered, “Three.”
Jean and Robert’s darts hit their marks and two sentries fell simultaneously in the deep snow with a soft plop. The sentry slipped on a patch of ice as Mark’s dart sped over him.
“Damn ice,” Mark spat sprinted to finish what the dart failed to do. He tackled the sentry rising and they sprawled into the snow bank. Snow furiously erupted as fist and feet flew. Mark came out on top. He cold cocked the sentry then tied and gagged the sentry. “Station three secure.”
“It’s about time, mud boy. Stop grand standing and get to your position. I can hear the Huey coming. Station two secure.”
“Holiday, concentrate on the task at hand. Station one secure. Lee, are you in place? Skyrider how’s the quarry? It’s time to rock and roll.” Jean peered out from behind the bushes.
“I’m in position.” Kyle whispered as he slid against the nearest cabin door. He could swear they could hear his heart pound over the ear canal device. Mark and Robert silently stole up in place as Jean prepared to enter the main cabin through the window.
“Gabe your quarry’s still in the office. The Huey is ready to come in.” Janet reported.
Jean stealthily slid the window open. He crawled through into the dining room and closed the window behind him. He heard the Huey land and shouted, “Now!”
Kyle, Mark, and Robert burst through the corresponding doors, screaming, “On your faces! You’re under arrest by the order of the Canadian Mounties!”
Jean simultaneously tipped over the table, “Matthew get out here. You’re under arrest!”
Officers swarmed out of the Huey as it landed. The blades of the Huey kicked up the deep snow throwing it everywhere.
Jean received his answer from Matthews as he came out with the AK47 blazing trying for the front door. Jean returned fire stopping Matthew’s escape. “Oakley I need you at the main cabin. Matthew’s trying to break free.” Jean traded gunfire between Matthew and the office doorway.
“I’m on my way. You two with me, the rest help round up the others in the cabins.” Jack roared heading for the front of the cabin. He took up a position behind a snowdrift.
“Make it snappy, Oakley. They’re mounting a breakout in the office. Here they come! Look out Gabe!” Janet gave a warning. She caught movement in her peripheral vision on the edge of the screen in the other cabin. “Lee, behind you!”
Kyle moved just in time to ward off the blow aimed by Omar Kariff. Kyle swung around bringing a crashing blow upside Kariff’s face as he flew by. Tripper and one of Kyle’s fellow Mounties appeared in the doorway brandishing their weapons to keep the others at bay against the wall. Kyle crashed his knee in Omar’s back seconds after Omar hit the floor. Kyle slugged Omar with the butt of his rifle as Omar tried to rise. Omar fell unconscious.
The four came out of the office laying down a barrage of gunfire spraying the table with bullets. Jean dodged back and forth the bullets made their way through the table spraying wood splinters as they came.
“Any time Oakley! My cover’s being dwindling down to kindling!” Jean bellowed returning fire hitting one in the shoulder as they made their way to Matthew by the door. “They’re coming out!”
A second later, Jean heard Jack lay down barrage of his own. The bullets slammed into the side of the cabin. Jack yelled ordering them to lay down their arms. They were under arrest. To which a rain of bullets flew at him. Jean took that advantage to shoot another terrorist drawing down on Jack. This time Jean’s aim was deadly. The man fell forward in a pool of blood. Caught in the crossfire the terrorists gave up throwing their weapons down.
Dave Matthew complied with the rest. His eyes burnt with hatred revealing the fight was not over for him.
Jack had the men fan out then called for the terrorists to lock their hands behind their heads slowly filing in a single line. The Mounties took them into custody one by one as they came through the doorway with Jean and the wounded prisoner bringing up the rear.
When they tried to cuff Matthew he broke free running straight into Jean’s fist. Jean hit Matthew with a right cross snapping Matthew’s head sideways. Matthew recovered in a flash. The fight between them manifested quickly.
Matthew was a powerhouse in his own right but smaller in stature than Jean. He matched Jean blow for blow and kick for kick. He came at Jean as a boxer his arms drew in close to his body fists raised high as he bobbed. He started with a series of blows in rapid fire. Only a couple found the desired mark. Each blow he landed Jean landed one a little harder. In total frustration, Matthew went from boxing to a mixture of punches and kicks.
Jean moved swiftly into his martial art stance warding off Matthew’s advances with his own counter moves. Jean roundhouse kicked Matthew in the face throwing Matthew off his feet.
Matthew swung away throwing snow in Jean’s face temporarily blinding Jean to try to gain some advantage. He pulled a dagger lunging at Jean trying to plunge it into Jean’s heart.
Jean sidestepped the lunge. The dagger slid across Jean’s chest slicing through the parka and shirt glancing off the vest. Jean grabbed Matthew’s wrist with his left hand smashing Matthew three times in the face with his right elbow. Matthew staggered under the blows as Jean stepped behind Matthew’s right leg slamming Matthew in the chest taking him down. Jean wrenched Matthew’s arm out of the socket as he fell then slammed his knee into Matthew’s chest, leaning heavily against it holding the injured arm around his knee.
Matthew scowled through the pain his blazing with repulsion curing Jean in Arabic then hissed in English, “Don’t think this will stop us from achieving our goal. You won’t hold me long!”
Jean smirked a cockeyed grin at him, “If you’re counting on your NY connection in the Marshal Division think again, scumbag,”
Jean knew he hit a nerve for Matthew’s face went ashen. His eyes glazed for a split second then tried to bluff his way. “I don’t deal with swine, Pig!”
“You don’t? Watch and learn, Skyrider, you there?” Jean pulled out the earpiece placing near Matthew’s ear so he could hear.
“Coming over loud and clear,” Janet’s voice snapped.
Jean moved the ear device back in his ear. “Tell New York he has the green light to arrest Bartlett. Yes, that’s right New York’s divisional commander Pierce Bartlett. The charges are terrorism, treason, drug running, gunrunning, sabotage and I’ll probably be able to come up with a few more charges by the time we’re done. Hey Matthew, you want to listen in as your connection comes crashing down?”
“Get your damn knee out of my chest Dog! I need a hospital!” Matthew hissed trying to dislodge Jean’s knee with his other hand squirming slightly amidst the excruciating pain.
“He whines more than Eddie does.” Jack came over glaring down at Matthew squirming in the snow under Jean’s weight. “It doesn’t look like you did that much damage for him to be squealing like a piglet.”
“I didn’t, I only pulled his arm out of the socket. Give me a hand and I will put it back in for the crybaby. Leg, Ed, get over here.” Jean answered as Jack grabbed Matthew by the shirt hauling him to his feet keeping his weapon barrel buried against Matthew neck while Jean held onto Matthew’s wrist.
Mark and Robert responded. Jack handed his weapon to Robert. Robert pointed it at Matthew’s chest. Mark trained his weapon’s laser site in the middle of Matthew’s eyes.
“If he tries anything take him out.” Jean ordered as he and Jack got ready.
“It’ll be my pleasure.” Mark replied.
Jack twisted Matthew’s other arm behind his back taking a hold of Matthew by the neck holding him firmly bracing himself. Jean held Matthew at the elbow then nodded to Jack he was ready. The next second, Jean yanked Matthews arm as his knee went into Matthew’s ribs then he release the knee allowing the arm to snap back into the socket with a resounding pop. Jean folded Matthew’s arm against his chest. One of the Mounties came over with a pair of handcuffs for Matthew but was in a quandary as to apply them with one arm in front and the other and back.
A devilish smile spread across Mark’s face. He lowered his weapon disappearing into the cabin for a couple seconds then came out sporting a roll of duct tape. Jack and Jean held Matthew while Mark wrapped the tape first around Matthew’s wrist then drew the tape up across his chest around his neck twice before connecting it to the other wrist. He wrapped Matthew up in the tape from shoulder to waist. As Mark finished Matthew started cursing and in return got a piece of duct tape across his mouth firmly.
“Ah quit your bellyaching about the tape. I just made sure your arm was immobile so it doesn’t pop out of the socket again. Man, you sure act like we’re the terrorist or something.” Mark retorted pressing the tape firmly into Matthew’s face.
Kyle came over, “Ah… you can’t tape his mouth shut as much as we all would like it that way.”
Mark shrugged his shoulders with a mischievous grin. “Okay.” He replied ripping the tape free with one swift jerk.
Matthew screamed involuntarily as most of his mustache came off with duct tape. He started cursing spitting at them. Kyle handed him off to one of the Mounties. “Knock off with the mouth or I’ll reconsider the tape.” He ordered.
Jean went over squatting beside the dead man turning him over. It was the contact. James came over taking a closer look at the man. “No way!” He muttered.
Jean looked up at James, “You know him?”
“Yeah, he was Hogan’s new son-in-law. No wonder they weren’t that worried about Hogan’s captured. They were grooming the replacement for him. I guess he got to be too sick or even the cartel to stomach.”
“Speaking of cartel, hey Skyrider how has the other two busts come down?” Jean asked standing up.
Janet’s voice sparkled coming over, “Roddy and Amber didn’t have any problem but Bartlet put up a fight since New York was arresting him at a dinner party this center was throwing for him. New York felt obligated to reciprocate the favor taken him down hard. Bartlet’s still yelling about how he’s going to get the person responsible for framing him and his associates in high places will see he’s avenged. If he spouting any truth, it looks like we’re going to have to shake the tree harder to see if there are any more bad apples hanging around.
“How’s the mop up work going there? It looks from my vantage point it seems to be going pretty smooth.” Janet radioed.
“They have the prisoners in the back of one of the work trucks for transporting back to civilization. They are rounding up the evidence now. In a few minutes we’ll be out a here after we gather our equipment.” Jean answered heading for the cabin.
Jean was packing the gear when Kyle entered the cabin coming over shaking Jean’s hand. “Thank you for all you’ve done. I’m glad it’s over.”
Jean drew back scowling at him. “You’re kidding, right?”
It puzzled look crossed Kyle’s face.
“Man Kyle, you’re just getting started. There were representatives from five different terrorist organizations with a connection to a drug cartel. Someone’s coordinating this scheme. It’s your job to track down every lead you have picked up here squashing it at its source or in six months top, you’ll be right back in the same boat. Only next time you’ll be dealing with three or more cells doing it at the same time.” Jean agitatedly shoved the last of the gear in the duffel bag zipping it shut.
“Start with the non-terrorist first cutting them a deal for solid information leads. Gather yourself a unit you can trust from the elite making sure they are what they say and above reproach. Don’t pick any grand standards. They’re out for the glory and the quickest rise in the ranks at anyone’s expense. Once you have your team. Work on the leads making sure someone in your units a whiz with computers. They are using technology at lightning speed changing continually. You’ll need to be able to keep up or you’ll always be three steps behind them.” Jean slung the duffel bag over his shoulder giving Kyle one and hung onto the other in his left hand.
“Hone your own skills. You have many excellent qualities however, you’re raw. Don’t always try to bulldog your way through. Each situation requires its own personal handling. Train your unit to work as one. There is no such thing as a need to know basis in an elite unit. It’ll handicap your people if you allow it to happen. Your unit should be as part of your family you trust exclusively with your life because your life will depend upon theirs in the field needing to trust each other and vice versa. I’ll need that vest and your earpiece now. We need to leave.
“Also watch out for Matthew. Even though he’s in custody, he’s still a dangerous man. They didn’t place him in charge for nothing. Stay on a heightened state of alert all the way back for he’ll be looking for a way to escape taking advantage of any situation, which presents itself to obtain his objective.”
Kyle stripped off the vest handing in and the earpiece to Jean. “You wouldn’t be in the market for a transfer to Canada would you?” He smiled opening the door for Jean as they headed back to the Huey.
“No I have other plans and this mission cinched it for me.” Jean answered storing the gear in the Huey. “You look like you have things well in hand so we will be taking off. We have a mission needing our immediate attention. Remember to keep an eye on Matthew.” He gave a shrill whistle summoning members of his unit.
“Hey Gabe, you got a number I can reach you if I need your counsel?” Kyle asked as the troop piled in the Huey.
Jean gave Kyle a penetrating glance and snagged a scrap of paper and pencil scribbling down four numbers handing them to Kyle. “The first is to my office, the second Oakley’s and the third and fourth are to be used only in emergency and I mean emergency. Have a good life and watch your back. Let’s get moving.” Jean barked climbing into the copilot seat.
Kyle backed up as Jack started the Huey taking off. Jean fastened in looking around. “Where’s my stuff?” He snarled.
Slaughter reached down into the crate and pulled out a large envelope handing it up to Jean. He snatched it as soon as it was in reach opening and taking the wallet out of his hip pocket throwing it back towards the crate bounced off the wall with a resounding thud before plopping into the crate. The Harley ring followed the wallet. Jean poured the context of the envelope onto his lap. He strapped the wrist monitor on his wrist then gently picked up his wedding ring sliding it back in its place on his left ring finger. He slid his shield into his shirt pocket and his wallet into his pants pocket.
He turned the monitor on and went ballistic because they were out of range. “Janet!” He bellowed. “Where is she?”
“I’m bringing the area up now. You’re ten minutes out of range. The signal’s in the same location as first reported. Jean it hasn’t moved in almost eighteen hours. Jack, floor the Huey.” Janet ordered transmitting the coordinates.
“Scanning the area see if you can do any better than Peter and Sarah. I want information and I want it now!” Jean grabbed a set of binoculars scanning the horizon.
“The campsite is coming in sight now. Let’s see, there are remains of a campsite, the grave with the crosses. I’m panning the area now, okay. There is a layer of snow on everything. Someone has collected debris from the plane going through it. By the campfire ring, there is evidence of a bed. I’m moving out from the campsite slowly. There are slight impressions in the snow of an animal prowling the campsite but I don’t see evidence of any human tracks. Moving out more and okay there’s the view of the river so they should know it’s there.”
“What about where the signal’s coming from, can you get a better view of where it is than just trees, Janet? All Peter could bring up was blasted trees.” Jean scanned the area.
“Jean, I just found another woven cross on the edge of the clearing hanging in a horizontal position pointing towards the river. Good job Su. Jean she has left the clearing before the snow fell marking the way they went with pieces of…of… her hair. You should be picking up the signal by now on your monitor. It’s coming from the left of the campsite so my guess would be during the crash it somehow torn off Sue’s wrist. You have to track her the old-fashioned way. The clearing isn’t large enough for the Huey to land so you’re going to have to repel down to it.”
Jean glanced over his shoulder towards the others in his unit. “You heard her, what the hell are you just sitting on your derrière’s for? Break out the equipment making sure everyone’s ready to go by the time we arrived or you’ll go down the hard way!”
Slaughter, Tripper, and James looked over at the rest as Robert sprang into action followed closely by Mark to the back in the Huey. Slaughter got up to help. Mark relayed the equipment to him.
“Mark, he was just kidding about that, right? Trying to lighten up things,” Slaughter took the armload from Mark.
Mark stared at him straight in the eyes, snapping, “No!”
That motivated Tripper and James. By the time they arrived at the crash site, the winch was in place with the harnesses on the apparatus. Jack hovered above the clearing while Mark opened the door with Robert snapping the last wench into place securing it to the Huey. Jean unbuckled moving to the rear compartment. Jack caught a glimpse of his demeanor as he passed by.
“Jean wait this time until the…” was all Jack got out of his mouth before hearing the winch whirled screeching in protest as Jean rode the cable down.
“Man he didn’t even use a harness.” James leaned out watching Jean descend, letting go the last fifteen feet doing a rolling landing then was gone.
Robert snapped up on the first repelling equipment to the cable barking at James, “What are you waiting for? He’s not going to wait forever. Get going.”
James secured his harness and said a quick prayer before he stepped off into nothingness. Within two minutes, Mark, Slaughter, and Tripper joined him on the ground. They heard a “Heads up” then a harness slammed into the mist of them.
“Secure the body from the grave for transport and find out where Jean went.” Jack’s voice boomed in their ears. Slaughter and Tripper took on the task of preparing the body as Mark and James followed Jean’s tracks. James led the way following Jean’s trail into the underbrush. All too soon, they lost the trail stopping for a breather amidst the trees which closed in over their heads.
“You see any sign of him, Mark? I can hardly see anything in this mess.” James wheezed holding his side to ease the pain.
“No, but he’s close. Jean, come on answer me, where are you? Mark searched for some sign of him. Mark was examining some snow by the tree-line when he suddenly froze then leaped aside hollering for James to watch out as a shower of heavy snow fell from the trees above covering them and a blanket of white. Jean dropped gently to the ground Su’s bracelet in his hand.
“Get off your asses and let’s go. Some help you two are. If I was a terrorist, you both would be dead.” Jean started back to the clearing.
James made the mistake of answering him. “We’re on a rescue mission now not a covert mission any longer.”
Jean was in his face instantaneously. “All the more to stay alert, you miss the smallest details out here and it could meet someone’s life or didn’t you recognize those paw prints of that cougar? It’s maimed so it’s normal prey is not an option for it. Keep your bloody eyes open before you become some animal’s supper. Jack?”
“I found Su’s bracelet. It was in a magpie’s nest. It was torn off her wrist meaning she’s hurt her wrist, properly broken. The woven cross supports that assessment. It isn’t woven as tightly as she usually does. I haven’t discovered any footprints from the survivors yet. The only footprints were the paw tracks of a main cougar so Janet’s theory of them moving out before the snowfall holds water. We’re a good thirty-six to forty hours behind them. Have you secured the body in the Huey yet?”
“Karine Murphy is aboard and secured. Jean the wind is starting to pick up speed. That storm front’s coming in faster than we expected.”
Jean arrived at the campsite to see the Huey get hit with a strong blast in the side moving the Huey a good two hundred feet before Jack was able to bring it back. Jean ordered the team to the Huey when Jack’s cell phone went off. He dug in his pocket quickly barked, “Oakley.”
“Oakley we need your help. The truck turned over on a sharp curve and there were injuries.” Kyle’s voice cut in and out. “Several prisoners escape. Matthew was one of them.”
“Hang in there Kyle help is on the way. Skyrider triangulate where Kyle is through my cell phone,” Jack ordered. “Jean, we have trouble with the mission.”
“Mark, book up that rope. James, follow him. I’ll find Su and let you know where we are, Jack. What are you waiting for James, an engraved invitation? Mark is in the Huey so keep going.”
James shook his head no, “I’m with you. I have your back. Robert, throw down a pack.”
Jean exploded, “I don’t have time to keep you in tow. I’ll be moving fast. They’re probably hurt needing immediate assistance to survive so get your ass up that rope!”
“If they’re hurt, you’ll need help getting them out.” James yelled back and seconds later a pack slammed on the ground between them as Jean heard the whine of the winch retracting. The Huey’s engine roared away.
“Jack!” Jean screamed.
“You’re outvoted this time, buddy. You can pound me into a pulp after you locate them and have them safely back. Godspeed Jean, bring her home.”
Jean stood there for a split second watching the Huey fly off to help Kyle. His jaw ground his teeth. Frustration set in his face, his eyes blazing at Jack’s defiance of direct orders. He turned and disappeared into the underbrush.
James saw only a blur of him snagging the woven cross that marked the trail. James grabbed the pack slinging it over his shoulder and plunged and after Jean.
Jean call back, “Come on get the lead out. We’re going to lose what little light we have.” James feet pounded through the snow the brambles tearing at him trying to follow the small trail Jean was blazing.
Jean DeBois stood off from the crowd, sipped the flute of champagne, and tugged at the chaffing collar of his tuxedo shirt, quietly observed the fuss the art critics made over the latest exhibition of Su’s work. He smirked over their attempt to interpret the different meanings of the paintings. Ninety-five percent of their interpretations were as far off base as anyone could be. It mystified him how any of them achieved the fame they claimed as their own.
Jean turned his attention to Su. She stood quietly among a group of admirers, and politely answered their questions. Her honey brown long hair swept beautifully upon her head encompassed her face in soft curls. There was a pleasant smile on her countenance. However, Jean knew she was at the limit of her endurance. They should have declined an appearance, however; fifty percent of the proceeds were going to the children’s home in Romania. She made the appearance for their sake, in spite of the warning from her doctor. The curator of the Corinthian gallery promoted she would be there to boost the attendance of the upper class.
Jean caught the tiny change in her stance to stand a little more comfortable and keep a pleasant countenance as the babies started stirring. He would give her another fifteen minutes then he would sweep her away to their hotel for a massage to help her relax and settle the babies down from their combat for premium space in Su’s womb.
He reminisced the dressing down she gave the specialist in his office when they found out she was pregnant.
Dr. Rider sent her to the specialist seven months ago when Su could not keep anything down for two weeks. After doing several tests, the specialist issued them solemnly
into his office for a consolation pointing to the two chairs in front of the mahogany desk. He sat down and plopped her case file down. He opened it examining the test results once more before he addressed them.
The specialist gave a disgusting sigh, he glared over at Jean sitting across the desk, “You know by not bothering to restrain your sexual appetite with a condom you placed your wife’s life in jeopardy. You had no consideration for her delicate medical condition. You don’t comprehend how rare it is for someone with marasmus to survive as long as she has, most died in infancy.” He glowered over his small square shaped lenses.
“We need to schedule the abortion today so her condition doesn’t deteriorate any further. I will also schedule you for a vasectomy. I can fit the abortion in this afternoon at two and the vasectomy tomorrow at eight…” He flipped open his appointment book.
“Excuse me? Just what makes you think I would allow you ever again to come within a mile of me let alone, allow you to murder my child? If you made your position known about this before we took the time to come all the way here, it would saved everyone a lot of time and money.” Su launched halfway across his desk which caused the doctor to jerk back so quickly he toppled backward and crashed onto the floor.
“As for my husband forcing his will on me, you are very much mistaken.” Her eyes slid to slits at the doctor lying there. “In our marriage, we discuss our decisions and seek the Lord’s guidance in them. We have an equal say and respect each other’s opinion.”
The specialist lay there stunned for a second as Jean calmly took Su by the waist, lift her off the desk. Jean kept her at bay while he helped the specialist up.
After the initial shock wore off, the specialist straightened his jacket, his mouth pulled down in a pucker, “I’m not a murderer.”
“If you surgically tear away or chemically kill a helpless innocent infant in their mother’s womb, you are no better than any other murderer who sheds innocent blood and do not bother trying to tell me it is not a baby; it’s a fetus because fetus is Latin for little one. Neither is trying to justify an abortion as legal. Hitler made extermination of the Jewish legal, also. That did not make it any less murder because someone deemed someone else no longer human. Just because a law is passed, does not make the truth any less the truth like or not.” Su spat out the words as she tried to get around Jean to get back in the specialist’s face.
Jean held Su by the waist while he moved toward the door.
The specialist adjusted his glasses, his body ridged with indignity over her analogy of him. He shook a warning accusing finger at Jean. “If you’re fool hardy enough to allow her to continue with this suicide pregnancy, you better be prepared for an slew of medical conditions to strike like toxemia, eclampsia, hypertension, stroke, renal failure, and anemia before she miscarriage. There’s a real possibility, you’ll bury her by the end of the year if not sooner.”
“Whether or not our child or I die, will not be your decision to make. I will do whatever I need to bring our baby safely into this world, Lord willing. It will ultimately be His will in this matter and no one else! May God have more mercy on your soul than you do to the unborn children you murder.” Su’s voice waffled through the slit as the door slammed shut.
Jean escorted Su out of the building quickly so there would not be more of an incident. He waited they were in the car before he said anything.
“I know it upset you to find out he performs abortions, but Su, did you have to call him a murderer and compare him to Hitler?” he asked her gently.
Her response was not as gentle her eyes sparked with righteous contempt, “The evil that was within Hitler did not die with him. It was upon the earth long before his manifestation. It spreads throughout the world, planting its evil wherever someone allows it access to their heart and mind, corrupting their soul with its foul poison. I did not say anything untrue and you know it. He is as much of a murderer as any serial killer you go after in your job. You know it and so does he.” She grabbed the seatbelt and drew it across clicking it securely. Her mouth pursed over the distasteful encounter.
“Su, there’s a difference.” He tried to hold her hand.
Her head whipped around, “Not in the eyes of the Lord. Whoever sheds innocent blood is a murderer and who is more innocent than an unborn child? We are to view the world as the Lord does, speaking out against the evil which has the world in its grasp with the truth of God.” She jerked her hand away in frustration.
“Do you really think he heard anything after you blasted him? You need to be more tolerable when it comes to the faults of other adults, like you are with children.” He leaned his arm on the steering wheel and twisted in the seat toward her.
“There is a difference between someone’s faults and their sins. We are not to tolerate sin in our lives, but to confront it, so its cancerous evil does not spread.” She turned away from him and stared out the window.
“Su, you need to calm down. You’re working yourself up making yourself sick,” Jean reminded her as he started the car and headed for home.
She did not answer him, just sat there in cold stony silence all the way home. The more he tried to calm her down, the more aggravated she got. Her countenance was a mask of mixed emotions all jumbled together. Su got out of the car and slammed the door in Jean’s face.
He cornered her in the kitchen as Su was putting the crystal away out of their packing crate.
“Su, you need to stop being hysterical about this.”
“You want to see hysterical? I will show you what hysterical really is,” she cried and lobbed a glass at him. It shattered against the wall behind him.
“Su, don’t…” was all Jean got out before he ducked behind the counter preventing a barrage of glasses from impacting into his cranium as Su rifled glass after glass at the wall, “You know, this is nothing but a childish temper tantrum? You’re not only going to have to clean all this up, but I ought to make you glue each and every one of these glasses back together,” he called out from safety, “It’s a good thing the children are on a field trip and can’t see their mother behaving like this. I don’t think I could handle ten spoiled little brats breaking things.”
No more were the words out of his mouth when a plate crashed down on his head. Su leaned over the counter and dropped another one on him. In a flash, Jean was up and wrapped her up in one arm, and took yet another plate away from Su with the other hand. She was small and petite, nevertheless, once her emotions took control she was a live wire. Jean set the plate down on the counter as he encircled her up in his massive arms.
“It’s one thing to take your frustrations out on an inanimate object, however; when you start dropping plates on my head that’s spousal abuse. Why don’t you use the weight bag downstairs in the gym instead of taking it out on the glassware?” He gave Su a quirky smile. “It’s a good thing I’m back to work. You broke six months worth of wages in less than five minutes. You need to throw the Libby glasses from Wal-Mart next time.”
“Take it out of my allowance.” Su turned her face from his as she struggled against his strong warm embrace.
“What allowance? I’m the one who should be getting the allowance here. You make more in one month than I do in six,” Jean laughed at her as he turned her face back kissing her.
“Oh, is that how you want it, to be a kept man?” Su purred, her rage giving way to Jean’s charm.
“As long as it’s you doing the keeping, I’m at your beckon call. Why don’t you go upstairs and slip into that dress I gave you for Mother’s Day, last year, while I clean up the after mass down here?” Jean rested his forehead on hers and peered deeply into Su’s eyes.
“That dress, if you remember is what got us in this situation on our anniversary in the first place.” She tapped Jean’s nose with the tip of her finger.
“I know and I feel like dancing,” Jean murmured then delivered a deep sensual kiss.
Jean was jolted back to the present from a couple of men approached him. They inquired how he liked Su’s newest exhibit.
“She’s truly an exquisite artist. This new exhibit is her best work yet, don’t you think, sir?” one of them inquired of Jean as they sipped on their drink. Jean ran his hand across the forelock of the sculpture of Su’s horse Storm Chaser.
“Yes, each time she applies a brush to canvas it’s better than the last,” Jean agreed, his face taunt.
“Is this your first time to attend her exhibition here? I go to all of her openings so I recognize all the regulars, however; you seem to be new to the circuit this year,” the other one said, scrutinizing the painting near him.
Jean started to move away from their company, “This is my first time in London,”
“Would you like to meet her? I’m one of her closest and most intimate friends,” the first man smiled sinisterly.
That statement made Jean stop in his tracks, “You know Mrs. DeBois on an intimate level, do you?”
“Oh yes my good fellow, quite intimately. Matter of fact, she’s quite the party animal. Yes, quite a little tiger, in spite of the condition she’s in, ha, ha, ha, she was at my flat just last night for a rousing game of bump and grind.”
In one swift move, Jean had him by the throat, swinging two feet in the air in a death grip, “Allow me to introduce myself chap. I am Jean DeBois, husband of the lady you just slandered,” Jean hissed as he set his flute down beside a statue. “My wife was asleep beside me all night long, last night. Since I know you were nowhere near my bed, you’re the most blatant liar I ever met.” Jean’s tempter churned souring his stomach, “It sickening how a scum sucking maggot tries to elevate himself up out of the mire, by maligning a true lady, such as my wife by trying to shove her down in the quagmire.”
The man weakly struggled prying at the steel vice that compressed his larynx, trying to preserve the oxygen left in his lungs, spilling the content of his glass.
His associate stepped back with a shocked expression. Their glasses shattered in unison upon the marble floor.
Jean lowered him and drew him close to Jean’s face. Jean’s eyes turned deadly cold.
“Now I want you to listen and listen well. If you ever so much as even think of coming anywhere near my wife or one of her exhibits ever again, Mr.” Jean growled through a ridged jaw, fished in the man’s pocket for his ID., “Mr. Sanders of 174th. Loft 47b, I will personally come back and finish the job I just started here.”
“You can’t threaten him. It’s against the law and if you don’t let go, you’re going to have assault charges brought up against you,” the other man recovered from his shock as the man’s face turned crimson.
Jean’s expression was an immense peril toward the men. His head turn toward the other man, “That wasn’t a threat. It was a promise and I am a man of my word.” He swung the man toward the other, “Therefore, when I release you, you and your slime ball mate here are going leave and not have the remotest thing to do with my wife. If you do, you’ll find yourselves behind bars for stalking and breaking the no contact order I’m going to have served on you. Now slither out of here like the scum sucking worms you are before I forget my manners and grind you out of existence under my heel,” Jean warned, released Sanders’ throat, and allowed him to fall to the floor with a thud.
Jean picked up his flute, standing over him. The security guard noticed the commotion and came over to investigate.
“Mr. DeBois, is there something wrong?” He stood by the fallen man.
“These two degenerates are leaving. Please make sure they find their way out and never allowed into another one of my wife’s exhibits again,” Jean turned his attention back to Su.
He walked away and left the security guard to deal with the after mass. Jean pushed through the growing crowd of spectators, freeing his wife from her fans. He could see Su’s smile was now just a grin, which meant she was in a lot of pain. He set his champagne flute on a passing waiter’s tray, slid his arm protectively around Su as the curator came up to them.
“I’m very sorry they were allowed in, Mr. and Mrs. DeBois. It’ll bloody well never happen again.” He wrung his hands. “We can’t understand how security passed them
through without an invitation. I hope you enjoyed yourselves in spite of what happen.” His face was crimson over the breach in security.
“We had a lovely time, however; we need to leave for the hotel so we may get some rest. I suffer from jet lag easily so we will thank you for all your hard work. Once again thank you,” Jean made a path through the people for Su.
When they reached the door the maitre d’ asked, “May I flag down a taxi for you?”
Su glanced up at the night sky, “No thank you. We will walk. It is only six or seven blocks away and I love to walk under a starry night sky.”
Jean looked at her, “Are you sure?”
She smiled up at the night skyline, “Yes, the fresh night air will feel nice.”
Jean gave a small sigh, “Okay, one midnight stroll in the moonlight coming up,” he opened the door for her.
Su linked her arm in Jean’s arm and leaned her head against it as they journeyed toward their destination. The starry night shed a soft light on them strolling along the avenue.
“So when are you going to enlighten me on what occurred in the gallery to cause such a commotion? The excuse of being jetlagged might work on the curator, however, you never suffer from it so as Scott says, okay spill the beans and do not try to con me.” She stopped several blocks away causing him to halt abruptly so he did not knock her over.
Jean avoided her eyes, starring across the parkway instead.
She took her hand and placed it upon his cheek to draw his attention back to her.
Jean gently withdrew her hand enclosed it in his and kissed Su lightly upon the cheek before he answered her.
“It isn’t important. I just straightened out a couple of overly exuberant admirers, reminding them of their proper place.”
She shook her head in non belief of his answer; however, she allowed it to drop for his countenance relayed an end to this line of questioning. They continued on hand in hand, Su humming a tune softly as they went.
Jean loved to listen to Su sing. The music she produced always entranced him in its delicate strands of melody weaving itself deep within his soul, there it intertwined their souls together for eternity.
Three blocks away from the hotel, Jean became aware of the movement in the shadows. One was in front of them approximately fifty feet and the other twenty feet behind them. His body tensed in anticipation of the pending attack. His mind contemplated how to protect Su from the danger. His ears picked up the subtle click of a switchblade knife from the attacker behind them as they walked toward the other.
Su felt Jean’s muscles tense, stopped humming as she looked up at him. One look at his countenance alerted her to the danger also. She immediately matched his body movements with her own. Jean signaled there were two assailants. Su nonchalantly slipped off her high heels as they walked slowly forward. Jean slipped out of his tuxedo jacket laid it across his arm. He placed his arm around Su’s shoulders. The closer they came to the frontal danger, the tighter Jean’s muscles rippled with anticipation. Ten feet in front of them, the bloke from the art gallery stepped out from the shadows. A twelve-inch survival knife glistened in the reflection of the night sky.
“Well lookie here, Smitty. It’s the big bad Yank and his little skank of a wife who thinks she’s something special. Well Yank, you’re on our turf now. We didn’t think we
would catch such a big prize tonight.” His face twisted with as a sinister gleam flashed in his eyes.
“What’s a matter Yank? Yah got nothing to say now you don’t have security to back you up. We’ll not mess yah up too much if yah hand over everything,” Sanders sneered as he passed the knife from hand-to-hand.
Smitt came out of the shadows from behind them and circled them with Sanders, reminding Jean of a school of sharks that smelled wounded prey. Jean slid in front of Su at every turn, keeping him in between them and her.
An evil plan itself spawned in Smitt’s twisted mind, “Screw this penny ante crap, Sand. Let’s just make short work of the bloke and when we’re done having fun with her, we can ransom her back to the gallery, if she survives.”
“That’s a good idea Smitty. I wouldn’t mind a couple of games of darts with my blade at her myself and then have a nice vacation,” Sanders sneered with an oily grin.
“There’s only one thing wrong with your plan,” Jean quietly said.
“And what would that be?” Smitt let loose with a raunchy laugh.
“You both will be in the morgue before your plan comes to light.”
Smitt’s laughter died in mid chuckle as he lunged at Jean. Jean sidestepped Smitt’s lunge, grabbed the wrist twisting it and slammed his elbow into Smitt’s face. There was a sickening crunch sound as Jean’s elbow sunk into Smitt’s nose. Jean ripped Smitt’s arm out of the socket in one swift movement.
He drove a foot into Smitt’s ribs. As Smitt crumpled to the ground, Jean caught the slightest movement, ducked the survival knife as it swept over his head. He gave Sanders a kick to the stomach and drove Sanders backward. Sanders recovered and lunged at Su. Jean
intercepted Sanders with a body block to the ribs. They landed in the bushes. The knife clattered noisily to the pavement and slid fifteen feet away.
Su peered into the darkness trying to make out Jean in the shadows as he took Sanders on hand-to-hand. She could hear the punches and kicks as Jean rained them on Sanders. Sanders was almost Jean’s size and weight, however, Jean out matched him when it came down to hand-to-hand combat. Jean had been a combat trained Special Opts. Commander in the service and now was the commander of an elite unit in the U.S. Federal Marshal Division, something few men achieved by the age of thirty-two.
Sanders’ punches landed rare compared to the beating he took from Jean. Su heard each sickening thud as other part of Sanders’ body crumpled under the inertia of Jean’s sledgehammer fists and kicks. Suddenly, Sanders’ limp body hurled out of the darkness as Jean’s roundhouse kick impacted with Sanders’ face.
Jean stepped out a second later, in time to stop Smitt as he staggered toward Su with his arm hanging limply at his side. Smitt held the switchblade weakly in his left hand raised above his head poised for the attack. Jean blocked the thrust with his left arm and drove his fist into Smitt’s throat.
Smitt crumbled at Jean’s feet. They heard the whistle of a Bobbie. Jean turned as two Bobbies came running to them. He went over to Su, picked up his jacket and placed it around her trembling shoulders. The owner of the whistle knelt down to check the unconscious crumbled forms after he ordered Jean and Su to stand back. The Bobbie got on the walkie-talkie and called for an ambulance as his partner sized up the situation.
The Bobbie went over quietly talked to his partner before they approached Jean and Su who stood at the edge of the bushes. He gave the unconscious men one last look and then started in with the questioning, “I need to see your identification, sir, and ma’am, then
you can tell me your side of the story,” he informed them in a thick cockney accent . He took the information Jean handed him, “Yanks. I will need to see your passports, Mr. DeBois. You seem to be able to handle yourself all right by the looks of things, nevertheless, why are you out so late walking alone. You know it’s the quickest way to invite trouble. It doesn’t seem to be the brightest thing to do with your wife in the condition she’s in.” He cocked his head and scribbled down the information before returning it.
“We’re on our way to our hotel from an art exhibition a few blocks away from here when we were attacked,” Jean answered him, and kept an eye on Su.
The Bobbie glowered, “An art exhibition? Why didn’t you take a taxi so you didn’t place her in this danger? Why did this escalate as far as it did? This isn’t their usual MO. They usually are a snatch and run operation. What made you so special they would change their mode of heist?” The Bobbie tilted his head glancing at them with a suspicious eye.
“They were at the art exhibition, scouting for potential victims when I had a run in with the one who calls himself Sanders over the wisecrack he made about my wife.” Jean returned the look with one of his own.
“So this is some sort of retaliation for an insult to your wife?” The Bobbie scribbled something in his notebook.
The muscles twitched along Jean’s jaw. “No. This was not any retaliation on my part. My wife needed some fresh air so we decided to walk to our hotel when we were confronted by these thugs who decided to branch out into kidnapping, only they chose to attack the wrong couple.
Jean pointed behind him. “You’ll find the knife Sanders had on the ground about fifteen feet in back of you in the edge of the bushes. It’s a twelve-inch survival knife.
There’s a switchblade under Smitt so be careful.” He warned the other officer who examined Smitt.
“If there isn’t anything else, I’ll take my wife to our hotel to take care of her. This has been over taxing for her, which isn’t good for her.” Jean started to move away with Su.
The Bobbie quickly stepped in front of them and placed a firm hand upon Jean’s chest. “I’ll need you to stay put until the ambulance arrives so I can escort you the rest of the way,” the Bobbie ordered as he inquired on his walkie-talkie the e.t.a. of the ambulance.
The answer came back twenty minutes. Jean glanced at Su. The color drained completely away from her demeanor. She looked up at him, a second later, her eyes rolled back into her head collapsing into unconsciousness. Jean swept her up into his arms and ran to the street. He signaled to an approaching taxi to stop. The cabbie took one glance at the situation, and decided he did not want to get involved. The taxi started moving into the other lane to pass them by. Jean stepped out into the roadway as the taxi passed by and landed his size thirteen shoe into the rear door of the taxi. It made a gigantic thud as the metal buckled under the inertia of the blow.
The cabbie screeched the taxi to a halt. He jumped out cursing as he came, “You bloody bloke! Are you out of your bloody mind, kicking my door in? You’re going to pay for this!”
Jean yanked the rear door open and laid Su on the seat. He started telling the driver to take them to the nearest hospital when the cabbie grabbed him by the shirt.
“Just where do you think you’re going? I’m not a bleeding ambulance. Get her out of there!” he sneered.
The Bobbie came up just in time to save the cabbie from Jean’s wrath, “Listen here now. You’ll be taking them to the nearest hospital as he said. The nearest ambulance is a
good twenty minutes away. Therefore, we choose you to be a Good Samaritan and get her medical help. Mr. DeBois will be paying for the damages done to the taxi. In addition, he’ll give you a nice big tip if you get them there safely within the next ten minutes. Isn’t that right Mr. DeBois,” his brow drew sharply down over one eye, “because I’d hate to have to keep you here filling out police reports on the damage to the taxi while your misses is in dire straits.” His tone reinforced Jean’s understanding of the underline meaning.
“I’ll buy him a brand new cab if you stop your yakking and he starts driving,” Jean snapped and got in the cab slamming the door shut.
Fifteen minutes later, Jean sat in the overly crowded dimly lit waiting room filling out the information forms while the doctors examine Su. True to his word, Jean wrote out a personal check for sixty thousand dollars to the cabbie and gave him the phone number of the bank so the cabbie could validate the check was good. He made a mental note to transfer the money from his personal saving account into the household account after he made sure Su was all right.
They set up individual saving accounts beside the joint account with each other being the benefactor so each could have some mad money. They decided to divide their income into thirds, one third in the household account, one third in the joint saving account, and one third in their individual accounts. Even combining his income with the farm profits it was not even half of Su’s. With the profit from her art work and royalties from her music CDs combined with her salary at Upon Eagle’s Wings, Malachi Inc. her salary was in upward toward two million dollars a year to which she would usually give half away to those who were in need if not more.
It bothered him at first how loosely Su’s concern about money was, however; after they were married, he saw how great of a steward she was with money. To her, money was
something never hoarded but a tool to help her fellow man out in their time of need. Now, he marveled as he watched her meet others needs as the Lord brought their needs to light. There was always much prayer and consideration in each request that she met. She had even started a nonprofit relief organization by the name of ‘Cup of Water’ where she was the CEO.
Jean had her take a leave of absence from both companies within a month of them finding out she was pregnant. The jetting back and forth from Iowa to New York took too much of a toll on her. They compromised. Su could keep in touch via the internet for two hours a day as long as she spent the rest of the day with the children and plenty of bed rest. Penny Foster and Mrs. Frans made sure she complied with the doctor’s orders.
Penny had been Jean’s downstairs neighbor back in New York. She had taken upon herself to be Jean’s unit’s Dutch Auntie. The rest of the division in the Marshal’s office was jealous over her continually fussing over the members of the unit. The unit was angry at Jean over her coming out to Iowa to visit after the mission, which brought Michelin Hogan and one of the largest drug cartels down with the help of Su. There Penny met Ken Foster, Jean’s foreman, who been a widower the past ten years. When she went back to New York, it was to sell her apartment pack up to move out to Iowa to become Ken’s wife.
Jean finished the information. He took it up to the desk and handed it across the faded worn tile counter to the stout nurse shuffling files from the counter to the standing rack. “Ma’am, here’s the information. May I see my wife now?” he asked concerned over the time lapse on the lack of information forth coming from her.
She took the clipboard and went over to the computer terminal, “Go ahead and have a seat, Mr. … err DeBois. The nurse will come and get you once the doctor gets her stabilized. It shouldn’t be too much longer, honestly. It just seems like it when you’re
worried about a loved one,” she answered him in a motherly voice, typing the information in the computer before she took it back to the doctor.
Jean went back and plopped down on the thread worn chair in total frustration. If they would just allow him access to Su, he knew he would be able to help calm her and the babies down. He was the one who could calm the babies when they struggled for more space. All he had to do was softly hum gently and massage Su’s abdomen and they would quiet down in less than ten minutes then he would give Su a massage. Within a half an hour, both mother and babies would be fast asleep. Out here in the waiting room he was useless. He wanted to burst through those doors and through anyone that got between him and Su. As the minutes ticked by, the more frustrating it became for him. Just as it became unbearable for him and his frustrations now turned to anger, the Bobbies came walking through the entrance.
Just great, two more obstacles to go through.
They surveyed the waiting room and locked on Jean. They came over and sat down on each side of him. Jean tensed up in anticipation of the upcoming event.
The eldest of the two, slightly portly approximately forty, started the conversation, “Mr. DeBois, this isn’t an official visit so you may relax some. We’re off duty now and are on our own time. We’re concerned about your wife’s condition. She’s such a small fragile little thing. We couldn’t get her out of our minds. Therefore, we ran down the taxi finding out where exactly he took you.
“We’re both married so we know what it feels like to be helpless when the one you love the most needs help beyond what you can do.”
“If you’d allow us, we’d like to make a prayer circle with you for her. We know this probably seems weird, nevertheless; the Lord laid it on our hearts to be here with you to
help you through this valley. So may we continue? You don’t have to do anything. We’ll do all the prayers if you like,” the younger, tall willowy one offered.
Prayer! Why hadn’t he thought of going to the Lord immediately instead of trying to handle this on his own? He knew trying to handle it himself would only bring disaster. He tried to do that very thing most of his life before the Lord brought Su into his life to show him there was a better way, the Lord’s way. Pride crept back into his life lately over the need Su had in him since she became pregnant. Now, he knew what he must do.
He silently slid his six-five frame to its knees in prayer. There he begged the Lord to forgive his arrogance and pride. A second later, he felt a hand on each of his shoulders as his fellow brothers in Christ joined him there on the floor. They took turns praying for Su and strength for Jean to endure it in the loving arms of the Lord.
They offered prayer after prayer up unashamed in the middle of the waiting room. Soon a mother whose child came in with a cold joined them, then another and another joined them.
Twelve hours later, when the doctor came out to get Jean there was a small group of bowed heads and bended knees all in prayer for those sick. There were people from all lifestyles and occupations. They were one in Christ praying for a common goal.
It took the doctor five minutes to get Jean’s attention. Jean got up thanking those around him for their prayers making his way through the group of believers. He looked back to thank the Bobbies again only to find them gone. As the doctor took him back to see Su, the Bible passage about entertaining angels unaware came to mind. Whether they were angels or not did not matter to Jean for his heart overflowed with the joy of the Lord praising the Lord for sending them in their time of need.
The doctor opened the door to reveal Su standing there ready to leave. Her peaches and cream glowed once more, waiting impatiently for them to release her. Jean came over immediately enveloped her in a strong embrace then gave her a deep passionate kiss as he thanked the Lord.
He reluctantly released her, and looked over at the doctor, “Thank you for everything you have done for us. Is Su well enough to leave or does she have to stay for observation?”
“Don’t thank me. No matter what we did to try to help her, it failed. She was in a grand mal seizure from stroke-height blood pressure, and then it suddenly dropped to nothing. We worked for nearly an hour trying to revive her when it happened, nevertheless, as I said nothing we did worked. We finally gave up turning to leave when the EKG started reading a pulse, blood pressure, respiration, and all normal.” He shook his head still in amazement.
”We turn to find her sitting up trying to unhook the equipment we had on her. We spent the rest of the time checking her and the fetuses out to make sure everything was all right. They passed with excellence. We would like to keep Su over night for observation .There isn’t any medical reason to keep her here though. I’d caution you to take it easy from here on out. “He held out the release forms for Jean to sign.
“Last night, she used up all her nine lives and then some,” the doctor informed them holding the door open for them.
They hailed a cab and within twenty minutes, Jean had Su tucked safe in bed. His nerves still wired over the ordeal kept him from relaxing. He went out into the living room to contemplate on what the Lord done for them when he noticed the light on the phone blinking.
Jean sat down and picked up the receiver punching the number to retrieve the message. It was from Eric, their ten-year-old son at the farm in Iowa. Su adopted Eric and Ben, his twin brother when they were five. When Jean and Su married, Eric gave Jean the most trouble of Su’s eight adopted children, which ranging in age from sixteen to a month old. Jean’s four-year-old daughter came to live with them also after the murder of her mother by a hit and run driver within two weeks of their marriage so that brought the total up to nine children.
He went from a carefree life to father of nine children overnight. It nearly overwhelmed him, however; Su took the fact of another child as a gift from the Lord. Eric on the other hand saw Jean a competitor for the title of head of the family even though Ben was the older of the twins.
Eric set his mission to get rid of Jean from his mother’s life along with the rest of the elder children. Six months after they married, Jean adopted the children and Su adopted Jean’s little girl, Angelique.
Eric only went along with the adoption to please his mother. He let Jean know; he never had been nor never would be Jean’s son. He would do anything within his power to rid the family of Jean.
There was always sassing back, dirty tricks from the start and the coup de’ gra was when Eric rigged explosives in the volcano with Ben and Angelique. They entered it in the science fair, resulting in the kidnapping of Angelique by the assassin who was after Su.
Jean gave a low sigh praying for wisdom on how to handle this latest scenario about to unfold with Eric, as he dialed Ken’s phone number so not to wake the children with the ringing phone.
Ken answered on the second ring, “Hello, you have reached the Foster’s residents. This is Ken. How may I help you?” The response groggily came.
“Ken this is Jean. Sorry to be calling you so late, however, we just got in and there’s an urgent message from Eric for Su to call him. What’s up now with Eric? Su had a rough night and is finally asleep.”
Ken sat up wiping the sleep out of his eyes as he turned the lamp beside the bed on, which woke Penny.
“Ken who’s on the phone?” she asked, leaning up on one elbow.
“It seems somehow Eric was able to get his hands on the phone and placed a call to his mother. It’s Jean.”
Penny snatched the phone from Ken before he could object. “Jean? Here let me talk to him. Jean? Do you know what time it is, my boy? You’re not just getting home with Su, are you? You know she’s to be getting plenty of rest and be off her feet for a good fifteen hours a day?”
“The answer’s yes to all the above questions, Penny.” Jean answered knowing full well, what was to come next.
True to form, Penny’s Italian temper got the best of her, “Whatayamean keeping her out so late? You gone and lost all your senses God gave you, boy. You’re lucky I can’t get my hands on you right now. I’d give you such a slap on the back of the head your ears would ring for a month. You so dense you think you don’t have to follow the doctor’s orders. Rules aren’t good enough for you. You think you can do whatever you please without any consequences, uh? Whatsamatter? You don’t have a tongue now? God strike you mute. No wonder Eric misbehaves so with you being his role model, behaving as if rules don’t exist for you. Speak up boy. Don’t you have anything to say for yourself?”
“I was waiting until the tongue lashing was over, so I could explain,” was all Jean was able to get out.
“TONGUE-LASHING? Boy, you don’t know what a good tongue-lashing is. If you want a tongue-lashing, I’m just the lady to give you one.” Penny lashed out at Ken. “Ken, what do you think you’re doing? That boy has a good lashing coming to him, keeping that poor little fragile thing out all hours of the night.”
Ken took the phone back. “The tongue-lashing can wait until they’re back at home safe and sound, and then I’ll allow you to chase Jean from one end of the farm to the other end. It’ll make a more lasting impression on him if you do it in person.
“Now you lie back down and get some more sleep. Joshua’ll have you up by five. So you need to calm down and get all the rest you can,” Ken soothed Penny’s ruffled feathers.
Penny gave him a small kiss on the cheek and laid back down, “You’re always too soft on him. I’ll allow it to drop for now, however; you remind him I’ll be here waiting to finish this matter when they get home. Also tell them I love and miss them both,” she said, closing her eyes and turned over going back to sleep.
Ken smiled as he got up and went to the other room so the conversation would not bother Penny.
“Jean, sorry about that, however, you know how Penny gets when she thinks someone she loves is being hurt.”
“That’s all right. Penny’s tongue-lashing isn’t as bad as the one I gave myself over this. Now tell me what’s up with Eric?”
Ken sat down on the couch, “Well, I’m getting all this second hand because I was out in the fields when it happened. It seems to have started when Sarah was getting ready to
go back to school. Eric was arguing with her all day that she didn’t have to go; she could take satellite classes so she could stay home with them instead of leaving. One thing lead to another, and when Sarah took a shower she found out the hard way Eric placed Ritz dye in her shampoo. By the time Sarah realized what happened, her hair was the brightest orange you ever seen and her skin were streaked with orange. When Mother Superior grounded him for it, he told her to shut up she was not his mother or superior to her. This landed him with KP duty, which backfired because Eric made individual dishes of pudding for dessert; placing alum in Mother Superior’s serving. It puckered her up right now. Needless to say, Eric’s under house arrest until you get home. They were able to bleach the dye out of Sarah’s hair at the beauty parlor, however; they weren’t able to do anything about the dye on her skin. Peter took her back to college with streaks running down her face and orange hands. And before you start in on me about allowing Peter to take her back to college, it was that or allow Mother Superior to strangle Eric. When he isn’t in school, he’s doing chores with me so he’s out of Mother Superior’s cross hairs. I sent Angelique and Ben with them to chaperone, which didn’t go over any too good with Eric because they had extra time with Sarah. So I’m not on Eric’s good list right now either.”
Jean stifled a chuckle over Eric’s escapade with the alum. Many of times in the past sixteen months, Jean wanted to do something similar. Jean had his hands full with Sister Anna, the children’s nanny and teacher who turned out to be Su’s biological mother, however; he did not have any idea of the headache he would have when Mother Superior, Karen Kau, took over the duties of Sister Anna after she was murdered.
Sister Anna and she were cousins who were full-blooded Germans. Ninety-five percent of the head butting between Jean and Mother Superior was over how she tried to rule over Su. It grated against him that attitude she took as a teacher disciplining one of her
pupils sent his temper sky rocketing and Jean would find himself splitting wood so he did not lose it with her.
He was never so glad to get off the nine months suspension he received from the top brass for breaking protocol on the case involving Su. He threw himself into helping Ken bring the farm back into full production coaching his unit from the sideline via the internet during this time. Unknown to the top brass, Jean was capable of running his unit from his den in Iowa, thanks to the setup they created while undercover with Su.
He thought for a couple of seconds, and then asked if things settled down. The answer was not encouraging.
“Not really. Eric talked Ben and Angelique into helping him snagging a hold of Sarah’s Nair; you know the stuff that takes off hair.”
Jean groaned holding his head, “Don’t tell me, Mother Superior now has chunks of hair missing.”
“Actually, she’s as bald as a cue ball. She also has no eyebrows left either. Therefore, when you get home, you’ll have three to deal with instead of just one. Angelique didn’t actually have much to do with it; her part was just to keep Mother Superior occupied so I think you could allow her to slide a little more than the boys.”
“No way, she doesn’t get special treatment. She knew something was going down and she needs to learn not to allow the others to talk her into something she knows is wrong.
“You can let everyone know we’ll be home in two to three days. We have to make a stopover in New York for a meeting and then we’ll be home. Hang in there, the Calvary’s on the way and thanks Ken for all you do. We couldn’t do it without you and Penny,” Jean told him.
“No trouble son. That’s what keeps us young. I’ll pass on the information and your love to the others. Hurry home. We all miss you very much. Bye Jean.”
“Bye Ken. I miss you too you old codger,” Jean said and hung up.
He sat there and realized he indeed missed all of them more than he was willing to admit. Home sickness washed over him strongly. He picked up the phone and called the airport.
Su woke to find Jean had not been to bed yet. She looked over at the clock, and read three-thirty. She got up slowly. One of the babies was lying on her bladder. After going to the restroom, the babies started to stir about so she decided to see if Jean had fallen asleep in front of the television again. He gave up a little comfort so Su could have the maximum rest the babies would allow.
She walked into the living room to find Jean snapping the last suitcase shut. He placed it with the rest of the luggage. A smile spread across Jean’s face as she came into the room. He came over and kissed her passionately. The smile finished off his dashing features. The curl fell down on his forehead and washed away her resistance. Su kissed him back longing to stay in his embrace forever.
He received her kisses with joy and drank deeply from the well of love within her soul. They finally broke off when there was a soft rap on the door. Jean stole one more kiss before he went over allowing the bellhop in to pick up the luggage.
“Here’s the luggage, we’ll be ready for the cab to take us to the air terminal within ten minutes,” Jean told him as he handed him a tip.
“Mr. DeBois, if there’s something unpleasant with your accommodations in anyway, the staff’s more than willing to make any changes making your stay more appealing so you don’t have to leave,” the bellhop assured him.
“There’s nothing wrong with the accommodations. I just decided to go home on the Concord instead of the normal airline, that way my wife will only have to endure a three hour flight instead of the usual eight hours of flight time.”
Su waited until the bellhop was gone before she started her inquisition of Jean, “Okay, he is gone, now let’s have the truth and do not try to give me a song and dance story. What do you know that I do not?”
“I know if we want to be on time, you need to get dressed and drink your protein shake and don’t give me the third degree. Here now, take this and drink up while I help you get ready.” He handed her the shake then went to get her clothes.
“I hate these things. They taste horrible and I am not an invalid. I can dress myself. Here you drink this if you think they are delicious,” she made a face at the protein shake as she followed him into the bedroom to continue the conversation.
“No can do, that’s for you, doctor’s orders. Don’t take away my pleasure of caressing you as I help you get dressed?” Jean asked as he untied her nightgown and slid the shoulders down.
“Do not start what you will not have time to finish,” she warned and set the shake down on the dresser. Su allowed the nightgown to flutter to the floor.
Su’s body turned him on even at six months pregnancy. The softness of her silky skin with her glorious thick-knee length hair draped her body in soft flowing waves beckoned him on.
“I’ll have an appetizer here in London and the main course back in Manhattan at my flat where I’ll be able to thoroughly enjoy every moment of your radiant beauty,” he crooned and helped himself. Jean kissed the hollow of her neck as he helped her with her brassier.
“Okay, you may stop with this line. I am beginning to feel like I am talking to a gigolo. You know by the time we get to New York, you are going to spill the beans on the reason we are leaving now instead of the regular flight time,” Su answered as she turned to face him.
“You think so, do you? You think you’ve me wrapped around your little finger, that all you have to do is whistle and I’ll come running like the Pavlovian dog,” Jean taunted her helping her on with her blouse.
He bent slightly to button her blouse, Su stretched up and purred in his ear, “I do not have to think so, I know so.”
She gently blew in his ear as she slid her fingers over his chest across the scar on his shoulder, which got super sensitive when he was aroused. He nearly caved. He had been her first love and she was the quickest pupil on what aroused him the best and deepest. It was true what the Bible taught, only in a covenant marriage with the Lord as the focal point was true sexual intimacy fulfilled and what the world offered was a pale imitation in comparison.
He gathered his wits about him and finished helping her get ready in time. He was not so lucky to get her to drink the shake. By the time, they arrived at the air terminal he had only been able to coax half of it down Su. He let it go. He would have another one for her once they arrived in New York. Jean would make sure every last single drop was ingested.
During the flight, Su and the babies had a hard time getting comfortable. It ended up; Jean kept his arm wrapped around Su and a hand slowly massaged her abdomen so the babies would stay quiet.
In the middle of the flight, an old man came by and glared disgustingly at Jean show of affection.
“Can’t you allow her to sleep in peace without pawing her? You that hard up?” he sneered.
Jean looked lovingly down at Su before he answered him, “I’m doing what’s necessary to allow my wife some rest by keeping my children calm so they don’t kick her. If my show of concern for my family’s so unnerves you, then by all means, you have my permission to close your eyes as you pass by on your way to your throne.”
The old man snorted, “Why I never.”
“Maybe you ought to show some compassion to your fellow man so your outlook on life would be a little brighter,” Jean said quietly.
“Why should I? No one showed me any compassion.” The old man huffed.
“I’m showing you compassion right now; by not tying you up in a neat little package and slam dunk you in the trash. I’m sorry callousness has blinded you to the kindness people show you. Something terrible must have happened in your past that scarred your heart deeply.” Jean glanced first at Su then up at the man. “I’ll pray the Lord removes the scars so you once again may feel the compassion of others and most of all the compassion and mercy the Lord has for you through His Son, Jesus Christ.”
“Keep your stupid prayers and your silly superstition about your religion to yourself. I have no need for such prattle,” he stormed off.
Jean gave a sigh and true to his word, he prayed for the old man’s salvation that the Lord would allow him to feel the love and mercy of others in his life.
Through the rest of the flight, the old man was restless. He glanced back at them. Su slept through it all thanks to Jean’s vigilance. The Concord landed right on time.
Once on the ground, Jean used his cell phone in the plane calling for a taxi so they would not have to wait once disembarking. Jean fielded a path through the crowd for Su in the halls of the terminal to the luggage claim area.
Jean found Su a seat then went for the luggage to make their appearance on the carousel. Jean piled the luggage on top of each other securing them to each other with the strap. He grabbed the handle and made a pathway for Su through the crowd.
He extended his hand to her, “Me lady, are ye ready to cross the multitudes to yond carriage?”
Su smiled sweetly, taking his hand, “Lead on, me squire, for me thinkst this place will only get busier the longer we tarry,” she said as they walked outside toward the taxi stand.
Jean faked a frown as he linked his arm in hers, “What, I’m dubbed a poor lowly squire and not the king of your heart?”
“Nay, dear squire, for ye know there can be only one King worthy of our total obedience and faith and that would be the Lord, sire. So we both be squires of Him, tis it not so?” Su shook her head as she gave him a sly grin.
“Tis so, me sweet angelic creature, tis so true, thank ye for remindin me of me place. Would there be a chance, pray tell, of me gainst the position of knight of the King and champion of ye heart, me lady?” He bowed slightly to her.
“That would depend on whether ye can deliver on thee boast thee made to me in merry old London or not?” She cocked her head and winked.
Jean leaned down and whispered in her ear, “Ye will have to wait on thee boast, me lady, until ye chariot can sweep ye to yonder castle, for surely if me acts on thee boast, the knights of the law would cast me in the dungeons for indecent exposure.”
Su turned crimson. She gave him a small shove, “Jean, you are horrible,” then stopped short as she saw the elderly man from the plane being shoved back and forth by a couple of thugs fifty feet from them.
Jean glanced over his shoulder, “I’m on my way. You stay put.”
Jean traveled the fifty feet. He snagged the thug who started to punch the old man in the face. He whirled him about and the thug received the back of Jean’s fist up side his head. The blow staggered him slightly and he shook his head to clear it as his accomplice shoved the old man to the pavement and came to help, cursing as he came.
“What’s your [blanking] problem? This is between that [blanking] old [blank] and us. Back off, before I mess you up, you dumb [blank].”
“You both need to turn away being on your way before you’re arrested for assault,” Jean warned them.
“And just who’s going to arrest us? There isn’t a cop around here,” the first one sneered.
“You’re looking at a U.S. Federal Marshal so I’m giving you one last warning, leave or spend the night in lockup,” Jean stated flipping out his shield with an underline warning he meant what he said.
They stared at the badge in disbelief. The one who shoved the old man down wanted to continue, however; the one Jean’s fist landed upside his head grabbed him by the sleeve, “No, let’s make tracks. You go up against him and it’s federal, not state. I’m not doing time in a federal jail. The local ones are bad enough.”
The other thug took his advice and quickly followed his partner. Jean turned around and saw Su kneeling beside the elderly man administering first aid. Jean shook his head and knelt down beside them.
“I thought I told you to stay with the luggage I’d handle this? We don’t need a repeat of another hospital visit in one day,” he smiled as he extended his hand to the elderly man to help him up, “Sir, do you need any medical attention?”
“I had a porter watch our luggage so I could administer first aid to this gentleman while you took care of the trash,” Su smiled sweetly at Jean.
“You know, I’m not worried about the luggage. You’re cruising for a time out missy. Sir, would you like us to take you to hospital?” Jena cocked his head with a lowered brow.
“No, I’m fine, just a little roughed up that’s all. Why would you go and stick your neck out for the likes of me after the way I treated you?” He straightened his jacket looking questioning at Jean.
Su looked a little concerned, “Sir, you have not wronged us in anyway. We would come to the aid of any fellow man in need our assistance whether we thought they wronged us or not.”
“Why place yourselves in danger for the likes of me?” The man’s expression was one of shock and disbelief.
“Because the Lord showed us mercy when He did not have to so we follow His example of caring for others,” Su said quietly as they walked back to the taxi stand.
The man stood there for a second with a complex countenance making the comment, “You’re weird.”
Su laughed, “Yes, I guess we are by the world’s standards.”
The porter came over, “Your taxi’s here. Do you want me to place your luggage in the taxi for you?”
“No, we are allowing this gentleman to have the taxi. We will wait for the next one. Thank you for watching our luggage for us. Here is something for your trouble,” Su answered him and then went over to the cabbie speaking quietly to him for a second.
The old man shook his head and got in the taxi. He gave the cabbie the address. The taxi pulled away from the curb into traffic. The old man said, “That was a weird experience,” as he looked back at Su.
The cabbie smiled at him through the rear view mirror, “I know what you mean. Allow me to tell you about my first experience with Mrs. DeBois, only she wasn’t married at the time.”
Jean looked down at Su. Her head drooped slightly. He took no chances and asked for a chair. Jean pulled out his cell phone, dialing, “This is US Deputy Marshal Jean DeBois I need a taxi at the New York airport terminal, stat. Great, thank you.” He looked at his watch and changed it back to Eastern Standard Time, eight o’clock pm. By the time they would get to his apartment in the Bronx, it would be pushing toward midnight.
The taxi showed up ten minutes later. They arrived at the apartment at twelve-thirty. Jean paid for the taxi, carried the luggage in, holding the door open for Su.
“I can hold open a door for myself, Jean. You do not have to show how gallant you are.” Su said.
Jean smiled and gave her a small bow, “Ah, now you went and gone and hurt my feelings.”
Su gave him a seductive smile as she went by, “Once we are settled in, I will give you a soothing backrub allowing nature to take its course.”
“Well, what are we waiting for?” Jean said as he swung the luggage upon his back He bent down and scooped Su up at the knees. They headed up the stairs to his apartment.
At the door, he swung the luggage down, snagged his keys out of his pocket, sliding them in the lock. When he tried to open the door, they found the chain was on the door.
“What the hell?” Jean stormed and rattled the door.
From inside the apartment, Mark’s voice, “Hang on Jean. Don’t tear the door off the hinges! I’m coming.”
Jean set Su down and allowed Mark just long enough to close the door to get the chain off before he burst through knocking Mark flat on his back.
Mark smacked the back of his head on the floor as a young lady came out of the bedroom wearing one of Jean’s silk shirts.
“Man Jean, you didn’t have to burst in like that. I said I’d get the door for you.” Mark whined as he rubbed his head.
“Just what in the hell do you think you’re doing here in my apartment? Moreover, you bring a young lady for a sexual liaison. I ought to arrest you for breaking and entering. Speak up, you little snake before I hang you out the window and accidently drop you on purpose,” Jean gave Mark a severe kick to the derriere sending Mark sprawling once again.
Mark jumped up; making sure the table was between them, “Jean, I got permission to be here from Penny. They’re remodeling my place so there won’t be any water or heat for the next month. She said it’d be all right since you were in London and when you came back you could stay at Su’s condo.”
“Penny doesn’t own this apartment. I do. Moreover, Penny’d never agreed to it if she knew what you had in mind. You’ve exactly one minute to get on the phone calling your date a taxi because this evening is over as of right now!”
“A taxi, I can take her home in my car,” Mark looked puzzled.
“No, you can’t. I’ll be using your car to take Su to the condominium so she may get some rest. You on the other hand, will be making other living arrangements by the time I arrive at the office this morning at eight. My apartment better be the way I left it by that time, including my silk shirt hanging in the closet clean. By the time I arrive at work, you better have been there for over an hour, and having all your reports completed ready for debriefing. You hear me?” Jean glared.
“Yes, the whole neighborhood can hear you,” Mark sulked.
Jean took a threatening step toward him, “What was that?”
“Yes sir, anything you say sir,” Mark slinked back.
Jean held out his hand for the keys and Mark fished awkwardly in his pants pocket for them. Jean clamped down on Mark’s hand. Mark winched in pain, the keys grounded into the palm of his hand.
“I mean what I say Mark, by eight o’clock and not a second later,” Jean said, releasing Mark’s hand, going to the door yanking it back open waiting for Su to go through before slamming it shut rattling all the windows in the apartment.
Su silently followed Jean down to Mark’s sports car. He had trouble making enough room for their luggage and them, but finally succeeded. As he started the car, he looked over at Su.
“What? I suppose you think I was too hard on him.”
“Not really. Mark got what he deserved, however; did you have to kick him so hard?” she tilted her head and glanced out the window.
“He’s lucky his derriere was the only thing I kicked,” Jean took off for the condominium.
It was two-forty-five by the time Jean had Su settled in bed. He decided to take a shower to relax. He allowed the water to beat down on his face standing there to work out the tenseness in his body. He felt a slight breeze then felt Su slide in beside him. He turned the water pressure down as she caressed his chest.
“What are you doing back up? You are supposed to be resting,” he wrapped his arms around her.
“I do not feel like resting. I feel like dancing,” she whispered sensuously and wrapped her arms around his neck.
“Lord have mercy on me,” Jean murmured and obliged his wife.
I am glad everyone likes the free chapters in the DeBois series. Here is the next installment of the free chapters. You can find the novels at the following links for the complete books. https://books2read.com/u/mgoVxm and https://amzn.to/1u92UUj .
US Marshal Jean DeBois watched attorney Lock and loan manger Handle leave then went into his den with the stack of loan and foreclosure papers. He threw them on his desk and took out his grandmother’s financial record journal. He knew his grandmother would not take out a loan on the farm without making sure she could completely cover it. She was too good of a businesswoman not to cover herself against lost.
He glanced through the stack of papers. Most of it was legal mambo-jumbo attorneys like to use to hide something from a layperson. He came across what appeared to be his grandmother’s signature several times. They looked too identical to be authentic. It seemed someone had traced them, since the margins and letters were almost identical. He checked them against her financial journal and noticed too many similarities in the writing and some of the impressions went deeper on the pages than was normal. Lock would have had access to this journal since he was the attorney taking care of her estate. He would need time to prove Lock had forged his grandmother’s signature on the loan documents and time was in short supply. The farm auction was scheduled for tomorrow. The Grand Jury was being picked and the DA still wanted Su as their star witness after all. He had to somehow keep the farm so could be utilized as a safe haven for the children while Su testified before the Grand Jury and then the trial.
He called Robert Williamson at the New York Division unit headquarters and thanked him in advance for his help. He asked how Mark Prix and Father Anthony were doing. Robert informed him it would still be a long haul for quite some time to come. The doctors were still in wonder how Father Anthony survived the attack with his spleen and liver damaged and how Mark got away without brain swelling.
Robert also mentioned a Mr. Samuel Gates from Cup of Water Foundation had stopped by to reassure both of them that ‘Cup of Water’ had paid all the hospital bills so all they had to do was rest and get better. He had left his card with Slaughter along with instructions to contact him if he could be of help in any other way. Jean scanned the two signatures into the computer along with a couple of pages from the financial journal and faxed them to Robert.
“Robert I need you to take these over to the lab and have them see if the signatures are genuine or forged. I need you to keep a low profile on it. Nevertheless, have it done as fast as you can without raising too many eyebrows about it,” Jean instructed.
“I’ll take them over now. I was on my way to the lab to see how they were getting along on the case. I know someone there I can trust to keep this as low key as we want and they’re tops in their field of expertise. I should have an answer for you by eight o’clock tomorrow morning.
“We spread the rumor about Franco to Hogan and he’s climbing the walls. Tonight we’re removing Franco from the cellblock to reinforce and seal the rumor; we’ll let Hogan to sweat a while before we talk to him while Franco’s on ice. If Hogan won’t crack, I’m sure Franco will, after he learns Hogan’s gunning for him. One of them will crack, if not both, and when that happens, it’ll be sweet justice.
“Penny told me to tell you thank you for what you have done for Father Anthony. She also wanted me to pass along that she’s sorry she ruined your honeymoon with her problems. She hopes everything’s going fantastic and ah- Jean, she’s expecting you to have Angel One pregnant by the time you get back so she can be the baby’s godmother. Don’t kill the messenger, I only deliver them I don’t make them.
“I’ll talk to you tomorrow morning. Is there anything else I need to be aware of?”
“Not at this time Robert. Thanks, I’ll talk to you in the morning,” Jean hung up.
He went to the computer and looked up his financial assets, wondering how to halt the sale. He went over the different avenues open to him to raise the needed capital, which would give him time to nail them for fraudulent business practices. No matter how he crunched the numbers, he would not be able to liquidate enough in time and the most he could raise if he sold everything was sixty-four thousand.
He heard the family come home. He went out and apologized that he had not been able to join them as planned then excused himself and went back into the den with his second and third in command, Jack and Janet Post, to advise them of the new situation they found now themselves in. They would probably have to find a new a safe haven if he could not stop it from happening.
Jack and Janet were leaving as Su brought Jean his supper. She set the tray down on the corner of the desk and asked if there she could do anything to help him. He glanced at the tray of food. There was pizza, cottage cheese with fruit, salad and a thermos of coffee. He accepted the thermos of coffee and left the rest set. His stomach was in no mood for anything else.
Su left him to his papers and went to play a game with the children before they got ready for bed. Afterwards, she went to the sewing room to work on Jean’s suit. When she was worried about something her fingers flew, going about their task as always. The people at her office ‘Upon Eagle’s Wings’ could always tell things were bothering her by how fast she was accomplishing things. They marveled at how she could keep the quality of her work up when she flew through it. They just stepped back out of her way when she was in such a state. The only one who dared intrude was Sandra Woods, her personal assistant, and that was only after eight hours of nonstop of fury.
By ten o’clock pm. she had finished three shirts, a vest, and tie, and the rest of the suit was cut out and ready to sew together. She decided to stop for the moment and went down to the kitchen for something to drink and then to her studio to prep several more canvases. Once again, she allowed herself to fly and by the time eleven came, she had prepped the canvases with a wash. She cleaned the studio then went throughout the house straightening stray items here and there. It was eleven-thirty when she completed her task. She went to the den, knocked, then peeked in when Jean did not answer. He had fallen asleep with his feet propped upon the desk, stretched out in his chair with papers on his chest, the computer running, and his supper untouched.
She shut the computer down and picked up the papers, placing them on the corner of the desk. She went retrieved a quilt and two pillows from the couch, covered him, and kissed his forehead, brushing the curl off it. After carefully removing his shoes, she placed the pillows under his feet.
As she picked up the tray, the red word ‘Foreclosure’ blazed in her vision from the documents. She set the tray down and quickly scanned the papers, realizing the bind Jean now found himself. The troubled expression on his demeanor was more than she could stand and a plan quickly formulated in her mind.
She folded the papers and stuck them under her arm. She grabbed a piece of paper and scrawled something on it. Picking up the tray, she quietly left and stuck the paper on the door handle, shutting the light off as she went. She took care of the tray then locked the house up. She picked up her briefcase, laptop, and the foreclosure papers, and headed upstairs to their room.
She spread the contents of the briefcase across the bed. She fondly glanced at the album then placed it gently aside and opened the first file. She wrote down the budget for the year then did the same with the rest. She went over the income that was coming in from the paintings, the music contract, and the designer clothing lines. Matching the funds from ‘Cup of Water’ with her own funds; she found there was enough for everyone’s budget. The balance of her own personal assets was extremely low so she sold off part of her stock investment holdings in oil and electronics bringing her assets back up over the top where she had plenty to work with. She routed the proceeds of the sale of the stock through several different offshore banks before routing it through her Swiss account to make sure her transactions were not traceable. She opened an account at a national bank in Garrison in Jean and her name with the proceeds, plus additional money from the Swiss account.
She wrote down the stock profits in her ledger so she could pay the capital gains tax once tax time came around. She then routed the money from her New York account through her Swiss account to each of the organizations for their yearly budget. She emailed her vice president at ‘Cup of Water’ informing him of her decision to diversify the yearly budget now. The accountants at the firm would have a fit with her decision, but after crunching the numbers repeatedly they would eventually relax.
She did not know why they were always so high-strung about it, after all she did have a PhD in mathematics and it would not be likely she would forget to carry a one or anything like that. She emailed Sandra advising her of the decision then emailed the head of the design for the new spring line asking how the plans for the upcoming show for fall were going. She told her she would soon fax a new line she was working on.
She emailed her music agent to deposit her part of the proceeds from the new CD into her New York account and the children’s in each of their personal accounts. She would check on the condition of the sales next week. She wrote in her planner about an art exposition early next year in California. She wrote a letter to herself from an art dealer in London informing her, her exhibition was fantastic. They had sold out, were directly deposit the proceeds in her new account per her request to cover the movement of the money to the outside world and emailed it to the president of the Garrison Bank.
When she finished and was filing everything back in her briefcase, the boys and Sarah came to ask Jean turn off the alarm for them. She glanced at her watch; it was 6:45 am. Jean would be waking up soon, if he was not already awake. She quietly informed them the alarm was off and Jean was in his den already working so he would not be able to give them their lesson this morning. They could go back to bed after seeing to the horses until eight so she could finish her work. She scooted them out of the room before they had a chance to argue the point with her.
After they were out of sight, she raced down to Sister Anna’s room and quietly rapped on the door. Sister Anna was just finishing up her morning devotionals. She asked Su what was wrong and why she was in such a state so early. Su informed her she needed her to watch the babies while she was gone this morning. She would explain later when she returned then hurried back to her room to change.
As she changed she grabbed Jean’s cell phone and flipped it on, searching for Janet’s number and calling it. Janet answered with a groggy, “Hello.”
Su informed her she needed her to go with her to Cedar Rapids, now. Janet reluctantly agreed and asked Su to give her fifteen minutes to get ready. Su answered with, “I am leaving in five minutes,” and hung up, leaving the cell phone in the nightstand.
She picked up the foreclosure papers and tax papers and left the bedroom door as Sister Anna arrived. She tried to make Su tell her what was going on, however, she brushed her off with, “Not now, I am late,” as she ran downstairs.
She grabbed her purse, heading for the garage. She took the keys to the sports car off the hook by the garage door as she went. She started the car and pushed the button for the garage door. In her impatience she almost ran into the door as it rose. The tires screeched as she slid up to Jack and Janet’s with Janet running and almost tripped over her shoestring as she pulled on her jacket. She yanked the door open and slid in. Su took off before Janet completely closed the door.
“What’s the hurry?” Janet demanded.
“Buckle up and I will inform you as we head for Garrison then Cedar Rapids. It is already 7:00. By the time we arrive there it will be 8:30. Look at the papers tucked in the edge of the seat.” While Janet read Su finally slowed down to the speed limit. “We are heading to my bank, over to the loan company to pay off the note on the farm, to the county courthouse to pay the taxes, and then to the attorney to stop the foreclosure.”
Janet glanced up from the papers, “Is Jean all right with this?” Su did not answer so she asked again, “Jean’s okay with this isn’t he?” She looked sternly at Su, however she had a worried countenance.
Su stared at the road, “No. He has no idea I even know about the foreclosure. I found out late last night when I covered him up with a quilt in his den as he slept.”
“All right stop the car and turn it around and go back to the farm,” Janet ordered, “No way am I going to be part of this. Jean will explode.”
“No. I am going to help him out of this bind and give him the time he needs to discover what is really going on. You know he would not be able to raise the needed funds by noon without blowing our cover. That is what they are hoping for, that Jean defaults on the loan. The farm is prime land and his grandparents worked hard to build it up for him. I am not going to stand by while someone rips it away from him when I have the means to stop it. You may either come with me while I pay it or I can drop you off and you may wait for me.”
“Or I could put you in an arm lock and take you back,” Janet callously informed her.
“Take a look around you, Janet. We are in town now. If you make one move in that direction, I will scream for the police and, if you have not realized it, you left not only your identification along with your gun in your purse, but you left your cell phone to contact the farm for reinforcements. You do not have any way to identify yourself to the authorities and prove you are not trying to carjack me. All I have to do is tell them I gave you a ride as you were hitchhiking. You told me you broke down then tried to carjack me.”
“You wouldn’t dare.” Janet could not believe the cold calculation now written upon Su’s face.
Janet also saw desperation rooted in her eyes. She would do whatever she had to, to complete her objective then how would Janet be able to protect her? Moreover, how would Janet explain it to Jean and Jack?
“Why would you place me in this situation? I’m breaking all protocols in doing this. This is dangerous for you. You don’t know who might be monitoring your New York account. Any transaction transferring money here would give safe haven away.” Janet’s jaw tightened over Su placing her in this situation.
“I routed all transactions through my Swiss account after transferring the money through several offshore accounts. Both my New York and Swiss accounts have encrypted security systems as well as the one I just opened. I covered my tracks well. I even e-mailed a letter to myself to the bank from an art dealer in London to explain the transfer. Besides, I know if Jack needed help you would be there in the trenches right beside him. That is why I asked you to come instead of Jack.”
Janet sat there stunned staring at Su intensely, noticing as tears welled up and started to trickle down Su’s cheek without a change in her breathing. Janet softened, “You do love him don’t you? How long have you been in love with him?”
“From the moment I looked into his eyes when we first met I was lost. My brain has been fighting with my heart since day one. I know the odds of making this marriage work are next to nil, however, my heart will not give up and so the love I penned up broke free, permeating throughout my soul. I have and always will love Jean as long as I have breath. I knew when we married it was suppose to be for show only the covenant that is to be between us and the Lord was not there. I love him, nevertheless, and will love him no matter what he decides after the assignment is over.”
Janet softened toward her, “Have you told him?”
“No, I have not and I doubt if I ever will because, after I do this behind his back, he will see it as a breach of confidence. He will want nothing to do with the children or me after the assignment is over. After all, it was just an assignment nothing more, right. He is just playing the part until time for me to testify, incarcerating Hogan and his business partners. After that, there is no responsibility, no strings to hold him legally or otherwise. Our marriage is a sham. It has not gone any further than osculation. There will be no problem in having it annulled. I am still a virgin. Moreover, you are not to convey any part of this conversation to him. You have to promise or I will not testify. I am not kidding or throwing a temper tantrum, just stating the fact if you will not promise I will not testify.”
“How do you know I’ll keep my word?”
Su’s answer burnt home, “Because you are a Christian and, as the Lord is our witness, our word is our bond.”
Janet sighed, she could see no other choice. Su had her boxed into a corner, “Okay, I promise.”
“You promise what?”
Man, there just was no way getting around her, “I promise as God is my witness, I won’t tell Jean of your love for him even though I think you’re doing him a great injustice and short changing your relationship with him. I’ve known Jean almost as long as Jack. I know his moods, body language, and that’s why Jack, Jean and I make such a great team. We can read each other’s posture almost down to the letter. I’ve watched him when you’re around, the way he moves, the way he talks with you and have seen the frustration he feels when you rebuke his advancements and the agitation he carries when he contemplates what could happen to you if he fails to safeguard you properly. They’ll know I’m keeping something from them.”
“Them? Promise you will not divulge anything to Jack either.”
“Su, it’s not right for a wife to keep something from her husband. It causes strife between them. It’s not right for you to ask me to jeopardize my relationship with him, for your sake.”
“It will be one more secret just like you are keeping your condition secret from them now.” Su gave her a quick glance, confirming what she already knew.
Janet pulled back, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“They do not know about your condition for if they did you would be in New York and not here, so promise!”
“All right, I promise, I won’t tell Jean of your affections for him or tell Jack.” Janet’s temper now started to wax.
“Nor will I inform them about your condition though you will not be able to keep it from them much longer. And I thank you for being my friend.”
“Friends don’t blackmail each other.”
Jean suddenly woke. Where was he? He turned and fell out of the chair smacking his face on the floor. He groaned untangling the quilt from his feet. He rubbed his cheek checking his watch for the time. Nine-thirty, where was every body? Jack and Janet were supposed to be here at eight to go over the case and strategize over getting a confession from Hogan. He pulled himself up and stumbled to the door yanking it open. Jack was sitting on the couch with his laptop, pecking at the keys.
He glanced up as Jean opened the door, “It’s about time you came out. We’ve a lot of work to plow through and I can only do so much on this laptop.”
“What do you mean by that? You and Janet were to be here at eight. Where were you?” Jean shot back aggravated over Jack’s response.
“At eight o’clock I was right here waiting for you to come out from behind that ‘Do not disturb’ sign.”
“What ‘do not disturb’ sign?”
Jack pointed to the doorknob, “That ‘Do not disturb’ sign. I know better than to even duck my head in with one of those hanging on the doorknob. I’m not going to get my head torn off.”
“Get in here now,” Jean growled as he ripped the sign off and threw it on the desk. He plopped down in his chair rubbing his temples. It was going to be one of those days. Jack closed the laptop and followed Jean into the den, closing the door. “Where’s Janet?” Jean irritated.
“She went with Su early this morning. Didn’t you know about it?” Jack sat down puzzled over Jean’s question.
“No, if I knew about it, I wouldn’t have asked now, would I?”
“Jean, when Janet left this morning she wasn’t completely awake so she accidentally left her purse behind.”
“And?” Jean growled, knitting his brow not wanting to hear what he already knew.
“And her ID, badge, gun and cell phone were in it.”
“Great! Just great, they didn’t bother to say where they were going did they? No, of course not, that’d be too easy, too much of an inconvenience for them to bother informing us of their itinerary.” Jean slammed his fist on the desk. He realized he left the wrist monitor on and ran the battery down. He spun his chair around and faced the computer; with a few clicks, he was connected to the tracking program with the password command flashing at him. Man, I wish Janet was here to operate this blasted program. She set it up and could have the needed info within a few seconds. What I’m thinking? If Janet were here I wouldn’t need to be using this stupid program. Su would be here not off somewhere out of my protection. Yes, Janet is with her however Janet isn’t me. I’m the point man of the unit. It’s me, who scrutinized a crowd, picking out the trouble spots. I’ve proved myself repeatedly. What is Janet thinking?
Jack came up behind him, punched in the password, and hit enter. The modem clicked and hummed, within seconds the blueprints of the house came up on the screen with nine blinking lights in the conservatory. At least he had not lost anyone else.
“It’ll be all right. We’ll have her back safe and sound,” said Jack quietly, resting his hand on Jean’s shoulder.
“I hope so, I hope so,” Jean mumbled as he rested his chin in one hand and moved the mouse to Angel One, clicking twice. Within five seconds, downtown Cedar Rapids appeared on the monitor.
He zoomed in; according to the blip Su was at his attorney’s office. What would she be doing there? Then it dawned on him, the quilt, his shoes off, the ‘Do not disturb’ sign, he quickly inventoried the papers on his desk. They were not here. She took them. His concern instantly went to full blown rage. She has no right to go through my personal papers.
He slammed his chair backward nearly knocking Jack over, “Get the headset program up. I’m going after her!” he stormed, slamming on his shoes, snatching the headset, and stomping out.
He took the stairs three at a time and rounded the corner, kicking the garage door off its hinges. It slammed into the wall with a thundering crash. He climbed on the Harley, placed the headset on then his jacket, “Jack? Jack, are you ready?”
Jean heard a crackle then Jack’s voice coming through, “Jean? I’m set here. She’s still at the attorney’s office.”
“Keep me advised of her location, Jack, I’m out of here.”
Jean placed his helmet on and hit the starter. The Harley roared to life. He punched the garage door button placing the cycle nearly on its side as he rammed the throttle to full and slid under the door as it was rising. Gravel sprayed everywhere as he left the driveway. Sister Anna ran out in time to see gravel spatter against the fence as Jean hit the road. She ran back into the house and straight for the den. She burst through the door and saw Jack at the computer with a grave demeanor.
“What’s happened? What’s wrong? Where’s Su? Has something gone wrong?” she rifled the questions at Jack.
Jack glanced up from the monitor, “Jean found out Su took an unauthorized outing and he’s a little ticked off. She’s in Cedar Rapids with Janet. Jean’s gone to retrieve them. If you would stay calm and keep an eye on the children for me I’d appreciate it.”
“Why would he be worried if Janet’s with her? It doesn’t make sense he’d be so concern if someone from his unit were with her. What aren’t you telling me?”
“They needed to discuss some items and it seems Su and Janet blew the meeting off to go shopping.”
“Su never blows off anything important. You’re lying to me. What’s going on?” She tilted her head in a demanding way.
“There’s nothing that’s any of your concern. It’s between Jean and Su. Now, kindly go and take care of the children.” Jack ordered with an underline, meaning this conversation was over.
Sister Anna withdrew closing the door behind her with a not too quiet slam. Jack turned his attention back to the monitor, she had not moved. Over the next forty minutes, he kept Jean informed that Su’s whereabouts had not changed then suddenly the blip started to move.
“Jean, Angel One’s on the move. They’ve left the attorney’s office heading southwest.”
“Roger that. I’m fifteen minutes away from the office. Keep me abridged of their movements.”
Five minutes later, Jack signaled Jean, “Jean, they’ve stopped. I’ll get you the coordinates. No way Jean, they’ve stopped at a blasted fast food joint. Where are you?”
“I’m coming in on Hwy 30 toward the center of town.”
“They’re five miles away from the attorney’s office on a heading south by southwest on Hwy 151.”
“I know where they’re at. It used to be one of my hangouts when I was younger. I’ll radio you when I have them.” by the throat, Jean thought.
Janet and Su were leaving the restaurant when they heard the roar of the motorcycle. Janet placed herself between the sound and Su in a defensive posture and headed for the car preparing for the worse. The Harley screamed as Jean slid it up to them whipping it around so it came a few inches from Janet. He whipped off his helmet, his eyes blazing with a burning inferno of wrath.
“Where are your brains Janet? Did you leave them at home with everything else?” Jean snapped leaning over to where he was within an inch of her face.
“It was not Janet’s fault. I did not give her a choice. Either she came with me or I would have come alone,” Su protested trying to divert Jean’s wrath from Janet.
Jean glared at her, stopping her in her tracks, then turned back to Janet, “Janet take the car and head for home. Jack, are you there? I’ve intercepted them. Angel One will be back in the nest within the hour.”
“Roger that and Jean?”
“Back off my wife! We all dropped the ball man not just her. You got that?”
“Yeah, Jack you’re right. See you in the nest,” Jean turned to Su. She seemed at that moment a small frightened child he wanted to cradle, crushing her in his arms and whispering in her ear everything was all right no harm no foul. Nevertheless, everything was not all right. He threw his helmet at her catching her squarely in the chest and knocked the air out of her. She took an involuntary step backward, but caught herself before she fell. The sight of her stumbling renewed the wrath within him, not at her this time, but at himself.
“Shut up, put the helmet on, climb on behind me, and hang on,” he snapped.
No more did the words tumble out of his mouth then he wished he cut his tongue out for spouting them for they wounded her deeply. She silently obeyed and put the helmet on which made her look even smaller. She climbed on behind him and wrapped her arms around his unyielding chest, leaning her head against his back. She knew she blew the fragile relationship between them as his body tensing at her touch. It was like holding on to a marble statue–cold and unyielding.
She closed her eyes and prayed, “Lord, when will I ever learn not to be so impulsive and allow Your plan to unfold in Your own time and not mine? How long Lord? Lord, forgive my impetuous rambling. Cleanse me from this sin. Make me whole and acceptable in Your sight.”
Janet started the car and pulled out for safe haven, with Jean falling in behind her. He felt Su trembling slightly. Oh, how his heart wanted to give in. He wanted to stop and hold her until the trembling stopped. Nevertheless, his wrath overruled his heart.
Halfway home he realized she was not just trembling she was shaking severely. He pulled over to the side of the road and turned halfway around in the seat to see what the matter was. She released him and wrapped her arms around herself trying to stop shivering. He touched her arm. It was frigid to the touch. What a fool he was to forget about the nip in the morning air. He totally forgot that being her size she was more acceptable to hypothermia than he was and he had on his jacket. He pulled it off and started to place it around her when she refused his offer. One glare from him silenced her refusal. He turned back around, dropping the cycle off the kickstand, heading once more for home.
Janet pulled into the garage as Jean rounded the house and pulled alongside of the car. He walked the bike to the head of the garage parking the bike. Once parked, he climbed off as Su took off the helmet and jacket handing them to him.
“Are you feeling better?” he questioned her, lying the items on the Harley.
Su replied she was.
“Great, come with me,” he grabbed her by the arm dragging her from the cycle, pulling the jacket off the cycle with her. He left it where it fell.
Jack was coming through the door as Jean was halfway dragging Su toward the door.
“Jean,” Jack started however Jean cut him off with, “Take care of your own wife, Jack, and I’ll take care of mine!”
Jean pulled her up the stairs three steps at a time. She kept stumbling which fueled his wrath. He lifted her to her feet just to have her stumble again at the top of the stairs. He released her arm and grabbed her by the waist, carrying her on as he would a sack of potatoes as she struggled to free herself from his rough handling. As they passed by the conservatory the boys gave a cry of alarm as they spied their mother struggling to free herself from Jean’s grasp. They were up and out of the door before Sister Anna could stop them.
“Put her down now and face us, you [blank]!” Eric’s voice rained in their ears.
Jean turned to see both boys in defensive postures moving slowly toward them. They separated moving to the left and right. There was fear in their eyes along with sheer determination to stop him from hurting their mother. They would protect her no matter what the cost. Jean admired their commitment to her.
“Ben, Eric, it is all right. I am not hurt. Really, I am okay. Jean just takes bigger steps than I do so he decided to help me along as I used to you when you were younger when I was in a hurry. It is okay, go back to class please,” Su explained, struggling to right herself in Jean’s arm.
The boys did not retreat, their eyes fixed on Jean as they tried to decide how to free their mother when a small voice in Jean’s head whispered what he was doing boarded on abuse. Su’s children all came from some sort of abusive family background. They did not need to see their mother being lugged around on his hip as if she was nothing. He set her down and she immediately went to them, reassuring them she was not hurt.
“Go on back to class before Sister Anna gives you both detentions for leaving class without permission. Go on shoo,” Su, prompted them rising and returning to Jean’s side. She slid her arm around his waist and he did the same.
The boys slowly made their way back to the classroom and Sarah closed the door, however, not before she noticed Su’s feet were not touching the floor as they walked to the den. Sarah asked if she could go to the restroom. Sister Anna gave permission watching Sarah to make sure that was where she went before turning her attention back to the rest of the children.
Sarah waited patiently until she was no longer under Sister Anna’s gaze before scooting around to Jean’s den. She pressed her ear hard against to door, straining to overhear the conversation on the other side.
As soon as Jean shut the door he released Su so suddenly she stumbled and fell flat on her derriere with a plop. He reached down, taking her by the forearm and lifted her as if she was a child. He sat her in the chair with a teeth-jarring thud. He went around his desk and sat down and took off the headset, dropping it on the desk. He rested his arms on the desk, and covered his face trying to regain his composure. After a few minutes, he let out a soft groan, running his hand through his mass of curly hair in frustration.
“Su, my patience’s nearly exhausted. Where are the papers you stole off my desk? They weren’t for public display. Just what did you think you could accomplish by taking them? I don’t need you to beg my creditors for more time.”
Su slowly reached in her purse and removed a large stack of folded papers, sliding them across the desk to Jean, “For the record they were on your chest when I covered you up last night. Moreover, I do not beg creditors for anything.”
“Oh that’s right, Miss Genius knows all the answers and with all her brains she has the world in her hip pocket! She doesn’t need anybody’s help, Miss Tiger by the Tail,” Jean bit the words out, grabbing the papers and opening them.
Stapled to the top of the foreclosure papers, Paid in Full was stamped on the receipt along with the title and abstract to the farm. The tax notice also had a receipt showing Paid in Full along with money paid toward next years taxes. There was also a signature card for him to sign for the bank account. Shame then wrath over it churned in Jean’s stomach.
“Please tell me you didn’t draw money out of that New York account of yours to pay for this.”
“Give me some credit,” Su retorted, “I used the money from my Swiss account to open the account in Garrison in our names to pay them. Furthermore, I made sure my tracks were covered.”
Jean examined the receipt closer; it was made out to Mr. and Mrs. DeBois, instantly he saw red. How dare she not only jeopardize the entire mission to bring down one of the largest cartels on the eastern coast, she had the audacity to use his name as her own. No one had given her permission to do anything she had done.
“Explain yourself.” Jean hissed as he slammed the signature card down in front of her, making her jump.
“I know from business dealings they would not allow me to pay on a foreclosure if I did not use your name. They would have made me wait for the auction and I might have lost the bid. To the outside world it is my right to use your name as my own. I used your name so I could pay the accounts to give you enough time to find out what really was behind this foreclosure. I did not want you to have to worry about where you would keep us safe if you lost the farm. I know how hard you work and the children and I, especially me, do not make it easy on you. I just wanted to help. A wife is supposed to stand beside her husband and support him in what he does.”
“Help? Oh! Now you think I’m incompetent in how I’m doing my job. Do you think that you, Miss PhD, can do it better than a crack seasoned team of US Marshals that has, to their credit, not lost one witness the whole time since this unit was created and handpicked by me!”
“I did not say or think that,” Su tried to defend herself.
“And for the record, you’re not my wife remember? This is not a real marriage. As soon as you testify and the trial’s over so are we, finished! I go my way and you may go back to your perfect world, prefect career, and perfect children. You won’t have to tolerate someone as imperfect as me around, you got that, Miss Perfect?” Jean spat those venomous words.
She sat there ashen, barely breathing. He could see all her defenses crushed under his words, leaving her vulnerable to him in her eyes; however, in his self-righteousness he no longer cared.
She stood and walked to the door her, back stiffened as she turned toward him, “That is fine with me. I was tired of being your wife only when it suited you,” she snapped to attention and saluted him with, “Aye, aye, Captain Bly! As you ordered, Sir!” opening the door she nearly fell over Sarah and caught herself as she slammed the door.
Jean stared at the closed door, man; she still had spunk left in her. What a spitfire. Any other woman would be balling her head off by now, however, not that little lynx. You knock her down you’d better not turn your back on her because she comes back up claws and teeth bared, ready for a fight. What a man wouldn’t give to keep someone like her around, spunk, looks, brains, loaded, and the ability to make the man she set her affections on feel like King Midis and truly loved. Here, she’s yours for the taking. Moreover, what numbskull shenanigans do you do with her? Man Jean, what’s wrong with you? He asked himself, no sooner than he thought that, then doubt settled in his heart. No way could she love someone like you. You wouldn’t fit into her high society friends. Let’s face it, man, the only thing you have going for you in her world is looks. All you would ever be to her is window dressing. These things kept racing through his mind as he tried vainly to concentrate on his work.
Su grabbed Sarah by the arm and pulled her to the kitchen, “Sarah you know eaves dropping on other people’s conversations is wrong. What were you thinking?”
“I saw your feet weren’t touching the floor. I know you weren’t a willing participant in going to his den. He’s so angry. I wanted to make sure he didn’t hurt you. Mom what he said about you isn’t true. He doesn’t know you like we do. He had no right to yell at you the way he did. I know what you did was out of concern for him. Why can’t he see it for what it was? You love him, but I don’t know why.”
Su shook her head, “Sarah you do not know all the facts.”
Sarah raised an eyebrow over the rebuff, “I know you love him, I saw it back in New York, but I wouldn’t allow myself to believe it. Moreover, if he’d be honest with himself, he’d know he loves you too. It doesn’t matter why you got married. All that matters now is your love and respect for each other, even if your children object to your union. Man, I don’t believe I’m going to say this, if you try, you can work it out, just as you have always explained it to me.”
Su glanced at her feet before responding, “Sarah, I do not know what you overheard, however, whatever you did hear is the completely confidential. You are not to repeat it to anybody, promise. I mean it not to anyone. Unless the Lord intervenes, there will not be any working things out between Jean and I. Jean has made that clear. I messed things up beyond repair. I did not turn to the Lord for protection when I witnessed the crime. I relied on man for it. I knowingly went into a marriage for the sake of show when marriage is to be a sacred covenant between the Lord, husband and wife. I left the Lord out of my marriage. Moreover, I went into this marriage knowing Jean was not a believer. The Bible states believers are not to yoke unequally. However, I ignored the Bible, deceiving myself it was just like playing house, as a child would.
“I am not a child and I wove you children into this deceit because I thought it was the easy way out. Goes to show you even us brains can totally screw up our lives, and everyone’s around us, when we take the controls away from the Lord’s wisdom.” She shrugged her shoulders, “Well, I have to suffer the consequences of my actions along with you children and Jean.
“I want you to go back to class with your head up, no tears, this is my problem and the only way I am going to solve it is to start with an apology to the Lord for sinning and repent of that sin. Go on now; I am going to the greenhouse for some serious soul searching. Remember, I love you and so does the Lord,” Su kissed Sarah on the cheek, and went out the kitchen door toward the greenhouse.
Hello, I hope that everyone enjoyed reading the first chapter of The Perfect Witness. As I promised here is the next book in the series teaser. The title is Hidden Secrets. You can find the complete novel at the following links: books2read.com/u/mVLMpb and amzn.to/1u92UUj.
US Marshal, Jean DeBois plugged the coffee pot in and set it on the corner of his desk. He flipped on his headset and reconnected it to the unit for the drug and weapons bust.
“Is everyone in position? It’s almost show time,” he inquired.
Jack Post his second in command, came back first, “My unit’s in place. The Monticello just pulled in dock five minutes ago. They’ve her moored to the pier. The nonessential crewmembers are getting ready for shore leave. There’s a light fog rolling in so everyone’s going to have to be on tip top because they’ll try to use the fog to their advantage.”
“Did everyone hear what Jack reported about the fog?” Jean inquired. “Everyone has a bulletproof vest on, right?”
“Yeah, we were all issued one personally by our resident mother hen and made to put them on before she allowed us to leave,” Mark Prix chided Janet Post, their communications officer.
“I heard that wisecrack, Mark. If I’m right, and I’m rarely wrong about these things, you’re going to be very glad I’m such a mother hen, as you put it, and owe me a very large one.
“I’m outside the hospital, Jean. They’re planning to release Hogan tomorrow so he’s still in room 317. I didn’t want to tip him off before things broke loose. Tripper’s with Forensics outside his office complex waiting for the get go. Slaughter’s waiting outside his estate. I’ve given them the low down on what to be on the look out for in each dwelling. I’ll check in on their progress soon as Hogan’s in the system in maximum security with Brown so he can’t get word out to anyone.” Janet answered.
“Jean, Captain Cushioner just brought the cutter passed the Holland Tunnel. He’s going to position the cutter four miles off Cowanus Bay to make sure the Monticello can’t make a run north or south. He figures if they make a run for it they’ll head south through the Narrows to the Atlantic instead of trying to make a run through the East River and Hells Gate Channel. He has two Port Authority choppers standing by at the 34th Heliport for backup. We’ll be ready by the time things go down to stop anything that comes our way,” Robert Williamson relayed.
“Robert, are you going to be able to take out the communication tower from that distance?” Jean came back adjusting the earpiece to his ear for better reception.
“The gunnery sergeant assures me all he needs is the word ‘Go’ and the tower’s history,” Robert reassured Jean.
“Let’s hope he’s not just blowing smoke up our tail pipes about his marksmanship ability and he’s the real McCoy. Mark, where are you?” Jean inquired.
“I just passed Prospect Expressway, heading south toward 39th Street on Gowanus Expressway. We’re going to set up the safety check right before 39th so the truck’s stuck in traffic and not able to turn around. The Highway Patrol has Prospect Expressway covered and Fagon insisted on taking 278 North. I didn’t have to use any coercion at all, which bothers me. Do you think he’s got word they’ve changed itineraries without us knowing about it, Jean?”
“No, this is his normal itinerary in dealing with other law enforcement officers. He has a need to know policy. He lets you know just enough, what he thinks you need to get the job done and no more. It’s a reckless way to do things. He thinks he’s something hot and he’s not. The other subordinate agents of his unit have to cover his mistakes continually. He’s a loose cannon and uses anyone or anything to promote himself up the ladder, so watch your back Mark. He’ll feed you to the sharks, if he’s given a chance.”
“Heads up, everyone,” Jack snapped, “the crew’s coming down the gang plank for shore leave. Robert, get in closer. They haven’t shut the diesels down. They’re spooked. Have the captain run on stealth mode. Four miles is too far away and it looks like we’re in for one whopper of a fight.
“Uh oh, we have a problem, three trucks with the label of Carlo’s Premium Blend Coffee on their sides just pulled up, two of them black and one white. The first black truck’s license plate number’s 125 Jacob Charles Now, that’s 125 JCN. The second black truck’s number’s 479 Black Crew Egg. The white truck license number’s 656 Satan Charles Prime. The longshoremen are coming to unload the ship. Tell Janet it’s a go on arresting Hogan.”
“I’m on my way, Jack,” Janet answered.
Jean switched off Janet’s incoming signal to her headset so they would not distract her by what was going on at the docks. Her voice still came over loud and clear on her speaker as she burst into Hogan’s hospital room.
“Michelin Hogan, US Federal Marshal, you’re under arrest for the murder of Sam Wallace, drug running, weapons running, and treason against the United States for supplying weapons to our enemies.” Janet yelled.
Hogan yelled at his goon, “Get this lunatic out of here. I’m calling my attorney.”
A second later, the phone slammed up against the wall where Janet yanked it out of the wall, throwing it at his henchman and ordering him to the floor, her gun trailing him.
“As I was saying Hogan, you’re under arrest. You have the right to remain silent. If you give up that right, any and all things said can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to have an attorney present at the time of questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you by the courts. Do you understand these rights as I have read them to you? Do you wish to give up any or all of these rights?”
“Go to hell, you black…” was all Hogan got out before Janet threw him out of bed onto the floor, eating tile beside the henchman.
“That was the wrong answer, Hogan. Officer, cuff the henchman sure you pat him down good, and get both guns. One is in the shoulder harness and the other is on his right ankle. I see a stiletto in a harness behind his head also. Arrest him for interference with the duties of a Federal Marshal and possession of illegal weapons.” Janet spouted orders to US Marshal Brown who accompanied her. “Hogan do you understand these rights as I have explained them to you? Do you wish to give up these rights?”
“Yes, I understand them no; I don’t want to give up any of my rights. I want my call to my attorney, now!” Hogan squirmed under Janet’s grasp.
“You may call your attorney as soon as you’re thoroughly processed through all the channels. Deputy Brown’ll accompany you while you’re processed. He’ll make sure you’ll receive deluxe accommodations and be your own personal escort after being properly searched for any hidden weapons.”
“It’ll be my pleasure, ma’am,” Deputy Brown roughly patted Hogan down and snapped on the cuffs on Hogan’s wrist behind his back, yanking him to his feet. He made Hogan almost run to keep up with him as they went to the elevator.
“Jean, I’m on my way to Hogan’s office to see how Tripper’s doing then out to Slaughter for the rest of the cleanup,” Janet reported.
“Roger that, Janet, keep me informed on your progress,” Jean relayed.
“Jean, they’ve started unloading the coffee bean bags. How are we to tell which ones have the cocaine in them?” Jack radioed in a whisper, revealing he had moved closer to the action.
“Jack according to the information passed to me from Fagon, the bags we’re looking for are royal blue with a white banner sash across them. Remember, there are 448 bags of this stuff. They’ll probably unload it last to make the weapons exchange. Have you seen anything of the weapons, yet?”
“Not as yet. They have one of the black trucks loaded and it’s heading out.” Jack peered cautiously over the packing crates. “From the looks of it, it’ll be heading east. Tell the Highway Patrol to be on the lookout, but not stop it quite yet. They just opened the back of the white truck and we hit pay dirt. The weapons are in the truck and the flat’s coming out of the hole with the blue bags and white sashes. Here comes another flat of them. Jean, are you sure you want us to bring them down in two waves? Everything’s here on the dock in plain sight.” Jack peered out from behind a packing crate.
“Yes, they have access to the weapons on the docks, placing you in danger from them. Your vest wasn’t made to stop weapons of that caliber. We’ll allow them to store the weapons away safely before you take them down. It’s less likely they’d be able to use them against you once they’ve been stored. It takes the Captain or the First Mate’s recognition code with the locking mechanization to open the cargo hold once they’ve closed the hatch. Robert where are you? Are you within range of taking out that satellite tower when called for?” Jean ordered
“I’m within a mile of the pier. The fog’s starting to get heavier out here. We’re going to have to bring them down before this stuff gets too heavy to see them,” Robert peered through the gloom
“They’re exchanging the goods now. Something’s gone amiss. They’re spooked. They’re scrambling around the docks like a swarm of ants. There’s ten longshoremen plus the five cargo crewmen to deal with. There goes the other black truck. It’s heading north toward Fagon. The white truck’s the one with the goods. They’ve finished loading the truck.
“Whoa, we’ve extra passengers.” Jack moved slightly for a better angle. “I repeat– there are extra passengers in the back of the truck. They placed four armed escorts in the back of the truck and they’re loaded for bear along with the two in front. The weapons have just been loaded onto the deck of the cargo ship. Great, just great, they’re not stowing them away. I repeat the weapons are on deck. Jean they’re casting off the lines to the ship. I’m going to have to move now or lose them.” Jack whispered his voice high with anticipation.
“Hang in there, Jack. Wait for the truck to leave so they will stay on their itinerary. Have half of your men arrest the longshoremen and take two marksmen with you on the ship.” Jean reassured him.
“There goes the truck. Let’s move out. James, you and Digger are with me, the rest of you arrest everyone on the dock. Let’s book, the Monticello’s starting to pick up steam. Go! Go! Go!” Jack barked racing out from behind cover, “Stop, US Marshal, you’re under…”then Jean heard a barrage of gunfire. “Faster James, Digger, pick it up guys, Jump! Uph! Come on James, jump now!” Jack laid down ground fire to allow James and Digger to gain access to the Monticello. “Jean, Digger didn’t make the ship. It’s just James and me. Digger’s helping on the dock. This is US Federal Marshal Post, you’re under arrest! Put your weapons down and shut down the engines,” he yelled, taking cover behind part of the bulkhead.
He received a spray of bullets in response to his request for them to surrender. James and he returned fire.
“Robert! Have them blow that tower now. Mark, get ready. They’ve armed themselves to the teeth with extra firepower in the back of the truck. Someone’s tipped them off. It’s the white truck, license number 656 Satan Charles Prime. There are four extra in the back of the truck with two in front. Mark, be prepared for them to run the roadblock. They’re going to wreak havoc trying to get away. Jack where are you and James in relationship to the weapons?” Jean demanded
“We’re in between them and the crew for now, but that’s all we’re going to be able to do without backup. We need Robert now! Tell him to get the lead out and put a fire under those nut balls on the cutter,” Jack relayed between bouts of gunfire.
“Robert where’s Jack’s support? Get that tower down even if you have to do it yourself. Robert? Robert, damn it, answer me!” Jean yelled in the headset, flipping the switch back and forth, trying to raise him.
Jean heard an explosion and Robert curse over missing the tower. The shell impacted into the warehouse exploding it into flames.
“Damn it! This time, do not miss! Where’s the gunnery sergeant? My partner’s on that ship under fire. Now bring that tower down!” Robert screamed in the seaman’s ear. “We’re coming!”
Another explosion of the gun and again it missed its target impacting into the warehouse. Robert shoved the seaman aside, “Get the hell out of my way. Jean, give me some direction on how to hit that damn tower.”
“Aim two seconds ahead of the tower and fire,” Jean shouted.
He heard Robert fire the gun, and then begging it to hit the mark. He heard the explosion as Robert cheered, “Yeah, I got it. Yeah!”
“Keep your head we’re not out of this yet. We’ve to get that ship stopped before it hits international waters. Get up there to the command tower and order the Monticello to stop or you’ll stop it with any means you have. Accept nothing less than complete compliance. Don’t allow anyone to stop you. Jean relayed. “Jack, how are you doing?”
“We need this tub stopped now. We’re starting to run low on ammo. Get Robert to stop it anyway he can,” Jack’s voice cracked.
“I hear you Jack, I’m on my way,” Robert came back.
Thirty seconds later, they heard Robert cursing, “Open this mother [blanking] door now. Unlock it. They heard Robert cursing once more, “Open this mother [blanking] door right now. Unlock it. You have one second to comply!”
Robert blew the lock off the door then ordered someone to the floor, “On your knees you maggot before I drop you. Jean, the leak was the captain. He laid out the gunnery sergeant and the crewmember in the tower. Hey, do any of you know how to pilot this cutter?”
“I can sir.” The quick reply came from one of the other crewmembers.
“Get in here and take after that cargo ship. I need someone to keep an eye on the captain and someone to check on the hurt crew. Who can fire that 50-caliber gun out there on the deck?”
“I can sir.”
“Go get it ready and when and if I tell you, blow the command tower off that ship, but not before I say so. Where are the loud speakers and the siren?”
“They’re right here, sir. Everyone hang on I’m putting all three screws on full throttle.”
Jean heard the turbines scream under the demand from the command tower then the whoop -whoop -whoop of the siren and Robert’s voice booming over the loud speaker,
“This is the US Federal Marshals, cut your engines and prepare to be boarded. You have thirty seconds to comply, after that, I’ll fire only one warning shot before blowing the command tower off the deck starting now! Fifteen seconds, twenty seconds twenty-five, thirty, fire!”
There was a deafening explosion of the 50-caliber gun, then silence. Robert’s voice cracked the silence, “Stop Now or I’ll fire again. Fire!”
Once again, the 50-caliber gun resounded, its shell screamed through the night, then a large explosion of ripping metal as it found its target. The Monticello came to a rolling stop in the water, flames licking what was left of the command tower. The cutter cruised up beside the Monticello.
“Grab the water hose and put that fire out. Jack you got everything under control?” Robert asked over the loud speaker.
“Robert there’s three guys in the water needing to be fished out of the bay. They bailed right before the shell hit. Thanks for the assist.” Jack came over the headset, “Throw James a line so you can tow us to shore. Jean, we have the weapons. How are we doing on the drug bust end?”
“I haven’t heard anything yet. Mark, what’s going on out there? That truck should be at your roadblock by now,” Jean flipped Mark’s switch several times to get his attention.
“Knock off the clicking in the headset. I’m awake. The truck just came into view. They’re twenty cars back. I just told the officers to quicken the checks so we can go get a couple of drinks and maybe get lucky tonight,” Mark answered Jean.
“You better keep your mind on your work and not drop the ball. They’re not going to give up without a fight,” Jean reminded.
“So right you are, here they come and they aren’t stopping nor are they slowing down. They’re going to try to run the roadblock. Man, Jean, I hope you weren’t kidding about how to catch a speeding vehicle because here I go. Keep me safe St. Christopher!” Mark yelled, pulling out his gun and taking off at a dead run, pacing him as the truck roared passed the first part of the roadblock, sideswiping a van full of kids slamming it into the car beside it.
Mark’s lungs started burning as the truck roared up beside him. He gulped a deep breath leaped for the truck’s side view mirror as they passed. His body slammed into the door as he braced himself on the running board and fender as he held onto the mirror. He slammed his forearm and gun into the side window crashing through it.
He jammed his gun under the driver’s chin screaming, “US Marshal, pull this rig over right now! You, in the other seat get your hands on the dash and don’t move a muscle or he gets his head blown off and yours a second later! You’re both under arrest. I said keep your hands on the dash and I meant it! Get this thing pulled over to the side of the road, that’s right, nice and easy.
“I know there are armed men in the back so if you can contact them in anyway, you better tell them to put their weapons down and duck walk their way out of the back of the truck before I really get pissed off and have to get mean.
“Officers, stay away from the back of that truck! There are armed men in there.’ Mark yelled to the officers approaching the van from behind. “We’re going to get out this side of the truck very carefully, but first, you’re going to take those keys and carefully drop them on the floor and kick them under the seat.” Mark barked, slowly stepping down, opening the door, “That’s right, nice and easy. Keep those hands on the dash as you come. As you noticed, a police officer is on the other side of the truck with instructions to blow away anyone who tries leaving that way. I suggest you pay close attention to what I say and obey it immediately. That’s right, keep coming one at a time. Get down on your knees and uph!”
The second person to exit slammed the door into Mark’s leg. Mark smashed his gun against his assailant’s head as they fell to the ground struggling over Mark’s weapon. Several more officers ran up taking the driver into custody as Mark struggled with the assailant. The assailant twisted up on top of Mark, slowly dragging his gun between them. Seconds later, the gun exploded with Mark screaming, followed by a stream of billingsgate as he smashed his forehead into the other man’s face with a bone crushing headbutt. The man let loose of Mark and grabbed his head in extreme pain. Mark quickly reversed the situation, jumping on top of the assailant and jammed his gun against his assailant’s temple.
“Damn it that hurt you dumb [blank]. You’re under arrest for the attempted murder of a US Marshal. I need a pair of handcuffs for this scum sucking mother [blanker].” He shrieked.
“Get off me you stupid retard, I’m FBI,” the assailant hissed under his breath.
“I don’t care if you’re the Pope himself. You’re under arrest for the attempted murder of a US Marshal and I’m going to push for the gas chamber, you dumb mother [blanking blank] sucker. You’re going down hard and no one will be able to save your worthless hide. Get him out of here and Mirandize him in the car. Hey, does someone have any armor piercing bullets?”
“The SWAT team has a launcher and all sorts of great things,” one officer advised Mark.
“Great, I need a launcher with armor piercing bullets and a grenade launcher in my hands, yesterday.” Mark demanded his rage fully inflamed.
Within a minute, Mark had what he requested and slammed a bullet in the chamber, strategically taking up a position behind the truck. “You, in the truck, have exactly fifteen seconds to surrender yourselves to the US Federal Marshal out here. You’re under arrest by the way, so raise that door three inches and slide your weapons out one at a time then raise the door and slide out one at a time onto the ground when I give you permission. Start raising that door now. You’ve five seconds left to comply. Four, three, two, and one, too late you made me mad,” he placed an armor-piercing bullet through the top of the door, ripping a large gaping hole in it. “Last chance to surrender nicely,” he inserted the gas grenade in the launcher.
He took aim and fired the grenade through the gaping hole. It exploded, filling the truck with noxious fumes. They heard the men choking inside as they slid the door open. The weapons clattered to the ground followed by the four men falling out of the truck. They gasped for air, with tears streaming down their faces as they lay in the dirt.
Mark handed the launcher back to the SWAT member. He grabbed four pairs of handcuffs in one hand, his revolver in the other. “On your knees and crawl toward my voice until you’re told to stop, and then lay with your faces in the dirt. You’re under arrest for drug possession with the attempt to deliver. Halt, faces in the dirt, with your hands behind your backs with your noses buried in the dirt. If we see so much as an eye lash before you’re given permission, I’ll personally blow it away.”
He quickly snapped the handcuffs on the men and gave them their Mirandize rights as he went. He turned them over to the officers to have them patted down before placing them in the squad cars. Mark proceeded to the truck. He pulled out the bags of coffee and split them open. He pulled out the bags of cocaine, placing them on the back edge of the bed of the truck one after another.
He was halfway through the bags when Fagon came pulling up with lights flashing. He rose as Fagon came toward him with his hand extended as a friend.
“Good work officer, I’ll take it from here,” Fagon smiled, flexing his shoulders in triumph.
Mark smiled back, “That was a wrong statement. This is a US Marshal Division bust. We’re in full control here, thanks for the offer of mopping up, but we have everything well in control.”
Fagon’s smile died quickly, “You don’t understand son, there was an FBI agent with this shipment which makes this our bust.”
“No, you don’t understand.” Mark’s temper got the best of him, “He forfeited any claim to this bust when he tried to kill a US marshal. He’s under arrest for attempted murder and drug running. Furthermore, I’m not your [blanking] son, you son of a [blank]!” Mark straightened up and glared at Fagon squarely in the face without batting an eye.
Fagon grabbed Mark by the shirt and hit him in the mouth blaring, “I’ll have your badge for this you son of a [blank].”
Mark spit blood, “You can try, but it’s going to be a challenge with you behind bars for assaulting a US Federal Marshal while trying to impede him in the line of duty. You’re under arrest,” Mark snapped, throwing Fagon to the ground and handcuffing him. He removed Fagon’s weapon from his holster and placed it in the back of his belt as he yanked Fagon to his feet, “You have the right to remain silent…”
“You’ll never get away with this! Not only will I have your badge over this, I’ll have that no good son of a [blank] boss of yours also. Do you hear me DeBois? You [blank]. You’re going down you [blank],” Fagon ranted and raved as Mark pulled him to the squad car.
He opened the door and shoved Fagon inside and answered, “You made a grandiose mistake this time, Fagon. I have thirty fellow officers and surveillance saw you strike me trying to stop me from doing my duty. It’s you who is going down for the count.”Then Mark finished Fagon’s Mirandize rights and slammed the door shut before going back to counting the bags of cocaine.
Soon there were one thousand three hundred and forty-four bags of pure cocaine lying on the truck bed. It was sending the drug-sniffing dogs crazy so Mark finally sent them away. He called for an armored car to transport the cocaine into evidence. They were just taping off the area as the news vans pulled up. Mark was checking on the passengers in the accident, when he saw Christen Hobbit, along with her camera operator, skirt under the perimeter tape and head for the coffee truck.
He ran to intercept her, “Stop right there Ms. Hobbit, turn around, and get back to the other side of the perimeter tape.”
“Officer, the public has the right to know what’s going on. Phil, we’ll broadcast over by the coffee truck, and then pan back to all the spilt coffee beans. Stick around officer and I’ll interview you as part of my story, if you cooperate,” she ignored Mark and trying to get pass him to her objective.
“Phil is it?” Mark commanded, snagging her arm. “Well Phil, if you start that camera on this side of the perimeter tape, I’ll arrest you both for interfering in a Federal investigation. Now, get back across the evidence tape. You’ve thirty seconds to comply,”
“That would be impeding the Press and the freedom of Knowledge Act and most important the First Amendment, officer, what’s your name for the record.” She retorted trying to pull free.
“I don’t care what the [blank] you broadcast or report on as long as you’re on the other side of that tape. You have fifteen seconds left.” Mark gave her a shove toward the tape.
“I’m not going to be bullied by the likes of you,” Christen retorted, turning back to Mark.
“Officer, I need a couple of pairs of handcuffs!” Mark barked in her face.
“Come on Christen, he’s not kidding. We can’t get the scoop if we’re behind bars,” Phil said, lowering his camera and yanking her toward the tape. “No need for the handcuffs officer, we’re going.”
“You make sure they and any other reporters stay on the other side of the perimeter tape. They put one foot on our side, arrest them for obstructing justice. There’ll be no second chances. Keep them on their side and don’t make any comments. Take as many officers as you need to keep the perimeter clear,” Mark barked orders to several Highway Patrolmen, watching them to make sure she was on the other side of the tape before going back to his duties.
There had been no casualties, only a few minor bumps and bruises. The paramedics took over the care of the civilians. He sat down on the rear of the truck and waited for the arrival of the armored car, rubbing his vest where the bullet had impacted. It had almost gone clear through before the vest was able to stop the bullet’s acceleration. Gauging by the amount of pain in his side, he guessed the impact broke one, if not more, of his ribs and would result in severe bruising. His head now throbbed. He probably shouldn’t have used it as a battering ram on the FBI agent.
“Hey Jean, I’ve everything pretty well wrapped up here. How are Jack and Robert doing on their end of things?” he inquired weakly.
“We’ve everything wrapped up here on the docks. Everyone’s in custody and the weapons are on their way to our evidence room. You don’t sound too good. What’s the matter, Mark?” Robert radioed in.
“Robert, could you ask one of those Port Authority helicopters to bring you over here so you could take over for me and wait for the armor car? That dumb [blanking] FBI agent tried to take me out with my own weapon. Stupid mother [blanker], I took him out with a headbutt, but my head isn’t as hard as granite like Jean’s head is.
“My head’s splitting and I can hardly breathe from the impact of the bullet to my ribs. Dumb mother [blanker blank] sucking [blank], we’re supposed to be on the same side, [blank] sucker. I hope I crushed his [blanking] skull for him, mother [blanker] this hurts like a son of a [blank]. How did Jean do it without a vest on, damn this hurts.”
“We’re on our way Mark, sit tight. I’ll have Robert over there within three minutes. There is a helicopter now, I’ll commandeer it, myself,” Jack came back.
“Tell Janet thanks for being a mother hen, Jack. From now on she may mother henpeck me anytime she wants,” Mark mumbled, holding his head in his hands.
Jean switched frequencies and told the paramedics to get over to the truck to check Mark out. He switched back and called Mark, “Mark, the paramedics are on their way to help you. You’re their top priority right now. Jack, where are you with that helicopter? Mark needs it now!”
“We’re coming up on the scene now. I see Mark sitting on the bumper of the truck amidst the largest pile of coffee beans I have ever seen. The cocaine is stacked in the back of the truck. The paramedics are with him now. I’ll set down just beyond the scene. What the [blank]? Jean, we’ve company up here. It’s Christen Hobbit again in a news chopper. What do you want me to do?” He glanced over and eyeballed the news chopper.
“Have they crossed the perimeter tape yet?”
“Yes, they’re thirty feet beyond it.”
“Then force them down and take them into custody. We warned them not to cross the tape. I don’t care if they’re in the air or not. They’re impeding an investigation. Lock them up now.” Jean barked the order, banging his fist against the desk.
“Roger that,” Jack said flipping on the loud speaker, “This is US Federal Marshal Post. You have crossed the perimeter tape and entered a restricted territory. Set the chopper down. You’re under arrest for impeding a federal investigation. You’ve thirty seconds to comply before we force you out of the sky. Robert, get the anti-air craft assault weapon ready. You’ve fifteen seconds to comply.”
Robert opened the side door and got in position with the weapon to blow the chopper out of the sky. The pilot turned ashen and Christen’s face was crimson over the threat.
“You’ve ten seconds- nine- eight- seven… ” that was all the pilot could take; he flew the helicopter beyond the scene and set it down with Jack right on his tail all the way.
As soon as the news helicopter was on the ground, police officers swarmed it, taking the occupants into custody. Robert jumped out of the helicopter and made sure the arrest was made under federal charges. When Robert placed her in the squad car, Christen started screaming about the freedom of the Press and the First Amendments rights violation.
Robert shook his head in disgust, “Tell it to the judge, lady, you were warned.”
She answered him with a stream of billingsgate which made Mark sound like a choirboy during Sunday Mass. Robert ignored the billingsgate and left to help Mark instead of wasting any more time with her. Soon they were in the air and headed for Mt. Sinai NYU Health Center, while Robert remained behind with the evidence.
Jean flipped Jack and Robert’s headsets off and Janet’s back on, “Janet, how are things going at the office?”
“Better than we expected. When forensics sprayed the office and flipped the ALS on, we got the shock of our lives. There are blood spatters covering the entire office. By this evidence, Wallace wasn’t the first murder Hogan committed in this office. They also found rug fibers they’re sure will match the rug that was Wallace’s burial shroud. When they checked the cars, they found traces of blood and more rug fibers. Guess which associate of Hogan’s it belongs to?”
“Please tell me it belongs to Franco. You’d make my day if you could.”
“Well, today’s your lucky day.” She walked out to her car. “You hit the nail right on the head. When we searched the security room, large groups of tapes were missing. The newly hired young security guard was very helpful and told us Hogan has a habit of taking the tapes home with him to view at his leisure. The tape of Angel One was still here along with last Monday’s. According to the security guard, they haven’t left the security room yet so they should hit pay dirt for us.” Janet held the tape securely in her hand.
“I cleaned out Hogan’s office. From the looks of things, we’re going to need a code breaker for most of this stuff. I left Tripper at the office to finish up while I went to Hogan’s estate to see how Slaughter was doing. He found Franco here, recuperating by banging Hogan’s wife.
“Moreover, here I was feeling sorry for her because she had such a scumbag for a husband and she is just as bad as he is.” Janet opened the car door. “They truly deserve each other. She wasn’t very cooperative with Slaughter until I pointed out that I was sure I’d get a conviction on her for being a co-conspirator in Wallace’s murder. After that, she was the most cooperative person ever. We didn’t even need to use any equipment for what we were after; she revealed all Hogan’s dirty little secrets.” Janet sat behind the driver’s seat and glanced through the box of evidence, shocked at what they revealed.
“Jean you’re right about Hogan being a sexual predator. He has a completely secret room from his point of view, or so he thought, for his conquest. He’s one sick puppy. The room where he kept the surveillance tapes is off that room. It looks like he would bring them home and make duplicates for his enjoyment. That enjoyment’s going to cost him dearly; he’s going down for the complete count for life, if not the gas chamber, for what he has on these tapes. This is how arrogant he was; he stuck subtitles on the tapes for easy reference.” Janet started the car and headed back toward the office.
“How did we do on the rest of the bust? You shut off my incoming microphone so I couldn’t hear what was going on. I know you could hear me, but that wasn’t fair, not allowing me to listen in on the guys taking the crooks down. Everyone’s okay, aren’t they?”
“Jack’s taking Mark to Mt. Sinai to have him checked out. He tried to take down the FBI undercover agent with a headbutt after the agent tried to gun him down with Mark’s own weapon. He arrested him and Fagon for assaulting him and interfering with a US Marshal while doing his duty.” Jean made notes on the pad in front of him for further reference.
“Mark was shot? Jean, how bad was it?”
“The vest took most of the impact but Mark believes it might have broken at least one of his ribs. He probably gave himself a concussion with the headbutting maneuver. By the way, he says you may henpeck him anytime from now on out, after the vest incident. I believe it’s his way of thanking you for saving his scrawny little backside, by demanding he wears the vest.”
“The only man I want to henpeck is Jack, but tell Mark, he is welcome.”
“Tell me yourself, I can hear you,” Mark’s voice weakly came over his speaker, “Jean forgot to shut my incoming microphone off. We not only got the drugs, weapons, and arresting Fagon and an undercover FBI agent along with the captain of the cutter, Jack forced that nuisance Christen Hobbit out of the sky, arresting her for crossing the police evidence tape and impeding an ongoing investigation. I’ve wanted to do that for so long. She’s been a thorn in our side for long enough. It felt good to hear her screaming like a common streetwalker once Robert knocked her off her high and mighty throne.
“They’re going to keep me here for observation. I did give myself a concussion. My rib isn’t broken, just bruised the hell out of it. The doctor said I would probably wish I’d broken it because, for some reason, it takes longer to heal. I’m in the hospital for forty-eight hours to make sure there isn’t any soft tissue damage.
“Hey, tell Jack thanks for bringing me here for treatment. I’ve only been here for a half an hour and I already have five names and numbers of some very gorgeous gals working here. I guess they go for a fallen hero. I’m going to have to make sure a couple of them are eighteen, though. Janet, you wouldn’t mind running them through the computer for me, would you? Do it for a fallen comrade in arms.”
“Pick up chicks on your own time, you little creep. How did you keep your headset when you entered the emergency room, anyway? They take all those kind of items right from the beginning,” Janet inquired. “Besides, isn’t eighteen a little too young for you?”
“Not really, I just turned twenty-four last month, so it’s still within reasonable age without it being perverted. As to my headset, I wouldn’t allow them to take it. I told them it was a national security type of a mission. I still retain my gun and shield. The chicks really go for a man in authority.” Mark crowed.
Jean took all of Mark’s shenanigans he could stomach; he flipped Mark’s intercom off and Jack’s on. “Jack, get in there and take the headset, shield, and gun away from Mark. He’s using them to pick up girls. He’ll be okay as long as I don’t get my hands on him for abusing his position for personal gain. They’re keeping him for forty-eight hours to make sure everything is all right. Mister Lone Wolf’s on the prowl again, so go break his leg before I have to break his neck,” Jean told Jack with a disgusted sigh over Mark’s overactive hormones.
“It’ll be my pleasure, Boss. Is Janet’s headset on so she can hear me?”
“It sure is, darling. How are you feeling?” she cooed at him.
“Oh for Christ’s sake, get a land line if you’re going to get mushy. Stop using government equipment to make out with your husband. Janet, are you done with your part of the bust?” Jean mumbled.
“Yes, but me thinks we hit a nerve.”
“Good night, you two knuckleheads,” Jean snapped their headsets off. He snapped Robert’s on, “Robert, how are things going?”
“Great, everything is properly stored away. I’m on my way home to call to see how Mark is getting along.”
“He’s fine. He’s already on the prowl. We’re going to have to get him neutered so he can stay focused on what he’s supposed to be doing, instead of chasing skirts.”
“He sounds kind of like a younger version of you,” Robert taunted.
“That was the wrong answer. Remind me to bust you in the mouth when I see you,” Jean answered him clicking Robert off also, shutting down the system.
Enjoy the free chapter and you can find the complete novel at books2read.com/u/mVLMpb and amzn.to/1u92UUj. The novel chapter of Rendezvous with the Past is coming next. Stay tune.