Authors: Kevin V. Symmons
Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Suspense
Out of the Storm
Kevin V. Symmons
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.
Out of the Storm
COPYRIGHT © 2014 by Kevin V. Symmons
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or The Wild Rose Press, Inc. except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Contact Information: [email protected]
Cover Art by
The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
PO Box 708
Adams Basin, NY 14410-0708
Visit us at www.thewildrosepress.com
First Crimson Rose Edition, 2014
Print ISBN 978-1-62830-029-1
Digital ISBN 978-1-62830-030-7
Published in the United States of America
OUT OF THE STORM
“Kevin Symmons’ latest novel,
OUT OF THE STORM
, has something for everyone: action, adventure, romance—and a clever premise involving political conspiracy. His protagonist is a classic hero: wounded in love, world weary, yet resourceful and capable. Cape Cod makes for a great setting, and the nefarious villain will frighten even the most stout-hearted readers. A perfect book to read in front of the fire on a stormy New England night—with your doors securely locked!”
~C. E. Lawrence, award-winning author
“A breathtaking blend of action, romance and terror in an idyllic Cape Cod setting. Symmons ratchets up the tension to full boil while providing readers with intriguing characters they will cheer for.”
~Arlene Kay, author
“Kevin Symmons has hit the target again with his latest novel,
OUT OF THE STORM
. A thriller with strong romantic flavor, Symmons snatches his story from the headlines as his hero and heroine battle a sinister domestic terrorist. A classic novel of misdirection set in his Cape Cod home. It will keep you turning pages well into the night. This novel has it all!”
~Chip Bishop, author
To my wife,
whose patience and loyalty has helped to make this
and my other works possible,
and to my loyal and enthusiastic readers.
The luminous dial on his chronometer said 3:10 a.m. Perfect. The family inside the small ranch house should be asleep, lulled by the gusting wind and the gentle rain falling against the dull aluminum siding. The man nodded to his accomplice sitting in a van close by.
The man scanned the small yard. Everything was where he expected. The ten-year-old Camry rested its tired frame in the driveway, its drab finish showing no reflection from the streetlamp fifty feet away. From behind a gnarled maple the man couldn’t see into the garage. He didn’t have to. He knew the new Dodge pickup would be parked inside.
Using the fence along the property line for cover, he moved quickly, coming abreast of the Camry. He bent low, making his way between the car and the building, coming to rest when he reached the corner of the house nearest the garage.
He surveyed the surrounding houses. No sign of life. Good. Very good. Fitting his back tightly against the old siding, the man slid the automatic from his waistband. He slipped the silencer from his pocket, expertly threading it onto the muzzle of his 9mm SIG Sauer, then replaced the weapon in his belt.
The cool, slim blade of his knife pressed against his forearm. Approaching the rusty screen door that lead to the porch, he slipped the weapon into his right hand. In one fluid motion he twisted the knife into the old lock that secured the door.
The lock groaned and surrendered without a fight. Once inside the screened-in porch, the man held his position for a full sixty seconds. Satisfied the small noise had awakened no one, he made his way to the back door. The top half was glass with no curtain, the bottom a thin wooden panel. He peered inside. No movement. He knelt, waiting. Patience had kept him alive. Still nothing. Not a sound.
Knife in hand he deftly jimmied the old lock on the porch door and pushed his way into the small kitchen. Once inside he scanned the interior, putting his hearing on high alert. The kitchen faucet dripped, keeping time with a cheap pendulum clock over the refrigerator. The faint scent of dinner—hamburger, he thought, maybe cheap steak—hung in the thick, humid air. Satisfied his entry had gone undetected, the man rolled up his jacket sleeve, replacing the knife in its cradle.
He’d studied the floor plan of the small ranch—had watched the house for a long time. His gaze swept the tidy interior to find the location of his targets. That was the easy part. But something gnawed at his gut. It was the child. He’d watched the small family.
life had been spent in a fucking cesspool. Taking the kid went against everything he believed in. He knew what they intended. Same fate as the older girl. The kid was bait…leverage to get their target to talk. He cursed a second time, knowing he had no options. It had to be done.
The older girl was the key. Hot and smart. Damn smart. Too smart for her own good. Some kind of wizard his employers had said. If she’d just minded her own business…And she could be a handful, too. He’d seen her in action. Tapping the pocket of his camo vest, he felt the syringe. That would keep her under control till they got her where they needed.
He’d do the old man quickly, signal his partner, and get his ass out of there with the girls.
But as he pulled the SIG Sauer from his belt, chambered a round, and released the safety he felt uneasy. Something was wrong. Very wrong. He held fast and scanned the kitchen and the hallway again. They had a dog. Where was the damn mutt? Asleep in the living room? Crated in the basement? He hated dogs. Mangy, smelly, drooling things. He wasn’t about to look for trouble but loose ends bothered him. Putting his doubts on hold, he crept across the scratched vinyl floor, heading for his first target.
He tiptoed down the hall. When he reached the room where the man slept, he turned the doorknob quietly. He pushed the door inward. It creaked loudly. He swallowed deeply. Squaring his stance, the man held his breath as he pointed his weapon at the bed. Curtains were drawn tightly across the small window. As his eyes adjusted to the sparse interior he stared at the bed.
What the hell?
How could this happen? They’d watched the house to make sure they got the girls and no one got away.
This was not possible, but... He tiptoed to the older girl’s room. Then the kid’s. No one! He ran through the rest of the house, searching, growing more desperate and angry with every step. He scoured the basement, the crawl space above the living room.
This could not happen.
But it had.
The house was empty.
Friday night. Mid-May.
The nor’easter assaulting the Cape’s South Shore showed signs of surrendering. Maybe the six-pack of Sam Adams had dulled Eric’s senses. The Red Sox were in Baltimore, kicking the Orioles’ ass. He paid little attention. The TV was on mute.
It would have been a special occasion at the Montgomerys’. Eric’s third wedding anniversary. Debussy’s
floated through the damp air. Elaine loved classical music. Debussy was her favorite. She always corrected Eric, explaining charitably, “Debussy isn’t really classical, darling.”
An immaculate Baldwin upright piano stood against the far wall. Elaine’s prized possession. She’d spent so many hours at it, happy hours, playing and teaching, even during her pregnancy.
Eric stared at the empties lined up on the coffee table. Rising unsteadily from the couch, he headed across the cluttered living room to the kitchen, stopping in front of the wedding picture: Elaine in her wedding dress by their pond. His eyes burned. Turning away, he set his jaw and headed toward the refrigerator. Almost empty. Some milk, a loaf of bread from earlier in the week, and a block of cheese. Not what he wanted. No beer.
“Shit,” he mumbled. His primary supply was exhausted. Time for reinforcements.
Eric made his way to the garage and the small fridge Elaine had bought two weeks before her accident. Opening the door, he grinned as he saw his supply of Sam Adams lined up like little soldiers. He came to attention and saluted. Reaching in, he took one, then, seeing a bottle of champagne, put the Sam back.
Could the champagne have been sitting there this long? Had he forgotten it? It was the good stuff too, real good—pricey. Elaine had been the connoisseur. She’d bought it to celebrate their second anniversary. They’d never opened it, because Elaine had been pregnant. He wrestled with the cork, twisting it out and under-handing it into the stack of dirty dishes in the sink.
Eric bumped around the kitchen. Had to be a clean glass somewhere. After all, you couldn’t drink champagne out of the bottle. That was just plain tacky. Finding a glass that looked clean, Eric went back to the living room. He took a couple of hits from the bottle, leaving the unused glass on the coffee table. His cheerless celebration was having its effect. Pushing a week’s worth of
Cape Cod Times
off the couch, he leaned back for just a second, closing his eyes…
…There she was, sweet, beautiful, passionate. His princess. His French professor at Williams would have described her as his
—his reason for existence. Why he’d resigned his commission and put saving the world on hold. She came toward him, lips parted, flawless smile engaging him. But the light behind Elaine was so bright he lost her face and features. She beckoned. But something else was there in the dream, a noise, a distraction. Something pulling her away…
Eric jumped to attention. It wasn’t the dream. It was something else. A noise. At the front door. Not the wind but a knock. At the front window. A voice with it. He dropped the half-empty champagne bottle. Damn it. There it was again. Another knock. More forceful this time.
He stood, trying to figure out who’d be coming to his front door on Friday night. His buddies were working or at home. He didn’t owe anyone money. And it was too late and too stormy for Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The third knock was accompanied by a muffled “Hello?”
Eric called out, “Yeah, keep your shorts on. I’m coming.” Zigzagging toward the door, he hefted the baseball bat he kept behind it. “Who is it,” he slurred, angry someone was interrupting his Friday night date with oblivion.
“Open the door.
?” The voice was soft and female. Back at the door again. She had an accent. Sounded southern. Definitely southern. Barely audible above the gusts of wind.