Honeybone is accompanying extradited child killer Richard Stance to Australia when their plane crashes off the northeast coast of the island continent. The only survivors of the packed flight are Honeybone and four-year-old Kaia Pendleton, whom Dean rescues during the crash. As Dean and Kaia recuperate in a Queensland hospital, questions swirl about what caused the accident...and what happened to Stance’s body, the only one not recovered from the wreckage.
Unable to return to work due to his injuries and plagued by raging headaches and violent nightmares, Honeybone must rest. Convinced that Stance survived and is free to kill again, he’s reluctant to take the gift of a week-long dream vacation at Wilson Island, a remote, luxury resort where only ten guests at a time are allowed to visit. Honeybone gives in, pondering the prospect of rekindling his relationship with Rongo Davis, an Australian Security Intelligence operative. But then he meets Jean-Luc Sebastien, a French chef, and discovers the possibility of a different sort of life.
Yet all the while, death and danger are as close as the next barrier reef…
THIS BOOK IS A PREVIOUS RELEASE
Kaia clutched her new Eloise doll in one hand, staring up at the Plaza Hotel as we stepped out of the town car. Her other hand had mine firmly in its tiny, fervent grip.
“Daddy, do you think we’ll see Eloise here today?”
I smiled down at her. I was so relieved we’d landed in New York City without our plane crashing that everything made me happy in that moment. The wind chill factor was at the freezing point, our breaths coming out in icy puffs, but I didn’t care. We were alive and we were here. Together.
My life partner, Jean-Luc, helped Kaia’s grandma out of the car. It wasn’t that Kat was old, but New York was a damned long way from Launceston, Tasmania. Several flights over twenty-five straight hours of travel, four different time zones and a mess of suitcases had wreaked havoc with the old girl’s hips. She’d had both replaced within the last twelve months and the new ones had stiffened up.
Now that we were all standing on solid ground outside the stunning Plaza Hotel, our moods collectively improved. And somehow, Jean-Luc the magician had coordinated all our travels just in time for afternoon tea.
“Tea,” Kat, said, leaning on my man for support.
We had our overnight bags, but everything else was en route to Paris, where we were starting new lives. Kaia’s pink dress ruffles flipped as she jumped up and down. Jean-Luc had given me a valium for the flight and it had worn off somewhere over the Pacific, leaving me with the pleasant sensation of having had a long massage. Where the heck did my kid get all her energy?
“Yes, tea.” Kaia’s face sparkled. She skipped into the hotel, the doorman smiling kindly at her.
“Good afternoon, Miss. Tea for you and Eloise?”
“Oh, yes,” Kaia said. “And thank you.”
Jean-Luc and I exchanged smiles. The Plaza was the home of the literary heroine, Eloise. Her adventures had filled Kaia’s five most favorite books in the world. We’d promised her a stopover in New York on our way to Paris so she could experience an Eloise Tea, which, my chef husband assured me, was all the rage for girls, young and old.
I’d never seen so much gold in my life. The hotel’s interior was intimidating. I’d spent some time in New York as a US Marshal, but hotels like this were not the kind of place you found the average punk fugitive. My head swiveled in all directions, taking in the luxurious surroundings. Our driver handed over our bags to a bellboy, oops, she was a girl, and we checked into our suite.
“We don’t have time. We can’t dilly-daddle,” Kaia announced as we rode to our floor. The bellgirl admired Kaia’s new black, patent-leather shoes. She’d changed into them on the drive from the airport, her princess sneakers now tucked inside her backpack.
“I think they’re rather gorgeous,” Kaia said. Rather had found its way into her vocabulary with shocking ease. She was talking just like Eloise. We’d allowed, no, encouraged the obsession. Kaia’s fixation on our stay at the hotel and her Eloise Tea meant that she wouldn’t worry about flying. The last time Kaia and I took a trans-Atlantic flight, we had crashed. She and I were the only survivors. Since then we had become each other’s world.
But Kaia hadn’t been afraid of the flight. She’d fully believed it couldn’t happen to the same two people twice. Jean-Luc and I had abandoned our initial idea to travel separately at Kaia’s insistence.
“If we die,” she’d announced, shocking us all, “we’ll be together.”
I’d been a wreck, Kat had been slightly worse and Jean-Luc had been fantastic. I had no idea what lucky star landed me a guy like this but I planned never to screw things up.
We walked into our suite overlooking Central Park and it was as amazing as we’d hoped it would be.
“Daddy,” Kaia said, whirling on Jean-Luc. “Do you have my book?”
Kat stared at herself in the large gilt-framed mirror over the fireplace where an actual, real fire crackled. She’d had her dark brown hair lacquered within an inch of its life in Launceston and began teasing it with the long end of a comb. She was an attractive woman in her late sixties whose flourishing career as a romance novelist got her noticed every place she went. I’d had no idea how famous she was until we set out on the trip. She was fantastic with her fans, but worried about her appearance.
As I checked out the suite and admired the bedrooms Jean-Luc had assigned us, I looked forward to showing him my appreciation in our own private boudoir as soon as humanly possible.
“Are you okay, darling?” he asked, fondling my ass. I gave him a swift kiss.
“I need a touch more eye shadow,” Kat said from the other room. I had no idea why. She already had the raccoon look down. Solid.
“Daddy, we have to go,” Kaia said. “I must have tea.”
She clutched her book and her doll and bounced on her toes as Jean-Luc ran a brush through her hair. She ran to the front door of our suite. After thrusting it open, I saw her checking in both directions. I joined her, Jean-Luc’s hand slipping easily into mine. We’d learned as new parents to take every opportunity for romance whenever we could. I’d insisted on taking the opportunity twice midair on our trip. The memory of fucking my gorgeous man in the tiny American Airlines restroom cubicle still made me smile.
“What are you looking for, sweetheart?” I asked Kaia, who stared at the walls in the hallway.
“Striped wall paper.” She looked so despondent. “It’s all changed. It’s not like the book.”