The Keys to Jericho

The Keys to Jericho by Ren Alexander Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: The Keys to Jericho by Ren Alexander Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ren Alexander
bouncing off the beige walls instead of the gray in my apartment.
    “It’s about time, sleepyhead.”
    I notice three pairs of my socks, rolled into each other, laying on the bed. Picking up a bundle, I look with perturbed astonishment to my dad standing in the doorway. “Did you throw these at me?”
    He shamelessly nods. “I did. I had a hard time waking you up.”
    “What time is it?” I crane my neck to look at my alarm clock, only to find it isn’t there. I guess that’s something I should’ve packed.
    “It’s 9:40. Get up. I need you.”
    Fuck, I have a headache. Ignoring him, I lie back down. This is my vacation. There’s no way I’m getting up this early, especially after a shitty night.
    After leaving Rio, I drove around until I thought it was late enough that if my dad was still awake, he wouldn’t question why I was home so early. I managed to sneak in without running into him. He didn’t even notice my frequent trips to the refrigerator for more beer, taking two cans at a time and each trip louder than the one before.
    Rio and I always get along and always have been close. I tell him things I don’t tell Dash because Dash is too…cheerful. Too optimistic. He doesn’t take my problems seriously and if he does, he brings up the astrology garbage. I just don’t understand how a female can change Rio. He’s dated before and he’s always stayed the same Rio. Not this time. This bitch has him blinded by her bullshit. He says I’m the one who’s changed, but I’m the same Jared Beckett as I’ve always been, maybe a little older and wiser, or just maybe a little wearier and more jaded. Still the same, regardless.
    “Come on, Jared.” Dad clears his throat and says, “I see you had a rough night.” I take it he notices the beer cans on the floor and on the nightstand. “You better not have driven drunk.”
    When I don’t respond, another soft wallop smacks my face.
    “Hey!”
    “Did you?”
    I pull the blanket tighter over my head. “No!”
    He sighs, seemingly satisfied that I’m telling the truth, which I actually am this time. “I need you to get up and dressed.”
    I testily growl into the mattress, “What the hell for?”
    “Watch it,” he scolds me like a child. Fuck me. I’d get more sleep on a park bench downtown.
    I’m quiet, hoping he gave up on me and left, but hearing him sigh, I groan into my pillow. “Dad, can’t I sleep in? Whatever it is can wait.”
    “No. I want your expertise there.” What the fuck?
    “What expertise would that be? I have so much.” I laugh into my pillow, but it makes my head pound more.
    “You’re good with a hammer. Now get up.”
    My eyes pop open. What shit is he getting me into? I’m supposed to be relaxing and enjoying my time off before I start my new job. I knew he wouldn’t let me get off that easily, but my first day here? Jesus.
    He declares, “My assistant Brenda’s house burnt down.”
    I shift enough that I can see him without sitting up. “Uh, okay. Sorry to hear that, but wouldn’t it be better to call the fire department instead of me?” He laughs. Kind of odd, but whatever.
    “You’re a structural engineer.” Wow. News to me.
    “I’m glad you noticed.” I roll back over, burying my head into the blanket and saying a muffled, “Again. So? Not much I can do for a burning house.”
    “No, it’s being rebuilt.”
    Since it seems like he’s not going to leave without a compelling argument, I whisper a fuck before I grudgingly sit up and rub my eyes with the heels of my hands. “Dad, I design skyscrapers and bridges. I don’t work with houses.” They’re small potatoes. I’m in the big leagues.
    With his hands on his hips, he nods while critically surveying my room again. “I know that, but you can help with the build.”
    Jackpot. The reason for my convenient existence here.
    I sigh. “That’s what contractors are for. Doesn’t she have one?”
    “Yes. Her eldest son owns his own company, and he’s

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