This thrilling, romantic suspense is NOW LIVE! Read an excerpt & dive into the world of Oblivion!
I peek through the eyehole and there’s a man dressed in a sort of livery standing outside. Cracking open the door just enough to speak, I eye him suspiciously. “May I help you?”
“I’m looking for Aja Parker.”
Clean Slate. “That’s me.”
“Ma’am,” he nods and hands me a white envelope that has a #1 in the upper right-hand corner. “Please read the contents and I’ll wait by the car.”
I close the door right in his face, lock it, and with my back against the door, tear open the envelope. Inside is a thin sheet of expensive-looking paper. It is printed with the following:
Accompany the bearer of this notice. Take nothing with you: no clothing or personal effects, no money, and no cell phone. Your contract for indenture will begin the moment you step into the waiting limousine. The driver has been instructed not to converse with you. Tick-tock.
No fucking way am I not taking my phone. What the fuck? I might have bartered away my free will for six months but I should still be allowed to call my mother.
My heartbeat breaks into a sprint, moves into a fast trot, and then a full-on gallop in seconds. What have I gotten myself into? I can’t even bring my own things with me?
An unbridled fear galvanizes me into action with a burst of manic energy. I run into the kitchen and grab the magnetic notepad off the fridge. Tearing off a sheet, I write a note to Rainy:
I’ve been picked up by a limo and driver to start my contract. Am not supposed to take anything with me, even my phone, but I’m taking it anyway. I’ll try to call you but if I am unable to for whatever reason… IDK, send some positive energy my way. I have a sinking dread that I’m going to sorely need all the help I can get. I’m actually terrified.
Love you a lot. Keep me in your thoughts please.
So now what? I can’t even pack a bag. Looking down at what I have on—jeans and a cropped T-shirt, I quickly decide not to change clothes. I’m not dressing for a date and that way I could leave the phone in my jeans, at least initially.
I can’t even bring a toothbrush? I’m assuming all of that will be provided.
I brush my hair and teeth, grab a bottle of water and say goodbye to Nemo. Crossing the threshold of the door, I can feel my legs trembling so violently that I can barely walk. My stomach is roiling as well and as I swallow it back, I pray I won’t be sick. If I were allowed my handbag, I’d have something in there for an upset stomach. But I’m not and I don’t.
The driver is waiting by the limo door. I study him carefully despite my nervous state. I want to remember every face of every person associated with this illegal crap in case things go south. Looking to be in his late twenties, he has light brown hair, wears mirrored aviator sunglasses, a broad physique, and has an impossibly erect posture. Former military? Possibly. Probably.
He’s wearing the standard uniform of a driver—black trousers, grey double-breasted tunic jacket, white shirt. Black oxford shoes. He even has a cap.
As soon as I fold myself into the back of the limo, the door closes with a soft thud behind me.
It has begun.
On the seat next to me is another envelope that says Read Me Now and is marked as #2. I pick it up with shaking hands. It’s not sealed so I slide the paper out of it.
In the zippered pouch on the door next to your seat, you will find a black silk blindfold. Please put that on immediately. The driver will not start the car until you have it in place. Should you remove it at any time or attempt to subvert its purpose, there will be repercussions.
My fingers reach for the zipper and pull it open slowly. Slipping my hand inside, I feel the blindfold and remove it. It’s very soft and it fits over my head snugly. Once in place I cannot see a thing, and with the dark-tinted windows of the limo, no one can see me. As soon as it’s on, I feel the smooth purr of the engine rumble to life beneath me as the car starts into motion.
That’s when I realize that I have to pee desperately. God, how I wish I had remembered to go before I left Rainy’s flat.
I don’t know how long we drive and have no sense of the direction: he makes so many left and right turns that he must be doing it to throw me off. I’d guess about twenty minutes later the vehicle comes to a stop. I hear the driver’s door slam and my heart rate starts ratcheting up. It’s so fast that it should cause me to have a heart attack or something—it’s just slamming inside my chest. The car door next to me opens and I feel a difference in the ambient temperature as warmer air meets the air-conditioned air. A hand firmly grasps my arm to help me out of the limo but the blindfold is left in place.
I think we’re in an underground garage for I don’t hear any noise and the last minute or so of the ride felt as if we were descending. The driver leads me to an elevator and we begin to rise. I can’t help but feel I’m going to my doom. I am going to my doom. For the gazillionth time, I curse my stupidity. I’d rather be in debt for the rest of my life than feel the raw terror that I feel now.
It’s a couple of seconds before I realize the elevator car has stopped and I can sense new air as the doors quietly swish open. We walk for a few moments, his grip on my arm guiding me, a door opens and closes and then I feel his hands removing the blindfold.
I blink in the light. We are in a room, sparsely but expensively furnished. There are no visible windows—heavy drapes cover an entire wall of the large room. He hands me yet another envelope, this one marked #3. Inside the paper contains another four sentences:
I have three instructions for you: do as you’re told, do as you’re told, do as you’re fucking told. It will make your life infinitely easier. Do not break rules on your first day. We want to start off on the right foot.
“Remove all your clothing, please,” the driver says from behind me. “All of it.”
When tragedy strikes Aja Lawson, she believes her life has forever lost its luster. Indifferent to everything but the unrelenting and gnawing misery inside of her, she scrapes up the shards of the shiny girl she used to be and tries to somehow keep moving forward. But in the shadows, forces are gathering like tumbleweed to disrupt her life: forces, or more concisely, men.
One man is bent on Aja’s destruction; two others want to possess her, but all three have one thing in common: they are thoroughly, mind-and-body obsessed with Aja.
Oblivion is the high-stakes game where winner takes all. Aja Lawson is the ultimate prized possession.
Always a reader, always a writer, Astor's been at it in some form or another since... well, forever. Her love of the printed word has taken her from avid reader to proofreader, copy editor, and writer of nonfiction, poetry, short fiction, and finally novels. She also teaches writing and literature as an adjunct professor and appreciates having a captive audience. The only things she loves as much as books are her husband, two sons, spectacular golden retriever, assorted cats, sisters, and every animal she ever meets... and of course, chocolate.
Astor has written an NA novel series entitled "Complements" ("Complements," "A Force of Nature," and "Between Us") and an erotic romance that began life as a spoof on the Fifty Shades trilogy, titled "Three and a Half Weeks." More recently, she published her two-book novel "My Heart to Fear" and "But Now I See." Currently she's working on her next novel duet, the first being "Oblivion," that will be released February 16, 2017. She's also written a mystery that will be released in late 2017.
I Website I Twitter I Facebook I Amazon Author Page I