Sunday, December 26, 2010


   I made one quick stop in Minneapolis and now, days later I had finally reached my destination. My mouth had watered for a good meal when the signs along the way had said, "Visit Tony's Steakhouse for a Taste of Splendor!" Now finally I was here. And lordy, I got out of the car and leisurely stretched. And, just then  gloved hands grabbed me, and shoved me stumbling away from the car. Within minutes a man was behind the wheel of my BMW and speeding away, and I lay in the dust in the parking lot of Tony's restaurant in Dallas, Texas.
   A scream started in my throat and my lips formed the word, "help!" But then I stopped, I couldn't call the police. By now there more then likely was a nation-wide alert out for my arrest. Nausea swept up my throat as I slumped to the hardpacked dirt and gasped for air. Stunned, in the shade of a tree I put my head in my hands and huddled, hopeless and alone. All my planning had been for nothing. I finally had had what I wanted and now in seconds my fortune and my beautiful black BMW was gone!
   I wiped my eyes and thought hopefully, maybe the thief would come back!  Oh sure, and won't he be pleasantly surprised when he finds my money too! Anger shot through me at the thought that someone else had all my money, and my car!
   It was 8:30 on a Saturday night in Dallas. The sky was velvety black and the stars were so bright they looked like I could reach up and touch them, and the warm humid autumn air was laced with the exhaust from the charcoal-broiled steaks. I got up and brushed myself off and on shaky legs walked over to the restaurant.
   "The Biggest Bar in Texas," the sign on the door proclaimed. My stomach ached, both from hunger and fear as I stood uncertainly for a minute and wondered, should I call Reed for help?  If I told him what had just happened would he come and get me?  Oh Lord, what in the world was I thinking?  
   I straightened my sweater and denin skirt and wiped the dust of my high-heeled sandals, then felt to make sure my ruby and diamond earrings were still safely clipped on.
  "They always bring me good luck,"  I remembered my mom saying. Now they were the only things I had left of any value. I squared my shouders and walked into the place and found a stool at the horseshoe shaped bar. Mirrors magnified the crowded room that opened into a dining area with white linen covered tables set with wine glasses.  Linda Ronsteds's voice whispered about lost loves over the sound system.
   "What'll you have?" the bartender asked me. The air in the large room was cool and heavenly as I sat at the bar without a cent in my pocket. I didn't even have a purse but I said, "I'll have a brandy manhatten please! and I'll need you to put it on a tab!" Then I needed both hands to lift the glass to my mouth.
    By God I vowed, I will find the man who so silently and expertly stole everything I owned.  I took another sip of the drink and felt the warmth give me strength! 


Monday, December 20, 2010

   Maybe it was too late and I was caught, but I still protested, "It was an accident!"
   "Lindy," Reed said patiently then,"my company wants their million dollars back, and you've been charged with fraud!"
   I sat stunned and stared in unbelief.  For God's sake, not now after all I'd been through. Then I realized he was still talking. "Now, we know he is John Thomas and the same man who calls himself J.T.. Lindy, he killed Sierra Ames, Tanner's girlfriend, and I just found out, now he's killed Tanner!"
   I sat frozen, but forced myself to think. I remembered being haunted by J.T. brown eyes.  Reminding me somewhat of being the same as those of the man who delivered the check for the million dollars to me at the hotel. But I soon forgot about it.
   I repeated, "J.T. killed Tanner?"
   I saw pain deepen the lines on Reed's face. "Yes," he murmured, "I haven't had time yet--," and he looked away and was silent.
   "My god, I've been involved with a murderer?" I managed to ask.
   "Afraid so, but the asshole will get prison for life!"
   I clutched the coffee cup in my shaking hands and started to cry.  Reed stood up and put a hand on my shoulder, then pulled me into his arms. Then what started as a comforting embrace soon developed into a kiss, bringing to the surface all the same feelings we had shared years ago. I clung to him feeling the safety in his arms again.
   The next morning Reed said to me, "Lindy, you know you've got to return the money!"
   "I will," I promised solemnly as we sat in his living room on the burgundy leather couch drinking coffee and enjoying the warmth of the fireplace after the night of love-making. The skies were gray with the feel of an early frost in the air.
   "And after we get things straightened out with the police and my company, we've got to talk!" He continued as he ran a hand over my bare leg.  
   I shivered at his touch. I had thought of nothing else during the wakeful hours of the night, and I smiled at him.
   He took me in his arms then and said, "Lindy, I've got to go to the memorial serivce for Tanner this morning, but I'll be back shortly. Be ready and we'll take off for Minneapolis then to take care of everything."
   The next morning the sun cast a rosy glow over the still lake and a call from a loon echoed in the stillness as I walked with him to his corvette. I leaned in through the window and kissed him, then stepped back and waved.
   "I'll see you in a couple of hours," he said.  I smiled and waved again.
   A few minutes later, the peace in the north was shattered as I roared off in my BMW. 



Monday, December 13, 2010

Maybe it was too late--

   "There's more to this story isn't there," I asked Reed as I rolled up the sleeves of the shirt I'd borrowed from his closet. We were sitting at the table in his kitchen later that day after everything had settled down and J.T. was on his way to jail. It had been four days since I'd left the hotel in Minneapolis. A breeze billowed the curtains out over the window sill and fresh coffee bubbled in the pot on the stove.
   "Lindy, you didn't know what you were getting yourself into when you got tangled up with that man," Reed said shaking his head. "I recognized the man you knew as J.T. at the casino too. And, I've been following him for the last few days. That's why I'm late getting here now.
   "You knew J.T.?" I asked gaping at him.
   "Yes Lindy," he said. "I've been working on this case for some time now!"  He got up and poured two cups of coffee for us and settled in again at the table. 
   "Let me start at the beginning," he went on, "You rememberTanner Burke, my best friend don't you?  He put a man named John Thomas in prison for a bank robbery, then he represented Thomas's wife, Reka Holms when she divorced him. Sometime later Tanner's secretary, Sierra Ames was killed in a mysterious car accident. We got together many times to work on the case but all we had was that it involved a red car. It went unsolved, but Tanner would not let it go. You may as well know Lindy, I work for the same insurance company that insured you!  And sometime after your claim had been paid out, new evidence was unexpectedly found and I was put on the case to investigate."
   "You knew about my fire?"  I exclaimed and waited for his reply.
   "Yes," he said and shifted his glance away from my stare as I raised my voice and yelled, "Well, why the hell didn't you tell me when we were at the casino!"
   "I'm sorry Lindy, but it just wasn't the right time. But now I have to ask: did you set that fire?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Its been years--

   "Are you still drinking those rum drinks," Reed asked as we sat in the lounge a few minutes later. 
   I clasped my shaking hands together under the table, willing myself to relax and tried to smile.
   Older now, his reddish hair had turned to a sandy color and was mixed with gray. Lines were scattered around his blue eyes. Wearing a brown sport coat, a soft yellow shirt opened low to a broad chest.
   "Lindy, where have you been?" He asked.
   "I live in Minnespolis. You know Reed I got married a while back, but now its been almost a year since my husband died." 
   He reached for my hand and exclaimed, "I'm so sorry."  My mind raced as I wondered, did he still care?  Would he help me now?
   "What about you Reed, are you still living on your ranch?'' I asked.
   He sat back and put his arm over the top of the booth.  "Nope, I pulled up stakes and sold out!"
   "You did, I can't believe it, what about your law practice?"
   "I gave most of that up," he laughed. "Midlife crisis I guess. Although I do still work part-time as an insurance investigator."
  Oh Lordy, my breath caught, did he know about my house fire?  No not likely, I consoled myself, it would be too much of a coincidence; there were hundreds of insurance companies.  Then I got an idea and asked him innocently, "Reed do you still have your cabin at the lake?"
   He smiled. "Yup, I sure do, that's where I live now."
   Just then, I happened to glance up at a mirror that reflected the entrance into the lounge and I saw J.T. walk by.  He was here, in the casino!
   I willed my nerves to be still, I had to do something and get out of there!  And then I got an idea and asked, "Reed, just for old times sake, would you consider letting me stay a day two at your place?  I was on my way up to see my family and I had to stop here because I suddenly got this awful migraine." I ran a hand over my forehead and grimaced.
   "Well sure Lindy," he said.  "You know the way, the key is under the red flower pot on the deck." 
   I leaned over in thanks and kissed him on his cheek.
   "I'm working on something so I'll probably be hung up for a day or two, but wait for me, will you?"
   Within thirty minutes I was there. I would wait until I dared go back to Minneapolis to get my money and then leave town for good
   Several days passed and he did not come, and I had already stayed longer than I'd planned. As much as I hated to, I had to leave in the morning. California beckoned. 
   It was a lovely warm fall day as I sat out on the dock enjoying the scenery, when suddenly footsteps echoed on the boards. I looked up and then froze as I saw two men coming towards me.  Horrified, I recognized J.T. accompanied by an African- American man. 
   I scrambled to my feet ready to run for my life, then realized I was trapped out on the dock, over the deep swirling water.  And I couldn't swim!
   "Bitch," J.T. raged and as he came towards me, he slid his belt off.
   I stared at it in horror as it snaked through the air making a cutting sound. I looked at the other man and he held a gun, and it was pointed right at me.
   As a scream began deep in my throat, a shot rang out freezing the moment into a frame of stillness.  No one moved! The belt in J.T.'s hand stopped in mid-air and the gunman swung around franticly looking for the new target. Gravel flew through the air then as police cars screeched to a stop in the driveway and Reed Conners voice cut throught the silence as he shouted, "okay assholes, don't even breath!"