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The Club: The Revolution Continues

The Club: The Revolution Continues

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The Club: The Revolution Continues

Lunghezza:
296 pagine
4 ore
Pubblicato:
Jul 13, 2015
ISBN:
9781594335518
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

Geoff arrived home, was arrested, tried, found guilty and executed for his fiancees' murder--a crime he did not commit. He awoke from a drug-induced coma to learn his execution had been faked and he now owed the Club the next ten years of his life. He accepted the Club's conditions and became a membe--there was no choice.

The Founding Fathers having fled tyrannical monarchies of Europe established the Club as insurance against their greatest fea--a corrupt and ever expanding central government. The first name on the Club's founding documents can be found on the American Declaration of Independence.
Pubblicato:
Jul 13, 2015
ISBN:
9781594335518
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Walter's thirst for knowledge took him to more than thirties countries and required him to stand on the very spot where mythology teaches us European history began. From the hillside capital of Liguria he looked out over what was once known as the Republic of Genoa where Columbus set sail for Japan and made landfall in the new world. He stood in historic Jamestown, sat in the House of Burgesses at Colonial Williamsburg, and in Independence Hall where the seeds of freedom took root. During these experiences his mind melded with those patriots desiring freedom at any cost. They conveyed their dreams and their fears—especially their fears. Through the joining of minds these patriots demanded he resurrect the insurance policy set in motion by the Founding Fathers—The Club.

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Anteprima del libro

The Club - Walter Grant

cover.

Prologue

With my life revolving around work and a desire to retire at age forty, I’d never had time for a serious relationship. This changed the day I picked up a hitchhiker. It was love at first sight. We were engaged to wed; life was perfect, or so I thought. When she disappeared, my life fell apart and continued downhill. It hit bottom when I was arrested, tried, and sentenced to be executed for her murder.

Anna, the daughter of a GRU colonel, saved me from execution and introduced me to the Club. For saving my life the Club required I dedicate the next ten years of my life to their mission.

I intended to walk away until the director informed me walking away was not an option. ... you should keep in mind, the general public, as well as law enforcement agencies throughout the country think you’re dead.

I remained silent; the message was crystal clear.

Geoff Jepson

Reunion

Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, and ends with a teardrop.

—Anonymous

The past week had been mentally and physically challenging. Taking advantage of my first day off, I’d slept until noon and awoke rested and reenergized. I yawned and stretched leisurely, it felt good. My eyes were not yet fully open and I was considering catching a few more winks when I became aware of someone in my bedroom.

I opened my eyes slowly. When I glimpsed the daughter of a woman I was having an affair with, sitting at the foot of my bed, my eyes popped wide open and I blurted out, Tracy, how’d you get in here?

I took your key off Mama’s key ring and had a duplicate made.

Why would you do that? What are you doing here?

I’m here for some of what Mama’s been getting.

What are you talking about?

Don’t play dumb with me. I know anytime Daddy leaves town she runs over here and jumps into your bed.

So what, that doesn’t mean I’m going to let you jump into my bed. I’m not ready to go to jail for statutory rape.

Sure you will, otherwise I’ll tell Mama you lured me over here and forced yourself on me. And don’t worry about going to jail—I’m legal.

Look, I’m flattered, but getting into bed with me won’t mean there’ll be a place in my future for you. If this is something you have to do, why don’t you find someone your own age where there’s a chance it could lead to a long-lasting relationship?

I don’t want a long-term relationship and I don’t want to give up my virginity to some boy who is going to run and tell all his friends. Since you’ve kept Mama’s cheating a secret, I know you won’t tell anyone about me. So stop making excuses and let’s have a fun day.

I knew she was lying. This wouldn’t be a one-time thing. Tracy didn’t say another word before she started wiggling out of her clothes. She had either read a lot of trashy magazines she shouldn’t have been reading or watched too many movies she shouldn’t have been watching—perhaps both. She was slow and deliberate. She might have rehearsed her performance, but I suspected for Tracy teasing came naturally. Possibly a gene inherited from her mother. She knew I wasn’t going to stop her. Wearing nothing but a smile she slipped into bed. What could I do? How could I say no?

It was almost dark as I watched Tracy’s Beamer disappear around a turn in the driveway. I took another shower, slipped on a robe and went down to the kitchen. While a fresh pot of coffee was brewing, I threw a sandwich together. Except for a cinnamon roll and a cup of coffee about midafternoon while we sat in the Jacuzzi, I hadn’t eaten all day—Tracy hadn’t been interested in food. I munched on my sandwich while contemplating what I’d gotten myself into.

I was living a life many men would covet. I had a nice place in the country with an easy drive into the city. I did most of my work at home, but had a condominium conveniently located close to corporate headquarters when I needed to put in long hours with my office staff. My salary and bonuses for the past year totaled almost a quarter million dollars. There were perks, including a month’s vacation and time off between assignments. On business trips all my travel and living expenses were paid by my employer—everything first class and four stars. My company matched 20 percent of my contributions toward a 401K. The company car came with a credit card. I had a knock-out, thirty-five-year-old honey-blonde attorney keeping my bed warm and now, or so it appeared, a Barbie-doll Lolita competing with her mother for my affection. Outsiders looking in might ask, Could life be any better? In reality, my life was falling apart and there didn’t appear to be any way out.

It started almost a year earlier when my fiancée decided I spent too much time at work and not enough time with her. Frequent trips out of town, and sometimes the country, left her alone. She didn’t like that. She wanted me nearby on a regular schedule. She broke off our engagement and disappeared with a considerable chunk of my savings—joint bank accounts can be hazardous to one’s financial health.

Emily knew how to make her guy want to come home. She served gourmet meals, the house was spotless, and she always looked as though she had stepped off a movie set when she met me at the door—she dressed for the role she intended to play for the rest of the evening. She was the perfect wife for a nine-to-five kind of guy. She just wanted to stay home, have babies, raise a family, and spend time with her man. Unfortunately, I wanted to retire while I was still a young man, or at least before I became an old man. I had worked hard toward that end and figured another ten years would allow me to achieve critical mass. But Emily didn’t want to give me ten years. She just wanted a simple life and didn’t want to wait. And so, the love of my life walked out the door and disappeared with a half million dollars of my savings—I guess she figured even a simple life would cost money.

I started hitting the bottle and became a regular at several bars. Looking for relief anywhere I could find it. This only served to multiply my problems. My work was suffering; my boss sensed there were issues I needed to resolve and suggested I take some time off. Realizing I was going to grieve myself into an early grave I gave up the bar scene and kicked the drinking habit. By overloading my schedule and immersing myself in work, I managed to keep Emily from dominating my thoughts every waking moment. She still haunted every room in my house. Her ghost met me at the door. When trying to work in my office I could hear her playing the piano in the conservatory. Her presence in my bedroom kept me from sleeping. To try and escape the memories I moved into my condo. I spent what little spare time I had at the gym and in martial art class. During one of my workouts at the company gym I got caught admiring a very shapely lady working with free weights. When I realized she was watching me and I brought my eyes up to meet hers, I figured a smile and a nod was my best defense. I was surprised when she smiled back and walked over to where I was finishing up my third set of leg lifts.

I need someone to spot me while I bench-press, would you mind? And so it began.

Melissa was the type of woman men can’t refuse—not that I tried. A month after Melissa’s first sleepover at the condo I moved back to my country estate. Life appeared to be on the mend. We were three months into a relationship before she told me she had a husband and a sixteen-year-old daughter. By then it was too late; she was in total control of my life. Her being married certainly complicated things, but the fact that she, her husband, and I worked for the same company made it more complicated than one might imagine. I was head of marketing. Melissa was an associate in the law firm representing our company and had an office one floor up from mine. Her husband, John, was a member of the president’s staff with a penthouse office.

Advertising had to be cleared with legal—a company policy. Melissa moved quickly and arranged to serve as counsel for all projects originating in my department. This meant we often traveled together; still, no one other than Tracy suspected we had an off-duty relationship.

Employees’ children are privileged to several company perks; the use of the gym was one. Tracy often met and worked out at the gym with her mother. I kept conversation and interaction with Melissa to a minimum when her daughter was around. Nevertheless, the introduction was made, and a short time later Tracy began engaging me in conversation when her mother wasn’t at the gym. I didn’t think it unusual she would seek out a friendly face when she had questions about the equipment or workout techniques. Neither did I consider anything unusual when she joined my martial art class. So it was a total surprise when she showed up at my house with a proposition I couldn’t refuse.

Tracy was a senior in high school when she made her first Saturday morning visit to my bedroom. During the summer after her graduation we spent as much time together as my job and her mother permitted. I gave Tracy a key to the condo and we’d meet there after work and sometimes during my lunch break. Tracy and I both knew our relationship was automatically on hold anytime her mother demanded my time and attention.

Everything went well until Tracy started college a short commuter flight away. She had been in school only two weeks when she called and asked if I could come up for the weekend. She picked me up at the airport on Friday evening and since she lived in the dorm, we went straight to a motel. Two months later I purchased a condominium just off campus and moved in some personal belongings—Tracy made it her principal residence although she kept her dorm room and on-campus address in case her parents decided to visit.

Flying up on Friday evening and spending the weekend with Tracy became a ritual anytime I was not traveling for the company or spending time with her mother. I knew I was headed for trouble. Romantic triangles never end well. There was no doubt in my mind that any triangle as twisted as the one I was caught up in was sure to end badly. I considered ending it all by asking for a transfer to our west coast office. It was a thought I never pursued. When it came to Tracy and Melissa, logic was completely out the door. Emotion controlled my decisions and it was easy to make excuses for my actions. I was drawn deeper into the web with every moment I spent with Tracy or her mother. As the week wound down I could hardly contain my excitement as I awaited her Thursdayevening phone call confirming our weekend date.

Melissa and I were about to get into the Jacuzzi when the telephone rang. I recognized the ring as Tracy’s and grabbed one of the portable phones spread throughout the house, just in time to prevent the answering machine from picking up the call. I can only imagine what would have happened had I not answered in time and Tracy had started recording one of her X-rated messages. I answered as if the call was coming from my project assistant, Hi Mitch, what’s up? This was code, alerting Tracy to the fact that her mother was in the house.

Is she there again? I watched Melissa slip off her robe, proving once again she was indeed blonde, and ease into the hot aerated water.

I gave Melissa a smile as I said, Yeah Mitch, we’ll work on it when I get some time. I’ll be tied up with another project for the next four days.

And what am I supposed to do?

Stay cool, we’ll reschedule and work everything out.

That bitch. Tracy slammed the phone down. Her comment surprised me. She had made playful comments about her mother before, but this was the first time she’d shown jealousy or contempt for her. I put it out of my mind, dropped the robe, and joined Melissa in the Jacuzzi.

So, I’m a project?

Yes indeed; the most beautiful and fun project I’ve ever worked on. Melissa arched an eyebrow, gave me a little I know you can’t say no to me grin,

I hope you don’t mind putting in time with your project this weekend. Not at all, there’s nothing I’d rather be doing.

That’s good, because your project will require a lot of attention over the next four days.

A month later my life got even more complicated. Melissa started talking about divorcing her husband. Except for Tracy and the convenience of working for the same company, John and I haven’t had anything in common for years.

I didn’t encourage further conversation on the subject, but her followup comments were explicit and left no doubt what she had in mind. From then on, whenever we were together she’d give me an update on her home life and hint at moving in with me.

Under normal circumstances I would have welcomed such a move. I liked Melissa, we fit well together in most everything. But word would spread through the company faster than wildfire can run up a hillside. I suspected my job would be in jeopardy, and probably Melissa’s as well. And then there was Tracy. How would she react?

Leaving the company was not a problem for her, or so she said. Any law firm in Nashville would be eager to have me join with them. Three or four would offer me a partnership. Leaving the company would be a move up for me.

Maybe so, but it wouldn’t eliminate the rumors. Most likely I’d be out of a job before year’s end.

I have influence in this town. I could arrange another job for you.

Maybe so, but talk gets around. I’d end up working in a hostile environment. No one would trust me.

Our private life is none of their business.

You’re right, but I don’t need or want the hassle.

She gave it a rest after saying, I’ll drop a hypothetical in a few places. When you see what turns up you may change your mind.

I knew she wouldn’t let it go, but I was hoping she’d give it a rest for a while.

There were reasons why I couldn’t leave my job with the engineering firm beyond the excuses I’d mentioned to Melissa. Head of advertising was a cover. I was an asset to the engineering company I worked for and my job was legitimate, but I put in several hours a week working a gray room for the DEA. This type of operation was hidden inside the private business community and prevalent in big cities all across the country. This part of my job was the main reason for my excessive travels. I always had a legitimate company project to mask the true reason for showing up at a specific place at a given time. Although traveling with me on most occasions, not even Melissa knew or suspected I had a secret life inside the company. Only the company president, the CEO, and others working the gray room knew.

Just when I thought my life couldn’t get any more involved, Tracy left a message on my answering machine informing me she was quitting school. I returned her call and learned quitting school was only half the problem.

I don’t know why I wanted to go to UT—prestige I guess. I should have stayed in Nashville and gone to Vandy.

Vanderbilt would have been a good choice, but you can’t quit school midterm. Wait until the end of the year and see if you can transfer.

I quit yesterday. I’m leaving this weekend.

Where will you go? What will you do?

I’m moving into your condo. I’ll figure out the rest later?

You can’t move into my condominium. Things are complicated enough already.

Sure I can. I still have a key, and if you say no I’ll tell Mama what we’ve been doing. See you Saturday evening. Be there and don’t be late!

She slammed the receiver down before I could respond. I’d denied the gravity of my involvement with Tracy and her mother for far too long. Even so, I could not bring myself to end it. Sooner or later it would all come crashing down on top of me. When, where, and how? I didn’t know and didn’t want to think about it, but I feared it would be sooner rather than later.

The desk clerk punched a few buttons on his keyboard and announced, You’re in penthouse level two, number five.

With the formalities finished the clerk handed me the keycard to a suite on one of the upper floors. As I followed a bellhop toward the elevator at the far end of the lobby I picked up on the faint sound of a piano somewhere ahead. I slowed as we neared the lounge. There was something familiar about the pianist’s style. It was reminiscent of Van Claven, Sally Harmon, and Erroll Garner all rolled into one—easy listening with a classic touch of light jazz. The artist walked chords from That Old Black Magic, through light applause, into Night and Day. At about the same time the sexy voice half-whispered the opening line I had spotted the billboard near the entrance.

For Your Listening Pleasure: The Sundowner Presents Vocalist and Keyboard Stylist Amy Parker. A paper banner across the bottom of the picture declared, Held Over. I gave the bellhop a double sawbuck and instructed him to take the luggage to my suite.

I climbed onto a stool at the far end of the bar and ordered Perrier. She stumbled on a chord and a couple of words as I walked in, but recovered quickly and finished the song with renewed enthusiasm. She smiled at me for several seconds, her eyes bright and shining, before easing into Stardust, This is all I Ask of You, and then ending the medley with The Second Time Around. It was not by accident she chose these tunes—the first two were among my favorites. I surmised she chose the third song to send me a message.

My thoughts flashed back to the time I had first laid eyes on Emily Davis or Amy Parker—perhaps it was neither. She would tell me before the night was over. I was guessing she had a lot of things to say to me. Time would tell.

Love on the Freeway

Love is where you find it.

–Ignacio Herb Brown

It was just after Memorial Day. I was on my way to San Diego to deliver the 2005 Ferrari Superamerica an executive officer from our west coast office had purchased a week earlier in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. He’d picked me up at my home overlooking the Cumberland River and we’d driven to the Indianapolis 500. From there he flew to Las Vegas to meet with a group of investors interested in building a ski lodge and hotel in the Sierra Nevada Mountains northeast of Los Angeles and I was on the road in a Pininfarina-designed dream machine with nothing to do for the next two weeks.

Highway 74 out of Indianapolis headed almost due west to Peoria, Illinois. Fifty miles past Peoria it turned north to the quad cities, where I’d pick up Interstate 80. There would be a lot of open space on Interstate 80 where I could turn those 540 prancing Ferrari ponies loose and let them run. When an Interstate 80 Next Right sign flashed past I slowed and fell in line behind an eighteen-wheeler and followed the big truck onto the off ramp. I merged into traffic and moved to the outside lane. It was several miles later before I realized I was indeed on Interstate 80, but headed toward Chicago. I moved back to the right, took the next exit, and crossed over the Interstate.

Lights regulated traffic on the cross-over street to prevent vehicles from backing up on the Interstate exit ramps. I was waiting for the light when I noticed a girl standing beside a guardrail on the westbound ramp. She was beautiful. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. When I realized she was watching me I checked her out more closely. She was tall and slender with auburn hair. She wore a western-style shirt, jeans, and cowboy boots. I was still looking at her when the guy behind me leaned on his horn. I was unaware the light had turned green. The girl smiled and looked away.

Since a 12-cylinder Berlinetta engine gets between eleven and seventeen miles to a gallon when cruising I thought this would be a good time to fill up—I was almost three quarters of a tank down. There were half a dozen service stations near the crossover-street intersections. The one I wanted was the last gas station before reaching the westbound ramp to Interstate 80. I won’t say the girl standing by the ramp didn’t influence me, but with an eleven-to-one compression ratio the Berlinetta liked high-octane gasoline. Shell has a slightly higher octane than most other stations. I didn’t want to hear pinging when I put the hammer down. I continued through the light and down the street until I could make a U-turn. The girl watched me until I pulled up to the pumps and then turned away as though watching traffic turning onto the ramp to westbound Interstate 80.

I swiped the company card and kept looking at her while I pumped eighteen gallons of premium gasoline into the Ferrari’s twenty-seven-gallon fuel tank; she didn’t give me so much as a glance. An eighteen-wheeler slowed to make a right turn onto the ramp and, spotting the girl, came to a stop. The passenger-side door opened and she climbed up and began talking with the driver. As I finished topping off she climbed down, the driver closed the door and urged the big rig forward and down the ramp. She still hadn’t looked in my direction. I swung slightly to the right as I pulled away from the pumps and then made a sharp turn back to the left and stopped with the passenger’s door directly opposite the girl. Whether idling or at speed there isn’t another sound in the world like that of a twelve-cylinder engine with a tuned exhaust—a sound you can’t ignore. She pretended I wasn’t there and kept watching traffic turning onto the westbound 80 on ramp. She was certainly playing hard to get. I guess she figured the smile she flashed me while I waited for the light to change was invitation enough and if I wanted to pursue it, the ball was in my court. I killed the ignition, waited a few seconds and said, I didn’t think people hitchhiked these days.

She turned and asked, What makes you think I’m hitchhiking? She was trying not to smile, but her lips crinkled at the corners and she couldn’t hide the twinkle in her eyes.

What am I supposed to think when I see someone standing by an Interstate on-ramp with a backpack and no visible means of transportation? I hesitated a moment and then added, It seems a bit chancy to me for a pretty girl to be hitchhiking, times being what they are. Aren’t you concerned about what could happen to you?

I’ve tried not to think about it; yes, a little.

Where you going?

Denver. Where are you going?

San Diego.

Could you take me to Denver?

I could do that. Without further ado she dropped her backpack onto the floorboard, slid her bottom onto the door, swung her legs into the cockpit, and slipped down into the seat.

She looked at me as though to ask, Why aren’t we moving?

I looked at her and asked, What happened with the trucker? They’re usually pretty safe to travel with. Wasn’t he going to Denver?"

He said he’d take me anyplace I wanted to go as long as I’d make it worth his while.

Sounds like a deal to me.

Oh! And what do you have in mind?

I pointed

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