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from Frienemies by Aleta Kay

Copyright © 2017–2020 Aleta Kay Dye

Chapter Fifty-Three

Joel’s steamer trunk was packed. He didn’t know where he would go, but he had to get away. He had recovered enough from his ill health to be able to travel. But where would he go? How would he escape without notice? No one would even notice or care. Why should they? What have you ever done but use people, step on anyone who dared get in your way? When have you ever thought of anyone but yourself?

The litany kept repeating itself. Self pity had been a close friend for many years. Hadn’t his father abandoned he and his brothers when their mother had died? His father. Right. The man who sired his sons, then walked out on them when they were just seven and eight years old, leaving them with strangers. The strangers had used them as slave labor, and beat them when they got too tired to work. It gave him a sour taste for humanity, a hunger for something better, and a determination to rise above his circumstances, whatever it took.

If old man Smithers had not taken him under his wing, rescued him from near death when he was twelve years old, he would not have had the education, nor worked his way up to apprenticeship, and finally a degree in real estate law.

But he had neither seen nor heard from Smithers since he started seeing Angel Browning. Now there was a woman who brought out the worst in men. ...

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