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Veil of Deception

Sometimes the truth cuts deeper than a lie. (Buy locations available at

- a story full of hidden nuances and twists that keep you going OH MY GOD! Love Romance & More - The tension escalates until ... O ! ! story of rede"ption and a testa"ent of the ne#er-ending struggle of good and e#il. Long and S ort Revie!s "t er boo# revie!s$ a!ards and videos available at

% ere&s somet ing sus'icious going on at S'enser La#e. (eo'le are disa''earing and t eir bodies never )ound. % e )ear and uncertainty o) ! o !ill be ne*t is a))ecting every resident o) t e tran+uil community$ but es'ecially ,urt -a!#ins. %!o years a)ter is !i)e goes missing$ t ere are no clues$ only t e nig tmares o) ! at a''ened in er last moments. % e constant guilt t at some o! e !as res'onsible 'recludes any t oug t o) a normal li)e until e meets Danielle .illette$ a reclusive aut or !it a rat er large s#eleton in er o!n closet. / en t e mystery be ind t e disa''earances is revealed$ along !it t e secrets t ey&ve !it eld )rom eac ot er$ t ey discover t at so"eti"es the truth cuts deeper than a lie.

-e !al#ed 'ast t e lat mac ine to t e o'en door!ay and scanned t e em'ty all!ay beyond. Mu))led sounds$ li#e distorted voices$ emanated )rom t e end o) t e corridor. -e inc ed along t e !all$ 'ausing at eac ste'$ until e recogni0ed t e noise as a television blaring in t e distant room. -is s oulder brus ed a )ramed 'oem on t e !all. 1t 2arred loose and lea't )or t e solid oa# )loor$ but is s#ill)ul )ingers darted out and interce'ted t e unintended alarm be)ore it could signal is a''roac . -e e*amined t e cross-stitc ed !riting$ To "y $elo#ed ife% &rystal$ and grinned. -e 'laced t e )rame on t e )loor against t e !all and continued is 2ourney +uietly$ deliberately$ to!ard is ob2ective ten )eet a!ay. 3inally$ e 'eered cautiously t roug t e crac# 'rovided by t e 'artially o'ened door$ but +uic#ly 'ulled bac# ! en e sa! a s a'ely )emale tying t e re)lective laces on a 'air o) 'in# tennis s oes. -e !atc ed er 'ull long$ sil#y$ blonde air bac# into a 'onytail$ t en start a series o) stretc ing e*ercises ! ile s e 'aid 'artial attention to t e local ne!s re'ort on t e !ide screen television. The "ysterious disappearance of twenty-one-year-old !"'er &a"p'ell fro" the $randon &ollege ca"pus four "onths ago still 'affles the (ied"ont &ounty )heriff*s Depart"ent. Yesterday% + inter#iewed )heriff ,undgren regarding leads as to the wherea'outs of Ms. &a"p'ell. )heriff% is there anything you can share a'out this case with our #iewers-. /othing su'stanti#e. e*#e in#estigated do0ens of phone calls and potential sightings% 'ut they

; all resulted in dead ends.. &an you speculate on the cause of her disappearance or gi#e us so"e idea as to what "ight ha#e happened-. /othing solid. +t*s possi'le Ms. &a"p'ell was suffering fro" so"e e"otional stress% perhaps the tension of her hea#y course load% a fight with her 'oyfriend 1 who knows. e*#e seen it 'efore where a young girl runs offs and reappears "onths later in so"e other state.. +s that what you think happened2 that she ran away-. e 3ust don*t know at this ti"e.. hat a'out her 'oyfriend% is he a suspect-. e*re not ruling anything out at the "o"ent.. /o leads% only dead ends4 3ust "ore sad words for the waiting parents of a 'eautiful young girl with a pro"ising future. This is 5a"ie Da#is% local reporter for )DY% channel 67.. -is eyes loc#ed on t e s!aying motion o) er rear taunting im to reac out and stro#e t ose )eminine curves. % en somet ing 'enetrated is nose. 4ven )rom t is distance$ e sensed a s!eet )ragrance5 a )aint blend o) tangerine and lime6 er s am'oo. % e lure o) er tiny !aist and )irm buttoc#s contorting !it eac bending motion !or#ed t eir magic. -e could no longer deny is t oug ts$ or is )antasies. S e !ould resist at )irst$ !restle against is su'erior strengt . 3inally s e !ould acce't is o))ering and t ey !ould merge as one. % e vision o) er smoot $ s aved legs entangled around is !aist )looded is brain along !it t e sensation o) er muscles tig tening ! ile s e s+uee0ed and surged in r yt m !it eac t rust$ )urt er$ dee'er. % e t oug t o) it !as too muc . -e !anted er. 7o$ e needed er. Beneat im. -e needed to ta#e er com'letely and resolve t e urge racing t roug is loins. % e bu00ing in is ears and t e blood t robbing in is tem'les drummed out all reason. /it out a sound$ e edged )or!ard. 8s s e started to turn$ e reac ed out and loc#ed er tig tly around t e !aist )rom be ind$ is massive arms gri''ing li#e a vise. S e gas'ed and tried to esca'e$ but it !as useless. -is !arm and slid do!n inside t e elastic band o) er 2ogging s orts$ and t e sensation o) er cool$ smoot )les drove more blood straig t into is groin.

,urt roc#ed restlessly in t e ! ite !ic#er c air on t e bottom dec# o) is t!o-story cedar cabin. 1ts location at t e entry to 9attail 9ove o)) t e mout o) .ills 9ree# a))orded an e*'ansive vie! o) t e la#e. % e c air&s t in$ )lo!er-'atterned cus ion o))ered little com)ort to is large )rame. -e glanced at is !atc )or t e )ourt time in nearly as many minutes and s oo# is ead. + told &rystal we needed thicker cushions. /ow where the hell is she8t t e edge o) is vision$ e caug t movement to t e rig t to!ard t e main c annel. 8 'air o) mated mallards led t eir brood o) )ive$ )u00y little bro!n duc#lings in a tig t )ormation into t e cove : all e*ce't )or one straggler t!o )eet bac#. Must 'e the weakling. There*s always one in e#ery 'rood. % e 'lo' o) a lure being coa*ed across t e s allo! end o) t e cove to is le)t diverted is attention. -e !atc ed a crimson bass boat !it metallic stri'es along t e side ease 2ust outside t e bedding area o) s'a!ning largemout bass. % e )is erman tried to agitate t e male bass )rom t eir beds$ but t ey !eren&t ta#ing t e bait. ,urt #ne! t e male bass !ould ta#e a de)ensive 'osture to !arn o)) bluegills !aiting 2ust out o) reac )or t e o''ortunity to dine on t e maturing eggs laid by is mate only days earlier. ;

@ S'las < ,urt turned bac# to!ard t e line o) duc#s$ but ! ere t ere !ere )ive be)ore$ no! only )our !addled along. % e !ea#$ trailing ne!born !as gone. % e 'arents o) t e little critter ad 2ust 'aid a terrible toll )or s!imming in a la#e occu'ied by large 'redator )is li#e mus#ies and stri'ers. / ile t ey !ould never #no! t e trut about ! at ad a''ened to diminis t eir )amily$ ,urt #ne!. 1n t e s ado!s beneat t e ri''les o) small 'addling )eet$ a massive beast !it serrated teet !aited )or an o''ortunity to stri#e. % e innocence o) t e unsus'ecting morsel !as irrelevant5 t e loss to t e 'arents o) no conse+uence. % e ans!ers t ey !ould never )ind meant not ing to t e soulless devil. "nly unger and greed mattered. % ere !as no guilt$ no remorse )or its actions5 it !as driven by 'ure$ sel)-centered instinct. ,urt rubbed t e ti' o) is t umb and )ore)inger slo!ly$ deliberately$ as e considered t e irony o) ! at e ad 2ust !itnessed. "n t e sur)ace$ S'enser La#e conveyed a 'ortrait o) natural beauty$ but t e 'eace)ul surroundings !ere dece'tive. % e struggle )or li)e and deat 'layed out eac and every day$ yet t e la#e residents c ose to ignore t e brutal elements t at e*isted in t e serene vistas 2ust outside t eir 'icture !indo!s. -e com'ared t is scene to t e sad reality o) t e ine't society in ! ic e lived : an e*istence ! ere 'eo'le !ere unable to 'rotect t eir o!n and ! ere evil lur#ed in t e s ado!s$ at t e edges$ !aiting )or a c ance to consume t e unsus'ecting. -e actually s ivered at t e image o) t e 'arents o) t e young girl missing )rom Brandon 9ollege and t e slee'less nig ts t ey !ould s are$ )illed not !it ans!ers$ but !it tears. % ey$ too$ !ould never #no! t e trut about t eir o))s'ring : t e beauti)ul young girl )ull o) li)e !it a )uture unlimited by its 'otential. Did s e still e*ist= /ere er last moments too orri)ying to consider= -er 'arents must )eel el'less to reac out$ 'ull er bac#$ and save er )rom t ings t at consumed !it out a conscience or a soul. ,urt returned to t e con)used 'air o) mallards as t ey searc ed bac# and )ort )or t e duc#ling t ey !ould never )ind. -e combed is )ingers t roug is t ic# blac# air$ t en sto''ed and studied t e ands on t e dial o) is gold-toned !atc again. S it. % e r yt m o) is t umb and )ore)inger increased$ t e 'ressure o) s#in-on-s#in contact made a s allo! 'o''ing noise. Damn it$ 9rystal. / ere t e ell are you= -e reac ed )or is cell ' one on t e narro! 'lastic table at is side and 'ressed a s'eed dial button. 8)ter t e si*t ring$ a canned message began. 1n an aggravated tone$ ,urt demanded into t e mout 'iece$ 8ns!er your ' one$ 9rystal< Sto' 'laying around. / en t e call bac# recording came on$ e slammed t e ' one s ut and smas ed t e may)ly resting on t e small drin# tray !it is )ist. % e im'act sent is al)-)ull beer bottle into t e air. % e amber container made a somersault be)ore bouncing on t e !ooden )loor. % e contents s'rayed across t e )res ly stained dec#$ )orming a trail o) cream-colored )oamy li+uid oo0ing )rom t e mout . ,urt sat trans)i*ed$ li#e a statue$ ignoring is surroundings. % e bottle rolled over t e edge o) t e 'orc $ gyrated do!n t e stee' ill and 'lo''ed into t e la#e. 1t bobbed u' and do!n$ resisting t e inevitable$ until it released a gurgling sound as it disa''eared beneat t e dar# !aters o) .ills 9ree#. ,urt 'ic#ed u' is ' one )or a second time and dialed 9rystal&s )riend. >enny$ it&s -a!#. / en did you get bac# )rom your run t is morning= By ersel)= ?ou let er go by er : 7o$ s e&s not bac#. 1 don&t #no!$ damn it. % at&s ! y 1 called you. 7o$ 1&m leaving rig t no!. ,urt stu))ed t e ' one in is 'oc#et$ lea'ed u'$ and raced )or is truc#. -e !as angry t at s e ad ignored im and gone a ead by ersel) a)ter s e&d 'romised never to do so again. But !orse$ e !as )rig tened : a)raid o) t e 'ossibilities$ ! at mig t ave a''ened to t e only !oman e loved$ and ad loved$ )or t e 'ast seventeen years. / ile e searc ed along S ady -ollo! Road$ images )las ed in is mind o) someone$ somet ing$ arming is !i)e. -is searc became more )rantic as e neared t e end o) er 2ogging route. S e !ouldn&t ave gone o)) t e road. 7ot even 9rystal !ould be t at cra0y a)ter t e neig bor&s dog !as )ound mauled 2ust days @

B earlier$ 'ossibly by a cougar t at ad strayed do!n )rom 8lders Mountain. S e must ave turned rig t on Ridge Lane. S e !ould be t ere$ s e ad to be$ and ! en e )ound er e !ould read er t e riot act. 9rystal$ 1&m going to literally #ic# your 'retty little ass t is time. But t e !ords !ere a gru)) )aAade iding is real emotions5 t e a''re ension t at is !orst )ears !ere about to come true. ,urt&s truc# s+uealed in reverse do!n t e dirt road to!ard t e 'ublic boat ram' be)ore e 2er#ed t e gears i)t into drive. % e tires 'eeled onto t e as' alt in t e o''osite direction$ t is time trailing a !a#e o) bello!ing dust as e 'assed a 'ile o) tras neatly stac#ed beside t e road and eaded o)) to scream at is !i)e )or scaring t e s it out o) im again.

Danielle .illette raised er )ace to t e beginning o) a late summer day. 8 crescent o) sun struggled to 'ee# over t e ori0on and burn o)) t e remnants o) early morning mist. S'ecters in t e va'or cloud ti'toed 2ust above t e sur)ace o) t e !ater as t e )og retreated u' against t e eastern s oreline and tried to esca'e t e cleansing rays o) sunlig t. /it in moments$ t e last gray g osts iding in t e dar# recesses o) eac cove vanis ed into t e )orest cano'y. % e insects and birds o) .ills 9ree# began t eir morning serenade ! ile t e raucous cry o) a blue 2ay rang out across t e la#e in !arning to is )ello! )eat ered )riends. % e damsel)lies !ere out early t is morning. -al) a do0en darted randomly bac# and )ort 2ust above t e bac# end o) 9attail 9ove. "ne dove to!ard a s!arm o) !aterdogs sus'ended by sur)ace tension above t e la#e$ interru'ting t e ballet o) !ater insects dancing erratically along t e sur)ace. % e re)lection o) t e diving$ )our-!inged marauder trying to single out one small bug among undreds scattered t e s!arm in all directions. % is time t ey all esca'ed to un#er do!n amidst t e s!am' grass until it !as sa)e to venture out and begin t eir ballet again. Danielle smiled slig tly. S e !as t e intruder on nature&s deadly game$ not t e ot er !ay around. S e s oo# er ead$ clearing out t e cob!ebs$ as s e too# one )inal amstring stretc !it t e el' o) t e 'orc railing and t en set out on er morning ritual : a 2og along t e scenic 'at )ollo!ing t e la#e. 1t didn&t ta#e long )or er )eet to )ind t eir r yt m. Danielle ad2usted t e ear buds o) er i(od brie)ly$ umming subconsciously to t e %oby ,eit tune 'laying$ + !in*t !s Good !s + Once as. S e )ollo!ed t e inlets and outlets o) t e la#e$ glancing every no! and t en at t e 'ro)usion o) ouses : all graced !it e*'ansive 'orc es )acing t e !ater and most o) t em ostentatiously large. S e never could )igure out ! y )ol#s !ere so eager to build t e biggest structures 'ossible5 all t ose em'ty rooms le)t unoccu'ied most o) t e year ! en t e summer vacationers returned ome to t e city$ all t at unused solitary s'ace t at ad to be cleaned. Be)ore s e reali0ed it$ s e !as )lus !it t e bac# 'orc o) er best )riend&s ouse. Marina !as sitting in a silvered !ooden dec# c air5 a cu' o) co))ee in one and and a cigarette in t e ot er. S e s'otted Danielle and !aved t roug er last 'u)) o) smo#e ! ile s e too# a si' )rom er )avorite$ old$ crac#ed mug. Danielle !asn&t ready to conclude er 2og$ but s e could ardly 2ust run on 'ast as i) s e adn&t seen er )riend. S e ran in 'lace )or a )e! ste's be)ore accessing t e 'orc via a set o) stairs ascending )rom t e la#e 'at !ay u' to t e 'orc . Danielle dre! a c air u' ne*t to Marina and 'lo''ed do!n$ !i'ing a and across er de!y )ore ead and 'ulling t e buds o)) er ears. 9o))ee&s rig t t ere on t e table$ on$ el' yoursel). ?ou #no! t e routine. Danielle 'ulled t e t ermal container closer and 'oured some o) t e steaming co))ee into an em'ty mug identical to t e one cuddled in Marina&s ands. 1t !as t ic# and o))-! ite$ devoid o) decoration$ but s'orting an intricate net!or# o) stained micro crac#s distributed across t e sur)ace. % e B

C airline crac#s in t e 'orcelain gla0e conveyed a 'attern similar to t e !rin#les and crevices in Marina&s )ace$ t e e))ect o) years o) c ain smo#ing. 4ven !it all its crac#s and stains$ its !orn and im'er)ect e*terior$ t e old cu' !as still strong and de'endable: muc li#e Marina ersel). Marina&s eyebro!s rose over t e rim o) er mug. S e 'ut do!n er cu' and emitted a lo! ! istle. Do you see ! at 1 see= -ubba$ ubba. Danielle&s eyes )ollo!ed er )riend&s ga0e to!ards t e la#e. 8 male s!immer !as coming u' out o) t e !ater to sit on t e edge o) Marina&s boat doc# 2ust a )e! yards do!n )rom t e 'orc . Mari< ?ou&re married$ remember= ?ou&re not su''osed to be loo#ing at men li#e you !ant to devour t em. % e man )lic#ed !ater )rom is longis $ dar# air and dro'lets s'rayed out into t e morning air$ brie)ly s'ar#ling against t e rising sun be)ore )alling bac# into t e la#e. -is arms !ere braced straig t against t e 'ier and Danielle could see t e clearly de)ined muscles$ long and )irm. -is bac# and s oulders !ere incredibly broad and narro!ed do!n to a )lab-less !aist ! ic disa''eared into a 'air o) s!im trun#s not muc bigger t an t e tiny 'ieces o) Lycra !orn by 'ro)essional divers. / ile is arms !ere dar#ly 'igmented$ is bac# and bice's !ere a bit lig ter$ !it a line cleanly delineating t e t!o s ades6 a ty'ical )armer&s tan. 8t t is angle$ t e s!immer&s strong 'ro)ile !as canted out )rom t e cree# to!ard t e main la#e$ but ! at Danielle could see !as rat er alluring and strangely )amiliar. -e turned slig tly to!ard a green eron s+uea#ing as it lumbered into t e air )rom across t e cove and s e suddenly recogni0ed t at )ace and ' ysi+ue. 1t !as hi". % e man s e ad seen around to!n$ u' at Rut &s 'lace$ but usually 'lanted in t e lounge c air on is dec# staring o)) in t e distance and searc ing )or somet ing t at !asn&t t ere. % e )eatures o) t is man s e ad seen t roug er binoculars )rom er o!n 'orc countless times in t e 'ast year revealed strengt and a s'irit o) con)idence$ yet t ere !as sorro! re)lected in is dar# eyes. Danielle ad to admit t at in er )riend&s ty'ical cavalier )as ion$ Marina ad assessed correctly. -e !as one ell o) a s'ecimen.

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