RENDEZVOUS KEY

Treasure Chest Contest!

In my book RENDEZVOUS KEY, Mr. Santiago found a pirate’s treasure from an old treasure map. He removed the treasure from its original resting place and buried it somewhere on the Rendezvous Key. In his Will, he left four envelopes with four clues with two parts to each clue.

Be the first to solve all four two-part clues and find out where the treasure is buried and you’ll win the Treasure! So, get your copy of Rendezvous Key now and solve the mystery! For each Rendezvous Key print and ebook sold, a percentage of the proceeds will be added to the treasure. The more books sold, the bigger the treasure! So, pass the word!

Click HERE for the rules for the Rendezvous Key Treasure Chest Contest.


In Rendezvous Key, a beautiful private island in Key West is the backdrop for a double murder. Two people are killed inside a sauna, and there are no witnesses to testify to what happened and who may be responsible. A very young, very handsome police lieutenant sets out to solve the mystery.









 Reviews

October 2013
I finished reading your book and enjoyed it very much. I like your characters epically Jan, Liz, Samantha, and Bertha. Did you ever see the movie "RED"? It means retired, and extremely dangerous. Helen Mireen acted out the part of a retired government agent. Bruce Willis was the star. I've seen it 3 times because it was so good. It's about retired agents the government has targeted to kill because they know too much about a secret operation, but they turn the tables on the government. I like happy endings. I also like female characters who take charge, and your female characters do that. Remember in the old movies when the females would just stand there and scream while their hero was getting beaten? Thank goodness that has changed.  Your plot was great. It had me guessing who did it until the end. Good Job! I'm one of your fans now. ~Dottie  
 

First Chapter Excerpt
Hot sex, sweaty tan bodies, long swims in the moon light with lots of booze, pills and cocaine not to mention the money, money, money. What else could a guy ask for? To play all day, fly anywhere your heart desires any time you desire. The small private island in the Keys held more secrets then anyone could imagine.
Jake Mendoza was the caretaker for Renezvous Key, the most beautiful of all the private islands.
He had been the custodian for the local school for twenty years, but he was fired for drinking on the job. He had tried to hide his addiction everyone knew now, even the kids.
Jake had developed a habit of talking to himself since his wife died seventeen years ago. He felt like she was still beside him, so why not talk to her?
It took fifteen minutes by boat to get to Rendezvous Key from the main land. The owner, Ramon Santiago, liked the limited access. No one could pull into his drive-way. There was no driveway!
This morning, the fog made Jake squint to make out the dock along the shoreline.
He knew the island like the back of his hand. He edged the small skiff to the dock and threw the rope over the post to secure it. As Jake jumped from the boat over to the dock, he remembered the beam his boss wanted him to fix.
'It's going be another hot one, once the fog lifts.' 'By the time I finish the yard work I'll be cooked to a cinder.'  A gentle breeze was beginning to blow, lifting the fog as the tall palm trees swayed like a slow hula dancer. The waves gently lapped against the white sand.
Why had he stayed on as the gardener and handyman? Mr. Santiago paid well enough and treated him pretty good, but the isolation and the solitary house with no-one to talk to was getting him down. The only folks he ever saw were the housekeeper, cook, Mr. Santiago, and the pretty girls that left right after breakfast.  
The women he brought over to the island generally left before breakfast because they didn’t want anyone to see them on the mainland. Most of them never returned. Mr. Santiago had a playboy reputation for one-night stands. And everyone knew the single yellow rose he sent to the ladies the following day signified friendship and nothing more.
Pirates had used Rendezvous Key to hide their treasures from passing ships in the night. Anne Bonny was a female pirate from the eighteenth century; his father had told him about. His father said she had buried most of her silver and gold treasure on the small island. He bought the small Island before he was born hoping to find some of the treasures still buried on the island. Now Jake; sixty-seven years old was working for the man who had bought the island from his father. Jake felt robbed of this beautiful lush paradise with its palm trees gently waving in the easterly breezes. His father had sold the Island without blinking when money came calling.
If I looked like Mr. Santiago and had his money the girls would be chasing me too.  Funny that Mr. Santiago didn't make any bones about the fact he had no intention of getting married but the girls just kept coming. Of course one girl had returned a few times, but she hung back as if she didn’t want the staff to remember her, probably married. That didn’t matter to Mr. Santiago, though; they were just a good lay. Jake was just relieved he didn’t have to haul her back to the mainland like the others.
“Even if she’s married, it’s not our business if she needs a little action away from home.” But how does she get here and back to the mainland? Maybe she owns her own skiff, or perhaps the boss drives her in his thirty foot Robolo that he never seems to use.   What a waste to leave a nice boat like that just sitting around getting barnacles.” Jake mumbled to himself as he walked toward the tool shed.
Jake realized he was talking to himself as he walked up the path from the tool shed, so he glanced around to see if anyone had heard him. He tried to remember the chores on his list.
I damn well bet I won't see any extra money for them either.
His memory was not so good when it came to recent conversations. He could remember clearly when his father had owned Rendezvous Key and used it for his Rum running jaunts to Havana. When things got tough Jakes' father had sold the Key to a wealthy fellow up in Palm Beach by Mr. Santiago. Everyone was looking for the hidden treasures.
Mr. Santiago had completely demolished the shacks on the property and built a two story glass house which faced the western sky. Everyone thought he was crazy because of all the glass, but once they were inside and watched a beautiful sunset they realized why he had the house built out of glass. The sunsets were so breath taking. It could bring tears to your eyes.
After Jake retired from his position as custodian, he always told everyone he retired so they wouldn’t know he was fired. Jake had applied at Rendezvous Key for a job of gardener and handyman. Mr. Santiago knew Jake and hired him. 
“Island, it's too damn small to be called an Island. It’s just a hunk of coral and sand with a house on it. The damn dock is almost as big as the Island. Of course the house Mr. Santiago built was a might fancier than the shack his daddy had built when he was hiding from the Federal boys years ago.” Jake was speaking out loud again.
That old shack wasn't much but it sure pissed Jake off when it was torn down to build this Rich Man's playhouse. Before Mr. Santiago bought the property, treasure hunters would come out there. Jake would come over and run them off! He would do a little hunting and then lay around the shack while he went on his binges. Now the shack is gone and Mr. Santiago had this huge glass house. Nearest thing to a whorehouse Jake had ever seen. The only difference in Jake's mind was it was women who kept coming and going. No pun intended Jake thought as he gave chuckled to himself. Maybe I should hang a sign on the dock Mr. S's Stud Farm. Boy, I bet I’d get fired for sure.
Nobody had done anything with the island until Mr. Santiago bought the place. It was grown over and the land was nothing but coconut palm trees and crabs. It was rumored Mr. Santiago had found a treasure map which he had authenticated to be the real thing left behind by Anne Bonny marking the place where she had buried one of her treasures. He kept it in his safe and Jake had wondered if he just had a couple of minutes to look at it could he find her treasure.
Well right now he had to remember what those damn chores were. “Let's see I should shore up the sagging beam under the dock. What the hell am I a carpenter?  That damn beam must weigh 100 pounds.  What else? Clean out the incinerator.” Jake spoke slow and steady trying to remember the chores he had been given. “Check the generator and fill the fuel tank, he hated the smell of that diesel fuel.” 
“Oh yeah and clean out the sauna. Can't understand why anybody would want to get in a place that gets so damn hot to sit bare ass on a wooden bench and steam you like a lobster. Guess you got to be rich to understand that kind of stuff. I guess the ladies seem to like it though. Can't remember how often I took parts of ladies Swimsuits or underwear out of that wooden box and wonder what they were wearing when they left that damn box. I hate to go in there, damn place smells like a sewer after they horse around in there and it always feels like an oversized coffin.”  Jake continued to mumble out loud.
The Sauna was made from rich pine and was only big enough for four or five people. Having no windows made it even smaller. One small sky light in the Sauna for those late nights to gaze at the stars and moon.
“Anyway, didn't make any sense to be worried about that damn sauna just because he's throwing a party tomorrow night. You can't get more than four or five people in that damn box no how.” Jake argued with himself. “You’d have to pay me to be tortured like that. Hell it’s hard to breathe in there with the steam and all the sweat and smell. When the damn steam is on, it’s hotter than hell on a sinner’s birthday!”   Jake said.
Jake thought maybe Theresa was going to come to work today because of the party. That would make all the extra work worth it. If anybody could get me in that sauna she could. I'd give a months' pay to see those tits of hers.  Jake let out a chuckle. Theresa’s skin was a light olive tone and a shape like a movie star, long slender legs, tiny waist, big boobs and long jet black hair.
It had been 17 years since Jakes' wife, Irene, had died and Theresa’s young body with jet-black hair and wide eyes stirred something in Jake he thought had died years ago along with his wife. Theresa was just over twenty. She had been on the island helping with the housekeeping and cooking since she was sixteen. Her mother was there for only a short time and had asked if her daughter could help her. Mr. Santiago took one look at Theresa and naturally said sure.
Jake always kidded himself he was having parental feelings but every once in a while, when he would wake up in the middle of the night, he knew what he was dreaming was with Theresa and it wasn’t of a fatherly nature!  The arousal he felt was not even a lovers dream, more like a lust for sex!
Strange, thought Jake, why Mr. Santiago hasn't tried to poke Theresa. She's a lot more attractive than some of those one night stands I've hauled out of here some mornings. Guess there's no accounting for some folks' taste. 
As Jake reached the front door of the house and reached for his keys he stopped and noticed the door was not pulled fully closed. He pushed the door open and shouted, “Mr. Santiago, you home?”    
Jake knew the party Mr. Santiago was throwing Saturday evening was suppose to be a fundraiser. Jake didn’t know for what, but did know Mr. Santiago wanted everything to be perfect. He was a very forgiving person, except when it came to his fundraisers. Everything had to be perfect or he was worst than a fire breathing dragon!
Jake never knew when his boss was at home with some woman or off on one of his business trips. Jake wasn't too sure of what Mr. Santiago did to earn a living and wasn’t about to ask, as long as he received his paycheck every week. All he was sure of was Mr. Santiago seemed to have more money than he knew what to do with. There was always money lying around the house.
As far as Jake knew his business trips could have been just scouting trips to find more girl friends. There were times when Jake wouldn't see him for three or four days at a time and sometimes he’d be gone for a couple of weeks.
Getting no answer Jake continued on through the entry hall, which was black marble tile. Jake kept looking down to make sure he wasn’t leaving sand on the floor. Mr. Santiago was a stickler about taking your shoes off at the door. This was always hard for him to remember and he had been caught many times by Mr. Santiago leaving a trail.
As he passed the huge staircase which wrapped around the entry way he stopped and listened to see if he heard Mr. Santiago. The staircase was massive and made of black iron and covered with gold leafing.
Jake called it the exercise area. Hearing no noises from upstairs he continued on to the kitchen. The entry to the kitchen had an in house telephone or intercom system. Picking up the house phone he dialed the master bedroom. Jake let it ring six times. He had learned from past experiences, after a rough night, Mr. Santiago and his playmates were hard to wake up.
After the sixth ring he hung up the phone and walked back down the hall to the study.  It was filled with such interesting things. This was one of Jake’s favorite rooms with the floor to ceiling bookshelves filled with books. He didn’t read so well himself, but like to look at all the books. Mr. Santiago even had one of those large globes in a stand you could roll. Jake liked giving it a spin every time he walked in there. It had writing on it just about where the Keys were located and he often wondered what the writing meant, in marker it had, from center 20/P/F/C/C/P/E. He entered and walked directly to the bar, poured himself a motor starter as Jake liked to call his morning drink, filled the glass with ice and settled down onto a stool.
 “Well, right after I finish this I'll get on with my chores. To hell with the chores. I think I'll shoot a game of pool just to keep the table from getting dusty. Beside it was nice and cool inside.”
Jake had a reputation as a pool shark in his younger days and could still shoot a mean game of nine ball. Of course there was no one to play with but he still enjoyed running the table even if there was nobody to see him do it. For a few minutes Jake had forgotten where he was and about his boss! It was like he was daydreaming he was the master of all you could see!
He selected a stick, racked the balls and broke the cluster sending the six and nine ball into the corner pockets. Well, thought Jake, ‘this was one quick game.’ He replaced the balls in the receptacles under the table and placed the stick back in the rack. As Jake turned to leave the study, he glanced out the window which faced the dock and beyond the clear blue green waters that lay between Rendezvous Key and the Mainland. That's odd; he thought the fifty two foot Yacht was tied up at the dock. ‘I didn't even notice when I pulled up. I could have sworn it wasn’t there when I came to work? Or was it? Guess the boss is still around somewhere. Maybe he just came back; maybe I better get my ass back outside and get busy!’ He was hoping the boss hadn’t been spying on him!
He quickly walked to the bar and rinsed out the glass he had used, placing it carefully in its proper place beneath the bar. He left the study and returned to the kitchen. Picking up the house phone he again called the master bedroom. After fifteen rings and there was still no answer he decided to go upstairs and make sure the boss was all right. Knowing if he were caught fooling around he would surely fired from this cushy job.
As he walked down the hall to the large stairway, he passed the ornate carving on the wall made of black oak, ‘must have cost a bloody fortune to have those things carved!'  He started up the stairs slowly and began to whistle loudly to give fair warning to his boss he was on his way up.
Upon reaching the top of the staircase he shouted; “Mr. Santiago, you in there? Are you okay?” Hearing no reply he walked to the end of the hallway and opened the massive double doors to the master bedroom. The bed was still made. 'Either the boss has taken to making his own bed or he didn't sleep here last night.’ “Damndest thing; how did the boss get by me on this island without me seeing him come or go?” Jake stood scratching his head.
Jake decided to look around the island particularly the little beach on the east side where Mr. Santiago sometimes went snorkeling. While he usually used the beach on West side next to the dock, the water on the East side was a bit deeper and facing the northeast usually had more waves and Mr. Santiago could go skinny dipping without being seen.
‘I told him to be careful when he swims over on the east side,’ Jake knew the undertow can be tricky this time of year. It was fall and hurricane season was still a good possibility.
Jake left the house and entered the garage. Next to the wind Surfer and the Jet Ski was an old Jeep the boss had picked up at an auction, it was the only vehicle on the island. As he climbed into the Jeep and cranked it up. “Here I am wasting’ half the day foolin’ around and I'm gonna have to break my butt to finish all my chores in time to get out of here before dark.” 
 Generally Jake would be at the dock to greet Mr. Santiago’s guests when they arrived from the main land, Jake was to greet them and tie up their boats.  Mr. Santiago had hired a special staff to greet and take care of them as they arrived so Jake didn’t have to work.
 The engine of the Jeep raised a few octaves as Jake put it into gear and backed out of the garage.  The island only being about a mile across and two and a half miles wide Jake knew it wouldn't take long to reach the north side. The sun shining on the sand seemed to blind him as he drove along the beach. There were no roads and with the lush greens and trees it would have been impossible to get around any other way but with a four wheel drive. He remembered Mr. Santiago had always told him not to drive on the beaches. He would have a fit if he saw tire marks.
As he passed the stand of coconut palms he thought about how his father had told him about pirates who had buried there treasure under those palms. As a child he spent years trying to dig under them to find the treasure only to be laughed at by his father. He knew the stories and he knew the stories where true!
He looked over at the sun dial Mr. Santiago had placed on the stack of coral just before the coconut palms Mr. Santiago had planted in a semi circle, there were five of them. Jake thought how strange he would plan them like that for the whole Island was made up of palms and coconut palms. He would always laugh when he saw it because Mr. Santiago always said it had no hands but could tell time better than most clocks. He had a hammock stung between the two end trees on both sides. Mr. Santiago would often take a nap under the coconut palms after swimming.
“All them trees are good for is the sweet milk that comes from those coconuts.”
Reaching the north beach he slowed almost to a stop and looked up and down the small rather narrow stretch of beach.  It was high tide and the water reached almost to the undergrowth that bordered the beaches on the Key. 
‘Well, if Mr. Santiago went swimming and drowned there sure won't be any tracks and the water could have washed out any towel or robe.’ Jake stopped the jeep at the waters' edge.
He took a pair of binoculars out of the glove box and searched the water’s edge in each direction until the curve of the beach and undergrowth blocked his vision. He turned his attention to the water and searched out from the beach.  ‘The waters were so damn clear, if he was floating out there I'd see him unless the undertow got him and then he could be half way to Cuba.’
Through the binoculars Jake could see the water starting to get rough. There were white caps at a distance which meant there must be a storm coming in from the east. Most of the time the water was crystal clear and smooth as glass as far as you could see.
Getting back into the jeep he continued on around the Island at first driving on sand then on coral, causing the jeep to buck and sway like a bucking bronco. As he neared the house he had no choice but to cut directly through the lush tropical undergrowth. “Damn if I wreck this mother I'll be working for nothing for the rest of my life.”
Mr. Santiago always spoke of the Jeep as old Betsy, his pride and joy. She could take a licking and keep on ticking no matter what you did to her!
As he came around the backside of the house traveling just a bit too fast he felt the rear wheels lose traction and the jeep began to swerve to the left. He came within inches of hitting the small building that housed the sauna. “God!”  He screamed. “I almost wiped out. Well at least I wouldn't have to clean it anymore!”  
As the jeep skidded to a halt Jake noticed the red light on the control box outside the sauna was on, indicating the sauna was in use. He must have used it the night before and left it on or he’s still in there. Well damn to hell, here I am chasing all over the place to find him and he's in there steaming himself! He’s probably still drunk and trying to get sober after a rough night.”
As he climbed out of the jeep, ‘this damn arthritis is getting worse. If I don't get out of this dampness soon these knees are going to kill me. I got to move to somewhere like New Mexico or Nevada. Yeah the desert would cure this thing.’
Jake reached for the door of the sauna. Jake knocked loudly on the door and then began yelling, “Mr. Santiago?  Mr. Santiago?”  Jake had to decide whether to go in and see if everything was all right or to go away because the boss might be busy with some lady in there. He surely didn’t want to interrupt the boss if he was engaged in sexual activity. ‘Mr. Santiago should have heard the jeep. Hell I almost ran this place over.’
Jake knew sometimes Mr. Santiago turned the sauna on in advance to get it up to temperature, ‘maybe that’s why he isn’t answering me and he has gone back to the house. Naturally I wouldn’t have seen him nor would he have seen me while I was on the other side of the island.’
Gathering his courage and fully expecting to have Mr. Santiago read him the riot act about not disturbing him when he was entertaining. ‘Entertaining hell, whore mastering was more like it.’
Jake knocked again. Still there was no answer.  As Jake slowly pulled the door open he called out; “Mr. Santiago?” He was still hoping to get an answer.
As the door opened the steam hit Jake in the face like a closed fist.  “Damn! It's bad enough that I'm wet as a race horse run hard and put up wet, now I'll be scalded like a Lobster as well!”  
Jake shook his head and took his red bandana out of his hip pocket to wipe his face to clear his vision.  With the steam in his face he couldn't make out anything in the box as he felt his way inside the small building. Even the sky light didn’t help.
After his eyes adjusted to the dim light he could vaguely make out figures of two people he thought were kind of sitting but nearly lying on the bench. It appeared to Jake they were both nude except for the towels under them. It seemed the one figure had its arms around the shoulders of the other and the tops of their heads were touching. ‘Almost like the way Irene used to fall asleep in the movies with her head on my shoulder.’
“Oh Mr. Santiago, I'm sorry to intrude but you had me worried when you,” Jake paused as he noticed there wasn't any movement by Mr. Santiago.
As he drew closer he could see clearly the other person was a woman! Jake couldn't take his eyes off the small firm breasts realizing the woman wasn't moving either and the towel on her lap was barely covering her private parts.
He thought ‘this is no time to turn horny Jake there's something mighty wrong here. It's damn strange the woman didn't even try to cover up her nakedness.’
“What in the world is going on here?” He walked over to Mr. Santiago. He reached down to touch Mr. Santiago on the shoulder. Jake had his other hand covering his eyes but looking through the cracks in his fingers. ‘Thinking to himself, if he says boo I'll have to change my shorts!’
Jake shook Mr. Santiago to try to rouse him but still nothing. He then felt for the lady’s shoulder and as he took hold of her shoulder, and started shaking her. He was peeking out between his fingers and he noticed how those cute little boobs didn't move. They looked like they were made out of plastic. He couldn't get any reaction from the woman either! His shaking her made her lose the position she was in and she began to fall forward off the bench.
“Oh God, what in the world is going on here!” Propping her back up against Mr. Santiago he ran out of the box and fell to his knees.
The heat in that place was unbearable. He could feel his heart racing in his chest and he was shaking all over. Quickly his thoughts went back to Irene ‘if she were here she would know what to do!’
“Come on man get a grip on yourself!” He was hollering to the wind. “Think!” Getting to his feet he then raced to the house.  “I need a drink! That will calm me down and I can figure out what to do.”  Jake was so shook up he was rambling.
He headed for the bar. The old Grandfather clock in the library was striking eleven o'clock. With its' first strike Jake let out a howl as if he had been shot. “That damn old clock!” In the silence the strike of the clock was deafening!
“No damn motor starter now, I need a tall one and a clean pair of underwear!” Jake poured a tall whiskey without the ice. He had to settle his nerves. I got to decide what to do. After drinking half his whiskey he began to laugh. Because of the heat and the excitement the whiskey was racing through his system and hit his brain like an express train running out of control! It made his feel numb and his speech slurred.
“I guess I better call for help. Help!” Hell nothing is going to help them now. I knew that box wasn't good for a person and this proves it!
Jake made his way over to the phone and tried to dial the emergency number for the police, instead he reached information. Damn he thought as he slammed down the phone. He poured himself another tall drink of whiskey to try and settle his nerves. His hands were shaking so hard, it took two hands to put the glass to his mouth to take a drink.
Again he tried and this time he was successful as the voice on the other end answered, “Hello? Emergency can I help you?”
“Yeah, are you helping? I need to talk to somebody to help me.” Jake speech was so slurred it was hard to understand him. The voice on the phone repeated, “this is the emergency operator. Do you require assistance?”
“Help, I can’t help you, I need help here, yes I need help, my boss is in a box and he isn't moving!”
“Sir you will have to slow down and speak plainly.”
“Come on lady my boss needs help, you send someone right away!” Jake was now shouting.
“Where are you Sir?”  The telephone voice of the police operator spoke without a hint of emotion.
“I’m here where do you think I am!” Jake was becoming angry at the questions.
“Where is here sir?”  The emergency operator asked again.
“Don’t you understand lady I’m on Rendezvous Key damn it!” This time he hollered at the lady on the phone then slammed it down on the base.
It only took a minute before the telephone rang and Jake picked it up. It was the police. “Jake is that your name?”
“Yeah who wants to know? You come here?  Please come quick, I need help!” He was speaking but not understanding himself or the voice on the other end.
“Jake listen to me, we are on our way, do not touch anything until we get there, okay?”
By now the glass was empty. He made his way back to the bar for another refill. Just one more he thought. Then I'll have myself under control. Without realizing it he had dropped the telephone and it fell to the floor, picking it up he hung the phone back on the base.
Suddenly the telephone rang causing Jake to drop the bottle, spilling the remaining whiskey down the front of his shirt and jeans. Realizing it was the phone he stumbled over to answer it. “Whose it?” He slurred.
“This is the police department, are you the party I was just talking to about your boss being in a box and needing help?” The officer was trying to keep his cool.
“Yes sir, that was me, are ya goin’ come?” Jake slurred voice was pleading.
“Sir, have you been drinking?” The officer questioned.
“What ya thing I been doin?’…. Just found my boss bare ass naked in that damn box? Had to do somthin’ to settle my nerves! Not everyday do you find your boss cooked like a lobster in a box!”
The officer calmly asked “sir? Is there anyone there with you?  Is there anyone we can call to come be with you?”
“I don't mess in his business! Him and his lady ain't breathin', just sittin' in there, damn hot box out back holding each other as calm as you please. Damn, what does a person have to do to make you people understand English!” Jake was to the point he was ready to head for the small boat tried to the dock and get the hell out of there. But he couldn’t just leave the two of them like that.
Jake was getting really upset nobody seemed to understand he was here alone and with what seemed to be two dead bodies on his hands.
It seemed like hours had passed to Jake as he sat in the overstuffed chair nursing another whiskey. Finally very faintly in the back ground he could hear the sound of boat engines and sirens approaching the island.
 
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