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.
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.
Matthew Davenport’s newest novel ‘Satan’s Salesman’ main character, Shane Lowe, is the top sales person of Computer Information Technology. He always made over his sales quota. He keeps an engagement ring in the glove box of his Sebring waiting for the right time to propose.
Shane believes his ship has come in when Sara Durant, the Global Account Manager loses her job because of poor sales performance. He is told that the position is his for the taking. He tells his girlfriend, Margaret ‘Maggie’ Powers and Dale Lawson, his best friend the good news. His ecstatic enjoyment is stalled when he has a confrontation with Sara Durant where she tells him she has a backup plan and is sorry. When Shane says she has nothing to be sorry her answer is ‘Yet’ with a ominous undertone.
The next day after Shane accepts the position he finds his stuff packed up in boxes outside his new office and Sara sitting in his chair. Shane storms in to find Sara gloating one minute and crying the next. Her backup plan has come in effect. She gives Shane a business card stating for him to call it, they grant wishes. On the card reads only Perdition Investments along with a phone number.
Shane is not one for phone calls when it comes to an initial meeting. He does a reverse search on the phone number and comes up with the address. Shane arrives at the address to find only an field filled with tall grass. Among the grass was a lone fence post with a carved wooden sign with Perdition Investments burnt in it nailed to it. Shane searches the horizon for any sign that the company ever existed besides the sign.
He turns back to his car to find a strange woman leaning against the Sebring. It turns out to be Sherri Webster, the Sales Manager at Perdition Investments. She seemed to magically appear out of nothing. Shane wants Perdition Investments to reverse Sara’s wish however, Sherri offers something better, a new job with limitless possibilities, the only catch is, it cost your soul. You can earn it back by saleing the same deal to others.
Matthew Davenport does a great job of weaving thrill and suspense throughout the story. It reminds me of a mixture of the Twilight Zone and the Outer Limits. I give it a four and a half stars, minus a half a star for language.
101 E. Salem Ave. Indianola Iowa 50125
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There is two brick and mortar stores that are now carrying my novels. They are Page Turners Book Store in Indianola, Iowa and Read a Book Nook in Marshalltown, Iowa. Page Turners has my crime murder mystery series where as Read a Book Nook has every book I have written. Buy from them for no shipping and handling, waiting for your purchase, or out of stock like you do online. My novels consist of the DeBois crime murder mystery series, a Drama- Resin La Rock, Thriller- Window Pane, and Fantasy- Healer of Surflex. All my novels are also in Ebook formats and Healer of Surflex is also in audio from ACX.