This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
Life was perfect. A handsome son, a great husband, and a few close friends. Janice was happy in her life. She was a stay at home mom of a very energetic and happy five year old son that she named James Matthew after the two best men in her life. James was her father and Matthew was her husband. Right before James was born, Janice’s father had passed away from cancer of the liver. He never got the chance to get to know how wonderful his namesake would grow up to be.
Shortly after the birth of James, she decided to follow her life’s passion and become a crime novelist. There are not many crimes that happem in small towns, like Ashburg. However, Janice came from a large city that was full of violence and crimes. She would grab ideas for her novels based on some of the more memorable cases that she heard about back when she lived in Oaksboro.
She would hear stories on the news at least a couple of times each week about murders, arsons, and suicides. She left that life and that city, because she wanted a family. She knew that a family would never be safe in the city of Oaksboro, so she decided to pack up and move to Ashburg and make a new life for herself. That is when she met the man that would steal her heart away.
Matthew was the local law student. He was born and raised in Ashburg. He would commute to Oaksboro for college courses, since the city was only about an hour away. One night he got back from school a little later than normal and was starving, so he decided to go to the new burger joint that had just opened. He wanted to try the Upside Down Burger. Upside Down Burgers was a small mom and pop burger hut on the edge of town. Once inside, he happened to find a young waitress that was very pretty and extremely happy. She would joke and laugh with the customers, and then she would make sure to treat each one to one of her famous milkshakes. The sound of a delicious burger and a free milkshake was too tempting for the law student to turn down. Needless to say, he thought he was buying a burger that night, but he ended up stealing a young waitress’s heart. They started dating shortly after that night.
Once he finished law school, he joined his best friend’s small town lawfirm. His first day on the job was the day that he decided to propose to Janice. They were married by the only judge that lived in Ashburg. Ashburg has a small court house, one judge, and there were only three lawyers in the town and one of them doubled as the local district attorney, so it would get interesting in divorce or legal cases, because you would have two lawyers that both belonged to the same firm arguing their cases against each other in the courtroom. They were married March 27, exactly one year after they met. They had their reception at the Upside Bown Burger.
Every year on March 27, Janice would get dressed up in the classiest dress that she could find at the local second hand gown store. This year was no different. Even though there was going to be a five year old, in tow, due to lack of a suitable babysitter, Matthew and Janice still wanted to go out to the Grand Seas Chatuea, which was the highest class restaurant that could be found in the small town of Ashburg.
Matthew came home from work and immediately started to get ready for their date night. While he was getting ready, he told Janice about the new clients that his firm was able to pick up. Matthew was a small town lawyer, Even though it was a job that got a lot of business, most of the people could not afford the prices that are paid to the big city attorneys. For this reason, Matthew knew that his career was never going to make him rich, but he found that it provided all that he needed without the drama that would have come along with other big city firms. He was still able to come home with a smile on his face, every day, knowing that he did the best he could do with the means that he had available at the time.
After Matthew finished getting dressed up, they loaded James into his boosterseat in the back of their blue 1995 Toyota Camry. They got into the front seats and proceeded to head to dinner. Once at the restaurant, the host that was supposed to seat them told them that he was sorry, but they could not bring a child into the establishment, because the club was exclusive to adults only. This had upset Janice, because she looked forward to their anniversary dinner every year.
Matthew tried to calm her down by telling her that he would bring her back on another evening. He said that they would go to James’s favorite place to eat instead. James loved the little pizza shop that was in the downtown area, Mama May’s Pizzeria, because it offered animal shaped pizzas for kids. His favorite was the dinosaur. She would use black olives for the eyes, and cut the pepperoni to be the mouth and feet. Plus she would also offer the chance for the children to pick whether their dinosaurs have pepperoni or sausage spots.
Finally, Janice agreed to do dinner at Mama May’s. Even though she was a little upset about it, she figured that it would be alright, because her son would be happy. Plus, she did not want anything to do with a place that treated kids like they were second class citizens. Her son has a mom that is a known writer, and his father is the best known lawyer in all of Ashburg. She could not understand why Grand Seas did not want to allow him there to eat. So, she no longer wanted anything to do with the Grand Seas Chatuea.
After dinner, they got back into the car to head home and watch a couple of movies. Janice put James into his boosterseat, and they started heading back home. They had just made it to the corner of Grove and Second, when a dark van came out of nowhere and hit them in the driver side door. This knocked Matthew into the pregnant Janice. James sat in the back crying in his booster.
Janice tried to do what she could to keep James calm, while trying to move, because she was getting pinched between the passenger door and Matthew. She was trying to feel for a pulse on Matthew, but because of the position that she was in with him on top of her, she could not tell if there was one or not. Luckily, someone was going into the gas station at the time that the accident happened. They saw what went on and called 911.
The ambulances started arriving. The fire rescue teams pulled James and Janice out of the car and went over to the other vehicle to check on the driver. It turned out that the driver of the other car was a close personal friend of the family, Arthur Marcomb. He was drunk again. When his daughter was born, his wife had died in childbirth. Since he lost his wife, he had turned to whiskey to try to drown his sorrows. He has started ending up in and out of the drunk take at Ashburg Police Department about four years ago.
Arthur was barely breathing, and Janice could hear the paramedics talking about the smell of whiskey being so strong that they felt drunk just off the smell of his breath. That was when she passed out from the pain and bleeding that she herself was experiencing.
jaslynnash2015: I absolutely loved the story from beginning to end and I loved following each of the characters throughout their journey! Very captivating although there were a few grammar errors, but very captivating still! Can't wait for book 2!
annabellewilliams123: I loved this novel I read it all in one.sitting, the story made me put back into perspective my own life and how I wasnt as bad off as I think sometimes.I loved that they had such a strong love and it's what any person hopes to find. and such a strong loving family
LouiseJ2: I enjoyed the detail you went into with regards to the case. It made the UNSUB appear believable. The crisis in the middle of the story was my favorite part, very dramatic but not over the top. I feel like sometimes pairings can be overdone but I liked that some of the relationships were a little...
Ben Gauger: Kudos go to Liz Aguilar, author of To Have And to Hold a fast-paced, gripping, adrenaline rush from start to finish, one of perhaps the finest pieces of writing I've ever read, in particular because of its' telenovela-like feel, May she continually find success as an author. Bravo my dear, bravo!
MelanyFrey: This is a contemporary “teenage” (yet not only “teenage”) story that covers a lot of important topics, such as child abuse, peer pressure etc. The story is complex and deep, yet a little predictable. You did a great characterization, so that, from the beginning of the story, I was familiar with t...
Carolyn Hahn-Re: I really liked this story! The writing was well done, and the plot was suspenseful. I couldn't stop reading chapter after chapter, on the edge of my seat! The characters were well developed, and true to form. Thank you so much for this wonderful read.
ianwatson: The comedy is original and genuinely funny, I have laughed out loud many times reading this book. But the story and the plot are also really engaging. The opening two or three chapters seem quite character-dense but they all soon come to life and there is no padding, filling or wasted time readin...
FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"
Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."