Quest to the Unknown: The Jessie Golden 21st Century Earth Series (Volume 1)

Quest to the Unknown: The Jessie Golden 21st Century Earth Series (Volume 1)

by Annelies George

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781938015618
Publisher: Strauss Consultants
Publication date: 11/16/2017
Series: Jessie Golden 21st Century Earth Series , #1
Pages: 298
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.62(d)

About the Author

Annelies George was born on 4 August, 1964 in Bussum, After the gymnasium, she followed a one-year course as an international secretary in Amsterdam. Immediately afterward she started to work for a law firm, studying finance, management and law during the evening hours with the goal of becoming a lawyer herself. A move to a different town brought her into the fast IT world, where she was employed by GE Capital, marking the start of a successful career in the international IT Finance world.

Due to the intensity of the job and long working hours, she abandoned her plans for a law degree. At the age of 30, she was appointed to Benelux managing director of a US based lease company, a rare phenomenon at the time, since few women were holding similar positions in the specific branch in the Netherlands. Thereafter she accepted a variety of EMEA and regional management and sales roles with Cisco, Microsoft, and Hewlett Packard. Annelies still lives in Bussum and is taking care of her 83-year-old mother.

She loves, among other activities, to paint and design necklaces when she is not writing. On occasion she likes to travel to discover new places and understand the different ways of living around the globe.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Jessie

It was hot.

I can't believe we finally have a real summer this year.

Jessie Golden unbuttoned the top of her purple Cavalli dress. A drop of perspiration stood on her brow. With a smile on her face, she looked over her shoulder. The antique seventeenth century door of the impressive building hosting the office of Kruger Publishing stood wide open. The heat inside was unbearable. She walked away. At last her well-deserved holiday started.

The past eighteen months had been pretty hectic. It all began when John decided to send her to Rome, just before the weekend. It had been announced that Larry Tremont, CEO of Sharkline Express, would give a press conference in the ancient Italian city. For months, now the word was out in the market that the company would definitely be sold.

"I have been hearing this rumor since the beginning of this year."

John De Witte looked at Jessie. For five years he had been general editor and Jessie's direct manager. She was a reporter for Business Men, one of Kruger Publishing's many magazines.

"It would not surprise me if this meeting is to announce the final buyer."

She nodded while John provided her with the necessary details.

"Try to use your charm." He gave her a wink. "It would be great if you could have a one-on-one with Tremont after the official part."

During the flight to Rome an attractive gentleman flirted with her. He worked and lived in Switzerland, but was born in Italy. After she told him she was a reporter, he was even more impressed.

"I rarely have met a woman like you," he said, looking deep into her eyes.

His voice had a pleasant Italian accent.

She gave him a closer look.

Probably mid-forty, she thought, noticing the refined gray in his short black hair. His beautiful dark eyes were inviting and she was impressed by the way he took care of his hands. His business card revealed his name and title: Stefano Farinelli, general manager of a worldwide venture capital fund.

When the plane landed at Fiumicino Airport, he accompanied her to the luggage belt, still flirting with her. When she made her way to the taxi stand, he followed her as if they were travelling together.

"Alora, which hotel?" he asked before instructing the taxi driver.

"The Excelsior."

She took her place in the back seat, while he closed the door.

"I am staying in the Hassler," he said, seating himself next to her.

He looked at his watch. "What about dinner? I will pick you up at 10 pm sharp."

Totally overwhelmed by his direct approach, she left the cab thirty minutes later and entered the impressive lobby of the Excelsior.

Who does he think he is? I am not going.

She debated, unsure what to do. For fifteen years now, she had been in a steady relationship with Edward. She never cheated on him.

I still love him, but something changed.

Two years ago Edward was promoted to vice-president. Since then he had travelled a lot, just like her. Lately she noticed they were almost strangers sharing the same house during their spare time.

Uneasy, she paced her suite.

Forget him. He is trouble.

She made up her mind. Staying in her room was her best option.

Against her own judgment, she dressed up in a simple black dress. Sonia Rykiel always looked great on her. Barely a couple of minutes later she went downstairs. To her disappointment, Stefano was nowhere to be found.

He probably had second thoughts.

She turned around and started to walk back to the elevator, when suddenly somebody called out her name.

"Jessie, mi devi scusare, sorry, I am late."

Stefano walked up to her. His dark hair was tousled, which made him irresistible.

It is only dinner, nothing more, Jessie was trying to ease her conscience.

He took her hand and guided her through the small streets. It was a ten-minute walk. The restaurant was on the roof of the Hassler hotel, conveniently located in the heart of Rome's historic centre. The view was breathtaking and the atmosphere extremely romantic.

"I want to make love to you, amore mio," he whispered when desert was served.

Delicately he kissed her fingertips. She looked away, shy, not knowing what to say.

After dinner he looked deeply into her eyes and as a matter of course, she followed him to his suite. Feeling a burning desire, she surrendered to him immediately, forgetting everything, most of all Edward.

When the church bell rang five in the morning, Jessie was completely awake.

What have I done?

Carefully she lifted the sheet. Stefano was sound asleep. She put on her dress quietly. Five minutes later she softly closed the door of the expensive suite. Fuck. She was a cheat.

Oh Edward, I did not want to hurt you.

She stared at the well-decorated chair in her suite of the Excelsior. She was back, totally awake and with an upcoming press conference in four hours' time. It was close to six. She set her alarm clock for nine and tried to catch some sleep.

The room was packed when she arrived close to ten. She struggled to find a place to stand.

Whoever booked this room made a big mistake.

She was irritated. With the rumors going around, Sharkline Express should have known that the media presence would be huge.

"Sharkline Express is not for sale and will not be sold any time soon."

It was the first thing Larry Tremont made unmistakably clear when he entered the room. He opened his briefcase and waved his hand. His secretary started the beamer. Soon after some graphs and figures were displayed on the wide screen that covered the wall of the small room.

Did I fly all the way here just to see the semiannual figures?

She was mad at John.

To her surprise it was pretty easy to get a private interview with Larry Tremont. His PR person agreed immediately and she was given thirty minutes out of his busy schedule to fire her questions. She noted he liked her.

"Could you tell me your name again, please?" he asked after the interview.

She looked in her purse and handed out her business card.

"Jessie Golden."

"I enjoyed the interview, Miss Jessie Golden."

He held her hand just a minute too long when he shook it.

"No, I have to thank you," Jessie answered politely. She gave him a smile and left the room.

The sun blazed in the sky. She looked at her watch. It was only two pm.

Edward is so sweet ... He insisted that I should stay for another day.

"It is a beautiful city," he had told her. "The shopping is great. Just enjoy it while you are there."

Somehow she was not in the mood and decided to go back to the hotel.

The porter waved at her when she walked by his desk.

"Miss Golden, I have a message for you."

Not knowing what to expect she looked at the folded paper he gave her.

Probably John, she thought, almost positive the note was his. But it was not.

"Amore mio, where are you? I miss you already. How late can I pick you up today?"

Stefano Farinelli. Her cheeks colored red. A flash of hot sex ran through the veins of her body.

No, this is wrong, she told herself. I need to get back home.

Later that day, she arrived at Schiphol Airport, twenty-four hours earlier than expected. A strange car was parked in front of the house. Edward was nowhere to be found. Five minutes later she caught him in bed with a red haired woman. She sighed, thinking about her own adventure.

We are in serious trouble indeed.

Edward didn't know what to say until Jessie confessed what happened in Rome.

"There you go," he said, throwing his hands into the air. "Why doesn't it surprise me?

I knew it would happen. Fifteen years ... we are so bored, Jessie thought, still hoping they could work it out.

For a while they really tried hard to spice up their love life and be at home together more often. Unfortunately, the previous years had left a permanent separation between them.

After a desperate attempt that lasted no longer than two months, Jessie realized that Edward had become a total stranger to her. It took another month before she broke up with him.

It was not easy to be alone again. In the end her busy job at Kruger Publishing became her salvation. Rushing from one deadline to the other, she never had a dull moment.

After a while she got used to the new situation.

Stefano, however, had not forgotten her. In the months following their steamy night, she ignored his calls. He kept on phoning her after Edward left. In the end she told him the timing was not right.

"Stefano, please. I know we had a wonderful night. It's just ... I am not ready for a new commitment."

"I know you feel the same," he told her. "One day you will give in to me, I am sure of it."

After two additional months, Stefano finally stopped calling and with a sigh of relief, Jessie thought she would never hear from him again.

Six months after her Rome adventure another unexpected event took place.

"Alan Burns passed away last week," John said with a sepulchral voice.

Burns was the star reporter of the US edition of Business Men.

"They have a serious problem," he continued. "Carlos Gomez will be in London tomorrow. Burns was supposed to attend his press conference."

He took a file out of the drawer and threw it in front of her.

"Our New York office requested I send someone."

His look was provocative.

"There is only one person I can think of who can replace Burns," he said mysteriously. "Someone who recently succeeded to get a private interview with the Sharkline Express CEO ..."

"Are you suggesting ..."

He nodded. "Yes, indeed. Jessie, you are well suited for the job. Our New York office is quite impressed."

I am going to meet the Carlos Gomez! This was great news!

She picked up the file and got pretty excited. Not so long ago Forbes selected him for the third year in a row as America's Number One CEO.

"Let me give you a word of advice," John continued. "Jessie, please be careful with him. He tends to be a true lady killer."

She laughed, telling John he didn't have to worry. Gomez' sexual adventures were constantly filling the pages of each gossip magazine. Even Kruger Publishing's own sleazy Ssh published every move he made. Glancing at his picture, he did not strike her as a common businessman.

If you told me he is the latest model for a Versace fashion shoot, I would believe it, she noted.

His impeccable, tidy suit made him look really hot.

Still, there was something about him she did not like; however she could not point it out immediately. Carefully she studied his picture once more.

It is the way he looks, she concluded in the end. His dark eyes stared at her in a curious way. It made her shiver.

Carefully she put the file back on the desk.

"You will leave tomorrow," he added. "The press conference starts at ten am sharp."

For a moment he was silent. She noted he was observing her.

"Jessie."

"Yes, John ..."

"In the afternoon there is something else you need to do. ..."

"A similar press conference?" Her heart was beating loudly.

"Not exactly." He passed her another file.

"I just got off the phone with the head editor of Ssh. They have a problem. Bobby Prince finally got a slot in Lauren McHill's busy schedule. They asked me if you could interview Joselin McArthur. You know who she is ... An insignificant actress, who thinks she is a star."

"But John, I have never done this ..."

"Piece of cake, my dear." He winked at her. "You have dealt with the toughest business characters. How difficult can it be to talk about movies?"

The next morning Jessie dressed up in a bright red suit. The sexy short skirt was just above the knee. She looked at herself in the big mirror.

That should do, she thought and rushed to the airport to catch the first flight to London.

Unfortunately, it was not her day. Her plane was delayed and the taxi ride to Central London took over two hours. She was totally exhausted when she arrived ten minutes too late at the reception desk of the luxury Ritz Hotel, fully aware the press conference had already started.

Ten minutes later she realized she was in big trouble. The expression on the face of the fair-haired woman said it all. Glenda Burrows, Carlos Gomez' press agent, was outraged.

"You are much too late," she shouted at Jessie. "It already started twenty minutes ago."

"I am so sorry," Jessie apologized. "My flight was delayed and ..."

But Glenda ignored her excuses.

"Come with me," she said instead. "Please sit down quietly. Mr. Gomez hates interruptions."

Depressed about the situation, Jessie followed her to the elevators.

Afterwards Jessie could not exactly recall how it happened. Was it because she was tired of running on her high-heeled red Dolce & Gabbana shoes? Or was she too eager in getting herself seated on the last row? It did not matter. The sound of her voice was harsh and terrifying when she lost her balance. Immediately after she entered the room, she found herself lying on the marble floor. Fifty people turned to stare at her, including Gomez. He stopped talking and looked puzzled.

"I am so sorry," she stuttered, trying to get up as quickly as possible. Her knee hurt like hell and her hair was totally awry. She felt utterly ashamed.

Glenda pulled her up.

"You ..." she whispered, trying to disguise her anger. "Sit down and be quiet."

Not knowing where to look, Jessie kept her eyes fixed on the floor when she took her place between colleagues.

After ten minutes she took out her notebook.

Damn! Damn! I screwed it.

Shyly she finally dared to look at Gomez. For a brief moment their eyes locked. To her surprise, he stared at her in a way she did not expect. His dark eyes softened.

Not at all the tough and ruthless guy I thought he would be, she thought, remembering the picture John had given her earlier. He seems to take pity on me. How could that be?

Quickly she looked away. Take a deep breath. Yes, you can do this.

She tried to get Glenda's attention several times by raising her finger. After her disruptive entrance, Jessie wanted to make a better impression on the famous businessman sitting in front of her. However, Glenda ignored her completely.

At exactly half past eleven she left the room with none of her questions answered. Very frustrated, she walked through the elegant lobby, past Glenda. Her glance was frosty.

Bitch! Jessie thought. Do you think I did this deliberately?

One thing was clear. She would certainly not earn the Pulitzer Prize for this interview.

Two hours later she realized luck had left her that day. The interview with Josselin McArthur went far from smoothly. After spending another hour and a half in a taxi, she arrived just in time at her place in Surrey.

"And who would you be?" was the warm welcome the actress bestowed upon her, reading Jessie's business card. "This can't be true. Jerry ..."

An overly dressed assistant rushed into the room. He appeared to be Josselin's press agent.

"Darling, I don't understand. What the hell happened with Bobby Prince?" she whined.

"Mr. Prince sends his apologies," Jessie told her, before Jerry could open his mouth. "I am here to replace him."

The actress looked her up and down.

"I never heard of you, Miss, uh ... Golden."

"I normally only interview business executives. Does the magazine Business Men ring a bell with you?"

It did not. Josselin was clearly not interested in her skills.

"Jerry, I told you ... Only Bobby knows how to write my story," she complained.

Needless to say, the interview plodded along heavily. Two hours later Jessie found herself in a taxi back to the airport, overly frustrated by the course of events.

But the day had more surprises in store for her. Just before London the taxi stopped and the driver took out his cell phone.

"What's going on?" she asked suspiciously.

"Sorry, the car is out of gasoline," he apologized.

This is beyond belief. She sighed and checked her watch. It was a quarter past six. Her flight was due within two hours.

"How long will this take?"

She drummed her fingers impatiently on the back of her briefcase.

"Take it easy, lady. I already called a colleague. He's coming as quickly as possible."

It started to rain. Jessie shuddered. It was pretty cold for the time of year. She stared through the window. A stretch limo passed on the opposite side of the road and stopped. She saw the driver leaving the car. To her surprise he walked towards her taxi. He tapped on the window.

"Are you that Dutch journalist from Business Men?" he inquired.

She nodded.

"Mr. Gomez offers you a ride to the city."

"I have to go to the airport," she replied, before grasping the full extent of his words.

"That's not a problem. Would you like to follow me?"

He paid the taxi driver and put out an umbrella. It was only then when she realized what he'd just said.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Quest to the Unknown"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Annelies George.
Excerpted by permission of Hybrid Global Publishing.
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

Author's note,
Prologue,
1 — Jessie,
2 — Sarah,
3 — Sharkline Express,
4 — Sancho Gomez/Nick Cameron,
5 — Kauai/Sarah and Henry,
6 — Brother Gerardus,
7 — Ed Turner/Larry Tremont,
8 — Amsterdam,
9 — Paul,
10 — Paris,
11 — Sergei Montero,
12 — Nancy and Paul,
13 — Gala d'Affaires des Etoiles,
14 — Notre-Dame/L'Espadon,
15 — Bernard Mayer,
16 — Munich,
17 — Farah Gomez,
18 — The letters,
19 — Anna and Bob Klasen/Ed Turner,
20 — Los Angeles,
21 — Chief Inspector Benson,
22 — Between heaven and earth,
23 — South Bay,
24 — Nancy,
25 — Jessie,
26 — Carlos,
Epilogue,

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