T-10 days until the release of Trouble Me! Want a glimpse of the story? Tune in each day between now and release day for a snippet of the first two chapters. If you like it, pre-order this beauty for just $0.99 at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07XJQY4RR
Burgers and Bills
Emma twisted her lips into a semblance of a smile as she served Jimmy, her last customer, his usual heaping plate of cholesterol disguised as a double burger and fries. Maggie’s Diner served the best burgers in Madison Ridge, or so she’d heard. She’d never been able to bring herself to try one after smelling grease all day long.
Once back behind the counter, Emma breathed deep and pulled the mortgage bill out of her apron pocket. Once upon a time, avoidance came easy. She’d learned to evade any situation that exposed her vulnerability. But avoidance was a safety net she no longer used.
She ripped the envelope open like a bandage off an open wound and forced herself to focus on the bright red all-capped letters that made her stomach churn. The amount in bold was much larger than she anticipated. So much so her vision momentarily blurred.
Emma tapped a finger on the Formica countertop, her mind calculating her bank balance. Even if she could liquidate the last two pieces in her fine art collection tomorrow, she’d never make enough to pay the past due payments and save the family estate. Not by a long shot.
Winning the lottery wouldn’t hurt.
Hell, no. Gambling had been her father’s main vice and look where it had landed him.
Emma blinked back tears and shoved the letter into her apron, along with the thoughts from her mind, when Jimmy shuffled up front to pay his bill.
She punched the check total into the register and waited while he pulled out his wallet. “It’s getting late. Vera’s going to wonder where you’ve been.”
Jimmy grunted as he handed over a twenty. “Nah. She’s at some artsy wine and painting thing tonight. Probably not thought of me once.”
Emma chuckled. “After forty-something years of marriage, I seriously doubt that’s true.”
With a work-worn hand, he waved away the change she tried to give him. “Nah, you keep it.”
Emma’s smile was genuine in spite of her fatigue. “Thanks, Jimmy. See you tomorrow.”
Tune in tomorrow for more of chapter 1 – Burgers and Bills!