THE BOND OF SISTERHOOD
For years Myra Rutledge and Annie de Silva, founding members of the Sisterhood, have funded an underground network run by former Supreme Court Justice Pearl Barnes to help women escape abusive relationships. When two of Pearl’s clients fail to report for their weekly check-in, the Sisterhood and their allies begin a search for French model Amalie Laurent and her one-time maid, Rosalee Muno. Amalie’s estranged husband, Lincoln Moss, is a distant cousin of the President of the United States and one of his closest advisers. Moss’s power is matched by the violent streak he hides from the world, and he beat Amalie viciously until she finally escaped with her maid’s help. Moss is accustomed to doing exactly what he wants without fear of consequence. But Moss has never faced an adversary like the Sisterhood…
About the Author
FERN MICHAELS is the USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of the Sisterhood, Men of the Sisterhood, and Godmothers series, as well as dozens of other novels and novellas. There are over one-hundred ten million copies of her books in print. Fern Michaels has built and funded several large day-care centers in her hometown, and is a passionate 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. Visit her website at www.fernmichaels.com.
Hometown:Summerville, South Carolina
Place of Birth:Hastings, Pennsylvania
Read an Excerpt
In Plain Sight
By FERN MICHAELS
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2015 Fern Michaels
All rights reserved.
The present day.
As the windshield wipers fought the waterfall of rain, Annie de Silva tried in vain to see where Myra was taking them. "This was not one of your better ideas, Myra," she grumbled.
"No, it wasn't, but you did agree, so keep quiet and let me pay attention to my driving. One more block, and we'll be there. Do you think you can keep quiet that long?"
"No one likes a smart-ass, Myra," Annie continued to grumble.
"You were the one who said you were sick and tired of being housebound because of a week of rain. You also said you were sick and tired of listening to Charles and Fergus babbling on about writing their memoirs that no one was going to read. Well, that's not quite true, you and I would be forced to read them." Myra laughed.
Annie gave up trying to see through the driving rain and slumped back against the seat. "Men's memoirs are always boring. Now, if you and I wrote our memoirs, that's a whole other story. Ours would be runaway best sellers. Maybe we should think about that, Myra."
"Maybe we shouldn't, Annie. Okay, we're here. I think I changed my mind about a pedicure. I'm just going to get my nails done. If you want to go ahead with the pedicure, I'll wait for you. As it is, we don't have an appointment and are going in as walk-ins. Maybe they won't even be able to take us today. "
Still grumbling, Annie said, "Trust me, we are the only fools out here in this weather. If the rain keeps up, we're going to need a boat to get around. Are we going to lunch after we get our nails done?"
"We can, but remember, we're in the village, not town, so we're limited as to where we can go. The Tea Shop is just two doors away. I don't want to drive any farther, Annie."
Annie pulled a face. "I'm up for a cucumber sandwich and some ginseng tea." What she really wanted was a foot-long hot dog with sauerkraut, mustard, and raw onions, accompanied by a heaping pile of greasy French fries.
As though she had read Annie's mind, Myra said, "Since our social calendars are empty, we can drive into town tomorrow and get that hot dog you are sitting there lusting for. We're going to have to make a wild dash for the shop. An umbrella isn't going to do us much good in this wind. You ready?"
Annie had the car door open and ran like the bats of hell were after her. She was drenched to the skin by the time they reached the Beautiful Nails shop. Both women barreled through the door. Five little Vietnamese women smiled at them. The shop was empty of patrons. The little women bowed the way they always did, and said in unison, "Welcome, Mrs. Ladies." That greeting was the extent of their English, along with, "Forty dollar, Mrs. Lady" or "Eighty dollar, Mrs. Lady" if they were getting a manicure and a pedicure.
Annie and Myra both dangled their hands in front of the women to signal they just wanted a manicure. More smiles, more bows, and they were seated at a double table facing the door.
As they were filed and buffed, Annie and Myra kept up a low-voiced conversation about nothing, the weather, the awful humidity that had preceded the awful rain that was to last another awful four days. "It is what it is, Annie. Like it or not, we can't change Mother Nature."
The front door suddenly blew open as a wet and bedraggled woman shouted loudly, "Myra! Annie!"
"Pearl! Is that you, Pearl?" Annie said, jerking her hand away from the little lady named Kime. "What are you doing here? What's wrong?"
"Charles said you were probably here. Hurry, you need to come with me."
Myra was off her chair and right behind Annie, wiping her nails on the leg of her pantsuit. She dug in her pants pocket for some bills and tossed them on the receptionist's desk. "We'll call for another appointment," she shouted over her shoulder.
The chattering in the shop was like that of a hundred magpies as the trio ran into the pouring rain to Myra's car.
"You better say something really fast, Pearl, or I'm going to fly you to the moon," Annie bellowed to be heard over the torrent of rain that was falling and flooding the small parking lot.
"Burn rubber, Myra!" Annie said, or we're all going to get pneumonia even if this is July. Put the heater on. Spit it out, Pearl."
"The clinic has been breached. That means my underground railroad has been breached."
"Are you talking about the clinic Julia Webster set up before her death?" Myra asked as she pressed down on the accelerator.
"Yes! For God's sake, yes! What other clinic would I possibly be talking about? The one you and Annie keep funding, have funded all these years. I just found out early this morning. I don't know what to do. God, how could this happen? All these years, and nothing ever went wrong, and now, we've been breached. I just came from there. I shut the place down and sent the staff home. I've been there since six o'clock this morning. It's after one o'clock now. I took the computers and as many files as I could load in my van. I didn't get it all, but what's left can't incriminate any of us. At least I don't think so. Lord, I am exhausted."
Myra screeched to a stop, looked both ways, and made a U-turn as she headed for the Good Samaritan Clinic. "We'll go there now and help you finish up." She pressed down on the gas pedal and roared down the road, all the while blowing the horn for the other drivers to get out of her way.
"Good Lord, Myra, when did you turn into Jeff Gordon?" Annie asked as she struggled to remain upright. "I didn't know you had it in you, old girl."
"There's a lot about me you don't know," Myra said through clenched teeth as she continued blasting her horn. Even she was stunned at how the other drivers moved to the side to let her pass.
"Did you hire any new people lately, Pearl? Could you be a little more specific?" Annie asked in a shaky voice as she watched the scenery pass in a blur of rain and backwash.
"No. Our last hire was two years ago. Everyone is vetted within an inch of their life. You know that. Number 9643 and Number 9644 didn't check in for the weekly check, which is mandatory. That has never happened before. I had one of our people check the residence, and both women are gone. I'm telling you, we're breached," Pearl cried hysterically.
"What about the women you help? Could one of them have turned on you?"
"Good Lord, no! When I put the call out, one of my people called me just as I got to the nail shop. Both 9643 and 9644 are missing. By missing, I mean they can't be found. They might be out shopping or visiting a friend, but I don't think so because they came to me together. If it were just one person, I wouldn't be so unglued. But not these two. I'm telling you, we've been breached," Pearl shrieked.
"Easy, Pearl, you're losing it here. Try to calm down. We're going to help. It might be a good thing for you to tell us who the two women that you think are gone really are."
"I can't do that, and you know it. Those names are sacrosanct. That's why it works. We go by numbers only, not names." She clamped her lips shut as if to prove her point.
"We're here, Pearl. Did you leave the lights on?"
"No. Maybe. I don't know, I was in a hurry. I wasn't exactly thinking about the electric bill at the time."
"Did you at least lock the door?" Myra asked as she stepped out of the car in rainwater up to midcalf.
"I don't know that either," Pearl responded as she dug around in the pocket of her slicker for a key ring. "Hurry, girls!"
Within minutes, the three women were in the lobby of the clinic, dripping water all over the tile floor. As one, they looked around. "It looks the same," Pearl said. "The door was locked, so I probably forgot to turn off the lights. I was under a lot of pressure."
"What about the drugs and stuff doctors use? Did you take those, Pearl?" Myra asked.
"I didn't even think about that. Like I said, I was panicked. My only thought was about the files and records. Of course, we have to take those. There are trash bags under the sink. Just throw everything in them. Don't leave anything behind. We also need Mr. Snowden to come in here ASAP and sanitize this place. I'll call him, and I have to update all the surgeons and nurses who work here."
"All right. While you do that, Pearl, Annie and I will start with the medicine room. Just so we're sure about what we're doing, we take everything, every scrap of paper, right?" Pearl nodded.
An hour later, Myra and Annie were both moaning and groaning as they carried bag after bag out to Myra's car.
The minute the last bag was loaded, Annie headed for the small kitchen and returned with three soft drinks. She handed them out. "I pulled the plug on the fridge and the microwave oven." She was one sip into her drink when Avery Snowden and three other men showed up. They were all dressed in white coveralls and carrying bins of what looked like cleaning supplies.
"Make sure you swipe everything, right down to the lightbulbs. We can't have even one fingerprint showing up." Snowden looked at Myra over the top of his glasses as much as to say, Are you telling me how to do my business? "Rest easy, we know what to do. Just out of curiosity, where are you going to store everything you took out of here?"
Pearl looked blank for a moment. She shook her head as though to clear away the cobwebs. "I was going to take it home and store it either in the garage or the basement," she said. One look at Snowden and his men told her that was not a very good idea. In short order, Snowden dispatched one of his men to unload Myra's car and instructed him to go to the village shopping area and take Pearl's car to an undisclosed location. "We'll return your vehicle to your driveway sometime this evening," he assured her. "I'll need your keys, Pearl." Pearl handed them over with a sigh of relief.
"We'll drop you off at home, Pearl, unless you want to come out to the farm. I assume you want to call a meeting and set up a mission."
Pearl rubbed her temples. She nodded. "As soon as possible. In cases like this, every second counts."
"Leave the soda bottles," Snowden barked. The women didn't need to be told twice. Within minutes, they were back in Myra's car and headed toward Pinewood. Annie made call after call, alerting the team that a meeting was set for five o'clock, with dinner to follow. Her last call was to Charles, informing him there would be guests for dinner. Per Myra's orders.
The moment the women hit the farmhouse kitchen, they all bolted up the back staircase to shower and put on clean, dry clothes. Thirty minutes later, less than fashionably dressed, they all sat down at the kitchen table to cups of wild blackberry tea with fresh honey.
"Talk to us, ladies," Fergus said as he continued to chop vegetables. "Charles and I can listen and cook at the same time."
They talked, and Charles and Fergus listened.
"This could truly be a disaster in the making. I can see why you are so upset, Pearl," Charles said as he waved a wooden spoon in the air.
"What you need to really look at is this. Was it an accident, or was it deliberate. You said all the people are vetted and trustworthy. If true, then how did this happen?" Fergus asked.
"I don't have a clue," Pearl wailed.
"Get a grip, Pearl. This is no time for you to fall apart; too many people depend on you. Now, like I said, get a grip. Drink your tea and explain to us how the clinic works. While Myra and I fund the clinic, it doesn't mean we know how it works. And that's your own fault, Pearl. You keep it all to yourself. There has to be someone else to help you carry the load. If something happened to you tomorrow, what would all those people do? Do you have a plan in place? You don't, do you? I can see it on your face. We understand the need for secrecy. We get it. All we want to do is help, and you keep blocking our efforts. I'm starting to think you don't trust anyone, even us," Annie said coolly.
Myra added, "And yet, where did you come the moment you sensed trouble? You came straight to us, yet you won't share the details. It's you who aren't getting it, Pearl.
"One other thing. Even when we had to enlist Jack Sparrow to help you, you still wouldn't share with us," Myra said, her annoyance and frustration evident to all but Pearl.
Pearl's shoulders sagged. She looked around at the others and nodded as she swiped at her eyes with the sleeve of her sweatshirt. "I've learned over the years that the only person you can depend on is yourself. When I first embarked on this journey, I realized I was taking on the responsibility for women's and children's lives. Me. No one else. It's the only way it could work for me. I can't count the times I wanted to confide in someone, have someone pick up the slack, to help. I was afraid to take the chance. It's the way it has to be."
Myra eyed her old friend with narrowed eyes. "I am hesitant to bring this up, Pearl, but this is way too serious not to discuss it. What about your daughter? She's the reason you do what you do. We never discuss her because you said she was off-limits. If I recall correctly, and it's been years, so possibly I guess I could be wrong, but you did say you worried constantly that she would weaken and get in touch with her ex because she was so in love with him. So in love that she allowed him to beat her unconscious until she almost died. We sat with you, Pearl, in the hospital; we helped with your granddaughter; we were there for you every step of the way. Is it possible she's involved?" Myra asked.
Pearl reared back in her chair as though she'd been bitten by a snake. "I can't believe you asked me that, Myra! My daughter! Never!"
"How do you know for certain, Pearl?" Charles asked gently.
"I'm a mother. I know. She's happily married now, and her new husband loves her daughter. She had a baby boy with her new husband. She would never jeopardize her new life."
"And yet you never told us your daughter got married or that she had a baby?" Annie said, outrage at what she was hearing turning her face rosy red. "Where does she live now? What's her new married name? What name did you give her when you got her a new identity?"
Pearl clamped her lips together, her eyes showing her misery. She struggled to take a deep breath but sobbed instead. No one rushed to comfort her.
Myra got up and walked over to the kitchen counter, where she'd tossed her keys. She picked them up and tossed them to Pearl. "Take my car. I'll pick it up tomorrow."
"Wha ... what?"
"I want you to leave, Pearl. That means go. Take my car. I'll pick it up tomorrow."
"But ... why ...?"
Charles moved then and opened the kitchen door. Fergus was behind him with an oversize umbrella. He handed it over.
"Drive carefully," Annie called out.
Pearl whirled around. "No! This is wrong. I need you." She fixed her wild-eyed gaze on Annie and Myra. "My daughter is off-limits. I thought of all people that you two would understand. I know my daughter just the way you knew your daughters. It's all up here," she said, tapping her head. "I did not commit anything to paper or file or record. You have to believe me. Those women trust me. I have to honor that trust even if I end up finishing my days in a federal prison. Their lives are in my hands and only mine."
Charles moved forward and closed the door. Fergus reached for the umbrella. Myra and Annie moved and wrapped the sobbing woman in their arms.
"We're going to make it right, Pearl. All you have to do is trust us."
Pearl nodded.CHAPTER 2
The gang started to arrive a little after four-thirty. While their greetings were exuberant, the usual upbeat tone was missing. Everyone was wet and soggy with just the short run from Myra's parking lot to the house. Four inside-out umbrellas were tossed in a messy heap at the top of the steps thanks to the gusty winds.
Inside, Charles and Fergus handed out towels and offered to throw jackets and shirts into the dryers. Everyone declined and just said to turn off the A/C. Fergus obliged. Charles handed out cups of sweet apple tea, which the group guzzled before they followed Myra and Annie to the underground war room. Charles and Fergus brought up the rear, with a warning to Lady and her pups to watch over things topside.
Lady yipped and ran back to the kitchen and looked around for a spot that would allow her to see the monitor that controlled the electronic gates outside. Satisfied that she was in position, she yipped again, and her pups took up their positions and went to sleep.
Excerpted from In Plain Sight by FERN MICHAELS. Copyright © 2015 Fern Michaels. 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Excellent read, never disappointed!!!
Riveting read as always.they just get better with each book.
It is still the sme old stuff. Names change but plot stays pretty much the same. Soooooo predictable. Let the series end already!!! The author also gets stuck on one phrase in every book and overuses it to the point of being annoying. Last time, it was fists "shooting into the air"; this time it is stories "growing legs". This is a characteristic of very poor writing. Stephanie Clanahan
In Plain Sight is installment #25 in Fern Michaels Sisterhood series. Let me start off by saying if you haven’t read any of the books in this series I would start at the very beginning or you are probably going to be lost. I have religiously followed this series throughout. The women in this series are absolutely hysterical and you can’t help but love them. They are strong, confident and loving women who are determined to see justice served when the legal system fails. In this installment the ladies are serving up justice once again. When Amalie leaves her abusive husband she seeks refuge in former Supreme Court Justice Pearl Barnes clinic. However when it is leaked that she has changed her appearance and run it is up to the Sisterhood to take care of Amalie’s husband and make sure he is served the justice he deserves. Another well written installment! I received an eARC of this book compliments of the publisher in exchange for my honest review and opinion. All ratings and opinions stated are my own.
I totally loved this book. It starts quickly and keeps you engaging until the very last page. This tale of a love gone wrong and how the sisters can "correct" the problem and administer justice is filled with action. The sisters' justice is always exacting and what is deserved. This is the newest novel in The Sisterhood series. While it is a stand alone novel, you will enjoy it so much more if you read the prior books. One thing that I've really enjoyed over the course of this series is how the characters have grown. They feel fully formed and make me feel invested in them. Thank you to Netgalley for providing a complementary ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Yes, hold on. Super busy with the raid. After that i'll fight cha