The Keeper's Journal

The Keeper's Journal by Deidre Dalton is Book #5 in the Collective Obsessions Saga.


Shannon Larkin is forced to confront demons from her past, while her daughter Angie discovers Colm Sullivan's journal in the old lighthouse keeper's cottage. The diary sheds light on the history between the Larkin and Sullivan families, but may be too late to stop the sisters of Mike Sullivan from wreaking vengeance on the Larkin's for sins and tragedies from the past.

From Chapter Eleven

July 1995

Larkin City, Maine


TOM AND ANGIE ENJOYED their second sojourn to the keeper's cottage as much as their first. They made love in the bedroom, and again had a leisurely lunch on the porch.

"I could get used to this," he said as they finished the salmon quiche Shannon made for them. "My God, I feel like I'm in heaven."

"You are, Cimarelli," Angie told him. "You have me, and you are in Larkin."

He smiled. "I've never felt so good. It must be your tender loving care."

She blushed slightly. "I didn't think it was that tender." She was recalling the night before when she snuck into his room. It seemed like the more she had of him, the more she wanted. Last night she pushed him down on his own bed and rode him like he had her, watching the expression in his eyes darken into stark lust. She felt herself tingle all over as she thought about it.

He watched her, a slow grin spreading across his face. "You're thinking about last night, aren't you?" he said, his voice low.

She nodded.

"Me, too. You're going to drive me wild, woman."

"I'm sure it isn't anything you haven't done before," she said flippantly.

Tom guffawed. "I beg to differ, lady. No woman has ever taken control of me like you did last night."

"I'm a lady now, not a kid?"

"Every inch a lady. My lady - perfectly well-mannered to the outside world, but nastier than hell in the bedroom," he snickered. "You're going to ruin me."

"How so?" she asked, thrilled that he called her my lady.

"I can never see past you again, Angela," he replied, suddenly serious. He looked at her intently. "No one else will do but you. I'm afraid you're stuck with that fact."

"You can't stick a volunteer," she said softly. They regarded one another warmly for several minutes, anticipating the rest of their day together.

"We should do some work, you know," she finally pointed out.

"I know, but I can't seem to concentrate on work." Tom looked out over the ocean again, feeling peace within him. He noticed waves bounding higher in the distance. He forgot his camera in his hurry to get Angie back to the cottage. Then he had an idea.

"Is there a pair of binoculars handy in the cottage?" he asked her.

"Yes, I believe so," she said. "In the roll top desk. Why?"

"Look at the waves," he enthused. "I'd like to take a closer look at them."

She laughed. "Oh, the fickleness of men. A minute ago you were thinking of dragging me back to bed, and now you want to look at some old waves."

"Never fear, lady," he told her strongly. "This night will not be a restful one for you, if I have my way."

Angie stretched her arms above her head, watching Tom's eyes flicker over her breasts. She smiled in satisfaction. "Okay, buster. I'll go and get the binoculars."

"And I'll pour us more wine."

She kissed him before she went back into the cottage. He grabbed her hand, squeezing it gently before letting her go.

Once inside the cottage, Angie went directly to the living area. She knew there was a pair of binoculars in the desk as she and Jamie used them when they were younger. She opened the desk, revealing little cubby holes underneath. She spied the glasses in one of the holes. As she removed them, the scope of the lens bumped into the side of the cubby hole, making a scraping, hollow sound.

"Hollow?" she thought. "That's strange. The desk is supposedly made of solid wood."  She set the binoculars on the desk top, and then felt around the suspicious cubby hole. There was definitely something wrong. She knocked at the back of the slot, and it was indeed hollow-sounding. Intrigued she pushed gently on the back wall of the hole to see if the wood was movable. Within seconds, the wall of the cubby hole came loose in her hand. Amazed, she looked down. It was a false partition, apparently put in place to conceal something inside the desk. Putting the piece of wood next to the binoculars, she went into the kitchen in search of a flashlight.

She found a flashlight in a drawer in the kitchen. Hurriedly, she returned to the desk, switching the light on. She shined it into the cubby hole and gasped. The hiding place was deeper than the hole, suggesting it went further down inside the desk. Reaching her hand inside, she felt around carefully, fearful she might run across a spider. Almost at once, her hand grasped a book. Putting the flashlight down, she used her other hand to help pry the book out of the small hole. After a few minutes, she was able to bring it forth.

Angie gasped audibly, her hands starting to shake. She could not believe her eyes, but there it was, in legible English. She read it three times before it finally registered:

The Private Journal of Colm Michael Sullivan. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

She stared at the cover of the book. "What the hell is this? Colm Sullivan?" Questions began running through her mind. "Was Colm related to Mike Sullivan? What's the connection, if any? And what does it mean?"

The sound of Tom's voice brought her out of her reverie.

"What's taking you so long, Angie?" He called from the porch.

"Tom," she raised her voice. "You have to come here."

There must have been something in her tone suggesting urgency, because Tom was at her side in seconds. He looked askance at her, and she handed him the book. He glanced down at the cover, and his eyes widened. He then looked at the desk, and the gaping cubby hole.

"You found this in there?" he asked her.

She nodded. "I found the binoculars first, but the wood inside the hole felt hollow. That's when I found the book. Tom, what the hell does this mean?"

"The only way to find out is to read it," he answered her grimly. "This is very interesting. Colm Sullivan? Good God, Angela, are you thinking what I'm thinking?"

"What are you thinking?" she asked weakly.

"That there is more to the Sullivan's and the Larkin's than just your mother and Michael," he said. "The story might reach back for years. Do you think anyone else knows about the journal?"

"I don't know. I've never seen it before. No one has ever mentioned it, though. Not even Mum, or Grandpa and Grandma Larkin." She shuddered. "Maybe we should just put it back. There might be things in there better left unknown."

"Angie, this is part of our story," Tom said. "Let's just take a look at it. If it's really damaging, we'll put it back. You never know - it might shed more light on the story surrounding Michael Sullivan. We have to read the journal. We have to."

She seemed uncomfortable. "Not here, though. Put the book in the beach bag. Let's go back to the house. Tonight, after everyone is in bed, we'll read. I'll come to your room. Keep the journal there."

He stopped short, concerned by her apparent agitation. "Angie, what's wrong? Does this book scare you?"

"Yes, in a way."


She crossed her arms, rubbing her hands on her elbows in a nervous gesture. "I'm half-scared there will be something in the journal that will hurt my mother again. That somehow there is more to the story of Mike Sullivan than anyone knows. You remember the tape in Detective Balsam's office? Mike kept saying there was a tie between him and my mother that no one knew about but them. What if the key to that mystery is in this book? How can I ask my mother about it?"

Tom set the book on the desk. He took her by the arms gently. "We'll read the journal," he said quietly. "If you think it contains anything that might hurt your mother or upset your father, we'll put it back in its hiding place and no one will be the wiser. It will be between me and you."

She stared up at him. "Are you sure?"

"I swear to you, Angela. I give you my word."

She hugged him. He held her tightly, kissing the top of her head. Tom's mind was in a whirl. With a publisher's instinct, he had known all along the story was more complicated than it appeared. And he was right. However, he wasn't willing to compromise his relationship with Angie. If she decided the book was too sensitive to bring to light, he would honor his word and return it to the cubby hole, never to speak of it again.

"I want to read it," she said firmly. "Let's go back to the mansion. The sooner we read the journal, the sooner we'll know what's really going on."

He nodded. "Okay. Remember, whatever you decide, I'll keep my word."

Angie smiled wanly at him, reassured by his words, but she still had a feeling of fear and dread in the pit of her stomach. She knew it was time to unravel pieces of the puzzle surrounding the relationship between her mother and Mike Sullivan.


THE KEEPER'S JOURNAL ©Deidre Dalton. All rights reserved.

"The Keeper's Journal" may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the author. "The Keeper's Journal" is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental.