(Sequel to TIMELESS, as inspired by Gillian Horvath & Donna Lettow
reading excerpts from “Postcards From Alexa”)
By Ann Wortham & Leah Rosenthal
He was driving her crazy.
Alexa sat stiffly in the passenger seat, the lovely Swiss scenery passing by unnoticed. She was beyond appreciating the panorama. She was beyond enjoying life. She was at her wit's end, and the cause of it all sat blissfully unaware at her right, puttering along without a care in the world. Thankfully, her apologetic “symptoms” earlier in the day had stopped his endless chatter about the history of the area. But he would start up again soon she knew. She'd learned all too well how excruciating it would be, as it had been for months now. And goodness knows, it wasn't for lack of trying on her part.
Well, come dinnertime, she would solve the issue once and for all. This time for sure.
She'd actually been trying to get rid of him from the day they'd met. When he'd first shown an interest in her during her shift at Joe's, she'd politely avoided him. The cold shoulder only seemed to spur him maddeningly on. He wouldn't take “no” for an answer. She admitted that he was cute, but he simply wasn't her type.
When Adam Pierson began to be more intrusive, her exasperation had progressed steadily to desperation. The guy was showing up on her doorstep, for god's sake, behaving like an adolescent loon. She'd been stalked more than once in her life, and Alexa was determined not to get into that kind of mess again.
She'd told Joe that she was dying of some nameless, fatal illness. Corny, she knew, but if that didn't put the guy off, nothing would.
It didn't work. It might have been some overblown sense of chivalry or simply twisted romanticism, but whatever was turning Adam Pierson's gears, Death didn't seem to throw a monkey wrench into it. He redoubled his devotion, professing that he would love her until the very end and beyond.
Alexa didn't regard herself as a wimpy sort of gal. If this guy was beyond stubborn, she was beyond conventional. When he proposed that she run off with him in that pathetic VW minivan and see the world before she made her dramatic, final exit, she agreed. She saw the opportunity it presented to get Velcro Lad away from the protection of his pals and into a setting where she could--deal with him.
So she said yes and packed her bags to see the world while he saw to the travel arrangements. They set off on that misty Seacouver morning, and headed straight for the Grand Canyon. Alexa had no intention, however, of letting him get that far.
A fortunate blow-out after sundown in the midst of a rainstorm was the ideal opportunity. Grousing playfully, Adam clambered out of the van to change the flat rear tire. When he called out for her to pull the van out of the roadside ditch, she checked the rear-view mirror, noted gleefully that he was standing directly behind the van, nudged the gears into reverse and floored the pedal.
There. That satisfying, crunchy sort of bang meant that her troublesome suitor was history. "Oops," she'd said with mock mournfulness. "Adam, did I do that right?"
There was no response, of course. If the impact hadn't killed him, certainly being pushed over the roadside cliff into the ravine would have done the rest. She sighed with relief. Good thing she wasn't squeamish.
That elicited a chuckle. If only dear old Adam Pierson had the slightest idea that Alexa Bond had no close, living relatives because she'd killed them all. She had, in fact, been a highly successful, untracked serial killer since she'd been a teenager. And a career serial killer simply couldn't afford romantic entanglements, especially with guys who weren't her type. Breathing guys.
She checked the rear-view mirror to make certain that she could show the proper look of shock and grief for her coming encounter with the local Highway Patrol, rehearsing her pout of sorrow. To her horror, a scrabbling, scratching sound caught her attention and she saw something move in the mirror. Stunned, she scrambled out of the minivan and stumbled to the back.
Adam Pierson was standing there, leaning on the bumper. He was muddy, bruised and soaked to the skin, but he was very much alive.
He appeared to be a bit peeved, but hadn't been able to stay angry at her for more than a short while, infatuated as he was. They'd gone off to a motel for the night and set off again in the morning as if nothing had happened.
Alexa's next chance came when they arrived at the Grand Canyon. An inopportune, accidental nudge had sent Adam hurtling off the nearest cliff, screaming into a chasm so deep that she hadn't seen his impact or even heard the satisfying “thump” when he landed. Good old canyon; always reliable. Her satisfaction had ended abruptly when she returned to the minivan in the parking lot, to find Adam sitting inside. His clothing was shredded, but he was very much intact. He'd landed in a fortunately-placed mass of shrubbery growing near the bottom of the canyon, and it had broken his fall. Alexa feigned tremendous joy at his remarkable escape from the jaws of death and inwardly seethed with frustration. Off they went once more, merrily on their way.
Well, at least one of them was merry.
Since then, it had been one failed murder attempt after another. Alexa had tried everything to get rid of the guy. Pouring gasoline around his motel room and igniting it in Albuquerque. Cutting the cables on the lift at Carlsbad Caverns with Adam inside. Starting an avalanche at the top of a cliff while Adam set up their camp at the bottom. Bailing out of their rented plane after covertly destroying the controls. Sending Adam to pick flowers for her in an active army artillery testing area. Arranging for a romantic interlude at a “hot” radioactive dumpsite in Arkansas. Sending the minivan hurtling into the path of an oncoming semi and jumping out. She'd even tried to deep-fry him in the volcano on Santorini, all to no avail. Somehow, Adam always survived. The guy was beyond lucky. He was a damned 'toon.
But this time would be different. Alexa had her professional pride to think of, her future, her sanity. Tonight, when they stopped at the lovely chalet Adam had rented for them in Geneva, she would put an end to it all. Her slim hand rested casually in her sweater pocket, curled around the vial of deadly poison she had obtained from a discrete and very covert European associate. Tonight, when she and Adam drank a toast of fine, red wine to celebrate their engagement, she would make certain the unbelievably fortunate nutball would have the entire contents of the vial in that wine glass. It ought to be enough poison to kill a cape buffalo...not her usual, preferred approach to murder, but these were not the usual circumstances.
For a moment, she hesitated, wavering. Maybe Adam's great fortune had been a sign, that she ought to reconsider. That she should give the poor slob a chance. That he was too cute to die. But she remembered who she was, a stone-cold killer, and she didn't need the baggage. And Adam would never understand that, sweet guy that he was. And besides, the guy had to be loaded. She was set to inherit a lot of money when he kicked the bucket.
Most of all, he had to go...because Alexa Bond was a loner. No matter how much Adam Pierson adored her, he had to go.
In the end, there could only be one.
She smiled. All she had to do was make certain that the vial's contents ended up in the right glass, and it was all over.
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