The moment her feet hit the wooden floor, she moaned. It was too damn cold for mid-March. As she reached down to the footboard of her bed to retrieve her robe, she danced her toes over the floor searching for her house shoes. Her big toe encountered one of the satin slippers. She slid her foot inside the soft warmth and glanced down to see if she could locate its mate.
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Happy times. Not like today when she had come here to lend support and comfort to her dearest friend. Maleah would have gone with her earlier today, but Nic had insisted on her staying with Derek since the two of them had only recently fallen in love and were newly engaged. She knocked on the front door. No response. She knocked harder and repeatedly. Please, let me in. Maleah turned and surveyed the area around the cabin. A warm summery breeze flitted through the treetops, swaying the tall, skinny pines.
Somewhere in the distance, bushes rustled and wild creatures stirred. And then it hit her. Spinning around, she stared at the two SUVs parked in the driveway. Two vehicles. There should be three. For that matter, where was Cully Redmond, the Powell agent sent to follow Nic and protect her? Frantic with concern, she grabbed the door handle and much to her surprise, it gave way and the door opened.
Not locked! Gun in hand, Maleah entered the cabin and hurried cautiously from room to room searching for Nic. The house was empty. The door leading from the living room out onto the back deck stood ajar. She eased outside, keeping her back to the rough-hewn log walls, and made her way carefully from one end to the other.
No sign of a single soul. Where was Nic? Where was Cully? Something was wrong. Badly wrong. Damn it Why had she let her best friend leave without her? Maleah pulled her phone from her jacket pocket, hit the programmed number, and tried to control her frazzled nerves as she waited. Deep breaths. Think positive thoughts.
I got here about five minutes ago. And neither is Cully. We have to find Nic. Thank you for acquiring the information so quickly, Mr. Powell will be in touch with further instructions very soon. As he walked swiftly toward the foyer, he encountered Barbara Jean guiding her wheelchair down the hallway.
He could tell by the way she looked at him that she knew something was wrong, but she simply nodded, turned around, and wheeled back down the hall. Barbara Jean Hughes was his assistant, his dear friend, and his lover.
During the past few years she had become an essential part of his life. He admired her and respected her and counted on her understanding and support. When he reached the foyer, Sanders paused for a moment, squared his shoulders, and mentally prepared himself for what he suspected was more bad news. No unauthorized personnel entered or exited. Whoever their visitors were, they had passed inspection and had been allowed entrance.
Sanders opened the door and found two uniformed officers standing there, somber expressions on their young faces. The taller of the two, a freckle-faced guy who could not be a day over twenty-five, introduced himself and his fellow officer.
We would like to speak to Griffin Powell. Powell is not available. May I help you? I am Sanders. Sanders closed the door behind them. The driver of the vehicle found in a ravine was Cullen J. Redmond is dead," Deputy Taylor said.
Sanders tensed. If Cully was dead that meant Nicole was without protection. His instructions had been to follow her from Douglas Lake to her cabin retreat in Gatlinburg and guard her with his life. I said he had been involved in a single-vehicle accident. Redmond died of a gunshot wound. A direct hit to his head is what we were told. Cully had been shot in the head. He had been sent to protect Nicole and now he was dead.
Managing to put aside his fears for Nicole and his personal grief over the loss of a valuable agent and a fine man, Sanders faced the young officers. You and Mr. Powell have our deepest sympathy," Deputy Meyer said. Sanders escorted the two young men outside, shook hands with both, and watched until they got in their car before he returned to the house. After closing and locking the door, he stood in the foyer for several minutes, deciding how to handle this situation.
And then he went to find Derek Lawrence. The moment Sanders saw Derek, he stopped and the two men stared at each other. Derek instantly sensed Sanders had bad news for him. But what could possibly be worse than the news that Nicole Powell was missing, as was her bodyguard? Sanders nodded. He has not come out since Nicole left this morning. They came to tell Griffin that Cully Redmond was involved in a single-vehicle accident. Please, God, let that be what happened, Derek prayed.
He was shot in the head. Then he took a deep breath and said, "We must work under the assumption that whoever killed Cully has taken Nicole. Do we agree? Luke Sentell took care of that unpleasant chore. He brought in Hinesley, switched places with him, and set him up to kill or be killed when Luke found him," Derek said. And if he has Nic Nic had discovered only yesterday that she was pregnant. She had shared the news with Maleah, as women often do, because they were best friends, and Maleah had told him.
After months of attacks on Powell agents and their families, Linden has captured the prize. She struggled to open her eyes. The first attempt failed. On a flash of fear-induced adrenaline, her eyelids popped open and her heart rate shot off the charts. Muted gray darkness surrounded her. The steady hum of an engine droned in her ears. She bolted upright and quickly realized that she had been lying on a bed. Whose bed? And just where the hell was she? She lifted first one leg and then the other.
After swallowing hard, she whispered aloud, "What happened to me? So what had happened to her and how had she wound up unconscious and confined in a room with no windows or—? As her eyesight began to adjust to the murky light coming from beneath what she assumed was a door, she surveyed her prison, listened to the thrumming of a loud motor, and sensed the vibration of a moving vehicle. It was a cabin.
Nicole suddenly realized that she was on an airplane. But not the Powell jet. Damn it, Nicole, think!
Beverly Barton Bundle: Dead By Midnight, Dead By Morning, & Dead by Nightfall
Start your review of Dead by Nightfall Dead by Trilogy 3; Griffin Powell 13 Write a review Shelves: kindle-unlimited I loved this book, but it is definitely not for the faint of heart. This was was gritty and disturbing, but an excellent conclusion to the series. There was much less romance in Dead by Nightfall than the previous books of the series. I enjoyed the suspense, but would have preferred a little more romance. Since things have not been going well between Nicole and Griffin in the last few books, I was glad to read this one that wraps up their story. I loved this book, but it is definitely not for the faint of heart.
Dead by Nightfall