Never Smile at Strangers

Never Smile at Strangers by Jennifer Minar-Jaynes Read Free Book Online

Book: Never Smile at Strangers by Jennifer Minar-Jaynes Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jennifer Minar-Jaynes
Tags: thriller, Suspense, Mystery, Adult, Young Adult
You'll be out of Grand Trespass, and you'll never look back. And Kim, she'll remain here with her crossword puzzles and bad skin. . . and rot.
    “You ever wonder why you get such a kick out of bullying people younger than you?” Erica asked. This time she met Kim’s glare. “Because it’s pretty pathetic if you ask me.”
    Chris appeared amused, but interrupted anyway. “Now, now, girls. Although I usually enjoy a good cat fight, today’s not the day.” He grabbed some paper towels from beneath the counter and walked to the door that led to the trailer. He regarded them again and although they stood just a couple of feet apart, due to that damn lazy eye, Erica couldn’t tell if he was looking at her or Kim. “Let’s enjoy some peace and quiet today with everythin’ goin’ on out there. Forget the windows. I’ll get ‘em myself.”
    ***
    MOMENTS LATER, THE cow bells clattered and Rachel Anderson, the creative writing teacher from the community college walked in. Rachel, wearing a floor-skimming lavender skirt, her long, blonde hair pulled into a neat French braid, scanned the diner. Settling her sunglasses on the top of her head, she went to the counter and politely addressed the group. “Good afternoon.”
    Erica noticed Kim and the attendant glance at each other.
    Everyone in Luke's knew about Tiffany's affair with Rachel's professor husband, Tom, and they knew that Rachel only came in to intimidate her. Before learning about the affair, she'd never stepped foot inside Luke's. Erica admired the woman for being so confrontational, visiting her husband's mistress every day. She had balls and was taking a stand. There was no mistaking that the woman was strong and Erica liked strong.
    “Just a cup of coffee, please,” Rachel said to Erica, smoothing out her skirt and sitting down.
    Soothed by the woman’s presence, Erica reached for the pot of coffee.
    “They’re out searching the woods by the Johnston's old place now,” the attendant said. “I hear the brush is so bad out there, it could take hours to cover just a few-hundred feet.”
    “Searching the woods? Am I missing something?” Rachel asked, tearing open a packet of sugar. Erica studied Rachel's long, thin fingers, her polished nails, clear and beautifully shaped. She admired the elegant way her hands moved as she tore open the small square package. Rachel was perfect, just like her mother.
    “Tiffany.” Kim announced, “She’s gone missing. You didn’t hear?”
    Rachel's eyes darted from Kim to the attendant. “Missing? What do you mean
missing
?”
    “No one's seen her in two days. She left her Mustang in the parking lot over at Provost's Saturday night. Never made it home.”
    Rachel dropped the sugar packet she was holding and granules spilled onto the counter. She stirred her black coffee although she hadn't dropped any of the sugar into the cup. She looked disturbed and Erica noticed a tremor in her hand. “They have any idea where she could be?”
    “Sheriff talked to her boyfriend,” Kim said. “He says he don’t know where she is. No one knows much else.”
    The diner went silent.
    The attendant pulled her tube of lipstick from her pocketbook and smeared it against her thin lips. As always, she smeared it just outside of the lines, in hopes of making her lips look fuller, when all it did was make her look like a clown. Erica noticed that every now and again, she would study Rachel. She wasn’t sure if it was out of envy, curiosity. . . or suspicion. People in Grand Trespass were generally suspicious of folks who stood out and most women didn't seem to particularly care for Rachel, but Erica believed it was only because they were jealous. Like Erica's mother, Rachel didn't talk like the other ladies. “Sugah,” “sugah dahlin,” and “
cher
,” this and that. “
Cher bebe
and
Mon cher
!” She didn't dress in muumuus and walking shorts and leave the house in old sweats. No, Rachel had pride, grace, style, and an

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