Odin Stone, The
Compelled by her gift of ‘sight’ to search for a link to the past, Anna crosses paths with Simon, a man with a dark and tortured past who is as much of an enigma to her as the visions that haunt her.
Length: Full Novel
Word Count: 97,588
Genre: Paranormal/Reincarnation Romance
Available formats: : PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Eliza Black, October 2005
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
The car began its usual dance of death as Anna pulled to a stop beside the guard shack of the gated community. Coughing, spluttering and belching noxious gas from the tail pipe, it idled like an animal in its death throes, the engine shuddering so violently it bounced the entire car up and down hard enough to rattle her teeth together. Slipping the car into park, Anna put a foot on the gas pedal and eased down on it until the engine idled a little more smoothly and ceased threatening to die altogether. As it stopped sputtering and coughing, her fear of being stranded at the gate and having to be pushed out of the way subsided and the cold sweat that had popped from her pours dried in the scorching heat of the late summer’s day in the deep south.
The guard looked Anna over suspiciously after he’d examined her business card.
“Wait here. I’ll need to call Ms. Bridgewater and verify your appointment with her.”
Anna nodded, tamping her irritation. He was new and she hadn’t been to see Liz in a couple of weeks. She checked her gas gauge while she waited. Alarmed when she saw the needle dropping before her eyes, she eased off on the gas pedal, trying to calculate just how much gas she’d put in the car and how many miles she’d driven since. The gas gauge wasn’t very accurate, which was why she always kept a gas can in the trunk with a gallon of gas in it, but if the tank went dry, she wasn’t certain a gallon would get her to a gas station.
The wealthy families that lived in the gated community she was trying to get in to didn’t want anything so low class as a gas station within miles of their mansions for fear they might catch a view of it if they happened to glance out of one of their windows.
“She was expecting you at three o'clock sharp,” the guard said disapprovingly when he passed her card back to her.
“I had car trouble,” Anna retorted sharply, losing her cool when the comment suggested she might have to turn around and drive back to the city without even seeing the woman. “If she’s too busy to see me, she’ll have to make another appointment, but it’ll be at least a month before I can get back out this way.” Or maybe never, she mentally amended because if she didn’t get paid it was going to be tough coming up with gas money for another trip.
The guard looked a little taken aback by her reaction. “She said to come on back to the house.”
“Good.” Snatching her ragged business card from his fingers, Anna stuffed it into her jeans pocket and put the car in gear. She’d been too agitated to realize she still had her foot on the gas, though. The car bucked like a bronco, giving her instant whiplash as it jolted forward with a screech of bald tires and nearly died again when she slammed her foot down on the brake.
Thoroughly rattled by now, Anna shoved the car into neutral, gunned it a couple of times, and then put her foot on the brake before she put the car in gear again and chugged away from the guard shack. “Die on me you piece of shit and I’ll set fire to you right here and walk back,” she muttered under her breath as she fought the car around the first turn and gunned the engine again.
Between the horrendous heat and humidity, and frazzled nerves, she was wringing wet by the time she pulled up to the speaker outside the gates of the Bridgewater mansion and pushed the button. “Anna Lindstrom,” she answered when a female voice with a Hispanic accent responded to her buzz.
The only acknowledgement was a mechanical whirr as the electronic gates began to open slowly inward like a theater curtain going up. Impatient with the delay, Anna studied the gates until they’d opened wide enough to admit the vehicle she laughingly referred to as a car and shot forward, almost taking out a bed of snapdragons beside the curving driveway. The gate that protected the service entrance was already open, she saw with relief when she finally reached the mansion itself and drove past the main entrance. Driving through the wide arch, she parked the car beneath the only shade she could find and dragged in a breath of super heated air, trying to calm her nerves a little before she got out. Grabbing up the bottle of tepid water she’d brought with her, she took a long drag at it and leaned out the open window to pour a small puddle in her palm to cool her heated face a little. It didn’t help much, but the upside was it didn’t take long to dry either and she didn’t feel quite as sticky. Twisting the cap back on the bottle, she set it down on the seat and crawled across to get out of the passenger side.
The driver’s door hadn’t opened in several months. The handle on the passenger door was threatening to give up, too. Pretty soon she was going to have to climb through the window to get into or out of the damned car.
She counted her blessings. She was short and small boned, and thanks to her diet, or lack thereof, looked like someone from a third world country. If it came down to having to climb out a window, it wasn’t going to be that difficult even though the car was a miniature compact that looked like a kiddy car--or more accurately since it looked like it would fall apart in a strong breeze, a clown car from a circus act.
Nan, her favorite foster mother, had always been fond of saying one could find a silver lining to anything if one looked hard enough. Growing up, all being undersized had meant was that any time she took it into her head to try to defend herself, she usually ended up getting the shit kicked out of her.
She was pleased that she’d finally found a silver lining.
She didn’t doubt that she was on camera, but she scarcely gave it a thought as she raked her fingers through her hair and straightened her clothes.
It was amazing the things one could get used to with repetition. Abject poverty had a way of freeing a person from embarrassment over the ‘little’ things.
When she was satisfied that she was as presentable as she was going to get, she headed for the kitchen door and pressed the buzzer. A maid appeared after about five or ten minutes, just long enough to emphasize the fact that she was not important, and for the sun to begin scorching her back and buttocks through her clothes.
She shivered as she stepped into the climate controlled interior of the house. After the heat of the afternoon and being cooped up in her hot car for the long drive out, entering the house was like stepping into a freezer. Her skin all over her body puckered and tightened, forming goose bumps on top of goose bumps.
By the time she was shown into the great room, she was clenching her teeth to keep them from chattering together.