Nick of Time

Nick of Time by John Gilstrap

Book: Nick of Time by John Gilstrap Read Free Book Online
Authors: John Gilstrap
and warnings to be careful.
    â€œOkay,” she said. “I’m in.”
    Brad beamed. “Outstanding.” He pulled the transmission back into gear and headed for the exit from the parking lot.
    â€œNo violence, though,” Nicki said.
    He looked hurt. “We’re not doing a Bonnie and Clyde thing, Nicki. We’re not even doing a Thelma and Louise thing. This isn’t about breaking the law, okay? That’s not the point. The point is to have a good time. As it is, I’ve got plenty of cash to last for a while, and you brought some, too, right?”
    â€œI could only get $500.”
    â€œThat’s fine. That’s plenty.” Suddenly, excitement returned to his voice, nudging aside that morose edge that had unnerved her before. He was once again the Brad whom she’d come to know so well in cyberspace. “And quit worrying about me being a sicko, okay? Because I’m not.”
    â€œI wasn’t worrying about any such thing,” she protested.
    â€œYou were too,” he said, and he did the eyebrow thing again.
    Nicki smiled at the windshield. “Maybe I thought about it a little.”
    â€œThese days, you’d be nuts not to,” he agreed.
    â€œIt’s my dad. He keeps harping on me about all the crimes that he prosecutes—”
    â€œNicki?”
    She stopped talking and turned to face him.
    â€œDo me one favor, okay? Let’s not talk about your father anymore.”
    His words hurt her feelings somehow, and he sensed it.
    â€œHe’s the past,” Brad explained. “He’s what was. What used to be. Now, you and I, we’re all about the future. We’re all about finally having some fun!”
    He punctuated that last sentence with a shot to the gas pedal that launched them back into traffic. “Can I see your cell phone?” he asked.
    â€œWho are you going to call?”
    â€œDoes it matter?”
    Nicki hesitated, but didn’t really know why. Then she reached into her pocket and slid out her Nokia phone. She handed it to him.
    â€œThanks,” he said. And then he threw it out of the car into traffic.
    Nicki whirled in her seat. “What did you do? That was my phone!”
    â€œIt’s cheap and old-fashioned,” Brad said. “Motorola’s Startac is way cooler.”
    â€œBrad! We have—”
    â€œThat’s your old life, Nicki. That phone is your father and the doctors and everything else that sucks the life out of you. If you need a phone, we’ll buy you a new one.”
    Nicki watched him for a long time while he continued to drive. God, he was hot.
    Five minutes later, he slowed and pulled into another driveway. “There it is,” he said. “Your fantasy castle.”
    Nicki saw it, but she didn’t believe it. “Oh, my God,” she breathed. It came out as a giggle. “Are you kidding?”
    The smile blazed on Brad’s face. No, he wasn’t kidding.

PART TWO
    TIME TO HIDE

Chapter Eight
    S urf’s Up Amusements was a terrible place to be under any circumstances, but in these off-season days it was particularly creepy—a playground for rats that doubled as a den of iniquity for druggies and horny teenagers. To be arrested in a place like this had to be particularly humiliating.
    Jeremy Hines grew old before Darla’s eyes, and as the minutes ticked by, she felt guilty that she hadn’t looked the other way and saved these kids the humiliation that was barreling toward them. She’d turned her back on the opportunity to do a good deed.
    Even Peter-the-mouth had settled down.
    To make her point as vividly as possible, she’d cuffed them both, hands behind their backs. They sat in the sand with their legs folded, and the effects of the pot had dwindled to nearly nothing.
    Peter cleared his throat to get Darla’s attention. “I guess it’s too late to apologize?”
    She pruned up her face and gave a

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