A Sneak Preview of The Third Rule of Ten
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
A Sneak Preview of The Third Rule of TenA Captivating Tenzing Norbu Mystery
Ex-Buddhist monk and ex-LAPD officer turned private eye Tenzing Norbu is back with a new case, and it all begins with a mysterious early morning dream…or is it?
“Ayúdame.” The high-pitched voice was edged with stress and close, as if the owner’s mouth hovered an inch from my ear. “Ayúdame.”
My eyes snapped open, but my body knew better than to move. The muted light pressing through the bedroom window announced it was almost dawn. My eyes shifted right. The space by my side of the bed, where a woman in distress—a woman in distress who spoke Spanish—should be standing, was empty. I lifted my head and quick-scanned the rest of the bedroom. Empty. I rolled onto my left side, facing Heather. As usual, sometime during the night she had inched to the rim of the mattress and manufactured a rumpled bunker of bedclothes, within which her breath rose and fell in the steady rhythm signifying deep sleep. Her sloped silhouette was beautiful. I reached across the bed to trace my fingers along her curved side, but pulled my arm back. In the months we had been officially together, I’d learned at least one very important lesson: Never, ever wake up a forensic medical examiner on her one day off.
At my feet, the feline puddle of fur and whiskers called Tank was equally still, so it wasn’t his meow I’d heard. Finally, I checked the small monitor on my wall, which was connected to a series of small cameras outside—my electronic eyeballs on any intrusive dangers. Nothing. No one else was here, inside or out. I was hearing things, experiencing some kind of auditory hallucination. Great: one more item to add to my list of worrisome new behaviors.
Sunday or not, sleep was no longer an option. I slipped out of bed and pulled on a baggy pair of sweatpants and a long-sleeved, cotton T-shirt. Tank lifted his head. His green eyes narrowed in the soft light, observing me as I dressed. His whiskers twitched—the equivalent of a cat shrug. He curled like a cashew, tucked his nose between his paws, and went back to sleep.
I tiptoed into the living room, grabbed the plaid blanket Heather had recently added to the sectional sofa, wrapped it around my shoulders, and padded through the kitchen and outside to the deck, careful to deactivate the Guard-on system first. After several months of living with this ridiculously expensive and hypervigilant organism of panoramic cameras and outdoor sensors, digital alerts and interconnected alarms, I was finally getting used to the thing. I still didn’t know whether to thank or curse my late client Julius Rosen for bequeathing me such a high-tech, über-expensive security system. It arrived with a handwritten note in Julius’s tiny, crabbed writing—one more symptom of his advanced Parkinson’s. “For my friend Tenzing Norbu,” the note read. “I deeply regret putting you on the radar of certain people and hope this will give you the protection you need and deserve.”
When “certain people” include Mexican drug lords, four miniscule outdoor cameras and two indoor digital screens don’t exactly add up to safety, but in the end I appreciated the gesture. At $6,000 a pop, there was no way I would have paid for a Guard-on system myself. In any case, apart from a few startled raccoons, one terrified jogger, and several accidental triggers by me, nothing had yet proved cause for alarm. So to speak.
I shivered and pulled my blanket tighter. The canyon was draped in its own blanket, this one of thick mist—the southern California June gloom had arrived early this year. A coyote chuckled. Another replied. Soon a jumble of feral wails and eerie shrieks filled the dawn air, like a chorus of frightened women.
I rubbed my arms and did a brisk stomping dance to shake off my mood. I had a big day ahead of me. No reason to start out, as my mother, Valerie, used to put it, “on a bummer.”
A warm body brushed against my ankles.
“Hey, Tank. Change your mind?”
I bent down, enveloped 17 pounds of sleepy cat in a wool blanket, and hauled the dense bundle up to my chest.
The coyote cries faded into silence. The mist thinned. Watery early morning sunshine barely pierced the layers of fog and darkness. Topanga Canyon seemed especially secretive today, as if unconsciously crossing her arms tight, holding any private thoughts deep in her shadowy folds.
She’s hiding things. Just like me.
I should meditate, I thought. It’s been a few days.
The sun was finally up. Tank bolted from my arms and darted inside. Either his stomach or his bladder was making its needs known. Come to think of it . . .
I stepped off the deck for a quick pee, promised my own growling stomach I would make it very happy, very soon, then returned to the kitchen to deal with the rest of my essential morning tasks. Namely: feed cat, feed cat, and feed cat.
Back in the bedroom, I tried to change into my jeans and T-shirt quietly, but Heather hears like a hawk sees.
“Where’re you off to?” Her voice was muffled with sleep, and sounded slightly irritated. I crossed to the bed and kissed her lightly on the forehead. Framed with a tangle of blonde hair, her face glowed in the pale light, ridiculously flawless.
“Sorry. Work. Remember? I told you last night. I have another appointment with Mac Gannon. And you have no right to look like this on five hours of sleep.”
Heather’s lips formed a little pout. “Oh, right. Your new best friend. Some people get to have all the fun.” She licked her index finger and touched the back of my hand, making a sound like hot oil hitting a skillet: Sssttt! “Hotshot. Okay then. Have fun. Keep me posted.”
“You speak Spanish, right?”
“Enough to get by.”
“What does ayúdame mean?”
She met my eyes; hers were a little troubled.
“Ayúdame means Help me.”
A small chill snaked up my spine. I shrugged it off. So someone was asking for help—it was probably my own troubled psyche.
Excerpted from The Third Rule of Ten by Gay Hendricks. Copyright © 2014 (Hay House).