H E DREW IN A SHARP breath. "I know where Brian is."
Awakened from a sound sleep, Jackie Harlan sat straight up in bed. For years she'd looked for her missing son, Brian, and the phone call she dreamed of had finally come. "Where?"
"I'm dying. Come to Mercy Hospital, room 615 in Salt Lake."
"Who is this?" she demanded.
"You don't recognize my voice? It's Andy...Andy Wilson."
She paused for just a second, connecting the name and the voice to a man she had not seen in years. "Andy, where..." She was too late - the caller had already hung up. "Noooo," she moaned. Jackie immediately placed a return call, but it went directly to an unidentified voice mail. Frustrated, she set her cellphone back on the nightstand, moved her covers aside, and swung her legs over the edge of the bed.
Jackie Harlan, the owner of the exclusive Harlan Detective Agency - the one that specialized in finding missing people, had been looking for her own son for nearly twenty-three years. All this time, Andy Wilson, her deceased husband's best friend knew where Brian was? Impossible!
Or was it?
His words sent her mind reeling in a thousand different directions, but there wasn't time for that kind of in-depth evaluation just now. The agency was headquartered in Denver, and getting to Salt Lake in a hurry wasn't going to be easy. According to the clock on the nightstand, it was 3:32 a.m. "Isn't there a law against dying in the middle of the night?" Jackie picked her cellphone back up, headed for the bathroom, and at the same time called Michael. "We have to go! Now!"
On the other end of the line, Michael Sorenson moaned, "Seriously? Jackie, I just got in bed."
"I know, but get up, get dressed, and pack a bag. We're off to Salt Lake City."
"Andy Wilson says he knows where Brian is." She didn't give him time to reply before she hung up, called the third member of her three-person team, and repeated the same message. Carl Kingsley didn't object, but then he never objected and wouldn't, especially now. He knew exactly who Andy Wilson was. He and Jackie had been friends since high school. Besides, going to Salt Lake meant he was about to do the thing he loved most in the world - fly the company's Learjet.
G ETTING A CAB AT THAT time of morning was not a problem in Denver, and in less than twenty minutes all three members of the team were on their way to the airport. Seated in the back on one side of Jackie, with Carl on the other, Michael watched the expression on his boss's face for a moment before he said, "You okay?"
"I'm not sure," she replied. "A thousand times I've dreamed of getting that call, but from Andy Wilson?"
"Andy Wilson," Carl muttered. "There's a name I haven't heard in years. You think Andy took Brian?"
Jackie visibly slumped. "I don't know what to think. It doesn't make sense. After Brian disappeared, Andy helped us search. He was there every day - morning, noon, and night for weeks. He even held me when I cried. No, I can't believe Andy took Brian. He must have found him somehow."
"Not getting your hopes up, right?" Michael asked. "Seeing you again might just be a dying man's last wish, and he knew you'd come if he said he knew where Brian was."
"That's possible. I might not have come otherwise," Jackie admitted. "Okay, I'll try not to get my hopes up. It wouldn't be the first time we thought we had a lead on Brian only to hit another brick wall."
"That's for sure," Carl agreed.
Hoping to change the subject, Michael leaned forward to look at Carl. "How does she do that?" he asked, nodding toward Jackie.
"Do what?" Carl asked.
"Look like a million bucks this early in the morning?"
Carl quickly looked his boss up and down. Jackie was wearing a dark blue pantsuit, with