Annika Bale, one boot on the gunwale, stared up at the island’s towering cliff. The launch rose and fell, her stomach one queasy beat behind. The sharp rocks jutted perilously close. Dan had warned her the tide times would force them up the old steps, but not that the landing had crumbled to a ledge. Waves smashed, spraying her face. Annika swallowed hard. This was her last chance to get to Deadman’s Cove and she wasn’t backing out now.
‘Chuck your bag up to Dr Marchant. Then it’s you, me lover,’ shouted the boatman, pulsing the throttle.
She nodded as the launch rode the upsurge then dipped like a tango dancer.
On the following rise, she heaved her rucksack to Dan perched at the ready. He caught it, pulled it to his chest and gave the diver’s OK signal.
The launch plunged then pitched up, leaving her guts in the trough.
‘Ready?’ the boatman asked, wrestling with the wheel.
She took a deep breath of salty air and tensed her legs.
‘Not ye—!’ he shouted.
Her knees, shins and fingers stung as she scrambled for a foothold. Blood pounded in her ears. Her toe found a ridge which immediately sheared; fragments splashed into the dark waves. The launch was headed back up. She’d be ground into a bloody mess unless...