“Never Prosper” excerpt

Ethan leaned forward to survey the street like a spy checking for a tail. When Jenny had early morning meetings, sometimes she came home early. It was rare, but his naked guest in their bedroom was a good reason to be cautious.

The road was empty and he was glad, though the possibility of Jenny’s early arrival did add to the excitement.

He took the steaming cup upstairs and placed it on the nightstand next to Rebecca. She did not stir. Ethan looked at his watch again, checked the front window. “I have a feeling Jenny’s gonna come home any second now.”

Rebecca made a grunting sound that Ethan took for an acknowledgement.

Ethan patted her butt. “Come on. Get dressed. I’ll be right back.” Ethan headed down to the living room. They had started in there. Ethan straightened the skewed leather couch, repositioned the white shag area rug, and fluffed the multicolored accent pillows, to give him something to do while Rebecca was getting dressed.

A door slammed outside. Right then, he knew they should not have done this today. Work was too busy for them both to be away for this long. If he were gone any longer people would certainly be suspicious, especially with Rebecca out now too.  He could already hear “Mary the Gossip” whispering into Angela’s ear, “You know about Ethan and Rebecca, right.”

He went to the bottom of the stairs. “Rebecca, you ready?”

When there was no response, he headed upstairs. She could have been in the bathroom and did not hear or she could have been asleep again. He chewed on his fingernail as he listened. Come on.

“Rebecca, we gotta go now.” At the top of the stairs he turned toward his room, Rebecca still lay under the covers, sleeping.

He could feel the red rage building in his face. Ethan stormed into the room, kicked the four-poster bed. “Get up.”


He yanked the dark sheet from the bed. She did not budge. He smacked her on the leg, shook it, and yelled, “Rebecca!”


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