"Even with a new face and name, it's hard to hide in plain sight in your hometown."

Waking in a Santa Fe, NM hospital with a breathing tube in his throat, former international drug smuggler, turned D.E.A. informant, Rory Jacobs hears doctors discussing his critical medical condition. Barely surviving a second hit by the Cali cartel, he’s reluctant to let the feds protect him again. He convinces them to let him return to his hometown of Poteau, Oklahoma to hide in plain sight with a new face and identity after recovering from extensive plastic surgery.

An unexpected meeting with his high school friend Izzy, and her teenage daughter Sasha, triggers feelings of regret over leaving Poteau before their high school graduation 27 years ago without saying goodbye to Izzy. He’s torn between maintaining his cover and telling Izzy the truth, knowing the five million dollar cartel bounty on his life will put Izzy and Sasha in danger.

 

Chapter 1. December 29, 1994 St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe, NM

“Will he live?” asked Justice Department Special Agent Ron Thompson.

“Most people wouldn’t have survived the blood loss,” replied Doctor Suarez. “He’s stable and there’s a chance if he makes it through the night. What do you know about him?”

“Nothing I can tell you.”

“I understand he’s under Justice Department protection, but he’ll need to be kept here for several days if he’s to survive.”

“That’s not gonna work. My orders are to have him ready for transport as soon as possible.”

“I won’t allow it,” Suarez insisted. “Not before I’m sure he’s ready.”

Thompson smirked and said, “Do the best you can and …”

The patient raised his right hand, grabbed the bed rail and shook it, causing Doctor Suarez and Agent Thompson to look at him. Reaching for the breathing tube in his mouth, the patient struggled to pull it out.

Suarez moved to the bed and said, “He shouldn't be awake. I gave him enough sedative to keep him out for hours.”

Thompson moved to the other side of the bed and said, “The info I have says he is one tough S.O.B.”

Suarez removed the breathing tube from the man's heavily bandaged face and carefully suctioned a mixture of blood and saliva from his mouth.

The patient took hold of the doctors hospital coat, pulled him closer and said, “I’m ready to go.”

Agent Thompson said, “That’s good enough for me. Be ready to dismiss him at seven A.M.”

Doctor Suarez leaned closer to the patient and said, “Sir, you may not survive transport to wherever they’re taking you.”

“I’ll take my chances.”

“You heard him,” said Thompson. “No matter what happens, it won’t come back on you.”

Suarez glared at Thompson and said, “My oath isn’t surpassed by your orders.”

Tightening his grip on the doctor's coat the patient and said, “Let me go.”

Patting the patient's hand Suarez said, “Okay. I’ll pray for you.”

“God forgot me long ago, but pray anyway,” the patient said, releasing the doctor.

Suarez made notes on the chart, then looked at Thompson and said, “Patient X will be turned over to you at seven AM.”

 

Inspiration for writing Izzy Cavanal. My novels are set in Oklahoma and Arkansas because I write the people and geography I know best. I wanted to write a story set in my hometown of Poteau for years and finally came up with one I was excited write.

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