My interview with Jake and Pamela, the hero and heroine, from Kidnapped Hearts:
A month after their story is released I have an appointment with Pamela and Jake to find out how life is treating them. Briefcase in tow, I step inside The Memory Café onto a black and white tile floor. Instantly, I’m transported to the storyline of Kidnapped Hearts.
A touch nervous at my first interview, I wipe my brow and run my fingers through my short golden locks.
“Hello.” A sparkling eyed, dark-haired woman approaches me. A hint of pink in her cheeks gives her a healthy glow.
Wow, they do resemble the Caribbean.
I stretch out my hand, looking at her eye level. “Hi, I’m Cait Jarrod.”
She smiles. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but a nice firm handshake surprises me.
“Pamela Gibson. It’s good to meet you. My husband will be here soon. In the meantime, would you like a glass of wine?”
Never turning down wine, I smile. “I’d love some.”
“Right this way.”
Irises and daisies adorn the tables. Everything the book said about the café was true. I smooth the back of my dress as I sit down at a white-linen table with a platter of cheese, crackers, and grapes. I like this woman more and more by the minute.
“Which type of wine do you prefer?”
I notice what appears to be the beginning of a baby bump, but divert my eyes. “Do you have a preference?”
“Sauvignon Blanc is her choice.” A dark-haired man steps forward, kisses Pamela on the lips, and gives me his hand. “Jake Gibson. You must be Ms. Jarrod.”
Blue eyes stare at me. What’s with the blue eyes? “Yes, please call me Cait.” His grip doesn’t catch me off guard. I knew it’d be strong. “I’ll have Sauvignon, then.”
“I’ll get it, Sweetheart,” he says to Pamela and kisses her cheek this time.
Pamela watches, smiling. Within a few seconds, he’s back carrying two glasses of water and my wine. Maybe my suspicions of the bump are correct. “You two won’t be joining me?”
“No, I’m pregnant.” She giggles, as Jake reaches over and rubs her stomach, covered by a loose fitting blouse.
“Are you going to tell her?” he asks.
My eyebrows lift and I sip the wine. She said she’s pregnant. What more could it be?
“I’m having twins.”
The liquid rushes up my nose and I cough. “Excuse me. You startled me. Congratulations! That’s wonderful news.” I sputter, trying to get some sort of composure.
Jake darts over to the bar.
I clear my throat. “If it’s okay, I’d like to start the interview.”
“I’m ready as I’ll ever be.” Pamela grabs a cracker and tops it with a piece of cheese.
My nose burns and I push the wine aside, then pull out a notepad and pencil from my briefcase. “I’m old school. I like to take notes. Do you mind?”
“No, not at all.” She reaches for a grape.
I wonder if I am preventing her from eating lunch.
“Here’s some water.” Jake chuckles. “You should have seen my reaction. I did more than snort wine.”
“He spilled a cup of hot coffee in his lap.” Pamela laughs.
I swallow some water, getting the tickle out of my throat. These two are precious. They make me feel right at home. “I’ll start with the easy stuff. When did you two get married?”
“About four months ago.”
I sit back in my chair. “Oh, I thought it was recent, since the story just came out.” I lift my pencil in a light-bulb moment. “Silly me. Of course, the incident happened a little while ago.”
“Five months, since she agreed to become Mrs. Gibson.”
“He got jealous of my Rambo name.”
“You acted like him, Pamela.” I tease.
The gleam in her eyes disappears and Jake squeezes her hand.
“It’s still hard talking about the events. It’s no secret at the time Vivian and I didn’t get along, but what my stepfather did to her.” She draws in a deep breath.
“Let’s move on.” Jake interrupts. “Ask me some questions.”
I nod and Pamela wipes her tears from her cheek.
“During the situation with Sanjar, the terrorist, what was the most difficult task you had to do that involved Pamela?”
He stretches out his legs and groans. “Every one that put her life in jeopardy. I can’t pick one. They all sucked. Uhm, sorry.”
“No, it’s alright. I understand.” I glance at Pamela who had gotten herself together. “What about for you? What part of the ordeal concerning Jake scared you the most?”
“When Jake and Steve’s boats collided. I’ll never forget the fear that ran through me.” She swallowed. “Yet, the lighthouse was the worse. I waited on the deck while Jake had run back upstairs to get his pack. A few seconds later, I heard a gunshot.” Her body trembles.
Jake scoots his chair closer to her, wraps his arm around her shoulders, and tugs her into him. “You don’t have to say anymore.”
“I want to. Seeing him, bleeding …” Her words drift off.
This woman has shot two people, killing one. How does an untrained person undergo such peril? “Pamela …” I prop my elbow on the table and rest my chin on my hand. “How do you deal with it?”
Her eyes grow wide. “You mean to shoot someone?”
“I try not to think about it, but those men left me no choice.”
“No, not with Jake beside me.”
Jake’s cell rings and he glances at the number. “I need to take this. Excuse me.”
He steps away and again. Pamela watches. The love she has for him is obvious. “What about him attracted you?”
“Oh.” She hoots and faces me. “His tenderness, I think. When he snuck up behind me during the thunderstorm in there? ” She points in the direction of the kitchen.
“When you met?”
“Yes. In a gentle, caring voice, he said, ‘You have to trust me.’ I was in the middle of a crisis, yet I found something that I didn’t know I was missing. Him.
I listen to her, forgetting to take notes.
“Paul will be here in a few minutes to pick me up,” Jake said, returning to the table. “
My cue the interview is almost over. I straighten. “Paul’s your foster brother? How is he?”
“He’s good,” he said.
“I think he might have found someone,” she shifts and crosses her legs.
“There’s a lot of baggage, Pamela. Don’t wish for this relationship to work out just yet.” He leans closer to me. “She likes to play matchmaker.”
A solid smack on his arm, and she says, “I do not. Well. I just want him to be happy.”
“Me, too, but first, the possible murder on the farm needs to be resolved, and Mags ex locked up behind bars before I’m okay about the two of them.” Jake slid a hand down his face and glances at his wife. “And we thought we had a rough start.”
I’m intrigued. A murder. Ex-husband. “Will I be hearing this story later?”
Pamela tilts her head. “I imagine so.”
Another book around the corner. Good. “What about Steve and Celine? Are they dating?”
I glace over my shoulder. A sweet-looking older woman with gray hair and blue eyes walks toward us … again with the eyes.
“Your father is on the phone. Something about what medicine did Grand Ann take to upset her stomach last week.” The woman turns to me. “I’m sorry. I was wrapped up in getting Donald his answer, I didn’t see you.” She passes the phone to Pamela
“Cait, this is my step-mother, Marge Young.”
She does radiate warmth. “Nice to meet you.”
“You, too. I don’t mean to be rude, but there’s cooking to be done for the evening crowd.”
I observe the other patrons. My attention glued to the interview, I hadn’t notice the tables filling.
“Love you, too, Dad.” Pamela places the phone on the table. “Where were we? Oh yeah, Steve and Celine. They are a mystery. I can’t figure them out.”
“Steve is gone a lot. If I can ever get him to retire and join the Old Town Detectives, then they might have a chance.”
“He’s interested in buying the safe house we stayed at,” Pamela says. “It was a beautiful place.”
The beach house on the Chesapeake Bay sounds delightful. “Kaz’s Den?” I ask, not quite sure if I got the name right.
“The flower gardens were magnificent.”
“I imagine the owners were not happy when it blew up.”
Jake chuckles. “That’s an understatement. They returned from Key West furious. It’s being repaired now, but it’s doubtful the owners will ever live there again. It was their summer home. I think the whole incident took away the emotional value.” Jake rubs his jaw. “I feel bad about it.”
Pamela stood. “I’ll be right back. I need to go to the little girls’ room.”
When she was out of earshot, I face the handsome detective. “I’m curious, what is it about Pamela that caught your attention?”
His eyebrows shot up. “You’re kidding, right? You’ve looked at the woman; spoke to her, what’s not to love?”
He had a point there, but I want specifics. “Not one thing in particular?”
He stares at his folded hands and smiles before meeting my gaze. “You ever eat a piece of candy and love the outside as much as the filling?”
“Yes, Reese’s Cup.”
He taps the table with his fingers. “Exactly. Do you like the chocolate or the peanut butter best?”
I know where he’s going, and decide to answer anyway. “I can’t pick.”
“Because the whole package is what you love.”
“Package, what do you love?” Pamela sits next to her husband.
He squeezes her knee. “You.”
She giggles. “You’re such a riot. What did he compare me to?”
“A Reese’s Cup.”
“Well, I think you two have given me everything I need.” I slip my notepad and pencil in my briefcase and they escort me to the door. “When I’m finished typing my notes, I’ll email it to you to read first.”
“I’d appreciate it,” Jake said, opening the door for me. “There’s my ride.”
A dimple-faced man in a Jeep is parked in front of the Café.
Paul. I can’t wait to hear his story.