Welcome to Friday Fiction. Today, guest author Pamela Thibodeaux provides an extract from her book, A Hero for Jessica. The link is open, as usual, for you to add your own work and read and comment on others’.
He arose as usual on Saturday morning at five-thirty and prepared for his daily run. A cup of coffee, a Bible verse, and then he was off.
A heavy mist reached its muggy arms across the Mississippi river and hugged the city. The river had reached an all-time low. The smell of mud and dead fish mixing with the more pleasant aromas, which filtered from area cafes, assailed his nostrils as Paul jogged along the river walk. His mind wandered back to the evening before and he, once again, found himself intrigued by the mystery that was Ms. Jessica Aucoin. He mulled the name and image over in his mind, positive he’d seen her before. But where?
Though his mind was preoccupied, an ingrained habit of running the same path for years had him turning left at the end of the river walk. He passed through a small alley and crossed the street to head back home. It still amazed him how one side of the street passed along the river, quiet and tranquil, while the other usually bustled with people. Not this morning though. Not yet anyway.
This was the interlude between the night crawlers and the day creatures, which made it his favorite slice of time. There were enough people about to feel secure, yet enough absence of them to be at peace. The place would come alive within a couple of hours as tourists arrived and souvenir shops opened to hawk their wares.
He glanced in the window of a small, cozy bookstore along his path and stopped. Surprise caused his breath to falter. The one and only Miss Jessica Aucoin stared out at him from the back of a book cover. He leaned against the store window as facts began to fill his brain: Writer, Romantic suspense, very sought after, a star on the rise.
Why on earth had she attended a lecture on the basics of law? He glanced at his watch, muttered a curse, and then continued on his way. The bookstore wouldn’t open until nine o’clock, no sense in standing around and staring in the window.
He returned to his apartment, retrieved the newspaper out of its box and went inside. He rinsed the small two-cup coffee maker–which was actually only one good mug–poured water and measured out grounds for his second cup of the day. While the coffee brewed, he showered and shaved, and then sat down to read his paper. One of the first things to catch his eye was the announcement of a book signing later that afternoon at the bookstore he’d passed, which featured none other than Miss Jessica Aucoin.
Paul didn’t believe in coincidence, there was a reason their paths had crossed. He aimed to find out. He finished with the paper and booted up his computer. His coffee grew cold as he searched the Internet for whatever he could find about Miss Aucoin.
What he discovered surprised and intrigued him.
The only daughter of a wealthy Congressman, Jessica hailed from a small town in southern Florida. Though not one to flaunt the fact, she wasn’t ashamed of it either, nor did she hesitate to use the connection when necessary. Her talent unmistakable, reviews and interviews that raved she was a star on the rise, were everywhere. But the more he studied, the more convinced he became that Jessica’s appearance at the lecture last night must be more than casual interest in the law. Hints of copyright infringement and plagiarism underscored some of the articles and reviews in blatant, highly liable, and all but slanderous, detail.
Two hours later he had no doubt that he’d see Ms. Aucoin again. Always one to take the initiative, he decided to pay her a surprise visit later that afternoon.
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