Brody McClain hated storms. The pounding rain and swirling wind off the Nantucket Sound were relentless, like the nightmares that had plagued him for five years. Old anger resurfaced and burned in his gut. With a shake of his head, he pushed the memories aside and focused his attention back on the small cottage. Concentrate. Lightning streaked across the sky and reflected off the windowpanes of the dark house, making the dormer windows glow like large, luminous eyes. Brody crouched behind the branches of an ancient rhododendron. The blood in his head thudded in tempo with the rapid beat of his heart. He gritted his teeth, forcing his breathing under control. After a moment, his vision cleared and his eyes adjusted to the night. Drops of rain streamed down his back, plastering his cotton shirt to his skin. Should have grabbed a jacket, McClain. From beyond the house, above the roar of the churning surf crashing against the cape, a seagull's high-pitched squawk protested the downpour. I'm with you, buddy. Blinding lightning pierced the midnight sky. More rumbling thunder nipped at its heels. Brody narrowed his gaze, staring at the large multipaned window near the front door, waiting impatiently for another flash to confirm what he thought he'd just seen. Finally the light came. In that second of stunning brilliance he saw the silhouette. Someone was in the house. His fingers tightened around the grip of his Glock. He'd drawn his sidearm as he'd approached the house, heeding the familiar, gentle nudging he'd learned to respect. Only once had he ignored that inner signal. That mistake had cost him everything. But that was then. Now Brody moved soundlessly along the wraparound porch toward the back door. He tried the knob. Locked. He pulled out a ring of keys and skimmed his finger along the flat surface of each, searching for the correct raised letter. He found the key marked with a K. He slipped it into the lock and opened the door. A noise beyond the storm outside caught Kate Wheeler's attention. Just scraps of sound really, like a hinge in need of oil. The noise went perfectly with the eerie shadows that played along the covered furniture, making the white sheets appear ghostly. Musty staleness mingled with the salty scent of the Atlantic Ocean permeated the air. She shivered in the darkness, her imagination wreaking havoc on her nerves with thoughts of some unknown assassin stalking her. Outside, the wind howled across the Nantucket Sound, a forlorn noise that echoed through the house. Fighting to keep her anxiety from turning into panic, Kate leaned against the wall. Lord, I'm really scared. I need Your courage. She never should have come here tonight. She should have done the smart thing and waited for morning before coming to the house she hoped held answers to her husband's death. But patience wasn't one of her virtues. Now she was stranded. The airport limousine service had disappeared long ago and the cell phone tucked in her purse was useless, the battery dead and the recharge cord forgotten at home. Given the circumstances of Paul's death, she should have been more cautious. Ever since his funeral the previous month, she'd had the uneasy feeling someone was watching her. The sensation followed her everywhere, the constant impression of eyes observing her every move, taking stock, waiting for the right moment to attack. I told them you have it. Paul's dire words rang in her head. If only she knew what "it" was. Her condo in Los Angeles had been ransacked twice, which led her to believe that they"whoever they were"hadn't found the mysterious object. She hoped she'd find answers to her questions here in this small Massachusetts town, starting witReed, Terri is the author of 'Double Deception ', published 2007 under ISBN 9780373442317 and ISBN 0373442319.