Eureka Point
55 pages
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55 pages
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Beautiful and successful Park Avenue interior designer, Katie O’Hara, realizes that her husband has deceived her. Worse than that, he has left her and she’s in danger. Her husband’s involvement with a dangerous South American drug cartel, forces Katie to enter the Witness Protection Program. Forced to change her name and identity, Katie, aka Lizzie, must relocate to Eureka Point, California. FBI Special Agent Tom Owens is the agent assigned to protect her, which proves to be a difficult assignment. Danger lurks around every corner. As Lizzie and her agent, Tom, become romantically involved, the danger grows. Unforeseen circumstances force Tom and Lizzie to flee. But the danger follows them.

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Publié par
Date de parution 02 septembre 2014
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781773622330
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0032€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Exrait

Eureka Point
Protected Heart Series #1
By Betty Ann Harris
 
Digital ISBNs
EPub 978-1-77362-233-0
Kindle 978-1-77145-300-4
WEB 978-1-77362-234-7
 
Amazon Print ISBN 978-1-77362-235-4
 
 

 
Copyright 2014 by Betty Ann Harris
Cover art by Michelle Lee
 
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rightsunder copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may bereproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, ortransmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical,photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior writtenpermission of both the copyright owner and the publisher of thisbook.
 
Dedication
 
To Chris
With love
 
You taught me the meaning of perseverance.
Chapter One
 
Katie, Long Island, New York
 
The day had gone exceptionally well. Thedecorating assignment I’d been working on for the last five monthshad finally come to completion and my client was delighted with theoutcome.
Driftwood, Carly’s Long Island cottage,turned out to be one of the best decorating jobs I have evercompleted. I was extremely happy about that. Carly was such a niceperson and over the five months I worked on the assignment webecame good friends. Elegant Interiors Magazine was featuringDriftwood in their next issue. It was going to be the first timeone of my interior designs was going to appear in the prestigiousmagazine. That would definitely serve as a boost to my alreadylucrative career. I was in the mood to celebrate.
With that assignment complete, I planned totake several weeks off and travel to Bermuda with Craig for somewell-deserved rest, relaxation, and perhaps, some romance. Lying ona beautiful beach with my toes in the sand while sipping a pinacolada seemed like the perfect payoff for the months of hard work Ihad put into the assignment. I couldn’t wait to get home and Carlyhad thoughtfully arranged for her chauffeur to drive me there. Isat back in the limo and enjoyed the ride, admiring the beautifullandscape along the Long Island coastline. A bit later, once itcame into view, I marveled at the sheer magnitude of the New YorkCity skyline off in the distance.
My career was on course, I had a close circleof friends and my parents were enjoying their retirement years. Forthe most part I was content. Yet I couldn’t shake the feeling ofsomething not being quite right, like a nagging thorn festeringjust under the surface of my skin. Recently I felt a detachmentfrom Craig, whose priority was his restaurant business, which hadbeen occupying more and more of his time. Perhaps this trip toBermuda would help bring us closer together and re-ignite the firein our relationship. I had been missing that fall-in-love type ofenthusiasm Craig and I shared when we first began dating. Thepassion lasted into our marriage at first, but slowly died off. Iknew it was somewhat common for married couples to occasionallyfall into a dull routine after a few years, but I didn’t want thatto happen to us. I refused to allow us to drift apart. My prioritywas to save my marriage, to get back the love and passion, and Ihoped it would be his as well.
As the limousine pulled into the driveway Igrew apprehensive when I noticed the house was dark and appeareddeserted. I gladly accepted the driver’s kind offer to escort me tothe door. Once inside, I switched on the light in the foyer anddisarmed the security system. Thanking the driver for hisassistance, I handed him a twenty-dollar bill. He thanked mecourteously, tipped his hat and left, quietly closing the frontdoor. And there I stood, alone. I went over to the front window,slightly pulled back the curtain and watched the limo drive off. Iwondered where Craig was this time. Perhaps he was just late,although he hadn’t called or left a message on the answeringmachine.
After switching on the living room lamp, Isat on the sofa and kicked off my shoes. I noticed an envelopepropped up on the mantel. Curious, I went over to the fireplace andhesitantly picked it up. My name was written on the front inCraig’s handwriting. I braced myself for disappointment. Myinstincts were right on target as I read the note:
 
Dearest Kate,
 
I’m sure congratulations are in order. I knowyou had your heart set on Bermuda. Unfortunately we will have todelay our trip. One of my largest restaurant suppliers inCalifornia is having a problem that I need to take care of or itcould cause serious problems for me. I had to fly out thisafternoon. If I get a chance I’ll give you a call sometimetomorrow.
 
Love, Craig
 
“Of course!” I said aloud as I recalled allthe times Craig and I were supposed to take a vacation together orcelebrate over a romantic dinner and he had gotten called away.Perturbed and let down, I rationalized this was the price I had topay for success. I was very seriously beginning to wonder if it wasworth it. What good is success if you took no time to enjoy thefruits of your labor? It bothered me that it didn’t bother Craig.He seemed to thrive on the stress of it all. Or maybe he didn’tfeel the stress, just the thrill of being a success in business. Itseemed like he was out to prove something to the world.
I’d been through this kind of thing beforeand decided I wasn’t going to let Craig’s absence ruin my sense ofaccomplishment or my desire to celebrate. I returned to thekitchen, opened the refrigerator and grabbed the bottle ofchampagne I had left in there to chill. I wrapped a kitchen towelaround the bottle and tilted it, pointing it away from my face, asI had seen Craig do many times before. As I carefully opened thebottle the top flew off, popping loudly, and champagne erupted out,flowing down the sides. I poured myself a glass, took it into theliving room, put on my favorite music, and toasted myself.
It was late October and although the weatherhad been unseasonably warm, tonight there was a definite chill inthe air. I lit a fire in the fireplace and stood in front of it,allowing the warmth of the flames to permeate through my body. Ireturned to the sofa and sipped the champagne, feeling the rush gothrough my limbs. Warmth followed, mellowing me as my mindwandered, taking me back to my high school days and friends fromthe neighborhood in Philadelphia. I wondered what Jeannine was upto these days and decided I would try to find her and give her acall sometime soon. I missed those good old days and wished timeshadn’t changed so drastically.
Feeling a little fuzzy after two glasses ofbubbly, eating something seemed like a good idea. The previousnight I’d made French beef stew in burgundy wine sauce for the twoof us, but Craig had forgotten to tell me he had a dinnerengagement, so his portion was left over. I heated that up for mydinner. I enjoyed cooking but lacked the enthusiasm to prepare ameal for just myself.
While I ate, I gazed out of the dining roomwindow at the full autumn moon rising in the dark sky. It glowedlike a huge golden lantern with feathery clouds flying past it. Thescene was dramatic and magical and stirred emotions deep within me.A sense of longing filled me, but exactly what I yearned for, Icouldn’t say. The moon always fascinated me and I was hypnotized byits beauty and allured by its power. A full moon often made me feelromantic and nostalgic. What a waste, to be alone on such abeautiful evening. While I stared at that full moon a strangesensation came over me, as if it beseeched me, called to me andtried to tell me something. As if reading my mind, a huge, darkcloud passed in front of the moon, removing it from sight. Iwondered if that was an omen of some kind, when suddenly, and asquickly as it had disappeared, the moon returned and cast a silveryglow into the darkened room. It settled on me, like a searchlightsingling me out.
“What do you want, moon?” I asked aloud.
Yes, too much champagne. No sober persontalked to the moon.
I finished my dinner, cleaned up the dishesand spent the rest of the evening sitting in front of thefireplace. My eyelids grew so heavy I could no longer keep my eyesopen, so I dragged myself upstairs to bed. As tired as I had been,I laid there, snuggled under the covers, unable to sleep. I had asense of impending doom but rationalized it away as just myimagination.
In the very early morning hours, my tiredbody finally won, and at last I fell asleep. I had a strange dreamabout being lost in the middle of the deep, dark woods on amiserable, gloomy night. A mist hung around my feet, the rainsoaked me, and I was cold and shivering with fright. And then theclouds parted and a bright, full moon lit my path, helping me findmy way home. It was a house that was not familiar to me, but I feltI belonged. I stepped inside and warmed myself in front of thefire. Strong, but gentle hands came from behind me and restedcomfortingly upon my shoulders. I felt safe, warm, and content.Then I awoke, greeted by the bright morning sun as it cheerfullystreamed in my window.
Craig returned from his trip a week laterwith a nice tan and in an exceptionally good mood. He nevermentioned the business problem he had to take care of, never askedabout the decorating job, nor spoke about our cancelled trip toBermuda. Neither did I.
Hurt and feeling unappreciated at home, Iplunged into my work, completing another decorating job for awealthy client in East Hampton. Craig was rarely home for dinnerand seemed anxious and disinterested when he was there. I tried totalk to him about his disinterest in our marriage, or anything elseother than his business, for that matter. He always gave me thesame answer — he was under a lot of stress and did not want todiscuss it at that point.
I gave him his space and hoped it was just aphase. But as time went on he got irritated and angry if I so muchas looked at him the wrong way. I felt like Craig was holding backand keeping secrets. So, like a cat with her nose out of joint, Ikept my distance. It was not in my nature to stir up an angry brewand I usually shied away from confrontations. But I could not shakethe sensation that something was wrong.
Finishing the job in East Hampton, I drovehome one Friday evening and found the house dark and empty, as wasnormal these days. I ate dinner alone and fell asleep on the sofawatching an old movie. I woke the next morning and realized Craighad never come home. Anxious and furious, I tried to call his cellphone but got a recorded message saying the number was no longer inservice. Frantic, I called his office, but there was no answerthere either. I contacted some of his business associates and wastold they had not heard from Craig for several days.
I contacted the police but would have to waitat least forty-eight hours before Craig could be considered amissing person. By Sunday evening I was certain Craig had eitherleft me and his life behind, or he was dead. I stayed up late everynight hoping he might call or show up with some explanation orexcuse as to where he had been. But it never happened.
When I finally crawled into bed at night, Itossed and turned, unable to fall asleep. My mind kept going overpossible scenarios of what might have happened to him. I finallydrifted off to sleep at about three a.m.
I was startled awake Monday morning by thesound of banging on the front door and men yelling, identifyingthemselves as FBI agents. They demanded I let them in. I jumped outof bed, scrambled to put on my slippers and robe, ran down thesteps, and frantically unlocked the front door. Several agentspushed their way in, almost knocking me over, as they charged inwith guns drawn.
“Oh my God! What is going on?” I was almostparalyzed with fear.
“We’re looking for Craig Montgomery. Are youhis wife?”
“Yes.”
“Is he here?”
“No, Craig hasn’t been home for two days. Icontacted the police and tried to report his disappearance onSaturday but they said I had to wait at least forty-eight hoursbefore he could be declared a missing person. I was going tocontact the police again today. I’m very worried. I can’t imaginewhat might have happened to him.”
I was in disbelief and shaking like a leaf. Ihad just inquired if I needed to call my lawyer when Agent JohnMcClintock, an old and dear friend of my father’s, walked in andtook control of the situation.
The agents searched the house and satisfiedthemselves Craig wasn’t there. Thank God they believed I wastelling the truth about not knowing where he was. McClintocksuggested he and I go into the kitchen. He asked me if I would makea pot of coffee, which I did, and then told me to sit down so wecould talk. I pulled out a chair and nervously sat. My hands wereshaking so badly I was unable to hold my coffee cup steady.McClintock, in a gesture of concern and support, took my hands inhis. Leaning forward he told me there was something he needed totell me. From his behavior and the look on his face, I knewwhatever it was; it wasn’t going to be good news.
He told me an unbelievable story about a drugcartel Craig was allegedly involved with. If it was true, Craig hadbeen dealing drugs on a very large scale and involved in one of thelargest drug smuggling operations in South America.
I was shaken to my core and thought I hadheard the worst when McClintock reminded me Craig was a wantedfugitive and I could be in real danger. I asked him why I would bein danger; I had nothing to do with any of my husband’s dealings.He explained if the drug lord believed I had information concerningthe cartel, he would have me killed. I sat, pondering the mess Ifound myself in, unable to respond for several minutes.
“Listen to me, Katie. We’ve got no time towaste. You’d better get dressed. We need to go downtown to FBIHeadquarters.”
“I’m not in any legal trouble myself, am I?”I asked, still dazed as I tried to sort things out in my mind. Yetno matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t comprehend the unbelievableturn of events.
“No, Katie. But you may be able to answersome questions that might help us find Craig. And we need toprotect you from the cartel, and maybe even from Craig himself. Idon’t think you really know Craig and what he’s capable of. Did youknow he’d been in a mental institution being treated for a bipolardisorder for almost a year before you met him? We believe he’sdelusional at best.”
I shook my head, this shocking informationbarely seeping into my confused mind. “But we’ve been married foralmost ten years. Sure, he has a bad temper, but never seemedactually dangerous or mentally ill to me.”
“I believe he came across to you as a certainkind of person to earn your trust, but the truth is, he deceivedand used you. He hid things from you, Katie. And it’s a safe bet toassume he controlled his rage in order to get what he wanted. Butwe can discuss all this when we get downtown.”
McClintock escorted me upstairs and waitedwhile I dressed and grabbed my purse. We returned downstairs,heading into the garage from the kitchen. I retrieved a few thingsfrom my car. McClintock whisked me into his vehicle and drove me toFBI Headquarters downtown. I was in a total state of shock anddisbelief. Could this really be happening?
 
Chapter Two
 
Tom, Northern California
 
I answered my cell phone quickly, knowingfrom the ring-tone it was my good friend, John McClintock, from FBIHeadquarters in New York City. “Hey John, what’s up?”
“This is top secret, Tom. I have a woman herewho I’m going to be sending to you. Please be especially nice tothis one, okay? I’ll consider it a personal favor.”
“So what’s so special about this one?”
“I’ve known her family for a long time, she’slike a daughter to me. In a nutshell, her psychotic husband is nowon our most-wanted list for drug trafficking big time. He’sinvolved with a Costa Rican cartel and they may think she knows toomuch.”
“How much does she know?”
“She knows nothing about any aspect of thecartel or her husband’s involvement in it. She’s in a total stateof shock.”
“Okay, can you give me the details of herarrival?”
“Her new identity name will be ElizabethHarrison. Use the password ‘unicorn’ and meet her at theSouthwestern Airlines terminal, gate six at eleven-forty-fivetomorrow morning. Whatever you do, don’t be late. I sent her phototo your cell phone so you can recognize her. By the way, she’s asweetheart and extremely attractive.”
“Well, that’ll be a nice change.”
“I could have sent her to Quigley in Seattle,but I told her you were the best at this type of thing and that youwere a personal friend of mine. Besides, I’m afraid old Quigleywould be so starry-eyed he wouldn’t be able to be effective. Youcan thank me later. You owe me,” he added, chuckling.
“Remember Sicilian Sam? If she turns out tobe twice the angel you say she is, then we’ll be even.”
McClintock laughed. “Seriously Tom, becareful and stay close. This cartel has a very nasty reputation andher husband is deranged enough to be dangerous. Watch yourback.”
I studied her picture on my cell phonescreen. There was something about her that really appealed to me.Nothing I could put my finger on, just a feeling. Yes, she was veryattractive, and hopefully she would be as nice as John McClintockclaimed, which would make my job a lot easier.
Let’s see––this would be number twenty-three.I had helped twenty-two people start new lives for themselves. Itwas a good job, but also a demanding, difficult, and sometimesdangerous one as well. There were a few people I really likedpersonally and had gotten attached to, but their situations wouldchange. They either returned to their old lives or had to betransferred to another agent and have their identity changed againfor their own safety. It was a bummer when that happened.
But at least I’d made some really goodfriends over the last few years. That was important, especiallyafter Nancy died. I still missed her and couldn’t imagine anyonetaking her place in my life. Maybe it would happen someday, but Itried not to think about it too much. If something was meant tohappen, it would. Love, I’d learned, was a very complicated thing.Besides, I wasn’t even sure if I was ready to be romanticallyinvolved with anyone again. What if I fell in love and somethinghappened to her, like it had to Nancy? I didn’t know if I couldhandle that kind of loss again. But I didn’t want to be alone forthe rest of my life.
Nancy came into my life when I hadn’t beenlooking for someone to share it with. I was too busy with my careerand just having a good time. I think I had actually been avoidinggetting close to anyone. I’d thought I would have to give up toomuch of myself. But after I’d met her, everything changed and Ilooked at love in a whole new way.
Deep in thought, I was suddenly brought backto reality by the sound of my cell phone ringing. It was McClintockagain, acting like an over-protective father.
“Hey, make sure you call me tomorrow and letme know when Elizabeth arrives, okay?”
“Yes, I will. Stop worrying or your colitiswill act up again and you’ll end up in the hospital. I’ll talk toyou tomorrow, John.”
Needing to clear my mind, I drove toCliffport and parked my car near the lighthouse. I watched the sunplummet into the ocean. The fresh air revived me. It was just afterfive o’clock, which meant I was officially off the clock for theday. I dreaded going home alone and eating some leftovers from Godknows when in front of the tube. The thought of a good meal and acouple glasses of wine at The Inn was much more appealing.
The evening was nice enough for me to leavemy car at the lighthouse and walk to The Inn. I took thewell-beaten path from the lighthouse to the restaurant. I pridedmyself on the fact I was in pretty good shape and was pleased thesharp incline didn’t wind me. Working out every day definitely paidoff.
The Inn was all but deserted, a bit early forthe winery snobs. I was seated at my usual table, one with a greatview of the cliffs and ocean beyond. The staff knew me well and Ihad a glass of wine in front of me before I even asked for it, andKelly, who was young enough to be my daughter, always joked withme. She knew I was involved with the FBI, but not exactly what myjob was.

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