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Before the convertible fled out of sight, Jess noticed the temporary dealer tag stuck onto the back bumper. “I hope you weren’t taking a test drive, lady.”

Oh, no, was 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 work each day. Still, she’d received a good vibe from her phone conversation with Parker Montgomery. For the first time in months, she had an optimistic outlook about her life. She wouldn’t let one crazy driver on I-85 scare her out of a great opportunity.


The brick façade of the building in front of her seemed ordinary and yet, imposing. Jess sighed, relaxed her hands and mentally prepared herself for her first job interview in eight years. She regretted not doing it years ago, but she’d never had the nerve to leave her small hometown newspaper. Now, it had become necessary to ensure her peace of mind. She swung her legs out of the car seat, stood up and smoothed away the wrinkles in her favorite teal suit. She took one long, deep breath to calm her nerves and walked toward the double glass doors at the entrance to Piedmont Today.

She stepped inside the reception area of the large regional newspaper. Immaculate, she thought. Beige, stain-free carpet covered the floor. The tan walls were also spotless. Without a doubt, she could get used to working in this environment. Back at her office, she’d grown accustomed to the rumble of noisy equipment, loud voices and trashcans spilling over onto the floor.

“May I help you?” an older woman with salt and pepper hair asked.

She stepped over to the chest-high counter that stood between the receptionist’s desk and the waiting area. “I’m Jess McElroy. I have an appointment with Mr. Montgomery.”

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