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He threw her over the rail.

For a minute she was dangling from the hull, kept from hitting the water by the bag of ballast.

Then she saw him lift the bag and throw it.

The water seemed very cold and dark as it closed over her head.

They were still a distance from Jack’s boat when Thor felt his heart stop.

There was a splash, and a burst of silver as the moonlight caught the droplets of water that rose in the wake of the sound. Another splash, another, then another.

He swore, revving the motor higher. Blackhawk stood silently at his side.

How long?

He was dimly aware that the other boat wasn’t moving. As they closed in, he could see Jack at the helm. He should have been long gone.

But as much as he wanted to kill Jack, Thor couldn’t spare a second. He nearly capsized Jay’s boat, bringing it to such an abrupt halt, sending it spinning.

He threw himself into the water. How long had she been down? How long could she survive? She was a diver, in excellent condition, but how much time would that buy her?

Thor was aware that Blackhawk had followed him in. But the water was all but black at night, barely illuminated a few feet down by the moon and the lights from the boat.

He was amazed, when, almost immediately, he came upon a body. He pulled his knife from his pocket and groped blindly for the rope holding the still form to the weight. He slit the rope, jackknifed his legs toward the surface. They were no more than forty feet down, but it felt as if he were rising forever.

He broke the surface, gasping for air. “Genevieve?”

But it wasn’t Genevieve. It was Audrey, and she was blue and limp.

Blackhawk burst from the water at his side, gasping desperately for breath. He swam hard against the light chopping waves, grasping Audrey. For a split second Thor hesitated, his heart sinking. How much time did he have left? And how the hell was Blackhawk going to get Audrey—or her earthly remains—aboard an unanchored boat?

“Go!” Blackhawk roared.

It was all he needed.

She loved the water.

She had loved it all her life.

And, she thought, as she pitched downward, dragged by the heavy weight, she was going to die in it.

She could see nothing. The moon didn’t penetrate this deep. Her wrists were bound behind her back, and she was also bound to the weight.

They had moved the key, she thought. Somehow, the ghosts had moved the key. Jack’s boat was stationary. He wasn’t going to get away.

Would she even know or care once she was dead?

Would Thor kill the man, or would he die by lethal injection? Or would he get away?

Jack was a serial killer. He didn’t even know exactly how many victims he had sent to a watery grave. She still could hardly believe it.

She continued working furiously at the rope binding her wrists. How long could she hold her breath?

Four minutes. She’d gone as long as four minutes once, she reminded herself. And she was working her hands free. She could feel herself making progress.

Her lungs were already burning.

At first he could see, but then darkness became complete as he plunged deeper. Desperation filled his heart and mind. He hit the bottom. Searched…

Hopelessness, bleak and debilitating, seized him.

And then he felt it.

Like a featherlight touch. A hand…guiding him.

Was he dying himself?

Suddenly there was a stronger light penetrating the water. At first he thought it had been sent from heaven. Then he realized that Brent had found a floodlight on Jay’s boat and aimed it into the water for him.

But that touch…

He looked.

And he could see her.

She was blond. Beautiful. With huge blue eyes. And she was leading him.

He followed and there was Genevieve.

She was alive. She had freed her hands. She was fighting desperately with the rope that tied her to the weight. He shot forward, his own lungs burning, cut the rope and grabbed her by the shoulders, then kicked with all his power, shooting them toward the surface.

They broke the water gasping. Genevieve started to cough. He took her in a life-saving hold and kicked hard for Jay’s boat, which had crashed into Jack’s.

Gasping for breath, Genevieve managed a hoarse whisper. “Audrey?”

“Blackhawk has her,” he assured her. He reached Jay’s boat and grabbed onto the small dive platform at the rear.

It was then that Genevieve tried to scream. She managed only a croak, but it warned him.

Brent was bent over Audrey, and Jack was approaching him, one of his deadly oars in hand.

“Blackhawk!” Thor roared.

He didn’t dare release Genevieve, sure she couldn’t possibly have the strength of a kitten left. But she did.

She grasped the dive platform.

Thor was amazed at his own strength as he hurled himself up.

Brent turned in time, ducking the blow.

Thor charged.

Jack turned to swing, but he barely caught Thor in the upper arm before Thor tackled him and shoved him hard against the helm.

Genevieve was staggering up; she made it far enough to sit on the platform, though she looked as if she were going to slip back in. Thor turned his attention back to Jack, who bellowed and thrust hard against Thor. The two of them staggered in a ghastly dance, then crashed against the starboard rail of the boat.

Jack flipped out his knife and Thor realized then he had lost his own, dropping it after freeing Genevieve.

Jack lunged at him. He ducked, but Jack lunged again. Brent Blackhawk was reaching for the oar. Jack saw him and darted toward the dive platform, catching Genevieve just as she pulled herself fully aboard.

“Got ya now,” Jack taunted. There was blood pouring from the man’s mouth. He’d probably broken a tooth in the tackle.

But he had Genevieve. And a knife.

“Jack, you’re insane. Thing is, I don’t care. If you put a single scratch on her,” he said softly. “I will kill you in a way that will teach you agony you’ve never even begun to imagine.”

Jack started to laugh, then began to cough as the blood choked him.

Genevieve cried out in rage, kicking him squarely in the groin. He bellowed and doubled over, his hold easing. Thor stepped forward, wrenching Genevieve far from the other man’s grasp. He threw her behind him and was ready to rage forward again like a maddened bull.

“Stop,” Blackhawk cried.

He did.

Because he saw what Blackhawk saw.

They were coming from the water. Two of them…three, four…five…six.

Pirates. Tattered. Decaying. A gold tooth gleaming here. A bleached white bone sticking through a ragged sleeve there.

Sightless eyes in empty sockets staring…

They surrounded Jack, who began to scream as he was grabbed by ghostly hands.

Jack’s eyes widened in horror, and he screamed out in an agony of terror.

“Stop! God, help me, stop!”

His body began to tilt as his bony assailants pressed at him. Then he, and they, went overboard.

There was dead silence on the boat for a minute. Absolute stillness.

Then they rushed for the rail.

Jack surfaced and he screamed again as a bony hand emerged, grabbed him, and he went down for the last time.

They were stunned, just staring. Then Genevieve swallowed audibly and looked at Thor.

“Audrey!” she cried.

Brent shook himself back to reality and responded. “She’s breathing, and she has a pulse. Just barely. God knows what she went through. She was his captive for days. But I radioed for help. The police are on the way.”

Genevieve took a deep breath of relief, then turned to stare at Thor.

“Did…did you see…?”

“Yes,” he said simply. And he took her into his arms, shaking.


I t was strange, Thor thought. Whereas Josh Harrison appeared solid and real, Anne was gossamer.

He had gone outside, needing to see the night sky and feel the breeze. There were too many people inside, he thought, staring out at the ocean.

Neither he nor Genevieve had lost their love for the sea, and they had returned to the Marie Josephine project. It was their willingness to go back after nearly losing their lives that had made an impact on Marshall.

That, or maybe Gen herself, talking to him for hours, convincing him that if there were spirits in the ocean, they’d been trying to tell him something, not kill him.

Of course, they never mentioned ghosts themselves. What had happened that night out on the water remained between Genevieve, Blackhawk and himself.

Victor and Genevieve had patched up their differences. Genevieve had been buying Victor apology dinners ever since.

As for the project, not even Jack had known where to find the bulk of the treasure, but Genevieve had found a large section of the hull. The vacuuming equipment had been brought in, and a chest filled with treasure had been found.

It was with Adam, Bethany and the Blackhawks that he and Genevieve had pieced together the most important discovery, and that had been before the bitter end for Jack. Genevieve believed that Anne had needed the world to know that Aldo had been her murderer. In Genevieve, she had seen someone with the strength to help her, as well as the spirits of the girls who’d shared her watery grave over the years.

As for the pirates, they had apparently admired Anne, who, in her captivity—that time in which she had fallen in love with Gasparilla and he had apparently returned her devotion—must have been kind, charming and engaging.

Perhaps they had guarded the treasure they had never stolen in life. Perhaps they had merely stayed behind to help her find justice.

Audrey had gotten well quickly, though. She’d refused to discuss her ordeal with them. She had done what she’d needed to to stay alive as long as possible. The only one she’d been willing to talk to was Jay.

They had spent time recuperating together, and she’d helped him put together his case against Jack. Then they had surprised everyone by flying off to Vegas and eloping. They still seemed incredibly happy.

He and Gen had opted for a more traditional wedding. Well, traditional, by Key West standards, anyway.

His bride had been beautiful in white—but shoeless. They’d been married on the beach at sunset, only a few hours ago, with Father Bellamy presiding.