The Manteo Connection

Riske' Run 

Heiress Jaelie Jaeger’s brother was kidnapped and killed when she was 2. Her parents kept her a prisoner in a gilded cage to keep her safe. Pregnant and afraid, Jae ran away for her daughter. Now she lives a double life, a made up marriage to an overseas soldier as a public face, and secretly a topless dancer to make ends meet. Then she met her “husband” and things began to fall apart.

Bodyguard Cliff McKay trusts no one.  After years as an antiterrorist operative, he can smell lies a mile away, and that woman wears it like a perfume. Why does his boss insist that  she be protected? Why does everyone in Jamesville think Cliff McKay has a wife and daughter? 

Forced together, Cliff and Jae have to protect Jae’s daughter from an unknown killer who seems to be everywhere.

She hid for years to protect her daughter, but her past finally caught up with her.  Can her make believe husband  save her?


And now a preview of "The Manteo Connection"

Tori sat at the small bar on the ground floor of her hotel. So far no one had approached her. She sighed with impatience. She had been here for three days, and so far nothing. She was decked out in her affluent geriatric disguise, just as she had planned. Her clients were the children of a wealthy woman that had been taken in by a con man. Her job was to find this con man and get him to try to scam her as well, catching him red handed. She huffed out a disgusted breath and glanced at the television over the bar. Great, NC State was getting tromped. On top of everything else, she was losing twenty bucks to her new partner Cliff McKoy over a stupid ball game. "Come on guys," she cursed the Television, "at least pretend to try!"

"Game not going your way?" a quiet voice rumbled from behind her.

She jerked in her seat from surprise. It was rare that anyone ever got this close to her without her sensing his approach. She turned and faced him with a curiosity building inside her. She looked into the lightest blue eyes she had seen in years. His chestnut brown hair had highlights of an almost sandy blonde from exposure to the sun. He looked at her with an expression of amusement in his eyes. She glanced at his left arm. The Tattoo was there. Well, at least a tattoo was there. She could see the small blue green mark just below the bottom of his sleeve. She plastered a smile on her artificially wrinkled sallow complected face.

Mark looked at the woman seated at the bar with amusement in his eyes. He figured she must be some sort of actress, because she was definitely no little old lady. He had been in theater enough to know makeup effects from real age. This woman had an exquisite makeup job. You could hardly see her vaguely oriental features under the old age makeup. He was about to congratulate her on the superb job when she batted her eyes at him and said something.

"I'm sorry," he said, "What was that again?"

she gave a Hrmph. "If I wanted a man that was hard hearing, I'd date men my own age," she said with a wavering old person's voice.

He smiled. So she wanted to play a game. What the heck, he was willing to play along. He was out of work for the next three days while the boat was being repaired, so he might as well enjoy himself with this interesting lady.

Tori was so disappointed. This man was gorgeous and he radiated with an aura of trust. No wonder he was able to bilk old ladies out of their fortunes. It was too bad he was a con man. She put on her sweet little old lady smile and talked to him like she was a rich granny on vacation and he was a cute boy toy.

They made small talk for several hours, quickly leaving the bar for a more comfortable booth in the corner. She insisted on buying him dinner. He put up an argument for a moment, but soon capitulated.

"So, what brings you down to our little island?" he asked over desert. "Why here? Why not the Bahamas or someplace exotic?"

"Nah," she said, laying on the accent a little thicker than usual. "I don't really like to travel that much. I just figured I could get the island experience and still be within a day of home. I never did trust those airplanes." Of course the irony of the cover story is that Tori was a trained pilot from back in her military days.

"So you drove here from Raleigh?"

"Yep," she said, "Just me and my Volvo."

He smiled. "So, do you always play it safe?"

"Ain't nothing wrong with a little safety," she said with an arrogant matronly expression.

He let loose a small noise that she decided must be a laugh. His face lit up with humor. "So I guess you don't want to try hang gliding with me tomorrow?"

"Are you nuts?" she asked. "I could break a hip or something!"

"Not at Kitty Hawk. There is a place there that teaches people how to hang glide. It's perfectly safe. You can't fall far, and even if you do fall, its all sand, so you won't get hurt.

"So, tell me Mark," she asked with an odd expression on her face, "do you always pick up little old ladies in bars and ask them to go hang gliding with you?"

"What do you think?" he asked.

"I think you're a wily young man and ain't quite figured out what it is you want from me. At least not yet."

"I'll tell you what. I'll be here at the bar at 10am tomorrow morning. If you want to go hang gliding with me , meet me here. If not, then don't." he looked at her with a slight grin as he stood. "As for what I want with you. Well, lets just say I want to get to know you better."

Before she realized what he was doing, he bent down and kissed her. His lips sent fire through hers as his mouth covered her, She felt her mouth open to him and was swept away by the heat that they shared. As quickly as he had started the kiss he stopped it. Without another word he stood back up and left. 

© Steve Stone 2012