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Книга Third Degree. Страница 87

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“You do. Before Warren died, he asked me if I would take care of you and the kids.”

She looked back at him in disbelief. “Don’t lie to make it easier for me.”

“I swear by all that’s holy. He asked me to take care of you. He was a good man in the end. He wasn’t thinking of himself.”

Fresh tears flowed from Laurel’s eyes. Then she collapsed against his chest and began to sob. He stroked her hair and held her gently, letting her cry it out.

“What do you think?” he asked at length. “About that fake vacation?”

She nodded into his chest.

“When?” he asked.

“Tomorrow.” She pulled back and looked up at him with guarded hope. “Will you take care of us?” Before he could answer, she took his hand and placed it on her abdomen. “All of us?”

Danny felt the heat of her body through the linen. Memories of all the days he had thought he would die young flooded through him, bringing an awareness of years granted that seemed a pure grace, given those he had seen stolen from men much younger than he. “I will,” he said. “Till there’s no life left in me.”

She closed her eyes and leaned on his shoulder. “That better be a long time from now.”

He squeezed her tight, knowing only one thing with certainty: that every moment was a gift.


Special thanks to CW4 John P. Goodrich, USA. Ret., for his assistance in understanding what it means to fly a helicopter in peacetime and in war.

My heartfelt thanks also to Tom Johnson, a Vietnam helicopter pilot and wonderful writer whose book, To the Limit, I recommend to everyone with the highest possible praise.

Thanks also to Jane Hargrove, Chuck Mayfield, Jerry Iles, M.D., Betty Iles, Geoff Iles, David Gaude, Doug Wike, and Curtis Moroney.

As usual, I take responsibility for any and all mistakes in the book.

I would also like to stress that the actions and attitudes of the deputies in this novel are not representative of the deputies or police officers I have known in Mississippi. The simple fact is that in a thriller someone has to be the bad guy. In real life, the law enforcement officers I have known have been dedicated and sometimes heroic individuals who serve the public for very little compensation. Without their constant labor, few of us would get any sleep at night. I urge everyone to make an effort to see how they might be able to help their local departments to acquire such technology as FLIR, which is mentioned in this novel. The greatest beneficiaries will be you and your children.

About the Author

GREG ILES is the author of eleven New York Times bestselling novels, including True Evil, Turning Angel, Blood Memory, The Footprints of God, Sleep No More, Dead Sleep, The Quiet Game, and 24 Hours (released by Sony Pictures as Trapped). He lives in Natchez, Mississippi.


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