Fortuna by Elaine Cantrell
Aimee Sherwood never dreamed that following her fiancé into the witness protection pro-gram would land her in a haunted house in a town that’s downright creepy. She’d have laughed if she had been told the guy who lives down the road might be her soul mate, not the man whose ring she’s wearing. Life in West Virginia is nothing like life in Los Angeles, but between bean ball battles with Marilyn Monroe, remodeling a crumbling farmhouse, and starting a new business, Aimee’s life is anything but dull.
Excerpt: Rocky and Aimee participate in a wrestling match.
As they appeared in the doorway leading into the arena, speakers blasted Rocky’s theme song as the announcer roared, “Ladies and gentlemen, Rocky Stone is in the building!”
Spotlights blinded Aimee when they hit her. Rocky gave her a masterful kiss as dry ice sent fog roiling around them. With Rocky striding out in front, she and Thin Lips Rich followed, waving to the crowd and clapping the entire time. Rich spread the ropes apart for her and Rocky to enter the ring.
She strutted around, throwing kisses and motioning for the audience to stand up. The crowd went crazy when a wild swirl of bagpipe music filled the arena. They loved Rocky’s show. Clapping in unison, they cheered, “Rock-y. Rock-y. Rock-y.”
With the focus off her, Aimee relaxed a little. Thank goodness nobody’s staring at me now. I hate the outfits Rocky wants me to wear. ‘Your clothes are a part of my stage personality,’ he said. He wants me to look like a party girl.
She glared at the dress. It was made of spandex covered in electric blue sequins and was so short it was dangerous to sit down. Not only that, her boobs would probably fall out of the bodice any time now. The horrible dress had been designed to push up the assets.
Cade McCoy, whose hair was a greasy-looking, dirty blonde that reached his shoulders, threw off his hat and black leather vest and shouted something to Rocky, who ignored him. The barrage of noise intensified as Cade flexed his muscles at the screaming fans. Aimee clapped her hands to her ears to protect them even though it would annoy Rich. She’d be deaf before this debacle finally ended.
Her part was finished for the moment. She glared at Cade, kissed Rocky, and took Rich’s arm as he escorted her from the ring, taking care not to catch her stiletto heels in the ropes. The heels had blue sequins on them too.
The next fifteen minutes were pure purgatory. She held her breath when Cade put Rocky in a headlock and punched his face. He released Rocky and gave him a kick in the butt that sent him sprawling. Rocky seemed dazed by the punches.
Before he could get to his feet, Cade slipped under the bottom rope and shoved one of the timekeepers from his chair. He grabbed the chair and took it into the ring with him. As the crowd roared and screamed, he smashed Rocky from behind with the chair.
Don’t panic. Don’t panic. Don’t panic.
Cade paraded around the ring, jeering at the audience and gloating over Rocky’s fall. Rocky should have gotten to his feet by now, but he hadn’t moved a muscle. Cade strutted across the ring and kicked his leg. Hard. Rocky didn’t move.
Aimee didn’t realize she had gotten to her feet and was moving until she bumped into the ring. “Rocky, get up,” she screamed, her voice reverberating around the now strangely silent arena.
The referee hustled over to Rocky. He took the precaution of motioning Cade back, even though Cade had moved away and wasn’t even close to Rocky. Bending over, he touched Rocky’s shoulder and said something Aimee couldn’t hear. He barked an order to the timekeeper, who picked up a radio.
Two paramedics, exuding competence and authority, rushed to the ring with a stretcher. They put Rocky in a neck brace and carefully loaded him onto the stretcher. As they trotted out of the arena, Rocky’s arm fell from where it lay on his chest. It looked so loose and floppy that Aimee screamed again. She ran behind the paramedics with tears and mascara streaming down her cheeks.
Elaine Cantrell’s Biography
Elaine Cantrell was born and raised in South Carolina. She holds a master’s degree in personnel services from Clemson University. She is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary society for women educators and is also a member of Romance Writers of America. Her first novel, A New Leaf, was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love Contest. When she isn’t writing or teaching, she enjoys reading, traveling, and collecting vintage Christmas ornaments.
Character Interview: Cade
Rhonda: Welcome to Centerville Today, a Viewer’s Choice TV program. My name is Rhonda Dalton, and my guest today is Cade McCoy. Cade, welcome to the show. Could you introduce yourself to the viewers?
Cade: (Smiles at Rhonda) I’d be glad to. As Rhonda said my name is Cade McCoy, and I live at Bad Creek Farm.
Rhonda: Are you a farmer, Cade?
Cade: I raise five gaited saddle horses. All of them are show quality, purebred animals.
Rhonda: Was raising horses your main goal in life?
Cade: Yes, so far. I was only wrestling to save money to buy the farm.
Rhonda: Horses are expensive. What would you do if you won a million dollars?
Cade: I’d get my breeding program on the fast track and set up group homes and counseling for troubled kids.
Rhonda: Is there a special lady in your life?
Cade: (hesitates) Maybe, but we have a few things to work out between us.
Rhonda: What’s her name?
Cade: I call her Sunshine, although that’s just my nickname for her.
Rhonda: I hope everything works out for you and your Sunshine, Cade. Thanks for being a part of our program today.
Cade: Thanks for having me.