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by Dani Pettrey

Learn More | Meet Dani Pettrey
Darcy strode down the eerily silent corridor, heading for the elevator. Where was Abby? Perhaps, after returning from the day’s excursion, she’d been called in to help with the evening’s bash on Deck 9. Whatever the cause of Abby’s delay, Darcy wasn’t going to spend the rest of the night waiting. She had signed on with the Bering to aid Abby in an investigation—an investigation she still knew very little about.

Abby’s calls from various Alaskan ports over the past few weeks had been brief—telling Darcy about an adventure journalist opportunity aboard Destiny Cruise Line’s Bering and encouraging her to apply. The last call—the day before Darcy was scheduled to leave California to join the cruise—had been different. It had lasted less than a minute, and there was a heightened urgency to Abby’s tone, true fear—unlikeanything she’d heard in her former undercover investigation partner before. She wouldn’t give any details, only frantically confirmed that Darcy was indeed arriving. Whatever Abby was on to, it was big.

For the first time in three years, the hunger of the hunt was back for her. And the beauty of it was that her adventure journalist “cover” was real.

Her adventure credentials and her ability to be on board theship within forty-eight hours had impressed Destiny Cruise Line and snagged her the spot. She’d been on board little over twelve hours, and already she was anxious to plungeinto whatever Abby needed her help with.

She pressed the Up button, tapping her foot until the elevator doors slid open. She stepped inside, hit the button for level 9, and leaned against the rail. Who would have thought she’d ever be back on a case? When she left undercover investigative reporting three years ago, she’d vowed never to return. But this was different. Abby needed her help, she wasn’t totallyundercover, and most importantly she wasn’t working for Kevin—that fact alone made all the difference. Or, at least, she tried to convince herself it did.

The elevator moved slowly, or perhaps the anxiety was getting to her. She’d been so restless since she’d left Alaska last December . . . left the McKenna family . . . left Gage.She’d expected to stay in contact, but nothing had come—five months with no phone calls, no e-mails . . . nothing.

She jiggled her leg as the numbers overhead lit with each deck passed—5. 6. 7.

The elevator jerked to a sudden halt at 8, jarring her hard against the back rail. An alarm whirred and the lights dimmed.

You’ve got to be kidding. She pressed the 9 button. Nothing.

“Oh, come on.”

Depressing the emergency call button, she held it in, trying to ward off the encroaching panic.

She was trapped.

He answered his cell on the third ring, irritated at the intrusion. “This better be important.”

“We’ve got a situation,” Jeremy said.

He stood and stalked away from the bed. “I thought you were handling the situation.” Isn’t that what Jeremy had promised—to take care of his mistake?

“I was,” Jeremy mumbled. “I am, but . . .”


“We’ve hit a complication.”

There’s a shock. It was always something with Jeremy. Why he’d trusted him to run things this long . . . That was his mistake. “What kind of complication?” He retrieved his whiskey glass from the wet bar.

“Someone sounded the man-overboard alarm.”

“Where are you?”

“There’s no need for you to come. Just tell me what to do.” “Obviously following orders isn’t your strong suit.” He finished his drink in a single draught, the golden liquid burning its way down his throat and spreading across his chest.

“But, boss . . .”

“Give me your coordinates. Now.” He kept his voice even,tight. No sense losing his temper until the matter at hand was resolved.

Jeremy gave up the coordinates.

“I’ll see you soon.” He cut off the call.

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