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"In my opinion, Lidia wasn’t serious enough for him. It was kind of like Morpheus from The Matrix marrying Elaine from Seinfeld."

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01 – Incentive

I dropped everything and flew to Louisville after I got the call from Ray.  He didn’t provide any details.  He didn’t need to.  It didn’t matter what the job was.  The chance to work for him was the only incentive I required.  But as it turned out, this assignment was overflowing with benefits.

I had never been to Kentucky.   The airport was nice, more cosmopolitan than I would have expected.  It was the third week of March, a very cool and clear morning.  He picked me up outside the terminal.  I climbed into the front seat of his black SUV.  “It’s good to see you Ash,” he greeted me warmly.  He was genuinely happy to see me, patting my shoulder as I settled in.

“It’s good to see you, too, Ray,” I answered. “Kentucky, huh?”

He chuckled softly but said nothing else.  It was quiet for a few minutes while he guided us back out to the freeway.  He glanced over at me and smiled.

“So I never paid you back for Paris,” he said.  He paused to frame his next words carefully.

“This job will cover it, I think, and maybe then some.”

He was referring to the assistance I’d provided him in setting a few things up when he was dating Lidia.

A payback for Paris?  This must have the potential to be very good or very, very bad.

I wasn’t crazy about the second Mrs. Torrence.  She seemed totally wrong for a man like Ray.  In my opinion, Lidia wasn’t serious enough for him.  It was kind of like Morpheus from The Matrix marrying Elaine from Seinfeld.  Oh, she wasn’t bad.  If I was being fair I’d have to admit she was a good person, and very attractive, of course.  Ray could do far worse.  I guess she just didn’t fit the mental image I had envisioned of the soul-mate of the man I viewed as a father figure.  Maybe her problem was that she was nothing like my mother.  At any rate, because I owed him everything, I stowed my irrelevant feelings and did my best to assist him with his romantic schemes.  That side of his personality had surprised me, and I found that once again, I had much to learn from him.

“The contract is open ended,” he began. “Your cut is five thousand a week…with bonus opportunities.”

Five Thousand?  So far, so good…incredibly good!

After a moment he continued. “It’s surveillance…” he paused and a shadow crossed his expression, which I caught in my peripheral vision, and I couldn’t interpret, “…with posturing as needed.” he added and then he was quiet again.

After a few miles had rolled by I asked, “Posturing?”  I wasn’t sure what he meant by that.

“Yeah, we may need to intercede from time to time, but nothing overt.  Very subtle maneuvers,” he answered, in an overly nonchalant way.  It was not lost on me.

There was a wave of unease ghosting in my stomach. I took in the brilliant blue sky set against the soft shades of new green that were speeding past us on either side of the highway as we made our way east on I-64.

“So…what’s the catch?” I finally ventured.  I was bracing for something bad now.

He turned to look at me, his eyes roaming over my face.  Then he refocused on the road and said with a sigh, “No emotional involvement.”

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Chapter Index | 19 Comments

19 Comments (Leave a comment »)

  1. Anxiously awaiting the next book!

    Comment by heather m — January 11, 2014 at 1:06 am

  2. simply amazing. I so can not wait to read more from Ash’s point of view. Also I think it is pretty cool that we have the aspect of his and Ray relationship. it tells me that Ray is old enough to have a child in his late 20′s. I hope that this part also expands in Ash’s story.

    Comment by rebeckah — February 23, 2013 at 11:07 pm

  3. The first book was awesome.. Took me one day to read it.. I loved it.. I was hoping the others would be out already. Love this chapter from Ash in his version.I knew those PEOPLE in Ellery’s life where placed.. But a GREAT STORY LINE.. LOVE IT. Can’t wait to continue reading

    Comment by Vicki — January 27, 2013 at 1:39 pm

  4. Can’t wait to read the rest of the series!!!

    Comment by Rachel Fuller — November 14, 2012 at 9:50 am

  5. I just finished the ifrst book and odwnloaded the short story..I cant wait for the next book…WHen is it coming????? One of my favorites now:)

    Comment by Mary Coolbaugh — September 27, 2012 at 4:57 pm

  6. OMG! I just finished the 1st book and can’t wait to read the 3rd one cause I thought Ash was just dreamy and he was my favorite in the whole book!

    Comment by kim — July 5, 2012 at 4:43 pm

  7. I can’t wait for the new book I’m hooked on this.

    Comment by Margaret — June 29, 2012 at 2:29 am

  8. I LOVE IT. TOTALLY amazing I am already in love with it lol can’t
    Wait for the rest

    Comment by kyla hunt — April 24, 2012 at 1:41 am

  9. I want more. When will the next book be ready?

    Comment by Shirley — February 23, 2012 at 12:33 pm

  10. Looks good so far. Show me more!

    Comment by Jennifer — January 24, 2012 at 6:00 pm

  11. I have wanted to name my future daughter Ellery since I was like 4 years old. I was shocked when I saw this name as the main character when reading the first book. I’m craving the new books!!!!

    Comment by Bre — December 11, 2011 at 4:50 pm

  12. Aaaaaaaaaah, I’m terribly impatient! I *need* this book. I have read all the excerpts now, and reread the first book. Drives me crazy to have to wait. (Even though the waiting makes it that much “tastier” when I finally wrap my greedy, needy hands around the cover, and begin paging through).

    Comment by Sara — November 2, 2011 at 4:08 am

  13. The words “no emotional involvement” jumps at me. Isn’t that like flagging a bull with a red cloth? In addition to that what does “posturing” mean?

    Comment by Ginny Alward — September 25, 2011 at 6:41 pm

  14. No emotional involvement???

    ha ha.. he got tht one right

    Comment by Biji — August 5, 2011 at 1:34 am

  15. I can’t wait for more books and to see what happens in Ellery’ life,

    Comment by Ronda Maynard — June 7, 2011 at 12:50 am

  16. My new favorite stories are ones from different points of view. I am really looking forward to these next books.

    Comment by beth — March 5, 2011 at 11:15 pm

  17. I loved the matrix quote!! Its hilarious!! I kinda wish this was just a bit longer.

    Comment by Enjoli — February 24, 2011 at 8:52 pm

  18. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Seth Clearwater and Edward A. M. Cullen, Ann Mauren. Ann Mauren said: WHO IS ASH? You can check him out here: I recommend you do… @CSparkz_Ed can also vouch for him! [...]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention 01 – Incentive « Mayne Attraction -- — December 13, 2010 at 12:47 pm

  19. I just want to say, “It was kind of like Morpheus from The Matrix marrying Elaine from Seinfeld.” is the BEST. LINE. EVER. Lmfao!

    Comment by Danielle — June 20, 2010 at 4:43 am

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