Five Women in Black a Novel by BF Osawld

 Now in print and available from SynergEbooks, Amazon, and the author.

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bf oswald is known for his surprise endings and in Five Women in Black he's done it again - lead his readers along by making it appear that Rea Parker is all forgiving of Bob Osbourn's betrayal of her love and of making her an accomplice to murder - then bang! A great read.
—Julie Barnosky, Columbus, OH

Five Women in Black has lots of unique characters and lots of twists and turns to the story; just when you think you've got it figured out the story changes. Some of the sex is a bit much and some of the characters are a bit unbelievable, but I think that's' something you can do with fiction. I wouldn't change the ending.
—Jill Peck, North Royalton, OH

What a ride. Twists and turns galore. A thoroughly enjoyable book. ...Marlene Cioci
I'm biased; I like everything bf oswald writes but Five Women in Black is among his best works. Just when you think you know what is going to happen next, it doesn't. A good mystery and a real page turner.
—Cynthia Stimens, Mansfield, OH

This is the third book by bf oswald that I have read. He sure treats his women better than his men.
—Ron Jeffries, Dyke, IA

Synopsis:

Why do some very intelligent women make such poor choices when it comes to romance? And how do they become embroiled in devious plots, not of their making? Rea Parker knows. She's been there, done that. Five Women in Black is her story of intrigue and survival.


After a memorial service to celebrate the life of Professor Robert Osbourn, whose death is shrouded in mystery, Rea Parker is introduced to the three women he married and his two daughters; five women wearing the black of mourning, but not all carrying the same weight of grief. In her quest to write an accurate biography of Dr. Osbourn, she interviews these women and finds out some very troubling aspects of his life. During her investigation she becomes a possible accessory to murder and loses two men she had no intention of loving, but did, and unexpectedly rediscovers one of them.

PROLOGUE

The small plane was banking sharply to the right when it was captured by turbulence and flung several hundred feet upwards into the inky blackness. A lightning bolt shot earthward past the right wing illuminating the cabin. The pilot was slumped over the wheel hanging limply in his shoulder harness. The copilot, his forehead beaded with perspiration, was fighting with the controls trying to stabilize the light craft.
The thunderclap shook the plane violently as it rumbled away into the distance. Rain mixed with hail pelted against the thin metallic skin but the copilot seemed oblivious to the din, his tight-lipped, tense face was intent on the instrument panel before him.

Another flash of lightning split the boiling clouds and appeared to pull the plane violently down with it toward the Smoky Mountains. With grim determination, the copilot stabilized the plane again, then banked to the left and began a gradual spiraling descent. At 8500 feet the plane broke through the clouds, and the copilot was able to see the rugged terrain below illuminated by the frequent lightning.

Suddenly the plane flew out of the storm, and the copilot was able to see stars through the broken clouds above. He knew that the lull would only be temporary because lightning was dissecting another massive thunderhead immediately to his right.

Taking advantage of the relative calm, the copilot trimmed the tabs and the small plane leveled off about 1000 feet above the mountaintops. He turned on the cabin lights and glanced to his left at the lifeless body of the pilot then returned his attention to the instrument panel in front of him. Satisfied with what he saw the copilot pulled a map from a waterproof pouch and studied it briefly. His brow furled as he made a mental note of his location. Quickly he returned the map to the pouch, turned off the cabin lights, and took over the controls. Banking the plane to the left, he resumed his gradual descent.

The plane was within 200 feet of the ground when the copilot turned on the landing lights. The twin beams probed the darkness below illuminating a swath of green as they were reflected by the treetops. He dropped the right wing slightly and scanned the small patch of light below. Green suddenly gave way to rippling blackness as the plane passed over the shoreline of Mallard Lake.

The copilot let another few feet of altitude slip away as he flew parallel to the east shore. The turbulence was increasing, and he checked the location of the approaching storm, trying to estimate when it would engulf the plane.

As quickly as it had appeared the blackness of the water gave way to a tangle of green as the plane passed over the north shore. The copilot banked the small craft sharply to the left bringing it around 180 degrees at the same time dropping down to within 100 feet of the rough water below.

The sky above him was darkening rapidly as he flew south down the middle of the lake, landing lights now off, his eyes searching the darkness. He was checking the altimeter and almost missed seeing the three brief flashes of light coming from the water to his right. He flashed his landing lights in response to the signal; then he throttled back and lowered the wing and tail flaps. The small plane began to rapidly lose altitude.

The copilot turned on his landing lights again, and this time he could clearly see the water. The rising wind pushed the plane to the left at almost the same speed that it was moving forward. With muscles taut, he wrestled with the controls trying to maintain his course. The landing lights reflected off of the lapping waves that seemed to be reaching for the belly of the plane. Ahead he could see the outline of the shore with its dark wall of towering trees.
He tightened his grip on the wheel with his left hand while he quickly unsnapped his safety harness with his right. When he was free of the straps, he pulled back on the wheel with both hands bringing the nose of the plane above the horizon. It seemed to stop in mid-air, if only for a second, then the engine stalled, the nose dropped, and the small plane glided rapidly toward the water.

At the moment the plane stalled the copilot opened his door and threw himself out into the darkness. Drawing himself into a tight ball, he plummeted toward the lake. The impact knocked the wind from him, and he experienced a brief moment of panic as he felt the cold water close over his head. With determination, he uncoiled his body and bit into the water with his hands and arms pulling himself upward. His life vest inflated and forced his head above the surface; immediately he began sucking in huge lungs-full of cold night air.

He heard the plane hit the water and quickly turned his head toward the sound. He saw the outline of the aircraft as it skipped across the water like a smooth stone. There was a flash of lightning at the same time the plane reached the shore, and he watched the small plane being dismantled as it cut a swath through the trees at the water's edge. Suddenly there was orange fireball where the plane had been. A thunderclap drowned out the noise of the explosion.

The copilot watched as several small fires broke out to the right and left of the point of impact. The sound of an approaching boat caused him to turn around, and he saw a light bearing down on him from the north. Within moments he was in the cabin of a small launch wrapping himself in a blanket.
The old man at the helm glanced at his passenger and asked, "You OK?"

The copilot managed a weak smile as he replied, "Sore, but in one piece. No broken bones I guess." Then he added, "I wouldn't want to do this for a living!"

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