Small-Town Secrets. Debra Webb
chest. “You’re right. Precautions do need to be taken.” She didn’t have to add that this, of course, wasn’t the first time nor would it be the last that someone attempted to seek vengeance on Lucas. He’d made more than his share of enemies while working with the CIA. But no one was better at taking care of himself than Lucas. Dave was well aware of that fact.
Victoria understood with complete certainty that the other shoe was about to drop.
“Whoever has set this plan in motion intends to use you to get to Lucas.”
Victoria considered the warning. “I’ll beef up my personal security, particularly while Lucas is away.” Nothing she hadn’t faced before. She knew the proper steps to initiate.
Dave shook his head. “It gets worse, Victoria.”
A blast of adrenaline seared through her limbs. “Don’t keep me in suspense.”
“I don’t know many of the details, but I do know that the plan supposedly involves kidnapping your granddaughter.”
Tentacles of fear constricted around her chest.
“This could be nothing more than grumbling from someone you or Lucas have brought down. Blowing off steam and tossing around threats,” Dave suggested, his voice uncharacteristically soft and soothing. His eyes reflected just how badly he’d hated to pass along this information. “But considering what happened in the past, I felt you’d want to hear this as soon as possible whether or not it is warranted.”
Victoria knew that Mildred and Jamie were at the office. She’d touched base with Mildred en route to meet Dave.
That didn’t stop Victoria from reaching for her phone.
She couldn’t take any chances. Not with her granddaughter. She had to be sure.
Victoria couldn’t live through that kind of pain again.
Dana Hall reminded herself to relax. The hustle and bustle of the Colby Agency lobby had kept her distracted at first. But now, forty-five minutes later, things had grown quiet and her anxiety had started to build.
It was almost half past four and her appointment had been at three-thirty. Dana glanced at the receptionist. She’d apologized repeatedly for the wait.
But it wasn’t the wait that had Dana’s tension escalating. It was second thoughts.
Was she making a mistake by starting this? Should she leave the past in the past? She was twenty-nine years old. What difference did it make now? Learning the truth wouldn’t change anything. Her sister would still be dead. In reality, the truth would change nothing at all that mattered.
What did she hope to accomplish?
Dana closed her eyes. Peace. That was her goal. She couldn’t live with the uncertainty or the nightmares. Not anymore. The longer this went on, the more detailed and intense the nightmares became.
It was time to have closure.
To know the truth…whatever the cost. Whatever it accomplished.
Dana looked up, then stood. “Yes.”
The older woman who’d called her name smiled. “I’m Mildred Ballard, Victoria’s personal assistant. I apologize for the wait. Victoria can see you now. This way, please.”
Dana followed Ms. Ballard along a long, lushly carpeted corridor until they reached a smaller, but every bit as impressive, lobby. Ms. Ballard indicated the double doors across the carpeted expanse. “Go right in, Ms. Hall. Victoria is waiting.”
As the older woman took her seat behind her desk, Dana gathered her fleeing courage and walked toward the double doors. She was doing the right thing. No question. She couldn’t continue to live this way. She had to know the truth, and this was the only way.
The Colby Agency came highly recommended. Not one she’d looked into had a better reputation. The agency’s long-standing in the business and priority on discretion sealed her decision.
Dana opened the doors and entered the elegantly appointed office of Victoria Colby-Camp, head of the prestigious Colby Agency. The woman in charge stood in greeting.
“Ms. Hall, welcome to the Colby Agency.”
Dana summoned a smile. “I appreciate your personal attention to my case, Ms. Colby-Camp.”
“Call me Victoria.” The head of the agency directed Dana to one of the chairs flanking her desk. “I give my personal attention to all our clients.”
Dana’s spine stiffened with continued uncertainty as she lowered into the upholstered chair. This was good, wasn’t it? Assuredly she couldn’t complain about not getting her money’s worth if the woman in charge saw to Dana’s needs personally.
Victoria reclaimed the seat behind her desk. “How can my agency help you, Ms. Hall?”
“Dana, please.” Dana took a breath. “I suppose I should start at the beginning.” When Victoria nodded, Dana continued. “I’m from a small town in Indiana. Brighton. My family and I lived there until…my sister was murdered when I was thirteen. My sister and I are…were twins. I’m looking for closure. I’m hoping the Colby Agency can help me find it.”
Victoria leaned forward and penned a note on a file that likely had Dana’s name on it. “A tragedy such as that is difficult to move past. I’m sure you were all devastated.”
Dana managed a wooden nod. “At first we tried to move on with our lives, but considering the murders went unsolved, staying in Brighton was impossible.”
Dana swallowed tightly. “My sister was one of three victims murdered that fall. All three were local children. They died within mere days of each other. The whole community was devastated.”
Sympathy etched itself across Victoria’s brow. “Does the case remain on active status or has it been officially closed?”
Dana shrugged. “My mother receives calls from time to time whenever some new-to-the-force deputy decides to take a look at the town’s most infamous case. Nothing has ever come of it. The case has been cold for nearly a decade now.”
“But,” Victoria offered, “you need to know the truth. Closure, as you said.”
Dana’s heart pounded harder with each passing moment. “Yes.” The word was scarcely a whisper. She needed the truth. She needed to face the past or put it behind her once and for all. So far she’d been able to do neither on her own nor with the help of a psychiatrist.
Victoria braced her elbows on her desk and steepled her fingers. “Losing a family member is difficult under any circumstances,” she said gently. “But losing a twin is like losing a part of yourself.”
Echoes of memories whispered in Dana’s ears. She moistened her lips. “Yes.” It was a nightmare…one that wouldn’t end. “My mother and I faced a second blow when six months after we moved from Brighton my father committed suicide.” She fought back the emotion that accompanied thoughts of that time. “He blamed himself for not taking better care of us.”
After a moment’s consideration, Victoria said, “William Spencer is a member of our Recon Team, a division of the Colby Agency created specifically to find the missing. Though the children in this situation are deceased, the truth is missing.” Victoria settled a reassuring gaze upon Dana. “The members of this team are the best in the business, Dana. If it’s humanly possible to find the truth for you, Spence will find it.”
Victoria checked what appeared to be a large desk calendar. “I’d like you to meet Spence. We’ll go over the details you remember and determine a starting place and strategy.” She reached for the phone on her desk and gifted Dana with another reassuring smile. “You