NEWS & EVENTS 

Awards and Recognition

Yuletide Target - Winner of the Golden Quill Award

Yuletide Target - Finalist in the National Reader's Choice Award

Primary Suspect - Finalist in the National Reader's Choice Award

Shattered Lullaby - Finalist in the Bookbuyer's Best Award

To Love - #121 On the USA Today Bestseller List!

The Only Witness - Winner Golden Quill Contest 2018

The Only Witness - Winner Wisconsin's Write Touch Reader Award 2018

Shielding His Christmas Witness - Winner Gayle Wilson Award

Shielding His Christmas Witness - Winner Wisconsin's Write Touch Reader Award 2017

Mirror Image - Finalist in The Christy Award 2017

Shielding His Christmas Witness and Mirror Image - both finalists in the Orange County Book Buyer's Best Award 2017

Forgotten Memories - Finalist in the Inspirational Reader's 

Choice Awards in the Romantic Suspense Category 2015.

Holiday On The Run - Finalist in the National Reader's Choice Award contest in the Inspirational Category 2015.


 

The Road Home Part 12

The Road Home Part 12

 

According to local legends, the ghost of his great-great-grandfather Joe Chadwick had been haunting the graveyard since he died during the Revolutionary war and the battle that had been fought right off the shores of the island. His uncle Dan had claimed to see the lights dancing around the headstone, too, but Matt had always figured his great uncle was trying to scare him straight.

It had kinda worked. At least until he’d done his stint in the Marines.

What did it mean that he’d seen the lights? Was seeing the ghost of his great, great-great-grandfather something that was passed down from one generation to the next? That someday his son or daughter would be standing in this exact same spot one day, seeing them too?

Whoa, back up. No wife and definitely no kids looming in his future.

Not even an adorable little girl who looked like Anne.

Don’t go there.

A massive gust of wind hit him in the back, sending him forward a step. The howling seemed to grow louder as if great-great-grandpa Joe didn’t appreciate his intent to let the family line fizzle away.

Okay there was a slim chance he’d get married. One day.

Maybe.

He stared at the headstone again and wondered if he was losing his mind. First the lights, then the wind. Since when did he believe in ghosts? Just because great uncle Dan had claimed to have seen them, didn’t make it true.

The real answer was likely something more practical, like something rigged together by John Turner. No doubt as another attraction, in addition to the scuba diving, to lure tourists here.

Yet another way to make money. Or provide a distraction while searching for gold? Wasn’t he beginning to believe that the treasure was Turner’s ultimate goal?

“Come on, John, I know you’re out there.”

Silence.

Matt scowled and peered through the darkness. “It’s a good trick, John, I’ll give you that. Obviously you paid attention to the legend of the lights.”

No response.

“Hey, John, don’t you think you should come out here and face me man to man? Shouldn’t you at least ask my permission before trying to take over my island?”

Still nothing. He sighed and muttered a curse beneath his breath as he turned to retrace his steps back toward the house. John Turner had to be the one behind this, although it was obvious the guy wasn’t going to admit it.

Matt kept a keen eye out for anything amiss as he walked through the woods, more determined than ever to find out exactly what John Turner’s plans entailed.

He didn’t trust the guy, these recent events only reinforcing what Samuel had told him. This island was his and he intended to keep it that way. But he couldn’t ignore the sense of urgency. The fact that Anne kept sticking up for Turner and his wife, babysitting their kids, convinced him he had to move fast in order to prove his point.

No way in hell was he letting the island go without a fight.

 

***

Anne fell asleep waiting for Matt to call her back, waking up with the early morning light with a crick in her neck. She hurried in to check on Grams, relieved to find she was still asleep.

There wasn’t a lot of time to get ready before Heather showed up with Ethan and Emma, so she rushed through a quick shower and then made Grams breakfast. But as she worked, she couldn’t shake off the lingering doubts Matt had planted in her mind last night about the real motives behind John and Heather’s plans.

Why would she let Matt color her opinions of her employers anyway? Years ago he’d shown his true colors when he’d rushed off, taking her heart with him. At this point, she knew more about her employers than she knew about him.

“Bah, you’re not gonna make me eat oatmeal again, are you?” Grams’ voice was sharp as she entered the kitchen.

“I thought you liked my oatmeal.” Anne gestured toward the table but her grandmother only scowled. She sighed. “How about we make a deal? Eat the oatmeal today and tomorrow I’ll make eggs and bacon. Deal?”

Grams waved a finger in her face as she hobbled to the table. “Don’t think I won’t hold you to that promise.”

Yeah, that’s what she was afraid of. “The kids will be here soon; are you sure you don’t mind? I can take them to the park for a while to give you a break.”

“I think I can handle it.”

Anne suppressed a smile, nothing would keep Grams down for long.

They’d barely finished their meal when the doorbell rang. Anne dumped her dirty dishes in the sink, before walking over to answer it.

“Hi, Anne, hope you don’t mind we’re a little early.” Heather’s smile was strained, and her eyes were slightly puffy, as if she’d been crying.

“Of course not, come on in.” Anne opened the door and the two exuberant kids went blasting past her heading straight for the toy room.

Heather didn’t move from her spot in the doorway. “Thanks again, I’ll be home around four o’clock or so, okay?”

“Why don’t you come in for a minute?” Anne sensed the other woman needed to talk. “I brewed a fresh pot of coffee.”

“No, but thanks. I--uh--John is waiting for me.”

“Are you sure? You seem--upset. I promise I’m a good listener.”

The plastic smile stretched wider, making Heather look like a clown. A sad clown with a pretend happy face. Yuck. “Not at all, just have a lot to do, that’s all. Bye!” Heather whirled around and hurried back to her car.

Anne closed the door and glanced at her grandmother. “Is it just me or was that weird?”

“Weird. Like the oatmeal.”

Anne rolled her eyes, but pulled out her cell phone to call Matt. To her surprise, he answered almost immediately.

“What’s up?”

“Have you spoken to John Turner, yet?”

“No, why?”

“Heather was just here dropping off the kids and she looked…upset.”

“Hmm.”

That’s it? Hmm? “Is that all you have to say? What happened last night, anyway? You never called me back.” She wasn’t proud of the hint of petulance in her tone.

“Nothing happened. The lights disappeared and I’m pretty sure that John rigged up the show. I didn’t call because I didn’t want to wake you or Libby up.”

“How do you know John was behind the lights? Maybe...” her voice trailed off. Was she really going to tell him the lights had come from the ghost? Like everyone else in town, she’d heard of the legend of the lights, but she’d never witnessed it first-hand.

And it irked her to know Matt had.

“I just do. Listen, Anne, I gotta go. I’m following Heather now and I’ll let you know when I learn more.”

“What? You’re following her? Honestly, Matt, don’t you think this is going a little too far?”

“No, I don’t. See ya.”

He disconnected from the call. She glared at the screen on her phone, resisting the urge to toss it against the wall. Matt Chadwick had to be the most frustrating man she’d ever known. Thank goodness she’d come to her senses and found a way to get over him years ago.

Especially since she knew that he’d likely be leaving again, any day now. Or at least once he’d sold the island.

Her chest tightened with the thought of never seeing him again.

A wail of crying came from the toy room, interrupting her troubled thoughts.

“Sounds like Emma,” Grams predicted.

Anne nodded and rushed over to mop up the tears, but as the hours dragged by, she found herself wondering just what Matt hoped to discover by following Heather and John.

And why she couldn’t seem to shake off the sick feeling of dread.

 

***

Keeping Heather’s car in view wasn’t easy, especially since Matt needed to keep several cars between them to prevent either Heather or John from recognizing his truck.

Thankfully, Heather didn’t seem to notice him lingering two car lengths behind her as she wove her way across Old Derby to the marina. He felt a surge of satisfaction when he realized John’s touring boat was moored at the dock. Squinting in the sunlight, he could make out a man who looked like John carrying scuba tanks across the deck.

Were they planning a scuba trip down to the shipwreck today? If so, where were the tourists?

Or was this a solo dive?

Matt parked in the back row of the marina and then made his way to the shore. Heather was already on the boat, but John hadn’t shoved off yet; the two of them appeared to be arguing. He angled over to where he’d moored his own boat and quickly climbed aboard.

He started up the motor and headed out in the opposite direction so that John or Heather wouldn’t see him. Good thing he had his scuba gear ready to go.

With any luck he could beat them to the island and get down in the water with his camera, ready to record whatever real reason the couple was so interested in his island.

 


 

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