Sweet Caroline's Keeper

Sweet Caroline's Keeper by Beverly Barton Read Free Book Online

Book: Sweet Caroline's Keeper by Beverly Barton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Beverly Barton
Tags: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
went rogue, which rarely happened, then he or she met a swift punishment at the hands of the organization itself. Shaw had been under suspicion for several months, but no one wanted to believe the charming man was capable of subversive activity that might threaten the United States. But despite Shaw's blue-blooded background and the respect he had earned over the years, in the end, he had proved himself dangerous to the very government he had sworn to serve.
    Only a handful of people knew the truth—the wealthy, suave, sophisticated, gallant and greatly admired Preston Shaw had assassinated U.S. senator Herbert Harwell, under orders from a secret society of insurgent and highly dangerous powerful men known as the Loyalists Coalition. Preston Shaw had been a double agent.
    And two months later, the Peacekeepers' special agent, Aidan Colbert, executed the traitor Shaw had proved himself to be by that one atrocious, deadly act.
    David padded through the apartment, out into the large open space that combined a living room and kitchen. He plopped down in the black leather easy chair, hoisted his feet atop the matching, contemporary-style ottoman and picked up the TV remote control. At this time of night, when he suffered with bouts of insomnia, he usually watched reruns of black-and-white comedy shows from the fifties and sixties. He had a weakness for the Andy Griffith Show and Father Knows Best, both depicting an unobtainable ideal of family life. God knew his own family life had been the furthest thing possible from ideal. The horrors his father had inflicted on them might have come from an Edgar Allan Poe tale of torment and fear.
    But that wasn't your past, your childhood, he reminded himself. That life belonged to Aidan Colbert. And Aidan Colbert is dead.
    David clicked on the TV but kept the sound muted as he flipped through the various stations. As he zoomed from channel to channel, his gaze traveled back and forth from the television set to various other objects in the room. In his peripheral vision he caught a glimpse of the file folder containing the history of one Caroline Lenore McGuire.
    What he needed to do was strike a match to the folder, to destroy it completely. Over the years, he had foolishly allowed Caroline to become an obsession. What had started out as a man wanting to help a child, to watch over her and keep her safe, had turned into more. Exactly what, he wasn't sure. But whatever it was, it wasn't good for him. If he'd been smart, he would have let his observation of Caroline's life end with Aidan Colbert's death.
    David turned up the sound on the TV just enough to create a racket, then meandered into the kitchen and prowled around in the refrigerator. After retrieving a bottle of imported beer, he popped the cap and walked back into the living room. The program on TV was an old movie with a scene depicting a light snowfall in a metropolitan area.
    His mind drifted swiftly back in time. It had started to snow that night, just as he left the Shaw house. Small flakes at first, but by the time he had returned to the Peacekeepers' headquarters, the ground was covered with a light dusting. The first snow of the season. Had Caroline ever realized it had snowed that night or had most of her memories from that time been banished along with the horror of finding her step-father's body and coming face-to-face with his killer?
    Tomorrow morning, he would telephone Ellison and tell him to end the surveillance of Caroline. In all these years no one had tried to harm her, so what was the point of the agency continuing to protect her? Not the agency, an inner voice reminded him. The only reason Ellison had continued keeping watch over her was as a personal favor to Aidan Colbert. But Aidan was dead and it was high time to allow his obsession with Caroline to die, too.
    It had been three days since she had found her stepfather's cryptic message to her mother, perhaps the last letter he had ever written. And despite

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