Rain pounded down.
Lauren squinted through the windshield, a backwash of water battered the glass. She flicked the wipers on high, and then tightened her hands around the steering wheel. With a quick glance in the rear view mirror, headlights inched from behind. Miles had gone by since she’d seen another vehicle on the dark road.
The vehicle appeared to speed up, fall back, and speed up again.
Her muscles tensed. “That driver behind us seems to be in big hurry.”
Her father leaned forward in the seat and peered into the side mirror. “He’s all over the road. Might be drunk or something.”
“He’s crazy driving like that in this weather. I’m letting him go by.” She downshifted the Jaguar and steered off onto the side of road and rolled to a stop.
As the van raced by, a giant wave of water pelted across the side of the car.
“Christ, he’s really flying.”
Taillights flickered and quickly faded ahead into the blackened night.
With a quick glimpse in the mirror, Lauren steered the car back onto the road, her grip relaxed around on the wheel. “That’s better.”
Her father repositioned himself in the leather seat and stretched his legs. “The Law Society’s dinner is next week. You going?”
God, the dinner. She’d bought a four hundred dollar dress for the occasion, a navy blue Lagerfield, and even toyed with the idea of having her long hair cut into something more
sophisticated―polished for a New York district attorney. “I’ll have to check my schedule.”
“Not good enough. I want you there, Lauren. My chance to show you off. Do some bragging, big time.”
She couldn’t help but smile. “Okay, dad. Okay.”
“And don’t forget to bring a date for protection. There’ll be dancing after dinner. Don’t want a bunch of drunken seedy lawyers groping you on the dance floor.”
Her smile faded as she remembered the annual dinner years before. She’d never forgotten a single detail of that night―how Eric held her in his arms, his lips gentle against hers, how his mouth devoured her willing lips, then pulled away and left her mouth burning for more…
“What else did you hear about Eric?”
“Not much. Christ, can’t even remember where I heard the news. Thought you didn’t want to talk about Brennen?”
“I don’t. I just wondered when he got back.”
She noticed her father straightened himself in the seat, his jaw tight. “Don’t know.” His voice turned hard. “Just heard he’s back.”
Probably nothing more than just a rumor.
He’d begged her to come with him and start a new life in Florida. She didn’t have the courage to start over, leave her father, leave her job. At the time, her career was at a crossroads, ready to take off.
Now three years later, she was taking on the most important case of her career—prosecuting Gino Valdino, boss of New York’s Valdino crime family, just like her father had done a decade before.
The heavy rains turned into drizzle. The sky split, lightening lit the road ahead.
In the distance Lauren eyed the exit sign to Hyde Park.
The whining squeal of an engine roared from behind.
She glanced over her shoulder.
“God, that van is back.” She clicked on the turning signal, slowed and steered the car onto the off ramp. Her eyes darted back to the side mirror.
Headlights raced behind them, close, swerving from side to side.
She grasped the wheel with a shiver of panic.
“I’m calling the police.” Her father grabbed his cell phone out of the glove box and turned it on. “Damn it, I can’t get a signal.”
From the mirror, she watched.
The driver gunned the engine.
The van’s grill came into view, massive and powerful.
Close. Too close.
Metal connected, scraped against the bumper.
The van shoved the Jaguar ahead on the road.
Hit the brakes.
The car pushed forward under the van’s control.
They had to escape. Somewhere. Anywhere.
High-beams blinded her.
Lauren blinked and turned her head. Her fingers dug deeper into the steering wheel.
The van rammed the back of the car.
Metal popped and squealed as the back window disintegrated into the back seat.
The seatbelt snapped across her shoulder, her head slammed back on the head rest, then forward. “Oh my God!”
The cell phone flew from her father’s hand. “What the―”
“Dad!” Like a sling shot, the Jaguar shot down the slick road.
She slammed on the brakes. The car slid a half circle, then spun out of control. A massive tidal wave of water washed over the car roof.
Her father grabbed the dashboard. “Watch out! The tree!”
Wood splintered. Metal buckled, popped and cracked. The air bag stuck her body like a fist, and smacked her head against the side window. She shoved at it, viciously. With every move, fiery pain shot through her face, down her neck.
The sickening sweet stench of gas and smoke filled her nostrils. Her head clouded. The world darkened.
Lauren heard her own voice, pinched and muffled, cry out. “Dad!” until her words drifted into silence.
Lethal Journey © 2013 by Kim Cresswell