This site provides the first few chapters for free so you can decide if you like the story before buying the book. MATURE CONTENT: These sample chapters contain sexual temptations, discussions, and some sexual terms in descriptions of the main character's private thoughts. Later parts of the book (not in these free sample chapters) include sexually-explicit scenes between husband and wife and one scene of moderate violence.
“Uuuuuh.” Susan let the alarm continue for a while before finally reaching over to turn it off.
She pushed her legs over the side and slowly sat up without opening her eyes. Four AM. Have to be there at five. Thirty-five minutes to walk if I walk fast. Forty to be safe. That leaves twenty minutes to be walking out of the house. That means I have to leave at… four-twenty. “Uuuuuh.”
She staggered to the bathroom and started the water running for a quick shower. No time to shave my legs. Have to skip the hair. Shoot. Gray and dirty to boot. Boot, shoot… fruit. Fruit? She tapped on the side of the tub.
Where did that come from? Is my mind falling apart? What kind of disease would do that?She pulled the shower knob and got in. The dreaded fruit-mind disease…
“Aaah!” Cold! She shook her head and her thinking started to clear up. Her hands worked rapidly without thinking. Got to hurry if I’m going to eat something before I go. Can’t be sure I’ll have time at work. Oh… don’t have to have cereal. I can fix something to eat while I walk. What am I going to wear? Have to draw attention away from my dirty hair. No earrings. Emerald pendant… No, don’t want to complement my eyes and draw his eyes up there… oh, shoot! Charles is going to be looking at my smile no matter what I do. So he’s going to see my hair no matter what I do! Well, dummy, of course he’s going to see my hair. Well… matching emerald pendant, earrings, and ring, then. Might as well ‘go down fighting.’
She turned the water off and grabbed a towel. What am I saying? I’m not trying to seduce him! I’m not trying to… win his heart. Am I? No… dating and marriage are too much trouble… too much pain. Lord, I don’t want to get married again! Is it just a natural feminine trait to try to impress a man who shows romantic interest? Can you help me overcome that?
Susan threw the towel over the curtain rod, brushed her teeth, then rushed to her chest of drawers and started putting on basics. Does part of me… want… something? Am I just flattered that a good-looking man is attracted to me?
Up to her jeans and bra, all she had left to pick was a top to set off the pendant. Maybe he won’t make it into the store this morning. Yeah, I’ll have a chance to get home before I see him again. Will… will he come over here again? My phone number… he still doesn’t have it! “Shoot!” I don’t have time for this!
She snatched a top off a padded hanger, put it on, and looked in the mirror on the back of her closet door. My lowest neckline…! Good Lord! Oh… my smock! It’ll cover it up anyway. Good! He won’t think I want him to look at my boobs and get ideas…
Her socks and shoes were next, and she put on eyeliner, some green eye shadow, and some concealer before rushing into the kitchen and looking at the clock. Twelve after? Can that be right? Must be a record. How long does cereal take? Can’t chance it.
Susan made a quick baloney sandwich, gathered her purse and jacket and headed out the door, locking it behind her.
She skipped down the two steps from her porch onto her walkway, headed toward the driveway to the sidewalk and noticed a car parked by the curb. She slowed her pace down to a crawl. What is… is that the car Charles was in last night…? Why would…?
The driver’s door opened, and a bleary-eyed Charles got out and waved.
There’s that shy grin again. Wow. Does he know how… attractive that is? “What are you doing here?”
“Well, I know you walked to work yesterday, so I thought you might walk all the time. And I thought you might have a hard time getting up this morning, and if you were running a little late, you might need a ride.”
It’s a quarter after four in the morning. Is he safe? Well of course he is… I’m pretty sure. I should be sure, shouldn’t I? He’s not faking being a Christian is he? He’s just standing there waiting for me to say something. Or do something.
Susan smiled a bit awkwardly and walked closer. “I’m sorry, you just caught me off guard.”
“I didn’t mean to impose. If you’d rather walk, so you can pray or whatever, please don’t feel obligated just because I’m here.” Then Charles chuckled.
She stopped beside the car. “What’re you laughing about?”
“I was going to say I’ll just go on home, if you’d rather walk, but do you know where my apartment is?”
“It’s in the apartment complex above your coffee shop.”
He laughed again. “So even if you want to walk, I’m still going to be driving right there.”
“Oh! Well, I guess it would be a little silly not to take you up on your offer, then. Thank you.”
Charles opened the passenger door for her, and as she got in with him looking down at her, a sway in her semi-exposed breasts caught her attention. Oh, no! Why didn’t I close my jacket before I came outside? Should I explain my rush to pick a top? Apologize? He’ll think I’m a slut.
Once he was back behind the wheel and they were buckled up, he started the engine, and started driving. “You look very nice.”
“Thank you,” she said after hesitating and fidgeting with her purse. “Very,” huh? I didn’t notice you staring… are you complimenting how much skin I’m showing? My overall outfit? Did you get a good look down my blouse? Or…
“So, you walk back and forth to work, when you don’t have a chauffeur. Are you trying to save the environment, force yourself to exercise, or what?”
“I have a car, but it’s broken. It’s in my garage, but I can’t afford to get it fixed right now.”
“Oh, what’s wrong with it?”
“It won’t start. It was getting worse and worse, and I took it to a shop and they told me it was the transmission. They said it’d cost about twelve hundred dollars to fix.”
“The transmission? Exactly how was it behaving?”
“Well, I’d turn the key and it’d make a grinding noise. Or just a clicking noise… Now it doesn’t do anything at all.”
“Hmm. Who told you it was the transmission?”
Susan blushed. “Well, the place I used to work was out of business, so I took it to the dealership where I bought it. They sold it to me as-is, so there wasn’t a warranty.”
“Anyway, I wouldn’t be able to afford it no matter how much it was. The Coffy Corner isn’t going to pay many bills.”
“Ah, I guess not.”
They drove on in silence for a moment, and Susan cast a glance at her “chauffeur.” He had to have less sleep than I did. Yet he got up and came over, just on the chance that I might get up late and need a ride. “How much sleep did you get?”
“None… I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to wake up… even after I got to your house, I was afraid you’d come outside and find me asleep in the car and not know what to think. I brought some coffee, listened to the radio, got out and walked around periodically.”
“You shouldn’t have done that. I would have been okay.”
“Well, I had kept you up late.”
I probably got to sleep earlier than I would have if you hadn’t come by to tell me why you didn’t come by the Coffy Corner.
Charles started slowing down to turn into the building’s below-ground parking deck. “Listen, I’m going to go upstairs and crash. Since you get off at ten, you take my keys and parking pass and take my car home when you get off. It’s an automatic transmission, and as easy as can be to drive. I can take a taxi over later after I get up.”
“Oh, no, I’ll just walk home. I’ll be fine.”
“You’re going to be working on your feet for hours. I’m going to be off mine.”
Susan remembered how tired her feet were the day before, and could still feel some sting on her calf. “But I don’t want you to have to pay for a cab, that would…”
“You’re right, I give up.”
Shoot. I didn’t think you’d give up that easily.
He pulled into a parking spot, turned off the ignition, and held out the keys for her. “You’re right. I won’t take a cab, I’ll walk.” He gave her a big smile. “I’ll be fresh and can use the exercise.”
Susan stared at the keys. I walk or he walks. I’m tired, he won’t be. She snatched the keys. “Sold.”
He handed her the parking pass also, they got out, and he showed her where the elevator was and they rode up to the lobby where she got out. “If you don’t mind, I’m going to go on upstairs. I don’t think I’m going to last much longer.”
“Oh, sure, go ahead. And Charles, thank you very much for the loan of your car,” she said with a smile.
Charles just looked at her for a long moment, and a big smile grew across his own face. “Thank you for the smile,” he said as the doors closed.
Susan sighed contentedly and looked at the keys. If you’re trying to impress me… it’s working.
She quickly ate her sandwich in the lobby and then looked up and down the sidewalk for suspicious characters before letting the lobby door close behind her. What time is it? Driving got me here early…
She got out her cell phone and looked at the time. I’ve still got twenty-five minutes. I won’t even be able to get in yet.
She stopped in her tracks when she spotted someone coming from around the corner. Oh, it’s Andy!
“Good morning, Andy, you’re here early.”
Andy looked surprised and paused. “Oh, good morning,” he said with relief. “For a moment there I thought you might be a mugger… Anyway, I always get here early to get things started.” He unlocked the door and went in first, but held the door for Susan.
“Thank you, Andy,” she said as she walked past him into the darkened shop.
He paused, then closed and locked the door.
Susan turned to face him again, and he turned back toward her. Uh-oh. I don’t think you’ll try anything, but… She pulled her jacket closed in front.
“We keep it locked until opening. You’d be surprised how many people would come in otherwise.”
“Oh.” Well why are you acting nervous?
Andy fidgeted. “Listen, I want you to just tell me straight up. Are you here to replace me?”
Susan cocked her head. “What?”
“Is Mr. Burton going to make you the manager as soon as you get trained?”
“What… you thought… no. Why would you think that?”
“Well, he’s never hired anyone so old before.”
There you go again with the ‘old.’
“And you don’t have to work Sundays.”
At least now I know what’s bothering you. Now how can I reassure you? “Well, Andy, he didn’t say anything to me about replacing you, or even me being co-manager or a manager of any kind, and it seems like he would have if that’s what he had in mind. As for Sundays, I told him I won’t work on Sundays… He told me I’d have to, and I turned down the job. I guess he’s had a hard time finding people for the low pay he offers, because he hired me even with no-Sundays.”
She shifted her weight to one leg. “And it might make you feel better to know I told him I only wanted this job until I can find something like what I’ve been doing for the last… few years. And Mr. Burton seemed okay with that. And I haven’t spoken to him since.”
Andy still looked skeptical. “Yeah, but that’s what you’d say if he was planning to give you my job.”
“No, I’m a Christian, and I wouldn’t lie about it. If he had asked me to take over eventually and keep it confidential, I would have just told you I can’t talk about it.”
“Huh. Well, I guess I’ll find out eventually,” he said as he walked past her and started getting to work.
Susan pitched in but had to ask a lot of questions… Andy wasn’t volunteering any information about the first-of-the-morning tasks. Lord, I can’t think of any way to convince him I’m not out to take his job away from him. Can you please do that?
Susan finished her short shift and walked back into the parking deck to Charles’ sports car. She got behind the wheel, settled into the seat, and turned on the interior lights to look the car over. Mmm, the leather smells good.
She turned on the radio and heard singing as if she were in the middle of an auditorium. Christian praise & worship!
She glanced at the display to see which station it was. 89.1, my favorite! That speaks volumes about Charles. “Speaking” of “volume…”
Susan cranked up the volume till it hurt and it was crystal clear even at that level. Wow.She backed off a smidgen for a moment, then finally lowered it to a comfortable setting.
It took her a few minutes to get the seat and outside mirrors adjusted to her satisfaction.
She started the engine. Can’t even hear it over the music… She turned it down to make sure the engine was running, and could barely hear it even when she pressed on the gas.
Didn’t notice how quiet this car is this morning… she mused as she raised the volume again and drove out of the parking garage and turned onto the street.
Wow, it really handles well… She glanced at the dashboard clock. Ten fifteen. Charles will probably sleep for hours still. I wonder if he’d mind if I find a “long” way home…? If he did, he probably wouldn’t have loaned me his car at all. Hmm…
Susan turned left and a few blocks later turned onto an I-40 on-ramp and pressed the gas pedal harder. Whoa! That’s some kind of acceleration!
She eased off as the car reached the merge area and put the turn signal on. Traffic’s light.
Once she got comfortable with the flow of traffic, she shifted a lane to the left and sped up. Wow, this car feels smoother at sixty-five than my car does at… She laughed out loud. At any speed!
She was slowing approaching a car ahead in her lane and looked around to see that the next lane to the left had no cars at all, so she shifted over again. And slowly kept speeding up.
After a few minutes, she noticed something seemed wrong, and instinctively looked around. Did everyone slow down for some reason? Is there…? She glanced down at the speedometer. Ninety? No way! Ninety?
She eased off the pedal with her mouth hanging open and saw the speed slowly decrease back to sixty-five. I don’t believe it! Ninety miles per hour feels so smooth it’s almost like sitting still! That was amazing! That was…
Flashing blue lights in Susan’s rear-view mirror caught her attention. Oh, no! I didn’t mean to! I… ohhh!
Susan walked into her house, locked the door behind her, went into the kitchen, and put the speeding ticket on the dining room table. She sat down and kicked her shoes off. Two hundred dollars! A week’s pay at the Coffy Corner, or more. Ohhhh, why did I go joy-riding?! How foolish! What if I had wrecked it?! At least the officer believed me that a friend loaned me the car… and he didn’t see me at the top speed. Don’t know how much more the ticket would have cost if he had. Ohhhh, Lord, I’m sorry!
She stood up. What should I eat? No, forget food, I need sleep. Wait! When will Charles come over? What if I’m still asleep? Do I go to sleep with the door unlocked, or make him wait outside until I wake up? Or try to stay awake until he gets here?
No way I can stay awake much longer. After he was nice enough to loan me his car, there’s no way I’m going to leave him locked out for who knows how long. I’ll leave the door unlocked and take a nap on the sofa…
Susan unlocked the front door, laid down on the sofa, and immediately fell fast asleep.