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Dedication



For all of the many friends I met during twenty-one years in the newspaper business.




Chapter 1



JESS McELROY eased her car into the right lane of traffic on the interstate highway and scanned her mirrors. A small, red convertible rushed up behind her. The car swerved into the left lane and pulled up beside her. The woman driving the car had a cell phone pressed against her ear. The vehicle swayed a little too close for comfort. Without thinking, she jerked the steering wheel to the right. Her tires grazed the shoulder of the road. Adrenalin rushed through her chest. Her knuckles turned white from their grip on the steering wheel.

She maneuvered her tires back onto the pavement and shot another glance toward the other driver. The woman turned toward her. Dark sunglasses obscured her eyes, but her lips formed a tight, thin line. She kept her car parallel to Jess’s for a few moments before speeding forward and cutting into the right lane missing Jess’s front fender by inches. Even though she’d worked hard on her bent toward road rage, Jess shoved her palm into the soft center of her steering wheel and let her horn blare. The woman accelerated, putting several car-lengths between them in a matter of seconds. Before the convertible fled out of sight, Jess noticed the temporary dealer tag stuck onto the back bumper.

“I hope you weren’t taking that expensive car for a test drive, lady.”

Oh, no, is this a bad omen? Second thoughts about her job interview flooded her mind. Had she rushed into the decision to change jobs? If she stayed with the safe and familiar, then she wouldn’t have to worry about getting killed on the interstate while she traveled to and from work. Still, she’d received a good vibe from her phone conversation with Parker Montgomery. For the first time in months, she had an optimistic feeling about her life. She wouldn’t let one bad driver on I-85 scare her out of a great opportunity.

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