NEXT TO HEAVEN A Novel By Jeanette White The jet descended through a mauve twilight. Across Antigua's northern shore, lights were flickering on one by one. Jane tightened the seat belt, as the pilot announced the final approach. When she reached the hotel, she would call Todd to get the results of the Houston Medical Examiner's autopsy. The plane swooped over a dark bay. A moment later it touched down then taxied to the gate. Jane stood, removed her carryon from the overhead compartment, and slung it from her shoulder. With ...
NEXT TO HEAVEN A Novel By Jeanette White The jet descended through a mauve twilight. Across Antigua's northern shore, lights were flickering on one by one. Jane tightened the seat belt, as the pilot announced the final approach. When she reached the hotel, she would call Todd to get the results of the Houston Medical Examiner's autopsy. The plane swooped over a dark bay. A moment later it touched down then taxied to the gate. Jane stood, removed her carryon from the overhead compartment, and slung it from her shoulder. With her hand through the strap, she held her leather purse on top of it, while gripping the railing of the steps with her free hand. She entered the terminal, and almost immediately caught sight of Wally in the sparse crowd. His grim expression as he came toward her warned that he was not there by coincidence. Taking long strides, he closed the distance between them. 'Good evening." He took the bag from her shoulder. 'You have other luggage?" Her eyes wide, Jane searched his face unable to speak. 'No," she answered, finally. Then, 'No," she repeated and shook her head. 'Good." He caught her elbow, and began steering her toward the exit. She stopped, pulling her arm from his grasp. 'Has something happened to mother or Timmy?" 'They are fine." 'How did you find me?" 'Simple deduction." He glanced around, and said, 'Now we need to get out of here. We'll talk over dinner." 'I want to know why you're here." 'Cary asked me to find out what I could about Renaissance Trust." He took her arm once more and they continued toward the doors. 'I spoke to their lawyer this morning, and a thug tailed me after I left his office. I don't think they want anyone looking at them." He rushed her from the building. 'There. Let's get that taxi." He nodded toward a Japanese luxury car at the curb. Jane stared at the gleaming, black sedan. 'That's a taxi?" 'A cabinet minister owns the franchise. To get a license, cabbies have to lease from him." The driver opened the trunk, and placed Jane's carryon inside. After they entered back, he stepped quickly to the front of the car, and slid behind the wheel. Two men sprang from the shadows. One grabbed the driver's door before he could close it. With his other hand, he reached inside and shoved a revolver fitted with a silencer against the driver's temple. Phut! The acrid smell of gun smoke filled the car. The gunman shoved the driver's limp body aside and jumped behind the wheel. Meanwhile, his accomplice had forced his way into the back seat, and was pressing a gun into Wally's ribs. The tires squealed as the car sped away from the curb. Jane's screams rose in a high continuous wail. The driver glanced over his shoulder. 'Miguel! Shut her up!" His accomplice leaned across Wally, and with his free hand slapped Jane hard. The blow landed with a loud crack, and made her head snap back. The sedan barreled eastward. Jane huddled in the corner, making soft, little snubbing sounds, too terrified to mop the warm salty stream trickling from the corner of her mouth. The car turned south and soon was bumping along a dark road running beside a mangrove creek. With furtive, sideways glances, Jane observed Wally's rigid silhouette. The driver slowed, and then turned the car onto a sandy beach. He rolled several yards then stopped near a pier. The driver jumped from the car, and ran to Jane's door. He threw it open. 'Out!" He ordered, brandishing the gun. Her knees almost gave way, as Jane stepped trembling from the car. Wally, with the second gunman at his back, slid across the seat to exit by the same door. As he followed Wally, the hoodlum kicked Jane's purse on the floor of the car. Without looking, he reached down and picked it up. The driver began wiping the doors and interior of the sedan with a bandanna from his pocket. The second gunman, a shorter, thicker set man, herded them across the beach and out onto the pier. It was d
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