A little insider information to the creation of The Fox and the Hound. As I was writing Backwoods Bailout I created a character named Holly. Now I’ve actually been a published author and seriously writing for about three years and most of my books start with ideas, not characters, but Holly took on a life of her own and something about her demanded another story.
Book One: Backwoods Bailout…
The Fox and the Hound is book two in my Bailout Series. In book one, Backwoods Bailout, the main character Lacy was swindled into buying a house that technically didn’t belong to the person selling it. As we come to find out, the person who sold it to her was leading man, Marcus’ ex-girlfriend, Holly. It was a bitter break-up, what can I say? Anyway Holly rights her wrongs before heading into the sunset…but it seems she’s been too lucky for too long and Karma has come a knockin’ in the form of Peyton Shepherd. This is their story…
The Fox and the Hound
Karma was paying me a long overdue visit, and trust me when I say that I deserved it. I was a recently retired white collar criminal, and I had a tendency to con the wrong people. It was never about greed. It started out as the only way I could support me and my dad, and then it evolved into my just trying to pay people back before they got a hold of me. I conned the bad guys because it made it easier to sleep at night. The problem with conning bad people is that they tend to hold grudges, and have loose morals when it comes to things like vengeance and making people disappear.
So here I am, one week into my retirement, and I am trapped in the windowless lobby bathroom of the only hotel in Fort Kent, Maine. I specifically chose this little town in the middle of nowhere because it was small, quiet, and I had never stolen money from anyone in the immediate area. I even knew which building I was going to buy to start my art studio. I knew I’d never be the artist my father was, but I could paint a landscape with my eyes closed, and with the views in this town, I knew I’d make enough to get by. Maybe I’d even teach a few classes while I was at it.
I was finished with the con game, real estate fraud being my specialty. But I didn’t want to run anymore. I just wanted to settle down, get a cat or something, and live out the rest of my life in solitude and peace.
As to why that wasn’t currently happening and I now found myself hiding out in a bathroom? His name is Peyton Shepherd, the bad guy’s go-to retrieval expert, and this wasn’t the first time we’d crossed paths. I just hoped that Al, the hotel owner, bought my story of being chased down by an angry ex-boyfriend and kept his mouth shut about my hiding spot.
In truth, Peyton being an angry ex wasn’t really that far off the mark. Peyton was kind of an old friend, and the last time we’d spoken on the phone…he had been pretty angry. I mean, angrier than just the fact that I’d seduced him and handcuffed him to a bed.
I knew exactly how angry he was because when he’d called me on my way out of town, he warned me that if he ever saw me again, he was going to handcuff me to a headboard and show me what was what. He also said some pretty mean things about my use of my vagina as a form of trade. So, I stole his identity a week later just to prove a point. I didn’t need to use my vagina to get anything. I may be a lot of things, but I’m not a whore.
As to his response, I’m not really sure what I expected from handcuffing a guy to his headboard, pulling his pants off, and then leaving him there for the hotel maid to find the next morning, but he was normally more of a gentleman.
So with a ding in my ego the size of Nebraska, I hit the open road and never looked back. Did I regret not finishing what we’d started in that hotel room? Every single day of my life, but some toys were too dangerous to play with, and Peyton Shepherd was one of them.
I should have known the day he walked into my life that things were going to get bumpy. No man that looked like he did in ripped Levis is a good omen. Men like him signify trouble in the best way. Yes, I said best, because he could do things with his tongue that made my first apprehension a whole lot more enjoyable than it should have been. It was pretty pathetic, honestly.
At the time, he was working freelance for Johnny Capriccio, the head of the Italian mob in Chicago. I may have taken a few hundred thousand dollars of Johnny’s money and invested it all in real-estate on the moon. To make a long story short, let’s just say that I have terrible taste in men, and Johnny Capriccio now owns half of Earth’s moon.
Three weeks after Johnny’s real-estate transaction went through, Peyton walked into my life. At this point, I was strictly avoiding mixing business and pleasure, but sometimes, even bad girls need a good time, and I’m really blaming my hormones for what happened in that hotel room. My girl parts are self-centered, and they only had one thing on their minds as soon as I first laid eyes on Peyton Shepherd. So, I’m pleading temporary insanity because my thought process from that moment forward was slightly skewed and I wasn’t entirely in charge of my choices during the duration of my abduction.
We spent three days driving across the country and sleeping in crappy motels, and every night, he was sleeping a little closer. On the last night, I awoke from my hormone-induced stupor to find myself straddling his lap, my teeth locked onto his delectable bottom lip, when I suddenly realized what I was doing. My survival instincts had kicked in with the clicking of his handcuffs around his wrists, and I recognized that my time for escape was now or never.
I stood back, biting my bottom lip as I raked my eyes over his semi-naked perfection, and I contemplated my options. Stay and have a night of mind-blowing, tantric sex and risk that he would still turn me in to Johnny in the morning, or walk away now and regret not having that night for the rest of my life? That’s when I realized survival wasn’t necessarily about living as it was about subsisting.
From his position handcuffed to the bed, he narrowed those dark, haunted eyes on me and my decision was made. I didn’t know how long the cuffs could really hold him, so I quickly grabbed my clothes, told him I was very sorry, grabbed his car keys, and left.
That had been just over a year ago, but Peyton wasn’t known for his forgiving nature and karma was knocking pretty hard on this girl’s door. They say karma’s a bitch, but why did she have to send Peyton?
I should have known this day was coming. I’d been riding on good luck for too long. I shouldn’t have cut so many corners with Ethan Glenridge. I was always careful to check if someone had access to Peyton’s services before going in for the kill, but Ethan was a very rich douchebag, and very rich douchebags had access to everything! Honestly, I really didn’t think that he’d even notice the money I’d taken from his accounts.
Essentially, the money I stole from that bastard was to pay back his ex-wife, Lacy. Less than a week ago, I’d conned her in order to pay off some very bad men. So, essentially, the money I stole from Ethan was owed to her anyway. I’d righted a wrong. I’d balanced the universe. I was practically Robin Hood, and karma was still coming for me. I just didn’t get it. Okay, sure, maybe I shouldn’t have taken a little extra for myself, but it was just to get me by until I could open my art gallery.
I backed against the bathroom door while trying to listen to Al and Peyton’s conversation. It was easy to tell the two men apart. Peyton had a deep, resonating voice that probably helped in getting him the nickname The Reaper, while Al had a voice like a thirteen-year-old boy.
“Have you seen a woman come in here today? She’s tall, slender, early thirties, very attractive?”
I would have kicked his ass for the thirties comment—not that I wasn’t, but I sure as hell didn’t look it. I smiled proudly at my reflection in the mirror. Peyton Shepherd thought I was very attractive, huh?
“What color hair does she have?” Al asked.
“Who knows? I’m guessing that she isn’t blonde anymore,” Peyton answered.
And he was right. As soon as I hit the road for one reason or another, I changed my appearance, and in the spirit of retirement, I went with my natural red hair instead of the bottle blonde I’d been sporting for the last few years.
I wiggled nervously as I waited for Al’s delayed response. When it didn’t come, it occurred to me that I may have been ousted. I could just see the sniveling little snot pointing at the lobby bathroom door and mouthing the words, She’s in there.
The little room didn’t have any other exits or a whole lot in the way of weapons choices, but I quietly flipped the toilet bowl lid off the tank and held it like a baseball bat.
Someone checked the door. Then there was a knock.
“Someone’s in here,” I said cheerfully, like I was having the best time of my life crapping in a public restroom. I continued to watch the door, waiting for it to explode inward under the immense pressure of Peyton Shepherd’s pent-up rage. The knob jiggled again and the next knock was a little more persistent.
I squared my shoulders. If he wasn’t coming in for me, I’d go out. I couldn’t stay locked in this room any longer. The smell of the cheap, industrial strength, meadow flowers air freshener was making me a little dizzy, and when given the choice, I’d rather go down in a blaze of glory. Not the best mentality to have when one was wanted in four states, but I really don’t want to even think about what happened in South Carolina.
My hand shook over the knob and I could hear my pulse pounding in my ears, but I shoved the door open, holding the heavy toilet lid in my left hand.
Al swallowed, but seemed frozen in fear beyond that. I stuck my head out into the open lobby, using him as a shield, but Peyton was nowhere to be seen and, trust me, he stuck out in a crowd. He was tall, over six-foot, with dark brown, almost black hair. He had kind of a laid back California/surfer/sex god/Navy Seal vibe going on with the most intense black eyes I’d ever seen.
Upon seeing that I was safe, I dropped the toilet lid into Al’s hands and slipped passed him without a word.
I looked out the large front window, but I didn’t see The Reaper’s famous powder black Shelby GT 500 in the parking lot. Peyton Shepherd was a lot of things, but he had great taste in cars. And I should know since I currently had one of them in storage.
I looked at Al. “Do you have a back way out?”
He pointed down the far hall. “It’s marked with an exit sign.”
“Thanks.” I gave him a my best smile for not buckling under Peyton’s interrogation. I had to give credit where credit was due, and anyone that could lie to The Reaper deserved some respect.
I trotted down the hall and out the side door, took a cursory glance around, and sighed a breath of relief at seeing nothing but a handful of compact SUVs. The asphalt of the driveway sparkled under the low light of the full moon. The air was cold enough to make my breaths come out in puffs, and I predicted that some of the sparkle on the tar was actually black ice.
I took a few cautious steps into the driveway, and when I wasn’t being blocked by the building, I heard the low growl coming from behind it. I froze and felt the rumble of the 500 horse power engine before I turned around. When I did turn, HED headlights flicked on, blinding me as the car rolled quietly toward me like a scene out of Christine.
“Holly, don’t move,” Peyton commanded through his open window.
He must have seen the instinctual urge to run in my eyes as my brain ticked off the escape routes one by one. I couldn’t outrun his car or him, so I needed something else. I glanced around as he got out, his hands up to show me that he wasn’t armed. I wasn’t an idiot—his hands were his weapons.
I took a step back as he took another step closer.
He froze. “Holly,” he warned in a dangerously low voice that gave me goose bumps made my nipples hard.
I ignored him while I thought. His weaknesses in this situation were one—he worked alone, and two—people didn’t take very kindly to a woman screaming for help as a full grown man tackled her. Third—he wasn’t a cop. He wasn’t law enforcement of any kind. This brought me to my next subject—my weaknesses. He was a freelance recovery agent, not bounty hunter. He found people and delivered them to the people looking for them. In my case, that meant he was going to deliver me to a very angry and very well-connected Ethan Glenridge. Secondly, just the sound of his voice made my nipples hard.
As to what happened to me after my disposal at the feet of Ethan Glenridge, The Reaper didn’t care. As long as he finished his job and got paid for it, my wellbeing wasn’t his concern. He had an impressive track record and, as far as I knew, I was the only job he’d ever failed to complete. This cooled my heels quite a bit when remembering how hard it had been to leave him cuffed to that bed. God…the abs.
That’s all you’re getting! Also I’ll be sure to comeback and update the page to post the links. Thanks for visiting and have a great day!