Buried Temptation by A. Y. Stratton Chapter One

May 3 2014

Buried Temptation by A. Y. Stratton   

Chapter One

Joe pushed the throttle forward, setting the Boston Whaler on an angle across the Gordon River. The early morning sea breeze filled his lungs, and thumps from the wake of the elegant Grady White ahead of him jolted his kidneys.  When a gust of wind lifted his partner Ted’s cap,  Joe laughed.  

It was a glorious February morning, one of Naples, Florida’s best, the sun glistening on the water, clouds dotting the velvet blue sky. The smell of salt water and sand reminded him of Spring Break back in college. And women.  Lots of bikini-clad women, women who didn’t carry weapons. That was his life in college, five, no seven years before. Too bad they had to waste this perfect day working.

He steered with the current for a while and then angled into Jamaica Channel, a sliver of water between rows of mansions set back from the water, houses surrounded by their golf-course green lawns, mansions that looked as if a pack of crazed architects had gone to war over the windows and roof lines. At the other end of the peninsula was a trio of one-story cottages waiting to be swept up in the next hurricane or scraped into rubble to make way for another pile of glass and concrete. Here and there rusting swing sets and overgrown foliage reminded him of a ghost town along highway 41.

He cut the speed and drifted toward a tiny island, scattering a flock of gulls, and killed the outboard motor.  Ted pulled out two fishing poles and the binoculars from the seat behind him and nodded at Joe. Once both the men had cast their lines, they sat still, moving only to pass the binoculars back and forth.  To Joe it seemed strange not to bait their lines, but of course, they were fishing for other game--game hidden somewhere in the house across the water, the house with the blue door.  

Ted handed over the binoculars. “Anyone notice us?”

Joe stretched and gave a look around. “Nope. Either they’re sleeping or they’re already on the golf course.” His stomach growled. “Should’ve had more than a burrito for breakfast.” He set down the rod and reached for his coffee. “See that?” He held his voice to a whisper. “The garage door just opened.”

“Yep.” Ted reached for his camera. “The girl’s backing out the old Neon. Excellent. Check it out. There’s a beat-up suitcase in the driveway next to the car. Where the hell has that been? Haven’t we searched that place twice?”

“‘We’re supposed to say ‘woman,’ Ted.  Not ‘girl.’ Remember that lecture Chief jackass just gave us?” Joe adjusted the binoculars. “Whoa! You’re correct. If that’s what I think it is, the chief is going to be happy for a change. Get a look at the address on that suitcase.”