Sailing out of Darkness (Carolina Coast Book 4)(2)

By: Normandie Fischer


Sam wanted to weep, but no tears came. She felt like retching, but what good would that do? About as much as railing aloud to an empty river.

The name flashed: India Monroe.

It must have been India.

She saw again India’s face, the binoculars dangling from her neck as Sam and Jack sailed back to the dock. She felt again the hurt when Jack leapt from the boat and went to India’s side to escort his old girlfriend away from his new girlfriend’s boat.

He’d phoned Sam after he’d settled India at home, after he’d soothed—or somethinged—India. What was it, only days ago? It felt like years.

“We’re through,” Sam had told him then, her voice full of the tears that streamed down her cheeks. “This isn’t working. I can’t see you anymore.”

“You don’t mean that.” Jack hadn’t even pretended to believe her. Instead, he’d smiled behind his words, hadn’t he, resurrecting a half-forgotten image of Jack-the-boy not taking her seriously and of herself, two years younger, stamping her feet at him.

She’d curled her toes and banked her frustration. “I do. This time, I do.”

“We’ve been through this, Sam honey. I’m not with India any more. You know that. I don’t live there. It’s you I love. It’s you I need.”

Why couldn’t he see? “I can’t be the person who makes another woman hurt like that. Imagine what she saw through those binoculars.” Sam bit back a moan that wanted to climb right out of her belly. Memories of what they’d done, of what India might have witnessed…

“It’s wrong,” she finally said. “We’re wrong.”

India’s pain was only half of it. The smaller half. Still, it was obviously the half that had holed Sam’s boat. But neither India’s pain nor her own disgust at herself had stopped Sam from opening the door to Jack. She always opened to him.

A gull squawked and waddled at the end of the dock. With the tide coming in, she had to do something about those holes before the rising water loosened the lines and let the river sink her precious boat.

Sam found another bucket and line in the shed and prepared to bail. But no, she needed to fill the holes first, because an emptied Alice would bob upright, putting those holes under water. Into the bucket went epoxy, hardener, filler, and fiberglass cloth, along with sandpaper, thick gloves, solvent, tape, and a roll of paper towels.

From her awkward position on the dock, stretching out and leaning over to sand and clean the area, the prep work took hours. By the time she’d mixed and slathered on thickened epoxy and added a layer of fiberglass cloth for strength, patches of her skin were rubbed raw, and a few seldom-used muscles screamed for relief.

The repair job wasn’t pretty, but at least it would keep the water out. If only she could patch her own self as easily.



Jack’s words when she phoned to tell him about Alice set her teeth on edge. “It’s got to be kids, though I admit this is getting way out of hand.”

Why wouldn’t he admit it might be about him? About them?

“Jack, really? You know it’s not kids. Besides the fact that none live nearby, why would anyone randomly pick me as a target—again?” She waited for him to get it and finally spoke into the silent phone. “What about calling the sheriff?”

“Sure. Maybe he can figure this out. In the meantime, you want me to send someone over to mend the boat?”

“Like you did when my tires were flat and my screens slashed?”

“I’d come myself,” he said, “but I told you, I’m heading out of town in about an hour. All goes well, I should be back next Sunday.”

“I’ve already patched Alice’s holes.” She kept her tone flat instead of the round and mad that stayed just out of reach.

“Well, good.”

“Jack.” Her voice had pancaked to the point that the stupidest person should have been able to see she was on the brink, and Jack wasn’t stupid.

“What?”

What did he mean, what? “You need to speak to India,” she said. “She’s the only one with a motive.”

“Honey, she wouldn’t. Look, I’ve known India Monroe for ten years. She’s got issues, but I can’t imagine her hurting you or anyone else.”