Excerpt from "Reilly's Dilemma"
eilly’s heart drummed in her ears and
thumped so hard she thought it might jump
Rright out of her chest. She had to be on the
road while it was still light.
Gabe would be devastated, of course, and
Maddie’d be heartbroken. But, really, there was no
other way. Her hands, slippery with perspiration,
trembled to the point she dropped her pen. It landed
on the hardwood floor with a clatter. She retrieved it,
thought for a moment then gave up trying to write a
note. It probably wasn’t such a good idea anyway.
After all, what could she say? How could she explain
Disappearing was the right thing to do, she could feel
it in her soul.
She took a deep breath, grabbed her purse and
dumped out everything that could be used to identify
her. A lump rose in her throat, tears threatened to
overrun her eyelids. Not now. There’ll be plenty of
time to grieve once I’m gone.
Batting away an errant tear, she sighed, wishing
there was another solution, but there wasn’t—not if
she wanted to stay alive or out of jail. Her only choice
was to get as far away as possible—hide and stay
hidden until everyone stopped looking for her. The
very thought of Gabe and Maddie thinking she didn’t
care about them broke her heart. A sob escaped
before she could stop it.
J o a n M a u c h l 2
For a few seconds, she stared out the office
window at the Space Needle. In the distance, Mount
Rainier appeared through the clouds like a beautiful
Had it really only been six months since she’d
opened Caruthers Investment Management? It was
finally generating enough money to pay the rent.
Now this. She shrugged. If only there was something
she could do, something that wouldn’t put Gabe or
his little girl at risk. Over the past two weeks, she’d
considered every possibility and always arrived at
the same conclusion. She had to leave—the sooner
Taking a final look around, she grabbed the
framed photo of the three of them sailing around the
island. It was only taken a few weeks ago. That day
had been so much fun. She stopped herself. Could it
be used to identify her? Reluctantly she held it
against her heart, kissed it then set it down. Grabbing
her purse with its meager contents, she turned off the
light, closed the door and walked away.