VISIONARY NOVELS  - Featured Authors
 
Preview
 
TO SEE CLEARLY
 
by Susan Monday & Mary Anthony
 
 
The color of calmness blends and turns gently upon itself,
Through time and personal effort into a sylvan wonderland of mysterious design.
Miracles come through more than the asking,
They come through faith and willingness of conscious prayer.
When breath becomes not, the magic begins, taming the wayward thoughts;
Lifting the fog of chaos, clearing the path to see untold wisdom.
When the need for control is absolute,
Remember, that mischievous delight runs hidden until flexibility is again run amuck,
And the chains of pain and sorrow will hold tight ‘til desires are impartially defeated.
Just so—the curving, romantic and mesmerizing color of calmness again appears
To See Clearly the wonder of creation.
 
S. Monday 
 
 
CHAPTER ONE
 Calmness Turns Upon Itself
 
 
Breathe in. Hold. Breathe out.
 
“Stay calm. It’s all right.You can handle this.” Clara Summers talked to herself to avoid the impending panic attack.
 
“Where did all these people come from?” She raised her voice to compete with the wind and revving engine of the open jeep. They were third in a safari of jeeps that were traveling at a breakneck pace to make the plane on time. The heat from the sun directly overhead seared into her tanned skin with no possible shade in sight. It was a blue day, brilliant blue and the water matched the sky. The towering palm trees and thick, green foliage were beautiful, but all she could think about was how hot and sticky it was. The ever present salty breeze from the Caribbean Sea didn’t help.
 
When the driver, her co-star Matt McKinney, didn’t answer the simple question, she asked again this time louder. With the dust hanging in the air, aided by humidity it was more cough than words.
 
Suddenly, the wheel jerked to the right missing a parked car that jutted out on the road, “Hold on!” Matt called out. All she could think was why was he driving and why did Carl allow it? The bleach-blonde, blue eyed hunk of a man was in his element and seemed to thrive on the wild, cross-country 4-wheel driving. He was a bonafide creation of her agent/producer, Carl Jaspers. He looked the part too with his rustic, western style hat and cowboy jeans. And, for the thrill of the on looking entourage, he left his white shirt unbuttoned far enough to show all that manly hair on his chest. The thought of having to touch his chest one more time, for one more take and kissing him too, was more than a sane person could handle.
 
“Oh crap!” The jeep swerved sideways with a hard jolt. They barely missed the old dusty truck that pulled out in front of them. Her sweaty hands slipped from the roll bar she gripped as if her life depended on it. Two chickens bounced out of the metal bed and one landed in their back seat clucking its head off. Who was more surprised? The poor chicken or crazy, macho Matt who thought it was hilariously funny. Another bump jarred her already bruised body throwing her against the stick shift. With no remorse whatsoever, Matt strong armed her back into the seat. The jerk was smirking!
 
Throwing his arm back at him, “You’ve got to slow down!” Clara was so ready for this movie to wrap up.
 
People on the road had their cameras and phones out at eye level pointing them in their direction. Most of them looked like locals, dressed in typical modern attire. That surprised her. She had to look for what she assumed would be the traditional garb of colorful flowing skirts and loose white tops. There weren’t many fitting that description. Old stereotypes didn’t belong in today’s world.
 
Finally, to her relief, Matt slowed down. Of course, the people moved in to get a better shot and he gave them that famous smile of his and actually took off his hat for the cheering crowd. With one hand on the wheel, he narrowly avoided the increased number of cars parked haphazardly that lined the potholed road.
 
She pressed her hands against her stomach to ease the pain growing there. Loud chaotic noises heralded the film crew’s arrival to the one-story, glass and metal structure of the small Costa Rican airport with its numerous tall palm trees reaching for that blue sky.
 
Matt frowned when her name was chanted over and over. The crowd of people caught her completely off-guard as they surged forward around the line of vehicles.
 
Nervously, she smoothed her long black tank-top over wrinkled, cargo shorts. “How did they know?” Whispering to herself as she adjusted her sunglasses higher on her nose and pulled down her tan cap quickly tightening the thick, black strands of her ponytail. Simultaneously, her hand went up to wave and the ever ready facade of a smile was plastered on her face inwardly acknowledging she was just another protégé of Carl Jaspers’ making.
 
A roar went up from the crowd in response. The onslaught of greedy piranhas carrying expensive photo equipment pushed in-between the excited throng. They closed in like bees to the hive before the line of mud caked Jeeps could even stop.
 
Matt yelled over the din answering her earlier question, “I don’t know. No one is supposed to know we’re here.”
 
Invisible fingers closed around her neck.
 
Breathe. Hold. Breath out…slow. Slower. She forced herself to focus on her breath remembering on purpose the breathing game she played with her father when she was a child. It was one of the few precious memories of their past and usually helped her calm down and avoid the dreaded panic attacks.
 
Cameras flashed and loud voices echoed in English and Spanish from every direction. Two muscular bodyguards, dressed in matching black tee-shirts and jeans, jumped out of the vehicle in front of them. They pushed their way through the media-filled crowd to her jeep. There was no room to open the door. Clara climbed out the top of the open Jeep into their waiting arms.
 
They placed her in the usual protective position between them. She put her hands on the largest man’s back. He turned at her touch, “Are you ready Ms. Summers?”
 
“Ready.” The questions and multiple cameras with microphones were shoved in her face from both sides. The other bodyguard put one hand on her back and used his free arm to push the aggressive reporters aside.
 
The trio moved as one through the crowd making slow progress. They were impeded by the yoke of the keyed up crowd—the entrance to the overrun airport seemed so far away.
 
Clara glanced back to see how Matt was faring. He glared at her with arms akimbo and no one but Carl standing next to him. Carl met her gaze then immediately shoved several reporters out of his way heading toward her with a scary look on his face that worked rather efficiently to clear his path.
 
Clara yelled back at her agent, “Carl, how did they find us in the middle of nowhere?”
 
“I don’t know! They’re everywhere!” He stifled a grin to hide the fact that he loved this part of show business; a skill he had honed through years of patient practice. He used his shoulders to assist their forward progress of his twenty-eight year old star.
 
Carl had, of course, anonymously called the paparazzi; they were such an accommodating group of vultures. Clara would recover from this minor, mildly exhausting, inconvenience. In the meantime, she would continue to convey the calm facade she had perfected over the last ten years under his tutelage, appearing mysterious and aloof. He worked tirelessly to keep her well-defined image in the public eye at all times—whatever the cost.
 
“This is ridiculous.” Clara barely got the words out in the suffocating mob. Amidst the cat calls and blinding flashes, Clara swept groping hands away from her crushed body.
 
“I know. . .” Carl’s response was abruptly cut off when the crowd suddenly surged forward again, shoving Clara and the bodyguards hard against the edge of the airport’s swinging glass door.
 
Her cheek hit the glass with a crack followed instantly by the rest of her body. Dazed and pinned to the door, she pleaded in a crushed whisper against the back of one of the bodyguard’s head, “Help me! I can’t breathe.”
 
Clara was picked up and carried inside the terminal while the other bodyguard held back the unruly crowd long enough to get through the opening.
 
Carl could see that his charade was escalating into chaos, yet its purpose had been well served. He pushed through the crowd toward a uniformed officer. The guy had a cap on that matched his navy blue combat gear with pants tucked neatly into black leather boots and a black bullet proof vest covering his short-sleeved shirt. Carl yelled at the man, “You there! Yes, I mean you!” When the officer turned his head to see him, Carl turned on his own acting skills. “Don’t you know a damned mob when you see one?” His voice spiraled higher into a screech. “Get these people out of here! They have attacked my client, and I won’t allow her to be molested anymore!”
 
“Calm down, Sir. We’ll keep them outside.”
 
Carl shook with rage. He instantly stopped himself with the realization he had lost control. After several unsteady breaths to regain command over his errant temper, Carl continued to address the officer in a smoother yet still forceful tone, “You understand the dire circumstance these people have placed us in, don’t you?” He took the responding nod as confirmation.
 
Carl turned on his Italian soled heel toward Clara to make sure she had maintained her composure. The slacks of his costly, custom tailored ecru linen suit clung to his corpulent form. He ran his hands repeatedly down his thighs to straighten the wrinkles from the sharp pleats as he marched across the terminal’s Spanish tiles. His jacket, long since removed,was saved from the same fate as his crumpled slacks; but not so his fine-threaded shirt, which was thoroughly drenched with the repulsive perspiration he so despised. He swung his jacket over one shoulder to hide his sodden back.
 
Carl slipped an arm around Clara’s slim waist brushing the tail of her silky, black hair. She stiffened and tried to pull away from the close contact. His head barely reached her shoulder. He reluctantly let her go, “Are you all right? I couldn’t see what happened to you when the crowd moved forward.”
 
“I’m fine.” The words had become a mantra in her mind that matched the throb of her cheek.
 
“We’ll be home soon.” He touched her reddened face,“You know that’s going to bruise; I’ll make them pay for that.”
 
The policeman he yelled at walked up to them and interrupted their conversation, “Perdón! The crowd outside has been contained and more officers are standing guard around this area.”
 
“Thank you, officer.” Clara’s shoulder’s relaxed for the first time since they left the beach where they were filming earlier.
 
“You’re welcome, Señorita.” Then he looked at Carl with distain hooking a thumb in his utility gun belt. “If you called us earlier, we could have avoided this incident. To come here with only two bodyguards after all the commotion you’ve stirred up was irresponsible. I would suggest that you use more precaution the next time you film your Americano movies here.”
 
“Now wait just one minute Señor whatever your name is. I’ll do my job and you do yours. If you think you can handle it. It’s apparent you aren’t very organized or none of this would have happened in the first place.” Carl expanded his chest while contracting his stomach in an attempt to look larger than the muscular man.
 
“You forget whose country you’re in.” The officer took a firm step forward, “If you know what I mean Se . . ñor.
 
There was no mistaking the subtle threat in his humorless gaze, and Clara didn’t want any more trouble. She took off her sunglasses and shifted the weight of her hips immediately standing in a more feminine pose, “We are very thankful for all of your help and appreciate your suggestions. We’ll call your station the next time we’re in your beautiful country.”
 
“De nada, Señorita. The people here, they love you. Your Costa Rican blood is a national treasure.” After looking her over with male appreciation, the policeman took her hand and kissed it retaining eye contact. “Your eyes really are violet. It makes a man want to get lost in them.” His accented voice turned to smoke making her blush. He winked and slowly let go of her fingers one at a time. The glare he gave Carl was ominous before he made his way back through the glass doors.
 
“Incompetent brute.” Carl let his breath out in a hiss. The action transformed his body back to normal—chest in, stomach out. His attention turned to Clara with concern, “You look so tense, dear.”
 
Clara shuddered under his clammy hands as he rubbed her neck and shoulders. Carl wanted the people in his nucleus to feel like the world and everyone in it revolved around them. He was wrong, and she had been even more wrong to blindly allow it. The policeman didn’t care who they were, or what they were doing here. All he cared about was the escalating disturbance that could have been avoided.
 
She stepped out of Carl’s ministrations. “Why did that policeman say we caused all of this? How did these reporters know we were here? It was supposed to be a secret.” With each word she spoke, a new awareness of the situation took hold. The truth would be too painful, but she had to ask. She placed her hand over her heart to protect it, “Did you let the media know we were here?”
 
A nervous laugh escaped Carl’s lips before he could mold it into a scoff, “You know you can’t do anything without the media finding out.” Carl put his arm around her shoulder to lead her to a chair where the rest of the crew waited. “Come on, why don’t you relax while I find some ice for your cheek. I think you hit your head pretty hard; you’re not thinking straight.”
 
Clara swallowed her doubts. Carl had always been there for her when no one else was. He was the one that discovered her when she was only eighteen years old auditioning for a shampoo commercial. Her mother and step-father ultimately turned against her calling her career ungodly. Their relationship was strained at best justifying their rigid decision to keep a distance to protect her half-sister from her negative influence. Her twin brother was her best friend . . . at least he was before he was deployed to the Middle East. By the second tour when he came back he was a different person, more distant and less available to her when she needed to talk.
 
Her family didn’t care much about her or her life. Now Carl was doing some kind of underhanded media promotion and he refused to own up to it like she was still young and naive. She would get to the bottom of it. Besides, there were too many people around them to continue their conversation. She would get the answers she wanted another way. She spotted a more than willing accomplice seated a few yards away, “Danny, can I ask you to do me a favor?”
 
“Yep.” He set last week’s edition of Exposed down on his vacated seat.
 
Clara lowered her voice so Carl wouldn’t overhear her request. “Can you find a local paper?” She knew Danny was fluent in the lyrical Spanish language; whereas, she could only decipher a word here and there.
 
“Sure thing, Boss.” Danny immediately set out on his quest but was stopped mid-step by Carl.
 
Carl lifted his hand with panache and snapped his fingers to gain the attention of the slovenly dressed gofer, Danny Flanagan. “Danny, go to the bar around the corner and bring me and Ms. Summers the usual. Oh, and see if they have any extra ice.”
 
“How do you expect me to pay for it; with my good looks?” Danny’s smart aleck reply was concurrent with his Irish nature.
 
Clara superseded the order, “Danny, can you add a bottle of water to that please.” She waited for his nod before she sat down with the feverish crew on the unforgiving plastic airport chairs.
 
The dysentery that descended upon their group as the sun dawned early this morning was getting worse. Most of their crew looked the same putrid green as the chairs. Clara was thankful she was unaffected by the malady.
 
Carl handed Danny what he had left of the local currency and sat across from Clara. Danny stood in front of him and counted the meager pittance, “So generous. There might even be enough for a tip here.” Danny took off dipping into his version of a gangster shuffle.
 
Matt called out, “Hey kid, get the usual for me too.”
 
Danny kept going as if he didn’t hear him, but Clara knew he did. So did Matt. To her delight, his whole demeanor stiffened at the rejection. She couldn’t hide the slight smile of karmic payback.
 
Carl scrutinized Danny as he walked away. He was in his early twenties—dressed in baggy pants and a torn, army-issue shirt. Danny’s red dread-locks reached to the middle of his back and were completely out of place on the lean, freckled face that constantly carried a ridiculous grin.
 
Periodically, Carl offered to pay for trousers that would actually fit the under-nourished gofer. Danny however, was determined to stick with his baggy grunge-look. A combination of Los Angeles gangster meets Santa Cruz hippy. Carl preferred a more sophisticated image for those he allowed around Clara. But she insisted on Danny’s continued employment for no other reason, from Carl’s perspective, than his obnoxious sense of humor. He agreed to her repugnant indulgence by keeping him on the payroll as her personal court jester.
 
High-heeled staccato tapping heralded the approach of Carl’s shadow, Gloria August; her tiny bird-like steps were her trademark. Working as Carl’s administrative assistant and doing what he said without question and devotion troubled Clara.
 
In a deep, breathy voice, Gloria addressed Carl, “I have some bad news.” She brought one high-heeled leopard pump directly behind the other and carefully balanced her weight on one leg. Her hand rested on a robust hip, covered by a form-fitting leopard dress. Her other bejeweled hand placed a thin, arrant black stand of hair clinging stubbornly to the side of her face behind her ear. “Our plane is going to be late and nobody seems to know when it will arrive.”
 
Clara interrupted, “You have got to be kidding. Someone has to know.”
 
“Didn’t you hear me Ms. Summers? They don’t know how long!” Gloria’s voice lost some of its breathy tone and turned hard with irritation.
 
Clara looked at Carl with alarm ignoring Gloria’s subtle insult, “How on earth are we going to make the L.A. shoot tomorrow? Not to mention the state of health our crew is in.”
 
“Are you sure you wouldn’t rather have a beer? This wine came out of a box.” Danny added as he held out the plastic cup of red liquid with one hand and a bottle of water in the other.
 
Clara took the water out of his hand and ignored the wine, “Danny, have you heard the good news, we may be here for a while. So you might as well make yourself comfortable.”
 
“Shit!” The word was Danny’s common response to all unfavorable circumstances. “I have a date tonight.” Danny downed the wine in one gulp.
 
Clara leaned in close to Danny, “Did you get the paper?”
 
Danny ducked his head with a devilish grin and whispered back, “I had a feeling that the old man didn’t want you to have a paper.” In a much louder voice meant to carry, he continued, “I wonder if this fiasco had anything to do with the fact that our presence in this lovely land was plastered across the headlines. It even guaranteed photos and personal interviews on a first come first serve basis.”
 
Clara sucked the frustration in slowly through her teeth.
 
Carl turned red with anger and embarrassment.
 
“You look a bit like me, Mr. Jaspers.”Danny grinned, “That rosy complexion suits you.”
 
As usual, Danny’s humor calmed her down. “Can I see the paper?” Clara held out her hand. Danny reached into his baggy pant pocket and pulled out the prize. She couldn’t help herself from laughing, “Do you keep your luggage in there too?” He responded with a shrug and a snort of laughter that was cut short.
 
“Give me that!” Carl got up and ripped the paper out of his hand. “Don’t you see how upset she is already, and then here you go instigating more trouble.”
 
Danny bit out, “Don’t you think Ms. Summers should know about the article considering what happened; look at her face, it’s already turning black and blue!”
 
“Let’s not blow this out of proportion until we find out what’s going on with the delay. We’ll look into who leaked our itinerary to the press when we get back to Los Angeles.” Carl’s hand relaxed from the tight fist he had formed. His palm was wet and clammy. “Danny, why don’t you be useful for a change and see what you can dig up from the airline personnel about the delay. And try to be more polite and less abrasive when you speak to them than your usual rude demeanor.” Carl flipped open his cell phone to check his messages.
 
Danny turned to his favorite target, “Gloria, darlin’,come take a stroll with a poor Irish rogue.” He winked at Clara.
 
Clara lowered her head to smother a slight grin. Danny loved teasing Gloria regardless of the fact that she was old enough to be his mother. “Stop leading her on. You’re going to break her heart when she finds out you have enough girlfriends to make a basketball team.” Clara tried to protect Gloria from being the brunt of Danny’s humor, but knew Gloria wouldn’t perceive it that way.
 
Gloria’s veiled negativity directed toward Clara was tiresome. She hadn’t always been like that; only in the past few years had she directed her hostility so blatantly.
 
“I’d be glad to join you Danny.” Gloria’s breathy voice was back as she slid her arm through his proffered one.
 
Seizing the opportunity, Clara took the newspaper out of Carl’s hand. She was shocked to find recent pictures of herself covering half of the front page. Sitting back down, she stared blankly at the article in Spanish.
 
Is this what she wanted?
 
When she asked that question yesterday afternoon, her world tilted. A woman appeared out of nowhere and spoke to her. It was like a dream. The things she said. Then, she disappeared. Was she real? That was the question that had kept her tossing and turning all night. Clara ran through each moment meticulously again starting with the second Piña Colada, so cold it frosted the glass containing it.
 
Danny set the new drink down on the table within arm’s reach. Ignoring it, she closed her eyes sinking deeper into the lounge chair.  Sounds from the Costa Rican surf lulled her into that peaceful place between consciousness and sleep.
 
It’s been an empty life.
 
“No! It‘sbeen a good life, a great life!” Clara argued out loud to no one. She was supposed to be happy. Damn it! I’ve worked hard to get this far.
 
The ache of loneliness was daunting. Her happiest moments in the last few years were with Scott. “No.” She cautioned herself, “Don’t go there.” Clara didn’t want to reminisce about anything to do with his demise. She reached for her glass to deaden the pain of her loss. Her hand trembled. The glass tipped over and dumped its contents. She needed to get another.
 
Clara put her feet on the ground and stood up. The bright yellow sarong she had tied around her hips slipped a little. “Oh, who cares.” The skimpy outfit it covered for her character in the movie was no more than a bikini top and a leather skirt.
 
The world tilted, and her head spun along with it. Her hand flew back to grab the edge of the chaise before she fell. She sat back down. Maintaining composure in public had been drilled into her for the last decade. Tears held back for too long wet her fingertips as she covered her eyes. Bracelets clinked together falling a few inches down her arm.
 
In muffled sobs, she asked, “Is there more than this?” Rocking back and forth, “There has to be a way to live without so much loneliness and sorrow.”
 
Clara yearned for someone to love. There wasn’t time for anyone else, only Carl, and she wasn’t that desperate. Looking up at the sky, all she could see were the clouds moving with the wind. Was heaven really out there somewhere? It reminded her of the taboo subject. The idea of praying seemed empty. She paused for a long time before wondering, “What do I have to lose? No one can hear me anyway.”
 
“It’s me. Clara.”She closed her eyes with palms clasped. “Are You there?” After a few moments, she looked up. “Of course He can’t hear me. What was I thinking?”
 
“Hola Señorita.”
 
The voicecame from . . . where? Clara looked around and wondered if someone had heard her pray. She blinked in surprise and unclasped her hands that were held over her heart. An older woman walked in her direction. No, more like glided.
 
“Your vacation here in our beautiful country has been productive, no?” She lifted her arm in a wide arch, “Here you are in the view of the ocean and the sounds of life, sitting on your comfortable chair.” The woman’s speech was lyrical in accent but laced with mischievous intent.
 
“Yesss.” Clara answered. Who was she? Clara had never seen her on the set before. The woman moved her hand in a swirling motion. A wind formed lifting and whirling the multicolored skirt in a dance as she came closer. Her face lit with a smile and laughed joyously sending chimes through the air. Clara was confounded; she couldn’t have seen what she thought she saw. She scooted back on her lounge chair to put more space between her and her visitor. The woman’s steady gaze was uncomfortable. What did she see? Clara retreated even further.
 
“You are . ..?” Clara looked around casually for the security guards that were supposed to prevent the locals from wandering onto the set.
 
“One who knows you.”
 
“Are you a fan?” Clara waited for the usual blasé response.
 
“So, how are you doing little one?” The woman smiled into Clara’s eyes ignoring her question. “You have been very busy I can see, traveling to places, meeting people, having fun. Yes?” The woman sat down on the empty space left by Clara’s pulled up feet, which forced her to stay seated.
 
Clara felt the woman’s voice wrap around her as her words continued to flow.
 
“Here you are, all you have worked for, all your lives have come to this moment. Sitting in your chair, surrounded by . . . friends? Working on a picture show that brings meaning and depth to the world? It is so satisfying, no? To be in control of your own life, all the time.”
 
The sparkle in the old woman’s blue-black eyes turned to deep pools of compassion that held Clara captive. She watched her graceful hand came up with three fingers extended. They gently touched the place between Clara’s eyebrows compelling her to close her eyes. In the velvet darkness, a small beacon of light appeared in the distance drawing her closer.
 
Clara traveled deep within; farther than she ever could have believed was possible. It was like a current carrying her with the fierceness of a river that came closer to the sea. Then, not with the force of the woman’s hand, but with a power coming through her, Clara was filled with a radiant light. Profound peace enveloped her until there was only complete stillness in her mind and body.
 
The woman then slightly pushed Clara with those same three fingers over her heart followed by a forceful voice that resonated both inside and outside, “Wake up!”
 
With her head in a roar of oceanic sound and a trembling vibration in her spine, she heard the words, “Hay una estatua no más!”
 
The radiant peace intensified. Her heart seemed to slow its rhythm, almost to a stop. She felt a sense of freedom from her body. There was so much more to this life than what she could see on the surface.
 
She wanted to stay like this forever.
 
It felt so good.
 
As if by the acknowledgment of the sensation, it diminished like smoke merging into the atmosphere. Clara wrinkled her brow in confusion and opened her eyes to ask the women what had happened.
 
She was gone.
 
Clara sat up and looked around. The crew was busy packing up, but no colorful skirt in the sea of green and khaki shorts.
 
She spent the rest of the night trying to figure out what happened. Was it a dream, or was it an alcohol induced hallucination?
 
Thinking about yesterday and going over each detail brought no clarity to what happened. She still wasn’t sure how drunk she was when she had the experience. Clara took a drink of water and was glad she picked it instead of the wine. 
 
Hay una estatua no más. She felt the pressure in her chest build. She asked Danny, “What does estatua mean?”
 
“Statue. It means statue. Why?”
 
“Danny, what does hay una estatua no más mean?”
 
“It means you are a statue no more.” Danny answered her with a question in his eyes.
 
“You are a statue no more.” It still didn’t make sense.
 
The hard chair was uncomfortable.
 
“Patience. Patience. Patience.” Clara muttered.
 
At Danny’s loud cough, she realized she said it out loud and stared at her shoes in embarrassment. Relief at the sound of an approaching plane pushed the encounter or dream to a more manageable place in the back of her mind. She got up to watch it land and waited for the passengers to disembark.
 
Clara’s jaw dropped when she recognized one woman.
 
Katrina Lane.
 
The tabloid press had its place in the world. Carl told her over and over again how they were needed in promoting her career, but she didn’t like their invasive tactics. There was no class and no respect on their side of the line.
 
It had been her experience with some of the reporters that their sole purpose in life was to ruin people. Katrina Lane was in that category and had no scruples. Clara had steered clear of her for years.
 
Now, it looked like the perfidious reporter was staking her out. Katrina’s sour expression matched her wrinkled manly suit. Clara would have liked to see Katrina’s livid face with her wild auburn hair plastered on the front cover of the tabloid she worked for—Exposed.
 
As Katrina forced her way through the double glass doors and toward Clara, Carl motioned for the bodyguard to intercept and stop her advance.
 
Pointing her finger at Clara around the unmoving security guard, Katrina shouted, “I’d like to have a word with you, Ms. Summers!”
 
Clara smiled and answered her with a shake of her head indicating her usual answer to that overused question by any rude member of the press . . . no!
 
Katrina looked completely frustrated and worse . . .interested. Clara’s smile froze.
 
“Clara Summers, let me by! You promised to talk to the press. I flew all the way down here for a private interview. It’s the price of fame.” Katrina’s voice echoed above the crowd. “I’ll give you a fair chance. I’ll even have you vet the questions. Trust me!”
 
Clara hid her nervousness with a non-committal response, “Not a chance.”
 
“If you don’t, I’ll be forced to make something up.” The reporter tried to duck under her bodyguard’s arm, but was held back.
 
Clara was unsure. Make what up?
 
Costa Rica had brought nothing but confusion.
 
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