Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: November 10th 2020
Genres: Adult, Romance, Thriller
Skyla Overland is proud to work for Overland Insurance, the company founded by her grandfather. She enjoys sharing an apartment with her best friend, Pauline, and is in love with Edmond. Besides one nerve-wracking insurance fraud case in the past, her sheltered life is uneventful and just the way she likes it.
Until one day, everything changes…
Skyla and Troy, the manager at Overland Insurance, are the last ones to leave the office. In the empty parking lot, Troy takes her in his arms. Why would he ruin their easy-going friendship by kissing her, especially since he knows she’s dating Edmond?
Left alone, Skyla hurries to her car, puts on her seatbelt, and glances in her rearview mirror.
The face of a stranger grins at her from the backseat. “How nice to see you again,” he hisses close to her ear.
Regaining consciousness, Skyla finds herself on the backseat of her own car, with her hands tied behind her back.
Is she getting kidnapped? Who is he? And where is he taking her?
The trip into the city took him almost three hours. Rage dominated his already ugly frame of mind.
“Asshole!” he yelled, honking his horn at the unexpected car that suddenly pulled out right in front of him. “Who taught you to drive, slowpoke? Hit that throttle!”
He looked at his fuel gauge. Empty. A stream of curses spewed from his mouth. He wanted so much and had so little. Life was unfair. Everything he’d ever cared about had been taken away from him and all that remained were responsibilities. The upcoming holiday season only added to his misery. He hated Thanksgiving. It brought out too many people, the spirit of Christmas already in their eyes as they clogged up the streets, sidewalks, and parking lots. Beyond pathetic, they were blind to other people’s misery, pretending the world was one big happy place. It was not. Not for the likes of him.
He drove first to the post office. With any luck, his welfare check was waiting for him. After finding a parking spot, he got out of his pickup truck. The frigid November blizzard immediately hit him in the face, and he pulled up his collar against the snowflakes whirling around. The sidewalk was just starting to turn white, his boots leaving footprints in the slick layer. As he rounded the corner to Edison Street, the force of the cold westerly wind slammed into him. He took a quick hold of his baseball cap, drawing it further down to keep it from flying away, and shuddered. His threadbare camouflage jacket was no match for the almost below freezing temperatures.
Other pedestrians hustled by, all bundled up and eager to escape the cold. He envied them their warm coats. He needed one of those rugged waterproof parkas. Preferably one with a hood and lots of pockets. That would make life a little better.
At the post office, he opened his box and pulled out the small stack of mail. The first item that caught his attention was a red note, informing him his rent for the box was overdue. He mumbled a harsh word, crushed the note in his hand and tossed it onto the floor. “That check better be there,” he mumbled, searching through the stack of letters and advertisements until he found it. On his way out, he dumped the rest of the unopened mail in the garbage bin. Whatever it contained, he didn’t care.
Continuing his drive on fumes, he headed downtown to cash what had become his only source of income. Without a phone or a watch, he had no idea of the exact time. The darkening sky suggested it had to be close to five. When he reached the bank, it was already closed.
“Damn you people,” he shouted. He banged his right fist several times against the glass door, leaving dirty smudges all over. “Lazy sons of bitches! Can’t you work a few minutes longer?”
He looked around with wild eyes filled with wrath, his hands still balled into fists. Several pedestrians hurried to get out his way. He didn’t even notice their shocked reactions as he continued to rant and rave. “Get out of my way!”
He lumbered back to his truck. His stomach growled, and he hadn’t had a cigarette in more than two weeks. He craved the nicotine more than anything. What now?
Frustrated, he stepped in and slammed his palm against the steering wheel. He’d spent his last few bucks on gas and didn’t even have a penny left in his pocket, the mental image of the double burger and large fries beyond his reach. Dammit, he needed cash. He needed it now.
All over the city, lights sparkled. Store windows glowed, filled with decorations and signs, trying to lure in customers with discounts. The holiday season would kick off with Thanksgiving only a few days away, followed by Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. All the cheerfulness and brightness fueled his resentment. What a way to spend your time, buying useless gifts nobody wanted or needed. Didn’t they have anything better to do with their money? Why not give it to the poor and needy, to someone like him?
Traffic crawled. The snow stopped, turning into a light drizzle. With luck, he might just make it to the Westside Soup Kitchen. He’d been there several times in the past. Run by several priests, or some other religious dudes, the food was decent. They even served a second helping if someone asked. With the holiday season, people were more generous to the hungry and donations to shelters increased. Who knew? They might even offer dessert.
He left his truck and walked the last few blocks. On the way, he passed an All-American diner, an Italian restaurant, and two burger joints. The delicious smell of roasted meat and french fries tickled his senses and made him salivate. His anger against the bank flared up again. He would have given anything for a juicy burger smothered in cheese and several thick strips of bacon, or for a bucket of fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy. Instead, he would probably wind up eating spaghetti and cheap white dinner rolls, or Spanish rice with sticks of celery and iceberg salad.
One of the city buses came to a halt next to him, the screeching brakes drawing his attention. The doors opened and people streamed out on the sidewalk in front of him. Others waited to climb on board, blocking his path. He stopped and waited, his hands deep in his pockets, until he noticed the colorful advertisement on the side of the bus.
It read – ‘Protection for all you hold dear. Call Overland Insurance’ – in bold lettering, with two men and two women on either side, all four dressed to perfection, smiling brightly with their too white, orthodontia-enhanced teeth.
Author Bio:A long time ago, I fell in love with the United States while traveling around in an Oldsmobile station-wagon with my husband. We are both born and raised in the Netherlands.Together, we eventually found our way to the Pacific Northwest, built up a business, and raised our two boys into amazing young adults with their own careers. During this time, I also made a slow transition from reader to writer of many different stories.My multiple award winning debut novel "Storm at Keizer Manor" sets the bar high for my second novel, Eagles in Flight.All my books are stand alone novels in different genres. You might be in for a surprise, or a disappointment.
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