Jack and The Fountain of Youth — Installment 10

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Jack Cover with border small canvas

JACK AND THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
by HL Carpenter
ISBN: 978-0-9884095-1-4
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-9884095-0-7
Copyright (c) 2012 by Top Drawer Ink Corp.

*****

Continued from Installment 9

Four

N

 

essa sneezed twice as Jack waved away the milky-blue haze left behind by Sylvester Liaberco’s car. She could hardly believe two reporters had shown up in the same day, both asking questions about the Fountain of Youth. Not that she’d fallen for that tall tale. No, she figured they both wanted to write about Bradley. Who could have tipped them off about her brother’s upcoming release from prison? And why?

When her eyes quit watering, she stuck the phone back in the holster and said, “You were leaving too, weren’t you, Jack?”

“I’d rather stay, mi hermanita.” He paused, as if surprised by his words, then rushed on, “Mr. Liaberco won’t give up, you know. He needs this story to keep his editor happy. He’ll be back tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that.”

Her shoulders slumped. The same thing had happened during Bradley’s trial. The constant questions and speculation had driven both her and her sister into hiding. They’d retreated to the farm, and made it through the worst of times by relying on each other. She wished she could lean on Corinda now. But she had to be strong for both of them, because her sister was busy taking care of her tiny, frail new baby, Holly Marie Owens Tagg, who’d arrived Saturday, six weeks early, in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Kyle. Since Holly’s birth, Cori hadn’t left Everyoung Memorial Hospital. Cori had enough problems to deal with. She didn’t need to know about this one.

Nessa said, “There’s no story here, Jack. Not for you, and not for Mr. Liaberco.”

“That won’t stop him.” He looked at her. “If you let me stay, I can help you.”

“Help me? How?”

“However I can. Maybe just by being here. Mrs. Kuhn told me your sister’s baby was born prematurely and your sister’s staying at the hospital with her. You’ve been left to run the herbal business the two of you started after your parents…” He broke off, dipped his head. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s all right. The car accident happened seven years ago.” It felt like yesterday. She said, “We’ll always miss them, but Cori and I have learned to take things one day at a time.”

Jack stepped closer. Though he didn’t touch her, she could feel the warmth of his body. She wanted to lean into that warmth.

He said, “I should have thought before I spoke. I know what it’s like when someone you love dies. You think the pain will never end.”

Tears gathered in her eyes. She rubbed them away, and said, “Your parents?”

“My twin sister.”

“What happened to her?”

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***** ABOUT THE AUTHOR *****

HL Carpenter is the pen name of a Florida-based mother/daughter duo who writes from their home in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity.

Also by HL Carpenter:

The SkyHorse.Fourteen year old Tovi thinks finding a flying horse is fabulous luck–until a mysterious stranger says finders aren’t always keepers.

The Demise of Fyne Literature. Who killed Fyne Literature? The Fictional Book Investigation Agency is on the case—and the lead investigator is closer to the culprit than he realizes.

Dream Stealer. Is stealing a dream better than losing your own?

Walled In. When her father is accused of fraud, seventeen year old Vandy Spencer discovers her entire life has been built on a heart-shattering deception.

Taxing Pecksniffery. Flying frizzles! The year is 2176, a rebellion is brewing, and the boss wants a recon report. Ichann Count is all wet as a spy, but she plunges into the fray. Will she emerge with her memory banks intact?

*****

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We write. Visit us in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like our stories, is unreal but not untrue.

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