These Divided States: High Price to Pay


Chapter 8

Jane jolted awake but willed her body to remain motionless and her eyes closed. Her brain commanded her to run, to hide, but years of self-imposed paralysis held. She was safe here. No one could come into her office, storefront or apartment upstairs. Not without the security codes. 

And Tyler wouldn’t try to crack them in broad daylight.

A slow exhale calmed her panic. Her worn pajamas comforted her. Fatigue fogged her brain even as fear refused to allow her body more than a moments rest.

Thoughts resumed, processing the information from her senses. Paper crinkled under her cheek. Her toes curled into the indentations of her worn bunny slippers. A dumpster clattered to the ground in the alley. The rumble of a garbage truck shook the metal door.

The office. 

She was in her office. Memories roiled through her. She’d retreated here, trying to bore herself to sleep.

Or find inspiration to get rid of Tyler Payne. Permanently.

She could run. Running and hiding had worked when her mother had been raped and murdered. But she wasn’t seven.

Tyler would find her. 

And kill her. 

Why had she used the machine guns to scare him away? No amount of money was worth this. Hell, the launch of Nirvana could have waited another day or two. Now, the element of surprise was gone. Which left her where? 

In her office. Fatigue pulled at her. Dammit, she needed sleep. And not just for the long night ahead. She needed a clear mind to think. Her old standbys had failed her. Physical action had increased her heart rate, but inspiration had eluded her while she cleaned up the glass and candy. Dusting the ginger jars in the showroom had left her sneezing, not inspired. The hour spent on her accounting reports resulted in the numbers dancing and nothing else.

She was a dead woman.

Unless she thought of something. Her fingers curled into fists. Her nose twitched from a whiff of soap. Pine soap. Not the kind that she used. Her heart lodged in her throat. Fabric whispered behind her. 

“You’re awake.” A man spoke. “That’s too bad.”

Her brain compared the deep baritone to Tyler’s. Not Ty. There was a chance she could talk her way out of this. She could survive.

“That’s a shame.” Cold metal drilled the back of her skull. “Now you’re going to hear the bullet before it kills you.”






About Linda Andrews

Linda Andrews lives with her husband and three children in Phoenix, Arizona. When she announced to her family that her paranormal romance was to be published, her sister pronounce: "What else would she write? She’s never been normal." All kidding aside, writing has become a surprising passion. So just how did a scientist start to write paranormal romances? What other option is there when you’re married to romantic man and live in a haunted house? If you’ve enjoyed her stories or want to share your own paranormal experience feel free to email the author at She’d love to hear from you.
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