Episode 1 by Mina Khan
Everything looked different at three a.m. in the morning. The town square—with its empty streets and darkened shop windows, turn of the century stone buildings, and old-fashioned street lamps—looked like a photograph frozen in time.
Jenna, bone-weary from her shift at the Lonesome Cowboy, slowed the truck to a roll. No cars lined up behind her, no one to rush home to. She rolled down her window to dispel the smell of smoke and beer clinging to her and moseyed along.
She could almost taste a change in the crisp October air.
The old truss bridge loomed ahead. The metal latticework, lit brilliant white against the dark sky, made it look like something out of a steampunk story.
As she drew closer, she noticed a black truck parked in the middle of the bridge. Worse, a figure balanced on the left top rail. The man’s white shirt fluttered in the wind over faded jeans. He stared down into the darkness.
Jenna knew Sweet River churned below, the waters running over great mounds of rock inching in from both shores. He wouldn’t survive a fall.
She parked behind the truck and slid out, leaving her door open so as not to startle him. Her heart jackhammered. As she hurried across the asphalt, Jenna realized she should have called 9-1-1. Too late.
Gravel crunched under her feet, and the man glanced over. Oh God. Devin Parker. His sharp face with its broken nose and dimpled chin was familiar. She’d wasted enough hours in high school dreaming of it. When had he returned to town?
His ice-blue gaze didn’t register her. Nothing new. Except back then, she’d hidden behind a crowd of cheerleaders. Now it was just the two of them on a deserted bridge. Was he on drugs?
He cocked his head as if listening. The muted roar of the rushing water underneath called out like laughing, whispering voices.
He started, swayed back and forth for a gut-sickening moment. Jenna lunged forward and grabbed a fistful of his shirt. He toppled on top of her. She hit the asphalt with a yelp.
He blinked. “What? Where am I?”
She breathed in his warm, spicy scent. “You okay, Devin?”
“You know me?”
“Yeah. Could you get off me?”
A dark red stain spread across his high cheekbones. “Sorry.” He scrambled up. “What am I doing here?”
Jenna stood and dusted off her jeans. Her ass felt bruised and her nipples peaked. Shit. “You tell me.”
He shrugged. “I-I don’t know.”
The man might look delicious, but he’d sure turned out strange. “Can you get yourself home?”
“I’m not sure.”
She sighed. Given where she’d found him, Jenna didn’t want to leave him alone. “Why don’t you park in front of the library? I’ll drive you home.”
She parked next to Devin.
He climbed in and buckled up. “Thanks.”
Jenna nodded and pulled back on the road.
“You know where I live?”
“Yeah.” Everyone in Parkerville knew where the Parkers lived.
He shifted in his seat, ran a finger along her dusty dashboard, and then cleared his throat. “Um, sorry, I don’t know your name.”
Of course. “Jenna Winters.”