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Cass and Wat: NorthWatch, #1

Cass and Wat: NorthWatch, #1

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Cass and Wat: NorthWatch, #1

Length:
389 pages
5 hours
Released:
Nov 18, 2019
ISBN:
9781622534616
Format:
Book

Description

Cass discovers an intricate pattern of betrayal as she protects her family and her father's presidential campaign.

WINNER: Pinnacle Book Achievement Award, Winter 2020 -- Best Young Adult Thriller
WINNER: Readers' Favorite Book Awards 2020 - Silver Medal - Young Adult Fiction-Thriller

"The relationships and intrigue come out brilliantly. The young protagonist is a fascinating character with a unique perspective on life, one that helps to deepen the use of humor in the story. The reader will want to unravel the mystery, to identify the mind behind Cass's predicament and to find out if she can live up to her goal. This novel is hilarious, highly engaging, and entertaining." ~ Readers' Favorite Book Reviews, Christian Sia (5 STARS)

Cass, thirteen, seeks to escape her captors, protect her little brother, and assist her presidential-candidate father, Glen "Wat" Watson. Oddly, Cass finds herself confined to a luxurious suite in NorthWatch Castle—the Watsons own the castle and the Maine Coastal Island it dominates. How can Cass's family not be behind this?

"Cagey Magee brings new meaning to coming of age thrillers in Cass and Wat. ...brings his characters alive with vivid personalities and redeemable qualities. ...overall, I was spellbound. I was impressed with the ending and look forward to more novels from this author." ~ Readers' Favorite Book Reviews, Peggy Jo Wipf (5 STARS)

EVOLVED PUBLISHING PRESENTS the first book in the funny, fast-moving, action-packed "NorthWatch" series of young adult coming-of-age mystery/thrillers. [DRM-Free]

Books by Mr. Cagey Magee:

  • Cass and Wat (NorthWatch - 1)
  • Cass and Logan (NorthWatch - 2)
  • Cass and Nat (NorthWatch - 3)
  • Cass and Keith (NorthWatch - 4) [Coming Spring/Summer 2021]

More Great Young Adult Fiction from Evolved Publishing:

  • The "Chosen" Series by Jeff Altabef and Erynn Altabef
  • The "Darla Decker Diaries" Series by Jessica McHugh
  • The "Dirt and Stars" Series by Kevin Killiany
  • "The Desert" Series by Angela Scott

 

Released:
Nov 18, 2019
ISBN:
9781622534616
Format:
Book

About the author

Author, editor, teacher, virtuoso, Mr. Cagey Magee, graduated from modestly bookish, obnoxious kid to obsessive young-adult reader at around the age of eleven. He lived not far from an excellent library filled with novels that led him to faraway universes and fascinating people. He devoured them—the novels, not the people—and soon became obsessed with writing his own horror, young adult, mystery-thriller, and coming-of-age stories. Cagey’s first novel came in at the size of two long books. He quickly learned the error of his ways when he needed to print the thing out and carry it. His current novels are more compact but still a little offbeat. He inevitably falls in love with his characters and really hates to kill them. For Cage, the near future holds infinite marvels. No one is all good or all bad. He loves them for who they are and where they go next, and hopes his readers will hang in there for the bumpy ride.


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Cass and Wat - Cagey Magee

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CASS AND WAT

NorthWatch – Book 1

Copyright © 2019 Mr. Cagey Magee

~~~

ISBN (EPUB Version): 1622534611

ISBN-13 (EPUB Version): 978-1-62253-461-6

~~~

Editor: Lane Diamond

Cover Artist: D. Robert Pease

Interior Designer: Lane Diamond

~~~

PUBLISHER’S NOTE:

At the end of this novel of approximately 81,460 words, you will find two Special Sneak Previews: 1) CASS AND LOGAN by Mr. Cagey Magee, the second novel from this NorthWatch series of young adult mystery thrillers, and; 2) WIND CATCHER by Jeff Altabef and Erynn Altabef, the first novel in the Chosen series of young adult fantasy thrillers. We provide these as a FREE extra service, and you should in no way consider it a part of the price you paid for this book. We hope you will both appreciate and enjoy the opportunity. Thank you.

~~~

eBook License Notes:

You may not use, reproduce or transmit in any manner, any part of this book without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations used in critical articles and reviews, or in accordance with federal Fair Use laws. All rights are reserved.

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only; it may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, please return to your eBook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

~~~

Disclaimer:

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or the author has used them fictitiously.

Books by Mr. Cagey Magee

NorthWatch

Book 1: Cass and Wat

Book 2: Cass and Logan

Book 3: Cass and Nat

Book 4: Cass and Keith

~~~

Cagey Magee at Evolved Publishing

BONUS CONTENT

We’re pleased to offer you not one, but two Special Sneak Previews at the end of this book.

~~~

In the first preview, you’ll enjoy the First 2 Chapters of Mr. Cagey Magee’s CASS AND LOGAN, the next book coming (Book 2) in the exciting series of young adult mystery thrillers, NorthWatch.

~~~

~~~

OR GRAB THE FULL EBOOK TODAY!

FIND LINKS TO YOUR FAVORITE RETAILER HERE:

The NorthWatch Series at Evolved Publishing

In the second preview, you’ll enjoy the First 3 Chapters of Jeff Altabef’s and Erynn Altabef’s critically acclaimed, multiple award-winning WIND CATCHER, the first book in the Chosen series of young adult fantasy thrillers.

~~~

~~~

OR GRAB THE FULL EBOOK TODAY!

FIND LINKS TO YOUR FAVORITE RETAILER HERE:

The CHOSEN Series at Evolved Publishing

Table of Contents

Copyright

Books by Mr. Cagey Magee

BONUS CONTENT

Dedication

CASS AND WAT

Chapter 1 – Cassie, Pip, Keith

Chapter 2 – Logan and Becky

Chapter 3 – Glen and Nat

Chapter 4 – Cassie and Nat

Chapter 5 – Sleaze Bitches

Chapter 6 – Cassie and Pip

Chapter 7 – Progress

Chapter 8 – Brothers

Chapter 9 – Dangerous Pursuits

Chapter 10 – Cass and Wat

Chapter 11 – Social Worker Disease

Chapter 12 – Temptation

Chapter 13 – Red Ghost

Chapter 14 – Nat’s House

Chapter 15 – Plans and Revelations

Chapter 16 – Fury

Chapter 17 – Rebellion

Chapter 18 – The Syncope

Chapter 19 – Home

Chapter 20 – Wat

Chapter 21 – Fircrest

Chapter 22 – Assassin

Chapter 23 – Keith

Chapter 24 – Retribution

Chapter 25 – Invasion

Chapter 26 – The Battle of NorthWatch

Chapter 27 – BigSir

Epilogue – Friends in League

Special Sneak Preview: CASS AND LOGAN by Mr. Cagey Magee

About the Author

What’s Next?

More from Evolved Publishing

Special Sneak Preview: WIND CATCHER by Jeff Altabef and Erynn Altabef

Dedication

To Lane Diamond, who implemented and facilitated so much, and to SK and JKR, who provided excellent entertainment for my family and instructive food for my mind.

Chapter 1 – Cassie, Pip, Keith

—2036—

Circuitous routes for devious pursuits.

—1—

Upstate New York: Watson House. 8:15 PM. Cassie.

Wait for me, Pip! Cass whispered.

GiggleButt Kermit kept right on going, of course. He beat Cass’s Miss Piggy to the staircase and started up without pause, thought, or froggy croak. Little brothers never listened, not even little brothers with superb big sisters. Never!

For six weeks, Pip had begged Cass to attend the WatTech Company Halloween party and to play Curly Tail to his Green Gut, so tonight Cass curled her tail and went. She enjoyed herself too, despite being too old for dress-up. She did it all for Pippy, of course. The two of them had each other and occasionally their father; that left a long ToDo list.

Near the bottom of the grand staircase, Bill Clinton smiled. At the top, George Washington hung, then all the presidents down to the dreadful Frank Cozzi, the current Commander-in-Chief. Thanks to Cassie’s dead Grandpa Logan, deader Great Grandpa Ian, and really dead Great Great Grandpa Hamish—they’d all craved the presidency—dusty pictures of the American Presidents hung all over the Watsons’ houses.

Cassie had only recently talked the management into jerking Richard Nixon out of her bedroom. She replaced Dickie watching her undress at night with Unicorn Harry coaxing her best performance around the clock. Even wealthy brainy skinny tomboys needed at least one silly girly trait.

As an almost-fourteen-year-old with the build of a stick, Cassie found her lack of puberty a severe embarrassment and seriously wondered if her middle-south glands had fallen out and gotten stepped on by Thomas Jefferson. StepMother Antoinette, Toni by name, Bitchtoinette by a better name, often said Cassie acted like a stick too, whatever the big frig that meant.

Hurry up, Cass, Pip whined. We need to spy on Tandy and Brenda and then get back in time to see Pa win the last debate.

Calm down, PipLip. Pa said he wouldn’t get to talk until at least 9:15.

TinkerKerm whined quite a bit for a ten-year-old and sometimes picked and flicked. Now and then, Cassie flushed his plumbing for those two shortcomings. The rest of the time, much against the laws of the universe, she took care of him like the fabulous big sister she secretly tried to be.

On the second floor, Cassie and Pip bypassed their rooms and headed for the back stairs. Circuitous routes for devious pursuits. Skooter, their dead real-mother, had built Cassie and Pip great rooms, an incredible accomplishment: Watson House resembled a seriously huge, ancient monastery that had sat here forever, getting damp, dreary, and infested by odd creatures—Bitchtoinette, for instance.

If Cassie wanted, she could have had a hundred of her part-time best friends in for a sleepover without ever laying eyes on them. She did not want, had not done, and would not do that. She got enough of such crap at WatTechPrep.

As Pip took his first step down the back stairs to the servant’s quarters, Bitchtoinette’s cheery-sneery voice echoed up the front stairs from the LifeVision Theater. "Cassie, Pip, where are you two?"

Come on, Pippy. We need to attend the viewing. I doubt that Butch will walk away from this debate alive, and that should be a fun ton—not that I like where this is all heading.

The loyal opposition called the vice president, Butch. Cassie’s Pa thought of stone-marine Butch more as Sweetie but never mentioned that in public.

Move it, Pip, Cass yelled loudly enough to give Bitchy some satisfaction.

Pip stomped his little elf foot and reversed course. Okay, Cass! A typically Pip, short, sharp whine. "But Toni called us really early. We didn’t get to see anything!"

"So maybe Sweetie talked faster than usual. It is a tragedy, Pippo. I know, but we cannot miss seeing our part-time father slaughter the vice president of the United States on International LifeVision. We’ll watch Bren and Tandy later."

As Cassie and BittyBup trotted back to the front stairs, Bitchy’s voice got even pushier than usual. "Get down here, you two. This is why you’re home, isn’t it?"

Pip snarled at that one. "What’s she talking about, Cass? She invited us home from WatTechPrep. I wanted to go to the WatTech Halloween party and everything—who the hairy wouldn’t? I never asked Toni for jack-shiitake, though."

I know, PipFlip. You e-mailed Pa, as usual. Now stay calm. We are a United States senator’s children and are always polite. Like Pa, we only get mad if it accomplishes something, and then only in private. We’re diplomats. Now put your mask on—maybe Bitchy won’t recognize you.

I’m plenty wise for my age. I’m plenty preachy too, but only in a big sister way.

Pip sighed. Okay, Cass. I really do want to see Senator Daddy do his thing and wreck Butch’s. With that, Pippy broke into a run down the front stairs.

Cassie wondered if he could go ten feet in any direction without breaking into a frantic run. She also wondered how he could race down steps and pull his frog-head on at the same time without breaking his whiney little neck.

—2—

Above the Hudson River. 8:30 PM. Keith.

The cold breeze scoured Keith’s neck as his hang-glider twisted in the wind currents above the Hudson and slipped down toward Watson House in upstate New York. The night glowed blue through his WatTech LightAmplifier. He pressured the control bar and aimed for Glen Watson’s rooftop heliport. He’d visited Watson House often until a year or so ago. Now, he would take on the famous Senator Glen Watson, war hero, billionaire, politician, war criminal, and murderer.

Earlier this evening, Keith had looked down from the Palisade Cliffs and tried to spot Glen’s heliport beacon across the Hudson. Now, that red light raced up toward him. Glen would be president of the United States unless somebody took action. BigSir had said that a Watson presidency would destroy the country. Keith would keep his own reasons personal and confidential.

Here came the hardest part: landing on the roof. If BigSir’s people had forgotten to turn the alarms off, he’d be one dead puppy, and he’d never even met BigSir. Oh shit. The beacon hurtled up faster and faster. Too steep. Oh shit! He would break his pitiful little body! Crap!

Keith tumbled ass over ears, scraped his knees, whacked his testicles, and kind of, sort of lived. If Glen hadn’t built a three-foot stone wall around the landing pad, Keith would have sailed off the fourth floor, and Glen’s Dobermans would have eaten his dead body, probably testicles first.

Oh, shit. He freed himself from the hang-glider harness, grabbed his crotch, and tried not to die the rest of the way. Shit, he whispered. The checkerboard tile of the landing pad felt cold on his cheek.

When the pain had shrunk to nuclear, he remembered his mission: hang-glider, stairwell, dogs, wall, house, jollies-if-he-had-to, kidnap, and babysit. He forced himself to stop twisting in agony and start listening for danger. No dogs. No shouts. No alarms. No lights. No handcuffs. Nothing!

How could Glen’s staff and the United States Secret Service miss anything that hurt that much? It all didn’t matter—Keith would do anything for Elder1 and the kids. Chickening out didn’t stand a chance.

LeaderGeorge had put fourteen-year-old Keith on the invasion team because of his youth, small light body, aim with a dart gun, skill with a hang-glider, and first-hand knowledge of Watson House. Glen had used hang-glider infiltration during TheWar. Once he made the connection, he would pull out of the election, or freak, or get careless or distracted, or would rampage or something.

He didn’t really know what would happen next. He’d been great friends with Glen, had enjoyed big-brothering Pip, and had downright fallen in love with Cass. As he headed for the landing pad stairwell, he wondered how the kids would take all this cloak-and-dagger crap. Keith would take good care of them. For shit-sure, he would.

—3—

Upstate New York. Watson House. 8:50 PM. Cassie.

When Cassie, with Pip in tow, arrived at the LifeVision room where they saw Pa much more often than in person, Zelda O’Brian, the Watson House nanny and head housekeeper, had perched herself on a stool at the back. Three teen household aides giggled in the corner behind her.

Everybody called Zelda Little Z. Becky O’Brian, Z’s mother, used to be Grandma Bodil’s nanny and housekeeper up at Stoneridge, Gram’s Maine estate. Beck alone had survived the explosion that killed Gramp Logan and many of his employees.

The Watson family has such happy times.

Bitchtoinette, on the sofa halfway down the room, looked slinky, shiny, and fake in her fluorescent lime-green pantsuit, platinum hair, and expensively upgraded body.

Hi, Toni, Cass said diplomatically, while she dragged BabyBit quickly toward the front pew before he had a chance to express his opinion or demonstrate his short-word vocabulary.

Hi, kids. Things are moving faster than Glen expected. Get set for some fireworks. From the look in his eyes, your father will likely give more grief than he gets tonight. Bitchtoinette kept her eyes on the screen. She wouldn’t have noticed if Cass and Pip had shown up in their birthday suits instead of their Halloween costumes.

We should try that. Cass meant to think it but muttered it instead.

Try what? Pip asked as Cassie lovingly shoved him onto the front sofa.

Never mind. Cassie and Pip owned the first-row-center seats—Wat’s rule, actually Senator Glen Watson’s rule. The Wat nickname started at the Sullivan School for Exceptional Boys, which became WatTechPrep after Cassie’s Pa bought it from his father and uncle and gave it a scientech focus and girls.

Family legend said that Cassie’s Uncle Nat destroyed any kid who made fun of his bookish, adopted brother Glen. When the big kids at Sullivan started calling her Pa Wat though, Uncle Nat liked the name and joined in. Long story short, Wat stuck through Sullivan, Yale Law School, and two terms as a senator from New York. In his spare time, Glen helped Uncle Nat run WatTechGlobal. They were co-owners, actually.

Most of the Watson House staff had piled into the LifeVision Theater for the last presidential debate. Even the four Secret Service agents were here, two at the back of the room, Ricky and Lucy, and two standing near the front, Cain and Unable. Tick and Tock had gone to New York with Cassie’s Pa. She would have saved room on the couch for Keithy, but he’d disappeared over a year ago. Cass missed him tons but would have died before she told him that. I just hope he’s alive and not hurt or starving.

Derek Tandy, the house security boss, and Brenda Torres, the assistant cook, lived at Watson House but hadn’t shown up yet. They planned to be married and were probably practicing; they usually did when Cass’s Pa spoke on LifeVision.

Pip loved to watch Bren and Tandy practice. PeepPip had even drilled spy holes; he drilled them at school too, in the gym, between the boys’ and girls’ dressing rooms. Between mischiefs, he studied quantum physics, his new passion. Among dirty-little-boy geniuses, no one could compare to Philip Pip Ian Watson.

He’ll grow out of his fascination with sex... or into it."

On the big-frig monitor in the LifeVision Theater, Cassie’s Pa walked to the glass podium and looked out at the audience. Freddy Lessing, Cass’s favorite newshead, looked magnificent at the moderator’s desk. Apart from occasionally derailing his thought train, misplacing his period, and generally getting lost, Fred grandly resembled a twenty-year-old great-and-gorgeous Jake Tapper.

I love Jake almost as much as I love Unicorn Harry.

I have been listening to Vice President Samson.

Her Pa’s voice sounded even and flat. Nobody called him an exciting speaker, but everybody recognized him as one of the smartest.

And I have decided that if even a bit of what Butch just said about Butch turns out to be true, I might vote for him myself.

Cassie’s Pa talked off the top of his head: no Teleprompters or notes, nothing except wit, brains, five facial expressions, a flat voice, a flatter gut, and apparently a presence that makes females salivate, sweaty weightlifters pant, and little girls dash to puberty. The OnishiWashingtonPost claimed that anyway.

I am not as pretty as Butch Samson. My makeup artists aren’t as creative, but I refuse to fire my washcloth. Most important: I ignore speechwriters and talking points, and I may even tell the truth from time to time.

The audience chuckled nervously. Cassie’s Pa said that stating the unspoken obvious softened the audience for the pitch.

Apart from that, I am not the handpicked choice of Frank Cozzi, the incumbent president of these superb United States. I respect the president and am confident that Frankie will go down in history as exemplary among losers who won.

Wat paused. At precisely the right moment:

No, I cannot lie to you. I respect the system, the presidency, and the voters. I do not respect our president. Frank has proved a mad, sad, rare error by the voters, a mistake I am certain they shall not make again.

Pip whooped, Give it to him, Daddy!

Cassie could use some popcorn and a Hillary’s Birch Beer about now. Kill him, Wat, she whispered. She hated the idea of moving to Washington but loved her Pa’s trip to the top. No matter what it cost her, Cassie would support her wonderful, part-time father.

Cassandra Logan Watson carried her grandpa’s name, but she wanted to be her father.

—4—

Upstate New York. Watson House Grounds. 9:10 PM. Keith.

Golden light spilled from the mansion windows and lit Keith’s way through the woods.

Beautiful night but too warm for October. The kids will be at the LifeVision Theater, watching Glen. Maybe they even have popcorn and birch beer. We always had popcorn and birch beer when I visited.

Toni’s ChangLexus still sat at the front entrance of Watson House. Tandy and Brenda had taken the kids to the annual WatTech Halloween party down at the Westchester plant, a great party for the children of WatTech employees or, in Cassie and Pip’s case, for the children of the owner. Keith got to go a couple of times and thought it was a terrific party.

BigSir’s spies would have turned the landing lights off by now. Keith had propped the stairway doors to the landing pad open so the OmegaTroops could rush up and dart Glen if he arrived early and managed to land without lights. Going up the stairs, you needed a code. Keith had fixed that.

LeaderGeorge called attacking Glen on the landing pad, Plan B. Brainy, hard-muscled, super-tough LeaderGeorge paled when he discussed Plan B. He said that during TheWar, Glen became a ferocious warrior and leader that no one in his right mind would confront head-on.

Keith had left the Dobermans lying on the grass with black-finned darts twitching in their necks. He hated doing that. Pippy and Keith used to feed them. Tonight, without a bark or growl, they came up to Keith for a pet, and he darted them. The dogs would be okay, but God only knew what they would do to Keith if he ever visited again.

More important: what would Glen do to him? Keith questioned the rumors about Glen’s temper. He used to get mad at klutzy Keith all the time but never really yelled at him or stopped him from visiting. They would sit down in the study, and Glen would explain what might have been a better path than the one Keith took. Glen always made sense. He even taught Keith to build and fly hang gliders. Back then, they really liked each other.

Glen hates traitors more than any other kind of enemy. LeaderGeorge kills traitors. I’m effin dead any damned way I look at the thing. "What have I gotten myself into!"

The stories from TheWar were real, though. Had to be.

LeaderGeorge simply would not lie. That’s all there is to it. A man like him couldn’t lie.

Near the front gate of the estate, a WatStep FlexLadder sailed across the wall. Only Glen and Tandy knew the outside entry code for the main entrance gate. Even to open the gate from the house, you needed a login and password.

Here we go, Keith whispered to himself.

LeaderGeorge had promised that no one would get hurt tonight.

Cassie and Pip better not get hurt. They just better not get hurt even a little bit!

Chapter 2 – Logan and Becky

—1999—

I need somebody to be alive for me.

—1—

The Atlantic Ocean off Maine. Midnight. Becky.

Mr. Logan Watson’s silhouette towered in the moon-glazed night as The Loon of the North slipped out to sea from the Maine coast. Becky shivered at the sight. She wanted to march right on up there to the bow and stand next to the great man.

I wouldn’t dare do that. I love him, but I know my proper place.

Becky’s mama, Maria O’Brian, below-deck helping Captain Stag’s wife and sons and Mr. Logan’s accountants, Mr. and Mrs. Torres, had taught Beck that being the Watson Family’s Executive Housekeeper’s teen daughter and growing up at Stoneridge did not give Becky the right to—

May-as-well come on up with me, Beck. Mr. Logan’s deep voice reached through the dark and caressed her, then spread over the Atlantic Ocean like the voice of God. Mr. Logan and his twin, Mr. Mike, got their gorgeous Scottish burrs from their father, Mr. Ian Watson, who had been the power behind many thrones, just as his sons were now. Come on now, Rebecca, don’t be shy. I could use your company.

What they say is true: that gorgeous man can read minds. And my brain is babbling. It always does when I get excited.

Nervous or not, Becky mumbled, Yes sir, and in a half-blink stood next to the famous Mr. Logan Watson in the bow of The Loon of the North, a magical boat bound for a mystical place. Really, she stood on a boat sailing to a place only God knew—God and Mr. Logan.

"The ocean, the night, The Loon—it’s all so beautiful, isn’t it, Beck?" Mr. Logan half-whispered it.

Oh, yes, sir. This night is the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. Thank you for bringing me, sir. Becky meant that from her deepest soul. By rights, she should have been back at Stoneridge, helping the other servants and Ms. Bodil Watson take care of Master Glen, Mr. Logan’s feisty little six-year-old. It’s grand out here, like a whole other world.

Wild little Natty Stag—his parents and brothers were below-decks helping with this trip—had come to Stoneridge for a sleepover tonight. Two six-year-old friends as close, smart, and curious as Glen and Natty needed twelve times the watching, with a whip and a chair, just for Stoneridge to have a stone left on the ridge.

Gods, I’m head babbling again, I am. I’ll do my very best to help, sir.

Mr. Logan gave a warm little laugh, as if watching a puppy play. I appreciate that, Beck, and do not doubt that you will.

Becky sure hoped that she didn’t sound as much like a silly, wide-eyed, teen girl to Mr. Logan as she did to herself right now. She so wanted to act grown-up for Himself, maybe even in ways that she should not be thinking. May I please ask where it is that we’re going, sir?

"Not far. Hawk Island, off Bar Harbor. Mike and I own it. He’s going out early to get the place ready for the meeting and to transport my most influential supporters. He’ll meet us there."

As far as Becky could see, this mysterious and secret trip ranked up there with a James Bond movie, just as Mr. Logan did with the gorgeous Mr. Sean Connery. This trip is big-time important, isn’t it, sir.

Yes, Beck, it surely is. Mr. Logan put his arm around her shoulder, not in the way a boy Becky’s age would, panting for a feel and a finger, but in the way of giving protection and asking for support. This little trip of ours is extraordinarily important. He sounded lost in his thoughts, maybe in his thoughts about how much to tell her.

The engines purred. The full moon glowed gold in the clear night.

Finally, after Mr. Logan had spent enough thought on the matter: You probably already know that I plan to run for president. My father also wanted to, but I’ll be the first Watson to actually do it. I suspect that you’re even aware that my wife, Bodil, my brother Mike, and some of my associates, Jerome Westerlow, in particular, do not much approve of that. The thought seemed to weary and worry him something fierce.

Yes sir. From her post as the Executive Housekeeper’s semi-working, nosy daughter, Becky heard almost everything at Stoneridge. I’ve heard a bit about it.

Day in and out for the past six months.

Mr. Logan and Ms. Bodil, sometimes with Mr. Logan’s twin, Mr. Mike, had shared nine or ten grand set-tos about the agonies of politicking and first-familying.

Well, maybe more than a bit, sir, she said.

I dare say. Mr. Logan chuckled again, which he seemed to do often around her. "In any case, I called this meeting to convince my friends and associates that they should think my way about a presidential run. Bodil will never change her mind. She’s even ignoring the Hawk Island meeting. I wanted her to come and to bring little Glen, Natty Stag too if she wanted."

Ohhhh. Them who don’t want you to run will adjust, sir. Your twin, Mr. Mike, already seems to be coming around. You would make a grand president.

I’d make a grand first lady too, but your wife sure wouldn’t. Ms. Bodil could sour bitter. I love her just the same, though.

Mr. Logan Watson tightened his arm around Becky and laughed a deep soft laugh, smooth as the moonlit sea. Ah, Becky, my precious young friend, I too think that I would make a grand president, and if my brother comes on board, we should be able to convince—

The ocean exploded. Fire washed over them. Becky hurtled out through the burning air into the Atlantic. The cold scalded her body. The water grabbed her. Her arms struggled. Her feet kicked. Her lungs screamed with the drowning pain until her body went limp and—"

Hands grabbed Becky and jerked her to the surface. She choked and coughed, breathed in deep, long breaths, and fought to fill her lungs with air as she magically floated backward, away from The Loon’s snapping skeleton. The ocean glowed red for another moment, then fell dark. Nothing remained but the smooth voice of the sea, the full moon, Becky, and the strong arm drawing her across the feathery swells.

He’s saving me. He Himself. I know it. I know it for sure. He Himself. He Himself.

—2—

Maine. NorthWatch Island. 1:00 AM. Becky.

Becky felt rocks grinding into her back, smelled cold sea air, and heard thunder. The hands that had pulled her across the ocean had disappeared, and her fear had become a shiver. Despite the Harvest Moon,

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