The PMS Outlaws: An Elizabeth MacPherson Novel

The PMS Outlaws: An Elizabeth MacPherson Novel by Sharyn McCrumb Read Free Book Online

Book: The PMS Outlaws: An Elizabeth MacPherson Novel by Sharyn McCrumb Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sharyn McCrumb
something about the careless brilliance of Purdue that was both fascinating and annoying. A. P. Hill had known that despite their nearly identical grade point averages, Purdue was the smarter of the two. She had resented that fact, perhaps. It still annoyed her to admit it, even to herself, because it didn’t seem fair that she’d had to work so hard for her success, while Purdue breezed through with considerably less effort. She knew, though, that ultimately she did not envy Purdue. There was never a doubt in anyone’s mind about which of the two overachievers was the more likely to succeed in the real world beyond law school: Amy Powell Hill. For all Purdue’s quick intellect, there was a fragile quality about her that suggested she was too easily bored, too distracted by life itself to endure the daily grind of the treadmill that put beginning lawyers on the road to success.
    A. P. Hill sprinted off into the soft darkness of the suburban Danville street, savoring the quiet and the feel of cool night air in her nostrils. The trick was to push yourself so that you had to concentrate on taking one more breath, one more step. If you were lucky, the stitch in your side and the sharp twinge in your lungs would drown out whatever troubles you had taken with you when you set out to run.
    Purdue was smarter, quicker, better. The old thoughts settled into a rhythm matching her heartbeat as she ran. Smarter. Quicker. Better. A. P. Hill told herself with more insistence that she did not envy the mental capacity of P. J. Purdue. There was more to success than mental agility. She knew that her own capacity for diligence, hard work, and an eye for painstaking detail would take her far. If Purdue had ended up making the most money, she could live with that. She just wished she could get over the feeling that whatever Purdue was doing would turn out to be more fun than A. P. Hill would ever have.
    She tried to outrun this thought for a mile and a half, but when it showed no sign of leaving her consciousness, A. P. Hill gave up. She touched her toes a few times in the deserted street while she caught her breath, then she jogged back to her building at a slower pace. It was late, and she still had laundry and paperwork to do before she could call it a night. It would take half a pot of tea to keep her awake enough to finish her chores.
    When A. P. Hill rounded the corner of her street, she saw Edith sitting on the front steps of the building, reading a supermarket tabloid in the glow of the streetlight. Catching sight of her, Edith grinned and waved the paper aloft. “Found your friend!”
    A . P. Hill was curled up on her sofa with her legs tucked up under her. “I don’t believe it!” she said again.
    Edith shrugged. “Well, it is a supermarket tabloid. I don’t believe some of it myself. Clintons Adopt Alien Baby … Elvis and Liberace Frozen in Michael Jackson’s Wine Cellar … Sure. Okay. But some of the rest of it is just plain hard to swallow.”
    “It’s incredible,” Powell Hill said again. She did believe it, though. The news story had a cold ring of plausibility that fit the phone call she’d received earlier in the day. A. P. Hill found herself thinking, So that’s what she meant. But why had she called?
    The tea in A. P. Hill’s William & Mary coffee mug had long since grown cold, but she sipped it anyhow, too preoccupied to notice the flat, bitter taste. She picked up the tabloid for the tenth time and peered at the grainy black-and-white picture of a young woman with short, light-colored hair. The headline read PMS OUTLAWS TERRORIZE SOUTHERN BARS . The PMS Outlaws. One of their early victims had given the pair this name, and it had stuck. According to the article, two young women, believed to be escaped convict Carla Larkin and her attorney, Patricia Jane Purdue, had eluded law enforcement personnel after Larkin’s escape from a western North Carolina prison six weeks earlier. Since then they had been on

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