Sandra Hastings has just lost the case of her career. Mob boss Silvestre Buonovenura is exonerated and now out to get her. And if that’s not enough, the New York DA’s office has politely asked her to take some time off... maybe a lot of time... maybe forever.
Nick McCullough is a little bored with tiny Stone Bay, Maine, and his new job as Chief of Police. He’s hopeful though that a weekend camping with the lovely Sandra Hastings might just be the answer to his prayers, get him back on track, lift his spirits. Now he has to make sure that the mob boss who’s put a hit out on her doesn’t get the chance to complete his plans. Maybe his little weekend away won’t be as restful as Nick had planned.
With her face in the dirt, Sandra was almost to the point of giving up when she heard something from the jungle across the clearing. A rustling but not accompanied by the distinctive chatter of the small monkeys who had kept her awake during the past two nights. In fact, there was no other sound. It was as if the jungle creatures had turned to stone in fear. And the thought of what could instill that in them had her slowly easing her head up from the dirt.
At first, she saw nothing in the dim moments before the sun’s rays could angle directly into the clearing, but she still heard rustling in the bushes at a point directly across from her shed. Something was there, something big.
Then from the corner of her eye, she saw movement. At first just a dark boxy shape peeking out of the leaves. Perhaps one of those monkeys.
Nope. In the next instant, the square black shape became something long... and slithery.
At first, it came into the now illuminated clearing slowly, sinuously. She knew the head looked big from her vantage point in the dirt, but as she pushed her body up with her arms, she realized that big wasn’t a... big enough word for the creature. It slithered out into the early morning light and slithered and then slithered some more until in the center of the clearing the thing began coiling and stacking its body until it looked like a turban for a giant.
Sandra knew she should do something. But nothing much came to mind except to stare. She was still caught with her butt wedged under the shed door. If that thing started toward her, she wouldn’t have a chance of pushing herself back under the door to the safety of her cell. And she’d dug a damn hole as a welcoming entrance for the beast. Come on inside and have a meal... of tasty, plump American woman. Nick, where are you? I need you to come and kill this thing right now.
Since contorting her body back under the door probably was impossible, the alternative was to push onward—without disturbing the turban-beast. So as quietly as she could, with her eyes glued to the snake in front of her, she wiggled, pushed with her toes, shimmied her hips until her butt popped free. Of course, the popping came with an added bonus... a big rip in the seat of her pants.
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