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The Sam Prichard Series - Books 9-12 (Sam Prichard Boxed Set 3), page 1

 

The Sam Prichard Series - Books 9-12 (Sam Prichard Boxed Set 3)
 


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The Sam Prichard Series - Books 9-12 (Sam Prichard Boxed Set 3)


  Books 9-12

  The Last Song

  Ghost

  Hidden Agenda

  Aces and Eights

  David Archer

  www.davidarcherbooks.com

  Sam Prichard Boxed Set: Books 9 - 12

  Copyright © 2017 by David Archer.

  All right reserved.

  Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the author of this book.

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

  This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return it and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author’s work.

  Published by: David Archer

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  BOOK 9

  THE LAST SONG

  1

  “Hey, Sexy,” Indie said with a sultry voice. “I got the coffee on, and breakfast is cooking. Time to get your lazy butt out of bed.”

  Sam rolled over and looked up at his wife, amazed, just as he was every morning, at how beautiful she was. “Or you could climb back in,” he said. “Breakfast could wait.”

  Indie leaned over and kissed him, then grabbed his hand and pulled. “Too late for that. Kenzie is already up, and you don't know how to be quiet.”

  “Me? I'm not the one who makes noise, that's you.”

  “Yes, but it's your fault. Now get your butt out of that bed, Mister, and come join your family. It's almost nine o'clock, and you got rehearsals at one. Big show tonight, remember?”

  She let go of his hand and turned to walk out of the room. Sam threw off the covers and let his feet land on the floor, ran a hand over his face, and got up to walk into the bathroom. He figured he didn't have enough time for a shower and shave, so he splashed some water on his face and headed for the kitchen, still in his pajamas.

  “Daddy!” Kenzie yelled. “Mommy's making pancakes!”

  “Pancakes,” Sam repeated. “Pancakes are one of my favorite ways to have breakfast!”

  Kenzie nodded, with a huge smile on her face. “Mine, too,” she said. “Especially with syrup!”

  Sam took his seat at the table and Indie set a cup of coffee in front of him. He winked at her as he picked it up, and she grinned. “Start on that,” she said. “Pancakes will be ready in a moment.”

  True to her word, Indie put a platter of pancakes on the table only a couple of minutes later, and Sam slid one onto Kenzie's plate. “Butter?” Kenzie nodded, and Sam dropped a big glob of it right in the center of the hot pancake. It began melting instantly, and that process only sped up when he added the syrup that Indie had warmed in a pan of water.

  He forked three of the pancakes onto his own plate, then smeared butter all over them and poured on enough syrup to cover them all. Indie was making her own plate, but took the time to smile at him.

  “You use so much syrup, it's a wonder you're not diabetic by now,” she said.

  “I like it that way,” he said. “I figured out a long time ago, pancakes are actually a species of fish. You have to give them enough syrup to let them swim around for a minute before you start eating them, that's what makes them happy. The happier they are, the better the taste.”

  Her face sober, Indie glanced at his plate and then back up to his eyes. “Those must be some pretty happy pancakes, then.”

  Sam cut off a piece with his fork and shoved it into his mouth. “Oh, indeed they are,” he said.

  “Daddy, I can't wait to go see my grandmas today,” Kenzie said. “Grandma Grace says they're taking me to the park, and then we're going to go shopping for new clothes. I'm outgrowing my old clothes, and I need new ones for school.”

  Sam nodded, looking at the beautiful little girl that he thought of as his own. Indie had been a single mother when they met, trying to survive by her wits as she raised her daughter, but life had not been good to her. The two of them were living in a car when she answered an ad for someone with computer hacking ability and met Sam. It hadn't taken him long to figure out the situation, and he had offered her the use of the spare bedrooms on the upper floor of his house.

  At first, Indie thought he was making the offer in the hope of getting some “special favors” in return, but Sam had quickly disabused her of that idea. A medically retired cop with a bad leg, he had been left with a four-bedroom home when his ex-wife divorced him for working too many long hours and leaving her alone all the time.

  His offer was only intended to be for a short time, to give Indie a chance to find a real job and get back on her feet, but the two of them quickly found themselves attracted to each other. Indie, just to express gratitude for the break, volunteered to cook and clean house while she was there, and Sam realized that he enjoyed watching her, and having her and Kenzie around just seemed to make life better. They had fallen for each other within only a couple of weeks, and had been together ever since.

  More than a year had passed since then. They had celebrated their first anniversary a few weeks earlier, and it was almost time for Kenzie, who was five, to start kindergarten. She had obviously inherited her mother's intelligence, because she had breezed through preschool like it was nothing, and was already reading and writing at what Sam figured must be at least second-grade level. There was no doubt in his mind that she was going to impress her kindergarten teacher.

  “Well, you tell Grandma Grace that your mom and dad want to buy you some new clothes, too, so she can't go too crazy today.” He stuffed another forkful of pancakes into his mouth, then swallowed before he spoke again. “I think it's probably time for some new shoes, too, don't you, Mommy?”

  Indie nodded, her own mouth full. She swallowed, then said, “I do, but that's normal for Kenzie. Her feet are growing so fast that I wonder if we'll be able to keep shoes on them.”

  “I got shoes,” Kenzie said. “I got lots of shoes.”

  “Yes, you do, but most of them are too small. We need to take those and give them to Sarah Mitchell,” Indie said, referring to one of the twins down the street who were Kenzie's favorite playmates. “Her feet don't grow as fast as yours, they might last her a little while.”

  Kenzie smiled. “Her mommy and daddy will like that,” she said.

  They talked a bit more as they finished their breakfast, and then Sam went to take his postponed shower. They had to drive Kenzie over to his mother's place, and Sam always felt a bit of trepidation when they had to go there. Indie's mother lived there as well, and while he liked his mother-in-law, she made him a little bit nervous.

  He shaved in the shower to save a few minutes, dried himself off and got dressed for the day. His band, Step Back Once, had a rehearsal scheduled for that afternoon. They were opening for Grammy-winning country singer Travis Bittn
er's concert at the Performing Arts Center that night, and all of them wanted to make sure they were at their best.

  Indie had taken Kenzie up to her room and gotten her dressed, as well as packed for the overnight trip. Since the band would be playing late, Kenzie would be spending the night with her grandmothers. The little girl was excited about visiting then again, and not only because they tended to take her shopping a lot. The two women loved Kenzie so much that they thought nothing of getting down on the floor and playing with her, or letting her choose what they would have for lunch. Sam often thought that his own mother enjoyed throwing off her daily professional persona and becoming a little girl again, even if only for a little while.

  “Okay, everybody buckled up?” Sam asked as they got into their car. Sam thought of the Honda Ridgeline as a truck, but to Indie and Kenzie, it was just the family car.

  “I'm buckled,” Kenzie said, and her mother followed a moment later with, “Me, too!”

  Sam backed out of the driveway and turned toward the main road that ran through their part of Denver. It was normally about a thirty-minute drive to his mother's house, but since it was a Saturday morning there wasn't a whole lot of traffic.

  “Maybe it's a good omen,” Sam said. “Seems like we're hitting all the lights on the green.”

  “I think it's got more to do with the fact that there isn't a lot of cross traffic trying to get through,” Indie replied. “Most people know that nine o'clock on a Saturday morning is a good time to be sleeping in and taking it easy. Not us, though, we've got to be up moving around already.”

  “I don't want to sleep in,” Kenzie said from the backseat. “I want to go shopping!”

  Sam and Indie laughed, and a few minutes later they pulled up in front of Grace's house. They hadn't even gotten out of the car when the front door flew open and the two grandmothers came running out.

  “There's a Kenzie!” Kim yelled, as she half ran across the yard. Sam lifted Kenzie down from the back seat and set her on the ground, but her feet only got to stay there for a moment. Kim snatched her up and spun her around, and Grace was already waiting to snatch the child away. The two of them playfully pretended to play tug-of-war with her, and Kenzie laughed with delight.

  They followed their mothers into the house and Sam declined a cup of coffee when it was offered. “I'm good,” he said. “We just wanted to come in and tell you don't spoil the child too much, today. We'll probably sleep in tomorrow morning, so how about if we all meet up for dinner tomorrow night, and we can pick her up then?”

  They agreed on a restaurant, which naturally turned out to be one of Kenzie's favorites, and then Sam and Indie got hugs and said goodbyes. While it was still too early for the rehearsal to begin, Sam had promised to get with Chris Lancaster early, to share his latest song. Chris was the lead guitarist for the band, and while Sam could write lyrics and compose a melody, Chris could do things with that melody that seemed to elevate the song to a whole new level.

  From Grace's house, the drive to Chris's place in Arvada took nearly 40 minutes, but once again the traffic was light. They pulled up in front of the small bungalow and parked on the street, and Chris had the door open by the time they got to it.

  “Hey, Sam,” he said, holding out a hand to shake. Chris slid an arm around Indie's shoulders as Sam shook it, then turned and let them inside. It was a neat little house, which was probably attributable to the presence of Chris's girlfriend, Candy.

  Candy, who was also the band's bass player, was in the kitchen pouring coffee for Sam and Indie, and both of them did a double take when they saw her. Candy had been a blonde—most of the time, anyway—for as long as they had known her, but her shoulder-length hair was suddenly looking like a dish of Neapolitan ice cream, with brown on top, platinum blonde in the middle and strawberry pink at the bottom. She set the cups on the table, then threw her arms around both of them. “Hey, guys,” she said. “Are you ready for this? Travis Bittner, oh my gosh, I can't believe we're opening for Travis Bittner!”

  “Babe, chill,” Chris said. “The only thing Travis Bittner has that we don't is a couple of Grammy awards. Other than that, he slides one leg in his jeans at a time, just like me.”

  Candy gave him a look that suggested he might be an idiot. “He's also got a major label, a tour bus and several million dollars that seem to have eluded us, so far, not to mention the fact that he's the most popular country star on the charts right now. Forgive me if I get a little excited about getting to meet him!”

  The playful argument went on for a few more moments, while the four of them sat at the kitchen table. When it finally ran down, Chris reached over to where a guitar was leaning against the wall and handed it to Sam. “Okay, so let's hear this new lick.”

  Sam took the guitar and fiddled with its tuning for a moment, then began playing, a quick but simple box pick. He played a short opener, and then began to sing. (click here to listen)

  I've waited for so long, our good days have come and gone,

  We can't keep living life this way,

  I was too stoned to see, that your words would never fail me,

  But here we are in this place again,

  I've been missing out on this thing that we call life,

  I finally figured out just what I left behi-i-ind,

  How do I get back there, to the place I was before?

  How do I get back there, where every door was an open door?

  How do I get back there, where dreams can come true?

  How do I get back there, where it was only me and you?

  A word that I didn't own to, all of the pain I caused you,

  I wish I could wipe your tears away,

  I love, and I hurt, and I feel, and I still,

  Want you to take me away,

  I've been missing out on this thing that we call life,

  I finally figured out just what I left behi-i-ind,

  How do I get back there, to the place I was before?

  How do I get back there, where every door was an open door?

  How do I get back there, where dreams can come true?

  How do I get back there, where it was only me and you?

  I've been missing out on this thing that we call life,

  I finally figured out just what I left behi-i-i-i-innnd,

  I've been missing out on this thing that we call life,

  I finally figured out just what I left behi-i-ind,

  How do I get back there, to the place I was before?

  How do I get back there, where every door was an open door?

  How do I get back there, where dreams can come true?

  How do I get back there, where it was only me,

  It was only me, it was only me, it was only me and you?

  It was only me and you…

  Hey, hey,

  Oh, oh,

  It was only me and you…

  When Sam finished, Chris and Candy both had glazed eyes, just staring at him. “Have you guys been fighting or something?” Chris asked.

  Indie burst out laughing. “No, of course not,” she said.

  “No, not a bit,” Sam agreed. “That song actually came from a comment I made a couple weeks ago, about how life seems a little dull, lately. Don't get me wrong, I love what we're doing, with the band and all, but—sometimes I just miss all the adventures, y'know?”

  “I don't miss you getting yourself shot,” Indie said, “or getting dragged off into some mess that could get you killed!”

  Sam gave her a sideways grin. “Yeah, I don't miss those parts that much, either. I think I'm getting old, maybe I'm just reminiscing about my old glory days. Anyway, I had said something about how do I get back there, and that sounded like a hook line, so I wrote a song about it. That simple.”

  “It's a good song, too,” Chris said. “I think just about everybody has something in the past that they wish they could get back to, so people will identify with it.” He picked up a second guitar that was lying there. “Play that op
ener, again, I think I got an idea for it.”

  2

  The lights in the auditorium suddenly dimmed, and the audience began to cheer. While the stage was still dark, they could hear the sounds of the band taking their positions, and knew that the opening act was about to begin.

  “Ladies and gentlemen,” came an announcer's voice over the speakers, “please welcome tonight's opening act, Step Back Once!”

  The crowd went wild, because Step Back Once was extremely well known throughout the Denver area. Some of their songs were even played on local radio stations, and every music store within two hundred miles was carrying their CDs. Drums began to sound, and suddenly a guitar reverberated through the place, and then the lights over the stage came on.

  Sam Prichard, the former cop and private eye who was now a musical sensation in Denver, was standing at the microphone, and he was halfway through his first song before the applause and the roar died down. As the opening act, it was just a five-song set, so they opened with one of their biggest hits, “I Got Married In The Elvis Room Last Night”. It was one of the most popular songs in the entire region, which contributed to the uproar of the crowd.

  The next three they did were equally popular, and got them a rousing round of applause and cheers for each one, but then the crowd heard an unfamiliar strain begin, and a moment later, Sam began singing.

  “How Do I Get Back There” was an instant hit, and got them a standing ovation from the crowd, which was screaming for one more song. The set was over, and they were taking their instruments and ready to move into the wings when the crowd started screaming even louder.

  Travis Bittner walked onto the stage, right up to where Sam was just leaving the microphone. He held up a hand to tell Sam to stop, then stepped up to the mic himself.

  “Damn,” he said, “these guys are pretty good, aren't they?”

 
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