I’m a haunted man, past deeds creating spirits, demons vying to break my soul.
I refuse to succumb, living life as an honorable man, but my hungers are dark, my needs sadistic.
Then a vibrant woman enters my life, a beautiful creature with visions of her own…
And there are those hell bent on destroying us – God help them.

A simple purchase of land unearths a cataclysm, unleashing Indian spirits. The men of Rush Enterprises are forced to work together to solve a riddle, one involving dangerous aspects from the past. As greed becomes a reason for murder, one man is forced to face his guilt before it’s too late.

Meet the men of the lucrative world of Texas Oil. From billionaires to roughnecks, they are destined to capture your soul. They also have secrets…

This is book three in the Texas Oil series, but can be read as a standalone.
Publisher’s Note: This adult, action packed romance contains elements of mystery, suspense, power exchange, adult language, and explicit scenes. If any of these offend you, please do not purchase.

Read it for FREE with Kindle Unlimited




Chapter One

A spirit is a powerful weapon, a mind-numbing control, accentuating the evil lurking inside of every man. For those considered spiritual, the reflections are brutal, often damning.

And many will not survive the madness…

Madness. The single word should be terrifying. Instead, the concept had increased his ugly needs to the point he could no longer control them. The pictures told no lies. He was living with ugly secrets and had been his entire life. He could no longer hide from them. There was no salvation for a man who was at the brink of damnation. A cold chill shifted down his spine as he gripped the steering wheel. He hated what he’d become. He loathed the knowledge of his past, his ancestry.

But he was going to be forced the face the pain. Secrets and lies…

The rain was lightly falling yet the wind had picked up in intensity, swirling bits of debris throughout the darkened streets. Zach Goodman slowed down as the traffic light turned red, peering out the windshield at the dilapidated buildings. There were few lights on in any of the brownstones, none in the aging cinderblock structures that had once housed a significant manufacturing force. The area was no longer on the city’s radar, given state funds required for renovations due to the recent ravaging hurricanes.

He tapped his fingers on the leather steering wheel, sucking in his breath as he shrank back against the plush seat. He’d been drawn to the neighborhood, seeking solace in a club catering to those considered the darkest humans in society. The thought giving him a chuckle, he surveyed the few people daring to walk the street at night just as a rumble of thunder sounded in the distance. A doozy of a storm was rolling in.

No one, including his friends and business partners, knew of his penchant for kink, an intense craving he’d had all his life. To them, he was a polished attorney, a man of honor, not the heinous beast clawing at the surface. His wealth and certain protective connections allowed him complete anonymity when feeding his hunger. However, if any information leaked regarding his extra-curricular proclivities, a heavy tarnish would be slathered all over Rush Enterprises’ reputation.

While Dallas, Texas was less conservative than the rest of the state, the Bible belt supporters and clients had their own brand of harsh condemnation. When the light turned green, he remained where he was, the sleek ebony Mercedes idling with a soft purr. He hadn’t frequented his club of choice in months, especially given the recent issues he’d been embroiled in. The near corporate takeover had drained him, leaving a shell of a man. However, his job needed to take a back seat, if only for a little while, or he would lose his grip on his perfectly practiced life. Club Ravage would no doubt change his mood.

He pressed down on the accelerator, keeping his speed low, until he reached the intended street. When he rounded the corner, he gave a slight smile. Nothing had changed. A single yellowish light hung over the entrance, an alcove located just off the main thoroughfare. There were no signs and no indication of what was housed behind the thick, steel door.

Patrons were selected carefully, their bank accounts as well as medical records gone over with a fine-tooth comb. No one entered who wasn’t thoroughly checked. He waited at the gate, flashing his nondescript entrance card under the scanner. The plain credit card sized plastic piece had no markings, no words and no lettering. Yet, the pass was considered gold to many, a prized possession. He pulled past the gate, nodding to the security guard on the left. The man was heavily armed, specifically selected for the duty given his military qualifications. There was another hiding in the shadows, merely waiting for any issues. They wouldn’t hesitate to kill.

Or worse.

After parking, he sat still, studying his dim reflection in the rearview mirror. The LED lighting was only positioned for convenience for the customers to guide their way along the sloping asphalt. Tonight, he sat glaring at the man behind a proverbial steel mask, someone he no longer knew. Even he could see the anger, as well as the sadness hiding behind his eyes.

If only his friends knew about his past.

Grabbing his keys, he climbed out of the car, shutting and pressing the key fob. He waited and glanced up at the blackened sky. This would be a brutal night, and not just because of the approaching storm system. He needed to become the savage that was running through his Cherokee Indian blood.

And he would.

He hadn’t changed his clothes after the recent meeting at corporate headquarters, the four-hour stint involving a decision regarding the purchase of additional land for the company. He sneered as he walked toward the entrance, his anger fueling his raging hunger. While he adored his friendship with Mitchell Rush and Camden Dane, even considering them a part of his very soul, he was furious as to the outcome of the meeting.

Just as he neared the massive door, he stopped and slid both hands through his hair. Time to unfurl the mask. He was no longer a multi-million-dollar executive.

Tonight, he was a sadist.

He used his card again on the non-descript black box. Once he was inside, he breathed in, savoring the intense aromas of exotic perfumes and massage oils, leather and the smell of sex. The moment he walked past the burly guards flanking the door, his cock began to ache, pushing hard against his linen pants.

He walked straight to the bar, an impressive piece of utilitarian furniture carved out of mahogany and zebra woods. The bartender was new but attentive, pouring his favorite Boodles gin and tonic within seconds after his approach. Efficiency was merely one of the club’s attributes. The computer system captured likes and dislikes during every visit. As he swirled his drink, he glanced at the periphery. Very little had changed in the expansive area known as the function room – an area to meet, greet and even fuck. He could tell by the glow of the cerulean blue lights shimmering down on the stage nestled in the corner that a show was planned for the evening. He took a sip, a single quiver pulsing down the back of his neck as his hunger continued to grow.

He certainly wasn’t here for chitchat, but entertainment? A tasty appetizer. His online selection had been made almost two hours before, the four-thousand-dollar payment made by credit card and the room assignment neatly secured in his wallet. As if he needed any instructions. He knew the drill. He watched as newcomers paraded in front of others, the women wide-eyed, the men bursting with testosterone. Had he been this way the first one or two times? He doubted it. He’d always known what he craved.

Zach didn’t rush with his drink. There was no need nor was he in a hurry. The woman would be waiting, positioned as required, a bought and paid for kink whore for the night. Those employed were clean, practiced and trustworthy. They also had a heightened threshold for pain. He leaned against the bar and sucked on the ice cubes, allowing time for his mind to alter, to change into the darkened aura.

His attention was drawn to the darkened area over the stage, the series of metal chains being used as pulleys. As a cage descended from the ceiling, the customers crowded closer, hungry to see the submissive on the day’s menu.

He remained where he was, sipping on his drink, his blood pumping wildly through his veins.

When the oversized dog cage came into view, there were appropriate sounds of awe made by several of the men in the audience. The girl inside was naked, her neck wrapped in a studded jeweled collar, a thick leather leash attached to the bars on top. An anal bondage hook, positioned in her ass, was also secured to the crossing metal bars, both apparatuses keeping her exactly in a desired position.

Her lips were stained a blueish red and he’d bet her finger and toenails matched. She wore cat’s ears and even from his distance, he could identify the almost garish make up, the whiskers and pink nose. Two masked men stormed out of the shadows, clad in skin tight leather pants. Each held a different type of whip in his massive hand, an indication of exactly what the poor girl would receive.

He held up his drink, saluting the owners. What had once been true kink was now nothing more than a representation of Fifty Shades, a necessary dumbing down of BDSM. Turning away, he concentrated on his drink. He had no desire to partake in or watch such dull debauchery. Then again, were his basic desires any different? The thought remained with him as he sucked on the ice cubes. Perhaps he’d merely lost interest.

Seconds later, he was ready. He thumped the glass down on top of the bar and took long strides toward the series of hallways. When he reached the appropriate location, he used his card key and eased into the dimly lit room.

The second he was inside, he was a different man. The girl was exactly as described, vibrant red hair and porcelain skin. Her wrists had been secured by metal bands to a long, thick steel chain bolted to the ceiling. Only her toes touched the floor. She was wearing a sleeveless white cotton nightgown, the kind usually worn by wives or teenagers. Her head hung down, her body lightly swinging back and forth, a slight creaking noise created by metal clanging against metal.

Removing his coat, he rolled up his sleeves, his eyes never leaving her. She didn’t react to his entrance. Not a sound. Not a look. She was obedient and perfect. He walked around her, studying her calves and feet, her manicured toes and the slight silhouette of her voluptuous body, wide hips and generous bust. He wasn’t into skin and bones, whether in the women he dated or the women he dominated.

“What’s your name?” he asked, the tone of his voice commanding.

“Cherry,” she responded with little inflection.

Zach walked around to the front, lifting her head using just the tip of his index finger. “A beautiful name for a sexy woman. I approve.” Her eyes were a bright green and bore the look of someone understanding the rules. But there was also something else. A hint of fear. The thought was interesting. “Do you understand you’re mine tonight?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Do you understand what’s going to happen?”

Cherry pursed her lips. “Anything you desire, sir.”

“Good. Then let’s get started.” He rubbed his finger down her cheek to her jawline then around her ruby stained lips. What was a lovely creature like this doing here? Selling her body? Then again, what the hell did he care? He wasn’t dating. He was whipping and fucking. The thought refueling the angry beast, he raked his nails down the front of her neck before fisting the front of her gown. A smile crossing his face, he let out a single growl as he yanked back his arm, ripping the thin material all the way down the front.

She whimpered then shut her mouth as her eyes opened wide. Cherry struggled with her bindings, her body wiggling until she saw the look of admonishment on his face.

He exhaled as he dropped the unwanted gown then walked around her in another circle, inspecting, searching for any flaws. Her body had no markings, tattoos or piercings, only smooth, unblemished skin. To him, she was exactly what could soothe, calm the inner turmoil. Flexing open his hand, he rubbed the ends of his fingers across her back and down to her rounded buttocks. He dragged his index finger down the long crack of her ass and back up, resisting going any further.

Tipping her head, she breathed out but remained quiet.

Continuing his exploration, he kneaded both ass cheeks, squeezing as he inched closer, grunting given the way his heart was already beating irregularly.

Smack! Crack!

He slapped her ass with his bare hand and stood back.

Pop! Smack!

Cherry allowed her breath to escape.

“My guess is you’re a woman who craves a firm hand. Don’t you?” he whispered.

“Yes, sir.”

Crack! Smack! Pop!

His strikes became harder, faster.

Slap! Pop!

While he enjoyed the slight reddening of her skin, the spanking was nothing, a mere taste of what he came here for. Using the palm of his hand, he rubbed her ass to the back of her thigh and moved around her. He leaned down, biting her shoulder, allowing his teeth to sink in.

Cherry’s body jerked, the chain rattling.

Even her breath sounds were sexy, creating a rush of adrenaline that coursed through every muscle. When he stood in front of her, he cupped her breasts, rubbing both thumbs back and forth. They were heavy, her nipples a perfect rosy pink. And he wanted nothing more than to hurt them, creating strike marks across her porcelain skin.

She kept her eyes on him as he pinched both hardened buds between his fingers, twisting and pulling. “Oh…” Clenching her eyes shut, she knew she’d breeched protocol and her lower lip quivered.

Smack! Pop!

He slapped both breasts. “You are very disobedient.”

“Yes, sir. I’m sorry, sir.” Her words were almost inaudible.

Huffing, he shook his head as he contemplated what he wanted to do. Eyeing the single wooden cabinet, he smiled as he walked closer, yanking open the doors. The space was filled with various implements of discipline from canes and leather straps, to floggers and nipple clamps. No expense had been spared. The club also knew his tastes, providing exactly what he desired. Selecting a two-tailed flogger, he took methodical steps as he swung the leather, feeling the weight of the implement.

He was practiced, perfecting a technique to provide pain, even torture if necessary. Gripping the end, he narrowed his eyes and snapped his wrist.


“Oh!” Cherry hissed and clamped her eyes shut.


Smack! Crack!

The leather tails sliced across her breasts.

She tossed her head back, panting as her legs trembled.

Pop! Crack!

The evil man inside, the sadist who wanted nothing more than to strike harder and faster, breeched the surface.

Smack! Pop!

“Oh!” Another sound slipped past her lips.

He inhaled and kept his breath inside, disappointed in her lack of obedience. “If you were mine, you’d learn very easily to obey or there would be harsh consequences.”

“Yes, sir.” The words were strangled, mere breath sounds. She licked her lips and tried to smile.

Every move methodical, he moved behind her, touching her ass before easing into position.

Crack! Smack!

The strands sliced across her ass cheeks, creating almost instant welts. He inhaled, every cell jazzed with current.

Pop! Crack!

She didn’t yelp but her hands wiggled, and her body swung forward and backward.

Smack! Crack! Pop!

Each strike became harder, calculated exactly in the position he wanted. His breathing became rattled as beads of sweat popped along his hairline. “Beautiful.”

Slap! Crack!

He snapped his wrist, twisting the implement until a roar of pain tore into his head, forcing him to drop the tawse. “Fuck!”

Visions suddenly gripped his mind, dragging him away from the sheer glee. Grunting, he rubbed his forehead as a slice of pain furrowed just behind his eyes. The visions were dark, flashes of images racing by, one after the other. Faces. Eyes peering at him, begging. Mouths open wide, screaming. A fire. Consuming. He slapped his hand over his heart as he was pulled into the nightmare. He hated the spirit visits, loathed the concept and had pushed hard all his life to refuse their existence.

But they haunted him.

Just as soon as the evil crept into his brain, yanking at his mind, it slithered back, leaving him panting. This intense level had only happened a few times before. Why the hell now? He hunkered over, catching his breath as the incident subsided, leaving him drained and sweaty. When he was able to catch his breath, he grabbed the tawse before standing, realizing he was shaking all over. He wiped the back of his arm across his mouth, glaring at his skin as if anticipating strings of blood.

Zach concentrated on his breathing until he was able to think clearly. Recent nightmares had kept him exhausted, his mind formulating demons that didn’t exist. Or did they? Grunting, he refused to fall into the blackness. But the visions remained, tormenting. Taunting.

You deserve to die.

The words hung like a noose around his neck.

There was a well-stocked bar in the room and while he never broke the one drink rule, tonight he’d make an exception. The monster crawling into his very soul had ripped an opening, allowing the spirits inside. What the hell? Stalking toward the bar, he tried to control his horrific thoughts as he plopped ice cubes into a rocks glass and poured a hefty amount of gin, barely topping with a swig of tonic. Dropping in two limes, he stirred the drink with his finger and threw back the glass, gulping as if the liquor could ease the pain.

Over the rim, he could see Cherry staring at him, studying him, her eyes darting back and forth. Yeah, she must think he was a fucking nutcase. Perhaps that’s all he was. After studying her, he sat down in the overstuffed leather chair and continued sipping his drink. The madness was spoken of often by his people, but tonight, he refused to succumb. Yes, he was half Indian, as if his people considered him part of the clan. They abhorred his heritage, the woman who’d seduced his father. Now, he was estranged, preferring to forget who he was.


Perhaps the question would never have a decent answer. No, the question had a damning answer.

He consumed half of the drink and inhaled, forcing the ugliness away. When he looked at her, he could only see a woman who could abate the insanity for a period of time. Pushing his drink onto the small table, he almost raced forward. He unclasped her bindings, freeing her arms. When she fell against him, he held her stiffly. There was no caressing, no soft touches or gentle kisses. This wasn’t about making love in any regard.

“On your hands and knees.” His command was not to be ignored.

Cherry dropped to her knees, planting her arms just to the side, her head up, her mouth closed, her eyes beseeching.

Zach continued to breathe in and out as he thought about how to use her, fuck her. The ache in his head had heightened, the pain becoming almost blinding. He squeezed his temples before walking toward the cabinet. His entire body was shaking. This was outrageous. He’d never had an episode to this degree. As his rage increased, his longing skyrocketed. His cock was aching, the thick shaft pinched, his swollen balls screaming for relief.

He glared into the cabinet, selecting then tossing the unwanted items onto the floor. With every selection made and rejected, his anger increased, pushing him to the boiling point. Stars floated in front of his eyes as nausea settled in. This was unprecedented. What the fuck was going on with him?

You deserve to remember…

No. No! You will not do this. Remaining still, he controlled his increasing anxiety then grabbed a bright red collar, a small chain and a thick, rubber butt plug, the end covered in a velour cat’s tail.

After holding his breath and counting to ten, he was able to stop shaking and advanced. Fisting her hair, he peered down, wanting nothing more than to have a woman he cared about, waiting. Hungering. The event would never happen. He yanked and twisted his hand, forcing her to look into his eyes. “Pull apart your ass cheeks.”

When she hesitated, he jerked on her hair, wrapping his other hand around her long neck. “Do as I say.”

Her lower lip sagged as she reached behind her, using her long fingers to pull apart her rounded cheeks, exposing her dark hole.

Zach took a step back as adrenaline continued rushing through his system. He fastened the collar around her neck, adjusting it so the link dangled in front. After attaching the chain, he moved behind her, running his fingers along the length of her spine. The chain dropped to the floor, hitting with a clink, the noise reverberating in his ears. He bent down, swaying forward and backward, beads of sweat dripping down from his forehead, trickling onto her lower back.

Blinking, he had difficulty focusing as he lowered down on his haunches. He rubbed up and down the crack of her ass before wiggling a single finger just inside her asshole. She was hot and tight, and he was elated from the simple touch. He added a second finger then a third, pushing until he hit the ring of muscle. His adrenaline building once again, he patted her ass when she tensed. “Relax. Breathe.”

She panted, her head hovering just above the floor. “Yes, sir.” The sound was strangled. She was no expert. He’d been given a newcomer to the club. He should be angry, furious in fact, instead, his reaction was entirely different. He had a sense of a need to nurture, a desire to take care, be cautious. The thought gave him pause. He eyed the wide plug and closed his eyes. Nothing excited him. A taste of darkness wasn’t doing anything for him any longer.

Tossing the plug, he walked back to the chair, easing down and grabbing his glass. He never blinked as he looked at her, watching her struggling with how to act, how to react.

After at least three minutes, she finally looked up, her now damp hair sliding into her lovely face. She blew out in an effort to push the hair from her eyes then focused on him. A slight tilt of her head was followed by a quick glance around to the side, concentrating on the unused plug.

He sipped his drink, his thoughts shifting back and forth. This was unexpected but perhaps he should have known better. This hadn’t been on his radar in so long. He chuckled as he wondered if he’d lost his verve, perhaps even the evil demons that had hosted deep within. Hell, maybe he was no longer interested in sex.

Cherry wrinkled her nose and crawled forward, every move as if terrified he’d lash out or perhaps strike her. When she was close to his legs, she tentatively reached out, pushing on his knees to open them then shifted closer.

His eyes were locked on her face, her upturned nose and the high cheek bones. She had no business being here. The club would eat her alive, spit her out, leaving her an aging and very broken woman.

Biting her lower lip, she inched even closer before easing her fingers up along the inside of his thighs. Her eyes were wide open, even misted as she rubbed his legs, her touch gentle. Caring.

Why the fuck would she care about a stranger, a man who’d whipped her naked body and had been prepared to use her, tossing her away at the end? Disgusted with himself, he looked away until he sensed her own desires building. When he slowly turned his head, he could see the need swelling in her eyes, the vision of a strange building, a connection perhaps neither one of them could explain.

Zach relaxed, his tension easing, and he slumped further forward in the seat.

She gave a single smile as she used both hands, rubbing the palms up then down, back up and just allowing her fingers to touch his crotch. There was a look in her eye, a subtle yet powerful twinkle as if she could see right through him.

A single grunt escaped his mouth as he gave her a single nod, an allowance to touch, to taste, to suck. Then he eased his head back on the soft leather, closing his eyes as her hands continued to stroke, rubbing his groin. The friction almost instantly drove him into a wild level of heat. This wasn’t supposed to happen, to enjoy, even savor the experience on a pleasurable level. This was merely salvation, keeping his mind intact.

Cherry had no idea of his self-imposed rules, nor did she seem to care. She pressed her face against his thigh as she unfastened his belt and buckle then unzipped his pants.

The moment she freed his cock, he let out a long, anguished breath.

Her fingers rubbed up the sensitive underside of his cock then a single nail traced circle after circle around his slit. Using her other hand, she freed then cupped his balls, rolling them between her long fingers.

“Shit.” The sound was choked, a glorious letting go. “Squeeze my balls. Hard.”

Obeying instantly, she clamped her fingers around his testicles until he moaned then lowered her head, blowing across the tip.

Swallowing, his entire body began to shake. He clenched his hand around the glass, fearful he’d break the dense crystal given his level of anger remaining, frustration creating another wave of nausea.

Undaunted, she wrapped her mouth around his cockhead, sucking as she released the pressure on his balls, allowing her other hand to wrap around the base of his cock, pumping gently.

“Suck me. Just suck me.” Even the tone of his voice had changed, becoming raspier, yet less commanding. He was falling into a heightened state of bliss, a different need, a shaken level of longing.

She purred as she licked around the tip then took him down an inch at a time, her tongue moving back and forth. Her hand continued to pump the base of his dick, twisting until the friction built.

He panted and arched his back, enjoying the brief interlude of raw sex. As her hot, wet mouth took him all the way down to the base, holding the stance, he pushed down on her head, his fingers intertwining in her hair. Panting, he licked his dry lips and gazed down at her, wanting nothing more than to fuck her sweet pussy.

Soft cooing sounds pushed past her lips as she rolled her mouth up the length, licking up and down the shaft, her noises become more animalistic. She continued licking as she stroked, sliding her hand all the way up and squeezing then moving back down.

His eyes were hazy, his breath scattered as he watched her, enjoying the way her mouth moved, her eyelids fluttered. This carnal act she knew well. When he knew he wasn’t going to be able to hold back the climax for long, he pushed her back then grabbed her collar, forcing her up and onto his lap.

She straddled his legs, leaning over and placing her arms on either side of the chair.

Gripping her hips, he yanked her down, shoving his entire shaft deep inside. “Yes!” The feel of her wet pussy, the way she clamped around the intense invasion was almost startling, as if he’d never been inside a woman before. He yanked her up until only the tip was inside then pulled her down again.

Cherry moaned as she positioned her knees against the chair then began to ride him, moving forward and backward, up and down, her eyes never leaving his.

He let go, dropping his arms as she rocked her hips, his breath sounds full of angst, his heart racing, thumping in his chest. This wasn’t like him, to allow any control, but tonight, he just needed some relief.

Harder and faster she moved, tossing her head back and forth. She didn’t try and kiss him or provide any gentle, intimate additional strokes. She was merely getting him off.

Zach panted as his balls ached to the point of utter anguish, yet he was unable to come. His entire body tensed, waiting, wanting nothing more than to explode inside of her, but for a few seconds he was locked in a quiet storm in his mind, fighting the man he’d become.

She pressed her hands against his chest, kneading his muscles, as if encouraging him to let go.

Tossing his head back and forth, the eruption came finally, his balls releasing, his shaft filling with cum. When he erupted, spewing deep inside, he realized he’d never felt such wretched damning thoughts in his entire life. He wanted nothing more than to get away, leave and never return.

Whatever had changed, haunted him, but he knew he was going to have to find the man locked away or he might fall into a fatal abyss. He pushed her aside and rose to his feet, refusing to glance in her direction.

There was no tipping. No need. The club was all inclusive, if you considered the hefty fees. He waited for some odd reason until she donned a robe. She seemed surprised that he’d remained. The rules were simple. The guests could do anything to the selected employee as allowed by the house rules, but there was no other connection outside of the locked down walls.

When she saw him, she narrowed her eyes and offered a smile, a knowing expression from a different woman. She was playing a part, just like he was, her other life carefully locked away from prying eyes.

He nodded before grabbing his jacket then gave her a look of reverence. Then he did something he’d never done before.

He offered her his business card.

Cherry stared at the stark white vellum for several seconds before accepting, her eyes twinkling as she gave him a single and very respectful nod.

She would call.

When he walked out into the night, he didn’t mind the rain pelting down, lightning adding a light show of force, blues and violets crisscrossing the sky. The storm made him feel alive.

Zach turned down the darkened street, concentrating on his driving in the heavy rain. He turned on the satellite radio, pressing the Octane station and rolled through town. His mind remained muddled, uncertain of why he’d experienced a spirit warrior coming to him. He knew what he was facing, an angry force of nature, the God of his people riled, given what Rush Enterprises was considering. There was no doubt in his mind.

He made several turns, completely alone until he was on the last stretch of road leading to the highway. Suddenly, a vehicle appeared, close. Too close. The lights were on bright, creating a fierce glow crossing the entire back glass. Mother fucking asshole. He squinted as he glared into the rearview mirror. The area wasn’t so desolate after all.

The road was narrow and long, leading him toward the freeway and he noticed almost instantly that the vehicle behind him had sped up, exceeding the speed limit of only 35mph. A sixth sense kicked in after only a few seconds and he pressed down on the accelerator, keeping both hands on the steering wheel.

He was only a minute if not less from the interstate entrance when the lights became blinding. Hissing, he pressed down on the gas pedal again, maneuvering around a fallen limb as another flash of intense lightning was followed by a loud crack of thunder. The wipers couldn’t go fast enough, the rain clouding his vision. He leaned forward, trying to avoid the light. Who the fuck was on his tail and why?

Suddenly, the lights disappeared as the vehicle got even closer, within mere inches from his back bumper. A moment of raw terror rushed into his system as he shifted into the left-hand lane, moving up the ramp and onto the interstate. He shifted the gear, moving into fourth then fifth and rolled, driving in excess of seventy then eighty miles per hour.

And still they were on his tail.

Zach tried to figure out where to go in an effort to lose them. And who the fuck were they? He was a corporate attorney, but Rush certainly had its share of enemies, men, women and even full companies who would potentially stop at nothing to hurt the firm, dissuade them from various decisions. Some of their enemies were influential and powerful people, with money and clout to thwart them in the boardroom. Would any of them attempt something more sinister?

He gunned the engine, now inching closer to ninety. He passed by only a few cars given the late hour then reached a point he was forced to zig and zag in between. Whoever was behind him was an expert driver, following just closely enough there was no way to lose them quickly.

His heart racing, Zach shifted into overdrive and pressed all the way down, coaching the powerful engine to hold fast while he continued to drive. Flashes of light from overhead signs whizzed by as he roared down the road, passing by his exit and continuing on.  Think. Where the hell can I go?

The daunting adventure continued as he roared past several cars, beeping his horn in an effort to persuade the drivers to move. As he passed an area he knew like the back of his hand, he inched over to the right, slowly, trying to keep his idea close at hand. With only a split second’s decision, he veered off onto an exit, instantly powering down as the car’s tires skidded, yet taking the curve as if on rails.

He was hyperventilating as he made several quick turns. The headlights didn’t seem to be following. He ducked down another street and the headlights appeared again, picking up speed. The rain continued splashing onto the windshield and given the dim lights, he was feeling his way as he was driving.

In the next several seconds, he made two distinct and quick turns but couldn’t lose them. Bastards. He slapped his hand on the steering wheel and hit a puddle of water. The car shifted until it was moving sideways, gaining momentum as it screeched around another turn.

He turned the steering wheel then had to correct then overcorrect as the car continued to slide, completely out of his control. As he neared an intersection, one with oncoming cars, he dragged the wheel to the right. “Fuck!”

The car shifted from sideways to moving forward, jumping a curb and-


Pitched forward, the airbag went off as the car crunched around him, the sound of metal smashing exacerbated. Moaning, he pushed hard against the bag, trying his best to punch it down, still able to see the lights, now slowing down, moving closer. Closer.


Zach watched in slow motion as the window was opened and he could see the flash of metal in a bolt of lightning.

Pop! Pop!