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© Copyright 2017, Helen Ridley, All Rights Reserved
NOTICE: This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Disclaimer: This story contains explicit content, including graphic descriptions of sexual intercourse. It is intended for adults only. All characters depicted are over 18-years-old. This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental.
Cover designed by Sloan Publishing. Cover Photos © Alexsutula © Marquardt21.
* * *
My hand trembled as I poured the steaming coffee into my last clean mug. On my couch, the young policeman gazed at it hopefully, his lip trembling in time with my fingers. I started to bring the mug over to him, then I realized which mug it was. Muted pink, chipped lip, a cartoon dog grinning from behind a grinning cartoon cat. The dog's white speech bubble was faded and scratched but it was still possible to read the words "That's good pussy!" in scratchy font.
I grimaced at the dog. The stupid thing was a holdover from my college days--specifically, my college boyfriend Bill. Bill thought this mug was hilarious. I thought it was cursed. Why else would it have followed me through six different apartments, three states, and every terrible relationship in between?
The cop eyed the dog and cat as I handed him the coffee, then offered me a lecherous smirk. He might have winked, too, though it was hard to tell. His eye was swollen shut and half his face was crusty with dried blood. "It's my last cup," I informed him.
He raised his one good eyebrow. "Whatever you say, baby."
"Ugh," I groaned. I stalked back into the kitchen and swept my cell phone off the counter. Ten minutes I'd been on hold and still no answer. I gazed outside (through the new hole in my front wall) where the late afternoon blazed with blue and red. Cop cars were piled into the street and on the lawn. Uniformed men and women were roping off the area while people in white hazmat suits collected shards of glass from my busted window. The ambulance was still out there, which meant Gabe was still out there. I balled my trembling hand into a fist.
A sudden click in my ear was followed by a loud, deep, but unquestionably feminine voice: "Hellllllluuuu!"
I pulled the phone off my ear like I was swatting a hornet. "Ow!" I screamed.
The voice retreated to a slightly less appalling volume and chirped back a submissive, "Så ledsen, så ledsen, honey baby. So sorry to disturb you!"
For the life of me, I could not place the woman's accent. I had to assume she hailed from somewhere Nordic, given the day's events, but whether she was Swedish or Danish, Norwegian or Faroese, I had no idea. Judging by the bass notes in her jolly voice, she sounded like a giant.
"Um, hi," I said into the phone.
"Helluuuuuuu!" the giant woman sang. "I am customer servicer Frigg. To whom am I speaking in this handsome morning?"
Morning? Here in Connecticut it was five in the afternoon. Was Norway (or wherever) really twelve hours ahead? I sighed and resolved to just push forward. "Listen, um, Frigg, my name is Jenny Templeton and I've had a very strange--"
"One minute, Missy Tempertone," Frigg rumble-sang back to me. "I look you up in our customers databaser. Ah, hellu! I see you here! You the wife of Torhild, Serpent Strangler. Grattis! Such a mighty warrior."
"No!" I moaned into the phone. "No, I am not the wife of Torhild, Serpent Strangler! Listen to me, I did not--"
"Öh?" Frigg replied. "Let me check once more again, Miss Temputurn." I expected to hear tapping on a keyboard but Frigg's hasty movements sounded more like the repeated smash of a hammer against an anvil. "You are the wife who live on 8419 Blackberry Drive?" she asked.
"Okay, yes," I said. "Yes, I do, but there's been a mistake. I didn't mean to order from your website."
"Vad!" Frigg yelped. "Is mistake? A stranger steal your face?"
"What?" I exclaimed.
"Ursäkta," she said quickly. "Not with face, I mean. Steal your soul. No. Steal your fingers? When a man take your computer."
I massaged my temple, wondering why I expected this to go any other way. "No, nobody stole my computer," I sighed. "Or my identity--"
"Ja!" Frigg exclaimed. "Your dent-entity!"
"No," I groaned. "No, I clicked on...I clicked on something. I don't even remember doing it. It was a week ago when I was on..." I bit my tongue. "I was on some website when an ad popped up. I have no idea--"
"Ja!" Frigg replied. "You were on the site with the videos of the sweaty men."