Chapter 1

flash-forward n Simply put, the opposite of flashback; a filmic technique that depicts a scene, event, or shot taking place (or imagined) or expected that is projected into a future time beyond the present time of the film, or it can be a flash-forward from the past to the present.


IT was a perfect night for romance. The moon was full, the temperature cool enough to make hand-holding desirable, and the only sounds were seabirds calling and the lap of the ocean waves. All that was missing was for Dylan O’Taine to leave the sanctuary of Pharos, his mystic lighthouse, to share some of his magic.

Unfortunately, Tilda was alone except for a cell phone, and though she was talking to a man, he was quite happily married.

The man in question, Tilda’s friend Cooper, asked, “How much longer are you going to be on the Cape?”

“As long as I can get away with. Did I tell you what Dianne brought home last week? A snake!” Dianne was Tilda’s latest roommate.

“Don’t tell me you have a snake phobia. Do you know how Freudian that is?”

“Of course I know. My sister is a psychologist. But I don’t have a snake phobia. As pets go, snakes aren’t too bad. Except that she put it in the living room, and she was going to feed it in there.”

“I’m guessing that it doesn’t eat Purina Snake Chow.”

“Try mice. Cute little white mice who squeal when the snake starts swallowing them.”

“That is gross. You have terrible luck in roommates.”

“Tell me about it.” Tilda was apparently incapable of finding a roomie she could put up with for longer than a year. Only three months into the lease with Dianne and she was already poised to toss the woman and her never-ending pet parade into the street. It made the Cape Cod stay, even without a nice bit of arm candy to walk with in the moonlight, all the more enjoyable.

“Gotta head out,” Cooper said. “Let me know how it’s going.”

“Will do.” She hung up the phone, and once she’d put it into her pocket, realized she could hear voices. Up ahead, she saw two people walking along the other side of the road, probably heading for the building where she’d just had dinner.

The Glenham Bars Inn was on Shoreline Road, the unimaginatively named seaside road in the town of Glenham. The main inn building and cottages of varying sizes and levels of luxury were scattered on both sides of the road. With lights strung in the trees, it looked like a nicer brand of carnival, though the brochure described it as a fairy-tale setting.

From behind, Tilda heard the sound of a car engine, and stepped several more feet away from the edge of the road. The graveled path was plenty far enough from the roadway to be safe, but after an unfortunate incident some months back, being around cars tended to make her skittish.

The vehicle was going considerably faster than it should have on the curved road, and Tilda flipped him a bird as he zoomed past her. She opened her mouth to add a description of his parentage, but it turned into a gasp as the car veered into the other lane and straight at the people walking toward her. There were screams, flying gravel, and a thunk. Then the car swerved back onto the road and sped up as it went past the inn.

Tilda started running. Both the people struck were down on the ground, and only one was moving. As she reached them she realized she knew who they were—it was John Laryea and his assistant Foster. Then she realized something else. She’d recognized the vehicle, too. It hadn’t been just any car. In fact, it hadn’t been a car at all. It had been a black stretch limo, one with a very recognizable license plate. And she’d been in that limo just three days before.