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Advance Search

One Way Out

Published by: eXtasy Books

Author : Tim Smith

ISBN :978-1-4874-4109-8

Page :205

Word Count :59059

Publication Date :2024-04-05

Series : Nick Seven#9

Heat Level :

Available Formats : One Way Out (prc) , One Way Out (pdf) , One Way Out (mobi) , One Way Out (epub)

Category : Contemporary Romance , Romantic Suspense and Mystery , Romance , What's New

  • Product Code: 978-1-4874-4109-8

Blackmail, kidnapping, stalking, death threats…some days, you just can’t win!

Lauren Scott is a wealthy widow with a lot of embarrassing secrets. Her late husband, a convicted stock swindler, died under mysterious circumstances, just as he was about to name names in Federal court. His legacy supposedly includes a list of VIPs who attended sex parties on a private Caribbean island, among other things. Now Lauren has become the target of too many people who think she holds the secrets he once kept, and they just might kill her for them.  

She calls on her friends, former CIA spies Nick Seven and Felicia Hagens, for help. Despite initial misgivings, they agree to assist her. But their laidback Florida Keys life is quickly disrupted by those in hot pursuit, including a zealous podcaster who is making Lauren’s private life public, a Treasury agent, victims of her late husband’s Ponzi scheme, and a Southern governor who has his eye on the White House.

Looks like there might be trouble brewing in paradise.

Near the tip of Anguilla, an island east of Puerto Rico, sat a once-uninhabited private cay known as Scrub Island. Easily reached by boat or small airplane, the island had a landing strip and several refurbished dwellings that were previously abandoned due to hurricane damage. These included a two-story main house and four smaller guest cottages, all in the Caribbean style of white stucco with red-tile roofs and teakwood accents. Electricity was supplied by a network of solar-powered generators, and there was a wi-fi tower. 

Lauren Scott stood on the first-floor deck of the manor home and looked out at the deep blue Atlantic waters through a pair of oversized dark glasses. Her long blonde hair, pulled into a ponytail, swayed gently with the early morning breeze from the bay. Her fair skin had taken on a deep natural tan during the four months since she’d sailed her thirty-foot schooner, the Lucky Lauren, from the Florida Keys to the island once owned by her late ex-husband, financier Erik Reisman. Lauren inherited Scrub Island when her ex had died under sinister circumstances while in Federal custody, awaiting trial for tax and securities fraud. He was also facing charges of bringing young women from Europe to this very island for private sex parties involving an elite guest list made up of people from the political and financial worlds, if one believed the media. 

Lauren sipped her morning latte while not averting her eyes from a charter fishing boat roughly a quarter-mile off the coast, between her shore and Anguilla. Not observing any fishing activity, she picked up a pair of binoculars she kept handy for such occasions and focused on the boat. A man crouched near the cabin, staring back at her with his own binoculars. Don’t you people ever give up? Why can’t you all just leave me the hell alone?

Lauren took her cup inside then set it on the kitchen counter. She’d become used to the daily intrusions into her privacy by nosey reporters and treated them like the occasional insects that flittered about—a necessary nuisance but not worth getting upset over as long as they maintained their distance. She exited through another door that opened onto a deck surrounded by a privacy fence. When people began hanging around offshore, like the pest she’d just spotted, she’d had the wall built so she could indulge in her daily ritual of nude sunbathing. 

She pulled off the oversized T-shirt she’d slept in, then lay face down on the chaise lounge. Her active lifestyle and healthy diet regimen belied her age of 42, with a fit physique that boasted a flat stomach, pert breasts, and a firm butt that attracted its share of attention. She rested her head on her crossed arms, closed her eyes then exhaled a deep calming breath. 

Lauren used the downtime to reflect on the reasons for abruptly leaving her winter home near Key Largo, Florida and retreating to the island hideaway. When she’d traveled south from her permanent residence in Saratoga Springs, New York, she had only planned to stay a few months, go sailing, and work on her tan like she did every year. Before heading south, Lauren had been subjected to countless interrogations by the FBI, SEC, and the IRS about her late ex-husband’s financial shell games. They’d been divorced for three years when he was indicted, and he had intentionally kept her in the dark about his business affairs, but that didn’t stop them from asking the same questions over and over again. 

I thought they finally gave up on me telling them that I didn’t know anything, but then Erik was found hanging in his jail cell the night before he was supposed to give grand jury testimony. I was never convinced that he hung himself without help from an accommodating guard. Not the Erik I knew and loved. 

When Lauren reached the Keys, she had no idea that she would become the target of a suave French con artist/weapons dealer named Marco St. Julian, who had befriended her in New York before she made her annual pilgrimage. What she also didn’t see coming was the attention of a rogue FBI agent who was in cahoots with the French scammer. They both seemed convinced that Lauren possessed a list of her late husband’s business and political contacts who attended his island sex parties, populated by young women he flew in on his private jet. St. Julian and the Fed had made it clear they wanted that list.

After I found out what he was using this place for, it cost me a small fortune to have the houses deep-cleaned to remove any trace of what went on there. Even though I still have trouble believing he did what the Feds claimed, I didn’t want any reminders. 

Lauren got up from the chaise when the morning heat got to be too much. She walked naked to the privacy fence, then stood on her tiptoes to peek over it. The boat had moved on, its occupants no doubt disappointed there was nothing to see that morning. I’m sure they’ll be back for the afternoon show.

She went to the al fresco shower stall and stepped in. The cool water felt good on her hot skin. As she lathered up with body wash and a loofah, her hand instinctively went to the oval locket hanging from her neck on a heavy gold chain, the one her late husband gave her after their divorce…the one she never took off. She felt her lips curl into a sly smile as she mentally confirmed what some people only thought. They keep looking for that list, but not in the right place.

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Tags: Romance, Contemporary Mystery, Suspense