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Authors: Carly Fall

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BOOK: By Sea
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Chapter 11

Brody sat in stunned silence as he listened to Joe.

A yacht? In the Caribbean? Really?

“I offer many forms of protection in many different places, Mr. Teller. For instance, I have an employee based in a cabin in the Alaskan wilderness. I also have one in a high-rise apartment complex in Manhattan, New York, another in Paris, and one in London. Depending first on the severity of my clients’ case, what I feel is the best avenue of safety for them and finally, their preferences, I place them where I feel their needs will be served, and their lives protected. In your capacity, you would be safeguarding them, literally, by sea. Your gift and military skills are a perfect fit.”

As he looked around the warehouse, his mind swirled.  This guy wanted him to captain a yacht?

“You’ve been around boats almost your entire life, Brody, except for your military years.”

“I don’t know anything about being the captain of a yacht,” Brody grimaced.

Joe shrugged. “It’s a boat. You know boats. There are a few things that are different, of course, and some rules and regulations to follow, but I’ll make sure you’re well-educated, and we’ll get you the proper papers to ensure everything you do is legal.”

Brody stared at the man, trying to figure out the pros and cons, but his mind raced at the possibilities Joe offered him. He’d live on the water, on a boat, which just so happened to be two of his favorite things, but also necessary for his well-being.

“What do you think, Brody? What are your initial thoughts?”

It sounded too good to be true, and he told Joe this.

“Yes, it does seem like a perfect fit for you and your circumstances. I agree. However, I have done my research on you, as you are aware, and I would never approach you with something that didn’t work to both our benefits. I need you, Brody, and you need me. When we can both agree on that, my proposition wins. If you decide you don’t need me, then it doesn’t work.”

“What about a crew? I can’t run a yacht by myself. And who are these clients?” Brody asked. He didn’t want to get involved in anything illegal.

“The boat carries a full crew, and being captain, you, of course, will be in charge. As for the clientele, there are many wealthy people in the world, Brody, and unfortunately, many get themselves in a lot of trouble.”

“Like what? What will I be dealing with?” Brody asked.

“Most of my clients do stupid things like try to stiff their drug dealer or anger their mistress who then makes the movie
Fatal Attraction
look like a Disney film. We just need to keep the client isolated for a week or two so they can’t do any further damage and the other half of my company can clean up their mess if needed.”

Brody considered what the ‘cleanup’ involved, but wasn’t sure he wanted to know. “Seriously? That’s it?”

“Yes, Brody. You simply captain the yacht, make sure the client is cared for, and you will be well-armed in case things get a little hectic.”

With his blood racing, he asked, “How often does that happen?”

Joe backed up from the table as Thomas walked in. “I run a tight business, Mr. Teller. However, sometimes things don’t work out according to plan, as factoring in human nature can be a wildcard. I can tell you that I do everything to the best of my abilities to ensure all my agents’ assignments are smooth sailing, so to speak.”

“And what about my ability? Will the others on the boat know about it?”

Joe shrugged. “That’s up to you, Mr. Teller. If you wish to tell them, fine. If not, that’s okay, as well. It’s your secret, so do with it what you wish.”

Brody studied the man, deciding he liked the idea of keeping his own baggage to himself. He didn’t know the rest of the crew, and although Joe obviously deemed them trustworthy, Brody had a hard time putting his trust in anyone, especially after what had been done to him by the government he had pledged his life to.

“What about my . . . keepers?” Brody asked. “They’ll come looking for me.”

Joe nodded. “Yes, they will, but I can assure you, I will make certain that you simply disappear. There won’t be any leads for them to follow.”

“And how do you plan on doing that?” Brody asked.

“I have my ways, Mr. Teller, and just like how I obtained your file, they aren’t your concern.”

Brody stood as Joe wheeled himself toward the door. “There will be a car by to pick you up in five minutes, Mr. Teller. Please consider my offer, and I will hopefully speak to you soon.”

As he heard the door to the van open and close a moment later, Brody’s heart thudded in his chest. He would be active again, doing what he needed and what he wanted.

It really all did sound simple, too good to be true. As the van drove away, he slowly walked across the dusty floor, stepped outside, put his sunglasses on and firmly shut the door.

The sedan arrived four minutes later. Brody slid inside, feeling the soft, black leather beneath his hands. The driver, a man in his fifties or sixties, greeted him with a smile, and they rode in silence until they reached the marina parking lot.

“Please stay in the car for a minute, Mr. Teller,” the driver said, glancing around.

A moment later, his cell phone rang. “Yes? Okay, thank you.”

The driver turned to him, his blue eyes kind under thick, grey eyebrows. “Mr. Teller, you can leave now. We wanted to be certain that no one was watching and we hadn’t been followed.”

“Thanks, man,” Brody said, reaching for the door handle.

“Mr. Smith also wanted me to remind you that the offer is good for twenty-four hours, no longer.” The driver handed Brody a business card. “Here’s a new number for you to call if you should decide to work for Mr. Teller. Remember, it will only be active for the next twenty-four hours. Have a lovely day.”

Brody exited the vehicle, fingering the card as he watched the car leave, and then headed back to his apartment.

That evening, he sat on his beach chair curling his toes in the sand while watching the sunset. The dolphins jumped and danced in the surf, whistling and squeaking as if they were excited, and had drawn a crowd down to the beach.

Brody sipped his beer in silence, while people snapped pictures and took videos of the dolphins. He couldn’t help but think that they were egging him on, encouraging him to take the job. How they would know, he didn’t understand, but it was all part of the connection he had with the ocean.

Looking around, he knew the answer to Joe’s proposition. There wasn’t anything keeping him here, except the government, and Joe had promised he would make Brody untraceable.

Suddenly, with his mind made up, a weight lifted from his whole body, and he realized what the dolphins were trying to convey: freedom.

Chapter 12

Rayna set her bag down and dropped into her desk chair at work. She switched on her computer and sipped her coffee as she waited for it to power up.

After checking her email, she listened to her voicemail. It seemed it would be another ho-hum day.

Her desk phone rang. “This is Rayna,” she answered.

“It’s John, Rayna.”

Rayna sat up a little taller at her boss’s voice. “What’s up, John?”

“Listen, I just received word that Brody Teller has gone missing.”

Rayna sat back in her chair, surprised. “Really?”

“Yes. I need you to think about your visit with him and think of anything that you saw that would indicate he was leaving, or where he may have gone.”

Rayna put her head in her hand and closed her eyes, replaying her visit with Brody. There hadn’t been anything glaring like a packed suitcase. He had stood at the refrigerator drinking beer, so there had been at least a few bottles in there.

The apartment had been neat, not like someone was emptying drawers to pack up. She hadn’t bothered to look at his computer or his iPhone as she’d been so taken aback by the pain she saw in his eyes, and his obnoxiousness.

“Nothing I can think of off the top of my head, John,” she said.

“Okay, just give it some thought. You were the last one in contact with him, so the overseers of the program are counting on you to come up with some type of lead for them to follow.”

John hung up. Rayna had heard the irritation in his voice. It was as if she was responsible for the failure of keeping tabs on Brody.

Perhaps she should have been more thorough in her visit, but she had been taken off guard by his rude demeanor, and she couldn’t shake the vision of the pain in his eyes.

In a nutshell, she had felt sorry for Brody, and because of that, she hadn’t done her job. Now he was gone and everyone was looking to her for answers.

“Dammit,” she whispered as she set the phone back in its cradle.

She had a feeling this wasn’t going to bode well for the job advance she so desperately wanted.

Chapter 13

Three months later

“Thanks for staying with us, Mr. Gleason,” Brody said as he shook the man’s hand.

They had just docked the one hundred and fifteen foot yacht aptly named
By Sea
in St. Maarten, and Mr. Gleason and his much younger girlfriend had been guests on the yacht for a week. Brody didn’t know all the details of why they were visiting, but something about a divorce and his wife threatening to kill him. Joe Smith had called the previous night and told Brody the situation had been handled, and Mr. Gleason was free to return to California.

“Thanks for everything, Brody,” Mr. Gleason said, glancing around. “I truly believed my wife would kill me when I announced I wanted a divorce. She’s been difficult since the day we married, and I couldn’t take it anymore. She tends to be a bit psycho, if you know what I mean.”

Brody smiled and nodded, not really having the faintest idea of what exactly the man meant. He’d jumped into the military at age eighteen and had never had a steady relationship in his life.

“Come on, honey,” Gleason called to Ashley, his girlfriend.

She sauntered out of the Main Salon, and Brody had her pegged for a true gold-digger. In her mid-twenties, her blonde hair hung to her shoulders, and a light blue dress hugged all the curves of her Barbie-doll figure.

Gleason smiled at her, and then made his way down the dock.

“Goodbye, Brody,” Ashley whispered with a wink as she lay her hand on Brody’s forearm. “If you’re ever in Los Angeles, make sure to look me up.”

“Have a safe flight home,” Brody said, stepping away from her. He watched her go as she followed Gleason.

“That is one bangin’ body,” Jason murmured, coming up behind Brody. Jason served on the boat as the First Steward, and Brody and he had become fast friends when Brody first started on the boat two months ago, after his month of training. He was a couple years younger than Brody and a former policeman recruited by Joe Smith. 

“Yes, yes it is,” Brody agreed as Ashley turned around and gave them one last wave, her hips swaying. “A bangin’ body, but she’s going to be nothing but trouble for Gleason.”

Jason nodded. “Yeah, but I wouldn’t mind sticking my toe in that pool of trouble, if you know what I mean.”

“Let’s get the boat cleaned up,” Brody chuckled, placing his hand on Jason’s shoulder.

“Already on it,” Jason said as they boarded the yacht. “Danny’s getting the kitchen in order, and Heidi and Katie are cleaning the lower deck staterooms as we speak.”

“Great. There are a couple things I want to check out in the engine room, so I’ll see you in a bit,” Brody said.

“Aye, aye, Captain,” Jason said with a salute and a really bad pirate accent. “I’m going to go check that sink in the master stateroom.”

As Brody entered the engine room, he examined the pump that was concerning him. It had been acting up for a while, and Brody knew it would need to be replaced in the near future.

Whistling softly, he said a silent prayer of thanks that Joe Smith, or whatever his real name was, had entered his life.

After Brody accepted the job, Joe had given him twenty-four hours to get his affairs in order. Since there wasn’t much for him to do, it had been an easy task. When Thomas had shown up in the dead of the night to whisk him away, Brody had been ready.

Thomas drove him to Houston, where Brody boarded a private plane to North Carolina. Just before he landed at sunrise, he began to feel the effects of being away from the ocean. His chest tightened slightly, and his body began to ache. He still had a couple more hours before he became incapacitated, so he didn’t worry as his plane continued to the Virgin Islands.

The training to become a yacht captain had taken a month and was easy for him as he’d spent most of his life around boats, so he stepped into the role with ease. The crew had been welcoming, and for the first time since being forced out of the military, Brody truly enjoyed his life.

So far, he found the clientele gracious and thankful for the crews’ services, and there hadn’t been any trouble whatsoever. Brody and his crew worked tirelessly to ensure their patrons were pampered and enjoyed themselves, but above all, they all made sure the customers were safe.

Mr. Gleason had been Brody’s second assignment. His first had been a Russian man claiming to be a spy wanting to defect to Australia, and he feared for his life.

All the crew had to do was keep the vodka flowing, and he had been happy. His stay on the boat lasted almost ten days, and Brody and the crew had enjoyed his stories of espionage and secrecy. They delivered him back to the St. Maarten dock where he was whisked away by one of Joe Smith’s men to parts unknown to Brody.

Satisfied the pump was going to hold out a little longer, Brody emerged from the engine room to the teak deck and moved into the Main Salon. On the far side of the room sat a large, round, oak dining room table surrounded by eight chocolate colored leather chairs. To its right was a small bar, and white leather couches lined both sides of the room. As he walked barefoot across the Salon, the light brown carpet cushioned his footfalls.

Entering the master stateroom, he heard Jason curse. The focus of the spacious room was a stately, king-sized bed. Brody noted the sheets had already been changed, and the white comforter laid over the bed in perfect precision. White dressers lined each side of the room, and white carpet muffled his footsteps. He would never, ever, even think about drinking a glass of red wine in this room.

“How’s it going, Jason?” he asked as he poked his head into the bathroom. The fixtures and flooring were white, except the large, dark-stone shower with a glass door.

“Fine. Simple fix,” Jason said from under the sink.

“Good.”

Jason poked his head out. He wore his brown hair in a shaved military precision cut, his ice-blue eyes stood out against his tanned skin. “Have you heard from Joe?”

Brody shook his head. “Nope. It looks like we’ll have a few days off.”

“Excellent. Why don’t we head over to Anguilla and visit Bankie’s place? Heidi said she’d like to see her brother, as well.”

Bankie’s place, the
Dune Preserve
, was a bar made out of driftwood and old boats that sat on the pristine white shores of Anguilla Island. A raised, wooden platform trailed through the soft sands of the beach, and it was very common to see lizards scurrying about. Two monkeys also called the bar home, screeching at the patrons and posing for pictures while smoking cigarettes. It was one of the most laid-back places Brody had ever been. Bankie Banx, the owner, had traveled the world with famous bands and held the title of the Bob Dylan of Reggae, and performed there most weekends. As luck would have it, it was Friday and the place would be hopping.

Heidi was a Caribbean native whose family lived on Anguilla, and also a good crewmember, always on top of her game. However, her disposition tended to fall on the nasty side, and Brody liked to keep her at arms-length from the guests. Hopefully, a visit home would improve her mood and put a smile on her face.

“That sounds good,” Brody agreed. “I’ll let everyone know our plans, and hopefully a visit home will make Heidi happy.”

BOOK: By Sea
2.55Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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