Join Jake, Nicole, Ray, and, of course, Pancake for the next adventure. This time in The OC.
Jake Longly is hoping for a few weeks of fun with Nicole in the warm Orange County, CA sun—The OC, baby—before hopping up to LA for the filming of Nicole’s sure-to-be-a-hit screenplay. But on arrival they discover that Nicole’s friend Megan Weatherly, a small-market local TV reporter, has picked up an anonymous stalker. Megan thinks he’s simply an infatuated fan but Jake and Nicole, as well Megan’s new intern Abby, also a past stalking victim, think he’s potentially dangerous. As the shadowy man escalates his harassment, becomes more threatening, and circles closer and closer to Megan’s world, Ray and Pancake arrive. Are Ray’s past military black ops experience and Pancake’s computer skills enough to expose the predator in time?
The stalker is no fool and likely has past experience. He makes no mistakes and manages to cover his trail completely. So, how do you identify and locate the untraceable? How do you protect Megan from a potentially lethal phantom?
Suddenly the sunshine and safety of The OC seem more facade than reality. Jake and crew must punch through that facade and dig into the dark world of celebrity stalking. The clock is ticking.
Publishers Weekly: Snappy patter lifts this bright look at a dark subject. Lyle should win new fans with this one.
Suspense Magazine: In this fifth book revolving around former baseball player Jake Longly, author D.P. Lyle has given readers yet another exciting, thrilling story in this already entertaining series.
The dialogue, as always, is witty, fun and the characters wrap you up in a mystery that remains suspenseful through the very last word. I can’t wait for the next D.P. Lyle ride!
Book Review Crew: This is a very entertaining read, with a slapdash of humor mixed in, good dialogue and character development, and a great climatic ending. Very well written.
BOOKREPORTER: THE OC dives into the thriller deep end, amid sharks of terror, torture and murder.
What Others Are Saying About THE OC
A terrific read….D.P. Lyle’s prose is stylish, smart, and compelling. Another grand slam in an immensely entertaining series. Highly recommended. — Sheldon Siegel. New York Times best-selling author of the Mike Daley/Rosie Fernandez novels.
Witty, charming, and exciting crime story that rockets to a blood-chilling climax. Make some popcorn, grab a cold drink, and settle in for a fast, single-sitting read.—-Lee Goldberg, #1 New York Times bestselling author
Snappy dialogue, fun characters, smart writing, a juicy mystery– all had me flipping pages until I reached The End. Jake and Nicole remind me of my favorite mystery duo, Nick and Nora Charles, with a modern twist. The Jake Longly series never fails to entertain.~ Allison Brennan, New York Times Bestselling Author
ENJOY CHAPTER 1
“She likes you.”
“Everybody likes me.”
“Yeah, but she likes you in that I-want-to-sit-on-your-lap way.”
“So do you.”
“Hmmm. Sounds like a plan.”
“These seats aren’t that big.”
Okay, a little perspective here. I’m Jake Longly, ex-pro baseball player, restaurant/bar owner, and lover of women. Well, the one sitting next to me anyway. That would be Nicole Jamison. Funny, smart, and insanely beautiful. Sometimes annoying. Actually, she excels at that.
We were seated in first class, Row 5, Seats A and B, on an American Airlines flight into Orange County, California’s John Wayne Airport. The OC, baby.
We had started out early this morning in Gulf Shores, Alabama, where my restaurant Captain Rocky’s sits on the sand, and where we both live. This trip was in part a vacation from—I’m not sure from what. I work very little. My manager Carla Martinez runs the joint so I have essentially zero to do. Except hang out with Nicole and Pancake. Nicole is my girlfriend, or whatever. We haven’t yet decided what we are. Let’s say, she likes me. See? I told you everybody likes me. Tommy “Pancake” Jeffers is my best friend. All the way back to when we terrorized the neighborhood as kids. He likes hanging out at Captain Rocky’s too. Mainly because the food and drink are free. My god, that boy can eat. Gnaws on my profits. If there are any. I’m never very sure since Carla rarely tells me. I don’t worry too much about it since the place is always packed. Also, I share the profits with her, so I figured that if we were bleeding out she’d let me know.
Nicole, besides being smart and hot, and at times snarky, also writes screenplays. That’s the other reason for our trip to the left coast. Her new film was teed up to begin shooting in three weeks. Her other two screenplays had been minimalist productions, indies that made it to a couple of small film festivals. This one was on an entirely different level. It would be shepherded by her uncle Charles Balfour, the A-list producer and CEO of Regency Global Productions, RPG for short. He’s the driving force behind the multi-billion dollar Space Quest series. Yeah, billion with a B.
Me and Uncle Charles go way back. I’ve never actually met him but I’ve spent many a night in the home he owns near Gulf Shores. That’s where Nicole lives. Or hangs out anyway.
Nicole also lives in The OC, in a Newport Beach condo, but she’s rarely there. For the past year or so, that’s how long we’ve been together, she’s mostly stayed in Uncle Charles’s mega-mansion very near my Gulf Shores home.
“These seats aren’t that small,” Nicole said.
“There’s no leg room.”
“That’s because you have long legs.”
She laughed. “If memory serves, you do pretty well in tight spaces.”
I looked at her “I’ll let that one slide by.”
The flight attendant returned, smiling, saying, “Can I get you anything?” Her gaze locked on me for a beat too long. Her name tag said she was Maryanne.
“I think we’re good.” I smiled back.
She moved on down the row.
Nicole elbowed my ribs. “See? What’d I tell you?”
“Maybe she’s using me to get to you?”
“Could be. Maybe I should be glad you have the aisle seat,” Nicole said.
“Pancake’s better at running interference. He’s built for it.”
“In this situation, I think you’ll do fine.”
Through the opening that led into the galley, I saw flight attendant Maryanne lift the microphone from its wall perch. She looked at me and smiled. Her announcement informed us that we would be landing in thirty minutes so any last minute trips to the restroom might be a good idea.
“I think she wants you to join the mile-high club,” Nicole said.
“She’s doing her job.”
“The aforementioned restroom is right behind her. Looked like an invitation to me.”
“Might disturb the pilots,” I said. “Besides, speaking of tight spaces. Not much room to maneuver.”
“Bigger than the front seat of my car.”
Nicole drives a Mercedes SL convertible. More than once, or twice, or thrice, I love that word, we’ve watched a sunset from the front passenger seat, her settled on my lap.
“We could try the one in back,” she said. “See if it’ll work.”
“And get cuffed by those TSA folks when we step off the plane.”
“You’re no fun.”
“Wait until we get to your place.”
“Your girlfriend’s headed this way.” She nodded toward the galley area. “I think she wants your phone number.”
I looked up as Maryanne approached, a scrap of paper and a pen in her hand.
“I hate to bother you,” she said. “But could I get your autograph for my son. He’s a big baseball fan.”
I guess she didn’t want my number.
This happened from time to time. Less so with each year that flowed by since my days in the Bigs. Still felt good though. I mean being an old, washed-up athlete is better than being a forgotten, old, washed-up one.
“How old is he?” I asked.
“Eight. Going on thirty.” She gave a head shake. “He’s much more mature than his father.” She laughed. “He can be such a goof.”
“It’s a guy thing,” Nicole said. “They only mature until about age fourteen. That’s their ceiling.”
I would have defended my manhood but I was outnumbered, surrounded, and couldn’t think of a clever comeback. Which was likely their point.
“Don’t I know it.” Maryanne extended the paper toward me.
“What’s your son’s name?” I asked.
“Scott. We call him Scotty.”
“What position does he play?”
“He pitches and plays shortstop.” She beamed. ”He’s really very good.”
I started to sign the paper but then said. “I have something he’ll like more.” I foot tugged my carryon from beneath the seat and lifted it into my lap. I unzipped it and rummaged inside until I found what I was looking for. A baseball.
I always traveled with several baseballs. Rarely to sign one for a fan but mostly to throw at bad guys. Like Victor Borkov’s crew. Baseballs are great weapons. But I didn’t tell Maryanne any of that. Instead, I said, “I always carry a couple of these for just such occasions.”
“You don’t have to do that,” she said.
“My pleasure.” I signed the ball to Scotty and handed it to her.
“He’ll be thrilled.” She gave me another smile and a quick nod. “Thank you so much.”
“I think you just made her day,” Nicole said as Maryanne walked away.
“Scotty’s, too, I hope.”
“Definitely.” She hooked her arm in mine. “You deserve a reward.”
Me love the usual.