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.“All their furniture is still here.Joel hasn’t touched a thing since Patsy Ruth left him.”The house wasn’t half the size of Julian’s home in Biloxi, but it was charming and homey and certainly large enough to accommodate Julian and Ollie for a few months until the restoration of their fire-damaged house was completed.“I think the place is lovely,” Jeannie said.“We’re fortunate you hadn’t already found a renter.”“The place is Julian’s as long as he needs it.” Marta turned to Jeannie.“We’ll get everything set up today.A new computer and fax machine for Julian.Luckily, we hadn’t had the power turned off or the telephone disconnected.Joel left for his new job in Mobile only last week.”“Yes, dear, you must contact me as soon as you arrive at Le Bijou Bleu and let me know all is well.” Julian kissed Jeannie on the cheek, then offered his hand to Sam.“Take care of her.Her value cannot be assessed.”“I know that she’s priceless.” Sam shook Julian’s hand, and the two men exchanged stares, one man pleading, the other promising.“Get her beyond Maynard Reeves’s grasp.” Ollie placed her hand on her hip.“If I ever see that scripture-quoting weasel again, I’ll boil him in oil.”“You musn’t delay any longer.” Holding Jeannie’s hand, Julian lifted it and placed it over his heart.“There’s no telling what the man is capable of doing.”“But what about you, Julian?” Jeannie couldn’t bear the thought of her foster father being in danger because of her.“What if Reeves tries to harm you?”“I’m not his target, my dear, you are.”“But he’s crazy, isn’t he? That means he’s unpredictable.” Jeannie sighed.“Why don’t you come to Le Bijou Bleu with us?”“I’m not in any danger.” Julian glanced at Sam, then shifted his attention back to Jeannie.“I’m needed here.I still consult at the hospital, you know, as well as being on the board.And since you can’t continue your work at the Howell School, I’ll keep an eye on Marta and the teachers for you.” Looking over Jeannie’s shoulder, he smiled at Marta, who nodded her head in amused agreement.“Besides, I’ll have to be around to oversee the work on our home.I want everything rebuilt as close to the original as possible.”“We’ll stay in daily contact,” Jeannie said.“If you need me—”“Take her away, now,” Julian told Sam.“Before we’re both in tears.”“I don’t anticipate any problems for you,” Sam said.“But if there is, let me know.I’ll get Hawk or Kane back down here as quickly as possible.”Sam forcibly turned Jeannie, draped his arm around her shoulders and walked her outside to the car.When they reached the Lexus, she looked back, saw Julian in the doorway and waved goodbye.Sam drove down highway 90, straight to the Broadwater Marina, where Jeannie’s small cruiser awaited them.He had been anxious to get Jeannie out of Biloxi and away from Reeves before last night, but now, after the fire, he knew the only way to completely protect her was to keep her on Le Bijou Bleu until Reeves no longer posed a threat.And that meant until the authorities arrested him—or until Sam was forced to settle the matter himself.CHAPTER ELEVENTHEY ARRIVED AT Le Bijou Bleu late in the afternoon, just as the August sun began its descent into the western sky.A warm, humid wind surrounded them as they disembarked.Two smaller craft were anchored snugly a few feet away from the cruiser.All three rested in their slips.An enormous brown-skinned man, his bald head glistening in the sunshine, stood on the pier.Sam swept Jeannie up into his arms, lifting her off the boat, then turning to face Manton.Remembering only bits and pieces of his hours on this island six years ago, Sam wasn’t sure what to expect from the man who had helped Jeannie save his life.What he saw was a seven-foot giant, his huge, muscular arms crossed over his wide chest and his green eyes focused on Jeannie.When Sam took a step forward, she tugged on his sleeve.“Put me down and give me my cane.I want you to meet Manton again, and then, after we’ve settled in and I’ve let Julian know we arrived safely, I want to show you my island.”Sam obeyed her request, wondering all the while if Manton would have tried to break him in half if he dared disagree with her.Jeannie walked steadily toward Manton, who didn’t move a muscle until she stood directly in front of him [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]