When a young mother is brutally murdered in front of her
newborn baby, and a policeman slain in the subsequent pursuit,
Detective Isabella Garcia disobeys orders and leaves the streets
of Miami behind as she sets sail on board an old wooden yacht
called the Dirty Nellie. Never having been at sea before, and with
the Nellie slowly sinking, Isabella must rely on the experience and
skill of its captain, widower Patrick Brophy. Together they try to
catch up to the killer who, she believes, has escaped among the
crew of the Wild Rover, a large training catamaran captained by
Brophy’s unsuspecting son, Marcus.
With the clock ticking and the killer’s identity a mystery, both
vessels race across the Caribbean toward an explosive
showdown on the Virgin Islands. Back in Miami, meanwhile, the
real reason for the murder unfolds with Isabella’s colleague,
Detective Byron Brewster, cutting through a web of lies and
battling Mafia tough guys to uncover the truth. The tension and
body count mounts until the killer’s identity is finally revealed in a
heart-stopping climax on Saint Thomas, where the story reaches
its violent and bloody conclusion.
“You won’t believe how fast he’ll grow into it,” she had advised knowingly. “Heck,
Gina, before you can say Humpty Dumpty, the little guy will be tall enough to climb
“Wow, that is hard to picture.”
“Yes, I know. But that, Gina, honey, is when the trouble really begins!”
Gina took heed of every bit of advice Sarah Jane gave her on the subject of
motherhood and child rearing. She and Alexander had been of invaluable help to
her and Richie. More help than her own family, she thought bitterly. That was for
sure. The only one of them to pay a visit since she got home was her mom, and
even then she had spent the whole time drinking wine, criticizing, and complaining.
But Sarah Jane and Alexander, now, they really were there for her when it
mattered. And of course, having two healthy kids of their own, Gina thought
confidently, they really knew what they were talking about on the subject.
Joshua let out a little gurgling sound as Gina drew nearer. He was not crying or
distressed. He had probably kicked off his blanket and was now cooing softly to
himself in the darkness. He was not due a feeding yet. And besides, he had gotten
his wind up just fine after his last bottle. She leaned over to look in. This was just a
routine check, she told herself, yawning. That was all. No big deal. She simply
wanted to make sure he was okay for her peace of mind before she went back to
bed. She would make sure he was covered and still lying on his side. But things
were not as she expected when her eyes adjusted to the dimness. Something
caught her eye, causing Gina to raise her eyebrows in surprise.
“What on earth is this doing here?” she muttered in disbelief, eyeing a small four-
by-six framed photograph lying before her at Joshua’s feet, its thin picture glass
reflecting the ray of meager light flickering in through the curtains.
The photo was the one Richie’s sister had taken a few days earlier of them in the
hospital. They were sitting side by side on the bed, holding their newborn son
between them. Richie was beaming with pride, his left arm wrapped around her
shoulders. And they were both smiling happily for the camera. It was the first snap
ever taken of the three of them together as a family, and Gina had come to
treasure it. But finding it here was strange, to say the least. She was certain it had
been hanging on the wall beside the TV when she had gone to bed that night.
Richie had only stayed up a couple of minutes later, keeping one eye on the ball
game as he conducted his routine sweep of the house. She was sure he had
switched everything off as usual, locking up until finally unplugging the TV before
going to bed himself. Why on earth would he bring this upstairs? She shook her
head in confusion at the unexpected discovery. And more importantly, she asked
herself, just how on earth could he be so irresponsible as to leave it lying there in
Grumbling again, Gina lifted the photograph with one hand and tucked Joshua’s
baby blanket back in with the other. That was when the now-familiar sense of
dread came upon her once more, an icy shiver running the length of her spine as
she became aware that she was not alone with her child. There was a presence in
the room. She could feel it now. She froze for a second, realizing that somebody or
something was standing behind her.
Up until that moment, the figure in the shadows had remained silent and
motionless. The instant Gina raised her head and tried to turn around, however, it
sprang into action without the slightest hesitation. The intruder lunged forward and
slapped a hand over her mouth from behind, stopping her turning and forcing her
body violently against the edge of the cot. She kicked her legs out in retaliation
but was slammed even harder against the wooden rail, knocking the wind from her
lungs. And then she saw a shaft of moonlight reflecting off metal as the attacker
raised a long, double-edged kitchen knife to her chin.
Gina tried desperately to scream for Richie, but it was no use. Her attacker’s hand
pressed firmer against her mouth, and she bit into her lip and tasted blood. She
tried to struggle, to raise her arms and swing away. But she was helpless, gasping
in shock as her attacker wedged her body harder against the cot and brought the
razor-sharp blade sweeping violently across her throat.
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