Dear Gentle Readers,
BENTLEY SQUARE is the story of love and treachery. Of all my novels, this one and THE BASLICATO are the ones people describe as real nail-biters.
A Cover Blown, A New Identity
Carlton and Becca went to work together the next morning. Within the hour, Carlton ws back home alone
“Maddie, tell Mark I’d like to see him in the Library, please.”
“Yes, Mr. Robbins.”
Mark walked into the Library. Carlton threw a letter from the State Department, the private investigator’s report from the Bensons, and some other papers on the table. Mark looked at them and sighed.
"So. Mark Ramsey isn’t your real name.”
“Why’d you pick Mark Ramsey."
“I didn’t pick it. The US Government did. State Department. There are five hundred twenty-eight Mark Ramseys in Ohio. I’m hiding among them."
“The people who want to kill me.”
“What the hell did you do?”
“Nothing! Honestly, nothing. I swear it! I’ll leave. I’m sorry. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. May I please see Becca before I go?”
“Mark, I don’t know if that’s such a good idea.”
“Please, Carlton, let me see her just one more time!”
“Think about what would be easier on her, Mark, or whatever the hell your name is. What name did you use before this? And where?"
“Robert Bailey. Rockport, Indiana.”
“And how long were you Robert Bailey?”
“From the age of two until five years ago, twenty-four years.”
“And who gave you THAT name?”
“MY government? My government isn’t your government?”
“Well, yes. It is now. I’m a US citizen.”
“What is your real name? Where are you from? Who in the hell ARE you?”
“It’s better if you don’t know. It’s safer. For you and for Becca.”
“Klaus is packing your things as we speak. I called for a helicopter to take you to Pittsburgh, as requested by the State Department. Our helicopter, our pilot, so you’ll be safe. Someone from the State Department will meet me at the Pittsburgh Airport. Wait in here." Carlton left the room.
The phone rang. “Robbins Residence,” Maddie answered.
“Maddie, it’s Becca. Can you find Mark for me? He’s not answering the phone in the guesthouse or in our room. I need to talk to him.”
“Mr. Robbins, Becca’s on the phone for Mark. He doesn’t answer in the guesthouse or the upstairs phone. Do you know where he is?”
Carlton walked to the phone.
“Rebecca, Mark has to leave Ohio. Right now. Forget him.” He hung up. Becca panicked.
“Gracie, how fast can you get me home? Mark has to leave right now.”
“Thirty-seven minutes if I speed and crash all red lights. I’ll pick you up at the front door,” she said, running out to the parking deck.
True to her word, Gracie had here home in thirty-seven minutes.
“Where is he?” said called to Klaus as she ran into the house.
"On his way to the airfield, through the safe walkway.” She ran back outside and Gracie drove her to the airfield. A helicopter was waiting.
Carlton heard the helicopter approach.
“Mark, wait here. Gunther, go check to see if that’s really one of our pilots. Make sure it’s safe for him.” Carlton was ever cautious. Gunther went out to checked out the pilot, as Becca ran in the safe walkway.
“Mark! Mark!” she cried. He ran to her and grabbed her, weeping.
“Don’t go!” she begged.
“I have to. I don’t want to, believe me,” Mark composed himself, holding her close. “My heart is breaking. Please, love, be strong. Don’t cry. I have to go now. We’re all in danger if I stay.”
“I want to come with you,” she cried.
“If you’re with me, you’ll be in danger. You need to stay here with your father, so you can be safe.”
“No! I don’t want to be safe, I want to be with you!”
“Carlton, help me.” Carlton came and took her out of Mark’s arms.
“Listen,” Mark said, “I love you. Forever. I’ll never stop loving you.” He kissed her hand and then her open palm. “There’s so much I wanted to tell you. You have no idea what this time with you has meant to me, my darling. It was… it’s was…” He turned and walked through the safe walkway.
“Mark! Mark!” She called after him, crying. “Mark!” He kept walking, tears rolling down his face.“I was trying to save you from this pain,” her father said, patting her back. “You’ve got to let him go. You have to. The State Department’s got a new identity for him. He’s not your Mark Ramsey anymore.”
“Yes, he is! Mark!” she sobbed.