Home > Calum's Contact (Terkel's Team #4)

Calum's Contact (Terkel's Team #4)
Author: Dale Mayer

 


Prologue

 

 

Calum Lancashire walked unsteadily forward, as he entered the temporary headquarters for Terk’s team here in Manchester, England. Terk was here, giving freely of his energy, and, with every step that Calum took, he was getting stronger. He was using a cane, something that he’d never used in his life, and it was hard—damn hard, in fact. It was awkward and debilitating, but, hey, he was finally upright. Nothing worse than not being on his feet. He smiled at Terk. “Thank you.”

“For what?” Terk asked.

“For keeping me alive, for one. For keeping Mariana alive, for two. And for saving my kid.”

“For that, you’re very welcome,” Terk replied. “We have a lot to catch up on. You’re way behind on the news.”

“Where are they?”

“They’re down the hall here just a bit,” he stated. “Can you make it?”

“Of course I’ll make it.” When they opened the door, Cal heard a gasp, and he stepped inside. There was Mariana, standing beside a double bed that contained his son, four-year-old Little Calum. Cal opened his arms, and Mariana raced forward.

“I’ll leave you three alone. Cal, we’ll meet up later,” Terk said, turning to leave.

After he left the room, but still in the hallway as he could be heard talking to someone, Mariana whispered to her husband, “I didn’t know. I’m sorry. I just didn’t know.”

“I got it,” he murmured. “I tried to tell you.”

“And now I get it.” She shook her head. “It was terrible, absolutely terrible, but we’re safe, and now I have you back.” She squeezed him hard.

He held her close, his face buried in her beautiful soft blond hair. She always smelled like the scent of roses, and yet she swore she never used any perfume. Maybe it was a whiff of her shampoo? He didn’t know, but it was stunning, and it brought back so many memories that the tears choked the back of his throat. “I’m so glad you’re safe,” he whispered, “and I’m so damn sorry that you and our son got caught up in this nightmare.”

She shook her head. “It’s fine,” she said quietly. “I get it. I mean, I really do understand now.”

He shook his head. “You shouldn’t have to get it.” He groaned. “At least they didn’t hurt you two, thank God.”

“No, but Little Calum is quite traumatized,” she noted, “and I’ve had a hard time getting him to sleep.”

“We’ll find a safe place for you two, until this is over.”

She pulled back ever-so-slightly, then looked up at him. “The kidnappers did mention a name. Rulrul,” she murmured. “I don’t know who that is but—”

At that, Terk stepped forward. “What, do you mean, Rulrul? What did they say?”

“Something like, ‘Rulrul won’t like this. He doesn’t like involving kids or women.’ But apparently it was a necessary tactic that they felt they had to employ.”

“Now that’s interesting,” Terk replied. “Did you hear a last name or anything about a location?”

“Something to do with overseas, I think. I thought he meant Asia, but I don’t really know.”

“Did they say anything about the government? Or anything about being paid?”

“I overheard all kinds of bits and pieces,” she noted. “It’s obvious that they didn’t worry about whether I heard or not,” she murmured, “but it was pretty rough to make out words.”

“Take your time. If you remember something later, no matter how insignificant, let us know,” Terk replied. “I’m glad you remembered the name Rulrul.”

“I only wish I had more, but I’m not sure that does any good.”

“It does. Believe me. All intel does.” Terk gave her a bright smile.

She held herself close against Cal.

He just wanted to hold her and to squeeze her tight. He dropped a kiss on her forehead. “I promise we’ll get to the bottom of this,” he told her, “and nobody will hurt Little Calum anymore. I’m so sorry.”

She looked up at him, smiled, and murmured, “I know, and you aren’t to blame. And maybe it’s better in a way because now I understand why you walked away. I knew that you were concerned about danger to us, but I underestimated what that really meant and never expected to have it so forcibly shown to me.”

“And it shouldn’t have been,” he snapped in a rough voice. Then he looked over at Terk.

She shook her head. “It’s not Terk’s fault.”

“No, it’s not,” Calum said, “but you can bet we’re all after answers. Real and final answers.”

She stopped a moment, then smiled. “Sean.”

Both men looked at her, with quizzical expressions.

“Sean,” she repeated. “One of the men they were talking with was Sean.”

“Any idea in what capacity?” Terk asked.

“No, but I think he was the one who said something about Calum won’t be happy.”

“So, Rulrul won’t be happy, and Calum won’t be happy.”

“I think Sean is the one who arranged for us to get picked up,” she murmured. “I could be wrong though. … I don’t really know. It was mentioned just in passing, as they were leaving, and one of the guys was speaking to the other one. The one guy said, ‘Sean, this is your deal.’ So I presumed the other guy was Sean. He laughed and said, ‘Yeah, old Calum won’t be happy with me.’ Oh wait.” She stopped, then looked at the two men. “Then Sean said something about it being a damn fine time for it. Something like, ‘I’ve been waiting forever.’ Does any of that make sense?”

At that, Calum stiffened and pulled her tightly into his arms again, holding her close. He looked at Terk over the top of her head. “That can’t be Sean Calvert, can it?”

“I suggest we find out,” Terk stated quietly. “Sean has been after you for a long time.”

She pulled back, looked up at her husband.

He faced her and explained, “His life is a mess, and he’s always blamed me for it. It could explain him grabbing you and our son.”

“Did you do something to him?” she asked.

He immediately shook his head. “No, but a guy like that is just looking for excuses. He’s glommed onto me as his enemy, and that’s all he cared about. We were on friendly terms at one time.”

She winced. “I’m sorry. That sounds pretty rough. For you and him.”

“It was very rough for him apparently,” Calum noted. “I’ve received threats from him over the years, and I’ve told him several times that I had nothing to do with his problems.”

“But, like you said, he doesn’t want to listen.”

“Right, he doesn’t want to listen at all,” he added. “And obviously he has let that hate boil over to something completely out of hand, and he’s not prepared to even consider the truth anymore.”

“No.” She shook her head. “Yet he sounded normal, looked normal, if normal is a term applied here.”

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