Sneak Peek – Weko 1 – Nick Rutledge

vintage-soda-shop-pexelsIn the last post, I introduced you to Nick. It was clear early on that this guy is going to be one of my favorites and I’m kind of sorry his book falls last in the series. Especially since it’s looking like this series could wind up being at least sixteen books long.

Yikes! I’m not making any promises though. As with any other series, it just depends on which characters stand up and demand for their stories to be told. 🙂

Today, I thought I’d share with you a bit of the first scene in the first book of the series. The one where we get to meet Mr. Rutledge. 

Next week, we’ll get to know Wesley or Lainey, the real stars of book one.  Hope you enjoy this sneak peek into this as yet untitled story.



Not only had the tray full of fountain glasses shattered all over the white tiles at his feet, now his brand new, ugly white canvass shoes were covered in root beer and ice cream.

As kids seated at tables and booths around the dining room laughed and pointed, fifteen year old Nick Rutledge stood there and closed his eyes, wishing the floor would open up and swallow him. Not quite the impression he wanted to make his first day at the first part-time job he’d ever had.

He’d thought for sure Gramps would fire him. Not only would the customers waiting for the floats have to wait until more were prepared, but he’d just broken seven thick glasses—and wasted a bunch of soda and ice cream. All Gramps said was accidents happen and it would take a little practice to get used to carrying the awkward, heavy trays.

Funny how that was the first memory that came to mind when Nick Rutledge walked through the door of the Surf ‘n Soda Shack. It beat the next ones though. The ones that felt like a virtual slap upside the head. The ones reminding him of all the phone calls…

When are you coming home, boy?

Gramps always wanted to know when he was coming back for a visit. Always. Nick usually managed to show up every Christmas, and maybe the occasional long weekend, but he hadn’t set foot in Weko Harbor in two and a half years.

Of course, if anyone in the family had bothered to mention that Gramps was sick, that he was dying, that he’d closed the cafe the summer before last, he’d have definitely stopped his wandering and come back. Because no matter how long he’d been gone, this still was home and family was still family. They always would be.

When he’d graduated from seminary school at the ripe old age of twenty-two, Nick had looked at the world as his proverbial oyster.

First, he’d felt led to take the position as youth pastor in Texas. After four months of living with the blistering summer heat, the temperatures so hot he’d feared the pavement might fry the soles of his feet off if he dared to walk outside without shoes, he’d decided he might not have been called there after all. And so he kept praying, scouring the internet, and hoping to find the perfect position he just knew God had waiting for him somewhere.

Unfortunately, it seemed that while he was good about talking at God, he wasn’t quite as good at listening to him. A couple more youth leader positions later and he found himself working at a gas station in southern Ohio, slouching low in the back pew at a small church on Sunday mornings, and too ashamed to admit to his family that he might have made a mistake about his calling.

So, like the mature man he obviously was not, he’d simply avoided them. For nearly every invitation—big or small—he’d had a ready excuse. He was ‘on call.’ Whenever his boss wanted to close for major holidays, he’d offered to work those days—just in case someone in town desperately needed gas or candy bars. If his family chose to believe he was doing ‘God’s work,’ that wasn’t his problem.

And now Gramps was dead.

He hadn’t even had a chance to say goodbye. No one called when he’d gotten sick, nor had they bothered to mention the fact that his health had been declining after his heart attack. A heart attack they hadn’t bothered to tell him about either. That had been at Gramps’ request though. That’s what his father told him at the funeral this morning anyway.

At least they’d called to let him know when that was.


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Profile 1: Nick Rutledge

fork-in-road-nature-lines-country-pexelsSince Nick’s book is likely going to be the last one in the Weko series, it might seem a little strange that’s he’s going to be my first profile. However, as I explained in a previous post, Nick is to Weko what Ed is to the Coach’s Boys – so he will be in every book.

Nick quickly became a favorite character because – well – who hasn’t struggled with their place in life from time to time? But I just think he’s cool, and pretty sexy, and a big sweetheart – even though he thinks he’s just confused.

So here’s his profile, a profile I’ll be referring to often (and adding to as I get to know him better) while I write the stories in this new series.

Oh yeah. I’m going to do a Pinterest page for each of the books and every time I share a profile, I’ll be adding the photo I’m using to picture each character. Just a quick heads up if you go looking for more photos of this particular guy – I was a little … ummm … surprised to find there’s at least one where he’s a little under-dressed. Okay, so he’s not dressed at all. Just thought a warning would be applicable. 🙂

Weko Series Pinterest Board

Nicholas Alexander Rutledge

Pronunciation: N/A

Title: Mr., Reverend

Nicknames: Nick

Sex: male

Race: caucasian

D.O.B.: July 17, 1988

Age: 28

Mental age: 50 going on 16

Height: 6′ 1″

Weight: 200 pounds

Eye color: brown

Hair color/length/style: dark brown, longish, a little shaggy

Race/skin color: white, slightly tanned

Glasses/contacts: neither

Marital status: single

Occupation: Inherited/owns soda shop, licensed minister, former minister, former mechanic

Current faith/religion: Christian

Parents: Paul (53)and Sylvia (53)

Siblings: Brett (oldest brother – 29), Chris (youngest brother-24)

Surgeries: appendix

Injuries/scars: cut chin on side walk when skateboarding as a teen

Physical details 

Body/build: muscular – but not bulky

Scars: scar on chin, appendix scar, burn scar on shin (about 2×3″)

Tattoos: none

Piercings: right ear

Birthmarks: mole on right side on the back of his neck


Phlegmatic: In many ways, this temperament describes Nick perfectly. He tends to be quiet, thoughtful, and introspective. He also cares about and is interested others, doing his best to help them when he can. Click the blue link for more information on this temperament.

Most prominent personality trait: selflessness

Best traits of their personality: loyal friend, trusting, caring, generous

Worst traits of their personality: indecisive, critical (of self)

Misc. Information

Superstitions/quirks: doesn’t wear a watch but is rarely late for appointments or work, must clean plate (heard too many times about the starving kids in other countries), keeps four quarters in his pocket all the time – in case he ever has to make an emergency phone call, for parking meters, needs a shopping cart at a bargain grocery store, or wants something from a vending machine. Mostly though, he pulls one out and uses it like a worry stone when he’s pondering things.

Good qualities: Delivers ‘to-go’ containers of leftover specials to poor people in are – the ones who sit at corners with signs, trustworthy, offers good and thoughtful advice (when asked), tries to see the best in people

Bad qualities: doesn’t like to shave (but doesn’t like a beard), bedroom is a disaster, can’t settle on what he wants to do with his life so tends to ‘run away’ (by ignoring the issue, but sometimes literally – mechanic job he never told anyone about)

Special skills: wood crafting, reading people, listening

Hobbies: refinishing old wooden furniture, building new wooden furniture, maybe does a blog for people who don’t know what they want to be in life,


Meat: grilled steak

Veggie: green beans

Fruit: apples

Dessert: mother’s apple pie

Snack: French fries

Breakfast: pancakes and sausage

Lunch: leftovers or ham sandwiches and chips

Supper: Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, and green beans

Beverage: root beer


What scared him/her as a child: Afraid of drowning after a classmate died in Lake Michigan. Hasn’t been able to swim in anything but a pool since.

Hates snakes.


In thinking about a song that could be used for Nick’s theme song, this one is the first that came to mind. He’s on a long and winding road … and he’s not sure what his destination is. At the same time, he considers his ‘brother’ to be anyone who happens to cross his path.

Hope to see you for the next post – which will be a snippet from Weko 1 – the working title of the first book in the series. 🙂


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Trying Something New

writer-1421099_1920pixabayIn the past five years or so, my blog posts have been all over the map – from a toothache to health issues to the occasional movie review to my septic tank …  usually though, they’re not related to writing. But after the instructor from a recent webinar gave everyone an assignment, I realize I have to start focusing a little more.

The assignment was, for me, easy. For the five people I asked the question of, not so much. Technically, I asked seven – in case a couple didn’t have time – or didn’t want to think that hard! Right now, I’ll say thank you again to Debbie, Kathie, Janette, Diana, Kitt, and Nancy for getting back with me so quickly.

The question? What are the things I’m most passionate about … and I needed three to five answers.

These ladies didn’t fail me but there was only a consensus on two of the answers – my family and writing. Hmm.

Don’t get me wrong – I love my family, immediate and extended. And I thought about how I could put my focus on them. And then I realized about my family and life could get dull in a hurry. I won’t go so far as to say we’re boring people, but we’re not terribly exciting either.

That leaves writing…

I consider myself a semi-expert on two subjects: being a mom and being a writer. Writing about writing though? I’ve never done that very often. I don’t know why. I guess it’s one thing to write books, but it’s quite another to try and come across like someone who knows what they’re doing. Except I guess I kind of do know something about it.

And I don’t have to actually write about the nuts and bolts of it. Not like I’m talking to other writers. There are plenty of non-technical stuff I can blog about. Like excerpts from manuscripts I’m working, profiles for major characters, where my inspiration for stories and scenes might come from, etc…

So I’m just going be myself and write about something I love – the whole writing process. Except editing. I don’t love editing. 🙂

Since I’m working on two projects at the moment – the first book in my Weko Harbor series and the outline and characters for another series – those are the things I’ll be sharing with you.

In my next post, we’ll get to know Nick Rutledge. While he isn’t one of the main characters in the first book, he is to Weko Harbor what Ed Winslow is to the Coach’s Boys … the anchor. That means he’ll have a fair amount of page time in all of the books.

Hope you will all enjoy the changes around here.

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Prince, Frog … or Wart on the Frog?

frog-princeIt’s probably fair to say that most every girl in the world has seen, or read, romantic fairytales. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White…  I could list more, but you get the idea.  Why are little girls (and sometimes not so little girls) captivated by the whole happily-ever-after thing?

Because we’re girls and a whole lot of us are seriously into romance.  And what could be better than a handsome Prince Charming coming to the rescue of the beautiful girl (or princess)?

Our very own Prince Charming. Or ‘Romeo,’ who kind of looks like a prince in the video below.

Are there any real-life princes though? When we were kids, we certainly thought so.  But then we grew up and started calling them soul mates. I guess that term makes it sound like there’s a deeper meaning to a relationship but I think they’re all pretty much the same thing.  No matter what we call them though, the question is…

Are they just fantasies conjured up by authors with overactive imaginations or real live, flesh and blood men?

Do fairytales set us up to be disappointed when we grow up?  Do we eventually give up and just settle, losing out on that whole soul mate connection?  Ordid we have it, only to lose it in the hustle and bustle of life?  Responsibilities, kids, jobs…

The Urban Dictionary defines ‘soul mate’ as:  A person with whom you have an immediate connection the moment you meet – a connection so strong that you are drawn to them in a way you have never experienced before…

Now I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the Urban Dictionary, but that seems to go along with what I’ve heard other people describe.  Those who believe they’ve found their other half.  Or at least they believe it in the early days. Wouldn’t it be interesting to talk to them ten years later and see if that assessment still holds true?

Are there any princes left today, if there were ever any to begin with?  Or do we just have well-behaved, fairly domesticated frogs to choose from?  I’m kind of leaning toward the frogs.  Just not too close.  After all, Miss Piggy was never able to turn Kermit into a prince with a kiss so why take a chance on catching warts?

What about you?  Do you believe in soul-mates?  Were you blessed with a prince, an amphibian … or something in between?



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What If We All Just Stopped Hating?

hateful woman - morguefileI used to find reading comments on articles and social media posts a great (and often amusing) way to waste time, procrastinate, or simply to satisfy my curiosity because I had to know what people were going to say about whatever it was I’d just read. Those days have long since passed because seeing the escalating hatred everywhere I look has gotten old.

Ugly words often lead to long, seemingly endless battles by participants who feel bold and brave as they hide behind a phone or computer screen. It’s easy to spew venom when it’s done in secret. When the ‘hater’ can’t see the expression of the person he or she has just ripped to verbal shreds. Of course, more often than not the victim gives back as good as they get, thus beginning a contest of sorts. Who can come up with the meanest, most foul comeback?

Like a virulent strain of flu infects the masses, so does hatred and intolerance.

Now, the hatred is spreading. Someone doesn’t like the God you believe in? The politician you support? The clothes you wear? You’re an uneducated idiot who needs real enlightenment. Still don’t believe in something that used to be considered taboo? You’re a bigot, a racist, intolerant.

Today, people are afraid of saying anything, or having an opinion, for fear of offending someone – or everyone. Because if they do share their honest feelings, they’re going to be verbally – or virtually – attacked.

Bullies are no longer confined to the schoolyard. They’re everywhere – and they come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and genders. And if you don’t agree with their opinions, support their causes, and make sure everything that comes out of your mouth is politically correct, you’ll live to regret it.

[bctt tweet=”Let’s infect the internet with kindness and love.” username=””]

No, we’re not part of the problem – but we can be carriers of the ‘cure’ for the ‘disease’ that’s infecting our social media.

If you’re as weary of internet ugliness as I am, let’s ‘infect the internet’ with kindness. Let’s try posting more upbeat messages, sharing more positive memes, responding to others with more courtesy and respect. It won’t put an end to real issues we face in the world today … but we can do our best to quash the sparks haters are trying to turn into wildfires.

My series, the Coach’s Boys, deals with a nameless, faceless hater (whose name and motivation I can’t reveal) who feels powerful – while hiding in the shadows. For a reason to be revealed in a later book, this stalker is bent on hurting Detective Ed Winslow, along with any of his friends who stick around to support him. Buy the whole series on – or read it ‘free’ with a Kindle Unlimited subscription.


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Snippet From the New Book

dentist-1025338_1280-pixabayI am having a blast working on this story! I wish I had a title, but so far, I don’t have a clue. But that’s okay. Weko 1 will work until I figure it out. As long as I know who my characters are and what they’re going to be doing (mostly) that’s what counts. And I’m loving these new characters – especially Wesley Cooper.

In the beginning, Wesley is a rather shallow, self-absorbed man. Appearance is everything to him, though he will discover that in terms of importance, it matters least of all.

Hope you enjoy this little snippet – because I sure had fun writing it. Just remember, it’s the first draft. 🙂

“Wesley? Wesley?” Lainey said, shaking his shoulder gently. He managed to lift his head enough to glance at her. “I’m going in to get your prescription. I’ll be right back, all right?”

She thought he mumbled ‘okay,’ but it was hard to tell since he was talking with a mouthful of gauze. Then his chin hit his chest again and she figured he’d sleep until they got to his apartment. Thank goodness, the parking lot was nearly empty so she shouldn’t be gone too long.

Expecting some sort of line, she was pleasantly surprised to find there was only one person ahead of her at the counter and thanks to the dentist phoning in his prescription, she was in and out of the store in well under ten minutes.

“Done,” she announced, sliding into the driver’s seat and digging in her purse for her keys.

It took a moment to register that Wesley was no longer in the car. For several long seconds, she sat there, staring at the empty seat in disbelief. Then she looked up and scanned the surrounding area. The pharmacy. The gas station and taco restaurant across the road on one corner. A pizza parlor and several other businesses on the other. The heavy lunch hour traffic…

“Please, please, please be in the pharmacy,” she prayed, flinging her door open and jumping out. She hit the pavement at a dead run, almost running into the door when it didn’t open fast enough.

He wasn’t in the first four aisles, but she found him staring at a selection of lipstick in the fifth, a look of confusion on his face when she rushed up to him.

“Wesley! You scared me half to death! Why did you get out of the car?” she demanded, tugging his hand and pulling him toward the door.

“Where’s the candy bars? I’m hungry.” It came out a muffled, mangled mess, and then he named a nut-filled bar that he was, evidently, craving so bad he might die if he didn’t get one this minute.

“Sorry, bud, but that’s on the taboo list for at least a month. Come on. Let’s get you home. Chase said he’ll be bringing enough chicken noodle soup and pudding to last until you’re allowed real food again.” Or at least until he was thinking clearly again. Just the thought of him trying to chew anything with peanuts with those four open wounds in his mouth made her cringe.

He was dozing before she pulled out of the parking lot and she had to shake him awake when they reached his apartment. Inside, she handed him the bag of fresh, sterile gauze pads the dentist had sent home with him.

“Here. You go in the bathroom and change these. Be careful—and no spitting. I’ll get you some water so you can have one of these.” But Wesley was ignoring her, staring at his hand like he’d never seen it before. He was holding it in a beam of light coming in from a gap the curtains, his expression one of awe. “What are you doing?”

“I see air,” he whispered reverently. Lainey laughed, grabbing his arms and turning him toward the hall.

“You see dust motes. Go on. Change that gauze so we can get you to bed.”

It was going to be a relief to hand his care over to Chase in a few hours. She wasn’t sure what the dentist had given him for pain, but he was clearly not used to anything stronger than aspirin. Best to let his brother deal with whatever might happen with the prescription.

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Time For a Little Honesty

depressed-window-view-1081788_1920-pixabayAnd I mostly need to be honest with myself.

It took a long talk with author CC Mackenzie to open my eyes to what I’ve been doing for the past year and a half. What might that be? To put it simply, I’ve been lying to myself. Telling myself I want to write this book, or that book … when all I’ve really been doing is trying to ‘write to market’ which, as I understand it, is writing what I think will sell the best.

I never used to do that, but with Amazon’s introduction of Kindle Unlimited in 2014, a lot of authors – myself included – found our royalties dropping dramatically. So what better way to counteract that than to write stories that should sell well?


I’ve blamed my lack of new books on my thyroid. Yes, I’m always tired because of hypothyroidism – but I’ve have been for a long time … even when I was publishing 4-6 books and novellas a year. I’ve blamed it on having less time since my daughter and the baby moved in back in January – except the baby sleeps and naps enough that I do have time.

CC suggested I look back over our messages and I’d see what my real problem is. It’s not being too tired. It isn’t that I don’t have enough time. Nope. Much as I might be trying to fool myself that it is, the real problem is far more simple, something another friend pointed out several months ago.

My heart hasn’t been in the stories I’ve been trying to write.

I’ve been ignoring what I want to write in favor of what I think will sell the best. And it’s just not working. I haven’t been enjoying it because writing has become a chore I avoid rather than something I love to do. I’m not saying I won’t write the stories that are partially completed because I’m 99% sure I will. Someday. I just can’t do them right now.

So I’m going to take a little time to decide what I want to write (which will hopefully also sell!). My only plan at the moment is to work more on the Weko Harbor story. It’s the only story I’ve been enthused about for more than a year, yet I put it on the back burner because I was in the middle of a few others. Others that I can’t seem to get written. Very smart decision, Kristy.


So while I’m busy working on that, I’m going to go through the other partially completed manuscripts and see if anything sparks a little interest. Anything that doesn’t will go into a special file while I focus on what does.

I really, truly want to enjoy writing again – and this is the only way that’s going to happen. So I’m going to thank you all in advance for toughing this out with me.

By now, you all know I love music. Music from a variety of genres. With all of the different choices out there, only one keeps coming to mind tonight. I’ve already kind of adopted it as my theme song for continuing to search for ways to overcome hypothyroidism, but then I realized it also has meaning for this conundrum.

I’m taking back the joy I’ve always found in writing. I don’t care about the things some people say, I’m going to do what I’ve always done. Until about eighteen months ago anyway. I’m going to write what I want to write. Yes, there are those who look down their noses at romance writers (and readers), but I don’t care. I’m not going to try to ‘class up’ the stories I have to tell just to make a highfalutin group of people happy. The only people I’m going to worry about are me – and all of you.


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8 Hours & 33 Minutes (and counting)

fall-1072821_1920-pixabayAs the vibrant greens of summer begin to fade, making way for the brilliant reds, golds, and oranges of autumn, my yearly countdown to October 1st is coming to another end. Gone are the hot and miserably humid days that make me feel like someone hit the slow-motion button on a remote control.

No more hugging air conditioners for me. Nope. It’s time to break out the bread machine, candles, sweaters, fuzzy socks, and fleece blankets. Oh yeah. And books. Lots and lots of books.

Because it’s finally here!

Welcome back, my old friend, Autumn. Sayonara, Summer. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

For those who hold fond memories of my least favorite season, this song is for you. The last verse is for me. It turned colder… Thank you, God. 🙂

(Psst! Shameless plug alert. If you like stories that take place partly in the fall, A Hero For Holly is a great choice!)

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Writing Assignment, Part 3 (Final)

And here’s the final installment of the story. I debated over ending it another way but the ‘happily-ever-after’ part of my brain just couldn’t handle the thought. 🙂


I finally feet some feeling came back to my arms and reach in my pocket to pull out my cell phone. Dialing 911, I manage to whisper ‘help me’ before hiding it behind the tools in the middle of the table – just before Jane appeared in the doorway.

“I always knew it was Lucy.”

“What do you mean?” I ask, eyeing the butcher knife in her hand.

“I knew you were having an affair. You couldn’t hide it from me, no matter how often you denied it.” A couple of steps closer now. Beads of sweat tickle their way down my temples and I want to brush them away but I don’t move.

“You’re wrong. I never had an affair. Not with Lucy, not with anyone.”

Liar!” she shouts, coming to stand on the other side of the table, slamming her hands – and the knife – on its Formica top.

Her eyes zero in on my sandwich and I take a chance, sliding the plate to the middle of the table.

“You think you’re going to distract me with food?” she snaps, staring at the plate like she hasn’t eaten in days. “If you’d let me finish the job on Tuesday, you’d already be dead. Now we have to go through all of that again.”

“Can we at least talk first? I want to know why, Jane. Why you never believed me. I was always faithful to you.”

“More lies.” She snaps, but she picks up half the sandwich.

I breathe a sigh of relief. The handle of the knife is still wrapped in her fist, but at least she hasn’t moved it from the table. As she chews the first bite, I hope the police are tracking the call, are listening to our conversation.

“You stole my baby,” she says after she swallows.

“The judge gave her to me.”

“Because of your lies. I’m not crazy, no matter what you got those doctors to say. Now I’m going to cut your throat. And after I watch you bleed to death, I’m going to pick Nell up from the party at eight and we’re going to disappear. No one will ever find us.”

There’s not a chance on the planet I’ll let her have my daughter. God only knows what she might do to her someday and my mind starts running through my options. A quick scan of my surroundings verify the fact that those options are few.

And then I know. The solution has been staring me in the face the whole time. I nod at my coffee and ask if I can have one last sip. Jane holds the knife up, warning me not to try anything as she takes another bite of the sandwich.

When the cup tips, spilling the brown liquid over the tabletop, she glances down. When she looks back up and sees what’s in my hand, she laughs.

“What are you going to do, drill me to death?”

“I might – if this was a drill.” I pull the trigger three times in rapid succession. The first two and a half inch nail between her eyes probably killed her but I added one on either side of it for good measure. As her body hits the floor, I pick up the phone and let the dispatcher know their escapee is dead.

In the distance, I hear what sounds like an army of sirens. I pick up the half of the sandwich I’d started to eat when I was so rudely interrupted and smile.

With all of the craziness of late, I realize I neglected to cancel Jane’s life insurance policy. At ten times more than the lapsed house policy had been worth, Nell and I can make a fresh start.

“Thanks, Jane,” I murmur as the first squad car squeals to a stop in front of the house.

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Writing Assignment, Part 2

As promised, here’s the second part of the writing assignment I wrote…

A few highlights stand out more than others, like when she cracked a couple of my ribs. Everything else blended together in a massive blur of pain.

If one of the junior partners hadn’t come out for a smoke, there’s no doubt I’d be dead today. It felt like forever but all in all the attack lasted maybe two minutes – including the damage she’d inflicted on the car between swings at me – before my co-workers managed to subdue her, so it hadn’t taken long as it felt. The colorful assortment of bruises peppering my body beg to differ.

Regardless, I’m a mess. If Frankenstein was sitting next to me, he’d look like a Hollywood stud and I’d look like the monster.

Slow deep breaths…

I will myself to calm down. It’s over. She’s currently lodged in a secure ward at the state mental hospital. Once they finish with her psychological evaluation, she’s likely heading to prison for assault and attempted murder. So I’m safe. Nell is safe. She can’t hurt us anymore.

Finally in control again, I stick the key in the ignition, taking a few minutes to consider my options.

Since Nelson waited until the day was nearly over before cutting me loose on my forced vacation, I can either pick Nell up from pre-school an hour and a half early, or I can stop at the store for some groceries and the birthday gift she’ll need for a classmate’s party that starts at five-thirty. I barely know the family but Miss Dixie, the head teacher at the school, assures me they’re a trustworthy couple.

Personally, I think they must be a little weird. Who schedules a party for kid on a Friday evening? Oh well. I guess as long as Nell has fun and they feed her the promised supper, it really doesn’t matter. In fact, it’s actually kind of a blessing. I haven’t been sleeping well since the attack so I’m thinking a short nap might be in order after I drop her off.


Sitting in the driveway looking at Lucy Smith’s huge Colonial house, I wonder if our longtime friendship will be enough to overcome the fact that I won’t be doing any repairs while she’s in Paris for the summer. That was the agreement – refurbish her kitchen, including the installation new cabinets, in exchange for rent.

Jane swore the fire at our old house was an accident. The arson report was inconclusive. An unattended bunch of candles started it but whether it was deliberate or not, no one would ever know.

Except I know. The fire was as much an accident her forgetting to pay the last house insurance premium. And the way she maxed out two of my credit cards just before everything she bought went up in smoke – along with all of our worldly possessions.

No matter how I look at it, she screwed me. My credit is in the tank and every cent I can spare is going to pay those cards off. I figure I can take care of those and save enough for a small apartment before Lucy gets back.

Now I have to get in touch with her and see if we can work out an arrangement to extend the deadline for the work. I already have most of the new drywall up so it won’t take forever. I just need a few extra weeks to pull the old cupboards out and put the custom made ones in.


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