Jeremy jumped into the passenger seat without hesitation, ready to encourage her speeding skills no doubt. Autumn’s knuckles whitened around the steering wheel, and her heart nearly thumped clean out of her chest. The nerves weren’t caused by the excitement of buying a new car. A distinct growing fear of exploring the back roads of Denver began to rise, causing her feet hesitate at the pedals. They were already in a strange neighborhood that she wasn’t familiar with, and it was a mere glimpse of what laid ahead. This could very easily be the car she’d soon follow Craig in.  

Rather than driving straight to the freeway as she normally would have done, Autumn decided to try her own little experiment. Her foot pressed lightly on the brake before they fully crossed the dip of the exit portion on the sidewalk. Knowing full well that the questions of “why” would work their way to the surface, she turned to Jeremy and made a very odd request.

“Point me in the direction of the scariest neighborhood you know of. I want to see if we blend in before I buy it.”

“Autumn, what the hell?”  He questioned. One deep wrinkle formed between his gathered questioning eyebrows. “I thought you wanted me to help you find a car, not be the target of drive-by? Why on earth do you want to see the worst of Denver?”

A slow exhale escaped her, and she nervously chewed at her bottom lip. This was it, Autumn knew that she couldn’t avoid the conversation forever. Especially since she was accepting his help. The only choice she had was to give Jeremy something. Some kind of explanation for her dangerous request. Besides, in all actuality she was glad he was there with her. She was afraid to do it all on her own, and felt a tiny bit safer with him by her side.  If she was going to do this, then she may as well clue him in… A little.

“There’s a man who lives here that I want to find. He isn’t a good person and based on his previous living conditions, I can only imagine what kind of shit hole he stays in now.  I need to see him, and I don’t want him to see me.”

Jeremy’s irritated eyes pierced into hers. It wasn’t enough, he clearly needed more. He drummed his fingers on the dashboard and stared at her, waiting. Cautiously she continued, paying very close attention to exactly how much she let out. The haunting truth of Autumn’s situation scratched at the back of her throat trying to escape, but she just couldn’t tell him the extent of it all. Not yet, anyway. She had only known him for one day after all, despite the familiarity that made the extent of their friendship seem much deeper than that.

“Look,” She continued, “It has to do with my niece Maylee, the one from that picture this morning. The man I want to find might have some information about her that I have to figure out. But he can’t see me, he can’t know I’m here. Can we just leave it at that, for now? Please?”

Threatening tears welled in her eyes, confirming the quiver of her voice to be genuine. Of course Jeremy noticed the hesitant display of emotion.  He already knew that Autumn had a secret, one that she’d reveal when she was ready, and not a minute before.  It didn’t matter that he wanted to push her for more information, because he didn’t actually dare too.  Jeremy knew more than what he was letting on, and plus it was visible that Autumn might snap with violence, or even worse, cry. Soothing emotional women had never been Jeremy’s strong suit, so he left it be.  She’d come around eventually, and patience was always on his side.   

The thinking wheels in Jeremy’s head were practically visible on the curves of his face. A pulsing clench of his jaw read ‘piss off’ and the wrinkles on his forehead shouted ‘I can’t believe we’re doing this’.  With a mere flick of his hand, but no words, Jeremy pointed the way.  It was in the exact opposite direction of the clearly visible freeway sign sitting comfortably at the stoplight to their left. Jeremy sunk himself into the seat, leaning far enough back that he could barely see out the window. Then he pulled the hood of his light jacket up over his head and crosses his arms over his chest. He was irritated, but compliant.

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Coming in the Fall of 2017!!  I’m so excited about this novel, I cant even stand it!!

Will Autumn be able to pry Maylee’s case back open? More importantly, what will Autumn uncover in the process of searching for Maylee?  It’s a cold dark world we live in, and she is about to find out just how cruel it can be.  Strength and determination are on Autumn’s side and she will do what ever it takes.  Stay tuned!

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