Naïve, country girl, Cynthia Freitas, moves to the big city with high hopes, but her starting salary barely makes rent in a run-down tenement. Newspaper headlines warn of a serial killer in the neighborhood, and the article grabs her attention when she recognizes the victims bear a striking resemblance to her. Alex Carlyle is assigned to assist detectives in one of the toughest cases he’s ever experienced as a cop. Despondent over a recent break-up with his fiancé, he buries himself in his work until he meets the cute new tenant next door who gives him something else to think about except kidnap and murder. The aftermath of their first “jolting” kiss places the burden on Cynthia to solve Alex’s case and keep him from potentially becoming the next victim.
Cynthia Freitas straddled the complementary copy of the daily newspaper lying in the hallway in front of her apartment and gulped. The thought of a kidnapper loose in her neighborhood sent a shiver up her spine.
With two grocery bags balanced in one arm, she strained to see around them to find the keyhole. Just as she unlocked the door and stepped inside, the bottom of one sack gave way, sending her carefully-selected apples skittering across the warped floorboards. An assortment of vegetables landed in a premature salad at her feet.
She clenched her teeth. "Damn! Damn! Double damn!"
Not in the habit of cursing, she winced and turned to see if anyone was in the hallway and had overheard. Seeing no one, she took a deep breath, removed the dangling key, and closed the door. "You've picked up some bad habits, Cynthia Ann."
She stepped over the spillage, still grasping the torn bag, and placed it and the intact one on the stained kitchen counter. With a deep sigh, she dropped to her knees and crawled from apple to apple until she had recaptured all the escapees, but not before crinkling her nose in disgust at the recent rodent droppings next to the stove. She made a mental note to buy a mousetrap on her return visit to the store.
With the Granny Smiths cradled in one arm, she stood and dumped the fruit into the sink. Curiosity drew her back to the hallway to retrieve the newspaper. She tucked the daily edition beneath her chin and fiddled with the deadbolt. It still wouldn't work.
The super hadn't responded to her call, and this wasn't the best of times to have a broken lock. After placing the flimsy chain across the door, she added making another call for maintenance to her growing mental notebook.
You can find Culture Shock on Amazon. Tune in for more next week.