The Hunter Series is getting a new look!
I have decided to remove both books in the Hunter Series from all platforms, re-write them taking into consideration some of my readers’ comments and suggestions, and re-launch them with new covers. All my current reviewers and fans are welcome to new copies.
Book three and last of the trilogy is in the works. I can’t tell you exactly when it will be released, because I have been sucked into contributing to many anthologies and multi-author series in new genres. My calendar is hectic at the best of times. All I can say is that it will be a 2015 release.The Hunter Series is an action thriller trilogy, plus a spin-off which depicts the life of a secondary character, and the traumas that have made her into what she became.
All the covers in this series have been designed by
Book one, Blood is Heavier.
Nick Hunter used to be a contract killer. Now he’s cut all links to his former lifestyle and can at last relax and live a normal life. He settles down to married life. He has a son. He adores his little family. Unbeknown to him, shadows from his past step forward to shatter his short-lived peace. His wife is dead, his four-year old son kidnapped and it looks like someone is trying to frame him for murder. Under pressure, broken, is there anything Nick wouldn’t do to rescue his son? A fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat read that will keep you turning the pages to the very end.
Book two, Blood is Power.
Comfortable in the knowledge that his good mate, Tequila, is perfectly able to look after his loved ones, Nick Hunter does exactly what he shouldn’t do and proceeds to track down and eliminate every person involved in his son’s kidnap. But where will the chase end? And has he bitten off more than he can chew? Nick discovers a tangled net of human trafficking and corruption, and world-class players with a penchant for disturbed obsessions. Gritty, dark, chock-full of suspense. Don’t start reading if you cannot finish it in one sitting.
Book three, Blood is The End (working title, because I’ve forgotten the brilliant one that came to me in the middle of the night!)
Deal With It! (Tequila’s Story)
PRAISE FOR BLOOD IS HEAVIER
- Blood is Heavier is a mystery thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat wondering what is going to happen next. I was literally up all day and night reading to book so I could get to the end to see if he would prevail.
Nick Hunter is a strong male lead who is very likable and you will be rooting for him throughout the book. I don’t want to give away any spoilers because this is a mystery/thriller. I found that throughout the book, there were lots of twists and turns…and I kept hoping that Nick would come out on top (can’t tell you how or why because that would give it away!)
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a page turning thriller that will keep you up all night. It was an emotional roller coaster of a read that I can say I was happy to be on! (kgkdh)
Move over Robert Ludlum! It’s wonderful to find yet another fresh new author with an extreme talent. The only thing I didn’t like about this book was the fact that the end left me hanging a little bit. I’m hoping it was to get me ready for a sequel. I won’t be so arrogant as to say the book was well written. I will say I love Ella’s way of writing. The pace of the plot was excellent, but it wasn’t just about the plot. The way this author made the main character so very human is wonderful. We have all struggled with difficult decisions that test our moral. I love books where the main character has an inner struggle.
The main plot was completely resolved by the end of the book, but there is still some mystery to look forward to. Is there going to be a sequel? (authorpholloway)
- Ella Medler’s BLOOD IS HEAVIER begins with an engaging introduction to Nick Hunter and the people in his life. Medler accomplishes that most difficult of tasks for a novelist — she makes the reader care about her protagonist immediately, and then BAM … in the space of a few sentences Nick’s placid day turns upside down, putting everything and everyone he holds dear in jeopardy. The rest of the book is a rollicking roller coaster of one difficult situation after another. All the while I found myself wondering how the characters would or could come out all right, and hoping desperately they would do so. The characters show determination, ingenuity, and some mad skills they obviously learned in dark places. Medler kept me engaged the whole way through and the ending satisfies. If you’re looking for an action-packed escape populated with interesting characters and complex, realistic relationships, you will definitely enjoy this book! (AndrewMc)
As per my usual style, I am writing this review as I am reading the book. The other part: I went into the book cold. By cold, I mean I did not check out anything about this book before I read it. The only thing I will say: Blood Is Heavier is the second book I am reviewing by Ella Medler. Now, with the intro out of the way, onto the review:
Chapter 1 Spectre, introduces two characters right off: Nick and Mrs. Budleigh. The book starts with a situation almost comical, even in everyday life. Right off, visualization is excellent! Take a drive / walk in your town or city and prove me wrong. We are introduced to more main characters. A major internal conflict with Nick is also introduced. By the end of Spectre, we are thrown right into the action with a decent enough backstory. Chapter 1 sticks to it’s title: Spectre perfectly! The transition into Chapter 2 is very smooth and leads you wanting more, easily.
Ok, now that I have your attention, I will not do a chapter by chapter breakdown here. If I did, you would be reading another book. I want you to read this one. The following will be highlights / previews from the rest of the book.
Chapter 2, get ready for emotional whiplash. So far, Ella is doing a great job creating believable characters, scenes and situations. She is also creating a perfect combination of all elements. Is chapter 3 forshadowing or backstory? Between chapter 3 and 5 all I can say is WOW! Another story created within the main one. I actually forgot about the main plot. Starting at chapter 5, a wicked surprise but did not forget other story, yet. The one or two stories only take off from here. If you think I am going to give more details, you are nuts. If I have not grabbed your interest by now, I give up. With that out of the way, onto the final ratings and evaluation:
I give this book a perfect 10! No problem at all….
I put this book to an extreme test. While I was reading it took several breaks. I wanted to see if Blood is Heavier would keep my attention. I also wanted to find out if I would constantly want more. I easily did on both fronts. Once again, Ella did a near perfect job developing main and supporting characters, scenes and situations. The internal conflicts are very believable. These conflicts can also be related to if only in a distant, personal sense. The action, we are thrown into almost right away is a great way to start this book. Like I said, at points, Ella almost creates a second story that I came close to forgetting about the main one. The way she melds the backstory with current action does not lose you at all. Chapter titles are well thought out in sync with the chapter itself. The title “Blood Is Heavier” is mentioned in the story. Another nice way to combine the entire book into one, flowing / consistent entity. Visualization: everything that happens in the story is very easy to see with mind. The emotions portrayed, you can almost feel as if they were your own. For the second time, I can not say enough about a book by Ella Medler.
Between Martin Little, Resurrected and Blood Is Heavier, Ella took on two, different genres and pulled off both that will keep you wanting more. Even if you are not a fan of Action / Suspense, I would suggest this book. Character strength and believability one of the main reasons.
Ella, this book exceeded my expectations by a long shot! They were high after Martin Little. You did a great job, again. You have proven two things with this book: 1) You are around for the long-term. 2) You can write in more than one style / genre. (Nights Dream)
- Love this book! Great characters, great action and great storyline that has me waiting for a follow-up, will recommend this book every chance I get. (Sherry)
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. A great story. Well written. Excellent characters. A real page turner and highly recommended. (Paul Smithson)
- As always, Ella did a great job on Blood is Heavier. The storyline is intense from the beginning. I was on the edge of my seat, unable to put it down. Nick Hunter is a contract killer, the best. On a dare from his friend Tequila, he approaches Maxi, a young woman who looks withdrawn and hurt. Well, needless to say its love at first site for these two. For five years they disappear and live the perfect life, now with a four year old son, Cameron. What Nick never expects is for his past to come blowing up before his eyes. His wife is murdered, his son kidnapped, and Nick forced to commit the unthinkable kill, in order to get his son back. You will be on the edge of your seat. You have action, adventure, mystery, romance, thriller, all in a great package. I do think Nick spent too much time thinking, not enough doing, but overall, enjoyed it very much. I was left with a big question mark, so I hope there will be a sequel. (Liz Cabrejos)
Our story revolves around Nick Hunter in the present and the horrible memories from his past. This is an extremely thought out thriller that will keep you up way past your bed time.
I will try to explain without explaining too much. I don’t like reading spoiler reviews because then there is no real need to read the book. It is, well, spoiled.
Our hero, Nick, is ex military and after that, fell into a more dangerous field of work as a sort of hit man. With nothing to love and no close friends besides Tequila, he was comfortable in his life as a killer. Until…well, feeling overconfident in even his charm he agrees to a bet with Tequila that sends his world into uncharted waters. Maxi’s waters.
Always the one to choose the wrong man, Maxi realizes real fast that Nick’s life isn’t all peaches and cream – can’t tell you why because it would be a spoiler – but she is indeed interested in Nick’s wild lifestyle. And Nick is most definitely interested in whatever Maxi has to offer.
5 years later their perfect world together comes to a tragic and heartbreaking end. Nick’s old life has caught up with him. His old colleagues want him back on a job. When Nick says no, he never dreams the price of the refusal will be the life of his wife, and his 4 year old son getting kidnapped.
No more teasers for you. You will have to read it and find out for yourself. The twists and turns will have you gritting your teeth in anticipation. You will feel the emotions of each and every character. Numerous times I found my heart racing as if I was present for it all.
I highly recommend this novel to any Thriller lover, and well, actually I recommend it to everyone. If you’ve never been a fan of the genre, this one is sure to change your mind. Put yourself in Nick Hunter’s shoes and see for yourself what it’s like to lose everything important to you in the blink of an eye, and then what it feels like to have the courage to go and take it back.
Extremely great writing. Highly recommended. 5 stars from me! My heart is still racing. I can’t wait for the second book. (K. S. Haigwood)
BLOOD IS HEAVIER – EXCERPTS
Nick could feel his control slipping with every thought and every image of Cameron and Maxi his mind brought up from the unfathomable depths of his memory.
JB scrutinised Nick’s expression and leered. He obviously found Nick’s discomfort enjoyable.
“Having a wife and a kid must make it so much harder to concentrate on the job in hand,” he observed.
“I’m an electrician now. I don’t have problems concentrating.”
“Hmm,” JB snorted. “You might have, if you’re not careful.” He tilted his head to the side, staring straight at Nick with cold eyes. His face betrayed no emotion. “Dollar says to be as convincing as I need to be.”
“If you hurt Cameron, I swear –”
“He wants you on board. Badly, I’d say.”
Nick swallowed against the lump in his throat, still feeling winded, and chose his next words with great care.
“I stopped doing that sort of work more than five years ago. I’m not sure how much good I would be now – to Dollar or anyone else. I’m out of practice.”
From the corner of his eye, Nick saw Maxi’s slight figure stop and peer out of the living room window. She’d grown her hair and the soft, shoulder-length silver-gold waves suited her much better than the pixie haircut of the day they’d met. She smiled and waved at them.
“I thought as much. You always used fancy words when you tried to wriggle out of doing your job,” JB spat the last few words out at Nick and then he flicked his cigarette butt high over the van’s roof.
Axel’s voice came from behind the bar just as Tequila reached the group of people on the beach.
“Mr. King says ‘hi’.” His expression was entertained; it was obvious he’d listened in to their conversation. Nick found this small detail incredibly irritating.
“Axel. Go away.”
Nick turned back to watch Tequila talk animatedly with the girl who looked like she might be the bride. Then she pointed towards the little hut, a wide smile on her face.
“Mr. King is not used to have to ask twice,” Axel insisted.
Nick ignored him.
“He says if money is the problem, he will double it.”
“I am not interested,” Nick hissed between his teeth.
“You should ponder Mr. King’s offer carefully, Mr. Hunter, before anyone else gets hurt,” Axel droned on doggedly.
Nick grimaced, then turned slowly around, the better to stare into Axel’s piggy little eyes.
“Funny. I had you as a half-intelligent primate, Axel. Why are you trying so hard to change my mind? Take a hint. No. Now, leave.”
“Ok, Mr. Hunter. But you want to pay attention to my warning, sir. You will make a lot of people unhappy. A lot of them. Or maybe even dead.”
Nick was on his feet in a split second. His right hand pushed Axel’s flabby chin up, his left clutched a thick handful of greasy hair at the back of Axel’s head. Axel’s eyes were unfocused as he tried to keep Nick’s face in view. A couple of beads of sweat that had nothing to do with the warmth of the day were starting to form on his brow.
“Put your hands where I can see them.” He waited for Axel to do as he was told. “You are bright enough, aren’t you, to realise I could snap your neck in a second.” A small, strangled whimper escaped Axel’s lips. “Exactly. So you won’t try to mess with me,” Nick continued. “And after today, I don’t expect to see your greasy face ever again.”
Axel swallowed loudly, uncomfortable at the angle at which Nick forced his neck to stretch.
“Now pay attention to me, Axel. You go back to your boss and tell him Nick Hunter says ‘no’. And you also tell him Nick Hunter is not used to have to say ‘no’ twice. It makes Nick Hunter terribly unhappy.” He twisted his left hand slightly. Axel grimaced, but kept quiet. “Get it?” Nick’s hand twisted some more.
“Yes,” Axel whimpered.
Nick took his hands back and made a dismissing movement with his fingers. Axel didn’t wait for verbal reinforcement; he spun on his heels and disappeared.
“Is it true? What this man is saying? Is it true? Are you here to kill me?”
Nick couldn’t speak. He wished there was a way to disappear, to sink right through the floorboards out of sight, to drop dead there and then, before he would be forced to hurt them.
There was a trace of badly concealed pain in Randolph’s voice when he spoke again.
“I guessed that much. I won’t blame you, son. But can you at least tell me why?”
After a long moment, Nick answered, in a hollow voice. “They’ve got my son.”
“Ah,” came the reply. “I understand the reason why you shall have to do it. But I still wonder why they’ve chosen you. Who are they, son? Friends of yours? Why you?”
“No. Not friends.” Nick scowled in the darkness, not daring to elaborate. He didn’t want to lie to Randolph, not now, knowing he didn’t have that long to live. And yet, he could hardly say ‘I’m good at my job. Don’t worry, you won’t feel a thing.”
The Judge held Nick’s gaze and spoke without moving his eyes away. “Heavy burden, trust. Don’t you think?”
“Blood is heavier,” came from the darkness. “She’s on your conscience. And Junior, too.”
Nick jumped towards Buzzard, hands stretched for his throat. Buzzard opened fire.
How did that happen? Nick couldn’t wrap his head around it. He’d dropped Buzzard’s gun at Felicity’s feet. Mid-flight, he turned his head around to check. The gun was still there. Beneath him, semi-automatic fire split the darkness.
Buzzard ducked and dropped to his knees, but the spray of bullets didn’t halt. Out of balance, Nick smacked hard into the wall and dropped heavily to the floor. Winded, he snapped his fist forward, expecting it to connect. Instead, he hit fresh air. The momentum pulled him forward and down to the floor. His knee landed on something hard and angular. The remote. To his right, the door flew open. Bright light blinded him momentarily.
Nick was on his feet in one swift movement, blinking red and green spots out of his eyes. He turned to the door, but a harsh gurgle pulled his attention back to Randolph and Felicity, where he’d left them on the floor.
“Randolph? Felicity?” he asked stupidly.
He changed course and bounded to the raised heap of bodies he could just about make out on the floor. Randolph was stretched over the unconscious form of his wife, as if he was embracing her. When Nick touched him, Randolph groaned.
“Stay still, I’ll get you out of here,” Nick instructed him and then ran to the door, pausing only to pick up Buzzard’s gun and the dagger off the floor. In the doorway, he cursed loudly and slammed the door shut. “That’ll heat things up a little,” he muttered.
“Nick,” Randolph called from the darkness.
“I’ll get you out, Randolph, don’t you worry,” Nick assured him, stashing the weapons in his belt. “Only we can no longer use the traditional way out; they’ve set the house on fire.”
PRAISE FOR BLOOD IS POWER
- First of all I had been chosen to Beta Read this awesome book. Thank you so much for that, I appreciate that my opinion has value.
As I have stated in my review for Blood is Heavier. Thrillers are usually not the kind of books I read. I just LOVE to be wrong (sometimes). After falling in love with book one I was very excited for Blood is Power to be released. The Authors unique style of writing just pulls me in. And that to me is enough. Now with this being said.
How far would you go to clear your name? How far would you go to protect your family? How far would you go to rescue your friends?
If your answer is all the way, then you sure know that our friend Nick did exactly that and more.
Now I am not one to give away spoilers, since to me that takes the purpose of reading. But let me tell you this much, this book had me hold my breath on more then one occasion. Keep tissues and a stress ball handy.
If you have a weak stomach then certain parts of the book will make the bile rise, just swallow it back down and read on.
Now let me say a couple things about Tequila, what a bad ass chick. She will do anything for Nick and his family, willing to give up her body to her captor, now that takes strength.
The pain and humiliation she went through made me so mad at times.
One of my favorite lines is – “Aw, Precious,” Dollar whispered in her face. “That’s gonna leave a scar.” A look of mock remorse lit his face, then he howled with laughter. –
I just wanted to beat him senseless, seriously!!
Wonderful read. I can only recommend this book to anyone regardless of what your preferred reading genre is. (Tina Nelson)
I loved the book from the beggining to the end . I didnt want the book to end. The characters in the book were strong . It had on edge grip of your seat action. Will it happen or won’t it happen.It had love . You either got angry with the characters or just wanted to give a high five !Ella Medler did it again! Can’t wait for her next book to come out !!! I give this book 5/5 stars !!! (Bev Rowden)
BLOOD IS POWER – EXCERPTS
The woman screamed. Muscle and sinew tensed and veins stood out in her neck. The sizzling died down as the smell of charred flesh overpowered the sweet scent of orchids.
The cameraman gagged, turned briskly and vomited into the bushes.
“Shit! Another lightweight.”
“I’ll start advertising for a new cameraman immediately, Sir.”
“You do that.”
In the background, the woman was slumped in her chains, though not much of her body had moved out of position; the ties held her fast. The man she’d been partnered with stepped with deliberate, graceful eroticism over to her back and pulled on her hair so that her head was angled to the skies and none of her tresses obscured the new symbol branded over her left breast. The bright red, oozing letters edged in black spelled AB MOR.
The man who’d complained about the cameraman shot out of his director’s chair and sauntered onto the set, leaving deep gouges into the perfectly-brushed white sand. His hand went straight to her jugular. Pulse. A smile stretched his lips and he bent over to lick a drop of blood off her nipple. His tongue snaked across her flesh and followed the blood trail to the edge of the burn. There, he stopped, straightened up and licked his lips.
“I’m ready for a snack now, Carina. Tell Mathi I expect something barbecued in half an hour. And clear the set. I’ve got something different in mind for the afternoon.”
A negative pall of dark magic and obscure mystery hung over Hyde Park, nicely complementing the moonless night to create a picture quite befitting for stalking an unknown number of – as yet – unidentified villains. Just by the Serpentine’s elbow, Nick reached a hand underneath one of the bins, then jerked the small package free of its bindings and slid it under his coat. Just like the old times, he mumbled to himself, satisfied. Zolla had come up with the goods, as expected. Who said you couldn’t trust an Italian?
Nick’s walk was brisk and efficient; he looked like a man with a purpose, and he felt it, too. His plan was simple. He was going to find Alastair Lloyd Campbell and he was going to get as much information out of him as possible. Then he was going to hunt down Dollar De la Rue, starting with the one bar owner who was bound to remember him; you don’t lose all the fingers on one of your hands, without anaesthetic, and forget it in a hurry. After he’d dealt with Dollar, he was going to track down Jesse Bent to whichever rock he’d hidden under, and then follow Newton’s lead to Cyprus. If any more links popped out of the woodwork in the meantime, he would follow them one by one, to the end of each trail.
There was no bitterness in him, no rage. Just sheer, stubborn calculation. Leaning against the railings in front of the modern-looking block of flats, he paused for a minute to consider the best route of approach.
The building was in darkness, looking pristine and unoccupied, and totally deserted. Perfectly round droplets of rain still hung onto every shiny surface, shivering slightly in the randomly gusty breeze. There was an entrance from the street level, just one car wide, dropping out of sight under the building. That would be the car park. He could try the door leading from the car park straight to the elevators or, his head snapped back to the front door, he could wait for an opportunity just as this. A young man in his early twenties, judging by the clothes, was reaching for the door handle. Nick sprung up and slipped in at the same time as the youngster walked out. The stranger didn’t raise his head, just as eager to remain anonymous as Nick was.
The door to Campbell’s place was ajar, the light sending a bright yellow shaft through the gap and onto the wall opposite. Expecting visitors? Nick eased carefully through the narrow opening, eyes everywhere, trying to blend in with his surroundings, but the light was unforgiving. After a quick inspection of the living room, Nick backed all the way to the front door and nudged it shut with his elbow. If anyone tried to come in, he would hear.
Retracing his steps, Nick moved methodically through every room. The place looked untidy, but not destroyed enough to suggest a struggle. It was skirting the fine line between a rebellious teenager’s digs and a burglary executed with care and respect for property.
By the time he’d reached the double bedroom, Nick stopped expecting any positive leads that might take him closer to his quarry. The bed was untidy, too, but someone had gone to the trouble of throwing the lavish cover over the bed sheets, before leaving the room. The same rules had not applied to the small desk by the window, however. Shuffled papers and the abandoned power cable to a laptop computer suggested someone had left the place in a hurry.
Somewhat more relaxed, Nick took a step towards the table, but then he reconsidered and went back to check the small en-suite first. Nothing of interest, no axe murderer hiding in the shower. Nick pulled the narrow door shut behind him and finally focused his full attention on the contents of the desk. They were mainly legal documents, clauses and appendices for property acquisition contracts. Frustrated, Nick pulled back the chair, so he could sit down and read in comfort.
As he made to sit down, and before he could touch the seat, Nick felt a strong arm wind tightly around his neck and another pulling his head back by his hair. He tried to stand up, but he was out of balance, so he twisted to the side and dropped to the floor in an effort to pull out of his attacker’s grasp, but instead of freeing himself, he felt a pair of legs coil around his middle, and then the weight of a person settled heavily on his back. This was a very unusual manoeuvre for a skilled hit man. Nick pushed hard off the floor and twisted sharply, so that now he was on top.
“Ow,” a woman’s voice protested. “Get off me.”
“I will as soon as you let go,” Nick promised, relieved. She was certainly not a threat.
The woman disentangled herself and drew back against the wall, looking belligerent and just a tad embarrassed. Was she Campbell’s floozy?
“What was that?” Nick asked her, taking a better look at her face. Her ginger hair had been recently coiffed in a half-hearted rendition of a beehive style, but a few strands had escaped the hairpin confinement and were dangling limply over her left cheek. She showed signs of crying; her cheeks were streaked with tears and mascara and her too-bright lipstick had smudged. She must have been still in her twenties or close to thirty at the most, yet her features looked lived-in, battered, the typical face of a woman who’d played too hard and seen too much. No. Not Campbell’s. This one swam in the mire right at the bottom of the pond.
“Who are you?” she asked, disorientated.
“Does it matter?”
“You don’t live here,” she accused, eyeing him suspiciously.
“Neither do you.”
“I came here to find out about my Nathan.” She looked annoyed when Nick didn’t show instant sympathy for her predicament. “Nathan Hicks. He may not be a saint, but he loves me. He’s never once stood me up.”
“I’m guessing he just did, right?” Nick asked warily. What if this cage fighter wannabe attacked him again? He didn’t want to have to hurt her. Obviously, she was not one of them, but he didn’t have a lot of time for meaningless chit-chat, either. Unless it led him to Alastair Campbell or Dollar De la Rue.
“Something’s happened to him,” she pointed her finger at him, as if he had committed some unknown crime. “Someone’s done something to Nathan and now they’re trying to hush it up. Well, I’m not going to be hushed up. I’m gonna find them, and I’m gonna find out what’s going on.”
“Nathan. And Dollar and that bloke he left with tonight.”
“Alastair?” Nick guessed on a whim.
“Yeah, I think that’s what Dollar called him. He’s the one who laughed at me and told me Nathan was busy getting a new batch of girls from Lithuania settled in, or something. But I know he’s lying. We’ve had a new batch in last week and another one’s due in on Monday. Me and Nathan, we were gonna spend a couple of nights together. He said so. He called me and told me to get all dolled-up, and get some stuff in, and wait for him. If he wasn’t gonna make it, he would have come up with some stupid excuse, or not called at all. I tell you, there’s something weird going on. And I’m gonna get to the bottom of this.” She nodded to emphasize her commitment.
The look of determination on her puffy face was fierce with equal measures of fear and anxiety. A headline flashed in Nick’s mind: ‘Prostitute found dead in notorious red-light district’, right above a picture of her mutilated body.
“Do me a favour,” Nick told her, voice full of apprehension. “What’s your name?”
“Lucy. Go to the police. Go and tell them everything you’ve told me. Everything you know. Don’t follow these two, don’t even look in their direction. You’ll be no help to Nathan, dead.” She stared at him with wide eyes, not wanting to comprehend. “You’re a clever girl. Think. Don’t push your luck. These people are not the kind that are inclined to have a friendly chat and share a harmless cup of tea with you, if they think you’re starting to pay them too much attention. I’m actually surprised they let you out of their sight.”
A half-worried, half-confused look creased her face.
“How did you get here?” Nick wondered.
“I followed them. When the tall one, Alastair, said Nathan was busy,” she spit the word out, “I hid and waited till they finished their drinks, and then I followed them here. I took my shoes off so they couldn’t hear me. It wasn’t that far. There’s a small bar, just a few blocks from here; that’s where they met. The barman’s only got fingers on one hand.”
“I know the place,” Nick nodded.
She looked at him suspiciously again. “Who did you say you were?”
“Why are you here?”
“I’m looking for Alastair, too. And Dollar. I need a word with them.”
The wild look that came into his eyes must have alerted her. “You don’t look very friendly, if you don’t mind me saying…”
“Don’t worry, Lucy, I won’t hurt you. I have no quarrel with you. Unless you’re planning to attack me again.” Beneath the smudged makeup, Lucy blushed. “But as far as those two are concerned, I’m sure they would be much, much happier if the police gets to them before I do.”
Lucy shuddered. Nick picked up a bunch of papers at random, scattering them all over the floor in exasperation. “I was hoping I might find something here that would help me track them down,” he growled at the nearly-empty table.
“Nice boat.” Lucy plucked the photo of a white yacht out of the pile of discarded paper. It was a close-up of two children, a boy and a girl, pretending to play tug-of-war with a length of thick rope aboard a lavishly-equipped boat that was large enough to house a small army. The angle was odd, but he could just about distinguish the incomplete shape of a woman on a sun lounger in the background. There were few other details to take in, aside from the delighted smiles of the two children. Only part of the boat’s name was visible; it seemed to say Blue Pe… in a modern, bright blue script. What do you know? Campbell had a boat. Or holidayed on one.
“Yeah. Not the sort of yacht either one of us could afford, my dear.” He flicked the photo back to the floor, as if it was an unimportant piece of scrap. “Come on, it’s time to go. They shouldn’t find you in here. Not good for your health.”
At the door, Nick turned to give Alastair’s pad one more look. The message light was flashing on a phone he hadn’t spotted earlier.
“Get the elevator,” he instructed Lucy. “I’ll do the lights.”
He crossed to the phone in a flash and pressed the button. The message had been left by a deep-voiced, formal-sounding man. “Mr. Campbell, just to confirm she’s ready to sail. Our usual slot, fourteen hundred hours. Perfect tides. Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow, Sir,” it said. “Oh, and our team won the East Cowes quiz again, Sir. I thought you might like to know that.”
Nick smiled happily to himself. It seemed he would get to indulge in his favourite activity sooner than he thought. Two birds with one stone.
“The tide is turning, guys,” he whispered to no one in particular. “Watch out, watch out, wherever you are…”
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