With her harrowing tale of espionage and near death experiences finally out in the open, Anastasia Phoenix thought things would be better. That she and her friends had outsmarted Department D, the criminal empire her parents helped create.
She thought wrong.
Former friends have turned to enemies, causing more innocent lives to get swept up into the dangerous world her parents created. Now it’s up to Anastasia to stop the damage before anyone else gets hurt—or worse. She embarks on a treacherous trail from Poland to Prague, and old rivals emerge at every turn. But when the final confrontation occurs, will she be too late to protect the ones she loves...or even herself?
The Anastasia Phoenix series is best enjoyed in order.
Book #1 Proof of Lies
Book #2 Lies That Bind
Book #3 End of the Lie
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Massachusetts Woman Declared Dead, Found Alive in Italy BROOKLINE, MA - A Brookline woman presumed dead for nearly eight months has been found alive in Italy, and her abductors have alleged criminal ties to her late parents.
Keira Phoenix, a twenty-four-year-old emergency room nurse at Boston General Hospital, vanished from a blood-filled bathtub in her home after a raucous Mother's Day celebration this past May. At the time, officials from the Boston Police Department said Phoenix, who spent the night with a man only identified as "Craig," was the victim of a probable homicide due to the significant blood loss found at the scene. But now, a video has surfaced of Phoenix speaking directly into the camera, detailing her horrific ordeal, her escape from captivity, and her parents' criminal connections to those who took her.
As reported by TheBoston Tattler this past December, speculation has been mounting over whether Keira Phoenix was abducted or murdered, and whether her parents, Michael and Irina Phoenix, really died in a car crash four years ago. (Link to news article from December) The Phoenixes, high profile executives in the Dresden Chemical Corporation, were rumored to have faked their deaths to avoid prosecution for criminal activities alleged to be related to their corporate endeavors. But their daughter tells a different story.
Keira Phoenix claims she was not the daughter of engineers, or white-collar corporate criminals, but enemy spies responsible for decades of global conspiracies. Whether or not her parents are alive remains to be proven, but sources with the FBI say they are taking Keira Phoenix's accusations seriously and have reopened an investigation into both her parents and the Dresden Chemical Corporation. Full transcript is below.
KEIRA IRENE PHOENIX [Looking directly into the camera. Footage released by Phillip Stone Media, Inc.]
"Hi. My name is Keira Phoenix, and I am the daughter of international criminals. In May, I was kidnapped by a man named Craig Bernard who, at the time, I thought was my boyfriend. We had met weeks before at a bar in Boston. The anniversary of my parents' death had just passed, so I was upset when he showed up, acting nice. [She scoffs, rolling her eyes.] I invited him to a party I was hosting, then later that night he drugged me and took me from my home.
"I don't remember the abduction — one minute I was in my bed, the next I'm waking up on an airplane, my head pounding and my hands bound together with plastic cable ties. [She rubs her wrists.] I was held captive in Italy for months, by armed guards, and I had no idea why. Eventually, I learned that Craig Bernard and all of the men involved in my kidnapping used to work for my parents. Only not as engineers for the Dresden Chemical Corporation. They were spies. All of them, especially my mom and dad. It turns out that my parents, along with Randolph Urban, CEO of Dresden, conspired to create a criminal enterprise known as Department D, which stretches back long before I was born. We have photographic proof that my parents were involved in the assassination of Italy's Prime Minister Aldo Moro in 1978. We have a journal, in my father's handwriting, and eyewitness testimony that proves he was involved in the fake terrorist plot that defamed nearly a half dozen Islamic women in London two years ago along with the reporter who covered the story, Julian Stone.
"I believe I was taken by enemies of my parents as payback for their past criminal activity. Evidence of my time in captivity is undeniable. [For the camera, Phoenix holds up a proof of life photo with a church bulletin, and a posed photo of her body in the trunk of a car.] I was rescued by my sister, Anastasia, and her friends, who acted alone, because the Boston PD refused to listen to them, for reasons none of us understand. After my rescue, my sister, her friends, and I made statements to Italian law enforcement and the CIA, and I was instructed to stay in hiding for my own protection. But I was never safe. No one around us is safe. Tyson Westbrook, a seventeen-year-old friend of my sister's, was murdered recently as a way to get to us, to lure me and Anastasia out of hiding. When that didn't work, when we continued to fight, these people poisoned one of us — Marcus Rey, son of Dresden executives Carlos and Rosario Rey.
"They're picking us off one by one, and we don't know how high up the corruption goes. Our parents were hired by world leaders to create propaganda for decades. Now these same people are covering up their crimes against us — including kidnapping, poisoning, and murder. They're trying to silence us, take us out, and prevent us from exposing the truth behind Department D and its shell corporation, Dresden Chemical.
"We won't stay silent anymore.
"We won't stay in hiding.
"And we won't trust law enforcement to act on our behalf.
"That's why I'm coming forward now. I'm telling my story, in my own words. I need the world to know what's going on, so hopefully no one else gets hurt.
"I've learned a lot about my parents recently, and you will, too, over the coming weeks. They did a lot of bad things. I know that. And they might even still be alive. [She cocks her head.] I've heard the rumors, like you, but I swear, if they are, I haven't seen them.
"However, I am certain that the only way my sister and I will ever be safe is if we bring down the Dresden Chemical Corporation and its corrupt underbelly, Department D. We need to take back our lives and stop paying for crimes we didn't commit.
"My name is Keira Phoenix, and I survived Department D. But will you?"
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2,123,606 online views to date
[Staring directly into the camera, her childhood bedroom in the background, including a shelf full of rainbow-colored My Little Pony stuffed animals.]
"This is Regina Villanueva, grieving girlfriend, best friend to liars, speaker of truth, here to tell you that you are all being fed a pile of crap by Keira Phoenix. By now, you've seen her video. It plays in a constant loop on cable news. Oh, Keira, poor Keira, victim Keira. Seriously, do not believe her lies. She and her sister, Anastasia, are both directly responsible for the death of my boyfriend, Tyson Westbrook. He's the real victim here. Not her.
"You might recognize Tyson's name from Keira's video — she mentions how his death is all about her. And she's right, in a sense. My boyfriend was murdered at the age of seventeen on the streets of Boston, in cold blood, not for the thirty-seven dollars his killer stole from his wallet — which, screw you for that — but because he was friends with Anastasia Phoenix. Tyson was murdered as a way to get to Keira and Anastasia. They don't even deny it. It's right there in Keira's video. They caused Tyson's death.
"Yet they aren't facing any charges for withholding evidence, hindering a police investigation, obstructing justice, accessory after the fact, or hell, being involved in the whole damn thing to begin with! Nothing. Even our own government told Keira to stay hidden. Go ahead, have a nice time in Europe! Never mind those pesky murders being committed in your name! Keira and Anastasia don't deserve our protection or our help, and Tyson's case needs to stay open until they pay, which might be impossible because the Boston PD is so corrupt.
"They found Tyson's murderer, which should be good news, right? Except the killer got stabbed to death in prison the night they brought him in! He didn't answer a single question about why he murdered Tyson. Because if he did, he would have said the name Anastasia Phoenix, and I know this, because he said her name to me.
"I didn't come forward before because I was scared. Ty's killer threatened to murder my entire family if I talked, and I had just watched my boyfriend die in an alley. But now it doesn't matter. Nothing matters. I can't stay silent anymore. I can't let the people who did this walk free or, worse, get some crap reality show on cable.
"Tyson's murderer stood over his dead body and said, 'This isn't over, and if Anastasia thinks she can hide from us, she's kidding herself. We can get to anyone, and we will. Unless she gives us what we want.'
"That's what he said! I swear it on Tyson's grave. And I know this means I'm 'changing my statement' [she puts air quotes around the words]. Heaven forbid! But it's the truth. And that doesn't make me some pathetic Mean Girl who wants revenge on her BFF, or some desperate puppy who hopes her boyfriend will come back from the dead like Anastasia's sister — though I gotta love the creativity of the cops who don't want to listen to me. Too bad they don't apply that brainpower to Tyson's case. His killer told me to deliver a message to Anastasia, and Keira told you that her parents are alive — connect the giant dots! Tyson's death is because of the Phoenixes. Anastasia, Keira, and their nondead parents were all involved with his killer — and I think her parents even hired him. Why not? They're psychopaths who faked their own deaths! And I swear I will not rest until that entire family goes down for what they've done.
"Anastasia, I confronted you with the killer's message at Tyson's funeral, and you said nothing! You offered no explanation. In fact, you stood next to his casket with fake tears in your eyes, pretending you were still grieving over your sister. Oh, I'm sooo sorry, Regina! I know exactly how you feel! No you don't, bitch. Your sister is alive, and you knew that.
"You know what else you knew — that your parents are criminal lunatics! They were never engineers. Have any of you seen those conspiracy websites? Seriously, I think her parents killed Tupac, and there's some really solid evidence placing them in Paris on the night that Princess Diana was run down, that's all I'm saying.
"Not to mention, Keira flat-out admitted she was kidnapped by her parents' enemies, and apparently just sitting next to a girl in a high school cafeteria will put you on an assassin's hit list. Well, you know what? It would have been nice to know that before we let you sit with us! Hell, you didn't have a single friend in that school. You were the weird girl with the dead parents — now that's not even true, but still — we were nice to you. We hung out with you. And what did that get us? Dead. Tyson is dead. Because of you.
"You know you are the reason he was killed, Anastasia, you and your evil parents. So if you're watching, why don't you and your sister tell the truth for once. What did that killer want from you that was so important it was worth Tyson's life? And where are your precious mom and dad now? Stop protecting them, and yourself, because I'm done protecting you.
"My name is Regina Villanueva, and my boyfriend, Tyson Westbrook, did not survive Department D, or whatever you call your parents' crazy criminal crap. Tyson's dead.
"So what are you going to do about that?"CHAPTER 2
"When's the 20/20 interview?" Keira asked, frowning as she stared at her phone, swiping through online comments offering obnoxious opinions of every lock of her hair and every blink of her eyes. "Are we still doing CNN?"
"20/20 is Friday and CNN is Monday, though they're pissed about that. We also have a three-part series with some celebrity psychiatrist that airs during daytime," said Charlotte Conner, our cyber-hacking best friend, who now also managed my sister's ever-expanding media schedule.
Keira nervously bit her bottom lip, absently peeling chapped skin with her tooth until a hint of blood appeared in a crack. She didn't seem to notice.
This was a huge mistake.
When I made my video deposition with Julian Stone — our benefactor and billionaire media buddy — I was still seeing swirling spots of panic and fighting hyperventilation. My boyfriend, Marcus, had just been poisoned in Rio de Janeiro, where I watched him foam at the mouth. Then I learned that Allen Cross, our only adult ally with ties to espionage, was behind the poisoning. That alone would have been enough to cause the funk to circle over my head like a Category 5 hurricane about to touch land, but that was before I confronted my parents, before I watched them murder Cross right in front of me. That was before I learned that every Dresden Kid I'd spoken to over a span of many months was lying, and that Marcus's brother, Antonio, had orchestrated the entire plot, turning each Dresden Kid against us before we arrived on their doorsteps. Then Antonio slept with my sister.
So when I got off the plane from Brazil, after all of that, I might as well have crawled on gnarled hands and knees waving a tattered white flag tied to a broken stick. I was beaten. We all were. And I sided with Julian. I listened to the plan he'd been pushing since the day I'd met him, his idea to keep us safe by raising our profile so high no one could touch us. I told him everything. On video. Then Keira did the same.
We decided — by a group vote — to release Keira's confession to the wild, tossing a dripping piece of steak to a pack of starving hyenas. The reporters swallowed it whole. Within days, Bravo contacted us about a reality series chronicling Keira's "return to life following a death certificate and a tombstone." Four New York City publishers were fighting for her book rights. Celebrity News Online offered $100,000 for a picture of Keira in a bathtub. And several high-profile publicists begged Keira to date their has-been clients.
Keira had finally achieved her dream — her picture was on the cover of tabloids, news outlets screamed her name, and trolls crawled from under bridges with sharpened fingernails poised over keyboards. "Who would kidnap her?" "How disgusting to use her parents' crimes to get famous." "Her mom killed my cousin's neighbor. I hope they all rot in hell." "You know Keira's in on it. I bet she ordered that hit on Tyson." "She's not even pretty. Have you seen her from behind? Huge!" "I'd bang her." "Please, she's already banged half of Boston. Trust me, I used to work with her." "I heard she dropped out of college." "Dumb and sexy, just how I like them. Don't worry, babe, I won't be gentle ..."
Keira was kidnapped, drugged, held at gunpoint, and betrayed by the last two men she cared about. (If she wasn't in love with Antonio, then she was in serious like.) Now the cyber universe had her shoulders constantly slumped, and it was getting harder to ignore the wine bottles collecting in the recycling bins.
What was I thinking? I should have never listened to them ...
"All of the interviews will be conducted here, right?" Keira asked, licking blood from her lip as she lifted her dead eyes from her phone.
"Yes, the reporters are coming here. No travel for you," Julian reassured her as he approached, shooting me a worried look. He could read her expression, too, or maybe he saw the words "slutty bitch" in all caps glaring from the comments on her screen.
His interview, "Keira Phoenix: Rising from the Ashes," was a global sensation. He delivered on his promise — with so much media coverage, no one could harm us without raising suspicion. In return, his reputation had gone from laughingstock who racially profiled a bunch of innocent Islamic women to serious journalist who broke the year's biggest story. The downside? He turned my sister into Edward Snowden mixed with Monica Lewinsky — Keira was a victim, a whistleblower, and a sex scandal all in one. The news constantly talked about how she slept with her kidnapper (Craig Bernard had yet to be seen, let alone captured), how she was taken from a bathtub in the nude (there was no way that was true, but the rumor persisted), and how she was too dumb to realize her parents were Dr. Evils. They even scoured social media for every picture of Keira holding a cocktail or wearing a bikini and used that as the photo on TV when they talked about her being "back from the dead." And this was coming from the journalists.
"Your security is paramount," Julian continued, his tone unnaturally calm as a wrinkle formed between his perfectly shaped brows. "They're displeased that my father owns the estate. And they're worried that their news outlets will be unduly monitored, but I assured them that will not be the case. Our first priority is your safety. After what you've been through, no one can argue with that."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "End of the Lie"
Copyright © 2019 Diana Rodriguez Wallach.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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