Saturday Excerpt: A Lethal Legacy by Heather Graham
Fans of the miniseries New York Confidential by New York Times bestselling author Heather Graham won’t want to miss this book! Featuring an unforgettable mix of suspense and romance, this is the perfect read to kick off an action-packed weekend.
About A Lethal Legacy:
TREASURE OR TREACHERY?
Douglas Island sits off the coast of New York State, its imposing cliffs warning away visitors. Still, Finn Douglas has big plans for his inheritance and the rambling manor house that dominates the landscape. He has a vision to turn the island into a resort getaway for overworked city dwellers. But when the broken body of his business partner is found at the base of the rocky escarpment, he fears it wasn’t an accident.
Special Agent Craig Frasier agrees to help his cousin Finn by investigating and, with psychologist Kieran Finnegan at his side, heads to the island. As Craig and Kieran delve into the history of the Douglas estate, they discover that the property comes complete with strange lore and a blood-soaked past. Something evil seems to be lurking in the caverns that run beneath the stony ground. Is there something on the island that someone is willing to kill to protect? Kieran and Craig take on a dangerous search for the truth, where one false step could send them plummeting to their deaths, and one wrong turn could bring them face-to-face with a killer.
HE’D FOUND IT! GOOD HEAVENS, THANK GOD ABOVE. HE’D FOUND IT.
Frank Landon couldn’t believe his luck. The cave wall was littered with strange symbols, and the little low archway in it had to mean that a hiding place was near.
He moved forward, sliding first to his knees and then down flat. The arch, which he figured must be an entry, was a good fifteen feet ahead of him down the narrow, low tunnel. People had probably stashed all kinds of goods in the caves since the beginning of modern history, but this had to be what he was looking for.
He started, nearly bumping his head against the hard stone, when he heard a shuffling down the length of the cave. For a moment, he froze.
How could he explain his current position to Finn?
He listened—there was nothing. He was probably being an idiot. Finn hadn’t followed him, and there was no one else on the island. Except for Finn’s new girlfriend, Elayne, and Frank’s own fiancée, Margie.
Margie hated exploring anything; she would be sunning by the house, on the one little spit of beach the island offered.
And Finn and Elayne…were still in bed. They spent a lot of time there.
There were bound to be creatures in the cave. Rats, at the very least. That was probably it.
Rodents notwithstanding, it was all so amazing.
Just minutes ago, he had been standing on the highest point of the island, looking around. He could see the panorama of the great skyscrapers of New York City off in the distance—modern man’s great pyramids to the sky, reaching almost to the heavens above. Now, he was deep in the earth. The day was hidden; it was pitch dark except for the narrow stream of light from his lantern. Above, the day was a field of sunlight and blue.
Little-known Douglas Island was a tiny bit of granite and poor earth and dirt out in the water, far from the madding crowd, the bustle of ants. Close enough—but the mainland was obtainable only by boat. It was like an afterthought, or a crumb, left over when the continents split and shifted.
And it belonged to Finn’s dad, Jamie Douglas.
A room! He felt another surge of excitement. Just beyond the archway and the sunken-in wall, there was an open space. A tunnel leading down to…treasure. He was certain.
Frank inched forward, army crawling on his belly.
Of course, Jamie Douglas had no idea that his son and Frank were out on the island. To him, it was a dangerous place where pranksters came to die.
And that was because of myth and legend, Frank thought. Superstition. There were so many stories about the island. Frank didn’t really know or understand them all. But the biggest rumor to include the island was about the Ark of the Covenant—that fabulous box crafted from wood and covered in gold, created to hold the Commandments and whatever else. The Ark had begun life in ancient Hebrew times in the Middle East. And supposedly according to the top scholars, the Ark was still somewhere hidden deep within a tunnel where a temple had been. The Israelis didn’t allow people to mess with it because it was now a Muslim holy place.
However, legend also had it that the Ark had been seized by some unbelievers in a battle, then had been rescued by the Knights Templar, moved to a church in Scotland, and then supposedly brought over to the New World when the Vikings visited North America long before Columbus sailed the ocean blue. There had been rumors throughout modern history that it had been secreted on a Canadian spot of earth—Oak Island. Some even said that the Patriots had stolen it from Redcoats during the American Revolution, or that it had been hidden when a Confederate general/professor had sent spies to find it. But recently a scholar by the name of John Smith had written an article that suggested Oak Island as the landing spot for the Ark was wrong from the get-go, that it had in fact been brought to Douglas Island by Scottish Vikings, descendants of Templars.
It was a small article about that rumor that had gotten Finn going. Finn didn’t want to look for treasure. Finn was a businessman. He wanted to build a world-class resort. The island was rumored to be cursed, but what self-respecting island wasn’t? Finn saw dollar signs. He was a good guy; a hard worker. Frank saw dollar signs, too. Just differently.
Frank didn’t believe in curses or legends; he didn’t even believe the Ark existed—religious artifacts were not his thing.
Although, as far as curses went, he’d admit that through time, many people had died here. It could
be a rough world.
Indigenous tribes had perished. Pirates had perished. Settlers had perished.
All that death was something he shouldn’t be thinking about as he once again heard a weird shuffling sound down the cavern, from somewhere near the entrance.
Squirrels, rats, creepy crawlies—there were all kinds of creatures that might make those noises.
But the only people on the island right now were him and Finn and their significant others. Finn had gotten the old seventeenth-century house wired and set with private electricity and water, but the contractors who had done that work were long gone, and more workers weren’t due out until tomorrow. So for now, it was just the four of them. And there was nothing to be worried about except for the rats. Or maybe bats. Or worms. Not even stray dogs lived on the island.
The last people to die here had been a pair of armed robbers. When they had been found, their stash of stolen gold and jewels had not. They must have gotten into some horrible fight with other robbers or drug runners, maybe. Their broken bones and decomposing flesh had been found out on the eastern rocks, just below the great stone cliff that faced the sea; they’d died painfully from the fall they had taken.
How two men had managed to fall like that to their deaths was beyond Frank. But he could still remember the media sensation when they had been discovered. The incident had occupied the pages of local and national papers for days. Douglas Island, previously unknown to most New Yorkers, had received its fair share of TV time.
Frank believed that somewhere on this island was enough “booty” to let him live to a ripe old age in absolute splendor— even if he turned it all in. The reward—still offered almost
a decade later—was generous.
The police had searched. And Jamie Douglas had stepped in as well, but nothing had been found. And while Jamie had never wanted to sell the family inheritance, he also didn’t really want to do anything with it. Nor did he want strangers prowling over his land. There were stern warning signs about trespassers being strongly prosecuted if caught.
Douglas Island was littered with caves. And it had been years and years since they had really been explored.
But Frank had discovered this labyrinth in the system. Just yesterday. Someone had been there before, of course. Maybe several someones. But it had been a while.
He’d explored and charted—all while Finn had thought that he was hiking and making notes. Because Finn had no interest in buried treasure, just his resort—a private get- away for wealthy New Yorkers. Somewhere they could get to quickly—twenty to thirty minutes by boat—but that was entirely different from the stone, steel and concrete jungle of the city itself.