Deja Vu (Sisterhood Series #19)by Fern Michaels, Laural Merlington
But before they can
Thanks to a presidential pardon, the Sisterhood can put their fugitive days behind them and resume their lives in peace. Still, all the women admit that lately things are a little too calm and peaceful. Meeting up for the first time in months to celebrate Kathryn’s birthday – in the City of Sin, no less – seems like the perfect antidote.
But before they can kick up their heels something too big to pass up is dropped into their laps. The time has come to deal with Enemy #1, a/k/a Hank Jellicoe. Wanted by the FBI, the CIA, and Homeland Security for starters, President Connor, herself, has run out of patience with their lack of results. Only the Sisterhood, with their special blend of guts, imagination, and friends in all places are capable of pulling off the impossible – of hunting down this monster and taking him out once and for all.
Read an Excerpt
By FERN MICHAELS
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2010 MRK Productions
All rights reserved.
He was a kind man with kind eyes and ever so professional in his sterile white coat, a stethoscope hanging out of his pocket. His battered medical bag spoke of years of use. His name was Alfred Montrose, and he was President Martine Connor's personal physician.
There was no formality in Connor's private quarters. They were doctor and patient, who were also old friends. "The good news, Marti, is you're going to live. The bad news is you are going to be a lot more miserable than you are right now for the next three or four days. I don't like that you're running a fever of 103, but it's to be expected when you get the flu. Yes, I know, you never get sick, but you're sick now, so suck it up. Lots of chicken soup, gallons of liquids, and bed rest. Let the vice president and your chief of staff take over for a few days. Both seem fairly competent. They are, aren't they?" Montrose asked, a tinge of anxiety in his voice.
The president nodded. "Do the media have me dead and buried?"
Montrose laughed. "What I heard on the drive over here was that you had taken to your bed with some mysterious ailment. I suppose they'll grill me when I leave here. Half your staff has it, Marti. I know it's springtime, but these things don't really go by the month of the year. They hit when they hit, and when they do, they spread like wildfire. Just because you're the president doesn't mean you are immune to catching a bug or two along the way."
"No magic cures?" the president croaked.
"Nary a one, Madam President, other than a hot toddy. A cup of tea, honey, lemon, and cognac. Easy on the tea and heavy on the cognac. Makes you sweat out all the toxins. I don't usually recommend this, because my patients want to go to the drugstore and pay outrageous sums of money for a bottle of pills."
The president nodded. "I'll give it a shot. When I was a little girl, my mother used to grease our chests with something called Musterole and wrap a warm towel around us. Then she'd string a bag of garlic around our necks. We used to get better right away. At least I think we did."
"That's because you weren't able to stand the smell, so in spite of everything, you healed yourself. Been there and survived. So, do we understand each other, Marti? Bed rest, liquids, and more bed rest."
"Yes, I understand. Thanks, Al."
Alfred Montrose looked around as he packed up his medical bag. "Isn't there some way you could ... make this room more ... personal?"
The president sighed. "I'm just temporary, Al. Family pictures, green plants, knickknacks, is that what you mean? What's the point?"
"Sometimes the familiar is the best medicine of all. But if this works for you, then that's all that matters."
"When are you going to ask me, Al?"
Montrose struggled to look nonplussed. "Ask you what?"
"About my engagement? To Hank Jellicoe? Don't you want to chastise me for my lousy choices in men? You were never bashful before I moved in here."
Montrose removed his glasses and slipped them into his pocket. "I assumed your engagement was off. Even I know there are some things that are too personal and private to talk about. You are the president now, Marti, and I didn't want to overstep my boundaries. As for Mr. Jellicoe, how could you know what the man was all about? People tend to let us see only the best side of them, tell us what we want to hear. It's always been that way. We all make poor choices from time to time. They say the trick is to learn from those mistakes."
"I guess I didn't read that part of the rule. My track record with men is beyond lousy. It would appear I don't learn from my mistakes. I knew there was something wrong, Al. I let it slide. Henry was so ... in control ... so with the program, I'm still having trouble accepting it all. What do you think I should do with the ring? I'm asking friend to friend."
Montrose chuckled. "That's all above my pay grade. You want an answer, I see. Well, then, I think I'd put it in a box and write on the lid, 'This belongs to someone I used to know,' and let it go. One day you'll know what to do with it. Is it valuable?" he asked curiously.
The president tried to laugh and ended up coughing. "I suppose it could feed a third-world country for a little while. You know what, Al? I'm not even sure if it's real. I'm beginning to have my doubts. It looks real, but I'm no authority on diamonds. Just for the hell of it, would you mind getting it appraised for me?"
"Sure. I can do it when I leave here. I'll bring it with me tonight when I come back to check on you."
"Is that necessary? You coming back to check on me?" the president asked as she rummaged in her night table drawer for the ring she'd wrapped in a wad of tissues. She tossed it to him.
"No, it's not necessary, but it's the way things work around here. If they could, they'd have me babysitting you and reading you bedtime stories. Try and behave yourself, Madam President," Montrose joked.
When the door closed behind the doctor, Martine Connor yanked at one of her pillows and started punching it with the little strength she had. Then she started to cry. Eventually, she cried herself to sleep, her dreams filled with her one-of-a-kind memories of Hank Jellicoe. When she woke two hours later, her pillow wet with her tears, she punched at it again and again, then got up and pulled on a ratty robe from her college days. It felt like an old friend as she wrapped herself in it. If there was one thing she needed at that moment, it was an old friend. She slipped her feet into fuzzy-bear slippers and made her way to the kitchen, where she poured herself a glass of apple juice and drank it down in two long gulps. Then she made herself a cup of hot tea and followed the doctor's order, light on the tea and heavy on the cognac.
The president reached for a box of tissues as she made her way to the living room, where she stretched out on a chocolate-colored sofa. She gulped at the hot drink and somehow managed to finish it. After she pulled up a bright purple afghan her secretary had given her for Christmas the first year of her presidency, she clicked on the television and proceeded to channel surf as tears rolled down her cheeks. If the world could only see how unpresidential she looked right now.
The president reached behind her for the pillows and fluffed them up. Within seconds, she was exhausted from the effort. She leaned back into the nest she'd made for herself and closed her watery eyes. Eventually, she dozed off as the twenty-four-hour newscasters felt compelled to drone on and on about nothing because it was a slow news day. As she drifted into a deep sleep, she started to dream, one wild dream after another, until she woke drenched in sweat. She didn't have to touch her forehead with the underside of her arm, the way her mother used to do when she came down with a bad cold, to know her fever was gone.
The president wiped at her forehead, face, and neck with a handful of tissues. Maybe she wasn't going to die after all. She picked up the remote control and clicked until she hit the USA Network to watch a rerun of NCIS. She wished, and not for the first time, that she had someone on her staff like Mark Harmon. She did love Leroy Jethro Gibbs's wicked smile. She wondered what would happen if she invited the entire cast and crew to the White House for dinner. Maybe she would do just that before the new season started in September. The more she thought about it, the better she liked the idea. And that idea brought another one swimming to the surface.
The president leaned back into her nest and let her mind race. Her idea was so over the top, so outside the box, she knew she could make it work. And if she couldn't make it work, she seriously did not belong in her job. She smiled as her mind continued to race one way, then another. Within minutes, she had herself so psyched that she wobbled out to the kitchen to make another toddy. If one had worked so quickly, a second one should be the magic bullet. Maybe she could sweat out more toxins, and by tomorrow, she'd be almost totally recovered. She would definitely have to be at the top of her game to put this particular plan into action.
Martine dozed and woke, dozed and woke until she woke from a light sleep to see her doctor standing over her. She smiled when he reached down to touch her forehead. Alfred was definitely old school. "I'm feeling much better, and the underside of my arm told me earlier, after the first toddy, actually, that my fever had broken. Would that be your assessment, Alfred?"
"It would, and you are right on the money, but you aren't out of the woods, Marti. I'm still confining you to quarters. You can do what you have to do from here." Ten minutes later, Montrose was done peering down her throat, done with checking her blood pressure and reading her pulse. He listened to her heart and lungs and made some notes. When he was finished, he reached into his pocket and withdrew the bunched-up tissues that held Marti's engagement ring. He held it out to Marti, who reached for it with a trembling hand.
"I'm sorry, Marti. The jeweler said it was a high-grade diamonique. He said they're big sellers on the home shopping networks and that they look more real than a real diamond. The value he put on it is fourteen hundred dollars. I wrapped the jeweler's report around the ring."
Marti made a very unladylike sound and muttered something that made her doctor grin outright.
It was dark out when Martine woke again. She lay quietly, a little disoriented from her deep sleep. Once again, she was drenched in sweat. She looked around, aware that it was totally dark outside. Inside, the only light in the room came from the television set, which she had put on mute before she fell asleep. She wished, and not for the first time, that she had gotten a dog when she moved into the White House. Someone, she couldn't remember who, had talked her out of it. Right now, right this minute, she wished she had a warm body comforting her, even if it was a dog. It was sad to remember how many things she'd been talked out of. Well, that wasn't going to happen again.
Martine wiggled, stretched, and realized she felt a lot better than when Alfred had first arrived. Must have been the hot "tea." She reached up and turned the lamp on. Still another rerun of NCIS was playing. Must be some kind of marathon today, she decided.
Because she felt so good emotionally, Martine headed off to her bathroom, where she showered and washed her hair. Alfred hadn't said anything about not doing it, so she wasn't disobeying doctor's orders. Powdered, perfumed, and dressed in a clean nightgown and her ratty robe, she made her way back to the sofa and curled up again. She spent the rest of the evening dozing and watching the NCIS marathon.
This time, her dreams were pleasant; she was running through a field of flowers, with a magnificent golden retriever at her side. She knew she was dreaming because no faceless person with a gun would chase a woman and her dog through a field of flowers.
Satisfied that she was on the road to recovery, Martine made a cup of plain tea with honey and lemon and carried it over to the sofa. She folded up the purple afghan and draped it over the back of the couch. Warm afghans were for sick people. As far as she was concerned, she was no longer sick, just under the weather. She did her best to concentrate on the late news. She wasn't the least bit surprised to find out she was the lead news at the top of the hour. She grimaced when the anchor and crew wished her a speedy recovery.
Martine couldn't believe how excited she was at the plan swirling around inside her head. Satisfied that with a little tweaking she could make it work, she let her mind wander to other things, like her small family. Such as it was. The day she'd taken the oath of office, her sister, Agnes, had kissed her good-bye, wished her good luck, and said she didn't want to be part of Washington's fishbowl. Agnes had signed up for Doctors Without Borders, and that was the last Martine had heard of her. God alone knew where Aggie was. Then there was Alvin, her brother, who had virtually said the same thing, although he'd whispered in her ear that he was proud of her. He'd mumbled something vague about going to build bridges in India somewhere. So much for family. Now, if she had a dog, she would have a family, someone to celebrate the holidays with. Someone to talk to, someone who wouldn't argue with her, someone who, she hoped, would listen attentively and not pass judgment. She could frolic and play with him or her when she went to Camp David. He or she could sleep at the foot of her bed. Maybe she'd let him or her sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom. Yessiree, very soon she was going to have a family if she didn't chicken out. She could hardly wait.
Three cups of tea and two glasses of orange juice later, Martine looked at the clock. Her PDB would be arriving along with her chief of staff any minute. The president's daily brief always arrived just as the sun was coming up. She was still wearing her ratty old-friend robe and her fuzzy-bear slippers.
When the COS arrived, they got right down to presidential business, which lasted all of fifteen minutes. The COS then inquired about the president's health and asked if she had any specific instructions for him.
"Actually, I do have something you can do for me if you can somehow do it without a media blitz. Can you get me a dog? A big one. One that needs a home, a rescue if possible. A shepherd or maybe a golden retriever. Gender isn't important, but I think I lean more toward a female. Can you do it?"
The COS looked stunned at the request, but he rose to the occasion. "Do I have a time limit, Madam President?"
Martine squared her shoulders. "Today will be just fine," she responded in her best I-am-the-president voice. The COS blinked, mumbled something about wishing her a good day, and left with the PDB.
Martine found herself giggling when the door closed behind the COS. World affairs would be taking a backseat at least for as long as it took the COS to delegate her request to others. Satisfied that she had started her day on a roll, she picked up her phone and asked her secretary to come to her quarters. Plans were only as good as the follow-through. She needed help with what needed to be done. In order to get any, she had to start in her own backyard.
Martine settled deeper into the chocolate sofa and flipped through the channels till she found the Home Shopping Network. She narrowed her eyes to slits as she stared at the array of jewelry being hawked. Sooner or later they would show something diamonique.CHAPTER 2
Charles Martin had set up a buffet on the terrace at Pinewood. "It would be a shame to eat indoors and miss all this beautiful sunshine on such a glorious day," he'd said. The Sisters had agreed.
Sunday these days was dinner at Pinewood. It was the Sisters' way of staying in touch after a week of getting on with their lives. Or as Annie put it, there will be no more separations in this family. Everyone agreed, so it was dinner at Pinewood every Sunday, and each of them looked forward to it because when dinner was over, the table cleared, they sat around and hashed and rehashed and speculated on what the future was going to hold for all of them. Today was no exception.
"And there still has been no word on Hank Jellicoe," Alexis said. "I don't know why, but I find that hard to believe. The man gets away from some of the most experienced, the most knowledgeable guys in the spook business and hasn't been seen or heard from since. Un-be-lievable!"
"There are a lot of red faces on the other side of the world," Nikki said. "I think we made the right decision when we turned down the Big Five's request to find him. I also think we were right when we told them that sooner or later Hank will find us and to save their money. It's nice to know, though, that they wired half our fee into our secret account in case we changed our minds. Speaking of minds, I think we blew theirs when we had Lizzie return our fee. I guess it's safe to say we built a little goodwill by doing that. And not one of the five rescinded our immunity contracts. Lizzie said that was a good thing, and it is."
"I have some news," Annie said, a smug expression on her face.
"And that would be ... what, dear?" Myra asked.
Excerpted from Déjà Vu by FERN MICHAELS. Copyright © 2010 MRK Productions. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
FERN MICHAELS is the USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of the Sisterhood series, Mr. and Miss Anonymous, Up Close and Personal, and dozens of other novels and novellas. There are over seventy million copies of her books in print. Fern Michaels has built and funded several large day-care centers in her hometown, and is apassionate animal lover who has outfitted police dogs across the country with special bulletproof vests. She shares her home in South Carolina with her four dogs and a resident ghost named Mary Margaret.
- Summerville, South Carolina
- Place of Birth:
- Hastings, Pennsylvania
- High School
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >