A dream home is anything but...
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in 2005, Kathryn Rupurtus is an elderly lady convinced to vacation on the island of Nevis. Her companion is Jonathan Smith, a young man who is the son of her recently deceased companion Frederick. Jonathan was the estranged son of Frederick, arriving in town shortly after his father's death. Kathryn extended her Quaker hospitality to Jonathan even though Frederick never mentioned having a son. As a token of thanks, Jonathan arranges to give Kathryn updated kitchen and bathrooms. Kathryn goes to Nevis, but suddenly feels uneasy. Jonathan has her right where he wants her, thus his plan proceeds on schedule.
Fast forward to 2007, and the introduction of the second protagonist Elizabeth Samms. Kathryn's house is being shown by realtor Shelly Yanoff. Elizabeth always dreamed of living in the house and finally has her chance. She signs the rental lease/intent to purchase papers, leaves a hefty down payment and moves in. Gordon Roosevelt, the owner is having second thoughts about selling the house and asks his handyman Donovan Smith to investigate the Samms family. Although Donovan doesn't really have anything negative to report, Gordon abruptly changes his mind and begins a campaign of harrassment. His sole intention is to get rid of the Samms family AND keep the down payment. Everything the Samms family does results in breaking a clause of the rental lease.
All the while a stranger happens upon the scene, with claims to the house. Thelma Ribeaux is Kathryn's sister. She screams theft to Elizabeth, who brushes the accusations aside so sure that her purchase of the house is legitimate. Both ladies tell ther story to the Lieutennant at their local precinct. He determines that Elizabeth has the right to stay in the house, but he promptly launches an investigation into the disappearance of Kathryn.
Spend the rest of the book delving into the characters and their motives, learn what happened to Kathryn, and see if Elizabeth will suffer the same fate!
“The flight crew would like to be the first to welcome you to the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. Please remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened till the cockpit turns off the ‘fasten your seat belt’ sign. At that time you are free to gather your belongings, but be careful of opening the overhead compartment. Your things may have shifted around during the flight. Once again, enjoy your stay on St. Kitts and Nevis.”
“What a picturesque view,” she said stepping off the plane, “a world away from Philadelphia.”
“That’s the whole point Mrs. Rupurtus, to take you away from the urban grit,” he said.
“Jonathan don’t be such a cynic Philadelphia has just as much charm as this island,” she said.
“If you say so,” he mocked.
“Careful newcomer, you don’t get to talk about my hometown after you’ve been there a couple of months,” she said, “your father lived here many, many years and always held Philadelphia in high regard.”
“Of course he did, it offered very little responsibility,” he said.
“You are unaware of the tremendous amount of responsibility your father carried on his shoulders,” she said.
“Responsibility to whom, to you?” he asked.
Stung by his biting remark, Kathryn shifted the conversation,
“Perhaps when his estate is settled, Mr. Luna will have some answers.”
They stood inside the airport terminal looking at the travelers ready to board the plane they just departed.
“Don’t they look well rested? Hopefully when I return to pick you up you’ll have that same glow,” he said.
“What is the projected date of completion?” she asked.
“Four weeks at best,” he said.
She gasped, “You said a week and a half! Why do you need the extra time?”
“I want to take my time and do it right…and I decided to update the bathrooms,” he said.
“Don’t damage Roosevelt too much he’s been in the family since 1910. I don’t want anything to happen to him while
I’m in control,” she said.
“Mrs. Rupurtus, Roosevelt is in these careful loving hands. He will be standing when you return. The airline should have unloaded our luggage into claims by now wait here while I get them,” he said.
Jonathan hastily walked towards baggage claims. His strides made it seem as if he reached claims in three giant steps. He handed the clerk their tickets, “Looking for Kathryn Rupurtus and Jonathan Smith.”
The clerk walked into a room and came back with a brocade suitcase and a black carry on.
“Thanks,” he said, giving the man a $10 tip.
He adjusted his carry on across the shoulder and picked up her suitcase, amazed at its lightness, “I can’t believe she took my advice.”
He slowed his gait on the way back, taking time to ogle a beautiful Asian woman talking on her cell phone. He smiled at her, she smiled back.
“Another time, another place!”
She continued smiling at him while talking on the phone. He turned his attention to the bench where he left Kathryn, next to the information desk. It was empty, she was gone. Startled, his eyes searched every nook and cranny. She was nowhere.
“Think Jonathan, think! Where would a woman go in a new country?”
He walked up to the information desk, “I’m looking for my friend, the old woman who was sitting here with me. Have you seen her?”
Jonathan corrected him, “Her name is Kathryn Rupurtus.”
“She looks an awful lot like Barbara Bush,” said the ticket clerk, “I should have known the First Lady of the United States would not be sitting there alone and unattended. Nah, I don’t know where your friend went.”
“Thanks,” he said.
He walked away with the luggage that suddenly felt heavy. He frantically searched nearly all the boutiques in the terminal. She was not in any of them. He struggled to contain his anger, failing miserably, he blurted, “Where could this old ninny be?”
He surveyed the room again, he did not see her. A woman with two small boys walked passed him, jogging his memory of the time he and Donovan was on a trip with their mother, “She’s probably in the bathroom.”
He went back to the information desk and asked the clerk for the location of the bathrooms. He went there and asked a female tourist who was on the way out if she would go back in and check for him. She was on the verge of saying no until he whipped out a $100 bill. The lady went inside and checked, returning almost as fast as she went in. She reported there were no old ladies in there. He thanked her for her time and gave her the $100.
“Way to go Jonathan! Your own target eluded you!”
He inhaled sharply. Nostrils flared on his narrow nose, making him appear ethnic. His eyes, usually bulging, narrowed to a slit as he scoped the place. She was gone.
“Where on earth can you be?” He thought aloud, “Maybe you’re outside.”
He briefly patrolled outside the airport. The only people out were cab drivers and natives picking up or dropping off love ones at the airport. No old ladies with blondish-white hair. He walked up the steps of the airport, glaring inside the thick windows. His glare became less prominent as he noticed an establishment he had missed.
He sprinted to the store and noticed it was unmanned. He stood outside of it for a few minutes, peering in, wondering when the clerk would return to the cash register. Impatient, he turned to walk away, but a blur came into his peripheral view. He back tracked and looked in the store again. A blonde popped up between the displays of clothing. He rushed in and spun the blonde around. He blew a sigh of relief.
“Sorry,” he said, fixing her dress at the shoulders. “You almost scared me to death.”
“Here I am, but I really shouldn’t be here,” she said.
“You’re not having second thoughts are you?” he asked.
“Jonathan I’ve been having second thoughts ever since I stepped on the plane. I’m too old to be vacationing,” she said.
“You’re not too old, you’re never too old to go somewhere new and exciting,” he said.
She stared at him for a long time. Unexplainable is her stomach in knots, something only one person could make her feel, and that was her little sister Thelma. She knows where Thelma is, back in Pennsylvania, some 2000 miles away, and yet she felt as if she was in Thelma’s presence. She wondered why she felt this way now and why she did not feel it when she was home, when she first invited him to stay with her.
“I can’t believe I trusted you,” she said.
“Whoa! Have I ever given you a reason not to trust me?” he asked.
“No you haven’t, I suppose I’m being overly dramatic, please excuse my accusatory tone, it’s just that it has been years since I went on a vacation,” she said.
“It’s alright to be apprehensive, Mrs. Rupurtus,” he said. “I wanted to do something for you, so I thought you could use an updated kitchen. Think of it as a token of appreciation for being my father’s friend and for embracing me. You took me in, a total stranger, when you didn’t have—
She interrupted, “And I told you before, it was the least I could do for Fred’s son. Listen I’m giving you two weeks to renew the kitchen. Leave the bathrooms alone okay?”
“I guess partial repayment is better than none,” he said.
“By the way, what’s the name of the hotel where we are staying?” she asked.
“I had arranged for us to stay at Cliffdwellers in a bungalow overlooking the ocean. I hired two ladies, nationals, to take care of our needs. Since you cut my time in half, I won’t be staying,” he said.
“Another surprise, you seem to think of everything,” she said.