Breach of Trust

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Breach of Trust

The Eternal Trust Trilogy – Book 2

Synopsis * Excerpt * Reviews


Spine-tingling sequel to THE ETERNAL TRUST


Across time and dimension, soul mates bound by an ETERNAL TRUST battle to possess the vast power embodied within an ancient samurai sword … or choose love and live.


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Autographed Author’s Copies


Synopsis

“Melinda Rucker Haynes takes readers on a breathless plunge into the realm of the sub-conscious. Spine-tingling and cutting-edge, BREACH OF TRUST is a highly original romantic thriller, offering a glimpse into realms that few authors dare to explore, let alone tackle with such incredible expertise.”

Susan Grant, best-selling author of CONTACT.


The Sword returns in a spine-tingling, cutting-edge sequel to The Eternal Trust, a highly original romantic thriller taking readers on a breathless plunge into the realm of the sub-conscious.

Jonathan Spencer has no memory of being a psychic spy until past life hypnotherapist Dr. Rian Farsante helps him remember too much. He wants to trust her, but has good reasons to listen to his instincts.

Rian knows the one thing Spence doesn’t–his past. She’s been hired to bring him back into the fold of psychic spies and assassins, and must accomplish her mission–even if it breaks her heart.

Together, they discover their bond throughout eternity to each other and to an ancient sword that bestows vast power upon the owner. Thrust into a battle for life and love, Rian and Spence must overcome their separate and shared pasts if they are going to surmount the breach of trust between them.



Excerpt

PROLOGUE


Between the stone paws of the Great Sphinx of Giza and far below the crowds of prowling tourists, Majid Sawaya wiped the sweat dripping into his eyes with his shirtsleeve. He glanced away from the monitor and peered over the shoulder of the technician operating the robotic video camera. The long telescoping tube slowly retracted from the 2.5 cm hole drilled through the rectangular stone slab. The door sealed a secret chamber that the Director of the Egyptian Antiquities Trust had publicly sworn didn’t exist.

The tiny camera transmitted a shadowy image of a large dark mass sitting in the center of the chamber’s floor, possibly a stone sarcophagus that served to inflate the Director’s hopes of discovering an intact mummy or treasure of knowledge and, of course, priceless artifacts.

The Director was crouched on the stone floor of the cramped, sharply sloped passage in front of the door. His voice rose with excitement as he commanded the technician to secure the camera and move out of the way. While Majid and two of his best workmen pried at the door’s smooth edges with steel bars, the Director couldn’t stop himself from forecasting the wonders that he expected to find within the chamber.

"There are hieroglyphs and beautiful wall decoration, of course, perhaps even funerary artifacts, but the sarcophagus will hold the best secrets, I am certain," the Director enthused. Once the seal of millennia was broken, the stone proved to be the width of a man’s hand. As if on hidden hinges, it opened easily, wide enough to allow a man to slip through. The Director proclaimed the chamber hadn’t been breached since first sealed by the ancients and ordered everyone back up the passage.

When all had withdrawn, he motioned to Majid. "Set up the digital mapping camera. I estimate it will take about seven hours for the camera to record the entire chamber, then I’ll enter and you will film my great discovery. Hurry now, set it up and come right back. I will wait here for you. Then we will close the door. The guard will maintain security while the camera is doing its work and we will continue ours topside."

Majid nodded and unpacked the digital video camera, struggling to contain his excitement at being the first human to see what had been buried for thousands of years. Even though he wouldn’t get a chance to see much in the minute or so it would take to set up the camera, Majid, who was driven by reckless curiosity and the need for money to satisfy his proclivities, would still be the first. He hefted the camera, pointing a large handheld spotlight into the chamber, and followed the bright beam into the dark.

Well after sundown, Majid took a video camera out of his truck. "Tell the Director we’re ready," he said to one of the workmen and reentered the canvas enclosure screening the dig from public view.

Inside, after dismissing the guard, the Director instructed Majid, "You will follow me with the camera as I go."

Majid nodded and moved where he could capture the Director’s best side as he posed to open the door. It swung open noiselessly at the Director’s tentative touch as though it were floating in the stone wall.

The Director’s eyes rounded in surprise and he gave a muffled titter. "Majid, you must now agree that I have made a great discovery! It is a wonder, an ancient wonder that will prove the best artifacts are only discovered by Egyptians. It’s in our blood, our heritage. Our divine right to rediscover what our ancestors have left for us."

Majid, who was Lebanese, grunted assent because the Director had no interest in conversation. He was performing for the camera, and for himself. He would no doubt spend many hours reliving this fabulous unedited moment of personal triumph, which had been made possible by years of study, research and hundreds of man-hours of all put in by other people who would receive only the smallest acknowledgment for their contribution. The Director would get the majority of the credit for this find when the time was right to go public.

The Director hesitated in the doorway then motioned for Majid. "Shine your light inside so I can see."

Majid took a deep breath and moved forward into the darkness. He aimed the camera’s high intensity light ahead while he watched the image on its swing out LCD screen and strove to hold the camera level while keeping one eye on the uneven stone floor. He turned the camera on the Director who switched on his spotlight and stepped further into the chamber.

Majid edged around to profile the Director as he began to speak and flash his light around. Majid wanted to survey the room too, but didn’t dare–he must record the Director’s great triumph.

"Beautiful! Exquisite! Yes, this chamber has never been breached. It has remained secret from the time the Sphinx was constructed. What great mysteries does this room hold? What ancient kings and priests conducted their secret rituals here?" The light glowed across the walls of the square chamber. The four sides at angles shot upwards, narrowing to intersect at an apex twenty feet above. In addition to hieroglyphics, the walls were decorated with unusual pictographs and quasi-geometric symbols that Majid determined from his twenty years of research and study were not Egyptian, ancient or otherwise, in origin. The Director ignored this anomaly.

"Ah yes, these hieroglyphs are definitely a marvelous and unusual example of secret funerary rites and practices, possibly."

The Director moved further into the chamber and swung the light to the center. "Unfortunately, no sarcophagus. Perhaps an altar where they conducted ceremonies to the gods. This could be another temple of the God’s Wife where she performed her functions for Amun here …" His voice trailed off as he neared the stone table. "Not an altar of the usual sort. Possibly a preparation table. I judge it to be about five feet long, by about four feet high …" He leaned forward, careful to not touch the side of the structure and pointed his light at the top. "By four feet wide. Very strange. It’s a kind of polished stone like obsidian, but harder, metal-like. The top is … there seems to be a long channel in the center." He spanned the rectangular depression with his hand, stretching the fingers wide. "About ten inches across and there’s something down in there." The Director shined his light into the dark canal.

"It can’t be!" he exclaimed and reeled back, bumping into Majid.

"What is it?" Majid stooped nearer, as the Director’s light bobbed wildly along the top, dipping in and out of the depression.

"It’s a joke! No, an abomination! Who would do this?"

Majid’s gaze followed the Director’s horrified stare and his own breath whooshed out of him at the sight. His knees went weak and he began to chuckle as he pointed the camera downward, panning across the cord-wrapped handle of a Japanese samurai sword in four pieces beside a spiral-carved black lacquer scabbard lying on the bottom of the channel. Next to it lay a flattened metal rod-like piece that was hooked on one end and two thirds the length of the scabbard.

Light filled the opening and illuminated three-inch high cuneiform-like characters carved into the stone between the metal hooked rod and the side of the channel. Majid turned the unblinking camera’s eye upon them. A disincarnate voice resonated from the chamber’s shadows:

Return to the Forge of Balance and the two shall be made whole.



The viewer hovered near like a ghost and watched them empty the chamber of its two aberrant relics. The authority figure’s disappointment was raw and angry as the subordinate nailed the top on rectangular crate that held the target and a flattened metal rod, one end bent to a U shape. He ordered the subordinate to lose the unmarked wooden box among the thousands of other dusty, uninventoried artifacts in the museum’s warehouse and forget them.

The subordinate had other thoughts, the viewer perceived. The pieces would indeed be lost to the archeological world. He had a private collector in mind for the Japanese sword and its strange companion. The buyer would want a copy of the digital camera’s survey of the chamber, and would get it, at an exorbitant premium and whatever else the subordinate could extort, of course. The viewer shuddered at the avaricious lust in the man’s mind and withdrew from the scene, integrating her energy body within the physical once again.

The sword had been found.



Chapter One


The clanging of metal on metal woke Jonathan Spencer out of the few minutes of fitful sleep he’d been able to achieve in the last two hours. His bare feet hit the cold hardwood floor and he stood, pulling his .45 automatic out of the beside table drawer. He thumbed the safety off on the always-loaded weapon and eased to the window, plastering his naked back against the clammy wall. He peered sideways through the bank of floor-to-ceiling windows that comprised the west side of his bedroom loft. That sound he’d heard had to be someone trying to break into this last window opening on the fire escape or downstairs in the shop or offices–again. It was impossible, but some idiot had tried just about every night for the last couple of weeks. Spence hadn’t been able to catch them or find evidence of their attempts–no scarring on the bars of the windows, no jimmy marks on the steel back downstairs or on the rollup door in the shop. No unusual images on the security cameras’ tapes. Nothing but the harsh metallic sound that he had come to dread after giving into his body’s need for sleep.

Maybe someone was screwing with him, trying to drive him over the edge. The problem was he was so damn driveable these days, so close to the edge. Spence pulled away from the windows and gripped the pistol with both hands, locking his elbows into his sides and made his way across the floor to the loft’s framed glass railing. He shielded himself behind a support girder and surveyed the downstairs for a moment, listening to the silence before he stepped down the steel stairs to the main level. He peered around the moonlit interior of the huge open room that served as his living quarters. Satisfied that no one was lurking behind the few crates and boxes that still held most of his old stuff and antique weapons collection, Spence went straight to the row of security monitors and terminals opposite the wall of bulletproof windows overlooking Lake Union. He tapped in the dynamic sweep code and watched as the networked cameras brought ultra sensitive audio and active infrared online to scan every meter inside and out of Integrity Security’s 25,000 square foot building, all revealing nothing unusual. He accessed the tapes for the last thirty minutes and began to replay them while the cameras continued their obsessive surveillance of nothing unusual. Sweat collected between Spence’s shoulder blades, rolled down his spine and caught at the waistband of his shorts. He shivered, eased the hammer down on the Colt, then laid the gun beside the keyboard, grabbing the sweatshirt he’d thrown on the chair earlier in the evening and pulling it on. Blotting his damp face with the sleeve and keeping his eyes on the monitors, he sidled a few feet to the freight elevator, grabbed the handlebars of his Harley sitting in front of the door and swung into the saddle.

It felt good–skin against leather. The Harley was the perfect tranquilizer and turn on, with the right woman behind him, of course. But there was nobody right or otherwise these days. Everybody and everything was totally messed up.

Things should be good. Hell, they should be freaking fantastic, like when he was able to get some sleep. And he could … if they would leave him alone. If they would stop trying to get to him and stop trying to drive him back into the shadows.

If they– What they? He wiped the sweat out of his stinging eyes with the heels of his palms. Focusing on the normal, uncorrupted images on the monitors reassured him there was no they. He could believe there never had been if he controlled his thoughts well enough.

Most people ignorantly claimed you couldn’t change the past, couldn’t banish life’s horrors into Never Happened Land. The hell you couldn’t. However it happened, a big chunk of his memories beyond ten years ago were either nonexistent or indistinct impressions. It was like trying to see your fist in a dark cave. He didn’t tell anyone he couldn’t remember whatever might have been because it would mean he was heading down the same road his dad had gone.

Alzheimer’s.

He didn’t want to go out that way–one day strong and sharp and the next not even remembering how to wipe your ass. The shrewd reserve his dad had been well known for had mutated into a crafty evil that tortured his wife and every other caregiver until he finally died when Spence was one hundred twenty days short in the Navy. He was sorry he hadn’t been there to help his mom, but grateful, too. Dad had always been a real special son of a bitch toward his only child whom, as Mom said, never knew when to keep his mouth shut and duck.

Spence hadn’t missed him one second, but he would always yearn for Mom’s happy laugh and quiet strength. Why the hell she’d curled up and died after Dad went, he couldn’t figure. How could she care that much about the man who’d made their lives hell in every way possible?

It was insane to outlive the bastard who had treated you like dirt for a lifetime, then waste away from loneliness, killed by love.

Forgive your dad. I know he loves us–loves you. Forgive and love him because he needs you to, she’d told him in those last moments before she given in to congestive heart failure.

Never. Jonathan Spencer would never forgive. He might forget–for a while, but forgiving meant it was okay, understandable or a human frailty for someone to betray, abuse or even try to kill him or those he cared about.

Never! He’d remember when he needed to, when the time was right, then he’d deal.

Spence unclenched his jaw and climbed off the Harley, wiping his smudged handprints off the chrome with his sweatshirt bottom. He headed to the refrigerator and pulled out a Dr. Pepper, his tenth or maybe twelfth today, but who was counting? Besides, there was no way he was getting back to sleep now. The doc had suggested too much caffeine was the root of his insomnia.

Not insomnia. He wouldn’t use that word. It was counterproductive to think to believe that he suffered from insomnia. The was no suffering to being awake because then he was making money, building his empire instead of tearing up the bed trying to achieve something that they were going to snatch away from him in a few breaths. Like some sort of Chinese water torture, but with noise instead. Metal clanging against metal. They.

There was one person who might know who they were–if he would tell.



The target’s anguished memories and exhaustion were too much to bear. The viewer broke off, hovering a moment in the shadows then withdrew.

He was a good man and she couldn’t keep doing this to him. Driving him to the crumbling edge of sanity couldn’t be the best approach for this operation regardless what they’d told her. Despite all the process safeguards and prohibitions, she’d become connected to him. She felt his thoughts, his emotions and frustrated dreams like her own and more. She knew what he did not–his past.



The next Saturday afternoon Spence rode thirty miles out of the city to the gentleman horse acres and yuppie ranchettes in southeastern King County to attend his godson’s fifth birthday party. Besides celebrating with the closest thing to a son he’d ever have, he looked forward to seeing his best friends, the boy’s parents, Mike and Dorel Gabrielli.

"Come on, Uncle Spence, you said you’d give us rides for my birthday party," Marty Gabrielli called and climbed on the bike after the mountain of gifts was opened.

"You guys ready?" Spence answered and set down the half-empty can of Dr. Pepper with a wink to the boy’s mother who was telling the kids not to bother him. The Gabriellis’ Airedale terrier, Katana, leaned against his leg, resting his wet muzzle on Spence’s knee. He gave the old boy a good scratch behind the ear and stood up. "It’s fine, I’m okay," he assured Dorel.

"You look tired," Dorel said and shook her head, turning back to the kids’ mothers grouped around a table under a large market umbrella, sheltering from late September intermittent sprinkles and sun showers.

The big black and tan dog followed Spence across the rain-damp lawn toward the little kids gathered around his Harley. "Okay, the birthday boy first, then I’ll catch the rest of you. Watch how Marty puts on his helmet and hangs on to me. You have to do the same, understand?"

Everyone nodded as his godson hefted his own helmet, a smaller version of Spence’s, over his strawberry blond hair. Spence lifted him out of the saddle to the back seat and climbed on. Marty clamped his little arms around his waist and Spence started the bike. He commanded Katana to stay then eased down the pine needle carpeted path through the bordering forest and followed the fence line separating the Gabrielli property from the Christmas tree farm next door.

Once they turned onto the two-lane blacktop, Marty tugged on the back of Spence’s leather jacket, their signal to stop. He pulled to the side of the road, put his feet down and turned, lifting off his helmet. Marty had slipped off the seat and stood in the dirt staring up at Spence.

"What’s up, M-Man, you okay?" He kicked the stand down and turned off the bike as concern rolled in his belly. He’d vowed five years ago to guard Martin Everly Gabrielli with his life. Every scrape, every owie as Dorel called the bumps and bruises the boy had experienced in his short life, Spence felt more than his own. The boy and his parents were the most important things in his life, whom he cared for above his thriving business or anything else.

"Uncle Spence, you got problems," the five-year-old pronounced with conviction. He crossed his arms over his new leather jacket with an Integrity Security logo that Spence had given him today.

"Oh, yeah, says who?" Spence smoothed his hand over his moustache and goatee, squinting down at the serious-looking boy, then pulled his famous wise ass smirk, but his guts went cold. He should have guessed that Marty would know he was in trouble.

Marty dropped his gaze and kicked a rock with his new black boot, a shiny miniature of Spence’s own worn motorcycle boots. "Nobody, just me."

"Okay, that’s good. So, you think I’ve got trouble, huh? What kind of trouble would that be, exactly?" Spence asked, casually flicking the long fringe on the handlebar’s right grip with his fingers.

Marty looked into Spence’s eyes. "I’ve been hearing the sounds, too. I don’t know what it is or who, but you better ask Dad to help you. He’ll do it, but they’re real careful about that stuff now. You know how they are," he added, then pulled his helmet back on and stepped up on the exhaust pipe to settle in behind Spence.

Spence let out the breath he’d been holding as he put on his helmet and restarted the bike, turning back for the house. Yeah, he knew how they were–they were like him. Pretenders to ordinary existence when their shared and not so long ago past was everything but normal. He was torn between wanting to press Marty further and pretend the kid didn’t know what he was talking about. There was no denying that Marty knew things he shouldn’t, weird things. He was way too old-man wise for his years. Seemed like he’d shared Spence’s interest in weapons and warfare since he could talk, quickly going from baby sounds to full sentences that made so much sense it was scary–to everyone but Spence who had clicked with the kid the first time he saw him. When he hadn’t known Dorel for very long, he’d thought maybe because she was jealous of Marty’s and his bond, she’d begun to say how much the boy resembled her grandfather, Martin Everly. But he soon learned that Dorel wasn’t jealous; she believed Marty could be the reincarnation of her grandfather. Mike hadn’t disagreed with her. That one offhanded statement was made so long ago that Spence didn’t know if it was a real memory or not. Dorel and Mike were the only ones he could turn to for help and get it without question.

Long after Dorel had said goodnight and gone to bed, Mike and Spence were still working on the purchase agreement for their leasing company’s latest acquisition, a 747-400 airliner coming out of passenger service in Miami. The airplane would be their fourth purchase that they would have converted to a freighter. Avion Aircraft Leasing had been Dorel’s idea soon after she married Mike and left Boeing. It was a huge gamble for the three of them, but they’d leveraged the financial backing to buy the airplanes and then found customers to lease them with an excellent return. They kept overhead to a minimum with Spence and Mike ferrying the airplanes to the modifications center and Dorel coordinating the engineering and modifications packages. Their aircraft leasing business was growing faster than they’d thought possible. Accountants and financial advisors reported that Avion’s income could quadruple if Spence and Mike gave up their other jobs to focus exclusively on building the business. But Integrity Security’s recent plant construction and client base expansion had Spence so in debt and busy he couldn’t spare the time or take any income loss. As a senior captain for TransAsia Airlines, Mike was in the best position to go full time with Avion, but he and Dorel were waiting on the time to be right for Spence.

Up to now Spence had ignored Mike’s big yawns and longing glances at his watch, but he was beginning to feel guilty because Mike had an early morning flight to Singapore. He better bring up the subject quick before he was talking to wide-eyed asleep Mike.

Spence clicked save and exit on his machine and leaned back while it shut down.

"Thank God," Mike groaned and began to shut down his computer. "I thought you were never going to quit. Don’t you sleep anymore?"

Spence rubbed his burning eyes. "Not so much." He grinned sheepishly, "Got people to screw, revenues to overstate. You know, the usual Machiavellian corporate mogul stuff."

Mike snorted. "Same ole bad, huh? Guess things were simpler when you were a broke but sometimes honest arms dealers, right?"

"Hey! I’m an antique weapons collector now, if you please," Spence answered with wry grin. He shifted on the leather executive chair and rubbed his moustache. "Say, speaking of antique weapons, whatever happened to that Tadatsuna you guys had me cut up? God, what a waste to ruin a one of a kind sword like that." Why the hell did he say that? Spence silently berated himself. Of all ways to approach the subject that Mike wouldn’t want to talk about–he’d just opened with the sure-to-fail worst.

Mike’s blue eyes narrowed into a mean squint and he pushed back from the keyboard. He took a deep breath and replied, "Where did that come from? After all these years, why that? And why now?" He walked to the French door to the deck and opened it, leaning on the jamb, his back to Spence.

Spence heaved himself to his feet and tossed off the last of his drink: a Stoly and Dr. that tasted like crap, warm and watered down with melted ice. He’d felt the need for another bracer to get in the gut-spilling mood when they’d sat down at the computers three hours ago. Mike wasn’t drinking because he was inside the no booze for eight hours before a flight rule, and Mike never broke the rules–these days, anyway.

Maybe that’s why he’d overreacted to Spence’s innocent question. "Look, forget it. Don’t know why I thought of that. It’s not important and wasn’t what I wanted to talk about anyway," his said as his voice drifted off as Mike turned around and he got a look at the tense expression on his friend’s face.

"What did you want to talk about?" Mike’s hard stare locked on Spence.

Spence’s hands began to shake and he squeezed them tighter around the empty glass. "It’s … probably nothing, but I’ve got a feeling that I can’t shake, you know? Maybe if I could get some sleep or get away to the cabin …" He set the glass on the desk and wiped his damp hands on his jeans. "Yeah, it’s that simple, I need some R&R at the cabin. I’ll plan to take the chopper up there next week maybe," he said with an embarrassed shrug and made for the door.

"Bull," Mike barked behind him. Spence stopped and turned around. "You want to know what I think? I think you’re in an inverted flat spin with the ground proximity warning screaming, my friend. Look at you–sucking down that prune juice and vodka slop, for chrissakes. The bags under your eyes look like drop tanks. You can’t sit still, can’t focus. And the way you talk, when you do talk . . .what can I say–it’s screwed up." Mike caught his breath and Spence felt his hands flexing into fists. He splayed his fingers out, turning toward the door. He wasn’t going to get into it with the only friend he had left.

"Just hold on," Mike continued behind him. "You came all the way out here to tell me something. Now tell it or get the hell out and let me get some sleep."

"I came for Marty’s party," Spence mumbled and stepped into the hall. "Didn’t mean to keep you up. Sorry, Mike." He felt a hand on his shoulder and stopped.

Mike pulled him around and gave him an apologetic grin. "I’m sorry. Come on, tell me what’s got you so screwed up."

"Naw, it’s too late. Walk me to the bike, I’m afraid of the dark," Spence joked.

"Maybe you should be," Mike answered, looking worried, which stoked Spence’s anxiety as he collected his gear from the foyer closet.

Mike snapped off the overhead light, slowly opened the door a crack and looked around before he stepped outside. Once a SEAL, always a SEAL. Spence performed his own quick visual recon before he followed his friend into the darkness.

"Okay, shoot. There’s no chance of being spied on here," Mike said, standing in the center of the garden shed that was also a shielded safe room. "What were you thinking, talking about that other business in the house? Anyone could have heard you."

Spence pushed off the closed door, slamming the polished steel with his fists. "You can’t even say it now, can you? Why don’t we talk about it? Hell, we don’t talk about anything before five years ago, let alone the sword that nearly got us all killed. It’s like our time with the Teams and flying, working the antiques weapons market before you hooked up with Dorel didn’t even happen." He popped Mike’s shoulder with his finger, frustration mounting. "Well, it did happen. All of it. And you know what–I bet even more went down than I can remember, because I’ve got this weird black hole in my memory, like a piece of me was cut out. Something just out of range that I know is there but can’t see. And I think you know what it is and that Tadatsuna, that one of a kind piece you and Dorel made me destroy, is part of this."

Blind rage lashed out from some undiscovered injury and pounded through Spence’s body. He almost unleashed it on his friend. Instead he turned it inward on himself again, driving the feelings back to the black hole within the steel nerves and rigid tendons that his body had become.

Mike blanched and stepped back. "I’d always assumed that you were like me. That you were just acting the part, pretending to forget. But you really don’t remember any of it, do you?"

"What the hell are you talking about, of course I remember. You had me searching everywhere for that damned samurai sword. Then Dorel walked into the gun show and tried to sell it to me, met you and everything went to hell from there. You two hook up, off some bad guys, then you make a run for it only to show up a couple of days later and force me to cut the sword up. That was the worst, like cutting my own heart out with that torch. You may not have wanted it anymore, but I sure could have sold that sword to regain my losses, after they tore up my store and nearly killed me–remember that? I sure as hell do every time I look in the mirror. And you did a piss poor job resetting my nose."

Mike looked like he’d been kicked in the crotch and he glanced away. "I’m sorry, Spence. I could never make it up to you for what I put you through. I wish I could have done it differently, make sure you weren’t involved–"

"Screw that. It is what it is–or was. Like I said in the house, that’s not what I wanted to talk to you about, but I guess it is or I wouldn’t have shot my mouth off like that." He shrugged, calming down a little, and extended his hand. "What are friends for if they can’t take a bullet for you or get crazy once in a while about a broken nose in the old days?"

Mike took his hand, pulling him into a one-armed bear hug and whispered into his ear, "It’s not about the sword or Dorel and me. I think you’re remembering, having a bleed through or breach in the deprogramming."

Spence froze then his arm dropped off Mike’s back and he pulled away, his mouth open in disbelief. "What the hell are you on?"

"A truth kick. It’s bare your soul season and the time is now, looks like."

"Whose truth and whose soul?"

The corners of Mike’s mouth turned down into smirk. "Theirs and ours."

They! Spence nearly staggered. Mike did know who they were! "You’ve heard it, then, the noise, the banging?"

Mike frowned. "No, can’t say as I have. Is that what you’ve got going on? You’re getting noise?"

Hope swelled in his chest, making him feel much better. Mike was going to help him. "Yeah, every night for the past couple of weeks just as I get to sleep. Sounds like someone is trying to break in, but there’s no one there when I investigate. Someone is screwing with me and I don’t know why. So, I was thinking maybe you could help me find these guys. . .use some of the old skills? And to tell you the truth, I feel like I know something that will help me but exactly what it is I can’t remember."

"They really cooked you, didn’t they?" Mike shook his head in disgust. "Now listen very carefully and for chrissakes don’t argue. Just listen and maybe that will open things up. You and I were part of a special black ops unit where we were trained to spy–"

"I know that," Spence spat. "We were attached to Navy Intelligence."

"Yes we were, at first, but then we were trained at an ultra top secret installation to spy on our enemies with a technique called remote viewing." Mike’s voice halted and he stared at Spence.

"I swallow my pride to ask for your help and get nothing but crap for my trouble." He pulled open the door. Mike reached past his shoulder and pressed it closed. Spence waited, impatience prickling across his shoulders.

"I never, ever talk crap, you know that. I swear we were trained to transcend time and space, to view persons, places, and things remote in time and space, and to gather intelligence information on them. And that, my friend, is a famous viewer’s definition of what we were doing. My take is that we learned to empty our minds and receive information or send our consciousness, sixth sense or ESP, for want of a better term, out in the collective unconscious to gather intelligence without ever leaving the facility."

"You’re saying we were mind readers? Get real, Mike. You’ve been spending too much time communing with the spirits in that Zen garden of yours."

Mike ignored his jibe. "We were damned good at it, too. In fact, you were better than me most of the time, until they wanted to move us into some real experimental and, in my opinion, pure evil like dark magic arts and remote assassination. I chose to get out and go through the deprogramming to wipe my memory of the whole program and what we did, but it didn’t take. I remembered everything, but kept that to myself. Didn’t want them to send you after me."

Spence snorted. "Oh, yeah, right. Remote assassination. What’s that, hold your breath and wish people dead real hard?"

"You tell me, smart ass. I figure you learned to be a real good remote mechanic in a merciless, scientific and detached kind of way. Just what they wanted, and if they want you, nothing can stop them from getting you. But something happened and they sent you straight to deep deprogramming. Then they were even so kind as to rehabilitate you, teach you a trade, as it were. You became the tech geek security expert you are today–with one tiny problem, that nasty big black hole in your memory. But not too worry, you’re busy making big bucks keeping the mega-corporations safe from terrorists and vengeful stockholders or down-sized ex-employees seeking retribution for their raped portfolios."

Mike’s voice took on a rhythmic calm tone as if he were talking to a frightened child or freaked out crank addict. "It’s true, Spence. You can feel it. Believe. Every word of it. Believe it. Remember."

Spence whirled and stuck his face in Mike’s. "That right? Then do it–show me. Do your stuff. Remote view the hell out of something."

"I can’t. I promised myself, and Dorel, that I would never do it again. It will open up things that should be left buried. In any case, I’m not going to blow my cover. Believe me, you don’t want them to know you can do it and remember what you did."

"Then just tell me who they are, if they really exist, and I’ll take it up with them. Ask them if they’re trying to drive me crazy with that goddamn noise every night? Remote view that, mind spy, if you can. Prove it. That’s all I ask. Just prove it." Spence slumped against the door and rubbed his face with his hands, exhaustion overtaking his mind and body.

After a few moments of silence, Mike admitted, "If I were still actively viewing like when I was looking for the sword, I could tell you what the noise is and who, if anyone, is targeting you. But I haven’t viewed in years and now I can’t suspend judgement. I’m prejudiced by my beliefs of good and evil and I’ll perceive in the ether what I want or believe. The information I’d view would be tainted or colored by my personal prejudices. It would take me months of retraining with the protocols to overcome this and get back up to speed again. The reality is, I can’t prove to you that we were remote viewers or that there is or isn’t a they. Why or how this is happening to you, I don’t know. A counselor might be able to help you kick something loose and help you deal with your repressed memories. Find out why and if your subconscious is creating all this."

"You think I’m crazy," Spence said, his voice muffled by his hand still covering his face.

Mike laughed. "I know you’re crazy, but that’s not the point. Sorry for the psychobabble, but I think you better get some help before you implode. I’ve heard about this kind of thing happening with people who’ve had PTSD–post traumatic stress disorder. They can start to exhibit real problems and physical symptoms, because their conscious mind can’t accept the reality of the emerging memories or make sense of them compared to the life they’re living."

Spence pulled himself up tall and took a deep breath. "That psychology minor of yours continues to pay off, doesn’t it," he said, wise ass smirk and attitude firmly in place. "Problem is, if I go see some shrink with this, what happens if the memories–not saying there are any–start to come out? From what you say, we don’t want anyone to know we know, right? If we really know anything real."

Mike shrugged and opened his mouth to answer when Spence’s cell phone vibrated against his jeans waistband. He held up his hand to stop Mike and glanced at the text message before pressing the clear button. "I gotta go. It’s the Rotund Bagel Coffeehouse in the U District. There’s a programming or wiring problem in the fire sprinkler interface that activates intermittently. The system is faulting again, warning of an imminent wet T-shirt contest for the patrons. They usually have a full house, so it ought to be worth the ride in."

They crossed the yard in silence. Spence pushed the bike to driveway and sat on it while he fastened his helmet, aware of Mike’s intent stare on him. What if he really could read minds? He’d thought Mike and he had no secrets from each other . . .until tonight.

"Don’t worry. But you’ve got to realize that what you’ve been telling me isn’t even on my radar screen. I will get this sorted out one way or another."

"Fair enough," Mike said. "Don’t tell anyone else about this. Even if you do talk to a counselor, be careful what you say. Just talk about wanting some help with the sleep problem, and make it up as you go along. If you begin to remember more, keep it to yourself." He leaned close as Spence started the bike. "You’re dead wrong, though, about one thing. I did a great job on that slab of meat you call a nose. Looks better than it did before, and that’s the truth."

Spence laughed and feigned a punch at Mike’s arrow straight nose. "Give Dorel and Marty a kiss for me. Talk to you later." He pointed the bike down the driveway and out on the main road toward Seattle.

Copyright © 2003 Melinda Rucker Haynes



Reviews

Publisher’s Weekly

Jonathan Spencer discovers through hypnotherapy that he’s been a psychic spy in a past life.



Romantic Times Magazine

“… entertaining paranormal romance BREACH OF TRUST by Melinda Rucker Haynes. Rian, a past-life hypnotherapist, works with Spence to break through the murky areas of his life. He finds more than he expected: ancient magic, past lives and psychic talents turned to nefarious purposes. Rian and Spence are linked to each other and to magic swords forged in blood a thousand years past. When Spence realizes he once worked undercover for a shadowy government agency that wiped his memory, he begins to suspect Rian is more than she seems.”

“exciting romantic fantasy” FIVE STARS

In Seattle Jonathan Spencer senses his brain contains a Grand Canyon of a blank spot that feels as if he lost a major memory. His best friend informs Jonathan that they used to be psychic spies for the Navy when they were SEALs, but their memories were erased except that his buddy insists that he retained total recall. Jonathan cannot accept this weird explanation.

Dr. Rian Farsante offers to help Jonathan deal with his problem including insomnia, but he rejects her overtures although he is immensely attracted to her. Rian likes Jonathan too, but regrets that her a ssignment is to bring him back into the active world of psychic espionage. As they become acquainted, since she seems to be everywhere, they fall in love. However, even a bond forged through eternity and previous lives together will probably fail, as this couple has to overcome distrust of one another and a powerful enemy.

This exciting romantic fantasy will make believers of readers that reincarnation happens as Melinda Rucker Haynes blends her story line around that theme. The lead couple is a charming duet struggling to overcome her BREACH OF TRUST in their relationship while the support cast augments the depth fans see of the protagonists. Though much of the first half of the plot is domestic establishing the personalities of Jonathan and Rian, sub-genre fans will appreciate this fine tale.



“The saga of ‘The Trust’ continues with Spence’s story”

Readers will not be disappointed in the eagerly anticipated sequel to The Eternal Trust. Ms. Haynes proves once again she is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the paranormal romance genre. Jonathon "Spence" Spencer does not remember much about his past, he does not remember he was once a part of a secret organization of spies who used psychic abilities to get information on their subjects. He does not remember he was once the best man on the team, or that he used to act as an assassin for this organization. He is perfectly content in the life he has created for himself as a security systems specialist over the past 5-10 years, the close relationship he has built with his best friend Mike Gabrielli and Mike’s wife and son.

Rian Farsante works undercover for Datascape, the biggest client Spence has in his small business, and unbeknownst to him, the very agency he worked for and of which he has no memory. Her cover, and her favored career, is a licensed psychologist specializing in past life regression therapy. Her real job was to track down Spence as Datascape wants him back for a mission only he can handle. What she never counted on was the connection between her and Spence, one that has lived through several of their past lives together.

The samurai sword that brought Mike and Dorel together, changing their lives forever and nearly killing them, has been found. Despite being destroyed several years earlier by Spence, it still holds immense power in the curse placed on it at forging. Datascape wants that power for reasons unknown to any but the highest echelons of its organization and the only one who can repair the sword and awaken the power again is the very man who destroyed it.

Some quick thinking on Rian’s part, and months of work battering down his psychic defenses, convinces Spence to allow her to regress him when he starts having unexplainable lapses of consciousness. What they find in their sessions neither expected. They have a history of past lives together as a very-much-in-love pair of soul mates. Spence’s memory does begin to come back as well, having terrible consequences for him and Rian.

The two are in a race against time when they find out Datascape wants Spence at any cost, no matter the danger to any of those Spence loves. They must solve the mystery of the sword, and unlock their secrets, before it falls into the wrong hands. They must enlist Mike and Dorel’s, whose past experience with the sword changed them for good, if they hope to conquer the evil once and for all. But secrets revealed bring about a huge betrayal, making Spence doubt those closest, not knowing who to trust. Revelations about the sword and its creation shock them all, turning everything upside down, and giving more reason to fear for their lives. They find they must rely on their love of many lifetimes, and trust that, if they ever hope to survive in this one.

Hang on to your hats, and buckle up your seatbelts! You are in for quite an adventurous ride! With a plot that spans continents… and generations; this continuation of the saga of the Sword is non-stop. There is everything that makes a good romance (and adventure) great here with a hero to die for (quite literally for some), a strong heroine who knows how to take care of herself all the while being as feminine as can be, a mystery that takes so many twists and turns one never knows which end is up, ancient curses and untold powers, an ending that just screams for another story, what more could a reader ask for?

Be forewarned this story is not for one looking for a light read. This plot is very complex – to the point it can be slightly confusing during flashback scenes if one is not paying close attention – and requires lots of thinking to follow the threads. This is a little bit slower of a read, not because of the story, but because the reader is thinking things through as they unfold. However, this is a fascinating story, with a glimpse into the otherwordly. It is apparent that Ms. Haynes is an expert in her field, being a hypnotherapist herself, and she weaves this knowledge into her story seamlessly. Also of note, this book’s ending leaves no doubt in anyone’s minds that the series will continue. This reviewer doesn’t know how she’ll be able to wait for the next chapter in this compelling series. This book is not to be missed!



Author Recommendations:


“Melinda Rucker Haynes takes readers on a breathless plunge into the realm of the sub-conscious. Spine-tingling and cutting-edge, BREACH OF TRUST is a highly original romantic thriller, offering a glimpse into realms that few authors dare to explore, let alone tackle with such incredible expertise.”


“BREACH OF TRUST is a magical mystery tour of adventure and possibilities. Powerful and compelling, Melinda Rucker Haynes has penned a speculative fiction must-read novel! Don’t miss this one!”


“Intriguing. Do not miss BREACH OF TRUST!”


“Danger, romance and the quest for power are masterfully woven through Melinda Rucker Haynes’ newest novel, BREACH OF TRUST.”


“A fantastic, fast-paced reincarnation adventure romance with unique new age twists. Wow!”