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Red Weather excerpt

He walked to the dock, hugging the shadows to avoid detection. Wasps simmered in his head. His tongue clicked against his teeth. His pulse raced. He had nearly reached the dock when he heard voices and spotted two people on the deck of a cabin cruiser. Rance ducked completely out of the light and crouched to watch and wait as the couple got off the boat and walked to the members-only Lakeside Marina parking lot.

Still in a crouch, Rance hurried along the dock to the slip holding the beautiful old cherry wood Chris-Craft owned by Dr. Chalmers, a chiropractor often seen towing his water-skiing daughters around the lake in the summertime. Rance untied the lines from the dock cleats and, clinging to the left side of the boat, slipped into the chill water up to his armpits. His canvas deck shoes sank in the silt as he pressed his shoulder against the stern and began to ease the boat away from the dock. He bounced on his toes to keep his head above the surface of the deepening water, moving slowly, despite his urgency, to make as little noise as possible, cautiously sliding through the lights illuminating the boat slips and the black lake water, afraid someone would spot him or the drifting Chris-Craft.

He waited to reach the pitch-dark end of the pier to hoist himself into the speedboat. The pungent smell filled his nostrils as he took out his pocketknife, pulled up and cut the fuel line, and splashed gasoline all over the boat. He found a pair of sweat socks wadded up under a seat, picked up one and soaked it with gasoline.

Carefully, he slipped back into the water with the drenched sock held above his head, and swam a few feet away from the boat. He paused and turned, slowly churning his feet as he un-pocketed his lighter, lit the balled sock, and threw it in the boat.

Flames snapped up from the interior. The beautiful cherry wood Chris-Craft became a torch on the water.