guessed that Jerry Rankin was actually Stanley Jenkins. Roger in fact thinks
Stanley would never have been
caught if it hadnt been for that Polaroid Amy sent me. We can thank our
daughter for solving this case!
Our daughter and her father, Ann corrected.
She had to get away. At least stall him somehow for now. At least give him a
Please let me live, Stanley. I promise that . . .
The name is Jerry Rankin, Ann, remember? Were through with Stanley now.
I beg you, Jerry, An
get a bit nippy this time of year. The water is good and warm, though!
Ann smiled, took a sip and looked around. It was dark as pitch outside now but
the solarium was bathed in
a warm glow from the tiny track lights mounted strategically along the pe
located the phone underneath the pile of wadded up papers and picked up the
Have I caught you at a bad time? Ann asked.
No, not at all. How are you doing?
Okay, she replied, not sounding very convincing.
Youre lying, Sam said. Whats wrong
tiny beads of sweat forming on his brow as he merely stood there for a full
minute, fondling. Ann had the
impulse to run but thought better of it. She would have to wait.
God, theyre so soft! And firm! he gasped, nearly choking on his own words.
couple of times and tried to force it open.
There was a moment of silence, then the sound of more footsteps coming up the
This is the sheriffs department, Rankin. We know youre in thereopen this
door immediately! a
muffled voice commanded.
wouldnt let meso I figured that if I could somehow attract you in a spiritual
way, I might have a chance. My
plan was to show you how well I knew you and that I understood what made you
tick, Ann. I thought youd be
impressed and would go out with me, beca
Shes got a good dad, too, Ann declared.
She misses her dad and I miss him, too.
That could be fixed, you know, Sam challenged.
Ann sighed. I know, Sam. And dont think I havent been giving that a lot of
There was an uncomfortable paus
staring at her on purpose or if hed done it inadvertently. Something told her that
the former was the case but she
hoped that she was wrong. Surely, she decided, Jerry wouldnt purposely do
something that childish
When she joined him in the kitchen, Jerry
already be so fervent to start all over again with someone else.
By the time they headed back to this house, Ann found herself puzzled and a
little taken aback by Jerrys
gradual change in demeanor. In the span of just thirty minutes, he had someh
But there you stand, plain as day, telling me that Im not quite up to your specs.
Are you trying to
convince me that Sam Middleton is some kind of prize? Ha! That skinny twerp
sure aint getting any offers from
Chippendales, now is he? Yet you still want t
side of the tub. Ann stared down at him, in awe and contempt, Jerry Rankins
eyes gaping at her boobs as if he
were examining a rare archaeological find.
He suddenly whisked one of his hands away and crammed it down into his
trunks. He was playing with
didnt realize you had so many hobbies, Jerry. Im surprised you find the time to
sell real estate!
He said quickly, Its not as though Im here that often, but its nice to come here
whenever I can and get
away from it all. Isnt that what getting away is all
to you. Id
just like to add that youre not going to believe how relaxing it is out there with
that soothing hot water
loosening up those taut muscles. Its like heaven.
Ann smiled. You dont have to give me the hard sell, Jerry. Ive been in a hot tub
Stanley, and she thinks youre really cute. Shes been waiting for months for you
to ask her out, but shes afraid
you wont have the nerve to do it.
I flipped out when she told me this. All of a sudden I started thinking that maybe
you knew Id been
a total sociopath lost in his own little world of perverse espionage. And the older
he got, the more dangerous he
Whats to become of him, you think?
Roger thinks hell plead insanity. Probably spend the rest of his life in an
institution. Hes got t
only reason to exist for quite a while, in fact. I dreamt about you every night,
after I went to bed, I dreamt of
someday having you all for myself. To hold you and touch you and have wild,
kinky sex with you. God, you
were all I could ever think about! A
darkness for a latch of some kind to secure the door.
Open this fucking door, bitch! Rankin screamed in rage.
His voice sounded different for some reasonso different that Ann actually
wondered it were really Jerry
Rankin on the other side of the door.
Jerry bolted into the living room and sprinted toward her. Ann darted over to the
spiral staircase and
stubbed her toe as she scampered up the wrought iron stairs toward the second
floor. She glanced down in terror
as she eyed Rankin, racing up toward her
that he went into your house while you were away, gathering vital information
and tapping your phone, listening
in on your conversations? And spying on you through your windows while you
were innocently going about
your business? I mean, how else could I
But I thought that this was state property.
Not anymore. We just passed the forest boundary line a quarter mile or so
Ann watched as Jerry stepped over to the gate, took a key from his pocked and
unlocked the padlock. He
swung the gate open
agree to this rather odd idea. But the more she though about it, the more she
realized that she was actually
looking forward to it. It was all quite harmless, really, and besides, she had
always been crazy about hot tubs. In
fact, she and Sam had owned on
three weeks! A Second Chance for Madeline. I planted it in your house. I knew
that youd read it of coursemy
only concern was whether or not you would question where it came from and
how it got there. A calculated risk,
you might say. But my hunch was righ
feigning compassion. Im sorry, Ann. I really need to get a handle on this temper
of mine. I get a bit irrational
when I get angry and then I start making mistakes. Thats not acceptable.
Especially in the spy gig. Do forgive
Ann was trembling.
portfolio with her. A man sitting at her table saw her looking through her pictures
and asked if he could take a
look at them. Shelley consented and the guy checked out her photos. When he
was through, he told her that they
were excellent, adding that he
make love to herto have her willingly and consensually make love to him. By
the book, as hed put it.
Or, the alternative . . .
In fact he had wanted everything to be by the book. And it had been just that so
Jesus! she thought in horror as
feel like a
whole person again, but he had been there for her when she needed a man
around the house and a shoulder to cry
on. Plus he had helped to get her mind off of Marsha, if only for a little while at a
As Ann recalled her lifelong friend she
suddenly awoken her. She had been grateful for the wake-up call because
shed had a final to take the
following morning and hadnt yet begun studying for it.
She heard Jerry stand up and opened her eyes. Im getting my winewould you
person. This was not easy, to say the least, but I was quite determined. I stayed
in Europe after the surgery
because I realized that the most effective way to dramatically change my
speech, mannerisms and personality
was to get saturated in a totally dif
And what difference did it make if he had spent the night here last night? It
wasnt any of her business, anyway.
Ann turned and left the bedroom. When she reached the first floor, she saw Jerry
out in the solarium
kneeling down and fiddling with the contr