In the next few months, WHISTLER HOUSE PUBLISHING will be releasing Novel 2 in my TRILOGY OF TREASON. For my readers who have been waiting far too long to see this book, I am beginning a series of weekly excerpts to start you reading this story that is very close to my heart. Not only does it follow up to THE CONSUMMATE TRAITOR with a plot related to those original characters, it deals with a heartless drug scandal that has already affected too many lives, both military and civilian.
CHAPTER ONE continued....
“Kendra, I want answers.” Ben’s voice seethed.
A quiver twanged inside her. “Answers?”
“For one, what was that tirade you pulled this afternoon?”
Tirade? She flinched. “I don’t know.”
“Really! I’m looking through your day timer right now.”
“My day. . . ? How dare you go into my personal . . . ?”
“And under today’s notes,” he cut her off, “you’ve written a phone number beside the word ‘mefloquine.’ What’s mefloquine? Since when do you not let me know when you are working on a story?”
She gritted her teeth. With every ounce of her being, she resisted the prickling sensation spreading between her shoulder blades. Once it climbed up the back of her neck to the base of her skull, she usually blacked out.
“Please, Ben,” she said in a thinning voice. “I can’t talk now.”
“Talk to me, or I call this number.”
Who was he kidding? She knew Ben. Her producer and friend for the past 20 years, he could be as tenacious as a bulldog when he set his mind to something. He would call just to satisfy his need to know. The creepy-crawly advanced. She willed her eyes to fix on the round pull of the kitchen drawer and resisted.
“You won’t learn anything,” she said in a hard tone as she struggled to stay calm and control the increasing dizziness.
“I’ve already learned it’s the office of a shrink.”
“It’s none of your business.” She checked herself. This was not the way to handle Ben. “Why don’t you tell me what happened this afternoon? The way you saw it. I don’t understand what I did to upset you so.”
He laughed. “Smooth, Kendra. Very smooth. Except it won’t work. Talk to me, please! I’m your friend, not your enemy.”
She swallowed and squeezed her eyelids shut. He was her friend. Dr. Sheppard told her she needed to tell him, but would Ben believe her? It was a gamble she would have to take. “I can’t remember anything about this afternoon.”
Once the words were out of her mouth, she wanted to pull them back. She didn’t believe them herself.
“What do you mean you don’t remember anything? Who are you kidding? You were there. I was there. I heard you. We all heard you.”
Silence dominated the other end of the line as he waited for her answer. What could she tell him? Despair beat against the blank screen filling her memory.
“You don’t have to remember anything,” he said finally. The chill in his voice alerted her. “It’s all on camera.”
Blast! She bit her lip. Call-waiting buzzed in her ear. “Hang on, will you? I’ve got another call.”
She pressed the hook switch down. “Hello.”
“Kendra?” said a man’s voice. “I’ve got hard evidence.” His words sounded clipped, like gravel scraping granite.
“What do you mean, who’s this?”
“Sorry. I don’t recognize your voice.” Nor did she recognize his slight accent. Could it be German?
“Don’t play games with me, Kendra. I got what you asked me to get. I’ll call you later to arrange a meeting.”
The line clicked.
“Wait . . ,” she muttered and swore. Was the caller someone else her mind had blacked out? Why? Then she remembered Ben on the other line. She hit the hook switch. “I’ll call you ...”
The dial tone silenced her.