Below is an excerpt from the book as Dylan shows her the fish house, a building in the back yard of Aunt Laurel's rambling old home:
Vicki didn’t know what she had expected, but she wasn’t prepared for what she saw.
The building was about the size of a small carriage house and located in the back yard, sheltered from the street by a hedge of giant wax myrtle. There were no windows, but the walls were painted a pale blue that brightened the interior. There were two rows of 20-gallon tanks on either side of the room, one above the other, stretching for nearly twenty feet. Each tank was sparse, containing only a piece of slate, some sprigs of floating plants, and two mature angelfish in each tank.
“Oh!” Vicki exclaimed, stopping in front of one of the tanks. “There are babies in this one!”
Dylan chuckled. “They’re called ‘fry’, and yes, that’s quite the idea. We should have fry in each of the tanks. It’s how we earn our money.”
“So this is it.”
He reached back and closed the door behind them. “Temperature control is very important.” He checked the thermometer hanging on the wall. “It should always be precisely eighty degrees. The tanks don’t have heat, you see—or fans—so we keep the air conditioner goin’ in the summer, but only to eighty degrees. No cooler. And it may feel like a bit of a steam room in here in the wintertime.”
They spent the next hour in the fish house, as Vicki’s head was filled with a myriad of facts ranging from water treatments to the various types of freshwater angelfish, to how they laid their eggs and how the parents cared diligently for their fry, to how they were raised to an age where they could be sold. She doubted she could ever remember all of it. But as she watched Dylan move easily through the room checking each tank, she had a feeling help was only a few steps away.
Vicki quickly falls in love with the dashing Dylan Maguire. But all is not what it seems to be at Aunt Laurel's home, and when the CIA arrive to recruit her for one last mission, she finds herself struggling between her past and her future.
Vicki's Key is available at all fine book stores. It is also available online at amazon, at Barnes & Noble's online store, and through other retailers. You can order it now from www.pmterrell.com and get free shipping to anywhere in the world, just in time for the holidays!