Bad Penny

Bad Penny by Sharon Sala Read Free Book Online

Book: Bad Penny by Sharon Sala Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sharon Sala
Tags: Fiction, Suspense, Romance
dialing, another vehicle came over the hill. His relief turned to panic when he saw it wasn’t her, either. He didn’t recognize the truck, but he knew the kid who got out. It was Jordan Culver’s boy.
     
    “Tornado! On the ground!” Billy Joe screamed.
     
    At that moment the hail hit. The boy shrieked, then wrapped his arms over his head for protection. “My truck! It’s gonna ruin my new truck!”
     
    Wilson yanked him toward the cellar as hail slammed into their faces, dialing Cat’s number as they ran.
     
    “Quit worrying about your truck and worry about your hide. Run, boy!” Wilson yelled. “Get in the cellar—now!”
     
    Then they both heard the whine—a high-pitched scream of wind and power that sounded like an approaching freight train.
     
    “Oh, no!” Billy Joe screamed, and bolted for the cellar.
     
    Wilson was right behind him with the cell phone held to his ear. All the way to the cellar, then down the steps and into the concrete-walled room, he kept listening to the ringing and waiting for the sound of Cat’s voice. It never came.
     
    It was the silence after the din that brought them all up out of the cellar. Wilson went first, praying that his truck would be back now, with Cat sitting in it, wondering where everyone had gone. Dorothy was carrying one of Stephanie’s boys. Stephanie carried the other. Carter had the basketful of cats and was coming out behind Billy Joe, who vaulted up the steps, anxious to see what damage had been done to his birthday present.
     
    The house was still standing, as were the shade trees and the barn, but debris was everywhere. A tree branch was hanging half in and half out of one front window, but the roof appeared intact.
     
    Billy Joe ran to his truck, bemoaning the broken back window and the hail dents in the hood. Wilson saw his father put the cats back in the doghouse, then began helping the kid clean the glass off his truck seats.
     
    Dorothy was walking Stephanie to her car, which had survived the storm with nothing but some hail dings. He watched her help the young mother buckle the boys back in their car seats and wave her off.
     
    Billy Joe finished brushing the glass off the driver’s seat and started to get inside when his cell phone began to ring. Wilson heard him telling his mother where he’d been, and that he was fine and heading for home.
     
    Wilson stared down at his own cell phone, as if willing it to tell him where Cat was. But there were no missed calls or voice messages waiting to be listened to. He started to dial her number again, then changed his mind and dropped the phone in his pocket.
     
    “Dad, I need the keys to your truck. Cat isn’t answering her phone, and she should have been back long before now. I’m going to look for her.”
     
    “I’m going with you,” Carter said.
     
    Dorothy glanced at the tree branch through the window. “What about that?” she asked.
     
    “We’ll deal with it when we get back,” Carter said as he palmed his keys. “Get in, Wilson. I’m driving.”
     
    Wilson didn’t care and didn’t argue. All he wanted was to get moving.
     
    His stomach was already in a knot and, as they started up the driveway toward the highway, worry turned to fear. Destruction was everywhere.
     
    “Oh, no…Dad…where the hell is she?” he whispered.
     
    Carter glanced at him once, then gritted his teeth and focused on avoiding the debris on the road.
     
    “Don’t borrow trouble, son. She could have taken shelter almost anywhere.”
     
    “She would have called.”
     
    Carter sighed. It was hard to argue with the truth.
     
    They had topped the hill and started down when Wilson glanced over into the pasture on his right.
     
    “The fence is down, Dad.”
     
    Carter nodded. “It’s okay. I moved the cattle out of there last week. We’ll fix it later.”
     
    As they neared the highway, a news van was coming toward them. Wilson could see the passenger hanging out the driver’s side

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