Authors: Lois Sanders
Heroes Never Die
Beau to Beau Publishing
Copyright 2013 Lois Sanders
All Rights Reserved
This book is also available in print.
Copyright and Disclaimer:
This book is not transferable. It is for your own personal use. If it is sold, shared, or given away, it is an infringement of the copyright of this work. No portion of this book may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the author or publisher, with the exception of brief excerpts used for the purposes of review.
This book is intended for Adult Audiences. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are solely the product of the author’s imagination and/or are used fictitiously, though reference may be made to actual historical events or existing locations. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or yet to be born, is purely coincidental and entirely unintentional.
Published in the United States of America.
To my children, Matthew, Jamie, and Jessica. You are the grounding force that compelled me to reach beyond my limitations. You have enriched my life in ways you cannot possibly know. Never forget, we overcame! Here’s to our first package of Oreos.
To my grandchildren, Zachary, Hannah, Sarah, Kaitlyn, and Isaiah. Each of you has heaped even more blessings upon me. Dream big, and never limit the possibility of your vision by the sightlessness of others.
Kaitlyn – Your struggle to survive has been extraordinary. You’ve shown what a determined, little fighter can do when all hope is gone. Your every achievement is a monumental success story, and I am amazed by you. Never give up!
Isaiah – You shared the same NICU as your cousin, even at the same time. You fought hard to survive. What a pistol you are now!
To my siblings – We shared the most incredible memories, memories I will cherish my lifetime. When we laughed, we didn’t stop until we buckled onto the floor. When we cried, we had many arms to hold us. When we schemed, the law couldn’t find us. When trouble came, no one dared come between us. We were, and still are, a mighty fortress.
Janice Sue – My encourager
Michael Lee – My protector
Marsha Kay – My co-conspirator
Me – Strong-willed
Linda Joy – My lamb
Marcus Roy – My laughter
Frederick Ray – My prankster
Sandra Jil – My enthusiasm
To Mom and Dad – From cradling us inside of drawers to molding us into adults, you showed us the meaning of sacrifice, hard work, and dogged determination. Thanks for leaving us a legacy of love, laughter, and courage. Miss you so much!
To my husband, Art – If I could choose all over again, I would choose you.
Kyle Robertson is a CIA operative, and crushing
the enemy is what he does best. A jilted ex-lover, he lost his ladylove, Stephanie, to a Major in the Armed Services, but he knows that if he waits long enough, payback time will arrive. When war breaks out and Major Brian Fairchild receives orders to ship out, Kyle is given a dangerous and deadly order that, if executed flawlessly, will make him a hero in the eyes of the President. Blackmailing someone into carrying out the plan without divulging the secrets of the mission is his top priority, and Stephanie is the ideal choice. The young woman’s journey to exotic places leads to intrigue and terror when she discovers that she has been set up, and she finds herself engaged in a fierce and deceptive battle in which the prize is life.
Stephanie faced the dressing table in her small apartment in the historic college town of Athens, Ohio. She pinned a green and white Ohio University pendant, Class of 1993, along the edge of the rutted wood frame. In three days she would graduate cum laude from the prestigious E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. She remembered how difficult it was to be separated from her fiancé while she completed her education, but now she marveled at how quickly the four years had gone by, just as her dad had insisted they would. Now, in two short months, she would become Mrs. Kyle Robertson.
Stephanie gave herself a final inspection. Kyle was due to arrive at any moment and she wanted to look stunning. Her stomach fluttered with nervous excitement. She would be in his arms soon, and no one, not even her dad, would be able to separate them again.
As she turned to go to the living room, her mother’s picture arrested her attention. Everyone had always told her that she looked like her mother, but she had never been able to see the resemblance. Now as she slowly reached for the ornate silver frame that rested upon the dressing table, she was stunned by what she saw. Her mother’s face was soft and beautiful, her eyes blue and enchanting, her mouth full and ravishing, her smile bright and alluring, and her blonde hair long and curled. Stephanie lifted her focus and stared at her own reflection in the mirror. The similarities were startling. She gently replaced the picture, caressing her mother’s face as she did. “I miss you, Mom,” she whispered.
“What are you doing in there?” Duke yelled from the living room.
Stephanie’s shoulders dropped. She thought he had already left. Her friend, Duke Brady from the adjoining apartment, was making himself at home as usual. She loved him like a brother, but it was time for him to leave. Kyle was due any moment and she wanted to be alone with him.
She smiled with approval at her reflection, and then went to the living room and joined Duke. He was stretched out on the brown leather sofa with a beer can in his hand, relaxing after a grueling week of finals, and he didn’t appear as though he was planning to leave any time soon.
“Grab me another beer, will ya, Steph?” He tipped the can up over his mouth and gulped down the last swallow.
Stephanie took Duke’s empty beer can. She counted the pyramid of stacked cans. Unbelievable! He had already guzzled ten beers. She carefully added the empty can to the top of the pyramid. “Sure you can handle another one?” she asked, seeing the glazed look in his eyes.
“Are you kidding?” he laughed, slurring his words. “We’re celebrating, remember? Just think
, no more pulling all-nighters for all of those damned tests. The moment we’ve been waiting for is finally here. Next stop – the Pulitzer. C’mon, Steph,” he coaxed. “Have a beer with me.”
“No more for me,” she refused, tickled by his high hopes. “I want to be sober when Kyle gets here.” Stephanie glanced at the gold, diamond-studded wristwatch Kyle had given her. “He should be here any minute,” she said with a raised eyebrow, hoping that Duke would take the hint and leave.
Duke winced with hostility. “When are you gonna learn he’s no good for you? He’s trash, just like the rest of his kind.”
“Don’t start in on Kyle,” she protested. “I love him. And whether you like it or not, I’m going to be his wife.”
“Big mistake,” he growled. “Mark my words. Kyle is going to hurt you. You just wait and see.”
Here we go again, she thought. “Look, Duke. We’ve been over this. So listen up for the last time. Kyle works for the CIA. But he’s not responsible for the mishandling of information that went on during the Vietnam War. He was only a baby then. So don’t blame him for your father’s death.”
“Is that what you call it?” Duke jeered as he pulled his muscular frame to his feet. ‘Mishandling of information?’ “The CIA watched with their own eyes as thousands of soldiers needlessly died in combat, and all they cared about was the effect the numbers would have on the White House. But one of those soldiers was the father I never knew. Kyle works for the same corrupt bureaucracy that killed him, so that makes him just as guilty.”
Duke’s hostility alarmed her. The Vietnam War was a sensitive subject around him, but he had never been this irrational. “I know how it feels to lose a parent,” she said firmly, hoping to reason with him. “I lost my mom when I was five. Believe me, it doesn’t hurt any less to lose someone you know and love.”
Duke only became more belligerent. “That’s not the same,” slurring every word. “My father was ordered to die. And don’t bother giving virtue to the crime by telling me that he gave his life for his country because there isn’t a damn thing in this country worth dying for.”
Stephanie crossed her arms in disgust. It was impossible to reason with someone who had inhaled almost a dozen beers. “You have some serious issues going on inside of your head, and I wish I could help you with all of your problems, but I didn’t major in psychology. I’m going to knock on the wall so your roommates will come and take you home.”
Stephanie hurried to the kitchen so she wouldn’t have to listen to any more of Duke’s derogatory remarks. She was looking forward to seeing Kyle, and she didn’t want anything to spoil it. She glanced at her watch. Kyle was never late. What was keeping him?
Stephanie banged on the adjoining wall in the kitchen. “Brent! Luke!” she called. “Come and get Duke.”
Duke staggered into the kitchen behind her. He opened the refrigerator and helped himself to another beer.
“I hope you didn’t follow me in here just so you could criticize Kyle.” She watched him guzzle his beer. “Kyle is a wonderful man, and I have complete confidence in everything he does. One day he’s going to be the President of the United States. You wait and see.”
Duke spewed a mouthful of beer all over the floor. “He’s also an egotistical, power-hungry son of a bitch,” he accused. “He deserves the White House. And I’m going to be the journalist who brings him down.”
Stephanie had had enough. She pounded on the wall even harder. “Where are Brent and Luke? Why don’t they answer?”
“Beer run,” he stammered, his head wobbling. “They’ll be back soon.” Duke slammed his beer on the counter with a loud crack, and then he put his hands on Stephanie’s shoulders.
Stephanie knew he was only trying to steady his balance. “C’mon, Duke. It’s time to go home.”
“Not until I tell you what I came here to say. I’m leaving for Michigan tomorrow, and this is my last chance. I’m in love with you. Have been ever since we met. I may not be some hotshot from Washington like Kyle, but one day all of Washington will know who I am.”
Stephanie suddenly felt uncomfortable with Duke’s hands on her shoulders. “You wouldn’t be talking like that if you hadn’t had so much to drink. Now knock it off!”
Stephanie saw a look of wounded pride on his face. He suddenly pressed her mouth with a reckless kiss. She pulled away, shocked that he would do such a thing. She looked at him as though she would see some sort of explanation for his behavior written on his face. Instead, his hungry desperate eyes frightened her. She backed away from him until she felt the bump of the countertop against her back. Duke lunged for her and pushed himself against her while he held her body in a suffocating squeeze. She struggled to push him away, but his squeeze only tightened.
Stephanie heard the front door open. “Stephanie, where are you?” she heard Kyle call. She cried out to him.
Kyle hurried into the room. He grabbed Duke by the collar and jerked him off of Stephanie. He pulled back his right fist and swung it forward with all of his might, smashing Duke’s jaw and sending him crashing to the floor.
Stephanie gasped for air. It had all happened so quickly, and now suddenly she was free. She stared at Kyle. His hand was still drawn up in a tight fist and he was rubbing it with his left hand. His face was full of rage. She followed his stare to where Duke’s body was lying. He was sprawled across the floor and he wasn’t moving. Blood gushed from his mouth.
“He’s dead,” she cried, still gasping for her breath. “You killed him!”
Kyle walked over to Duke’s body, stooped down, and felt for a pulse. “He’s not dead, Stephanie,” he said firmly to calm her.
Stephanie was still too frightened to listen. Duke’s jaw was battered, and he needed a doctor at once. “I’m scared, Kyle. He’s had a lot to drink, and he’s hurt bad. You have to get out of here right away.”
“I’m not leaving you,” he protested.
“I mean it, Kyle,” she insisted, her voice trembling with panic. “The cops will be here soon. You have to leave!”
“But I can’t…”
Stephanie heard Brent and Luke pounding on the front door. “You okay in there?” they called. Without waiting for an answer, Brent and Luke flung the door open and rushed inside. Stephanie watched as their eyes immediately dropped to the floor where Duke’s bloody body was lying. Kyle was standing over Duke’s body.
“Call an ambulance,” Luke yelled.
Brent ran to the phone and dialed 911. Luke didn’t waste any time, either. He stepped up to Kyle’s face. “You’re going to pay for this,” he snarled, confident with Brent there to back him up.
Stephanie’s cheeks were wet with tears. “Leave,” she demanded, desperately wanting to protect him.