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Larry Forkner


Published Internationally by Highest Star Productions

Copyright © 2021 by Larry Forkner

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmittedin any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise withoutwritten permission from the publisher. It is illegal to copy this book, post it to a website, or distributeit by any other means without permission.

This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it arethe work of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localitiesis entirely coincidental.

Cover designed by Amy Hansen

First edition

This book is dedicated to my great friend and partner, Amy Hansen, who also happens to be my beloved daughter. I would likely have never succeeded as a novel writer, music composer or playwright without her great talents, creative abilities, and encouragement. Many thanks for all you do, sweet Amy!



Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen


About the Author

Also by Larry Forkner


May you have hindsight to know where you’ve been,

The foresight to know where you are going,

And the insight to know when you have gone too far.

~ Old Irish Saying ~

The storm seemed to be growing in intensity with each passing minute. The skies that were partly sunny, when Sean Quinn left Portland several hours ago, were now filled with thick, dark, brooding clouds. Bruised, purple clouds finally let loose a mighty downpour, and gale-force bursts of wind lashed torrents of rain against Sean’s windshield as it rushed down Highway 101 on the northern Oregon Coast. It was all he could do to keep his Cadillac SRX on the highway.

“I understand why they’re upset, Jennie. They want to keep things just the way they are, and I want to change them. We can’t all be happy, so we’ll have to settle for me being happy. Just get the crew going, and if we have to, we’ll call in the police to deal with the nut cases. Standing in front of our bulldozers is a crime—trespassing if nothing else,” Sean Quinn said with a touch of exasperation creeping into his voice.

“You got it, boss man,” his office manager replied in her usual cheerful, confident manner. “I actually agree with you on this one, Sean. They’re not willing to give at all on their unrealistic demands. I’ll start the…” Jennie’s voice was cut off as the cell phone signal disappeared. As if to accentuate her dislike of modern technology, Mother Nature let loose a deafening boom of thunder, which seemed to explode inches above the roof of his SUV.

“Jennie, can you hear me? Are you still there?” Sean shouted over the rumbling thunder. “What else can go wrong?” Sean growled, tossing his useless cell phone onto the passenger seat of the Cadillac.

Sean took a deep breath and relaxed a little. His good friend and office manager, Jennie Mason, would handle this issue in her usual efficient, compassionate manner. When it came to business practices, they didn’t always agree on the best course of action, but on this project, they were on the same page.

At twenty-four, Sean was already a very successful businessman. He was tall and well-built, with thick sandy hair and large hazel eyes. He was a handsome man by anyone’s estimation, and most women seemed to find him irresistible.

Despite his relative youth, Sean was already a very successful property developer, who specialized in projects along the picturesque Oregon Coast. He was driven to succeed no matter what the cost. Those who assumed he was too young to be a serious player in the real estate game, had often found out the hard way they were sadly mistaken.

He’d departed from his office building, in downtown Portland, early this morning to check out a large parcel of land near Lincoln City. It was part of a real estate auction taking place in a couple of days. Since it was only an overnight trip, he hadn’t packed for stormy weather. Anyone that spent as much time on the coast as he did, should have known better. This time of year, the weather could change dramatically in a matter of minutes.

Another sudden gust of wind forced his attention back to the problem at hand. If he wasn’t careful, his brand-new Cadillac would end up in a ditch or at the bottom of a ravine. Sean concentrated on getting through this storm and put the rest of his problems on the back-burner for the moment.

Lightning began streaking across the sky, showing off Mother Nature’s savage beauty, as the storm’s intensity increased. It seemed he was the only person foolish enough to be out in this weather, since he hadn’t spotted another vehicle for quite some time.

A sudden, massive and jagged streak of lightning flashed across the sky, striking an enormous old fir tree alongside the highway. A deafening crack followed as a large section of the tree split and fell across the road. It was less than 30 feet away, leaving him only seconds to react. Sean instinctively veered hard right to avoid crashing headlong into the massive tree blocking the road. Almost immediately, he realized this was a terrible mistake. He was only a few feet away from the edge of the road, and beyond that was empty space falling into a very deep ravine.

Sean swung the steering wheel hard in the opposite direction, deciding his chances of survival were much better by striking the fallen tree, as opposed to falling into the deep, rugged ravine. When he tried to swing the Cadillac back onto

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