Sara's Fear

By: Ernie Lindsey

(The Sara Winthrop Thriller Series Book 3)

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Ernie Lindsey

June 2014

Chapter 1

Sara Winthrop watched as her friend and former annoying nemesis, Teddy Rutherford, picked up the fifty-pound sack of cattle feed, lifted it over the top rung of the fence, and dumped the contents into the long, blue trough.

She’d invited him and his newlywed wife out for a short visit before their real honeymoon began. Southwest Virginia was far from a month in the Caribbean, but they’d jumped at the chance to come see her new place, thousands of miles from Portland where they’d lived and worked together.

Teddy grinned and stepped away. He motioned to the cattle grazing lazily nearby. “Come on, you four-legged milk machines. Time for dinner, or supper…or whatever the hell you guys eat here in the boondocks.” He glanced over at Sara. “Did I say that right? Boondocks?”

“Boonies. Sticks. Backwoods. Same thing.”

“Yonder? Is that one?”

Sara chuckled. “Nice try.”

He was still getting used to the southern terms, but after his second day on Sara’s farm, he’d assured her plenty of times that he had a handle on what it took to keep the place running. “What’s that smell, Sara? Smells like…outside.”

“You mean nature?”

“Yeah. That.”

“It’s manure and wet hay.”

“You remember that guy Mark that used to work in the Testing Department?”

“Don’t remind me.”

“I think he wore the same thing as cologne.”

“No, I sat across from Mark for three years. This is like roses compared to him.”

Teddy shook his head as he stared at the cattle. They’d ambled over and buried their noses in the thick layer of feed. “Man, look at them eat. Takes a lot to keep a thousand pound hunk of beef mooing, huh?” Pointing to a large roan off to the side, he added, “Maybe when they’re done, you can show me how to milk the big one over there.”

Sara patted his back. “I doubt that bull would enjoy it, but you can try.”

Teddy blushed and his wife, Irina, kissed him on the cheek. She said, “You stick to the business of games. Let Sara manage the cows, okay?”

Eight months earlier, Teddy’s father, Jim Rutherford, had sold LightPulse Productions to a rival competitor for slightly over two billion dollars. Jim hadn’t wanted to do it initially, but after the insanity with Patty Kellog, and the subsequent explosion of his home, he’d decided that maybe it was a sign that it was time for a change. He’d worked so hard to build LightPulse into an industry leader, and it had been difficult to give that up, but an extended vacation in Italy that turned into a transcontinental relocation and a swift marriage to the love of his life had softened the remorse.

Teddy had taken his share of the spoils and started his own company, called Red Mob Productions, that designed small, mindless games for mobile phones. He didn’t have to work, would never need to work again, but he claimed that the desire for a challenge drove him to stay busy. Sara didn’t know exactly how much he’d earned in the buyout and didn’t care—it was simply good to see Teddy maturing and doing well for himself. So far, he’d turned a twenty-five million dollar investment into twenty-five million in profits. He’d done it in such a short amount of time that several gaming magazines called him the wunderkind of mobile development and thankfully, he hadn’t allowed it go to his head.

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