Fire Bound (Sea Haven Sisters)By: Christine Feehan
For Barbara King,
a woman I’ve always loved, admired and looked up to.
I can imagine you going from country to country
with assassination in mind!
We’d have a darn good time!
FOR MY READERS
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With any book there are many people to thank. In this case, the usual suspects: Domini, for her research and help; Christopher Walker, for researching and getting the information to me immediately; my power hour group, who always make certain I’m up at the crack of dawn working; and of course Brian Feehan, whom I can call anytime and brainstorm with so I don’t lose a single hour. What other person would be willing to discuss assassinations endlessly and have a great time doing it?
The sound of laughter echoed through the house. Women’s voices rose and fell. Soft. Happy. Loving. Lissa Piner wandered over to the door, opened it and stood looking out into the darkness, carrying those sounds with her. She wanted everything about this evening to be imprinted on her brain for all time.
Her sisters of the heart, always in her heart. So cliché. So often used, but in this case, true. She couldn’t love them any more if they’d been born of the same parents. She met them, of all places, in a therapy group for the survivors of family members violently murdered. They’d come together, six women, all lost, all broken, and discovered that together they were much stronger.
The wind tugged at her hair, and she turned her face up to the night sky, inhaling deeply. She loved storms. She loved the northern California coast where the six women had pooled their resources, bought a farm and, for the last five years, grown close and even prosperous together. Tonight though, the clouds roiled and churned, a dark ominous black, nearly blotting out the moon. Not enough that she couldn’t see the bright red ring around the moon as it valiantly tried to shine behind the layer of clouds.
“A storm’s coming,” Blythe Daniels observed over her shoulder. She handed Lissa a cup of tea. She was tall and blond and towered over Lissa by quite a few inches. “Don’t you love when the moon is full and has rings around it and the sky is so dark it almost looks purple?”
Lissa took a sip of her tea. There was something soothing about tea. She’d only just discovered the properties of tea when she’d come to live on the farm with the others. Tea seemed to be the go-to drink when things were difficult. “I do love purple in the clouds,” she admitted, avoiding all discussion about the red rings and what they might mean. To her, they meant one thing – death. A violent death. Probably hers. She sighed softly and then forced a smile. She had to be so careful with these women. They all were very astute at reading one another.
“Come on, you two,” Lexi called from across the room. She was the youngest sister, the one Lissa was the closest to and the most protective over.
Lexi had recently fallen in love, and Lissa still went from being grateful for the match to being a little worried. Gavriil Prakenskii was no ordinary man. He was rough, scarred, and very dangerous. He was also very protective of Lexi. That, Lissa really liked, especially now.
Blythe leaned in close to her. “Are you all right, Lissa? You’re very quiet.”
Lissa felt her stomach flutter. Her heart clenched, a curious and disturbing physical reaction to the certain knowledge that Blythe saw far more than anyone else. It had been Blythe’s idea to band together and buy the farm. She’d been the driving force and she continued to be the one they all looked to.
“I’m always quiet,” Lissa pointed out, with another small smile. One, she knew, that didn’t reach her eyes. “Especially before a trip. This is a big one. I’ve got three hotels interested in my work. If I can get contracts with even one of them, let alone all three, we’ll be sitting pretty for a long time.” She turned away from the storm. Away from the night sky and the moon with its red rings that signaled danger and violence. “Who knew my chandeliers would take off across the world and I’d become famous for my art?”