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Authors: Valerie Massey Goree

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Weep In The Night

BOOK: Weep In The Night
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Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright

Dedication

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

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Thank you

WEEP IN THE NIGHT

 

 

Valerie Goree

 

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are 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.

 

WEEP IN THE NIGHT

 

COPYRIGHT 2014 by VALERIE GOREE

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or Pelican Ventures, LLC except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

 

eBook editions are licensed for your personal enjoyment only. eBooks may not be re-sold, copied or given away to other people. If you would like to share an eBook edition, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with.

 

Contact Information: [email protected]

 

All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version
(R),
NIV
(R),
Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com

 

Cover Art by
Nicola Martinez

 

Harbourlight Books, a division of Pelican Ventures, LLC

www.pelicanbookgroup.com
PO Box 1738 *Aztec, NM * 87410

 

Harbourlight Books sail and mast logo is a trademark of Pelican Ventures, LLC

 

Publishing History

First Harbourlight Edition, 2014

Paperback Edition ISBN 978-1-61116-387-2

Electronic Edition ISBN 978-1-61116-386-5

Published in the United States of America

Dedication

 

In appreciation for his wholehearted and unwavering support, I dedicate this novel to my husband, Glenn.

 

A special thanks to my ACFW on-line critique group. Your suggestions, insight, and support are invaluable.

 

 

 

 

1

 

“Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” ~ Psalm 30:5

 

She ran her finger across the white plastic nametag. Blue letters spelled out
Debra Johnson
, but that wasn't her name.

The bulb above the sink crackled and died. She hated the dark. Backing out of the bathroom, she leaned against the wall and flipped on the hall light. Shadows scuttled away, but left a trace of unease in her gut.

Tears blurred her vision as she pinned the nametag on her shirt. It took two attempts to snag the pin in place.
Get a grip, Sadie. You're safe.

Although she'd been in the Federal Witness Protection Program for almost three years, she still thought of herself as Sadie Malone. Sometimes the past latched onto her soul and yanked her down to the depths of grief like a meteor plummeting to earth. Today would have been her husband's thirty-seventh birthday. She closed her eyes. The faces of Aaron, and Hannah, her four-year-old daughter, floated in and out of a gray mist. Gone. They were both gone.

A shiver took control of Sadie's body as ice crystals formed in her heart.

She would not succumb to despair.

Clenching her jaw, she hunted in the closet for a new bulb and installed it. Light cascaded as she glared in the bathroom mirror, chest heaving, and the corners of her mouth pointing south. The hall clock chimed the hour. Nine o'clock. Sadie squared her shoulders and opened her cosmetic bag. No matter her emotional state, she needed to leave soon.

Miles Griffin, her local WITSEC contact, had found her the job and would be disappointed if she got fired. Dabbing on makeup, she paid special attention to her red-rimmed eyes. Couldn't have curious co-workers bugging her with questions.

Sadie brushed her hair and arranged the short blonde curls to cover the dark roots. Time to schedule an appointment with Yolanda, but it would have to wait until her next day off. Dyeing her hair took time and money, which she sacrificed without complaint to keep her whereabouts secret.

Satisfied with the makeup's camouflage, Sadie headed to the kitchen for her salad sack lunch. She'd much prefer to eat a burger and fries, but patted her flat stomach and closed the refrigerator. No way would she gain back the weight she'd lost since being in WITSEC. Dressed for work in blue jeans, aqua T-shirt, and sneakers, she slid the nonprescription glasses on her nose and glanced in the hall mirror. The wire-rimmed frames changed her appearance. She sure didn't look like Sadie Malone anymore.

When she stepped out of her corner, ground-floor apartment, she scanned the area for loitering strangers or anyone out of the ordinary. The whine of a power mower filled the air with the sweet smell of cut grass. Mrs. Gaffney watered plants by her front door; Lloyd Kaiser tinkered with his bicycle in front of his apartment, three doors down; Jodie Powers walked her pug. All familiar, all OK.

With a satisfied nod, Sadie took the sidewalk to the parking area and climbed into her white mid-sized sedan. The economical, inconspicuous vehicle matched her circumstances. In it, she could be as invisible as possible. At times, she missed her SUV, but with no little girl to buckle into a carseat and no husband to laugh and talk with, the smaller vehicle suited her needs.

As she drove to Rhodes DIY Headquarters, a local home improvement store, she fingered her nametag. Debra Johnson wasn't the only name change she'd had. Right after the trial in Los Angeles, still grieving for Aaron and Hannah, she'd been whisked to Seattle, known there as Sadie Mason.

She parked in the employee lot and glanced at her short nails as she removed the key from the ignition. At least in Seattle she had an office job. But her identity there had been compromised. Now, here in Austin, Texas, she worked at Rhodes in the garden center. Dirt under her nails, rough hands, aching back—nothing like her original job in technology. Computer expertise led to her placement in WITSEC. That meant no jobs in the computer industry for her ever again.

At least she had friends at Rhodes. She took a deep breath of the crisp morning air, still earthy from the overnight rain, and entered the store. Once in the break room, apron on, Sadie clocked in. Several people milled about.

“Hi, Debra. How was your weekend?”

Used to the name, she turned. “Hey, April. Great. It was nice to have two days off. How's Victor?”

“So-so. He took me to meet his parents yesterday. Then he asked me to move in with him, but I told him no.” April, in her mid-twenties, a decade younger than Sadie, closed her locker and tied the apron around her slender waist. “I told Victor what your pastor said about marriage.”

April still referred to Reece Patterson as Sadie's pastor, although she'd attended Hillcrest Church for six months. Sadie had only been going there a few months longer. Her church activities had ceased two and a half years ago when her family died. Attendance now wavered between enthusiastic and perfunctory, a result of guilt and a gnawing vacuum where her soul used to be.

“Good for you. Considering marriage is a serious commitment.”
Stop, Sadie
.
Don't get involved in a discussion about marriage and family.
She closed the locker before adjusting the fake glasses. “Are you ready to go?”

With a nod, April held the door for Sadie, and they left the room together.

“Have you met the new guy? Ooh,
muy caliente
.” April fanned her face. “If I didn't have my Victor, I'd set my sights on him.”

“No, I haven't seen this new, hot guy.” After all that had happened, meeting men, good-looking or otherwise, was not high on Sadie's priority list. Since the car accident that killed Aaron and Hannah, she had little interest in a romantic life. Her routine consisted of work, developing a few friendships, and most important, staying safe.

A jab in the ribs brought her back to the wide store aisles. “There he is, Debra. Over there.” April pointed to a group of men examining a stack of cedar fence posts.

To appease her, Sadie asked, “Which one? I recognize Oscar and Greg.”

“He's the one in the blue shirt.”

The men concluded their discussion and the new guy turned, heading down the aisle.

Eyes on the approaching figure, Sadie had to agree with April.
Muy caliente,
indeed. About average height, thick black hair—a stray curl flopped on his forehead—and an athletic body. He beamed a hundred watt smile at April. “Hi.” His deep voice complemented his physical appearance.

Before April could respond, her name echoed through the store. Paged by the appliance department, she shoved Sadie towards the new guy. “Got to go. Meet my friend.”

Sadie frowned at April's retreating figure.

The man turned to Sadie. A dimple in one cheek enhanced his rugged face. “Hi, April's friend. I'm Sam.” He extended his hand.

His name ricocheted through her heart. Automatically, she shook hands and mumbled, “I'm Debra.”

Eyes as blue as a jay bird raked her face. “Nice to meet you. Which department do you work in?”

“Garden. And I'm sorry I can't stay and chat. I have a load of star jasmine waiting for me.” She sent him a plastic smile she was sure never touched her eyes and hurried away.

Sam. His name was Sam. A lump of sadness slid down her throat. Because of her initials, her husband's nickname for her had been Sam—Sadie Aretta Malone.

Although the arrival of plants and other merchandise kept Sadie busy, she couldn't shake the recurring waves of melancholy that shadowed her. No matter how much she tried to avoid the new guy, he appeared at every turn, reminding her of happier days. Why did his name have to be Sam? He attempted to strike up conversations, but the early spring rush provided believable excuses for Sadie to escape.

Her ploy worked until lunchtime. She opened the break room door and scanned the crowded area. Oscar munched on popcorn, the charred, nutty aroma announcing he'd burnt it again, and someone had heated a fishy meal in the microwave. Sadie wrinkled her nose.

Where could she sit?

Sam sat alone at a small table wedged beside the counter. A pile of sandwiches spilled out of his lunch box. One foot rested on the single unoccupied chair. With eyebrows raised, he glanced her way. “Hey, Debra. Want to join me?” He set his foot on the floor.

She had no choice. “Sure.” With great reluctance, she collected her sack from the refrigerator and sat in the chair he scooted out for her. “Thanks.”

Salad bowl open, she mixed in Italian dressing.
Stay away from his eyes
. But she couldn't help it. Their blueness intrigued her. Were they real or did he wear colored contacts?

Focusing on her bowl, she chomped on lettuce, the tangy dressing enlivening her taste buds.

Sam picked up another sandwich and set his elbows on the table. “So, Miss Debra, how long have you worked here?” His dimple appeared again.

Always cautious when questioned, she kept the answer vague and brief. “A year or so.”

“And where are you from? I don't hear a Texas twang.”

Getting too personal, mister
. She took a swig from her water bottle. “I moved around a lot as a kid. Don't claim any one state as home.”

“I can appreciate that. My brother and I were raised in foster care, but I was born in Dayton, Ohio.”

Thankful her eyes were focused on the last of the salad, Sadie kept her head down. First, his name brought back memories. Now, two more troubling coincidences. She'd been raised by foster families and moved more times than she could remember. And she had been born in Dayton.

She gulped hard to keep from choking on little bits of fear infused in her lunch. “You don't say.” Salad bowl snapped closed, she gathered her things together. “Got a few phone calls to make before I return to the garden. Good-bye.”

BOOK: Weep In The Night
9.54Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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