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A QUAINTE DEADLY DREAM

By
Amelia Cooke


This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed in this novel either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.
Copyright © Joyce Gibbons   All rights reserved.
Published by: JGHawaii Publishing Co., Hawaii, U.S.A
Hawaii State Reg. I.D. #10477645.
www.jghawaii.com

&/\&/\&

If there were dreams to sell,
What would you buy ?
Some cost a passing bell,
Some a light sigh,
That shakes from Life's fresh crown
Only a rose-leaf down.
if there were dreams to sell,
Merry and sad to tell,
And the crier rung the bell,
What would you buy ?

Thomas Lovell Beddoes
 Dream-Pedlary

&/\&/\&



PROLOGUE

Early afternoon
London, England

The two men sat at a table near the back of the restaurant, away from the other patrons who preferred to sit by the windows overlooking the Thames River.

"Did you get it taken care of ?" Lloyd asked the heavyset man across from him.

"Yes.  I've signed a lease, as agent for Margaret Stevens, on a small shop in Quainte.  It's in a good location near the beach and by the hotels," the agent answered, pulling a large manila folder from his briefcase and handing it to Lloyd.

"And the supplies ?" Lloyd asked, as he glanced at the papers in the folder.

"The supplies will be delivered just before you open.  You don't want them sitting around . . . in case someone gets curious," he said.

"You're right.  But it'd better be on time, or else this whole investment will be a total loss.  We have to get in and out of there before the spring-break is over," Lloyd said impatiently.

"Don't worry.  Have we failed you yet?" he smirked.

Lloyd glared at him for a moment, and thought of just how much he disliked doing business with him.

"No, you haven't . . . but I wouldn't want there to be a  first time  either," Lloyd said coldly, as he reached into his inside jacket pocket and handed an envelope to the man.

"What about the girl?  Can you trust her ?"  the agent demanded, ignoring Lloyd's hostility.   After a quick peek at the contents, he stuffed the envelope in his briefcase.

"She's not your concern.  I'll handle her," Lloyd said, as he threw some pound notes on the table and stood up to leave.

"See that you do," the agent answered with a grim smile, then picked up his fork and continued with his meal, as Lloyd stiffly walked away.
 


CHAPTER  I

Late night
Quainte, U.S.A.
 

Kelly put down her suitcases, and unlocked the front door to her house.  Flipping the light switch on, she breathed a sigh of relief at finally being home after the hectic air flight delays.  Throwing her purse onto the hall table, Kelly turned to pick up the luggage, and spotted an envelope just inside the door, that must have been slid under it. Moving the luggage to the hallway, she shut the door and locked it before picking up the envelope.

She slipped her finger beneath the flap and lifted the folded sheet to read it.

                Kelly -- Call me when you get home.  Sam

"Ha  If he thinks I'm going to call  him after he ignored my message for him to call  me, well, he's got a long wait!" she muttered, tossing the note onto the table.

She could kick herself at being so stupid as to make that call to him from Hawaii.  She should have known he wasn't interested in her when he didn't bother to visit her at the hospital.   But when he'd sent the flowers, she thought maybe he did care.  She lost track of how many times she had ask the front desk at the hotel if she'd had any messages, and how disappointed when the answer was no.

"Oh well, no point in worry about it now," she murmured, "I got more important things to think about . . . like a job."

Kelly headed for her bedroom to get some sleep out of what was left of the night.   She was glad she had called  her friend, the manager at the resort hotel, from Hawaii.  He was delighted Kelly was looking for employment and wanted to hire her as his Public Relations Director.   So Kelly promised to see him the day after she returned.  But she wasn't going to be in very good shape for an interview if she didn't get some sleep, she thought with a yawn.

*****

The loud telephone ringing woke Kelly.  Glancing at the clock beside the bed, while picking up the receiver, she frowned.  Three a.m.?

"Hello?" she said cautiously, suspecting it was some crank call.

"Kelly?  It's Maggie . . . Maggie Stevens . . . from college, remember me?"

"Maggie?  How are you?   Where are you and why on earth are you calling at this time of night?"

"I'm in London ! " she laughed,  "I totally forgot about the time difference . . . sorry.   You know me, never think before I leap as the saying goes."

"Well, it's good to hear from you, no matter what time it is !   Good Lord, how long has it been?   Five years at least!" Kelly said, happy to hear from her friend. They were so close in school.   "The last time I saw you, I was leaving for my honeymoon, and you were going to marry that Navy Lieutenant."

"Yes, and it lasted all of two months.   He forgot to mention he had another wife in Sri Lanka."

"What a rat! " Kelly muttered,  "Oh, Maggie, I'm so sorry, are you all right now?"

"Yeah, but it took a while to get over him.   I heard you were divorced too."

"True . . . but I'd rather not talk about it. Believe me, I'm much better off now." Kelly answered, as she stifled a yawn.

"I saw you on TV a while back.  You looked good Who would have thought you'd turn out to be a news reporter," Maggie laughed.

"Well, I'm not a reporter any longer . . . too much excitement for me," Kelly said, wryly, thinking of the close call she had with the serial killer.

"You're not?  What are you doing now?"  Maggie asked.

"Nothing yet, but I'm applying for a Public Relations Director at one of the Resorts here in town.  In fact, my interview is tomorrow . . . I mean today," she said looking at the clock again, "I took a vacation after I quit the reporting, and have only been back a couple of hours," Kelly said, yawning again, thinking she should ask for a week longer before jumping into a work schedule.

"Well, I'm glad you're still in Quainte.  That's one of the reasons I called you, Kelly.   My employer . . . he's an exporter here in London . . . has recently opened a chain of small shops.   He happened to be with me when I saw one of your broadcasts, and he thought that since Quainte was becoming a booming tourist town, it might be a good investment to open one of his shops there.   So, guess what?   He's letting me come there to set it up and do the hiring for it . . . considering I knew someone there who might be able to familiarize me with the location," Maggie explained.

"Oh! That's great!   I'll be glad to show you around, Maggie," Kelly said, "When are you coming over?"

"I guess at the end of the month.   He said he had already sent an agent to lease store space . . . I believe he said it was close to the beach area.  Is that a good spot?"

"A perfect spot.  You'll get the most traffic passing by.  We do have a lot of tourist coming here now.  And with the spring-break for the college kids, it'll be busier yet!   So you picked a good time to open shop," Kelly laughed, then yawned again.

"It'll be good to see you again, Kelly.   Well, since you practically yawned through our whole conversation, I'll let you get back to sleep," Maggie said wryly.

"Okay, Maggie, call me when you have a definite time and I'll pick you up at the airport," Kelly said.

"No need, Kelly, we'll rent a car at the airport.   Oh I forgot to tell you.  Lloyd is coming with me.  He's my employer.  Lloyd Payton Carthington, III . . . isn't that so British?" Maggie laughed,  "We're . . . uh . . . sort of . . . going together.  But, much to my regret he's already married."

"What?" Kelly asked, suddenly hearing the words sink into her tired brain.

"No . . . don't you say one word about it I know it's wrong.   But, well . . . it just happened," Maggie said defensively.

Kelly sighed, remembering what a gullible person Maggie used to be, and now realizing she hasn't changed a bit.

"I won't Maggie.   After all, you're old enough to know what you're doing.   Just take care, okay?   I'd hate to see you hurt again," Kelly said.

"I will, Kelly, and don't worry about it.  Maybe when you meet him, you'll see what made me fall for him.   He really is quite a guy! " Maggie said.

"I'm sure he must be.  But don't forget to call me when you know for sure when you'll arrive, "  Kelly said, closing her heavy-lidded eyes again.

"Oh, definitely!   Bye for now . . . see you soon! "  Maggie said, before hanging up.

Kelly groaned and turned her face back into the pillow, with one last thought of how she already disliked this no-good heel that's going to break her friend's heart.

*    *    *    *
 

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