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Authors: Elizabeth Lowe

Rose of Betrayal

BOOK: Rose of Betrayal
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The majestic Teton
Mountains of Wyoming and the spheres of glass and steel of New York City
collide.
 
Two childhood friends, Brad
Johnson and Ted Peterson leave the land and lifestyle they have known since children
to pursue their dream of becoming wealthy modern day business magnets.

 

A decade later,
they had reached successes pinnacle and were living the lifestyle it
provided.
 
As the two most prestigious
prodigies in todays’ world and most sought after eligible bachelors, they
frequently made front-page headlines.
 
Having his life continually on display, Brad becomes discontent and
re-evaluates his choices.

 

Incompetent in
handling the financial pressures accompanying his achievements, yet reluctant
to give up the life style it provides, Ted seeks solace with dangerous people.
A master manipulator, he struggles to keep the secrets threatening to destroy a
friendship, business, and the lives of those he loves.

 

The unexpected
arrival of Samantha Waverly, a young naïve girl from their hometown with
ambitions of becoming a clothing designer shakes up their world.
 
Smitten by her beauty and sweet innocence a
love triangle develops pitting friend against friend.
 
Who will win her heart and survive the evil
threatening?

 

An unlikely hero
surfaces that attempts to uncover those in danger in time to warn them, and by
doing puts her life in peril.
   

 
 

“ROSE OF BETRAYAL”

By

Elizabeth Lowe

 

CHAPTER
1

 

“JUNE 2011”

 

“Don't!
 
Don't ever touch me,” Sam’s angry last
words.
 
“I never want to see or hear from
you again, never!
 
I hate you!”

 

Like
honed shards of penetrating steel Sam’s words to this day made Brad ache as if
a wound unable to heal.
 
A gigantic knot
of tension swelled his stomach.
 
A deep
shudder vented his pain.
 

“If Ted hurt
her, if he did anything to her, I'll . . . I'll . . .” he sobbed inwardly.

 

Feeling
nauseous and ashamed of his frailties, reaching into his shirt pocket he
retrieved a dried red rose.
 
Gently
placing the treasure on the seat beside him worsened the pointed stabs of ugly
jealousy that were wrenching his guts.
 
He considered himself a hero for honoring Sam's wishes, until this
morning.
  
Now, becoming intimidated, he
wondered if the rose would be the key to free the devil inside, for loud and
clear he heard the remaining frayed threads barely holding him together tearing
at the seams.

 

Increasing
anxiety induced an odious mood. “Can't this worthless piece of shit go any
faster?
 
Damn this traffic,” Brad,
spouted.
 
Imprisoned within a fire engine
red Porsche 911 Carrera, he impatiently waited at what he swore was the tenth
red light when in reality it was only the third.
 
Clenched fists pounding the leather steering
unleashed the obscenities exploding between gritted teeth directed at
everything and anything in the way.
  
Suddenly, a flash of green brought a size ten with tremendous force to a
chrome accelerator launching the Porsche forward.
 

 

Filtering
through the mainstream of traffic with wipers swiping at teeming rain, tires
splashed waves of liquid onto sidewalks cluttered with people moving at a
snail’s pace.
  
Thunder reverberated off
graduated columns of granite, glass, and steel.
  
Clouds of steam spewing from grates in the
sidewalk conjured up silhouettes that pirouetted to the escaping rumbles of the
subway beneath before magically succumbing to the cities ever changing
noises.
  

 

Eyes
the color of coal flicked to the rear view mirror.
  
Approaching an intersection much too fast,
Brad scrutinized a delivery truck bearing down.
 
Quick reflexes jerked the steering wheel.
 
Sounds of shrieking tires, crumbling metal
and shattering glass penetrated the pollution made dense by spiraling radiator
steam.
 
Somehow, he had managed to avoid
the run-a-way truck, unfortunately not the case for the car behind.
 
Despite the resulting ciaos, the hustle
bustle of the city continued as though a trite occurrence while the men
involved began a confrontation both physically and verbally abusive.

 

An
unsettling incident that sky rocketed Brad's heart to his throat before it
plummeted and slammed against his chest jarring loose unrelated thoughts.
 
Sam would not have sent for him unless it was
serious. Dear God, please, he whined inwardly.
 

 

Pooling
tears streaking olive, sun bronzed skin created a haze that made it wearisome
to see the road or to concentrate on direction.
 
Frantic eyelids madly attempted to clear the blur of drowning moisture
as his journey penetrated the five o’clock traffic.

 

Long
calloused fingers raked tangled raven hair coaxing spirals to fall undaunted
onto a furrowed forehead.
 
Reflections of
Sam had vividly returned those responsible for plundering his mind during the
past six months.
   
Leaving Ted and Sam
behind was the most difficult decision he had ever made, though wanting to keep
his friendship as solid as ever with Ted, he could no longer hide his feelings
for Sam behind a facade of brotherly love and friendship.
 
Over the past months, an impressive act that
had left him drained emotionally.
 

 

After
what had transpired, seeing Sam now would not only rock his equilibrium, but
also expose a part of himself that he never knew existed.
 
He had faced the hard, cold, sorrowful facts
a long time ago; he was in love with his best friend’s girl, an infliction that
had terminally damaged his mind and soul.
 
Though distance and loneliness had become welcomed allies neither had
eased the agony of an unrequited love, an addiction like that of a junkie
suffering the withdrawals of a condemned man.

 

Oh,
he was smart enough to know there was no future in the past; he had gotten that
through his head.
 
The problem was his
heart was not listening.
 
Returning to
Wyoming where he tried to smile and display a semblance of normalcy was the
only answer.
 
Regardless, learning to
live again was killing him.
 
The West’s
blinding morning sunrises became nothing more than painful reminders that the
world had not stopped.

 

An
abruptly applied brake screeched the Porsche to a halt at a curb on Central
Park South, leaving the engine of his prized possession running an impetuous
move in New York City.
 
Leaping out, he
charged the sixty story modern steel and glass structure as forward-looking as
the company within.
 
From its marble
facade to its elegant lobby, the formidable masterpiece bespoke prestige, quiet
pride in achievement and bold confidence.

 

Oblivious
to the door attendant’s bloodstained hands, and clothing, as he sprung wide the
sparkling glass, and brass portals, Brad briskly closed the distance to the
private elevator.
 
Waiting impatiently,
he pounded the buttons as if it would make a difference.
  

The loyal
employee and friend that he was Ralph exited to guard the car.

 

Except
for an occasional brief phone call, Ralph had not seen Brad since he
disappeared.
 
It was not a surprise that
Brad’s facial features remained as devastated as when he left, his clothes,
worn faded blue jeans torn in one knee, western shirt buttoned half way, muddy
boots in place of polished Gucci shoes, indeed, not at all the image of an
investment magnate.
   

 

Convinced
New York was a God forsaken city, provoked beyond reason Brad’s thoughts
reverberated in the lobby.
 
“Christ,
nothing has changed.
 
Never will.
 
Damn this elevator.”
 
Instantly, as if ordered by the devil
himself, the gleaming brass doors sprung open.

 

Not
expecting his boss, Walter’s mouth literally hung on its hinges expressing his
shock.

“Penthouse and
damn quick.
 
Got it?”

 

As
though facing Lucifer himself, Walter croaked, “Yes, sir.”
 
Slipping his white gloved finger inside the
collar of a uniform that suddenly felt tight, facing the control panel, he
pressed the button for the penthouse.
         

 

Breathless
and exhausted, Brad's hand swiped at the moisture dripping from his chin, the
resulting roughness making him embarrassingly aware of his appearance.
 
Glancing at his watch only then did he
realize that eight hours had passed?

 

............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

 

Before
sunrise, Brad began his normal routine of attending the horses.
 
A favorite chore that made him unaware of the
hours that had slipped away.
 
Needing a
well-earned break, he leaned against the worn, rough rails of the paddock.
 
Removing his Stetson, he swiped at the
perspiration dampening his hair and dripping maddeningly down his brow.
 
Shading his eyes from the glaring sun, he
gazed upon his beloved land.
  
Though the
sharp morning rays had just kissed the peaks of the magnificent Teton’s the
temperature had already begun to rise, mountains, jagged and snowcapped, whose
stately and picturesque dimensions were casting shadows across the flat
plains.
 
A captivating scene that nudged
memories of what lay within the dense forestry reminding him it had been a long
time since they had lured him into their wonderland.
 
An exploration he could not muster without
the company of his best friend.
  

 

Head
slowly pivoting allowed his gaze to focus on the family home, the five hundred
acres of grazing land, a neighboring ranch.
 
Magnificent panoramas making him acknowledge he was where he belonged, a
silent confession that lowered considerably self-inflicted barriers and allowed
tiny wistful thoughts to escape.
 
Life
would be perfect if the one he loved was beside him.
 
Horrified, he clamped down on the reflection,
regrettably not before stimulating the raw patch inside that ached from time to
time and right now unbearably.

 

Thankfully,
a colt at his side, nuzzling his hand attempting to elicit attention reminded
him it was time for his daily romp through the pasture.
 
Swinging wide the gate, he studied the
jet-black thoroughbred trotting past him.
 
Before breaking into a gallop, the colt stomped the ground and flipped
his mane as if thanking him for the freedom, a ritual that painfully reminded
him of the similarities between the colt and Sam.
 
Young, sleek, and inexperienced, both needed
time to encounter life’s treasures, the reason he granted them freedom.
 
In time, faithfully the colt returned to the
corral, to the one who loved him.
 
Brad
could only pray maybe one day Sam would do the same.

 

A
noise coming from the direction of the interminable rutty road leading to the
Triple J. drew his attention.
 
Leaving a
trail of swirling dust behind the charging truck squealed to a halt beside him.
 
Bounding from the vehicle, an old friend
approached clutching a small package stamped “Urgent - Special Delivery.”
  
Throat parched from the heat and dust,
Charlie barely managed to choke out, “Dad wanted me to deliver this right
quick.
 
It arrived early this
morning.”
 

 

The
fact that the parcel was post marked New York and there was no letter of
explanation attached made Brad hurriedly open the small package.
 
Inside was a single dried rose the brown
paper wrapping ripped from paralyzed fingers as though a message of peril road
on the sudden breeze.

 

Removing
his hat to scratch his head, Charlie could not help but wonder why anyone would
send a rose special delivery, and why his friend's eyes turning to slate said
what Brad could not.
 
   

“Wait for
me.
 
I'll need a ride to the airport,”
Brad barked.
 

Dumbstruck,
Charlie watched his childhood friend suddenly spin around and beat a path
toward the century old Victorian dwelling.

BOOK: Rose of Betrayal
7.94Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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