Read Slide Online

Authors: Michelle Congdon

Tags: #Romance, #alpha male, #new york, #baseball, #hotshot

Slide

BOOK: Slide
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Slide
 
 
Title: Slide
Author: Michelle Congdon
 

Publication Date: 25
th
November 2013


 
Ages: 18+

 
Classification: New Adult; Contemporary Romance
 
For information, contact Michelle at: [email protected]
 

ADVANCED READING COPY- NOT FOR SALE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slide

By

Michelle Congdon

 

 

 

 

PROLOGUE

 

There is a deafening sound ringing through my ears. All around me a thick, gray cloud is preventing me from seeing anything further than the front of my nose. The strong smell of burning rubber is in the air, causing each breath I take to be more painful than the last as I inhale the toxic fumes. My head is pounding as I frantically try to recall the earlier events, but come up with nothing. With a shaky, frail hand I reach up and touch the top of my head where it hurts the most, wincing from the sharp pain it causes when I do. My hand becomes all wet and sticky. I know what it is right away. It’s blood.

Small chunks of crumbled glass press into my youthful hands as I begin to feel around the small, confined space I’m trapped in. I instantly recognize the firm leather, the thin cotton material of my summer dress and some form of restraint that is strapped across my chest…

The memories burst through and flood my mind. I’m in a car― my mother’s car.

I’m sure I call out for my mom and my brother then, but I can’t hear my voice; I can’t hear anything over the deafening sound of the car horn.

A sudden explosion from somewhere in front violently shakes everything around me. I grip the seatbelt strapped to me for support and force myself to be brave. Brave, just like my older brothers are.

I watch a bright, orange light appear through the thick, dirty haze and everything then starts to get hot. Fire… Help! My mouth opens. I feel the words but I don’t hear them. I struggle with the seatbelt, ignoring the shooting pains in my arms. It’s no use. I can’t get free. I’m trapped.

The air around me thins, making it harder to breath. I’m coughing now, trying desperately to stop more smoke from filling my lungs. Heat licks at my skin, becoming hotter as each moment passes.

Another explosion shakes me and the fire ahead grows larger.

The deafening sound finally stops.

I’ve never been much of a crier, but I’m terrified right now and can’t stop the tears from falling down my face. I’m no longer able to breathe. My head is dizzy so I start to close my eyes and let happy memories of my short childhood and of my family flood my mind… Suddenly, large hands envelop mine.


Evie? Can you hear me?” It’s my brother.


Alex?” The words barely come out but I force myself to stay awake.


Oh, Evie. Thank god.” I notice a sense of relief in my brother's weak voice. “Listen to me. I need you to get out of here, okay? I want you to get out and run as fast as you can, okay? Don’t turn back, Evie, not for anything. Can you promise me that?” he says, fumbling with my seat beat. There’s something frightening in Alex’s voice, but I don’t hesitate to obey my big brother’s words.


Go!” he says once I’m free. “Be brave and remember that I love you always…” I hear him whisper the words weakly before I begin to crawl free from the twisted, metal wreck and broken glass.

Remembering my brother’s words, I don’t stop until a pair of unfamiliar hands grab at me and pull me upwards. It is only then that I finally allow myself to welcome the fresh, cool night air.

Strange voices begin speaking over the top of one another but the sound of yet another explosion silences them immediately.

I spin around to face what I already know deep down inside and my chest constricts at the sight I see. The Mercedes belonging to my mom is nothing more than a pile of burning rubber and warped metal, wrapped around a tall street lamp in the middle of New York City.

Behind the twisted mess, I see small crowds of people keeping their distance and shielding their eyes from the bright light and heat coming from the fire. I hear sirens wail in the distance, while the red and blue lights of the fire trucks already parked nearby light up the clear winter night.

I start to feel dizzy again—


Are you alright little girl?” A male voice asks behind me just as I feel a firm tug at my shoulders. “I need to take you to the paramedics.”


No! I can’t leave Mommy… Alex…” I choke out. My eyes are glued to my front, mesmerized by the blazing wreck.


There’s nothing we can do for them now. I’m so sorry.”

My vision blurs. Fresh tears fall down my face as a harrowing and powerful emotion, stronger than any pain I’ve ever endured in my short life, grips my entire body. I try to rush forward but the strong, firm arm holds me back. I try screaming out for my mother and for my brother, calling their names until my voice goes sore, in hopes that they hear me.

I manage to struggle free from the man’s grasp, getting as far as two small steps before the last and final explosion engulfs the car.

 

 

C
HAPTER 1

 

I woke with a loud gasp.
It is just a nightmare,
I repeated to myself. But no matter how much I tried to convince myself it was just a terrifying story conjured up in my head, I knew the vivid images weren’t going to go away that easily. Because the truth was, it wasn’t the first time I have had this nightmare. For the past twelve years, whenever I closed my eyes, the same scene would play through in my mind until I’d be forced awake, either by gasping for air or choking on my own tears.

The chilly air against my sweat covered skin made me shiver, while my heart thumped wildly inside my chest. I took a deep breath and reminded myself of where I
really
was: on a plane and headed for New York― the one place I dreaded the most and I hadn’t been back to, until now.

I decided to close my eyes for a moment and concentrate on trying to steady my heart rate before reaching for the assistance button.

An attendant was by my side almost immediately.

“Is there anything I can get for you, Ms. Montgomery?” The cheerful blond air hostess beamed.

“Just a glass of San Pellegrino, thanks,” I replied tilting my head slightly so I could see her. “Oh, and could I please also get a washcloth?”

“Of course.”

The air hostess smiled an over polite smile which I translated as someone who had either been in their job for far too long or despised serving people like me. It would not at all surprise me if the answer were the second of the two.
Jennifer
, as the name on her name badge stated, wasn’t the first person I’d come across to have this reaction. If I had to be honest, this type of thing happened on a regular occurrence. I didn’t let it bother me though; I’d learned to ignore the stares and whispers that came with having the family name a long time ago.

My family came from money, a
great
deal of it, but that didn’t mean we all lived a blissfully perfect life. We had our own heartache and tragedy to bear. It was constantly being in the media eye that taught me to shut myself away. They all wanted to talk about that fateful night many years ago but I refused to speak to anyone, other than my therapist— who was still trying hard to mend the pieces together.

The air hostess returned with my water and washcloth.

“Here you go, ma’am… Are you feeling alright?”

I paused between saying ‘thank you’. She’d caught me off guard but I managed to quickly regain my composure before asking, “Why do you ask?”

“Oh, it’s nothing I’m sure. I just noticed that you were talking in your sleep earlier.”

Although she sounded genuine about it, I couldn’t help but notice the glimmer of amusement in her eye from seeing me grow uncomfortable.

“I guess I was dreaming, that’s all. I hope I didn’t disturb anyone,” I answered, clearing my throat.

“Doubt it. Mr. Sheppard, in front, hasn’t taken his eyes off his laptop and Mr. Renaldi is snoring soundly behind you. I don’t think they even noticed.”

I gave her a quick smile before my eyes scanned the other first class passengers. She was right; they were minding their own business.

Jennifer gave me a pat on the shoulder just as the captain’s voice boomed through the speakers of the cabin, announcing the start of our descent into LaGuardia Airport.

Panic began to set in. I was less than an hour away from touching down in New York. I hadn’t been back to the East Coast in twelve years and had no plans of ever returning.

Right after the accident, my surviving brother and I were sent to live with our grandparents in Newport, as our father struggled to come to terms with losing his oldest child and beloved wife. He submerged himself in work, flying in and out of the country without warning and never once came to visit. As soon as my brother, Connor, turned eighteen, he packed up and left to study and work with my father in New York, leaving me behind with Gran and Pop. Connor flew back every chance he could and made sure he was back to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and my birthday each year. My father, however, was a different story. He’d started a new family, one I was yet to meet, and forgot all about the daughter he’d left behind.

Six years ago, my father, the great Rupert Montgomery, found a woman who was forty-two years his junior. Even though he refused to marry again, the couple shared two young children together. Connor had nicknamed our father’s girlfriend, Goldie, after the term ‘gold-digger’, and claimed that she was only with our father because of his multi-billion dollar bank account. I couldn’t agree with him more.

With close to no contact in twelve years, except for money transfers that I labeled as ‘guilt money’, I often wondered why my father was suddenly requesting my presence back in his life. Though, I already knew the answer to that; it was because he was sick.

At seventy, Rupert Harrison Montgomery— multi-billionaire, and since my mom passed away became the sole owner of over four thousand custom luxury clothing stores all over the world— looked more like a weak ninety year old. I knew this because the pictures of him plastered in newspapers and the Internet were hard to miss.

When my father first fell ill, he’d handed control of the business to Connor, and from the stories I’d read about, my brother was doing a fantastic job. I was so proud of him.

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