Meet Ruthie (née Ruthless): a world traveled rock, blues and jazz singer who has relocated to a new country, and when I say new country, I mean accents and chicken fried steak 'n BBQ red neck style country.
She just wants to relax and relocate on account of the economy taking a dump in her other world. Ruthie just wants to ride, drive, sing and find Mr. Right. The brochures advertise this place as a paradise for someone with her interests so she goes for it. She moves across the ocean lock, stock and Harley to find a crazy new world she had no idea existed.
The only good looking guy named Beau, in town, tries to intrigue and romance her. The situation is not as it seems at all. Ruthie finds herself in a dangerous and draining predicament that seems almost impossible to get out of. The man who is in love with her is not who he says he is. He lives a secret double crispy fried life that finally catches up with him in this sleepy little beach town and makes her life very complicated and very unhappy suddenly as she unravels the truth about him. The two faced truth.
Luckily her powerful dear friend shows up with a quick change of plan to try to rescue and take her out of there and to where she is able to still accomplish her dreams and not end up the way Beau had planned for her since she kicked him to the curb. Beau's obsession is Ruthie. But Ruthie is Ruthless too.
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Read an Excerpt
The Thrillbilly Magnet
By Annie Love
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2012 Annie Love
All right reserved.
Chapter OneI walked into the cigar shop on August 1, 2005. It was tucked away in the deep crevice of the seedy part of town. Since I had just arrived there, I didn't know exactly what kind of people called this place home. My cousin warned me not to move there. She had contacted me in Spain and told me the population in this particular beach town consisted of only junkies, hookers, and trailer trash. She tried to talk me into moving to Cocoa Beach, near her own home. Jo, my cousin, is a nerd and an X-File fan.
I thought to myself, "I have lived everywhere. Nowhere can possibly be as bad as she is describing this place."
I am not shocked easily. I have lived in the bowels of Mexico and Amsterdam, and nothing bad has ever touched me. Yet despite my confidence, I was about to experience how right my cousin was.
The reason I went to this particular place was because it was a cigar shop, and I was out of smokes. I smoke all-natural cigarettes that are rare, exotic, and expensive. I had to seek places like this, which usually carried expensive cigars and my personal brand.
There was a miniature Ducati motorcycle on the sidewalk outside the door. At the time, I owned a miniature Harley Davidson that was always in the way. My guitar player had given it to me for Christmas when I lived in Spain. I had so many keepsakes from my life of adventure that I was on a mission to get them out of my house and distributed to their new rightful places. I was honestly running out of room and so I thought that this cigar shop would benefit from using my bike as a physical advertisement, serving the sucker yuppie cigar smoking crowd. Little did I know, I had just entered the "insane cracker zone".
I walked in at noon on that hot, sticky day. The place was so tiny and utterly filthy. Inside reeked of sweat and stale cigar smoke. I looked around and noticed a stripper pole in the back left corner, with a warm, sweating keg of beer by its side. It had beat-up, ugly rust-brown vinyl couches while old porn and astrology books were littered everywhere. The floor was sticky and slippery all at once. It felt as though it had never been mopped. I wandered around slowly towards the counter and humidor. I noticed a pile of photographs depicting nude women in lewd positions lying on the counter like souvenirs for everyone to gape at. There were a lot of dusty antique bar knick-knacks everywhere. In fact, everything there was dusty and grimy.
There was a large screen T.V. displaying graphic porno. The sound was turned down but the images were unavoidably in-your-face. What kind of cigar shop had this on display? I had never been in a place like this anywhere. I felt very uncomfortable to say the least. However, the shop owner did carry one pack of my exotic cigarettes. He also had quite a full-stocked bar, though it was not a legally-operating bar. I saw an older, stinky, grungy-surfer-man sitting in an old beat up chair smoking a big stogie in one hand and holding a martini in the other. I asked if he was the owner and he said, "Yes", obnoxiously. He was incredibly rude and nasty, resembling his shop very well. He acted like, and must have believed he was, the king of the universe. Even the least decent of women would have considered this guy a pig.
I was dressed in crisp, summery white linen that day. He took an attitude towards me before I could open my mouth to ask my next question. He was tying to intimidate me right off the bat. Little did he know, he was dealing with me, 'Ruthless'. It's my nickname.
I asked him if the little bike outside was - he interrupted me and barked, "It is not for sale!"
I coldly said, "No, I don't want to buy it." I was very stern with him in order to not be bullied and added, " I have a miniature Harley".
He said, "Really?"
I replied, "Yes. Do you want to buy it for your shop to help generate customers for bike week?"
He was stunned for a moment and replied, "Yes!"
I showed him a photo of it and he lit up.
"Definitely a great idea!" he exclaimed like a child.
'Bikertoberfest' was eight weeks away and he really needed to generate some real profits to make up for a dead summer with hardly any customers. I told him it would be coming off the ship in a week or so, and that I would bring it by in my truck.
Well, as we were shaking on the deal (350 dollars to be paid at twenty dollars a week), the owner of the little bike that stood outside came swaggering in. He was dressed like a beer distributer, wearing a Miller Beer shirt. I noticed a keg in the back of his pickup outside. He seemed buzzed, with an ultra bright smile and glazed, sky blue eyes. He held a stack of tattoo magazines in his arms. He acted like he had partial ownership of the shop. He had an arrogant attitude too and, at first sight, seemed like a typical asshole.
The owner told him my name and informed him of the deal we just made for my little bike. He didn't seem interested, rather he appeared jealous. Then he threw down the stack of tattoo magazines and cranked the sound on the TV playing porno to a deafening level. I was on my way out the door, thank God.
As I was getting in my rental car he went outside to fetch the keg from his pickup. I forgot all about him instantly.
(Sorry, but when there is porno and alcohol playing during lunch hour, I am repulsed instantly). This place was a regular 'Pandora's Box' tucked away in the crevice of town.
I continued exploring the town for the future. I kept telling myself I could have a great life there - if only I found the nice, worthwhile people. I knew that good folks exist in every town. It would take time and effort, but I always have great luck wherever I go.
Chapter TwoMy belongings were delayed a whole month because they were mistakenly shipped to Russia. Thankfully, my things were still to arrive before 'Biketoberfest'. So one afternoon I went to tell the cigar shop owner of the delay on my way to the health food store nearby. He was fine with it.
The man with the little bike appeared out of nowhere, genie-like. I had a glass of water and asked where the hot spots were.
They barked, "Here!"
I only asked for their reaction. I kept a straight face. I noticed on the postcard wall that there was one from where I just moved, in Spain. The owner told me it was from a Norwegian man named Nils. I asked if he had a photo of Nils since he had photos of everyone else all over the place.
He said, "Yes."
Well, turns out he was my Spanish neighbor. We had hung out with the same crowd for five years. The storeowner was astounded.
I thought to myself, "Nils spent the winters hanging out here?"
Yep, same Nils. Then, the owner decided he liked me as he saw me to be a friendly person. Now I was accepted into the dark world of the cigar shop, and not just for our business transaction. Well, I felt differently.
I never went there except to drop off the bike and get paid my twenty dollars once a week. I never stayed longer than five minutes, ever. Each time I dropped by, the shop owner offered me a drink and a smoke – and each time I declined.
I always acted as though I was late for an appointment or pretended someone was waiting in the car so as not to lose the deal or offend him. Clearly he was a control freak of sorts. I got a bad vibe from this place. It was a sick place.
Because he thought he had won me over, he gave me gummy Christmas candy and Evian water as gifts. But every time I went in there, there was some nude girl bearing it all while being photographed in the humidor. It was that or a bunch of drunk, wretched-smelling, bragger men watching porno in the middle of the day. And the same guy with the beer shirt would always show up to cheer on the revolting behavior.
I ride a Harley. I have seen it all in my life; I've even witnessed death right before my eyes. I know boys will be boys, too.
I had long, wavy, platinum blond hair to my waist. It had many color streaks flowing throughout. My clothes were rock 'n roll, but tasteful. When I looked in the mirror, I liked the image I projected. I didn't resemble any other women in town, in any way. In fact, I think they thought I was not only from another country, but another planet. I stuck out like a sore thumb in this place and I liked it.
I think because I was so mysterious, they wanted to know why I was always busy and not partying. However, I saw their partying as drowning. They had to know I was never going to be one of the lewd, nude recruits, no matter what.
One day I saw my female doctor at the cigar shop. She was visibly uncomfortable and freaked out because I had spotted her there. She just so happens to be married to a Sherriff. I didn't linger; I just ran in and out as usual.
Well I started noticing after a few shocking months that no matter what time I visited the shop, the beer shirt guy would always appear, but he would rarely make eye contact with me.
Chapter ThreeThe boat shipping my belongings was very late but it did finally arrive in time for 'Biketoberfest'. My friend was bringing my truck on a trailer from Hurricane Katrina. We took the miniature Harley to the cigar shop together.
Coincidently, the guy with the beer shirt materialized as soon as we arrived. He didn't speak to us as we unloaded the bike off my truck. However, he was drooling all over it - everyone was amazed that the bike was made in Spain and not in the U.S.A. It immediately drew a crowd as we placed it in front of the cigar shop.
The rough owner was gleaming with happiness. He handed me a twenty dollar bill to initiate our deal. My friend loves cigars so he bought a few and enjoyed a free cocktail. I went next door to the health food store until he was ready to go.
I returned to a crowd gathered around my truck and the little Harley. The crowd was seedy. I wanted to get out of there. Nobody could believe this was a "girl's truck". It is a 1950's Chevy, hand-painted with gold leaf motif. It looked very rough but it still ran great. No one could believe it survived Katrina. Since it has a Corvette engine, it is both loud and fast.
My friend was telling the folks gathered the history of my truck and recounted what I had lived through during my cross-country travel in it. He loves to talk. He continues to tell them he is going to marry me by New Years Eve.
I hear this while approaching and say, "You wish!" and I started laughing. "We have to go," I said.
We actually did. We had to get new tires. The old tires were rotten from the sewer water after being submerged for eighteen days during Katrina. The tire place was across the street from the cigar shop and police station, as well as all the stores I frequented.
We headed back to my house to start working on cleaning out all the debris and wasps nests from the car. We had to gut it and take the engine apart and clean it. It was pretty bad. The first round of work lasted ten days. Ten more days for the second round to strip, scrub, and restore for safe driving.
My friend is a very well known mechanic from California who I have been a good friend with since I was in college. He really did want to marry me, it turns out.
I thought to myself, "We'll see. Time will tell."
My friend left after the first ten days to go back to California. He said he would be back for ten days of Christmas and for New Year's Eve to give me an engagement ring. He said we would have an engagement party and complete the work on my truck.
In the meantime I unpacked and decorated my new beach house. Once a week I would stop by the cigar shop to pick up my twenty dollars for the Harley. I would drop by any time of the day. The shop is open from ten A.M. to midnight. I never knew what time I was going to be there. I'd just show up, and the rough owner would hand me a twenty and cheerfully tell me how much business had picked up. In return, I'd smile and say I had to run a million errands.
There were always seedy people in the place drinking, smoking, and watching porno. That beer shirt guy would continue to magically appear every time. He still didn't speak to me. I thought it was especially odd because I once heard him say he worked at the local paper as a printer. If someone has a job, shouldn't they be there? I thought he was quite peculiar. He always appeared and pulled a draft beer and lit a cigar seconds after I appeared. Well this went on every single time of the day or evening.
My friend who wanted to marry me loved that little creepy shop of horrors. When he came to town I took him with me to get my money. He and the rough owner had hit it off. This was my red flag to not marry him.
He left the day after New Year's day. He asked to take me to Mexico for our birthdays in March to see if we were compatible. I was uncomfortable. In my heart of hearts I knew it wouldn't work out. During Christmas, he was over drinking and wanted things I couldn't give. I loved him, but was not in love with him. It was time for me to have a boyfriend. I had been single way too long.
Chapter FourI had already made friends with my neighbors. My new neighbor was a party girl who loved to dance and see live music. I didn't drink; but I am a singer and love to dance. I agreed to go out with her and a group of women every Friday night in order to meet musicians and be a guest singer.
Well, it worked. I met great local musicians and arranged my own band after some time. I was blessed with some of the best musicians in the area. They liked my voice and I started to enjoy a very fulfilling musical life there. I was really happy.
My band grew bigger and better with every Thursday night practice at my home. I found an electric violin player who is a woman my age. Her name was Rika. In fact, we looked like sisters. She rode on the back of her husband's Harley. He wouldn't let her learn to ride. My own Harley was still in the shop being repaired from the Katrina damage. It took six long months to get it just right again.
I missed riding to 'Biketoberfest' that year. I just kept preparing for March with my music. The holidays came and went really fast. All I wanted was 'Bike Week' to arrive so I could sing and ride.
The opening day of 'Bike Week' this year was unusually cold and windy, but I was determined to go on my bike. I put all my leather on, happily got on my bike, and blasted off into the unknown. First stop was the cigar shop for my twenty dollars and to see the expression on those freaks' faces when they witnessed me riding a bike of that size.
There is no helmet law in Florida but I wear one no matter what. I wear a police helmet so that the folks in cars respect me. I had my hair tucked into my jacket so no one could tell I was a woman when I rode. I pulled up and they all had to look at my bike. Gawking was a normal reaction for these bored folks. After the gawking, they all had to analyze and compare it to their own - bla, bla, bla.
I took off my helmet and jacket. That is when the jaws dropped as the crowd saw that it was me, Ruthie. I just walked, glib as usual, past everyone and into the shop.
The cigar shop was packed with the usual yuppie bikers smoking cigars and drinking. The rough owner announced that I had sold the little bike to him. He was in disbelief of my Harley I rode in on. I never told them I had one. The beer shirt guy appeared like a genie again. He stared at my bike, and rightfully so. My Harley is an antique. It is beautiful and simple. No chrome.
I got my twenty and did a monster burn out as I left, headed for the big event. I had a huge smile on my face this time. I was going to meet my female friends at a certain place. The gigantic biker bar was only one mile away up the road and was packed to capacity. It is set outdoors with booths, bike exhibitions, and a huge stage where bands played all day and night. It was louder than you can believe. Folks come from all over the country for this crazy biker frenzy. You could see each and every kind of motorcycle in the universe there. The "beer girls" were really young and practically naked. The biker men were always drunk, fat, foul-mouthed, and sweaty. They bore me to death. I only cared about the music and singing with the bands. That's my rush.
My female friends are in their late forties and single. They were looking to meet biker men for relationships. I invited them to come hear me sing and prowl for guys. I never saw a man I liked there, yet.
Excerpted from The Thrillbilly Magnet by Annie Love Copyright © 2012 by Annie Love. 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.
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