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In 1928, on their way to begin their honeymoon, a young couple stops to gas up their car. Two bootleggers jump from an old truck and spray bullets into the owner of the station. The blast still ringing in his ears, the young man looks down into his wife’s lifeless green eyes. He sees only a flash as the gun fires again. He drops beside his bride in a river of blood and gasoline.
Eighty years later, a family buys the corner and converts the old filling station into The Java Pump, a coffeehouse, complete with two ghosts. They have a mission—to clear a man’s name and find the $500,000 hidden by the bootleggers in 1928.
Cooney Boutin, a recovering alcoholic who frequents The Java Pump, is not surprised he’s able to see the resident ghosts, Jade and Scooter Underhill. However, he is a little stunned to find out he has a key role to play in their assignment.
Infinity, Texas, 1928
Scooter Underhill eased off the brakes of his yellow roadster convertible as his bride, Jade, knelt in the passenger seat and waved farewell to their friends and family.
“Bye,” she called. “We love y’all! We’ll see you in a week!”
When the church grew faint in the distance, she turned and plopped down in the seat next to her new husband, combing her fingers through her bright red curls. Grains of rice flew into her lap and onto the front seat between them. She glanced his way, scooted over and yanked the Panama hat from his head, revealing his shiny black hair.
“What are you doing? Gimme that!”
“Are you saving this for our wedding dinner, Scooter Underhill?” Laughing, she poured the rice that had gathered around the hat’s brim onto the floor of the car.
He grabbed his hat away and jammed it back on his head. “No, ma’am, tonight we’re having steak and champagne.”
Happiness and contentment he’d never known before covered him like a soft blanket as Jade snuggled close, wrapped her arm in his, and laid her head on his shoulder. “Mrs. Underhill. I love the sound of it,” she said.
“It’s a good thing. You’re going to have to use it for the next fifty or sixty years.”
Light wind whipped about and blew her white chiffon dress in little ripples about her shoulders; her big green eyes revealed her joy. Beautiful Jade, he loved her beyond anything else. It seemed he always had. Tonight he would hold her in his arms and they would become man and wife, as close as two humans could possibly be. As he squeezed her close, his throat constricted. One day he would look back at 1928 as the best year of his life.
He turned right on Water Street, taking his arm down in order to shift. “I’m going to stop at the Gulf station up the street for gas.”
Jade took a comb and mirror from her purse and began to fiddle with her hair. “I thought you filled up the tank yesterday.”
“I did, but it’s a long drive to San Antonio. Can’t be sure we’ll find a filling station between here and there. I think I’ll fill the can in the trunk too.”
Out of the corner of his eye, he watched her primp. He was sure some thoughts of her own rambled around in her pretty head, now that her wedding night drew ever so close.
If he hadn’t known better, he could have attributed her virginity to deep moral convictions, or that she wanted to honor the vow she’d made to her mother to remain chaste. Both reasons applied to her Christian attitude. However, he suspected something infinitely more urgent lurked inside her now with their wedding night imminent—fear.
It wasn’t just her overactive imagination; Jade told Scooter her mother also contributed to her mind-clawing dread. During the talk, she assured Jade, losing one’s virginity only needed to be a little painful if one had the right attitude. She’d always told Jade the shots at the doctor’s office weren’t going to hurt, and it hurt her more than it hurt Jade when she introduced the switch to Jade’s backside.
Scooter parked his yellow roadster beside the gas pump. Jade looked up at him with a little wrinkle between her eyes, as though she’d been lurking inside his mind. “You’re not going to hurt me, are you, Scooter?”
He pulled on the handbrake, drew her close, and kissed her. “Hurt you? Why, I’d rather die than hurt you. Why would you ask such a question?” He tweaked her small turned-up nose with his index finger. “Maybe you’d better use the restroom while we’re here. I don’t suppose you’ll have another chance for a long time.”
She gave him a smile and a nod, and he opened the driver’s side door.
An old panel truck pulled up across the street from the station. Scooter watched a man get out holding something in his hand.
A gun? Scooter dismissed the idea right away.
“I really enjoyed this novel. It was well written and kept me coming back for more. I couldn’t put the book down. It was refreshing for me to share in the lives of the folk of Infinity and they touched me as much as their fellow citizens. The Java Pump is a Christian drama that will engage people of all faiths. I would recommend this read to anyone from teenagers on up.” Kersyn, Bitten By Books Reviews
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 343
Paper Weight (lb): 14.2
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