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Authors: Belle Malory

Wanderlove

BOOK: Wanderlove
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Wanderlove

By Belle Malory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Belle Malory
Copyright © 2011 Belle Malory

All rights reserved.

ISBN-10: 1466325429

ISBN-13: 978-1466325425

 

 

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons are coincidental.

 

Table of Contents

 

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Epilogue

Part One
Remembrance

 

 

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

ONE

 

“Goodbye, my half a million American dollars.”

A whimper and a small sigh escaped my best friend’s lips as she longingly stared out into the darkness. She made it a point to put her emotions on display, just in case I didn’t already know how she was feeling.

A few paces ahead, a row of brand-new Mercedes-Benz cars gleamed in the moonlight. The automobiles were all of next year’s models-sleek, sophisticated and tragically unattainable. I watched as Lina’s brown eyes grew practically teary with remorse as she stared at them. I, on the other hand, lifted a high brow, annoyed by my friend’s sudden display of regret. Now was definitely not the time for doubts.

“Are you trying to make things worse?” I whispered the question heatedly. Had I been warned she would spend the night bemoaning our losses, I might have reconsidered what I was about to do.

I immediately regretted snapping at her. The dramatic farewell shouldn’t have come as a surprise. It was just like Lina to react this way. After all, Lina Drynski had been my lifelong friend. No one knew her as well as I did. And I knew she habitually freaked out during the eleventh hour. I should be used to it by now.

Maybe it was because tonight was so different. Tonight was important. The big moment of truth was here and I depended on Lina to make the right decisions. Every move was crucial in this stage of the game.

She’ll be fine. She always gets it together,
I reminded myself. Thankfully, and almost in sync with my thoughts, Lina squared her shoulders and inhaled a deep breath. Good, she was getting a grip.

Now if only I could do the same. . .

“Course not, love,” Lina finally answered my earlier question. She patted my arm comfortingly. “Just needed a moment, that’s all.”

I looked back towards the transport carrier, feeling my legs tremble a little. Assured now that I wouldn’t have to console Lina, I was once again confronted with my own nauseating bout of panic. It settled around me like an oppressive fog, causing me to question everything I’d planned over the last few weeks.

Last chance to change your mind
, I offered myself, dangling the decision as if it were the fruit of temptation. Surely, I was the kettle in this scenario. I had no right to criticize Lina’s hesitation-my own was far worse than hers could ever be. I only hoped I was better at hiding it.

“We have about thirteen minutes before the cops get here,” Lina announced, interrupting my internal debate. She moved to point to one of the cars. “Do you think you can handle the CL-Class on the bottom rack?”

Dazedly, I squinted, searching for the vehicle she mentioned. “The black one?” I asked.

“That’s it,” she confirmed. She paused for a brief moment to regard me. “Hey, are you okay, Lo?” There were traces of concern in her voice. Maybe I wasn’t hiding my emotions as well as I’d thought.

“I’m fine,” I assured her.

It was a blatant lie.

Because as much as I wanted to be fine, I was secretly experiencing a nervous breakdown.

Redirecting my train of thought, I focused on removing the car from the carrier. I hoped the task might calm me.
It’s such a beautiful car
, I thought while looking it over. I hated knowing that I would enjoy taking it. My father was to blame for moments like this one. He’d somehow managed to instill a wicked streak in me. The rush spreading over my body, the racing of my exuberant heart-it was entirely his fault. I wish I’d never known the excitement of this moment.

“When you get it on the ground, you’re going to head east,” Lina instructed me. “The cops will be coming from the west, which leaves you no other route.”

“I’ll have it down in five.”

I moved quietly, practically unnoticeable in the darkness of the night. Lina and I both wore black and our clothes were skin-tight. Normally we opted for colorful, vibrant and flowy fabrics. But we were instructed to become invisible tonight, a direct order from my father, Christo Moori. General rule of thumb was to adhere to Christo. Even I, his only daughter, was not beyond facing the consequences of upsetting him.

I couldn’t help thinking that after tonight my father wouldn’t just be upset. After tonight, the wraths of hell would undoubtedly be unleashed. So, of course, I was terrified. Maybe I’d finally lost it. Yep, that had to be it. I must be insane.

I glanced at my watch. Only four minutes remaining to get this car down, which meant that I didn’t have any time to reflect on my sanity or lack of it. I needed to get moving.

When we were working these types of jobs, I never wandered too far from Lina. She had one of the most remarkable gifts I’d ever encountered. A psychic at the purest form, Lina could see into the immediate future. Through study of her skill, we found she could see as far as an hour ahead, unless people changed their minds or spontaneously decided to do something unusual. For the most part though, she was my father’s best asset, especially for a job like this. Tonight we would be stealing a prime load of brand new Mercedes-Benz’s that were being shipped to Palm Beach, Florida. . .or we
would
have been able to steal the load. However, I had other plans. And unfortunately for my father, those plans didn’t correlate with his.

Since I didn’t have any unique foresight to match Lina’s, I learned to pick up a few skills of my own. However, interfacing an advanced security system like the kind set up on these particular vehicles had never been a strong point of mine. If it was just a simple matter like breaking a window and hotwiring a car, I was completely capable. But hotwiring was not going to work with a keyless entry, fully equipped, luxury car.

Lucky for me, my father intercepted a package of micro-chipped keys that had been sent to the Palm Beach dealership separately from their shipment of vehicles. All I needed to do was press the unlock button and I’d be set to go. I could manage it easily enough. I would have the car down in time, validating Lina’s vision.

I unhitched the car from its mount, allowing it to roll to the ground, and trying to remain as quiet as possible. Should one of my father’s men catch on to what I was doing, I’d be done for.

When the car was on the ground, I went to find Lina. She held the key in her pocket. The key to my escape.

It’s almost over
, I couldn’t help but think.
Soon you will be long gone. Soon you will have actually gotten away with this.

A difficult concept to process.

I carefully tiptoed around the drooping truck driver. He’d been left on the backside of the truck, his back leaning against the frame. The poor guy out had been knocked out cold. I shuddered, trying not to look straight at him.

An unexpected clicking noise broke through the silence, startling me. I stiffened, looking around in the dark.

The sound came from behind the car. I strained my eyes to see what had caused it.

Lina’s figure appeared as she stepped closer to me and I breathed a small sigh of relief. Shakily, she handed me the key.

I could sense Lina’s anxiety had also grown. Everything was riding on her vision and she realized it. One bad move could send us spiraling into an epic failure. She had every right to be fearful. Should things go wrong, I wouldn’t be the only one held accountable.

I further suspected Lina didn’t want to see me leave, though she knew as well as I did that it had to be done. She was doing her best to hide how she felt, endearingly.

“Are you positive this is what you want?” Lina questioned me uneasily.

“Yes,” I told her with resolution. “This is what I want.”

She unconsciously bit her bottom lip. The sadness in her expression brought me out of the surreal daze, which had been hovering around me. In all honesty, I was sad, too. Lina had been my closest friend for my entire life. Lina and Lola. Always together. Two of a kind. And from what she had told me, we’d been friends in many different life times.

“I guess you better leave now, before he figures it out.”

I nodded in agreement, grabbing my satchel and opening the door to the shiny, black Mercedes I just participated in the theft of. Before I got in, I turned back towards Lina and hugged her, squeezing her until she was breathless. Over her shoulder, I whispered, “Do me a favor?”

“Sure. Anything.”

I swallowed, fighting back any tears I’d been harboring. “Tell him it’s nothing personal. Tell him I love him.”

“He knows that, Lo.”

“He will forget.”

I got into the car and started the engine. As it purred to life, I rolled down my window.

“Take care, Lina.”

“You too. And remember-- don’t take the turnpike or the interstate. Get rid of the car when you reach Pensacola.”

“I will,” I promised her.

“Drive fast. They
will
try to come after you.”

In response to that statement, I rolled up the window and stepped on the gas pedal. The brand-new tires screeched as I turned onto the highway. The car picked up speed wonderfully.

I tried focusing only on driving, if that was possible. At least there was a bright side to all of this. I was able to make my escape in the most bad ass car I’d ever driven. I would assuredly lapse into a heart-wrenching depression when it came time to leave it behind.

Throwing caution out the window, I drove at ninety miles an hour down the highway, which twisted narrowly through the dark Tennessee mountainside. It was still very early, barely five o’ clock in the morning. The road was empty, save for a blanket of mist that covered the dewy ground alongside it.

Daylight was on the horizon and Lina mentioned I would need to get as far away from Nashville as I could while it was still dark. This way it would be harder for my father’s lackeys to make out where I was headed. Not impossible, just harder. Although if I could make it to Florida by the time the storm struck, I would be golden. That’s why this escape was so perfect, and it was why I had no choice but to act when I had. Mind readers can’t see inside your thoughts while it’s raining. So it would be nearly impossible to see inside my head in the middle of a tropical storm. With any luck, it might even turn into a fully-fledged hurricane.

Elated, I began to realize that I was actually going to get away.

And then, as per usual, my elation quickly left me as I thought of my father. He would never forgive me for this. Not only because I was betraying him, but also because he would end up in jail for trying to hunt me down.


Damn
,” I muttered, feeling wretched. I wasn’t supposed to feel like this. I was supposed to be relieved, reveling in this moment. I had just escaped a nightmare.

BOOK: Wanderlove
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