Serial Story: Rattlesnake Falls, Book 1, Ch. 3

This serial story is posted one chapter per week on Fridays, in unedited (draft) form. It may contain adult situations that might not be suitable for children. Thanks for reading, and enjoy! 

No, I still haven’t decided on the title. One should come to me eventually. Just gotta keep writing….

Rattlesnake Falls Book 1

Chapter 3

The next morning Shelley padded out to the kitchen in her robe with a smile on her face and a slight headache that she didn’t resent one bit. A hot bath, several glasses of wine and a romance novel with a hero that she’d imagined looked a lot like one Dillon Riley had kept her up far later than normal. It had totally been worth it though, for the dream she’d actually remembered when she woke up.

She was waiting by the coffee pot, mug in hand when the apartment door swung open and Tabby blew in like a breeze, looking far more rested than anyone who’d spent all night out on the town had a right to. Her hay-blond hair wasn’t even stringy, and Shelley resented that as she brushed one of her own dark and in-desperate-need-of-shampoo-locks out of her eyes.

“Pack your bags, Seashell! I got an invite from the hottest guy on the planet to visit his family’s camp, and there’s a rustic little cabin with our name on it waiting and reserved. You have the next two weeks off, right?” Tabby stopped in the hall and looked back at her and raised an eyebrow. “What are you waiting for? We need to pack!”

“Coffee.” Shelley held up her empty mug and chose to ignore the hated nickname for now. “You do know that ‘rustic’ means tiny and probably without heat, right?” The coffee pot finally spit the last bit of dark liquid into the carafe, and Shelley grabbed it, filling her mug. Tabby didn’t drink coffee. Probably because Tabby wasn’t entirely human.

Her cousin waved off her concerns with a flick of the wrist. “Whatever. It’s summer – we won’t freeze to death. And besides, we know there’s at least two hot guys up there to keep us warm by the big campfire at night too. Now get packed – that’s an order!” She winked and went down the hall, where Shelley heard her rummaging around in her room.

Against her better judgement, Shelley followed, mug in hand. “We don’t know anything,” she said, leaning on the door jamb of Tabby’s room. “Two hot guys, huh? Do you even know anything about these guys, aside from whatever they told you last night…or this morning? I mean, it could just be a ruse to lure us up into the woods and kill us. Or scam us out of all the money you like to make people think we have.”

Tabby stopped tossing things into a duffle bag and peered over her shoulder.

“You are seriously demented. I mean, how do you come up with these things? What if it’s just two guys who want to get to know us better and happen to own a guest camp up in the mountains? And the worst case scenario isn’t that we’ll die, but that it’ll rain the whole week, the guys will turn out to be jerks and we’ll come back and never see them again?”

Shelley shrugged. “Well, they want to get to know you, anyway. I’m just the wing-girl. Do you know anything at all about these guys? Where is this camp? What’s it called?”

Tabby pulled a card from the back pocket of her jeans and flipped it at Shelley. “I don’t remember – snake-something-or-other. I think you met one of the guys last night – he was your last speed-date, if I remember correctly. His partner was partying with me and said we should come up for the week.” She finished shoving what looked like random items of clothing into her bag and zipped the top. “So unless you’re sure the other guy is a serial killer, let’s go have some fun!”

“Rattlesnake Falls?” Shelley looked at the card that was almost identical to the one in her bag, this one with the name Mark Ellis on it. She wondered if Mark was as good looking as his partner. It was pretty safe to say he was probably more outgoing, since he’d been hanging out with Tabby’s crowd last night. She took another sip of coffee and handed the card back to Tabby.

“Well, I can’t let you go alone,” she said finally. “But you have to let me finish my coffee and get properly packed. A couple of hours, minimum.”

“But they’re leaving in forty-five minutes, and if we hurry, Mark said he’d drive us up there. Save some gas, save some wear-and-tear on the cars…it’s a no-brainer!”

Shelley shook her head. “No way. We are not going up into the mountains without our own way of leaving if we need to. That’s just stupid. And you’re right, I did meet Dillon last night, and he gave me instructions. So just let Mark know we’ll come up later today. Excitement is no reason for stupidity.”

Tabby rolled her eyes. “You’re worried about nothing, cuz. I tell you what – you bring the car later, and I’m going with Mark now. I trust him, and a long drive is a great way to get to know someone.” She held up a finger when Shelley tried to interrupt. “My life, my choice. Besides, he won’t dare do anything if he knows you’re following right behind us, right?” She grinned and slung the bag over her shoulder, pushing past Shelley into the hall and moving toward the door as Shelley followed.

“These are nice guys. Not everyone in the world is out to get us.Try to remember that, K?”

And just like that, she was out the door again. Shelley went back to the kitchen and refilled her mug, leaning against the counter as she sipped the hot elixir. What were the odds that out of all the guys in her entourage last night, Tabby would hook up with Dillon’s partner? And what the hell was she thinking, just running off on a road-trip like that with a guy she didn’t know?

Yawning wide, she set her mug down long enough to get a blueberry bagel out of a bag on the counter and took it, and the mug down the hall to her bedroom. She couldn’t let Tabby just disappear into the wild with some random guy, so she had no choice now but to go check out Dillon’s camp.

Maybe Tabitha was right. Maybe it would be fun.

This was definitely going to require more coffee. And a shower.

Thanks for reading! Check back next week for Chapter 4!

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