Deadly Intentions

Deadly Intentions by Leighann Dobbs Page A

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Authors: Leighann Dobbs
the night. To her left, a chipmunk rustled in the dried leaves on the forest floor, pulling her startled attention away from the path.  
    When she looked back at the path, a dark figure stood just ahead.  
    “Did you find it?” the woman whispered as Eliza drew closer.
    Eliza sighed, her heart sinking. She hung her head. “No.”
    A pale, wrinkled hand reached out and tilted her chin up so she was looking into the clear amber eyes of the old woman. Her skin was as pale as centuries-old parchment, which made her eyes appear to glow with an ethereal light.  
    Or maybe they really were glowing?
    No, it’s probably just a trick of the lighting , Eliza thought as she studied the small woman in front of her. She was dressed in a long black cloak, the hood pulled up over her silver hair, making her small face appear to float inside its dark shadow.
    Eliza looked into her eyes, but instead of the disappointment she expected to see, she saw only understanding and wisdom.
    “Never fear. I know you will succeed.”
    “I think I know where to look. I got close today, but was interrupted.”
    “It’s critical you find it, or all may be lost. It could be the difference that keeps our opposers from gaining the upper hand.”  
    “I know.” Eliza felt the weight of the world on her shoulders. “I still have a few places to look.”
    The woman nodded, pulling her cloak closer as a breeze kicked up the dried leaves on the path causing them to swirl around their feet. “You must be alert. I feel the wind of change is close.”  
    “I will.”
    “Good, then.” The amber eyes narrowed. “And what of the girls?”
    “They seem to be virtually unaware.”
    The woman simply nodded. Lowering her voice she said, “Don’t forget your mission—more than one life hangs in the balance.”
    And then she stepped backward and turned, melting into the shadows of the trees. Eliza stood there blinking at the empty forest.
    Had the woman vanished into thin air?
    No, it probably just seemed that way. Night had fallen and Eliza could barely see more than ten feet in front of her. The old woman had simply walked out of her line of vision.
    Eliza turned, her stomach jittery with nerves, wondering if she’d be able to make her way back to the truck now that it was dark. As if by divine intervention, the three-quarter moon appeared from behind the long thin cloud that had been hiding it, illuminating the woods enough for Eliza to see the path in front of her.
    She started back toward the parking lot, sucking in a startled breath when something appeared directly in front of her.  
    A deer blinked at her with its large eyes. Its dark, velvety nose twitched. Eliza could hear it exhaling puffs of breath as the two stood frozen, staring at each other. Then it turned and silently bounded off into the woods.
    Eliza quickened her pace. She had to get back home and find what she’d come to find before things turned for the worse. She wondered how much she should tell her nieces.  
    How much did they know already?  
    She had no idea, but if she had to lie to them, then so be it. Her mission was most important. She’d left town for a good reason all those years ago, and she wasn’t about to let all that sacrifice be for nothing.

Chapter Fifteen

    Jolene and her sisters had given in to Luke, Jake and Cal’s pleas for them to ‘buddy up’. So, the next day, Fiona and Morgan went to Sticks and Stones together, as usual, which left Jolene and Celeste to keep each other out of trouble.  
    Since Celeste didn’t have to work until later that day, she accompanied Jolene on her stakeout of Gail. Jolene usually preferred to work alone, but at least bringing Celeste along was better than having to drag Jake, Luke or one of Luke’s minions with her.  
    A lot of the work Jolene did involved sitting in her car waiting for someone to go somewhere so she could follow them. She had to admit, it could get kind of boring, so having Celeste along today

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