Keeping Annie Safe

By: Beverly Barton

Prologue




He dumped the body into Mobile Bay. It could take days, maybe even weeks or months, before anyone found her. Or she just might wash out to sea and no one would ever know what had happened to her. The boss had told him that if it hadn’t taken them so long to discover that she’d gone off to some damn convention, they could have gotten rid of her before she’d shared her secret with anyone else. Luckily, he’d caught up with her in time to end her telephone conversation with her editor. But he had no idea how much information she’d shared with Annie Harden.

He hated having to call his boss. But before he took any further action, he needed an okay from the person who was paying him big bucks for this job. In his opinion, they had no choice but to take care of Ms. Harden before she had a chance to cause any trouble.

He closed the trunk lid, opened the driver’s side door and slid behind the wheel. Within minutes he entered the main highway and headed back toward Point Clear.

Using his cellular phone, he placed the call.

“Hello?”

“I disposed of our little problem,” he said.

“Good.”

“But I’m afraid we have another problem.”

“What went wrong?”

“She called her editor. I don’t know how much she told her, but I think it was enough to make the lady suspicious,” he explained. “And I didn’t find the package.”

“This complicates matters. We need that package. And my superior isn’t going to like knowing that Annie is now involved.”

“I wiped out the computer files and checked her suitcase, so there’s no evidence of any kind,” he said. “But if she shared enough information with—”

“I hate that this has happened. I wanted this stopped before… We have no choice now. I’m afraid we’ll have to take care of the new problem in a similar manner.” Pause. Deep breath. “Stay where you are until I find out exactly where the lady is. If she’s still in town, I’ll get someone here to take care of it. If she’s on her way there, then I’ll let you know and you can handle the situation.”

“I’ll lay low until I hear from you.”

The guy who’d hired him had explained that they’d wanted to eliminate Halley Robinson before she involved this Annie dame. So he figured Annie meant something to either the boss or his superior. And if that was the case, then issuing an order to kill her might not be so easy for them.





Chapter 1




Relaxation washed over Dane Carmichael like the Gulf waters over the sandy beach beneath his feet. Maybe his co-workers had been right, after all. Maybe he did need this vacation more than he realized. He certainly had enjoyed having dinner with old friends tonight. He hadn’t seen Norma Jane and Jay in years, even though he and Lorna had once been very close to the couple. Docking the Sweet Savannah here at Point Clear had brought back a lot of memories—memories of the life he had lost ten years ago when Lorna died. How many summers had they vacationed at the Grand Hotel, as Southern aristocracy had done since pre-Civil War days?

Dane slowed his steps, took a deep breath and gazed up at the starry sky. Clear and bright. A balmy springtime breeze drifted ashore from Mobile Bay. Sweet serenity. Only the ocean’s heartbeat and his own, beating in unison.

A few years ago he’d left the Bureau and a grueling schedule that had helped keep him sane during the difficult years following Lorna’s death. He’d thought that the change would be good for him, maybe allow him time for a personal life. During the first few months as head of one of the most prestigious private security and investigation firms in the country, he had slowed his pace and actually started dating. But as time had passed, he hadn’t found anyone who could measure up to Lorna. After that disappointing revelation, he had once again buried himself in his work, not realizing what a workaholic he’d become or to what extent he had allowed the Dundee agency to become his whole life. Not until his co-workers had suggested he take a few weeks off.

Dane chuckled. Yeah, suggested. “Threatened” was more like it. He thought back to two days ago when Murdock and Ellen Denby had cornered him in his office.

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