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The Writer (The Occupation Series): The Occupation Series, #1

The Writer (The Occupation Series): The Occupation Series, #1

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The Writer (The Occupation Series): The Occupation Series, #1

Lunghezza:
214 pagine
3 ore
Pubblicato:
Dec 10, 2020
ISBN:
9781393421160
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

A Bestselling Novelist's book comes back to haunt her.

Kayleigh Carter is starting her life over above a coffee shop in Manhattan. She is also the author of the hit thriller My Legal Guardian, in which a "bad boy billionaire" plays Fifty Shades of Grey-style mind games on a female protagonist. She discovers the previous tenant, a young college girl, of her apartment went missing—the inspiration for her next thriller. However, someone doesn't want her found and she soon attracts a psychopath who only goes by XXX. The deeper Kayleigh delves into the missing girl's disappearance, the more factors point to her own book.

A pointedly thrilling sequence of psychological revelations and an ending you'll never see coming.

Pubblicato:
Dec 10, 2020
ISBN:
9781393421160
Formato:
Libro

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Anteprima del libro

The Writer (The Occupation Series) - Gina A. Jones

Author

Prologue

San Diego


The phone on my desk buzzes. Yes, Abby?

Mrs. Cain? Ms. West is here.

Okay. Please tell her to come in.

Yes, Mrs. Cain.

Mrs. Cain. I’m still not used to it. And I’m still not used to not smoking. Taylor is going to smell it, and then she’s going to lecture me. And I can’t open these damn windows on the twenty-seventh floor, either. Maybe I should move my office to the first floor. But then again, I don’t think any of these damn windows open in this building. That should be a fire hazard, right? I’m sure smoking inside a closed room is, too.

The door opens. Well, Taylor West. Look at you. She rushes into my open arms. Are you ready for this big day?

Oh, Eden. You can’t imagine how much. I never thought it was possible. That is until I met you, she says.

Hey, I’m just the benefactor. You have to do the work. I smile at her.

Yes. I promise you; I will not be a disappointment.

I know you won’t. I would never offer to pay for your college tuition at Columbia University if I didn’t believe in you, Taylor.

Columbia University—I still can’t believe it. Even though I’m grateful to be going, Eden, I’m going to miss you and Daniel. You two have done so much for me. What am I saying? You’ve done everything for me. I’m so blessed.

I smile at her with pride, as if she were my daughter. I place my hand on my belly. Should I tell her?

Hey, she says, sniffing, her nose in the air. You’ve been smoking.

Ah, I’m so busted. Okay, yes. But it’s my last one. I promise. Because it has to be, I say. Taylor looks to my hands, pressed against my belly.

Oh my God, Eden, you’re pregnant. Her face brightens with the biggest smile. I can’t hold back my happy tears, and she knows the answer is yes. Daniel! Does he know yet?

Yes. We Face Timed last night—in the bathroom as I peed on the stick. We wanted to find out at the same time. He’s going to try hard to get back from Afghanistan before the baby is born. I hope this is his last tour.

So, you do know where his SEAL team is?

Well…not really. I assumed when Daniel was called away last month for these special ops; he would be in Afghanistan. Maybe not? Hey, we’re going to be late. Let’s get your stuff and head to the airport.

Already have it packed and in your car. I’m also going to miss driving your Mercedes.

Well, you won’t need a car in New York, I say as we head out of my office and take the elevator to the parking garage. I find my Mercedes parked in my private spot, and we climb in and head for the airport.

Taylor came into my life a year ago and changed it—changed me. I owe it all to Daniel, my patient and loving husband, whom I do not deserve. The boy who left me as a teen and broke my heart, before returning as a man, a Navy SEAL. I wanted to make him pay for what he had done to me. That’s why I hired him as my executive protector when he was on temporary leave from the Navy for PTSD. Trust me; I didn’t make it easy on him. And somehow, even with all that, he was always the stronger one. He was molding me and making me into a better human being.

Yes, I was successful. I had earned my Ph.D. at the age of twenty-five and then had become the chief research scientist at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Then five years later, I bought my own company, Bennett Research and Development, LLC, which I now need to change to Cain Research and Development since I’m no longer Eden Bennett. I’m Eden Cain.

We reach the airport and hurry through security, making our flight just in time, and locate our seats.

Taylor? Do you want the window seat? I ask while stuffing our carry-ons in the overhead compartment.

Yes. I want to watch every bit of San Diego as we fly away, she says, her voice trembling. She is going to cry. Then I’m going to cry.

The flight attendant starts her flight-safety speech over the intercom as we buckle up and prepare for New York. I take Taylor’s hand and squeeze it tightly. She looks at me with her soft, brown eyes, pooled with tears. I take my finger and gently wipe a tear running down her cheek.

You okay, Taylor?

Yes. Just tears of a dream come true.

All of our dreams are coming true, I say, and touch my belly again.

The plane speeds down the runway, and we are off to New York. I rest back into my seat and recall the first time I met Taylor. I was still in my stages of self-loathing, well more like living life as a real bitch. I had just hired Daniel as my protector after receiving many threats. Death threats, too, can you imagine? A self-loathing bitch receiving death threats; what are the odds?

He told me one way to get over myself was to become a mentor to another. Learn to build someone else up. Quit being the victim. One of the many skills he had learned as a SEAL.

Without my knowledge, he set up a speech for me to give at Carlsbad High School. I was to talk about my success as a young scientist and all the obstacles I had to overcome. Of course, the biggest hurdle was me. That was where I met Taylor. Three days later, she came into my office and gave me a heartbreaking story. Her life had been nothing short of a nightmare. A crack whore for a mother. A father who abandoned her and living in and out of foster homes.

Through all that, she was focused and intelligent. It was the one thing that no one could take from her, and the one thing that would give her freedom someday. Her life was her obstacle, and she looked to me as a mentor. Daniel was right. My self-loathing was lost, and I became a better person.

I took Taylor in and raised her for the next year. I think we raised each other. We both share a passion for science and research, and now, she is going to follow in my footsteps.

I take her hand in mine, and together we look out the window and dream of a new life.

We gather our bags and hail a taxi to upper Manhattan. It’s 7:00 p.m. when we arrive at the apartment that I have set up for her to live in while she attends school at Columbia. The taxi driver lets us out at the curb, and we take our bags up to the third floor.

I will be paying her rent for the next four years and had the apartment furnished. I probably should have bought the whole damn building, including the coffee shop down below. Maybe get some reimbursement from all the college commuters that hang out, pumping in caffeine.

Looking out the window, I see the manicured lawn of the university from a distance. Across the street is a large block building—Roberts, Adams, and Kline, Attorneys at Law—along with several little shops, deli markets, and a pet store down the street. I can see Taylor with a new puppy to fill the void in her life. But when classes start, she might not have the time. Maybe we should discuss this before I fly back to San Diego.

We drop down together onto the bed. Hey, let’s capture this memory. Lying back on the bed, I hold up my iPhone and take our picture. It takes more than just one photo to satisfy our approval. First, Taylor protests that her hair looks too flat. I can already see the puffiness in my face. I’m only two months pregnant. What will I look like in March?

I begin unpacking her clothes and hang them up in the closet. Even though I’ve paid a fortune in rent, the walls are old plaster, and the paint is flaking off. But this is Manhattan. I take a black Sharpie and secretly write a little note inside the closet wall.


Taylor,

You have blessed my life more than you will ever know.

You have saved me from myself, giving me a life outside of myself.

Thank you for letting me give you this gift.

I love you.

Eden

Chapter One

The Writer: New York: Two years later

"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

1 Peter 5:8


It’s my second day here in Manhattan, and I’m already questioning my decision for a fresh start. It’s February, cold and, well, I don’t think I like this place. But here I am, after packing in the middle of the night and starting my new life. I hope to find what I’m looking for. Inspiration?

Walking into the building of where I will be living, I wait for the manager to show me the room I’ve come to rent. It’s not so bad. Could use some fixing up. Especially for the price I paid for this place. This is Manhattan. We agreed to meet at 9:00 a.m...and I’m a little early. Like 8:00 a.m. early.

I wait twenty minutes and then decide to walk down to the coffee shop on the ground floor of this building. Cute and...doable. I could work here. I get myself a strong espresso before selecting a table, flip open my satchel, and pull out my MacBook and get to work.

The writer’s block invades the dead space inside my head within ten minutes. So, I pull out a book and begin reading, still while keeping an eye on the time. I should’ve had the manager meet me here. Oh well, it’s still in the same building, and all I have to do is walk upstairs.

Through my peripheral vision, I see a man standing at the counter. I’m distracted when he removes his black leather gloves and gives them a slap against one hand. I lower my book and listen as he orders his Americano, two shots, soymilk, no whipped topping, and he wants it in a real cup. He must be a regular patron. I raise my book back up when he turns around and takes the seat across from me.

Is that a good book? he asks.

I glance over the book and politely smile. Yes. I think it is. And then return to my reading.

"My Legal Guardian," he says, reading the title on the cover.

That’s what the title says. Again, I continue to read...or pretend to.

So, is it a reference book for someone seeking counsel in the legal matters of obtaining guardianship? he asks before taking a sip of his coffee.

No, it’s not, I say, holding the book up to my face, hoping he’ll get the point.

What’s the genre?

Doesn’t he know it’s rude to interrupt someone who is reading? Nothing you would be interested in.

I might. I deal with guardianships all the time. I’m an attorney, he counters.

Probably not this type, but yes, it does deal in guardianship. But this, however, is an erotic memoir.

Erotica, you say? Sounds interesting.

Thank you. But don’t take my word for it. I read him the praises from the back cover. "The multimillion bestseller. #1 New York Times Best Selling phenomenon, Kayleigh Carter delivers this passionate new love story. USA Today says, ‘Kayleigh gives us a story with an ‘on-the-edge mystery’ that builds throughout the whole novel. Kayleigh Carter can capture and keep the interest of us all.’"

And why are you thanking me?

Because I’m the author.

I extend my hand. Kayleigh Carter.

He stops with the coffee mug midway to his mouth, smiles, and then sets the cup on the table and shakes my hand. Hi. I’m Nolan Kline; it’s nice to meet you, Kayleigh Carter.

You’re from the building next door, Roberts, Adams, and Kline, Attorneys at Law, I say, nodding across the street.

He grabs up his coffee. Yes. You are correct, Ms. Carter. In return, I grab my espresso and take a sip.

He fumbles with his phone and then places it back into the pocket of his black wool coat. I bet he just googled me.

So, has book writing been rewarding? he asks. I should ask him to google it. Get the facts.

Actually, no, it left me flat broke.

I don’t understand, he says.

Well, I spent all my royalties on coffee. So, now I need to write a successor to get my return on investments back.

Coffee?

Yes. Thank you for supporting me, Mr. Kline.

He laughs. How’s that?

How’s your Americano, two shots, soymilk with no whipped topping in a real cup?

He looks at his coffee and then back at me. It’s the best. That’s why I come here every morning for my coffee.

Good. I’m glad to hear that. I just bought this coffee shop.

I follow the manager up to the third floor. She’s a heavier lady, mid-forties, with thick wiry bottle-blond hair that sits like a helmet on her head. She leads me to the room I’d requested, the one facing the front street. Before she unlocks the door, she turns around.

"Please forgive me, but I have to ask. Are you the Kayleigh Carter, author of My Legal Guardian?" she asks, all wide-eyed.

Yes, I am. I smile politely at her.

She reaches down, pulls my novel out of her large, yellow-quilted Vera Bradley purse, and hands it to me. Would you mind? she asks, hugging the book to her chest.

I pull my pen from my satchel and take the book. What’s your name?

Wanda.

To my good friend Wanda.

Thanks for being a fan.

Kayleigh.

"I just loved your book, Miss Carter. You are so brave to share your story. Are you here to write your next big seller?

Actually, yes, I am.

Any clues on what it will be? May I give you some suggestions? Maybe I could be in your book?

She’s starting to creep me out. The movie, Misery comes to mind. Um…no, not yet. But yes, you could give me some suggestions.

Oh really? she says, way too excitedly.

Yeah, really, I say and hope her strange enthusiasm will settle.

Well, to start, how about this room? she asks, unlocking the door and stepping in.

What about this room, Wanda?

The last tenant is missing or just left. We don’t know.

What do you mean, you don’t know?

She just disappeared, even left all her stuff here. But the strange thing; the lease is still being paid.

Has anyone tried contacting her?

Yes.

Where is the money coming from to pay the lease?

It’s paid electronically. No one has stopped it.

You said they left all their stuff. But this room is empty.

"Yes. The contract states that if you are going to leave for a lengthy time, you have to provide a written statement of where to be contacted. Since the previous tenant didn’t, and we cannot contact them, we moved their stuff into storage.

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