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Locked In Silence (Pelican Bay #1)
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I’ve spent years hoping someone would finally hear me. It’s easier not to try anymore…
At twenty-eight, Nolan has traveled the world as a successful concert violinist with some of the best symphonies in the country. But success breeds envy, and when Nolan’s benefactor and lover decides Nolan has flown high enough, he cruelly clips Nolan’s wings. The betrayal and ensuing scandal leaves the violinist’s career in shambles and with barely enough money to start fresh somewhere beyond his vindictive ex’s powerful reach. But just as he’s ready to get his life back on track, Nolan gets the call he’s been dreading.
After a stroke leaves his father a partial invalid, duty-bound Nolan returns to Pelican Bay and a life he’s spent years trying to forget. When he’s forced to use the last of his own money to keep from losing the family home, desperation has him turning to the one man he’d hoped never to see again…
Even if I could speak, there wouldn’t be anyone there to listen…
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God, I hated the cold.
Hell, it wasn’t even that cold yet, but October in Minnesota and October in sunny California were two very different animals. Of course, pretty much everything was a different animal when it came to pitting the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes against the Golden State.
“Slow down, Nolan,” my mother groused as she leaned across the console and lifted her glasses enough so she could study the speedometer. “You’re not in Hollywood anymore,” she reminded me as she leaned back and focused on her knitting needles once again.
Don’t do it.
Don’t do it.
I chanted the words to myself several times and then did it anyway.
“San Francisco,” I murmured.
Why, Nolan? Just why?
I shook my head at my inner voice because I didn’t have an answer for that.
“What, dear?” my mother asked without looking up.
“I was in San Francisco, Mom.” I took my eyes off the road long enough to glance at her. “San Francisco, not Los Angeles.”
She didn’t answer. She just took her hand off one knitting needle long enough to wave her hand.
I sighed and forced my attention back to the road. I was never going to make it. I’d been home for less than twenty-four hours and I felt like I was going to bust out of my skin.
Knowing my mother wouldn’t notice, I shook my head. Pelican Bay, Minnesota wasn’t home for me. It never had been. Yeah, I’d spent my first eighteen years here, but it hadn’t ever been home. At best, it was purgatory.
A harsh comparison? Maybe. But after having experienced the freedom that came with living anywhere but Pelican Bay, I supposed I was just a little more than biased about the subject.
My mother clucked her tongue as she glanced at the radio. “Need to be home by four or I’ll have to pay Mrs. Kellogg for another hour.”
I wasn’t sure what to say to that comment. I certainly couldn’t tell her what I wanted to. That we wouldn’t be late if she wasn’t such a control freak when it came to driving. Or that maybe if she hadn’t spent an extra twenty minutes complaining to anyone who would listen at the medical device supply company about the price of the walker we’d gone there to purchase, we wouldn’t be running behind now.
So, I settled for staying silent since it was really what she wanted, anyway.
My stomach rolled uncomfortably, but I knew it wasn’t from anything I’d eaten today.
“Mrs. O’Reilly is coming over tonight to pick up her casserole dish. She doesn’t know about…you know,” my mother said with another wave of her hand. “The incident,” she added, lowering her voice.
I forced myself to take a deep breath.
I’d heard that word more times than I could count in the last twenty-four hours and it made me want to scream every time.
“She thinks you’re just home for a visit. No need for her to know about…the incident.”
I bit into my lip to keep my mouth shut this time.
“I’ll be going to Edith’s for bridge, so you make sure to thank her and tell her I’ll call her tomorrow.”
I didn’t answer, and she clearly wasn’t expecting a response because she began humming to herself.
Fifteen more minutes.
I just had to get through fifteen more minutes and then we’d be home – no, not home. That word didn’t fit. The house – we’d be at the house. Fifteen minutes and we’d be at the house and I could have a few minutes to myself.
I let my eyes scan the quiet road around us. Dusk was already threatening to fall, signaling the start of what would be a long, brutal winter. A winter I had no clue how I was going to get through.
Tall trees lined the winding road, so it wasn’t until I rounded a curve that I saw it. The small lump in the middle of the road. I shifted the steering wheel so the tires wouldn’t roll over the body of the poor raccoon that hadn’t been quick enough while attempting to cross the road. Just as I was about to avert my eyes so I wouldn’t have to take in the gruesome sight, I saw another bundle of fur moving, and I instinctively slammed on the brakes and jerked the steering wheel to the right, causing the car to violently swerve.
My mother let out a gasp as the car careened along the shoulder before skidding to a stop.
“Nolan!” she shouted as her purse and knitting needles went flying. “Watch out!”
I ignored her and put the car into park as I tried to catch my breath. Adrenaline surged through my blood. I lifted my hand to adjust the rearview mirror, ignoring my mother as she scolded me with some comment about the terrible driving habits I’d picked up in Hollywood.
My eyes settled on the dead raccoon and I once again saw movement.