Paper Boy

Paper Boy

by Lucy LeDoux

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781462052363
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 02/17/2012
Pages: 148
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.32(d)

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PAPER BOY


By LUCY LEDOUX

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2012 Lucy LeDoux
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4620-5236-3


Chapter One

PORTOLA REDWOODS STATE PARK

The bride had tears in her eyes as she gently spread her mother's ashes on the edge of the surf. This had always been her mother's favorite spot on the beach and Janie wanted her mom to be a part of their special day.

Everyone was barefoot and wore beach attire, except for Janie's dad—he insisted on wearing a suit and shoes. He would not be in shorts and flip-flops for his only child's wedding. He had never seen his daughter look so radiant. The sun kissing her hair made Janie look like an angel.

He remembered the day Janie was born and he fell in love for the second time in his life. His first love was his wonderful wife, and now his beautiful baby girl. Janie brought joy into everyone's life. She had a gorgeous smile, adorable dimples, and a contagious laugh. Janie had a heart of gold and her compassion for those less fortunate was admirable.

Janie's dad wished she would have finished college, but understood the tough choice she had to make. Bradley, her husband-to-be, had just graduated from California State University in Chico with a Degree in Business, and they were moving to Los Angeles so he could pursue a master's degree at UCLA. His daughter had been studying to become a nurse and he knew she would make a great one. When his wife was battling ovarian cancer, Janie took a semester off from college to stay home and help take care of her. The doctors warned of the aggressive nature of the cancer, and when his wife died so suddenly he was incredibly thankful that he still had his daughter.

The ceremony ended just as the sun set. Janie threw some daises into the surf, her mom's favorite flower, and they all cried. The newlyweds had a small reception on the beach and then Janie kissed her father goodbye.

"I love you daddy, please don't cry."

He held onto Janie, never wanting to let her go. He hugged his new son-in-law and told Bradley, "Take good care of my baby; she's all I got in this world."

"I will care for her all the rest of my days. Janie is the love of my life," Bradley whispered to his father-in-law.

As the couple walked away, Janie's dad turned and watched the surf. He saw a lone daisy make its way back to the shore. Tears streaming down his face, he felt incredibly alone and sad—even on his daughter's wedding day.

The newlyweds spent the night in a plush hotel, courtesy of Janie's dad, in San Gregorio, and then headed for the Portola Redwoods campground for a night of camping under the protection of the giants before they moved to Los Angeles.

Chapter Two

TED

The juice of the peach ran down his chin as he drove south on the Pacific Coast Highway headed for Coronado Island. Ted remembered back, more than twenty-years ago, when he and his companion snuck a case of peaches across the California border. He told his girlfriend to hide the box of peaches in the back of the camper shell under some sleeping bags. He kept a couple peaches on the dashboard so he wouldn't have to lie to the border guard when asked if they had any fruits or vegetables to declare. He just hated to lie.

The feeling of the peach juice on his hand reminded him of the blood that ran down the young man's neck as Ted surgically slit his throat at the campground. A sly smile crossed his face as he remembered what easy prey the young man had been. Ted stealthily approached him from behind as the man relieved himself in the bushes close to the tent. The only sound made was the whoosh of air that escaped his lungs. No final words, no struggle, no evidence. Ted had returned to his own campsite to burn his bloodied shirt and wash the blood off his gloved right hand. Sporting a new long-sleeved black pullover shirt, which covered his black and gold striking cobra and heart-shaped tattoos, he returned to the young couple's campsite across from his and proceeded with the first phase of his mission.

Ted exited the campground and drove south. He had no remorse about his actions. It wasn't his fault he was a trained killer. His country spent fifteen-years teaching him all the skills he needed to be an assassin. His hands alone were deadly weapons. It was just the luck of the draw that the young man and his new wife had chosen that camping spot. Oh, the poor wife. How thoughtful of him to not make the new bride live without the man of her dreams. He pulled his truck onto the shoulder of the road so he could fully enjoy this memory.

He quietly moved toward the tent that was left unzipped and crawled in next to the young bride. He knew they were newlyweds because of the writing on the back window of their car, Just Got Hitched! Her back was to him and she let out a small sigh as if she was waking up when he settled in beside her. From watching the young couple set up their tent, Ted knew she was a long-legged blonde with a dynamite smile. She was naked in the open sleeping bag and he thought of entering her from behind, but quickly reminded himself—no evidence.

The night was pitch-black, unlike the first night he spent in this campsite. That night there was a brilliant full moon, an amazing display of stars, and a gentle breeze. Tonight it was cloudy with the forecast of rain. As much as he was aroused and desired her Ted knew he had to follow his mission. It took only seconds to snap her neck—just as he'd been taught. He traced her tender youthful body with his gloved hand and then exited the tent.

He zipped the inner shell of the tent shut and secured the outer rain cover to keep the wild animals out, her husband's body might not be so lucky. To cover any tracks he might have left, he swept the ground with a pine bough and returned to his campsite. Ted doused his campfire—after making sure his bloodied shirt was now only ashes.

Before leaving the campground, he stopped at the pay station and paid for two more days for the newlywed's campsite. Ted wanted to make sure they would have plenty of privacy and not be disturbed.

Chapter Three

FRANCES

A loud thud against my door awakened me from a deep slumber. I lay there thinking of a dead bird on my porch from hitting the glass window on the screen door. This was such a common occurrence due to all the trees in the yard and how clean the windows were kept in the compound.

It's not really a compound where I live, but the property is surrounded by twelve-foot high concrete walls and a wrought iron gate strong enough to stop a tank. The main house is over three-thousand square feet and is a two-story Tuscan-style villa. On the grounds there is a three-car garage with an apartment on the top. There are orange, lemon and lime trees, and the Missus's favorite flowering bush, the Bougainvillea, can be found skirting the entire villa.

From my bedroom window I can see the beautiful blue waters of the Pacific and just a glimpse of the white sand of Coronado Beach. My best view is off the front porch which gives me a clear view of the Pacific and Point Loma to the north. My two cats, Reba and Chesney, made the trip out to California with me and enjoy spending lazy days in their own lounge chairs basking in the sun.

They aren't the only ones who enjoy this beautiful weather. Living in Colorado our weather was so unpredictable. In my younger days I went snow-skiing every chance I got and now in my fifties, I'm paying for it. My one knee is shot and it forces me to have a distinctive limp—of course if I lost a few pounds that might alleviate some of the pain. I'm not fat, but as my granny used to call me, pleasantly plump. I'm a big-boned woman with strong-bodied Polish ancestors on my mom's side. My best qualities are my blue eyes and my high cheekbones that I inherited from my dad's French-Native American roots. I keep my blond hair short so my hair is one less worry in my life. I'm blind as a bat without my glasses. I often joke that I need to put my glasses on before I can hear or even think.

I lay in bed trying to guess how long it will be until the dead bird is cleaned-up by the help—then I remind myself, I am the help. Landscaping and the outside care of the villa is my job in return for living in the small one-bedroom apartment over the garage which sits about one-quarter mile from the beach. Not a bad trade-off.

Another perk to my job and residence is that the wealthy retired-couple who own this place have houses on Nantucket Island, in Myrtle Beach, and in Castle Rock which is where I met my future employers. I was working at the Castle Pines Golf Course a couple days a week as a landscaper when the Missus complimented me on the care I showed to the plants and trees. Her husband was off playing golf and we struck up a conversation and she invited me to tea after my shift was finished. I never spoke to her husband, but before they left town, two-days later, I had the keys to my new apartment on Coronado Island.

Looking at the printout of their travel itinerary I knew they would not be back for eight more days, so I could lounge around until I felt like getting my day started. I had a late night of writing and decided to stay put for a while longer. The dead bird could wait.

Chapter Four

TED

Hiding behind a flowering Bougainvillea bush, Ted watched her front door waiting for it to open. He waited about a half-hour, and when he saw no movement from inside the apartment he entered the main house and went to the kitchen for a bite to eat. Ted knew from his daily observations of the villa and garage apartment that when the owners were home the landscaper would rise at 06:30 am, stretch on her porch, have tea and some fruit then proceed with her gardening until 08:30 am. At that time, she would then shower—with that sweet smelling coconut body wash and with her wet short-cropped hair walk down to the Bayside Market where she would dine on a fresh muffin and coffee. Oh, so predictable!

Ted had also observed that on days when the villa owners were traveling, she never gardened until later in the day. She would sleep a little later, but would be up fairly early and on her way to Tent City for a vegetarian omelet and green tea in a French press, or to the Sheerwater oceanfront restaurant at the Hotel Del Coronado for a bowl of oatmeal crème brulee. She had a different routine when they were gone, but it is not hard to track someone on Coronado when they have no car and always walk to their destinations.

Another thing the military had taught Ted was how to silence alarms and enter a property without detection. This transplanted Tuscan villa was so imposing, but was easier to penetrate than a hooker. He knew the landscaper never entered the main residence and the cook and housekeeper never came to work unless the owners were home.

Ted had overheard the Missus telling her husband, "I don't want to pay the illegals unless I have to so they can just stay away unless we are home, and I don't want anyone in our house when we are gone. Even Frances, she would track dirt in from her work outside. You've seen how she never closes her curtains in the apartment, she might come in here and open my blinds and let the sun in."

Ted had free reign of the villa while the owners were spending time in one of their many homes. A detailed travel agenda was always available on their computer—stupid people thought their anniversary was a great password. He also followed their blog to see if any travel plans had changed. Ted often wondered if the owners ever noticed how much food he ate or if they just blamed it on the cook. His mom always noticed how much he ate and when he was a young growing boy she installed locks on the fridge, freezer and cabinets. He would often go to bed hungry and hating his mom. Now, he understood why his dad stayed in the Navy so long.

The sound of a door slamming shut startled him back to his job at hand. He watched through the crack in the blind to see the landscaper pick up what had awakened her earlier, his first clue to her, a day-old San Francisco Chronicle.

Chapter Five

FRANCES

Expecting to find another flightless bird, I glanced on the porch, but instead found a newspaper. That was odd, I don't subscribe to the paper and if I want to read one I go to Starbucks or the local bookstore. After relocating to Coronado, I have tried to distance myself from the world outside of my own life.

All my life I've been a failure at maintaining relationships. I called off my first wedding two-weeks before the big day, divorced three husbands in a span of twenty-years, and I'm currently separated from my fourth husband. I have a beautiful daughter, Sophie and two successful stepsons who, after fifteen-years together with their father, have finally started to call me mom. Pete is the middle child and is extremely successful and is a world traveler. Nick, the youngest, has marched to his own drummer and caused his father and me a few sleepless nights.

In regard to Sophie, Nick would lay down his life for her. They have the closest relationship of the kids and have an unbreakable bond that is stronger than if they were actual siblings. Sophie helped Nick through some difficult dilemmas when no one else could reach him. When we were adamant that he stay in college, she helped him decide what his true passion was—he believed it was in the service of his country. Sophie helped him break the news to us and even went with him to the Navy recruiting station.

The only other close relationships I have are my husband, even though we live apart, mom, sister, a girlfriend and Sophie my baby girl. I guess she's not a girl anymore, but a twenty-six year old woman. Sophie and her family live in a small mountain town in Colorado, so we don't see each other that often, but we always chat daily.

As if on cue, my phone rings, I toss the newspaper onto my chaise lounge chair and return inside to answer it. It was the Missus calling from Myrtle Beach. What an odd occurrence, she never phones me.

"Frances, I need you to go into my house, please remove your gloves and shoes, and see if I left my jade ring by the kitchen sink. I might have removed it to apply lotion after rinsing out my coffee cup. I would be so distraught if I lost it. My great-grandfather gave it to my great-grandmother on their fiftieth-anniversary. The code to enter the house is A747L. I thought I left the ring here in Myrtle Beach, but it's not here."

Finally, I got a word in edgewise and asked for the code again. She repeated it and then remembered you need to have a separate servant's code and since I never entered the house I didn't have a code. She gave me the cook's code and I opened the villa's door.

I entered the sacred domain and felt a cold chill crawl down my spine. Everything was so sterile, but I could have sworn I smelled sweat. My stomach had the willies as I walked toward the kitchen. I had the strangest feeling that I was being watched; then it dawned on me that Mister L probably had cameras installed to observe the staff. I wonder if they have cameras outside and know my schedule changes when they are away.

In my bare feet, I walked up to the sink, noticed crumbs on the counter, and saw a beautiful jade ring by the Orange Blossom bottle of lotion. I told the Missus, "Good news, your ring is here. What do you want me to do with it?"

The Missus said, "Frances, did you take off your shoes? Take my priceless ring up the stairs to my bedroom, first door on the right, and place it gently in my gold jewelry tray on my dressing table. Then you may leave." Click.

Before I could tell her I had removed my shoes, the phone went dead. I did precisely as I was told, with one exception. I returned downstairs to the kitchen to clean the crumbs off the kitchen counter so they wouldn't blame me for eating in their house, but found that the crumbs were gone.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from PAPER BOY by LUCY LEDOUX Copyright © 2012 by Lucy LeDoux. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Dedication....................vii
Prologue....................ix
Chapter 1. Portola Redwoods State Park....................1
Chapter 2. Ted....................3
Chapter 3. Frances....................5
Chapter 4. Ted....................7
Chapter 5. Frances....................9
Chapter 6. Ted....................11
Chapter 7. Frances....................13
Chapter 8. Homeless Vet....................16
Chapter 9. Ted....................18
Chapter 10. Frances....................20
Chapter 11. Point Reyes National Seashore....................22
Chapter 12. Ted....................24
Chapter 13. Frances....................26
Chapter 14. Filipe....................28
Chapter 15. Ted....................30
Chapter 16. Frances....................32
Chapter 17. Cattlemen's Trail....................34
Chapter 18. Ted....................36
Chapter 19. Frances....................38
Chapter 20. Ted....................40
Chapter 21. Frances....................42
Chapter 22. Ted....................44
Chapter 23. Frances....................46
Chapter 24. Oakland A's Game....................48
Chapter 25. Ted....................50
Chapter 26. Frances....................52
Chapter 27. Ted....................55
Chapter 28. Frances....................57
Chapter 29. Navy Yacht Club....................59
Chapter 30. Ted....................61
Chapter 31. Frances....................64
Chapter 32. Fred....................66
Chapter 33. Ted....................68
Chapter 34. Frances....................70
Chapter 35. Ted....................72
Chapter 36. Frances....................74
Chapter 37. Truckee....................76
Chapter 38. Ted....................78
Chapter 39. Frances....................81
Chapter 40. Ted....................84
Chapter 41. Frances....................87
Chapter 42. Ted....................90
Chapter 43. Frances....................93
Chapter 44. Wildcat Camp....................98
Chapter 45. Ted....................100
Chapter 46. Frances....................102
Chapter 47. Ted....................105
Chapter 48. Frances....................107
Chapter 49. Ted....................110
Chapter 50. Sophie....................112
Chapter 51. Frances....................114
Chapter 52. Ted....................116
Chapter 53. Frances....................119
Chapter 54. Ted....................121
Chapter 55. Frances....................123
Chapter 56. Ted....................125
Chapter 57. Sophie....................127
Chapter 58. Frances....................129
Chapter 59. Ted....................131
Chapter 60. Frances....................133
Epilogue....................135

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Paper Boy 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down. It is a wild ride and a real page turner. Just when you think you have it figured out--you don't. Hands down, best book I've read in years!