As Kate's car jounced over the rough highway lining the Puget Sound, a
layer of fog lifting from the dark waters swallowed the beams of her
headlights. The ocean welcomed her back with its hazy abyss. The sounds
of undulating static evidenced waves crashing on the shore. A crisp
breeze brushed against her face, delivering a trace of salt to her
She tried to remember how many years it had been since she'd spent time
near the sea. Crabbing, fishing, water skiing: all her happiest memories
with her dad had taken place by the water. As well as the most
terrifying day of her life.
Kate closed the window. She turned on the radio and flipped through the
channels, all crackling between towers. A political debate. Advice for
the lovelorn. The brain-itching chorus of "Gypsy Soul." She clicked it
Her wheels screeched as she flew around another curve and onto the
connecting highway. She released her foot from the gas pedal but,
resisting the instinct to use the brakes, she shoved her foot back down
to accelerate. Perhaps her way of defying death, or a desperate search
She lifted her phone and called home again, only to hear the same
message on the machine.
Where was he?
Suddenly, Drew's words came back to her: "Maybe we need to take a
They'd had plenty of arguments in the past, but never before had he
mentioned separating. What if he viewed her unexplained absence tonight
as blatant apathy?
Apprehension raised her blood pressure, burned the tips of her ears.
She speed-dialed Drew's lifeline - his cell phone. It went straight to
voicemail: "You've reached Drew Coleman with Milton, Sidis, and
Stricklen. I'll be out of town until Monday. If this is an urgent
matter, you can reach my assistant at..."
As Kate anxiously waited for the beep, she noted darkness in Drew's
voice, a seriousness that had replaced the fun-loving spirit she'd
fallen in love with.
"Drew, I'm on my way home," she said. "I'm heading back from my
father's. I'll explain when I see you. Anyway, there was a detour. I
just took highway sixteen off one-o-six, so I shouldn't be more than
forty minutes away."
The glow of her headlights bounced off something ahead.
It was an animal. A deer. Standing sideways in her lane.
Kate dropped the phone. "No, no, no!" she yelled, jamming the brake
pedal to the floor. She yanked back on the steering wheel as if pulling
a B-52 out of a nosedive.
In exaggerated slow motion, the deer turned its head toward her. No fear
in its eyes. No attempt to move. Either at peace with its fate or
unwavering in its defiance.
The car's beams elongated the creature's shadow across the road, the
distance between them vanishing. There wasn't time to stop; they were
going to collide.
Kate screamed, swerving into the hole of blackness off the edge of the
highway. Every muscle in her body clenched, preparing for impact.
Excerpted from "Flaherty's Crossing" by Kaylin McFarren. Copyright © 2010 by Kaylin McFarren. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Kaylin McFarren is a rare bird indeed. Not a migratory sort, she prefers to hug the West Coast and keep family within visiting range. Although she has virtually been around the world, she was born in California, relocated with her family to Washington, and nested with her husband in Oregon. In addition to playing an active role in his business endeavors, she has been involved in all aspects of their three daughters' lives - taxi duties, cheerleading coaching, script rehearsals, and relationship counseling, to name but a few. Now she enjoys spending undisciplined time with her two young grandsons and hopes to have many more.
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