A U.S. Senator: ASSASSINATED…
Two New York mob hit men: MURDERED…
A private investigator: MURDERED…
Are these acts related? Detective Wu of the Metro Police believes so, but his investigation is summarily closed by his superiors.
His only recourse lies outside the law…in Corinne Day, the twin sister of the murdered PI, a woman he suspects is involved up to her pretty little neck in all these events… especially when she storms into town on the arm of the head of the New York mob…but can he enlist her aid, trust her, guide her, and keep her alive long enough to crack the case? He hopes so…for both their sakes.
One problem: Corinne is not sure she’s up to the task. As the attempts on her life increase, and it becomes apparent that there is more to her sister’s murder than meets the eye, she must muster her inner strength, press ahead, or become a victim herself.
BOOK SAMPLE: CHAPTER 1
Say to wisdom, ‘You are my sister!’
Call Understanding, Friend.
“Be careful what you wish for,
you may receive it.”
As Detective Hank Wu mulled over the four unsolved murders jamming his caseload, his troubled expression grew. All had occurred within the last five days. Were they related? He didn’t know. He had no suspects, and few clues. Worse, instinct told him he hadn’t seen the last of the violence.
New York City
Five days ago
As Corinne Day’s stomach tightened into a painful knot, she grimaced. “Why aren’t you returning my calls, Monica? What’s wrong? Where are you?” Without warning, her throat constricted. She gasped for air. Her trembling hands dropped the patient’s chart, and shot to the collar of her blouse. She struggled to unbutton it, succeeding only after three attempts. Once successful, she flapped the collar frantically to fan air past her mouth. It didn’t help.
Breathless, she rushed to the ancient window of her third-floor office. Rubbing the sweat from her chest, she leaned out as far as she dared. The crisp autumn breeze stung her as she attempted to gulp the life-giving air. She couldn’t. The tightness in her throat worsened. She began panting, and immediately felt lightheaded. Her head pounded in rhythm to the horns blaring below; she thought it might explode, raining its contents down into the street. Sweat soaked her long, ginger hair, and poured down her neck in rivulets. Flashes of light and floating lines suddenly burst before her eyes, blurring the parade of cars coasting along Fifth Avenue, their drivers ignorant of the drama unfolding above them. Darkness crept over her as her view of the street narrowed to a mere pinpoint. Tears welled in her eyes. She tried to grip the windowsill tighter, but her hands had cramped into fists. Lightheaded, she teetered back, then forward, nearly falling through the window, only her shoulder striking the frame preventing the fatal plunge. Help me, Monica. Oh, God, please help me.
Anxiety attacks linked to her psychic connection with her identical twin weren’t new to Corinne. She had experienced their discomfort many times since the link between the two first manifested at the age of ten. Monica had been playing on a ledge above a river that fateful day, searching for her favorite wildflowers, lilacs; she loved their aroma. Despite warnings from her parents, she had gotten too close to the edge when a rock beneath her foot lost its grip on the soil, and plunged into the ravine, carrying the young girl with it on its journey toward the water below. As Monica fell, her leg became entangled in a shrub, breaking her fall, as well as her leg. Unconscious, she dangled twenty feet above the roaring river.
At her home about a mile away, Corrine had experienced the shock of the slip, the terror of the fall, and the pain as her sister’s leg became entangled, and then snapped. Unlike her sister, Corrine had only become lightheaded, and hadn’t lost consciousness. Terrified, she ran to her mother who, after hearing her daughter’s story, assured her that she had merely been daydreaming. However, Corinne knew deep within her that something terrible had happened to Monica. She hunted for her sister, eventually finding her predicament.
After the rescue, and several other shared experiences, the twins realized that they were joined by more than common parentage and birth date.
As the teenage years had approached, the young girls had discovered that this bond forced each to experience not only the other’s physical sensations, but emotional ones as well. The confusing and intertwined feelings made both of them giddy at first as they used the connection to share feelings, and then bitter when they sought solitude from the problems of teenage life. Finally, each experienced a reluctant acceptance once they realized, as adults, that they had something unique, a bond with a sibling most people would love to have, but in reality could never experience.
Now, as Corinne’s symptoms subsided and the tension left her body, her muscles relaxed, enabling her to both open her hands to grip the windowsill, and breathe easier. She gulped the wonderful tasting air. Her vision improved. She sighed as her mind cleared. Oh, thank God, I can breathe again. Monica must be safe, not in danger any more. Maybe she had only been frightened, not in real physical danger. I’ll bet it probably had something to do with that damned job of hers, but whatever the cause, I guess we’re both fine…for now. Come on, Monica, call and reassure me…now, please.
Leaving the window open, she returned to her desk, and, with shaking hands, picked up the patient’s chart. He had been referred to her for physical therapy following knee-replacement. As the preeminent physical therapist in the practice, she had always been assigned the most difficult patients, and this one proved no exception. Like her, he suffered from anxiety attacks, and standard physical therapy had, unfortunately, increased their frequency until they had hampered his recovery. He had consulted a psychiatrist; however, these sessions had proved unsuccessful. Knowing that Corinne had an additional degree in psychology, the psychiatrist had referred the patient to her, hoping she could formulate a physical therapy program that would provoke less apprehension.
A sudden sense of dread poured over her. Her hand shot to her throat again as the choking feeling returned. She slammed the chart onto the desktop. “Damn. Get a hold of yourself, Corinne. There’s no reason to panic. Monica’s fine. Calm yourself.” She closed her eyes, rubbing her fingers against her temples, and mumbled, “Control, control, control.”
Finally, after forcing herself to take several deep breaths, Corrine dialed Monica’s cell phone. After three rings, her voicemail answered. Frustrated, Corinne pressed her intercom button.
“Did you get in touch with Monica yet?” she asked the clinic secretary with the little breath she could muster. “All I keep getting is her voicemail. Any luck with her other numbers?”
“No, Corrine. There’s been no answer at her apartment. I left a message on both the answering machine at her office and on her cell phone, but she hasn’t returned the calls. Do you want me to keep trying? Are you okay? You sound short of breath.”
“I’m fine, and yes, please keep trying. If you get her, I need to speak to her immediately. So, interrupt me no matter what. Thanks.”
Forcing herself to breathe slowly and deeply, Corrine disconnected from the intercom. She used her cell phone to call her boyfriend.
Paul answered on the first ring. “What’s up?”
“I had another one of those anxiety attacks. You know, the ones I told you about.”
“Oh, yeah. You mean where you and your sister feel what the other is going through. Right? Are you okay? You don’t sound too good.”
“I felt absolutely terrible a few minutes ago, but I’m feeling a little better now. I’m really worried about Monica though. She’s either in great danger, or is distressed over something. I feel…well…I think…maybe she’s discovered something in one of her investigations that has upset her. I can’t explain it. It’s simply how I feel.”
“Oh? Discovered what? Can you tell?”
“No we can’t read each other’s mind. I simply know something has upset her. Maybe she’s in danger. I’m not sure. I haven’t been able to reach her. I’m really worried.”
“Now, don’t go worrying yourself, Corinne. I’m sure if she’s anything like you, she can handle herself.”
“Oh, she can handle herself better than I ever could. You’re right there.” Despite her concern, Corinne couldn’t help but smile. Monica had become a private detective, finding herself in many tight situations before, and had always emerged unscathed. Corinne admired her fortitude in the face of danger, although she hated experiencing her sister’s fear with each episode.
“I’m sure when I finally get in touch with her, she’ll laugh at me for being overly concerned again. She’ll explain the problem, maybe a friend in trouble, or something upsetting about one of her cases. Whatever it is, she’ll assure me she’s okay, and chide me for overreacting.” She lost the smile. Who am I kidding? My heart is telling me Monica is in trouble. So, until proven otherwise, I have reason to worry. “But that doesn’t make me feel any better right now. I guess I’ll always worry about her.” She took another deep breath, clenching her eyes. She had to admit it aloud. “I need her. I can’t live without her.” She dropped her voice to a mere whisper. “I know it’s probably wrong, but it’s true. I need her.” She expected Paul to say something reassuring. He didn’t. The silence cut her. Her voice became staccato. “I’m really frightened this time, Paul. I can’t explain it. I feel…well…different than before, more upset than ever. It’s got me worried…that she may not be…all right this time.”
“Would it make you feel any better if I checked with some of my sources down in Washington? I can have them try to find her. I’ll have them check where she is, what she’s been up to, that sort of thing. I’ll even have them check the hospitals and police headquarters to be sure nothing bad has happened.”
“Could you, Paul? I know it’s a lot to ask, but you’ve got better contacts down there than I do.”
“Consider it done. I’ll give them a call right now, tell them to drop everything, and track your sister down. They’ll report back to me later today. I’ll get back to you as soon as I know something.”
“Thanks, Paul. You’re a sweetheart.” As she started to disconnect, a sudden thought struck her. “By the way, the feelings I’m having are really intense this time. That may mean Monica is close. I wonder if she might be here in New York.”
“I’ll check on that too, Babe.”
As Corinne disconnected, she picked up the chart, trying to concentrate on the patient’s case, but her heart still raced, and her stomach remained taut. She frowned. I can still sense your apprehension and fear, Monica, and that really worries me. What’s happening to you, Dear Sister?
Paul stared at the phone. “I can’t believe it. Of all the sister acts in town, I had to become involved with psychically connected twins…and I had to end up with the one with all the psychologic hang-ups who can’t even treat herself…great with psycho patients, but her own problems…they’re a total mystery to her. I must be as crazy as she is to stick with her.” He sighed again, and dialed his contact in Washington. “I’m afraid I have another job for you, Kevin.”
Senator Richard Edmond’s speech outlining his vision of the future had attracted the attention of many supporters, and one scheming, bloodthirsty dissident. The roar of the crowd drowned his final, “Thank you, and good night.” The senator, surrounded by his bodyguards, forced his way through the crowd, stopping at every opportunity to shake an outstretched hand. He burst from the building and into a crowd of thrilled, cheering supporters. He waved in every direction, ensuring that even distant followers would receive his appreciation.
Senator Edmond grinned. These pre-campaign rallies had jump-started his Presidential run more successful than he had imagined. His goal drew nearer with each passing moment.
He knew he had the support of many in power in his political party. However, the road to the White House would not be without obstacles. His major opposition would come from another high-ranking senator, Frank Stern. Senator Stern also had loyal supporters, and rich financial backers. More than that, he boasted as good a political record as his own. Political surveyors had already picked Senator Stern as the leading candidate in the upcoming race. Senator Edmond hoped to change that opinion with these rallies.
On a rooftop across the street, breathing shallow and slow to steady his aim, an assassin searched the crowd through the telescopic sight of his rifle, determined to end Senator Edmond’s campaign before it had begun in earnest. The assassin watched the senator offer another wave before the jubilant crowd, and then squeezed the trigger.
Senator Edmond’s head slumped forward, his mouth opening wide with the bullet’s impact. Blood burst from the wound as the second bullet struck above his right eye. The senator’s limp body fell into the arms of his wife who screamed, and collapsed under his weight. Several supporters tried to shield the senator from further assault by throwing their bodies over his. Others, terrified of being shot, ran for cover.
Two of the senator’s bodyguards, guns drawn, rushed the building that housed the shooter, as the figure on its roof withdrew from sight. By the time they charged onto the roof, the shooter had disappeared. Looking down, the bodyguards mournfully watched as ambulance attendants rushed their lifeless Presidential candidate away from the scene.
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