Last week we announced that Alison Neuman’s Ice Rose – A Young Adult Spy Novel is our Kids Corner Book of the Week and the sponsor of our student reviews and of thousands of great bargains in the Kids Book category:
An explosion at Christopher Morris’ recording studio leaves his teenage daughter Elissa’s life in turmoil with Christopher missing, and Elissa’s mobility taken away; even worse, it exposes her parents’ lives as secret agents. No longer able to fit into her old world, Elissa embarks on a journey far away from the rock star daughter and dancer existence she knew. Acceptance to Madisyn Academy takes her out of her comfort zone and into danger – into the relentless world of the Sunglass Man, a stalker and a link to her dad’s mission.
At Madisyn Academy, Elissa trains to be a secret agent in spite of prejudicial issues over the use of her wheel chair, and learns to trust her intuition and to believe in her abilities. As an active agent, she completes challenges, falling for fellow student Benjamin along the way. With her new canine sidekick, Morocco, she exposes the danger of her dad’s mission and fights to unlock the truth about the mysterious software called Ice Rose. Elissa soon finds herself picking up in her dad’s place, needing to complete the mission in order to stop The Northern Elimination Retaliation Deployment (NERD) from taking power. She just hopes she does not lose Benjamin or her missing dad along the way.
* * *
And here, for your reading pleasure, is our free excerpt:
TORONTO, CANADA. February 11. On Monday, January 31, an explosion rocked the Treble Time studios. Christopher Morris, his wife and daughter, were believed to be inside at the time of the explosion. John Marks, chief investigator in the Treble case, said at a press conference Saturday that “the debris at Treble Time studio has been examined and Christopher Morris was not found.”
Marks continued, “Evidence found indicates Christopher was alive and removed from the scene by force. The CIA and the
FBI have joined our search.”
Mr. Morris’ wife Stephanie has bruises and a broken wrist. His fifteen-year-old daughter Elissa sustained serious injuries and is now unable to walk. Both are in stable condition at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Christopher Morris is best known for his 2004 song “Better Be Good,” which stayed on top of the Billboard charts for twelve weeks. He was in Canada recording his new album that was to be released November 11 of this year. Joan Fairchild, an Upbeat Records spokesperson, said, “We have set up a twenty thousand dollar reward for information leading to Christopher’s safe return.” The police are not releasing the names of any suspects or details of their leads at this time.
Elissa was searching for an identity to the voice she had heard after the explosion. There was a voice that had threatened to come after Stephanie and Lissy, and it had stayed in her head, in her nightmares, since the accident. She kept feeling like she and Stephanie were not getting the full truth, with all the missing pieces from the agency’s investigating. If she could get into the Agent Links Network, finding the information would be simple. But access, to a separate Agent Links Network non-public server, along with the hard copy mission file, was stored on the Ocean-Alias Campus of Madisyn Academy. And the campus was in an undisclosed location, at most times of the year. It was on a cruise ship, where she could only gain access if she were a student attending the program.
After staying at their Ontario cabin for a month, both Elissa and Stephanie knew they needed to face life and the cruel reality of Christopher’s disappearance. A reality that every independence gadget and tool did not address. A reality even her custom climbing and lowering wheelchair would not fix.
The first room she drove into at home was the dance studio Christopher built to rehearse his stage show. This was her favorite room, which she was allowed to share with him so she could also practice. Half the room was decorated with dancing posters and articles, while in the far corner stood a clothes rack with all her costumes hanging and waiting for the upcoming performances. Her heart fell a bit when she realized they would never, ever be worn again, at least not by her. She took small comfort in the fact that they would be donated. Christopher’s half full bottle of water, covered with dust, still rested on the floor next to his towel. A black baby grand piano, crowded into the corner, still held his sheet music and the last edition of Flying magazine he had been reading.
Elissa looked at the wall calendar, still showing the month of January, before the accident. Her contemporary, jazz and ballet classes, three hours each weekday evening and six on Saturdays, and monthly shows were marked in pink. Christopher’s weekday eight-hour recording sessions, personal training sessions, and weekend stage rehearsing time was marked in blue. Stephanie had meetings every Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, marked in green. Still, she was always home to have supper with Elissa and drive her to her dance classes or recitals. Sundays had family day pencilled in red ink. Only when her father was recording in one stationary place, could the idea of family Sundays even be a faint possibility.
Elissa’s practice dance shoes were waiting in the corner where she had last left them. She flicked the power on and the projector started to play tape of a dance recital from when she was a kid. She and Christopher watched old performances to try to improve them. Elissa wanted to look away from the video but couldn’t stop watching the girl dancing and smiling. She found herself smiling as she remembered being on the stage, in that moment, and letting the music move her around. It was hard for her to remember her body gliding effortlessly and seamlessly across the dance floor. Before the accident, the movement had come so naturally.
She turned off the projector and drove to the barres, putting on the wheelchair brakes and attempting to pull herself up. Her muscles tightened and pain shot down her legs. With a deep breath, she tried to lift her right leg up onto the barre, but it wouldn’t reach. Cursing, she pushed away from her chair and fought to step along holding onto the barre. Staring into the full-length mirror, she let go and attempted sliding her foot towards the wall, then pulled it towards her left leg. Intense pain shot into her hip and knee in her left leg as it folded and she crashed onto the floor mat. Tears ran down her face. She ripped off her ballerina watch and threw it across the room at one of her dad’s framed gold records. How did this happen? Who had stolen her legs from her, not to mention her father?
Madisyn Academy. That’s where the answers are. That’s where I need to be. She smiled ruefully. Would Dad hate that? Would they even let her attend being in a wheelchair? The regular world was a challenge enough and the world of secret agents would surely have additional regulations, but attending was something she needed to do.
The door swung open. Stephanie ran over and sat down next to her.
“It’s all over,” Elissa said softly. “My dancing. My friends. I’m ready. I want to go to Madisyn Academy.”
“To be a pilot?” Stephanie looked at her. “That’s a good idea.”
“To be a CSIS, or FBI agent – to fly planes – to be in the
Edmonton Ridge residence like you and Dad.”
“Your father wouldn’t approve. It’s too dangerous.”
“Dad lost his vote when he put his job as a field agent above us.” Elissa grabbed Stephanie’s hand. “You chose to work in technology and science and not be a dangerous field op. Please, I need to find a place for myself.”
“But honey,” Stephanie said, brushing the bangs out of Elissa’s face. “You’ve never shown any interest in intelligence programs before.”
Elissa thought about the two days before she left the rehabilitation hospital. On one of their regular evening walks, in the warmth of the spring sunshine, Stephanie had taken her to a park area behind the hospital. They’d sat at a picnic table and Stephanie had set down a portable radio.
Each time Elissa asked, Stephanie had avoided her questions about Christopher’s disappearance. Stephanie reached into her purse to pull out her BlackBerry. This time changing the topic or using an urgent telephone call or message to return was not going to stand in the way. Elissa’s cheeks flushed. She leaned over, grabbed the phone from Stephanie and held it in her lap.
“Ugh. I want the truth. What really happened? Now!”
Stephanie took a deep breath, exhaled and stared past Elissa towards the trees.
“I’m involved whether you like it or not. I have a right to know.” Elissa moved her wheelchair in Stephanie’s view until they made eye contact.
Stephanie looked around, turned up the volume on the radio and leaned in towards her.
“You’re right,” she’d said. “You deserve to know. While your dad was a singer he was also a…” She lowered her voice even more, “secret agent.”
Elissa had laughed, looking around her, thinking this was another diversion on Stephanie’s behalf. Stephanie’s face was serious. Elissa’s mind had never considered a secret agent – maybe an officer working undercover – maybe he was a witness to a crime, but never a secret agent. Agents were just in the movies, books and on television and not anyone’s Dad. She shifted in her wheelchair as she processed the information, while not giving Stephanie any indication of the thoughts swirling in her head.
“Your dad and I are both agents – both members of COOL (Central Organization Operative League). Christopher was working on a clandestine operation. This aftermath is related to an incident at the studio. Not that I can prove my hypothesis. Stupid Agent Links red tape and their security have led me to many dead ends.”
Elissa’s heart sunk in her chest and she felt her stomach churn. Despite the occasional argument, she always considered herself close to her parents. Well, as close as a fifteen-year-old could be with their parents. Christopher had an honesty policy in which, if she needed either of them, she could call and they would come get her, no questions asked. How hypocritical had they been to expect her to be honest when both of them were keeping the biggest secret ever from her?
“Why’d you keep this from me? Didn’t you trust me?”
“We were trying to protect you.”
“Great job Dad did of that.” Tears rolled down Elissa’s cheeks and she hid her face with her hands. Stephanie leaned over and hugged her.
“There’s still no official cause for the accident but it’s presumed the studio had been rigged. They think the explosive device was on one of the support beams.”
“Did they find Dad’s …um,” Elissa quietly sobbed. Elissa noticed one man in a suit hiding behind a tree and wondered who was following them. She turned her head to see if anyone else was watching them.
“Are those men watching us from the agency?”
“Honey, they insisted we have security.”
“Haven’t they done enough?” Elissa scowled at the partially hidden suit and then looked at Stephanie. “So was anything about you true?”
“Everything we told you was true, even about Madisyn
August 31: Day One
Elissa sat on her bed and put on her required Madisyn Academy uniform – a boring blue dress shirt and her ironed black dress pants knowing that now was not a time for individuality; rather she should try to blend in. Still deep inside her heart was a negative voice undermining her confidence and making her wonder if she could even manage by herself. She sang along to a dance compilation jamming from her Runlink phone, which had all the features of an iPhone but included satellite range, required for her classes, and was filled with her own music, photos and pieces of her life she’d miss. A phone that warned it only worked four floors below ground and 20 feet under water. Somehow the thought that she might need to call underwater did nothing to make her feel more secure about the tasks they would ask of the students at Madisyn.
As she put her orthopedic insoles in her runners, a small piece of paper fell out. She reached, over-balanced, and landed on the floor with her comforter balled up next to her.
Her legs ached and burned against the hard wood. Bending her knees was painful and took some time before she could brace herself enough to move them. Elissa rolled onto her stomach and, arm by arm, went back over to the bed. When she turned to put the piece of paper on the sheets, her dad’s framed photo, with his brown-streaked bangs obstructing his green eyes tipped off the nightstand. He held a huge pair of scissors and was cutting a ribbon for his funded elementary bridge school in Namibia, She picked it up. Her heart ached when she thought how he wouldn’t be there to teach her how to drive, to scare away her first boyfriend and have another game of basketball with her.
“You promised you’d always be here, but you were only here when it fit your schedule. You did this to me and left us to pick up the pieces.”
She threw the picture into her bean bag chair. For a minute she sat on the floor against the bed, tears streaming down her face, while she waited for the throbbing in her knees and hips to subside. Stupid knees. Stupid hips.
Elissa suppressed the frustration and the anger and for just a moment her heart felt empty, aware that she’d thrown away the photo of a dad she missed more with each day. A dad, who understood her at a level no one else could and who appreciated her passion for music and dancing and animals and Original Glazed Krispy Kreme donuts.
She used her hands to pull herself over and up onto the bed. Her heart raced as she looked at the paper. It said:
THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING ESFR
PRODUCTS. PLEASE SEE THE BACK OF THIS SHEET FOR INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE SECRET COMPARTMENT LOCATED IN YOUR RIGHT
She pulled out the insole and tapped on the sole. Sure enough a small door slid down to reveal a rectangular compartment big enough to hold a deck of playing cards and a toothbrush, which she knew could come in handy. She reached into her bedside table, pulled out a nail file and placed it in the compartment before she put her insole in and her shoes on. Then she picked up her vests. The formal vests were a light, silky fabric that contrasted with the rough canvas material of the everyday vests. The design was brutal and she wondered who had created such functional but boring attire.
She sifted through her vest pockets and pulled out the tiny individual instructions. Each vest was ESFR certified, which stood for Emergency Secured Formulated Regulators. Each ESFR certified item had a special feature. One pocket had a pull tab like a beach ball to allow the user to inflate the vest. Two pockets had secured carabineer harness hooks.
Wall climbing had been one of Christopher’s chosen Sunday afternoon physical activities for the family. Elissa and Christopher had raced to the top of the climbing wall, with Christopher winning, as usual. When Stephanie went, Christopher was right next to her, encouraging her to climb up to the top, while Elissa stood at the bottom screaming and cheering her along.
Physical exercise of any kind was not Stephanie’s idea of a good time, but she made it to the top and beamed as she looked at Elissa. The Sunday before the accident, the activity was Stephanie’s choice: the science centre.
While Christopher and Elissa would never admit it to Stephanie, they actually looked forward to her educational choices. She missed the weekly activities that ended when Christopher went missing, but physical activities would now prove challenging if not impossible.
One narrow side pocket was designed to hold a miniature oxygen tank when provided. She put her Runlink into one pocket then grabbed her silver Academy-approved prescription sunglasses and read the instructions: Press the left arm button for low grade night vision.Can’t wait to try that out, Elissa thought as she slid on her vest.
Some of the supplies for Academy purchased online weeks ago would surely get her into trouble. She had taken the code breaker one afternoon and sat outside their garage, trying to get the rolling code to gain entry. Christopher had purchased the best door remote opener with the biggest amount of rolling codes for the garage where he stored his Harley Davidson Motorcycle collection. It took Elissa about ten minutes with the code breaker to get into the garage. Stephanie was not at all pleased that she was able to gain entry by finding the code.
Rummaging through her black messenger bag with the logo for Madisyn Academy, Elissa pulled out her list and double checked to make sure she had everything. The night before, she had packed her bag with all the required items she could order online, including the electronic textbooks, which were loaded into her new Eliminator Seven laptop. It was the size of a paperback book, but with many features, including voice dictation software, but it had no games installed. It had definite possibilities, being so small and portable, but needed desperately to have some games downloaded. After making a disk with a hacking program which she was going to load onto it, she wished she could have had Christopher and Jon’s Ice Rose program. The program, she was convinced, either contained information about Christopher’s last mission, perhaps indicating his current location or who might have kidnapped him, if he was kidnapped at all.
Christopher and Jon were always challenging her knowledge of computers with new security and websites to access. Sometimes she did wonder why they were into breaking into secure sites but she presumed that it was to improve security. When the truth came out about them being agents, the hacking took on more of a purpose for her.
She remembered borrowing Jon’s laptop to work on school projects during breaks in rehearsal when she was under deadline. Once, while she was supposed to be working, she found an installed program called Ice Rose. Three hours later, her curiosity had guided her past the entry virus, which began if the fingerprints and passwords were not entered in a specific amount of time. Jon had his fingerprint saved on the system and his passwords were easy to figure out, so gaining access before the virus kicked in was easy. She then decided to add Christopher’s fingerprint and her password and fingerprint, thinking Jon needed a greater challenge. So while Jon was at a conference with Christopher, she’d borrowed his laptop and put those items in place. When he discovered she had been into the program, he refused to let her borrow the computer again. Christopher had also given her a lecture about using his personal information and identity, which he changed immediately. It was weird behaviour for both of them, but they refused to discuss it with her further. She let it go, but getting into the network was something she could not break off. It was an impulse that just wouldn’t leave.
She finished all the changes and ran the Ice Rose program, stunned by the black screen and white codes that came up for just a second before a prompt screen appeared asking the user to enter the website it wished to explore. She entered the COOL website, Central Organization Operative League, of which Christopher and Stephanie were members. The program allowed her to hack into the website and open invisible doors which permitted access into whatever she wanted to review and change. At the time, she couldn’t understand why either Christopher or Jon would require a program to hack into secure sites but that changed when the truth about them being secret agents was revealed.
Gadgets and Gizmos – T.V. Fessenden
The Giant Book of Codes and Signals – M. C. Dash Introductory Computing for Agents – S. W. Bytes.
Speed Reading and Memorization – T. A. Synapsis
Introductory Aviation – Amelia Wright
Technology, uniform and gadgets 1 Runlink phone (Color of choice)
1 Hyperlink beeper (Color of choice)
1 Climbing kit (Color of choice)
1 lock-pick kit
1 portable scanner
New Student Kit (Included)
Identi-cover (privacy protection)
Secret Diary (enabled with a fingerprint identification system)
1 Madisyn Academy Key Shaped USB drive
Meltaway Paper with activation liquid Invisible/Visible pens
Speckles Chews (smoke for cover)
When Elissa’s school items came to the house, Stephanie went through the items with her. Elissa thought the gum sounded stupid.
“Elissa, it smokes and gives you time to run for cover.” Stephanie pulled out a piece, chewed on it and set it on the ground. It gave off smoke.
“Isn’t the smoke dangerous?” Elissa leaned down and took a small whiff, which made her cough.
“No, but it tastes awful. Don’t ask.”
Those words stayed with her as Elissa took one last look around her bedroom – one last look at everything arranged neatly in its place, just like her life. A crystal vase and a trophy resting on the windowsill created shadows where they met the sunlight. Christopher had given Elissa the vase, and every time he departed on tours he filled it with fresh flowers. Now the carnations were dry and brittle, very unlike what they were a few months ago, similar to her feelings towards him. After the explosion, Stephanie gave Elissa the Academy Courage trophy she’d won for overcoming her intense fear of heights.
Maybe one day I’ll figure out what’s going on with my parents, once and for all. I’m going to miss Mom. Heck, I might even miss getting grounded.
Down the long hallway, past the cabinets filled with her dancing trophies and Stephanie’s and Christopher’s various awards, Elissa headed to the lift. Christopher insisted Stephanie’s trophies be displayed, but she was never impressed with awards or accolades.
When she passed Stephanie’s room, she noticed a large pile of clothes on the floor waiting to be laundered. The chore board had the tasks divided for each person. Her parents owned numerous houses, condos and two cabins, but didn’t believe in having a maid, cook and gardener when they could do the tasks themselves when they were home. A smile spread across her face as she remembered Christopher, wearing a white hazardous material jumpsuit, gas mask, and rubber gloves, entering her room to pick up her clothes and place them in the plastic garbage bag he used to collect the laundry to take downstairs.
“Come on, they don’t smell that bad,” Elissa had commented.
“Lissy, protect your father.” He imitated Darth Vader from “Star Wars.”
“Yeah, that never gets old.” He did have his moments of acting like he was seven years old. She grabbed a handful of her clothes and put them in his bag. Now everything and everyone waited for him to return.
The aroma of burning bacon joined her on the lift, making her wonder if she was stuck in some kind of time warp. Each year, on the first day of school, Christopher made the bacon since Stephanie always burned it. Obviously it wasn’t a time warp, and Christopher wasn’t here since this continued as a bad tradition without him.
She rolled off the lift, past the living room, and into the bright kitchen, past the island covered in Stephanie’s secret pancake mix, which Lissy was sure came in a box from the grocery store. The pancakes smelled good and she was trying to enjoy the last breakfast she would have with Stephanie, for awhile at least. A guitar solo blasted from the radio on the counter next to Stephanie’s mushroom and frog canisters.
“Elissa, excited about the journey to Madisyn?”
She was excited to gain access to her true past, the truth about what Christopher was really up to and the life she had been kept out of. But she wasn’t sharing those details.
“No pressure. I just need to excel past the conditional acceptance week of challenges to the Ocean-Alias ship campus. Then there’s my wheelchair and navigating…”
Stephanie winked one of her blue eyes at Elissa. Stephanie Morris’s face was oval, her long eyelashes were curly and her skin free from blemishes, which Elissa wished they had in common. A white apron with the saying Chef in Training had remnants of egg, flour and butter smeared across it. The Millennium Friend Bot, Stephanie’s latest invention that looked like a metallic dog, drove over to Elissa, barked and waited to be petted. Elissa understood that it was a sensor she would touch that the dog reacted to, and really when she asked for a dog, that wasn’t what she had in mind. Crash. The waffle pan crashed to the floor.
Here Mom goes again.
The Millennium Friend Bot drove over the floor where the waffle dough was spilled, vacuuming and washing the area before it returned to the back door to keep an eye for potential intruders.
“Agent Larsson has assured me a few adjustments have been made to provide you access to the full Madisyn
Academy academic experience. If you’re not on the OceanAlias campus, it’s Madisyn’s loss. There’s always next year.”
Elissa nodded but reminded herself, By next year the trail will be cold.
She thought about the night at the park, many months back, at the rehabilitation hospital when Stephanie told her the truth about them being agents. When the tall man belonging to the black shoes had walked over from the bushes, Elissa recognized him but only vaguely. Once he pulled off his mirrored sunglasses, she recognized Christopher’s best friend and her godfather, Mr. Larsson.
“Helmer, it’s so good to see you.” Stephanie had stood and hugged him when he approached.
Mr. Larsson walked over to Elissa and gave her a big hug before taking a seat across the table.
“I told her,” Stephanie said as she looked at Elissa.
Those words echoed in her head but felt empty. This secret about her parents being agents had been known to so many other people, but not to her. And she had thought they shared everything. Did she even know the people she had called family? It made her heart ache. If it were possible for it to break further, after learning about Christopher and her legs, she knew for sure her heart would be shattered into pieces by now.
“Mr. Larsson, you’re one of them, too.” Elissa realized she’d been lied to by everyone in her life. A sickness sat in her stomach. Mr. Larsson and Christopher had visited each other every other month, even when Dad was on tour. They were as close as family.
“We went to Madisyn Academy together,” Mr. Larsson began. “Your dad is…was…my best friend.”
“What happened to him? Is he dead?” For a second she wondered if she really wanted to hear the truth but she needed answers to be able to piece together this puzzle for herself. “Even if you knew, you wouldn’t tell us would you? Stupid security rules right? But we’re his family.” Elissa needed to get away, to have time to process all that was being told to her. She flicked her wheelchair to high speed and drove away. She stopped by the farthest picnic table. Mr. Larsson followed behind her. She could not understand how he could look her in the eyes and be hiding a secret – a secret that he didn’t appear to feel at all guilty about withholding.
“Here’s your debrief.” He shoved a photo of a bald man wearing shades in front of her. “We believe Christopher was captured by this NERD-One operative, a.k.a. Mr. Russel.”
A million questions swirled in her mind as she tried to absorb the news that for most of her childhood, Christopher had kept a part of himself from her. He’d managed to live a secret life without her even noticing.
How stupid could I be?
“Wait…no… All those extensions – different clothes – and his leaving in disguise. All this time Dad lived two lives. His fame was a cover for his travelling.” Who is he anyway? she wondered.
Elissa stared at her feet as she waited for the lump in her stomach to settle. All this time he was keeping this big secret from her and now these people were expecting her to trust them. Just how was she supposed to trust anyone? She couldn’t let them know how this was eating her up inside or they would use the standard adult excuse she was being a typical teenager. Elissa was sure they would be riding the wave of emotions she was if the situation were reversed and the secret agent news that their family had kept from them was just being revealed.
“Christopher has been our extrication specialist and has brought many operatives home to their families. NERDOne is aware of his real identity but there is an unspoken rule between agencies, good and bad, that such information never be leaked to the outside world. Other than the four of us, you, your mom, your dad and I, this information must stay confidential. Understand, young lady?”
She understood. She’d hated it. But she understood. While she’d keep that information to herself, she needed answers – answers that came from other sources, rather than trusting Agent Larsson, and to a lesser extent, Stephanie – answers she was going to find for herself no matter how anyone felt about it.
Her Runlink beeped, bringing her attention back to the kitchen, to signal an incoming text. Elissa finished eating her waffles and bacon. Stephanie was eating her last bite. The kitchen and all the smells and sounds gave her comfort which she soaked in to take with her on her journey.
“Meet you at the entry in fifteen minutes?” Stephanie carried their plates to the sink and turned to face her.
“I’ll grab my purse, put on some lipstick and get the van warmed up. It’s chilly. We almost beat the sun up today.” Stephanie left the room.
Elissa pulled her Runlink out of her pocket and clicked to read her two new texts. One was from Jon. He’d gone back home to Windhoek, Africa, while he waited to hear news of Christopher’s location. Despite the warnings of everyone involved, he continued to investigate what had really happened to her dad and what he was working on. Jon was trying to help her get the answers she needed that were tied up in the security and privacy protocols of the Agent Links Network.
When she had found out that Jon was also a secret agent completing his training with her dad, she freaked. They were like brother and sister, and she felt betrayed. Jon kept contacting her until she caved and started emailing and texting him back. He had helped her achieve some of the requirements for Madisyn Academy, as he was about to graduate from the Academy himself, so he had a good idea on how to improve her chances of acceptance.
The text said “Good luck. If you need anything let me know. We can be a team again. Took that tech position on the Ocean-Alias. Maybe I’ll see you. – Jon”
The second text didn’t have a name or address she had seen before.
“Elissa. Can’t remember my voice. Soon, I’ll help you. Share the message, or track message and answers, or locations, and Christopher’s real connections will be leaked worldwide via the media. Stephanie will also be staying with us. – The Voice.”
How could this personleak the information?Mr. Larssonsaid there was an unspoken code. Obviously this person has no scruples.
An eerie feeling swept over her, like when the paparazzi were staked out in the bushes, taking their photographs. She turned and looked out the window but couldn’t see anyone. She stared at the screen. Her mind raced. How did they getmy number? How am Isupposed to keep this from Stephanie?
Her hands shook as she tried to save the message but accidentally deleted it instead.