His watch said seven-fifteen. It was not quite a three-hour drive from Houston to Austin.
Evan locked the door behind him and headed to his car. This wasn't the day he had planned. He fought his way through the morning snarl of Houston traffic, listening to the music his mother sent last night. He wanted Spanish-flavored electronic funk for the opening scenes of his poker-player documentary, and no songs he'd heard yet sounded right, but this music was perfect for what he needed.
He tapped his fingers to the beat as he drove and kept waiting for his cell to ring, his father or Carrie calling, his mom calling to say all was suddenly fine, but his phone stayed silent all the way to Austin.
His mother's front door was locked. Mom kept her photography studio
out in a garage apartment, and he decided she must have retreated to
the comfort of film, primer, and solitude.
He unlocked the door with his key and stepped inside. "Mom?" he called out. No answer.
He walked toward the back of the house, toward the kitchen. He had bought his mom her favorite pastries, peach kolaches from a bakery she adored in LaGrange halfway from Houston, and he wanted to put up the food before he headed to her studio.
Evan turned the corner and saw his mother lying dead on the kitchen floor.
Reprinted from Panic by Jeff Abbott by permission of Dutton, a member of Penguin Group (USA). Copyright © 2005 by Jeff Abbott. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced without permission.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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