As a way to celebrate the official release date of our Top Suspense Anthology (and wouldn't today be a perfect day to pick up our anthology for $2.99 for either the Kindle or Nook??), here's the first part of the sequel to The Chase, Lauren's Run. The same rules have been in effect for Lauren's Run--no planning, no safety nets, the only difference is we have a new set of players. While the original six members of Top Suspense (Max Allan Collins, Bill Crider, Ed Gorman, Vicki Hendricks, Harry Shannon and myself) wrote The Chase, the new six (Stephen Gallagher, Lee Goldberg, Joel Goldman, Libby Hellmann, Naomi Hirahara and Paul Levine) decided to strut their stuff and write the sequel. Over the next 12 days, I'll be posting a new part of the story with the author's name removed, so you can have fun trying to guess who wrote what (hint. buy our anthology! if you read it you'll be able to figure it out). And anyone who guesses all 12 story parts correctly will win free e-books from each of these six!
Lauren's Run (Part 1)
Lauren Blaine rolled down the window as she cruised up Lake Shore Drive in the stolen Camry. No one ever told her the Windy City was so pretty, even at two in the morning. On one side a silver moon spilled a veil of sparks on the lake; on the other a few insomniacs’ lights twinkled in the high-rises. Chicago might be nicer than LA. She smiled, looking forward to a fresh start. Why not? She had the money and the talent. And the Glock.
She turned off the Drive, looking for a twenty-four-hour restaurant. Danger always gave her an appetite, and there’d been plenty of that back in Kansas. She’d spent the last twelve hours racing north to Nebraska in Marlboro Man’s pickup, leaving the carnage – and the bodies -- behind. Then east into Iowa where she ditched the truck at a rest stop and hot-wired the Camry. She mentally thanked Hank for teaching her the necessary survival skills.
Now, she spotted the yellow sign above a Golden Nugget on a corner. She parked, slipped the Glock into her waistband, and stashed most of the cash in the trunk. Ducking her head to avoid the video camera tilting down on the sidewalk, she pushed through the door to the restaurant.
Inside, the staff outnumbered the customers. A waitress chatted up the short order cook behind the counter, and the sole customer, a man, crouched over a plate of what might have been meat loaf.
She slid into a booth in the back and picked up a greasy, laminated menu. She was ravenous. The waitress sauntered over and gave her the once-over.
“What ‘ll it be, honey?”
Lauren was about to answer when the door of the restaurant swung open.