Going out to get diapers should have been a fifteen-minute journey. Of course, getting her daughter into her coat and car seat had easily eaten up five of those minutes from the start.
Kay watched with mounting impatience as the woman in front of her loaded the checkout conveyer belt with what looked like half the store. All she wanted was to buy her diapers and get back to her car before Hope started crying again. Now it was just her luck that she’d gotten stuck in line behind someone stocking up for the apocalypse.
People are so ridiculous, she thought.
The shelves in the store had been swept clean of all the staple items such as bread, eggs, and milk. She’d figured she could run in and out since she only needed one thing, but instead she’d had to fight to get down the aisles since there were so many people in the store.
After she finally got through the line, she tucked the package of diapers into her huge purse with one hand and picked up Hope’s car seat with the other. The outside of the store was just as chaotic as the inside. The parking lot was packed and there were abandoned shopping carts everywhere.
She looked up at the sky in trepidation after she’d hooked Hope’s car seat back into the base. It was so much worse than when she’d left the apartment. It would have been smarter to just ask her dad to bring the diapers than risk getting stuck out in this storm.
Finally she was able to pull out of the crowded parking lot and back onto the main road. There was a long line of cars waiting to get to the light, so at the last minute she turned the opposite direction and headed for one of the back roads that would lead her to her apartment building.
Maybe she should have taken Matt up on his invitation to come with him to the Alexanders’. His four-wheel-drive SUV would have navigated the icy streets better. Then she could have seen Eli.
That’s the last thing you need.
Although, she probably should have accepted the ride. She patted the steering wheel of her used sedan. It got her from place to place, but it was temperamental and no match for icy, wet conditions. At the moment though, it was all she could afford.
Jackson had told her the real money in music came from owning the rights to the music itself. Most artists who weren’t songwriters made their money from touring and appearances. When he’d first signed her as part of the singing group Divine, she’d wanted to tell him she wrote songs, but she’d been too shy to show him anything she’d written.
Not that it mattered since Divine had never really caught on. They only had moderate success, so Jackson had disbanded the group and offered her a solo contract. She’d finally worked up the nerve to mention her songwriting and he’d offered to take a look at her work. Sadly, even though she’d promised to send him something, she still hadn’t followed through.
Instead she was scrimping and saving, trying to make the advance money he’d given her last a bit longer.
Her thoughts were jerked back to the present when she turned the corner onto a side street, and for a moment, it felt like the car was weightless.
“Oh my god!”
As the car slid across a patch of black ice, Kay instinctively jerked the steering wheel to the left. The sudden motion sent them sailing straight toward the side of the road. The car fishtailed and then hit the ditch with a terrifying screech of metal, which was then followed by absolute silence.
Kay had never known that quiet could be so horrifying. Then the sound of her breathing became loud in her own ears and she struggled to turn her head.
It was quiet, but then she heard a soft giggle. Kay let out a relieved breath. If her daughter was giggling then she hadn’t been hurt. Actually, she wasn’t even hurt. She held up her hands in front of her face and gave her head a little shake. It must have been the front end of her car on the passenger side that had made contact. With what, she was a little scared to find out.
She sat up and reached for her seat belt. The car shifted and swayed. Her stomach lurched. “Whoa! What was that?”
Her windows were too foggy for her to see much but it had felt like she’d run into something. Had she hit the ditch on the side of the road?
“Mommy’s gotten us into some trouble this time, baby girl.”
Her handbag was on the seat next to her, gaping open. When her eyes lit on her cell phone, she leaned forward to grab it.
A horrible creaking groan from the front of the car halted her in her tracks. The car tipped forward slightly and Kay grabbed the steering wheel. “Okay, I won’t be doing that again.”
It felt like she was on the edge of the ditch. If she moved around too much there was the chance they’d slide in completely. She glanced back at Hope who gave her a gummy grin, exposing the two tiny teeth on the bottom row.
She couldn’t take any risks that they’d slide into the ditch because they’d land on Hope’s side of the car. She could be pinned or even crushed.
A hysterical sob bubbled up from her throat. She clamped a hand over her mouth to keep from making a sound. It wouldn’t help anything for Hope to pick up on her distress. Right now the baby didn’t seem to realize anything was wrong.
Kay pulled a hairpin out of her bun and straightened it. Leaning carefully, she poked the bottom button on her phone. There were two beeps and then she said, “Call Elliott.”
“I do not understand,” the automated voice responded.
Kay hung her head. Her movement must have shifted the car again because there was another creak and she sucked in a terrified breath. If she couldn’t get the phone to work, she’d have to reach for it. If she reached for it, the car could tip over.
She took a deep breath, poked the button with the hair pin again, and then yelled, “Call Elliott!”
The Alexanders and Friends
A holiday prequel to Book 4 of The Alexanders (All I Need is You)
Kaylee Wilhelm isn’t asking for much. All she wants is to make a good life for her infant daughter and for Elliott Alexander to finally notice she exists. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to like her much, so she spends her days working and her evenings with her disapproving parents.
Elliott’s finally in the position to come home for good. He’s built his private security firm into one of the best in the country and he’s miles away from the past he’d rather forget. But home means bittersweet memories and the only woman who makes him feel things he isn’t ready for.
When Kay’s car skids out of control on a snowy evening, she’s forced to reach out to the only man she trusts to save her. Eli’s a protector, so she knows he’ll come for her, but this time Kay is hoping for a little bit more. It’s time to put it all on the line and ask for what she really wants.
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