Hidden Agenda

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USA TODAY & AMAZON #1 BESTSELLING AUTHOR • ONE OF THE BEST NEW VOICES IN THE ACTION THRILLER GENRE • With over 250,000 books sold, and well over 1,000 five star reviews on Amazon, the Sam Prichard series is quickly storming the charts. David Archer’s ability to create exciting, page-turning, action and suspense is second to none. Fans can’t get enough it, but don’t take my word for it. See what all the fuss is about before Archer becomes a household name!

Sam is asked to locate a missing woman, but the case is strange. His client is a fourteen year old girl who insists her mother was abducted, even though her father and the police believe she’s merely run off with another man. Sam agrees to check it out, and quickly learns that there is someone who doesn’t want the truth to come out.

When a second attempt is made to throw Sam off the case, he digs in deep and discovers that the missing mom knows something that others want kept secret–but might just be the only thing keeping her alive!

1
There’s something to be said for sleeping in, and Sam Prichard was the kind of guy who would take advantage of every opportunity to do so. Since school had just let out for the summer and nobody had to be anywhere early in the morning, Sam hadn’t even bothered to set an alarm. Of course, the best-laid plans of mice and men, as they say… Sam was awakened by the sound of his phone ringing and threw out a hand to find the blasted thing on his nightstand. “Hello,” he mumbled into the phone. “Sam, before you say anything, I want you to know this isn’t my fault,” he heard his mother say. “I’m just the messenger, remember that, okay?” Sam groaned. “Just spit it out, Mom,” he said. He held the phone out and let one eye focus on the time.
It was just after seven. He held the phone back to his ear. “Okay,” Grace said with a sigh. “It’s Beauregard. Kim came out of her room this morning for breakfast and said Beauregard wanted me to call you. I’m supposed to tell you to take the case.” Beauregard was, according to Indie’s mother Kim, the ghost of a confederate soldier who acted as her “spirit guide,” giving her advice, which she sometimes needed to pass on to others. Sam thought he was an alter ego Kim had created to mask her own ability to see bits and pieces of the future, but he never said that to her face; Indie had warned him that it could be too hard for her mom to accept, so he pretended to believe in the old ghost at least part of the time. Sam blinked, trying to wake up enough to understand what was going on. “Take what case?” he asked. “I haven’t had any new calls.” “All I know is that she insists that he says you have to take the case. You know how Beauregard is, he doesn’t give you any details. Just these vague hints, and I don’t know what they mean.” Indie rolled over and leaned up on an elbow to look at his face. “Beauregard?” she whispered. Sam nodded. “Okay, I guess,” he said into the phone. “Personally I think Beauregard is a load of hogwash, but I have to admit he’s saved my life a time or two. The next case that comes my way, I’ll take it no matter how silly it sounds. Good enough?” He could hear Grace speaking to Kim, who rented a room from her. A moment later she came back on the line. “I guess Beauregard says that’s okay. Did I wake you guys up?” “Yeah, we were kind of sleeping,” Sam said. “Don’t worry about it, though, we’ll be okay. What are you up to today?”
“Well, I’ve got to go and write a couple of new listings today, but I think Kim was planning on coming over to your place. That’s why she wanted me to call you this morning, so she wouldn’t have to be the one to tell you about that crazy old soldier of hers.” “She’s getting smarter, then,” Sam said, and Indie poked him in the ribs. “Oof!” “Well, I won’t keep bending your ear. Tell Indie and Kenzie I said hi, and I’ll see them this afternoon.” “I will.” Sam ended the call and set the phone back on the nightstand. “Beauregard says I have to take the case,” he said to Indie. “It’d be nice if I knew what case he meant.” “Maybe he does mean the next one. Let’s wait and see if it’s one you’d normally turn down.” She tossed off the covers and rolled to her feet, shaking her nightgown to make it fall modestly around her. “Get your lazy butt up and I’ll make you bacon and eggs,” she said playfully. “With coffee?” Sam asked, but she was already walking out of the bedroom. He groaned again and got up, sliding into a pair of jeans and then pulling a t-shirt over his head before following her to the kitchen.
Kenzie, their not-quite-six-year-old daughter, came running down the stairs. “Is it time to get up yet?” she asked, and Sam scooped her up with one arm to carry her the rest of the way. They had told her not to get out of bed until they were up, and she had been lying up there listening for any sounds for more than an hour. “Yep,” he told her. “And Mommy’s making us bacon and eggs!” Kenzie’s face lit up. “I like bacon,” she said, and her cat, whose name was Samson, chose that moment to come tumbling down the stairs. Samson had suffered from distemper as a kitten, and while he had been lucky enough to survive, his coordination hadn’t. His back end had a tendency to pass his front end, but even the regular rolls down the stairs didn’t seem to hurt him any. “I think Samson likes it, too,” Sam laughed, as the cat followed its own tail into the kitchen ahead of them. He plopped Kenzie into a chair and got her a glass of orange juice, then poured some for himself and Indie.
“Hey,” he said as he sat down across from her, “Grandma Kim is coming over later, and Grandma Grace will be here sometime after that. They want to come see you.” The little girl nodded. “Yeah, we’re gonna play games and stuff.” “Ooh,” Indie said, “that sounds like fun. Maybe I can—” She was cut off by the ringing of the office phone, an extension of which was in the dining room. She hurried over to answer it. “Sam Prichard, Private Investigator,” she said. Indie listened for a moment, and then turned to look at Sam with eyebrows that were threatening to climb over her forehead. “Um, yes,” she said. “We’ll expect you at ten.” She hung up the phone a moment later and walked back into the kitchen, where the bacon in the skillet was just beginning to sizzle. “That was a girl named Heather Biggs,” she said. “She wants to talk to you about finding her mother, who she says has been abducted.”
Sam’s eyebrows were climbing a bit as well. “Abducted? That sounds like a matter for the police, not a private eye.” “She says the police don’t believe her,” Indie said, “and neither does her father or her stepdad or anyone else, but she’s certain she’s right and needs help. And there’s one other thing, Sam—she’s only fourteen years old.” “Fourteen?” Sam echoed, aghast. “I can’t…” “Sam,” Indie said. “Remember Beauregard? You said you’d take the next case, no matter what, right? And this is definitely one you’d normally turn down, isn’t it?” “Well, yes, but…” His eyes stared into those of his wife. “Oh, you’ve gotta be kidding. This can’t be what Kim meant, can it?” Indie shrugged her shoulders as she flipped the bacon. “It fits,” she said. “I think you better at least hear the girl out and agree to look into it, don’t you?” Sam scowled. “I guess so,” he said. “What did you say her name was, Biggs?” “Yeah.” Sam got up and went back to the bedroom to get his cell phone, dialing it as he came back into the kitchen. It was answered as he took his chair again. “Denver Police, this is Sergeant Ragsdale, how can I help you?” “Sergeant, this is Sam Prichard. Have you got a missing persons case on a woman named Biggs?” The desk sergeant sighed. “It’s actually Jensen, but I know who you mean. Her daughter’s name is Biggs, and she’s been calling every hour for the past day and a half, even at night. That case is with Detective Lemmons, let me transfer you.” Sam heard the hold music come on, but it lasted only a few seconds. “Detective Lemmons.”
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David Archer