The Foundation - The Fourth Victim
Death Southern Style
Susan T. Bailley is running for her life after witnessing a contract killing. She’s not sure whether she’s more afraid of the hired killer tracking her, or Mitch, the brother of the man who fathered her five year old son.
A single mother struggling to take responsibility for the direction of her own life, Susan is now forced into a journey to survive. Her companion is the man who blames her for his brothers’ death. Mitch reminds her of that first love, stirring up old emotions, along with some new ones, more intense than she’s ever felt.
Five years ago she was to visit Dominic’s family. Instead her letter to him was returned with ‘DECEASED’ scrawled across the front. That letter was the one telling him he was going to be a father. Still in shock, and feeling a cold emptiness throughout her entire body, she drove to the address Dom had given her. The brother, Mitch, answered, coldly informing her Dom had been shot in the line of duty and it was her fault. He slammed the door in her face.
Mitch Pellagrino is an embittered undercover New York cop, humiliated by an ex-wife and driven to find his brother’s killer, a contract hit man.
He buries himself in his job. He’s searching for the witness to a murder. The murderer is probably the same man who killed his brother. He has to find the witness before she’s killed. Then he’ll get the man who killed his brother, dead or alive.
The victim’s Wolfhound dog is left at the murder scene by the dog walker. As the dog may be the only witness and Mitch has no other place to put him, he drags the dog along with him as he tracks the witness.
The day after the murder Mitch catches up with Susan in a seedy motel room, where he forcefully reenters her life. Under duress they agree to work out a plan that will ensure the safety of her son, save her life and trap the killer. They hope. To be successful they must work together, trusting each other.
They begin their journey, neither trusting the other, both fighting the undercurrent of strong emotional and sexual feelings that keep pulling them together. During their enforced journey together they gradually begin to trust each other. Like a dance, they take two steps forward and one step back.
Without the trust the plan is doomed to failure. Their feelings grow stronger, eventually spilling over into the relationship.
Susan’s son is left with Mitch’s aunt. She can’t take the dog so he continues to be dragged along, not part of any plan, but a very large presence.
They proceed to an isolated cabin Mitch owns. During the trip Mitch finds out the boy is Dom’s son. He becomes angry that she never told him or his family. He tries to talk her out of the plan because of the feelings he has developed for her and because of her son, his nephew.
The plan has the killer finding Susan. Mitch is to drive the car up the road out of sight, and race back. The killer, however, moves quickly and surprises Susan in the shed. As he prepares to shoot, Wolf lunges and attacks him. The killer shoots. The dog is shot. Susan closes her eyes and pulls the trigger of the gun Mitch bought for her - again and again and again.
Mitch hears the shots as he races back and is terrified he’s lost her. He finds her sobbing and shaking, still clutching the gun in front of her. The killer is dead.
Due to some misunderstandings Susan leaves and Mitch can’t find her. Several weeks later they reunite at a friend’s wedding. They admit their fears and their intense love for each other. Mitch also adores her son. They decide to take a leap of faith and make a commitment.