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from Lady Bug Rebelution by PJ Colando

Copyright © 2019–2020 PJ Colando

Chapter 1
Book #4 in Faith, Family, Frenzy! series



Amy’s Traverse City entrance was not as quiet as she’d intended. While the trucker accepted no payment beyond his leer and failed attempts to paw her shoulder, his truck’s brakes had screeched, the exhausted belched and fouled the air, and she felt like Sousa’s Band had announced her arrival. 

As always in life, some elements of the ride upstate were good, some were bad, some were ugly. The trucker’s teeth looked like they’d not been brushed in eons and cracker crumbs were embedded in his beard. At least he hadn’t belched like his rig.

Amy stepped out and swiveled around to reconnoiter the resort city. A sign shouted TRAVIS’ TRAVEL IN, gigantic red letters on an impressively brown building, drawing her to its butt ugly bosom.

She sailed across the street, an angel of vengeance, a righteous stalker of right. She’d arrived at the threshold of redeeming her life in over-bright daylight. She wished she had a hat—the sun baked. A hat would complete her disguise as a vigilante cowboy, eager for a gambit to gun a man down. 

The scenario reminded her of the Spaghetti Westerns, the movies her mom had watched while slumped on the ratty apartment couch, going through one of her spells.

Amy recalled the genre nickname because, in that time, spaghetti was the only meal she knew how to make. 

Amy grimaced at the memory. She’d groomed herself to success. Soon a fistful of dollars would be in her possession, not ten-dollar bill she’d bogarted in her bra along with a lone lottery ticket. Like Clint Eastwood, she’d be golden. 

For now, Amy was Millennial broke like she’d been five years back. When Brandon lost his job and their home, and her hopes and future circled the drain. 

Too soon, another guy decapitated shared dreams and left her with the rap. He was ensconced in his bar across the street. Amy thrust her hips ahead and squared her shoulders. She stepped forward into the first chapter of her new life.

With grand intent Amy twisted the bar’s door handle. The door swung on squeaky, rusty hinges. It probably needed oil as much as its inhabitants within. Was the entire world outside of prison unhinged and odd? If so, Amy figured she might fit in.

She entered, entitled and bold, a romping, stomping chicka who’d scraped and elbowed her way through life, actions which fostered a star turn in a roller derby league years back. A moonlight role for a bank V.P.

Thoughts of those stints as Bad Ass Amy brought a secret self to the fore. Her spine rose to the occasion, so that she stood near six feet tall. Inches higher in boots. When she stomped to loosen the road dust, the noise on the wood threshold stopped the bar inhabitants in mid-sip. Arresting. As Amy acclimated to the altered light of the bar interior, the Eagles’ hit, Hotel California, corkscrewed her inner ears.

Neon beer signs jam-packed the walls, hung by a singularly imbalanced interior design. Each beer distributor jockeyed for position, desirous of being top brand. Perhaps the buzzed bar owner had hung his preferences. More likely, his patrons’. 

It wasn’t like Amy to judge, so she hedged. Someone merely had a poor sense of proportion. Maybe the array extended the bartender’s pours, put ideas in his barflies’ heads. She knew Travis Castro to be more egocentric and profit-motivated than she. 

That wasn’t a judgment. It was fact.

A tentative look at the floor assured Amy there wasn’t a spot she wanted to step onto. Going forward would be tough. Th...

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